The Battle of Velikiye Luki, sometimes called The Stalingrad of the North, was fought during the Winter Campaign of 1942-1943. It was part of the northern pincer of the Rzhev-Sychevka Strategic Offensive (Operation Mars). The Soviet objective was to liberate the Russian city of Velikiye Luki and to cut the north-south rail line to the west of the city.
Rather than attacking the town directly, the Soviet forces advanced into the difficult terrain to the north and south of the town. Despite heavy losses, they successfully cut the land links to the city, trapping the garrison. Hitler demanded that all the surrounded formations hold out while relief forces counterattacked to open a route to the encircled units.
The garrison held out against repeated and determined Russian assaults. In the meantime, Soviet attempts to take their main objective, the rail lines at Novosokolniki, had been frustrated by the counter-attacks of the relief force. An attempt by the Germans to reach Velikiye Luki in late December ran into stubborn Soviet defense and was halted. The German garrison finally surrendered on January 16th.
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