16 August 1941
Baltics : German Army Group North captured Novgorod , one of the iconic cities of Russia and began closing on Leningrad. German vanguard crosses Volkhov river near Novgorod.
Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement signed , Britain is opening a 10 million pound credit to Soviet Union
Moscow , USSR : Joseph Stalin issued Order No. 270, ordering all deserters executed and deserters’ families arrested.
Ukraine : German Army Group South troops captured the Soviet naval base at Nikolaev in Ukraine on the Black Sea. Nearby, Romanian troops launched a renewed attack on Odessa.
17 August 1941
Rastenburg , East Prussia : At Hitler’s headquarters, General von Brauchitsch proposed a resumption of the attack on Moscow. He was overruled. The main German thrust, Hitler insisted, must be to the Crimea, the southern Russian industrial areas, and the Caucasus. In the north, the pressure on Leningrad must be intensified. Moscow could wait. But, Hitler told Goebbels that same day, he hoped to be ‘beyond’ Moscow by the time winter set in.
Lthuania , Baltics : a mere 120 miles from Rastenburg, a Lithuanian working for the German authorities in the city, had ordered 534 Jewish writers, intellectuals, professors, teachers and students to report at the ghetto gate for ‘work in the city archives’. Many volunteered for what appeared to be a not too onerous task, perhaps even an interesting one. Among the volunteers was Robert Stenda, who before the war had been leader of the orchestra at the Kovno Opera House. ‘They saw the promise of money and better food’, one young Kovno Jew, Stenda’s friend Joseph Kagan, later recalled, ‘and perhaps better conditions for their families’. The Jews set off. ‘The relatives waited that evening for their return,’ Kagan wrote. ‘They waited through the next day, and the next. The pick of the ghetto’s young men did not return.’ All had been taken on the day of the selection to one of the old forts that surrounded the city, and shot.
Estonia , Baltics : 18th German Army captured Narva, Estonia.
Ukraine : Romanian troops captured the water reservoirs of Odessa, Ukraine with heavy casualties.
Tehran , Iran : Both British and Soviet Union goverments protest Iran Foreign Ministry about large number of Axis “tourists” in Iran (most Axis intelligence or military personnel)
Barents Sea : Royal Navy submarines that had reached on Soviet naval bases Murmansk at Kola Peninsula start their first patrols in Barents Sea. Royal Navy submarine HMS Tigris torpedoed and sunk German cargo ship Haakon Jarl
Mediterranean Sea : Italian cargo ship Maddalena Odelo was torpedoed and sunk by Free Dutch Navy submarine O24