The Russian News Agency RIAN has released a collection of World War II images, available to view on Wikipedia Commons.
On the 18th September the defenders of Leningrad saw the tanks of the German 4th Panzer Army being loaded on to trains, to be transported to the Moscow front. It was the first clear sign that there was not going to be a direct assault on the city. The bombing that was taking place was not something preparatory to an attack – it was the strategy. Leningrad, almost completely encircled on the [permalink id=13528 text=”8th September”], would be besieged and bombed not in an attempt to make the city surrender but in order to kill the people within it.
Hitler would soon issue a War Directive spelling out the the policy but he had already told Otto Abetz, the German ambassador to Vichy France:
Petersburg — the poisonous nest from which, for so long, Asiatic venom has spewed forth into the Baltic — must vanish from the earth’s surface. The city is already cut off. It only remains for us to bomb and bombard it, destroy its sources of water and power and then deny the population everything it needs to survive.
One of the first Luftwaffe bombing objectives had been the food warehouses for the city – centralised under the Soviet system. The rations for civilians had now been reduced. Much worse was to come.
Scenes of the early air raids during the blockade of Leningrad: