January 20, 1944 in the course of Novgorod-Luga operation (January 14 - February 15, 1944) the forces of the Volkhov Front in cooperation with the armies of the left wing of the Leningrad front liberated the town of Novgorod from the Nazis.
The troops of the Volkhov Front (8th, 54th, 59th armies, 14th Air Army) under the command of Army General K. A. Meretskov, held the territory from the Gontovaya Lipka and further along the river Volkhov to the Lake Ilmen, holding on the left bank Volkhov, in the region of Dymno, Dubrovka (30 km north of Novgorod), a base of 10 km inland. They were opposed by formations of the 18th Army of Army Group “North”, which had created a strong echelon defense.
The intention of the Soviet command was to organize two attacks by the 59-th army forces: the main one - from the bridgehead on the River Volkhov and auxiliary one - from the area south-east of Novgorod via the Lake Ilmen to Lyubolyady in order to destroy the enemy Novgorod group and liberate Novgorod. After that the 59-th Army was to liberate the city of Luga and cut off the escape route in the direction of Pskov for the German fascist troops.
The troops of the 8th and 54th armies had the task of opposing the enemy forces in Tosno and Luban sectors and prevent their redeployment to Novgorod, and then advance in the general direction of Luga.
The offensive was to begin with air raid by Stormers of the 14th Air Army to the enemy's position. However, due to fog and low clouds the aviation began operations only on the second day. As a result of 110-minute artillery preparation, the enemy suffered heavy losses, its system of fire and management were violated, but it continued resistance.
In three days of fighting the Soviet troops broke through the enemy's main defense line north and south of Novgorod. In the sector of the main strike, the breach had been extended to 20 km wide and up to 8 km in depth.
January 16 the forces of the 54th Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Roginsky, began the offensive at Luban sector. January 20 the troops of the 59th Army completed the encirclement of the enemy Novgorod group’s units, which had not managed to retreat, and in cooperation with the 7th Infantry Corps, which had been put into field from the front reserve, destroyed them and freed Novgorod after 883 days of its occupation.
Morning of January 20 the Soviet troops hoisted a red flag on the ancient Kremlin wall, and in Moscow a salute was fired in honor of the liberation of the town. 50 military formations and units were awarded the honorary title "Novgorodsky".
Under the Presidential Decree of October 28, 2008 № 1533, Novgorod the Great, was awarded the title of the "City of Military Glory."Lit.: Коровников И. Т. Новгородско-Лужская операция: Наступление войск 59-й армии (январь-февраль 1944 г.). М., 1960; Катышкин И. С. Служили мы в штабе армейском. М., 1979. Гл. 2, 3; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/katyshkin_is/index.html; На новгородском и лужском направлениях // На Волховском фронте. 1941-1944. М., 1982. Гл. 4; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/h/na_volhovskom_fronte/04.html; Освобождение Новгорода, 25 лет. М., 1969; Победители — бойцы Новгород освободили, где Святой Руси служили наших прадедов отцы. К 60-летию освобождения Новгорода от немецко-фашистских захватчиков [Электронный ресурс] // Новгородский государственный университет. 1994-2017. URL: http://www.novsu.ru/dept/1114/i.2464/?id=507662; Северный вал сокрушён! // Хренов А. Ф. Мосты к победе. М., 1982. С. 274; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/hrenov_af/17.html.
From the Presidential library materials: