Northern Front (Soviet Union)

The Northern Front (Russian: Северный фронт) was a front of the Red Army during the Second World War.

The Northern Front was created on June 24, 1941 from the Leningrad Military District. Its primary goal was the defense of the Kola Peninsula and the northern shores of the Gulf of Finland. On August 23, 1941, the Front's forces were divided into the Karelian Front and the Leningrad Front. Lieutenant General Markian M. Popov commanded the Front for the three months of its existence.

The Front's major force structure was based on the 7th Army, 14th Army, 23rd Armies and the Leningrad People's Opolcheniye Army. Other forces included four Rifle Corps, two Mechanized Corps, seventeen Rifle Divisions, four Tank Divisions, two Motor Rifle Divisions, eight artillery regiments of the Reserve of Highest Command, eight Aviation Divisions (including one objective air division), seven Fortified Regions, one Fortified Position, and thirteen machinegun battalions.[1]

Northern Front Organization as of 22 June 1941[2]

The formations of the Northern Front included the following subunits:

14th ArmyEdit

Mobilisation of troops of the Leningrad Military District in the summer of 1941
14th Rifle Division defending the Petsamo sector
42nd Rifle Corps
104th Rifle Division
122nd Rifle Division
52nd Rifle Division
1st Tank Division
104 Gun Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of Highest Command
23rd Murmansk Fortified Region (Russian: Мурманский укрепленный район)
35th, 100th, 82nd, 72nd and 101st Border Guard Detachments
1st Mixed Air Division[4]

7th ArmyEdit

  • Separate 7th Army (HQ in Suoyarvi) with its commander Lieutenant General Filip D. Gorelenko[5] responsible for the Defence Sector No.2 covering the longest sector of the Front between the Kola Peninsula and Lake Ladoga, and in particular having the responsibility at once for the gap between the Ladoga and Onega lakes, and the possible land assault to cut off Arkhangelsk. In fact the Stavka had determined the Army had four sectors in its responsibility.[1]
54th Rifle Division
71st Rifle Division
168th Rifle Division
237th Rifle Division
541 Howitzer Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of Highest Command
26th Sortavala Fortified Region
1st, 73rd, 80th and 3rd Border Guard Detachments
55th Mixed Air Division (Petrozadovsk)[6]
153rd Fighter Aviation Regiment
72nd Bomber Aviation Regiment

23rd ArmyEdit

  • 23rd Army (HQ in (Kuusa or Kusa (village))[7] with its commander General Lieutenant P.S. Pshennikov responsible for the Defence Sector No.3 that included immediate approaches to Leningrad, including two major population centres of particular interest to Finland, Sortavala and Vyborg. Given the importance of the defended objectives, and previous experience in the Winter War, the Army was allocated two Rifle Corps, one Mechanised Corps, four rifle divisions, two tank and one Motor Rifle Divisions, three howitzer and one gun Regiment of the Reserve of Highest Command, two Fortified Regions, three border guard detachments, and one aviation division
19th Rifle Corps
142nd Rifle Division
115th Rifle Division
50th Rifle Corps
43rd Rifle Division
123rd Rifle Division
10th Mechanised Corps (removed from the Army in early July)
21st Tank Division
24th Tank Division
198th Motor Rifle Division
101, 108, 519 Howitzer Artillery Regiments of the Reserve of Highest Command
573 Gun Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of Highest Command
102nd, 5th, 33rd Border Guard Detachments
27th Vyborg Fortified Region (Russian: Выборгский укр.район)
28th Keksgolm Fortified Region (Russian: Кексгольмский укр.район)
5th Mixed Air Division which was particularly tasked with preventing repulsing either amphibious or airborne landings in and around the Gulf of Finland coast.

Leningrad People's Opolcheniye ArmyEdit

65th Rifle CorpsEdit

  • 65th Rifle Corps (less its Corps artillery regiments)[1] was a separate Corps which covered the No.4 Defence Sector of the Front which covered the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland with its HQ in Nimma 9 km south of Tallinn and included two divisions
11th Rifle Division
16th Rifle Division (1st formation; 22 June 1941 - 27 December 1941)[10]
4th Air Division (from the Leningrad Military District)

Hanko Peninsula naval baseEdit

29th Hanko Peninsula naval base Fortified Region (Russian: Укреплённый район военно-морской базы Ханко) (General Major Shore Duty Aleksei Borisovish Yeliseyev)
8th Separate Rifle Brigade (Colonel Nikolai Pavlovich Simonyak)[11]
Hanko Peninsula Border Guard detachment
13th Fighter Aviation Regiment Separate Reconnaissance Air Squadron
Submarine Divizion
Torpedo Boat Brigade

8th ArmyEdit

  • 8th Army (from North Western Front after 19 August 1941)

48th ArmyEdit

  • 48th Army (from North Western Front after 19 August 1941)

Military aviation of the Leningrad Military DistrictEdit

7th PVO Fighter Aviation Corps (later the 2nd PVO Guards Fighter Aviation Corps)[12] commanded by Colonel Stepan Pavlovich Danilov[13] was responsible for air cover over Leningrad, using basing on 10 primary and 15 reserve air fields,[14] and included

Leningrad Military District forcesEdit

1st Mechanised Corps less 1st Tank Division which was concentrated around Sluttsk and Pushkino
70th Rifle Division in the Karelian Isthmus half way between Leningrad and Vyborg (Muola).
191st and 177th Rifle Divisions that remained at cadre strength awaiting mobilisation.
4th, 41st and 39th Air Divisions
Vessels of the Baltic Fleet were severely restricted by the geography and lack of air superiority in conducting offensive operations, however their ships batteries included guns in the 305mm, 180mm and 130mm calibres, and the Scientific-research naval artillery range also located in Leningrad possessed 406mm pieces that were being developed for future Soviet battleship designs, and these were without opposition until Germans were able to move the heavy railway guns to the area.

NKVD troopsEdit

Soviet light armoured drezine (armoured car on rails) MBV D-1 as used by the NKVD security detachments
  • The 2nd Division of the NKVD troops (Russian: 2-я дивизия войск НКВД) was responsible for security of specific high-value objectives throughout the Leningrad Military District territory, particularly the railways, and its 11,200 troops were equipped with armoured trains and motorised armoured rail-cars.[16]


  2. ^ Nafziger, George. "Soviet Army & Air Forces 22 June 1941" (PDF). US Army Combined Arms Research Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Оборона на Севере (Defence in the North) - 22.6.41г". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  4. ^ "14-я армия". Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  5. ^ Ammentorp, Steen. "The Generals". Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  6. ^ Niehorster
  7. ^ Kuusa was a Finnish village in the Muolaa municipality slightly to the northwest of modern Klimovo
  8. ^ "Центральный сектор Красногвардейского укрепленного района (Гатчина)". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  9. ^ history of the Izhorsk Factories (in Russian) Archived January 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ pp.13-14, Perechen No.5 - rifle, mountain rifle, motor-rifle and mechanised rifle divisions of the Red Army 1941-145, Soviet General Staff, Moscow, 1970
  11. ^ a b "Журнал Санкт-Петербургский университет ISSN 1681-1941 / № 1-2 (3657-3658), 19 января 2004 года". Archived from the original on 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  12. ^ "7-й истребительный авиационный корпус ПВО; 2-й гвардейский истребительный Ленинградский авиационный корпус ПВО". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  13. ^ Operationally was subordinated to the 2nd Fighter Aviation Corps of PVO commander General Major M.M. Protsvetkin - Kusnetsov
  14. ^ Note that as a result of the blockade the Corps was severely reduced in its basing allocation to only four air fields.[2]
  15. ^ Kusnetsov
  16. ^ p.189, Lenski, Ground forces of RKKA in the pre-war years: a reference (Сухопутные силы РККА в предвоенные годы. Справочник.) — St Petersburg, B & K, 2000


  • Glantz, Stumbling Colossus, 1998, Appendix A