Operation Laura

'Laura' was a German unrealised plan for the evacuation of the forces of Generaloberst Johannes Friessner’s Heeresgruppe 'Nord' from the Kurland peninsula of Latvia, via Libau and Windau (Liepāja and Ventspils in Latvian), before they could be isolated by the advancing Soviet forces of General Hovhannes Kh. Bagramyan’s 1st Baltic Front (September 1944/18 March 1945).

Initially rejected, the the basic plan was revived on 18 March 1945 by the army and also by Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz, the commander-in-chief of the German navy, who suggested to Adolf Hitler that the Kriegsmarine, supported by a large fleet of merchant vessels, could evacuate as many as 200,000 troops and much of their equipment of what had on 15 January 1945 become Generaloberst Dr Lothar Rendulic’s Heeresgruppe 'Kurland' from a number of ports, but especially Windau and Libau, over a period of nine days. Hitler adamantly refused even to entertain the idea.