Leningrad Defence industry in 1941-1945

This article will be the first in the number of others, that will be related to Leningrad Defence industry in 1941-1945. Below posted an interesting article of Frolov M.I, which shortly describe this period

Later I will make posts about specific factories.

Frolov M. I., St. Petersburg

Before the war, Leningrad was the largest industrial center of the country. As a result of the forced evacuation of factories, industrial power of Leningrad defense factories in the second half of 1941 decreased approximately at 50 percent. The rest of the industry, including local cooperatives in a short time was rebuilt on a war footing, and switched to the execution of orders of the Army.

Some researchers of the Siege of Leningrad consider that in the besieged city new military equipment wasn’t issued, and only its repair was carried out. Official reports don’t confirm this point of view. During the second half of the year 1941, (November – December of this year were one of the most difficult months), Leningrad gave to the front  713 tanks, near 3000 cannons, more than 10300 mortars, 480 armoured cars, 58 armoured trains. In July – December, 1941 Red Army received more than 3 million shells and mines, 40000 rockets, big quantity of other military equipment. It is a lot of or a little? The following comparative data are in this regard indicative: in the second half of the year 1941 in Leningrad was released 10,1 % from all cannons made in the country, 23,5 % of mortars and 14,8% of tanks. About 52% of mines and 68 % of the shells spent by the front during this period was made in Leningrade
Produced cannons, mortars and ammunition went not only to the Leningrad front, but also under Moscow. In the hardest period of the Moscow battle over 400 cannons, about 1 thousand mortars of various calibers and nearly 40 thousand armor-piercing shells were sent from the besieged Leningrad . On November 28, 1941 the commander of the Western front G. K. Zhukov sent the telegram to Leningrad: “Thanks to Leningrad people for the help to Moscow in fight against blood-thirsty Hitlerites”

Labor collectives of the city performed production targets in difficult conditions. Men, skilled workers were mobilized. Many of them went voluntary to a militia. They were replaced by women and teenagers. At plants of 12 Narcomats, that were controlled by department of machinebuilding industry of the Leningrad city committee of VKP(b), 74 percent of all workers were women, at plants of middle maschinebuilding industry – 94 percent, at the plants of chemical and rubber industry- 88 percent.
Shelling and bombings caused damage to the factories, claimed the lives working at them. Fuel reserves were almost spent. Hunger. The exhausted, weakened people worked on a limit of the forces.

In the winter 1941-1942 270 plants and factories were closed. In January, 1942 release of military production was made by 22 factories. Only one garment factory continued to give production. Gas generators, internal combustion engines were installed to factories to produce electricity. Nice illustration of conditions, in which factories worked, is a letter of head of plant #7 where he requested 200 kg of candles to provide uninterrupted mode of production.
From January to June, 1942  46 cannons, 280 mortars, 14 tanks, 275 machine guns and 5314 submaschineguns (PPD-40) were produced.

The big contribution to release of military production was made by the Leningrad scientists. City Committee of Communists party created a commission on implementation of defensive inventions under the chairmanship of the academician N. N. Semyonov. From July to December, 1941 it accepted to implementation 422 inventions and improvement suggestions. 78 were related to artillery, 95 – armoured and automotive vehicles, 84 – radio connections

Leningrad industry steadily increased prosuction of military equipment, arms and ammunition. Comparing to the first quarter 1942 (100 percents), in the third it made 488,1 percent, and in the fourth-572,8 percents. In 1942 Leningrad industry gave to the Red Army 60 tanks, 692 cannons, more than 1500 mortars, 2692 machine guns, 34936 PPD submachine guns, 620 PPS submachine guns.

The Leningrad plants produced 38 fighting ships. Special attention was paid to production of ammunition and shells. In 1942 Red ARmy received 827155 shells of various calibers and 861300 mines for mortars that considerably satisfied needs of the Leningrad front for ammunition.

The country leaders highly appreciated progress of the Leningrad industry. In all-Union competition in 1942, 274 city factories received various prizes

After break of enemy blockade in January, 1943 functioning of the Leningrad industry took place in a situation of the coming to life communications with the country. Their renewal allowed to ensure more productive work of those plants which remained in the city. Incredibly, but in 1943 in the besieged city, where the people still didn’t recover from terrible winter of 1941-1942, at some plants labor productivity level of 1940 was exceeded.

In ten months of 1943 Leningrad gave to Red Army 6750 machine guns, 120000 PPS submachine guns of Sudayev. For the same period the industry of the city produced 1900 000 pieces of various ammunition. In November-December 1943 Leningrad factories produced 5210 machine guns, 33603 PPS machine guns, 471400 shells and mines.

On January 14-15, 1944 troops of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts took the offensive. On January 27 Leningrad people heard a long-awaited and joyful message about liberation of Leningrad from enemy blockade. But they not only waited for this day. They did everything possible, approaching day of removal of hated blockade. Despite the heaviest conditions of blockade, a flour of hunger and cold, employees of the Leningrad industry since the beginning of war and until the end of 1943 gave to the Red Army 836 new and 1346 repaired tanks, 150 heavy sea cannons, more than 4 500 cannons and mortairs of different calibers, over 12 000 of machine guns, more than 200 000 submachine guns, millions of artillery shells and min. The Leningrad shipbuilders completed and constructed 407 and repaired about 850 ships of a miscellaneous classes.


1. История ордена Ленина Ленинградского военного округа. М., 1971.С. 281; Карасёв А.В. Ленинградцы в годы блокады. М.; 1959. С. 122.

2. Ленинградская эпопея. СПб.; 1995. С. 158; Фролов М.И. Артиллеристы в боях за город Ленина 1941-1944. Лениздат, 1978. С. 87.

3. Цит. по: Ленинград в борьбе месяц за месяцем 1941-1944. СПб.;1994. С. 61.

4. Ленинград в осаде. Сб. документов о героической обороне Ленинграда в годы Великой Отечественной войны. СПб.; 1995. С. 182.

5. Очерки истории Ленинградской организации КПСС. Ч.2. Л.;1968. С.624.

6. История ордена Ленина Ленинградского военного округа. С. 283.

7. Ленинград в осаде. С. 167-168.

8. Дзенискевич А.Р. Фронт у заводских стен. Малоизученные проблемы обороны Ленинграда 1941-1944. СПб.;1998. С. 169, 178.

9. Карасёв А.В. Указ. соч. С. 234.

10. Ленинград в осаде. С. 181-182.

11. Дзенискевич А.Р. Указ. соч. С. 229-230.

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