Siege of Leningrad

At the same time, German Army “North” attacked Leningrad, the second-largest USSR city of 3.3 million people. By September 19, 1941 the Germans were just 12 miles away, and their artillery began a continuous barrage of the city. Photo: an artillery shell explodes on a street of Leningrad (September, 1941): 

Leningrad was heavily defended, and Hitler made a decision to besiege it and starve to death. The city was encircled and the blockade started on September 25, 1941. At the time, Leningrad had sufficient food for 20 days; by December – despite reducing rations to the minimum - for 2 days.  As a result, 600,000 - 1,000,000 civilians starved to death. People ate all dogs, cats, birds and rats in the city. 600 people were punished for cannibalism. 

The only way to bring some food into the city was during the winter when the nearby lake Ladoga froze. The ice road was called "The Road of Life". It was very dangerous – during just the first week of operation, 40 trucks sunk. Photo: trucks delivering food to Leningrad through the Road of Life. Notice how all driver doors are open so that the drivers could jump out if their trucks suddenly fall through the ice: