Military Action in Latvia June and July 1941

Military Action in Latvia June and July 1941
The German-USSR war started on 22 June 1941. The Soviet army was unable to mount significant resistance to the German military advance in the Baltics. Both sides asked the people of Latvia to support them in the military conflict. The USSR proclaimed mobilisation in Latvia, but it never got underway. The 24th Territorial Corps, that had less than 3000 Latvians left after the Soviet repressions and demobilization, gradually disintegrated. Nevertheless, some of the soldiers did participate on the Soviet side near the Latvia-Russia border. During the chaotic retreat of the Soviet army, the Latvian soldiers did not feel that they were part of the USSR and many deserted or surrendered to the Germans. At the same time, for a variety of reasons, several tens of thousands of Latvian citizens went with the retreating Soviet army.

Meanwhile there were a number of Latvian liaison and special duty officers in the German armed forces. They had, by 1 May 1941, already formed a Latvian soldier's national association in Marienburg with the objective of aiding the liberation of Latvia. It was under the control of the German security services.

After several days of fighting near Liepāja and Daugavpils, the German forces entered Riga on 1 July. By 8 July they had occupied the whole territory of Latvia. Although the fighting was short, there were civilian casualties and significant material losses and destruction.