Uruguay originally had hoped to remain neutral during the Second Great War, but despite their declaration of a 500-kilometer (310 mi) exclusion zone extending from its coast (that was acknowledged by neither the Allies or the Axis Central Powers, When British warships and the German ship Admiral Graf Spee fought the Battle of the River Plate in the zone, Uruguay knew it's neutrality was compromised. This prompted a joint protest from several Latin American nations to both sides. After the Battle Admiral Graf Spee took refuge in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, claiming sanctuary in a neutral port, but was later ordered out, something that damaged Imperial German and Uruguay relations deeply. In early 1942, President Baldomir broke off diplomatic relations with the Axis Powers. Soon afterwards, a possible coup of local German and Italian minority groups was detected and crushed before it could even get truly started. These militia groups stood no chance against the 12,000 soldiers of the Uruguayan Army cracking down on them alongside the Uruguayan police. However the Uruguayan army was spared serious budget cutting but was reorganized into smaller units intended to be expanded in wartime. The increase in the number of units meant more officers and more promotions; at the same time, the increase in the number of units also made it harder for officers to forge a unified political force. The government and the armed forces leadership placed new emphasis on developing an apolitical and professional military institution, and as a result the army essentially withdrew from the political arena. After the First Great War, the army came under the influence of a French military mission, and officers began to train at the Military Academy at St. Cyr, France, and at various specialty schools of the French army. Under a French plan, the country was divided into four military regions, and the military air arm was strengthened. Modern equipment, including aircraft, was imported from various European sources. The army was used to support a coup by President Gabriel Terra (1931-38) in 1933 but did little except to prevent legislators from entering the General Assembly (the nation's bicameral legislature). During the Second Great War, the United States replaced France as the nation's foremost foreign military influence. United States assistance under the Lend-Lease Agreement focused primarily on aviation.
But because of the supposed pro-Axis Central Powers coup of the German and Italian minorities inside the small many South American Countries feared a Axis Central Powers influence spreading to their continent. Claiming to prevent just that, the country with a large Prussian and German military influence, Argentinia intervened. There many army officers supported the Germans, while many inside the Argentine Navy favored the British. The overall Argentine population was divided between two major groups “pro-allies" (aliadófilos) and “pro-neutral" (neutralistas). The first group was in favor of Argentina entering the war on the side of the allies, while the latter argued that the country should remain neutral. A third group of “pro-Germans” (germanófilos) remained a minority; because it was extremely unlikely that Argentina would enter the war on the side of the Axis Central Powers, or that the Axis Central Powers would be able to support them against the Americans and the British even if they did, so they tended to support neutrality. Despite this the authoritarian Argentine State marched into Uruguay, claiming that their march into the neighboring country would prevent a imminent pro-Axis Central Powers takeover. Quickly overwhelmed and overpowered, Argentine President Ramón Antonio Castillo Barrionuevo, who feared the pro-Axis Central Powers tendencies of his army, had wished to show determination and strength with this move and declared Uruguay to be annexed as a part of Argentina (as the Eastern Province, or Banda Oriental; Eastern Bank, referring to the Uruguay River), reclaiming the title of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata for his country. Nearby Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil therefore (rightfully so) feared Argentine territorial ambitions in South America. Historically it would be the beginning of the Argentine-Brazilian rivalry in South America and lead to the joining of Brazil, Chile, Peru (rather pro-National Monarchist), Paraguay (rather democratic socialist, even if Argentine claimed they were Socialist-Communists). A rising new National Monarchist faction in Bolivia and Peru (the Inti) even suggested a Peru-Bolivian union against this threat, that was later planned to include Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile as former parts of the Inca Empire too. With the Argentine conquest of neighboring regions and the American dropping out of the Second Great War in 1944 and overall out of Latin America after the 1948 breakup of their Nation and the Beginning of the Divided States of America era.
Chapter 712: A String of Pearls as a Gateway to China
In Asia at the once Chinese Imperial Coast, former International Settlements and American as well as European Concessions had been given to (or rather had been partly conquered by) the Japanese Empire. They and other coastal cities under control of the Japanese Empire (or those having at least some Japanese settlements; Japantowns and extraterritorial Imperial Japanese Army, Navy and Zaibatsu regions inside of them) were governed by Katsuo Okazaki in Shanghai, the former Japanese Consul-General in Hong Kong and since early January 1942 Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council after the British and American members resigned following the commencement of the Chinese Civil War, the Asian War and the Pacific War and the occupation of the Shanghai International Settlement by Japanese troops. In 1943 the Council was disbanded and Okazaki took direct control of these Japanese concessions, as well as the Japanese railroad, transportation and mining rights in the coastal Chinese provinces. He referred to this territories as the so called String of Pearl along the Chinese Coast. However the westerners were soon sidelines as Japanese businessman, traders, consuls, politicians, army and navy personal gained more and more influence. However what some believed to be a problematic situation and a troubling development would be nothing compared to the things that were about to come. Japanese Influence grew with their involvement in the Chinese Civil War, as the legation cities and other coastal ports provided the main lines of supplies for the pro-Japanese, Coprospist forces under Wang Jingwei's Shanghai Government (and later Nanjing Government). However Consul-General Okazaki and many inside the Japanese military and the Japanese Zaibatsu wished for more and therefore established contacts to local Triads, Gangs and other criminal groups, bringing them on their side trough bribery and violence.
With the support of local collaborates and militias of these groups, like the Red Lanterns (whose red paper lantern symbolized the sun), skirmishes and street battles in these cities happened, giving the Japanese the perfect opportunity to increase their own police, military and intelligence service operations in these coastal cities. With the increasing Japanese presence and direct rule in the coastal cities and their control of all trade going into Yankoku, National Han China and Taikoku. Soon European residents of these regions were forced to wear armbands to differentiate them, were evicted from their homes and were liable to maltreatment. All were liable for punitive punishments, torture and even death during under Consul-General Okazaki's regime. The Japanese sent European and American citizens to be interned at the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center, a work camp on what was then the outskirts of Shanghai. At the same time one European group was encouraged to not only live and settle in the cities (as well as in Manchuria and other regions) were European Jews who thanks to Japanese positive prejudice about them were encouraged to help with the administration of these coastal cities. While officially returned to the Japanese puppet states and vassals that were formed out of the former Chinese Empire, the true rulers and those in control were the Japanese. This however did not automatically mean the Japanese Empire, but often rather Japanese local governors, zaibatsu or the Imperial Japanese Military.
Chapter 713: The reborn Austro-Hungarian Navy or Imperial and Royal Navy during the Second Great War
The reborn Austro-Hungarian Navy or Kaiserliche und Königliche Flotte (Imperial and Royal Navy), much of the early Austrian-Hungarian Navy came form the former state of Yugoslavia (which in return had many ships gained from Austria-Hungary before, others were of French, Italian, British and German origin). In 1941 it had 41 combatants, 19 auxiliaries and 150 seaplanes. During the Conquest of Yugoslavia, 3 destroyers and 3 submarines as well as 210 to 300 aircraft had been captured by the Axis Central Powers, most of them were afterwards given to Austria-Hungary. This was the base of the new Imperial and Royal Navy of Austria-Hungary, but soon with access to the sea once again a new strong navy worthy of a empire was planned. Overall 20 Battleships, 20 Cruisers (5 of them heavy), 30 Destroyers and 80 smaller ships like coastal torpedo boats were planned alongside 60 submarines (many of them of German origin, delivered by train and assembled in the Adriatic Sea). As the main pride of the new navy, 8 ships of the Joseph Radetzky-Class (1936 battleship) were planned and finished in 1940 after roughly 4 years. They were followed by the so called Erzherzog Karl-Class (1940 battleship) with six of this newer ships ordered to be finished in 1943-1944 and later completed by the following six Franz Ferdinand-Class (1944 battleship) that would be finished in 1948. Main pride of this new Austro-Hungarian Navy however would be the carriers, beginning with the Franz Joseph-Class (1938 Carrier) with only one ship finished in 1940, followed by three ships of the Charles-Class (1940 Carrier) completed in 1942 and the later four ships of the Otto-Class (1942 Carrier) completed in 1944.
Build by Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino, one of the largest shipyards in the Mediterranean, alongside Seearsenal, Österreichischer Lloyd and others places like Cattaro, Pula and others, the main Imperial and Royal Navy feared the French and British bombing of their newly build ships or even Vienna, so Austria-Hungary only declared war on France after the Fall of Paris, when large parts of the Mediterranean were already under Axis Central Power Control. The Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Navy was later boosted by Bulgarian, Romanian and Greek ships that had to be given to Austria-Hungary once it dominated the Balkan Peninsula as a hegemonic power. Half ot the new Imperial and Royal navy stayed in the Mediterranean, were they participated in the Battle for Crete and the Battle of Cyprus and bombed Allied positions along the coast of Egypt and Syria. The other half of the Imperial and Royal Navy operated in the Black Sea were they played a huge role in cutting of the encircled Red Army in the Crimean Peninsula and help liberating the Kingdom of Ukrainia with naval landings along the coast that cut of enemy supply and retreat lines. Here the Austrian-Hungarian Army and the Austro-Hungarian Navy worked very closely together with the Gothic Order and the Austrian-Hungarian AEIOU Order as local elite forces in the Balkans and Southern Russia. Later they even participated in the joint Austria-Hungarian, Second Ottoman and German Caucasus Campaign, helping to cut off the massive Georgian Red Army and completely annihilate these Georgian and Russian forces with shore bombardments on coastal cities and mountain defenses.
Chapter 714: Japanese conquered Pacific Ocean Islands
Nauru had been seized by Japanese forces on 15 May 1942 during Operation RY, but nearby Ocean Island (Banaba Island) had been seized just a day later. Around 800 Japanese soldiers accompanied by around 50 forced labor workers occupied the island on 16 May 1942. Shortly before the British had evacuated all but 5 Europeans and around 800 Chinese workers of the local company. Around 700 natives and 713 work migrants (mostly Chinese) remained on the island, 175 of them would not survive the Japanese rule of Ocean Island. Shootings, corporal punishment with wooden batons torture and electronic shocks as well as rapes happened daily. Unlike China, mainland Asia or South-East Asia where the Japanese hoped to use, work with and incorporate the local masses into their Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Pacific Islands like Nauru and Ocean Island/ Banaba Island were sparsely populated and the Japanese planned to use the locals as a workforce for future Japanese mining operations and plantations. This and the great distance to Tokio lead to little control from Tokio in this Pacific Islands Garrisons, as well as on New Guinea. Even children were beheaded before their parents for little offensives like stealing coconuts when they were hungry. Many who had remained on the islands were soon forced labor, as much slaves as the Chosen and workers the Japanese had brought with them. Nearby in the west on Ulawa southeast of Malaita, north of San Cristobal and Rennell Island another 800 Japanese soldiers landed shortly after the the Australians had tried their best to evacuate much of the 1,217 people living on the island. They managed to safe around 800, mainly Europeans, Chinese workers and some natives, most of them were evacuated to nearby San Cristobal where they would help build up Allied defenses on the Island against the Japanese Tsunami that still seamed unstoppable at the moment.
Meanwhile the Imperial Japanese Navy who dominated the seas at night and with air superiority partly even during the day, managed to renew their offensive during Operation RY. They would use this at least temporary situation to their advantage and bring in more forces into Guadalcanal with the hope of finally pushing the American forces out of the island for good and afterwards force them out of the Solomon Islands to blockade the Australian Continent as a whole. They now even managed to destroy or force Allied convoys to turn away from the island, thanks to a combination of Japanese naval bombers, battleships and submarines paroling around Guadalcanal. They tried to rebuild the heavily damaged Henderson Field to bring in fresh Japanese fighters and bombers, to even increase their superior position on the overall island, while the Americans were only supplied by airplane parachute drops, as well as a few submarines that managed to reach Guadalcanal. Therefore American supplies and reinforcements were sparse and got even worse, the further the Japanese, Koreans and Taikoku forces were increased on the islands. This lead to the decision by the Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur to decide they would slowly but completely evacuate all American forces from the island to strengthen their defenses on Makira and New Guinea with them, instead of letting them slowly bleed out by superior Japanese forces. Therefore the American withdrawal from Guadalcanal was decided while at the same time in other Pacific places the Americans prepared their first counter-offensive to distract the Japanese and split up their forces, so they could be defeated in detail. No America would not give up so easily by a few defeats and it's industrial and numerical power would crush the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Asia and the Axis Central Powers in Europe, at least that was what most Americans still believed in between 1942 and 1943 as their losses and defeats still were minimal, compared to what they would loose overall in this war.
Inside the Kingdom of the United Netherlands, the population faced even more severe bombing then that of the German Empire against Rotterdam and Middelburg in 1940, as Allied bombers starting from Britain targeted Germany right behind them. Some of their bomb drops hit the wrong target, others were meant for Axis Central Powers airbases nearby Dutch cities (a placement the Germans did on purpose to paint the Allies as evil barbarians) and in the Far South East of Asia, the Japanese had taken Netherlands East Indies and liberated it into island nations. Still some Dutch fought in the Battle of Britain all the way to the Pacific on Allied sides. The remaining Free Dutch large oil facilities on the islands of Aruba and Curacao in the Netherlands West Indies were of major importance for the Allies in Europe and Africa. Because of this, as a protection, a considerable U.S. military force was stationed on the island as well. Meanwhile Dutch Unity was promoted inside the thanks to Prince Aschwin of Lippe-Biesterfeld as the newly proclaimed King (King Aschwin I.) of the Netherlands, who followed in the footsteps of his brother Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (later Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands) who had married Princess Juliana of the Netherlands in 1939. He was supported by the National Monarchist Movement in the Netherlands (NMMN) and the German-Dutch National Netherlands People's Party (German: Deutsch-Niderländische Nationale Volkspartei, DNNVP, or DNUNVP) in his pro-German politics, that quickly introduces a copy of the German education system and promoted the Dutch as Dutch-Germans, like Bavarians and Saxons were to further encourage them to embrace the German Empire and join it as one of it's Kingdoms under a German Emperor. The strong Royal Power in the new Kingdom was supported by helpful German Security and German Army forces, that helped the local Royal Dutch Field-Gendarmery, Police, Militias and their Army to secure peace and stability in the new Axis Central Powers Kingdom.
The Royal Dutch-German State as a whole focused mainly on his Protestant North, as this promised to bring them closer to mainly Protestant Germany instead of the Catholic France once again and soon the local Protestant Church in the Dutch-German Kingdom was incorporated into the German Church as a part of ti, sparking the so called Dutch Religious Opposition by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Dutch Reformed Churches that united as the Protestant Church of the Netherlands (Dutch: de Protestantse Kerk in Nederland, abbreviated PKN) to oppose this political and religious Germanification of Dutch State, Culture, Society and Religion. Under the new Kingdom, the new Royal Army of the United Netherlands were established as a Defensive Mobile Army, ready to quickly aid the German Garrisons against any Allied Invasion against the United Netherlands and Western Europe when it would arrive. They were armed by Philips, Spyker-Trompenburg and Fokker. At the same time many Dutch also volunteered for the United Netherlands Royal Air Force to shoot down Allied bombers and fighters dropping bombs on the United Netherlands, or flying over them to reach Germany. Because of this Germany and the Axis Central Powers portrayed the defeated Dutch as the Shield-bearer Knight of the Axis Central Powers, boosting the pride of the little small nation inside their ranks. Meanwhile the 62,000 members strong Burgundian Order had it's very own goals inside the United Netherlands. Their goal was to annex all of the former Burgundian Kingdom into the German Empire. Among their most prominent members were Dutch General Hendrik Alexander Seyffardt who led the Dutch-German Legion to the Eastern Front and later watched the buildup of the Royal Army of the United Netherlands. Another important member of the Burgundian Order was Johannes Hendrik Feldmeijer a Dutch National Monarchist politician and member of the NMMN, Max Wünsche a regiment commander of the Burgundian Order who received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and fought in the Netherlands and the Balkans as well as the Eastern Front. Another member included Johann Baptist Albin Rauter who helped the Burgundian Order as the Leader of their own Burgundian Order Police Force in the United Netherlands were they took part in firing squads that killed communist rebels and other anti-monarchist rioters.
Chapter 716: The Fall and Retreat from Guadalcanal and Malaita
Since October 1942 the Japanese Army accompanied by Chosen and Taikoku forced had pushed back the Americans from the Islands of Guadalcanal and Malaita. The Americans tried multiple time to retake the islands, but the Japanese numerical superiority, air and naval dominance proved to strong after the recent losses of American carriers at the Battle of Midway. Slowly pushed back to the Tanaru to Koli Point defenses, the Bolesuno River, Tasimbako (Tsimboko) and Taira Point, the Americans at first tried their best to ship fresh forces between both islands, increasing their numbers this way, while decreasing the risk of long range interception, but even their build-up of new airfields in the east of Guadalcanal and the south of Malaita were able to save their hold on the islands, as the Japanese bombed it with mountain artillery, dive-bombers, bombers and ships whenever they could to keep their dominance in the region, using it long as the newly build American ships would not arrive in the Pacific. Constant bomings, raid and night attacks weakened and annihilated the last remaining American defences over the next months. In the End the Americans would loose 14,200 soldiers, 42 ships and 830 aircraft during the fighting for both islands while the Japanese would loose around 12,400 soldiers, 28 ships and 660 aircraft. Still overall the Americans could much more easily replace said losses of trained pilots and aircraft then the Japanese could. There was also a reason why the Americans waited till January/ February 1943 until they fully retreated their forces from both island, as this further tied down Japanese and Co-Prosperity Sphere forces on both islands and gave them more time to increase their defenses on the islands of Makira Island and Renell Island further south. The Americans anticipated the Japanese Navy to target Makira Island next and therefore the island with a small population of over 1,200 only, suddenly housed around 26,000 to 34,000 additional Allied troops already before the evacuation of Guadalcanal and Malaita, as most of these forces there were reserves for the nearby Solomone islands, while reserves for New Guinea mostly came from Australia directly.
By then these mostly fresh American forces had fortified the small island, established defenses and used it after Ulawa Island had fallen to the Japanese before. Now the tens of thousands of American soldiers on the island of San Cristobal/ Makira. Most defenses were concentrated around Arosi, Bauro, Ravo and Wainoni along the northern coast of the island, as Allied planners believed that was the most logical place for the Japanese to land their forces. The plantation fields in these areas were spiked with booby traps, barbed wire and hidden machine gun positions to make the assault on the island as difficult as possible. Further artillery, anti-tank guns, anit-air guns and other installations originally meant for Guadalcanal and Malaita now went into the defense of Makira/ San Cristobal and nearby Renell Island. Airfields were constructed and Allied fighters and bombers stationed there were planned by Nimitz and MacArthur to help with the repelling of a Japanese Invasion Force that attempted to take the island of Makira/ San Cristobal from them to complete their conquest of the Southern Solomone Islands. However The massive amount of Japanese and Co-Prosperity Sphere forces on New Guinea and their more direct threatening of Australia were they had landed two beachhead invasions already meant that combined with their own limitations of capacity on the island of Makira/ San Cristobal as a whole, the possible Allied reinforcements, supplies and defenses still were more then limited, if there were any at all. Especially if the Japanese would manage to establish a beachhead and successfully land on the island and were able to use their momentary air and naval superiority in the region for combined coastal and air bombardments of the Allied defenses here. This meant that a Japanese victory was possible as long as their forces ruled the Pacific uncontested, as the Japanese had learned much about ground support by air and shore bombardment on Guadalcanal, Malaita and New Guinea. Because of this Nimitz and MacArthur did their best to delay the Japanese on Guadalcanal and Malaita, hoping to further slow down their advance down the Solomone islands and their assault on Makira/ San Cristobal by doing so long enough for the newly build US Carrier Fleet to arrive in time.
Known as Operation Operation Iskra (Russian: операция Искра, Operation Spark), the Soviet Union tried to break the Imperial Russian hold of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and retake the capital city of their ideological and mortal enemy. Part of a new Red Army offensive operation across the whole front, the main front was here at St. Petersburg and in southern Russia in hopes to regain Ukraine and deal a heavy blow to the enemy morale. To help with the operation a railroad was swiftly build to the frontline here and hold the retaken city as well as splitting up German, Imperial Russian and Finnish forces. The Sinyavino Offensive had tried so before, but had failed, so after this failed attempts in 1942, the Red Army began planning a new offensive in October 1942, calling it Iskra (Spark) as it was meant to be the spark that started the Red Army's push westwards towards Berlin. As the area to Leningrad was forested wetlands and heavily fortified by the Soviet Union and later the Germans along the Russian Empire, the situation got worse, as the forest shielded each side from visual observation. Both factors greatly hindered the mobility of artillery and vehicles in the area, providing a considerable advantage to the defending forces. The Sinyavino heights were a key location, with terrain 150 meters (490 ft) higher than the surrounding flat terrain. Because the front line had changed very little since the blockade was established, German and Imperial Russian forces had built an extensive network of interconnected trenches and obstacles, interlocking artillery and mortar fire, making them well prepared for any Red Army offensive on the important city of St. Petersburg. Thanks to the German, Imperial Russian, Austrian-Hungarian and Second Ottoman victories in the south in the Caucasus and north in Finnland a whole new army and nine other divisions could be send north to help strengthen the St. Petersburg Front. When the Red Army attacked, the German and Imperial Russians used their reserve divisions to keep the Soviet Union from pushing in their defenses, but as the frontline had virtually changed little here in the area the Germans and Imperial Russians were also well fortified. The Red Armies Sinyavino Offensive had tried to encircle the German and Imperial Russian forces in the city and therefore went to far south, leaving it's flanks open for Axis Central Powers attacks. This time the Soviet Union planned a more direct assault on the city because of this. This removed the threat of encirclement and flanks from the north, but also made their own offensive push and front rather narrow. After a month of training and received significant reinforcements in December the 67th Army, the 2nd Shock Army and the 8th Army commanded by Major General M.P. Dukhanov, Lieutenant General V.Z. Romanovsky and Lieutenant General F.N. Starikov started their offensive on Leningrad. This time the Soviets even had air superiority with around 800 planes, mostly fighters. As large tank forces could not operate well in the swampy terrain, the tanks were used primarily as battalions reinforcing divisions or slightly larger brigades, which were to operate independently. Poor ice conditions in the swamps forced the offensive to be delayed until 12 January with heavy artillery fire and a attack on German and Imperial Russian headquarters, artillery positions and airfields. After nearly two and a half hours of artillery preparations, the Soviet Offensive started 5 minutes before their own artillery ended with a Katsyusha barrage.
While Red Army divisions with supporting tanks managed to break into the frontline roughly 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) wide and 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) deep they had constructed pontoon bridges in the swamps to allow their second group to advance, however their attack failed as they did not manage to take the Germen trenches, while further south at least a few German and Imperial Russian trenches could be captured. With this bridgehead the Soviets hoped to further advance onto the city, but the German and Imperial Russian strongpoints remained intact, supported by heavy German and Imperial Russian flanking fire. The Axis Central Powers side reacted by deploying their reserves to the region throughout the night. Fresh infantry, support artillery and Tiger tanks were moved in alongside a motorized and a mechanized division. The next few days the Red Army tried to advance slowly, but German and Imperial Russian counterattacks repelled them while on 13th January bad weather prevented the Red Army to deploy their air force, giving the Germans and Imperial Russians a secure path to the front for their heavy equipment and reinforcements. The Soviet Union had gained no additional ground while the Germans and Imperial Russians had increased their reinforcements and defenses. With good weather again on 14 January the Red Army advanced once again, but slower this time, using Ski Brigades to cross frozen lake terrain, cutting off a few German and Imperial Russian front forces from the rest of their defenses. For their advance from 15 to 17th January Govorov was promoted Colonel General. However on the 18th January the German and Imperial Russian counter attack with a tank division, two motorized and one mechanized division began, using the overstretched Red Army spearhead to their advantage and relieving the cut off German and Imperial Russian forces, while encircling the Soviet Union spearhead in the west. Heavy German and Imperial Russian artillery meanwhile held of the Spearhead at the trenches and bunkers before St. Petersburg. At the same time the defenses around St. Petersburg were further increased by Police and Army forces of the Teutonic Order and the Russian Empire, alongside local militias from the city itself. The cut of Soviet Forces of the Red Army were now completely encircled and slowly eliminated, while the main German and Imperial Russian forces that had encircled them prevented any attempt of the Red Army to break them free much to the relief of Tzar Vladimir in St. Petersburg. In the End the Red Army lost around 210,000 soldiers (147,000 of them as prisoners of war) when most of their 20 divisions, 15 brigades, 4,600 artillery, 500 tanks and around 364 of their 900 aircraft were destroyed during the operation, another 81,274 were wounded. The Germans and Imperial Russians thanks to their encirclement of the Red Army spearhead had only lost 14,600 forces and 64,327 wounded. As a result of the Battle the Red Army planned the future Operation Polyarnaya Zvezda (Polar Star), a even more ambitious plan to encircle the whole German and Imperial Russian Army in Leningrad, but their operations in this area would only contain several other small offensives, when the Germans and Imperial Russians started their own renewed attack on Moscow and the Red Army had to defend the city by engaging them in the Battles of Rzhev, Mozhalsk, Tula and Kalomna. Because of this the Frontline in St. Petersburg stabilized for most of 1943, as the Germans too concentrated their forces around Moscow, even if they planned to further push east in the north to in hopes to better secure St. Petersburg from future attacks.