First battles near Narva


On February 11, 1944, Red Army's general assault began near Narva.
On February 13, railway line between Tallinn and Narva was disconnected near Auvere.

On February 14, 500 men diversion began to move towards German rear area. Their goal was to create confusion, then move southwards and join with the rest of the advancing Red Army, to surround the battle group called "Narva". This mission was a total failure, however, as the Germans managed to destroy the whole battle group, only six men made it back to the Reds. Reasons behind Red Army's failures in the beginning of February were probably lack of co-ordination among the troops and mistakes made by the leadership.
The army did not have enough resources for another assault, as 227,440 men had perished, accounting for half of the soldiers rallied to Narva.

On February 20, Soviet forces tried another attack near Auvere railway station, but Germans managed to push them back rather quickly. On the same day, Estonian Division that had just reached Narva, began to attack Russian bridgeheads north of Narva, and destroyed those by March 6, but with great loses. Loosing these strategically immensely important bridgeheads was an extremely hard blow on the leadership of the Red Army.

Sources: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006   

Mart Laar. Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis. Tallinn: Varrak 2008                                                                                                 

Image sources:                               ,_Russland,_Panzer_VI_(Tiger_I),_Soldaten_im_Schnee.jpg