In July, 1942, Germany's General von Manstein won the siege of Sevastopol. Shortly thereafter, Manstein and his 11th Army were sent to Leningrad, which the Germans were also besieging.

I don't question why Hitler wanted to reinforce the siege on Leningrad. I do question why Hitler moved the 11th Army all the way from the extreme south to the extreme north for this purpose. (I can understand the transfer of Manstein "personally" to Leningrad.)

Was it a case of the 11th Army representing "picked" troops, perhaps because of their recent success with at Sevastopol? Was this Hitler's rotating "spare" army? Or was there another reason to use the 11th Army and not another one as reinforcements?

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    I don't get the downvotes. Minus Peter and Scherwn explanations (and also minus the Wikepedia article) this question seems reasonable enough on its face and Hitler did have preceding cases where he had large units go uselessly back and forth in the Russian hinterlands. For the rest of us, the answers provide some insight into German organization. i.e. someone can look at the transfer, and if they don't think of looking at 11th Army's wikipedia, miss this, even if they are otherwise knowledgeable about WW2. Sheesh. Commented May 9, 2021 at 15:08
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica: I am 63 years old, my ability to "surf the web" is below average, and I get "dinged" a lot for this on this (and other) sites. Even "if I am otherwise knowledgeable about WW2." Thanks for speaking up.
    – Tom Au
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 15:53
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    @TomAu You're welcome :-) Just because the information is out there doesn't always mean people know exactly where to look. And Googling only gets you far if your particular search terms bring up a lot of hits about other subjects. Sometimes it's good to ask from a large diverse group of people with the same general interests, that's the purpose of the StackExchange sites after all. Commented May 9, 2021 at 16:26
  • 11th Army was supposed to be siege specialist. They just captured (after a long siege) heavily defended fortress of Sevastopol . Now it was Leningrad turn. Army itself had a lot of heavy (siege) artillery.
    – rs.29
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


As Pieter commented, the 11th Army and much of its heavy artillery moved to Leningrad, but much of its infantry did not.

Armies and army corps are administrative units to coordinate hundreds of thousands of men, their vehicles, material, etc... Divisions and other subordinate units are swapped in and out as needed. Even armies are cannibalized, shortly after moving to Leningrad 11th Army and von Manstein would be absorbed to create Army Group Don to attempt to break the encirclement of 6th Army. The Germans loved to reorganize their units.

With Sevastopol and Kersch taken the Crimea was secure and the units which were fighting there became available. 11th Army, and its commander Erich von Manstein, became free to participate in another operation. To end the siege at Leningrad Hitler felt Manstein was the man for the job. Manstein, his 11th Army, its heavy artillery, and about half its infantry were moved to Leningrad. The Romanian Corps remained in the Crimea. LIV and XXX Army Corps went to Leningrad, but their divisions got shuffled.


After a few months of rest, these 11th Army divisions went to Leningrad. After 11th Army was absorbed to create Army Group Don in November 1942 they joined the 18th Army.

  • 24th Infantry
  • 28th Light Infantry (as 28th Jäger)
  • 132nd Infantry
  • 170th Infantry

These former 11th Army divisions went elsewhere.

  • 22nd Infantry joined 12th Army in Greece
  • 50th Infantry went to Stalingrad with 1st Panzer Army
  • 72nd Infantry joined 9th Army in Rzhev

What about the other armies?

  • 1st Army - Guarding the Atlantic coast
  • 2nd Army - Case Blue
  • 3rd Army - Disbanded to form 16th Army
  • 4th Army - Defending the center
  • 5th Army - Renamed 18th Army
  • 6th Army - Case Blue
  • 7th Army - Defending France
  • 8th Army - Renamed 2nd Army
  • 9th Army - Defending the center
  • 10th Army - Deactivated after Poland
  • 11th Army - Just finished with Sebastopol
  • 12th Army - Defending the Balkans and Greece
  • 13th Army - Never was. I guess it's bad luck?
  • 14th Army - Deactivated after Poland
  • 15th Army - Eating cheese and glaring at the British from Calais
  • 16th Army - Already at Leningrad.
  • 17th Army - Case Blue
  • 18th Army - Already at Leningrad
  • 19th Army - Would not exist until 1943
  • 20th Army - Defending Norway

Higher numbered armies either never existed, or were created after.


  • A very good answer, both on "background," and also on "specifics" to this case.
    – Tom Au
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 16:21
  • You failed to mention that artillery units moved from Sevastopol to Leningrad were trained and had experience with sieges . Therefore, Leningrad was perfect place for them.
    – rs.29
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 18:28
  • @rs.29 That's safe to assume, but I had trouble tracking down the individual elements of the siege train. For example, HArKo 306 (the artillery command unit) stayed in Crimea. It's moot, the question is about why they (apparently) moved the whole 11th Army. If they just wanted their siege train they could have detached it.
    – Schwern
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 19:01
  • @Schwern Unit you mentioned is actually administrative (HQ) unit and after siege of Sevastopol they were given command of coastal artillery. I don't think they had organic artillery units (with actual artillery pieces) with them. As for infantry divisions, they also had experience in sieges and static trench warfare.
    – rs.29
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 4:42
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    @rs.29 Yes, it is an HQ unit, like the 11th Army. I'd need to look up the individual units which were under its command during the siege and where they went afterwards, as I did with the infantry divisions.
    – Schwern
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 4:44

my humble opinion:

  • He was too stupid, to think about different weather and so on...

The same way, he was too stupid, to understand that war on two fronts, with Great English Empire and 9,000Km Union of many-many small countries of former Great Russian Empire and very-very large already at that time economic of North America - it is little bit too high for Great Reign number three or two, whatever..

That is why, the Tehran Conference was in 1943. Leaders have met together, to divide New World, it was not a summit about how to fight against common aggressor. War was won already at that time.

And again, we are talking about a grenadier, he had no years behind his back with gradual governing, at first - small group, at second - division, thereafter corps, thereafter one army...etc.

He threw grenades. What kind of weather do you talking about? He even did not realize what is 9 thousands of kilometres was.

However, the same story we can tell about Joseph Stalin....

  • Too stupid to win the battle, in 3 vs 1 in defense( so it becomes 9 vs 1), this "feat" even Persian Empire can not repeat in their battle with 300 Spartans...
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    Welcome on History.SE ! I am afraid we are not interested in people's opinions here (neither yours nor mine, neither humble nor pedantic), this website's purpose is to answer precise questions in objective, factual and documented fashion. I am afraid your answer will only receive downvotes unless you completely rewrite it with relevant information about the transfert of Manstein and parts of the 11th Army in 1942 that would not be covered in Schwern's answer.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 7:31
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    That's an opinion, try to back it up with facts.
    – Jos
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 7:39
  • He threw grenades. - That is fact. Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 16:06

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