Battle of Berlin

Battle of Berlin was fought from 16th April to 2nd May 1945 between the Soviet Union  and the 3rd Reich in Berlin and neighborhood one of the last great battles of the 2nd W. W. in Europe.

Preparations

A.  Hitler declared Berlin as fortress “Festung Berlin” on  the 1st of February 1945. Helmuth Weidling was the Berlin garrison commander and SS. Brigade ? Fuhrer and General Major der Waffen SS Wilhelm Mohnke was the commander of the government district. There was no panic observed in the streets a few days before the battle. The mood changed some time later. The population of the city took cover in cellars-shelters and the underground tunnels.

The Germans prepared three rings of defense (the outer on was 20-40km from the center of the city). The town was divided into nine defense sectors: eight outers sectors and one central including Reichstag-Reich chancellery and  Gestapo head quarters. From the military point of view it was hard to believe in the strong defense of the capital. The Gross Deutschland regiment,  one division of antiaircraft artillery-several battalions of the police and sappers  200 battalions of Volksturm consisting of the youth and the elders and invalids were encircled on the area of 325km2. Total  300 thousand men and 3000 guns, tanks and self propeled guns [2] there were a lot of foreigners in German units defending Berlin. Wehrmacht and waffen SS willingly enlisted collaborators prisoners of war and civilians of the conqueror states. The Hitler Jugend took part in the defence, it?s members were the children and to youth 11-18 years old.

Battle

The battle started on 16 April 1945 along the Oder river and Seelow Hills. It was carried out by the 1st Ukrainian front commanded by I. Koniew  the 2nd Byelorussian front with marshal K. Rokossowski  the 1st Byelorussian  front lead by marshal G. Zukow. The total number of the soviet soldiers 2.5million with 6250 tanks, 7500 aircraft and 31thousand guns. Berlin was defended by the army group the Vistula. Gen. Schorners units were driven to Berlin from the check territory. Zukov?s units broke through the Oder line and the soviets starts to encircle Berlin. The encirclement was completed on 25th April in Potsdam.

The German command was informed about the soviets from the private telephone calls. It happened that soviet soldiers picked up the receiver. [2] Germans fought bravely and fanatically-determined  to hold on to the end. They also used the I W. W Tanks ? Mark IV proved by a few pictures. According to an eye witness one historical tank was used close to the Brandenburg gate and the other next to Berlin Cathedral. Hitler demanded reports of the battle. He believed that two Wehrmacht  armies the 9th and 12th fighting in the woods close to Berlin would come to relieve a besieged town. It did not happen ? the armies were forced to withdraw to the west and on 30 April when Hitler committed suicide they surrendered to the Americans.

The Soviets took revenge  the houses were looted women raped and there were thousands of acts of cruelty and murder.

The Soviet and Polish flags were hoisted on top of Brandenburg gate on 2nd May at 6.55 / Moscow time / G. Helmuth  Weidling  capitulated in the morning on the same day. However some fanatic SS survivors fought to the end.

Text from Polish Wikipedia

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