Berlin - The Final Push
The Second World War 1939-45
At the beginning of 1945 the Anglo-American forces, pressed in from the west and the Soviet Red Army advanced inexorably from the east, squeezing the German army ever-tighter and restricting its opportunity for movement. Lacking resources and manpower the German army could only delay the inevitable. It was the Russians who moved first and launched a massive attack on the 12th January. In the space of five days they advanced over 100 miles across a front 160 miles wide, they maintained the advance which was relentless and by the 31st March they were inside Germany's eastern borders. On the 25th April the Russians joined up with the US Army on the Elbe River at Torgau and the capital Berlin, was completely surrounded by the Red Army in vast sweeping advances.
The Germans prepared to make a last-ditch stand as Hitler sheltered in his bunker deep under the city. Russian troops entered the suburbs and encountered a foretaste of the street fighting that was to come. Hitler committed suicide on 28th /29th April, but the fighting for the city continued as the Russians amassed 43,000 pieces of artillery and 2.5 million troops for the final assault on the city. Each street and building was fought over as they advanced yard by yard and finally, by 3rd May the last German resistance ended and the city was in Russian hands. The Germans lost 100,000 men killed in its defence and the Russians had lost about the same number killed and many tens of thousands more wounded.