By Scott Costello
The battle of Berlin Started on 16 January 1945, the Red Army breached the German front line. The were moving up to 40 kilometers a day, through East Prussia, Lower Silesia, East Pomerania, and Upper Silesia, temporarily Marching on a line 60 kilometers east of Berlin along the Oder River. During the offensive, two Soviet fronts (army groups) attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. The Battle in Berlin lasted from 20 April 1945 until the morning of 2 May and was one of the bloodiest battles in history.
The first defensive preparations at the outskirts of Berlin were on 20 March, when the newly appointed commander of the Army Group Vistula, General Gotthard Heinrici, correctly anticipated that the main Soviet thrust would be made over the Oder River. Before the main battle in Berlin started, the Soviets managed to encircle the city as a result of the battles of the Seelow Heights and Halbe. During 20 April 1945, the 1st Belorussian Front led by Marshal Zhukov started shelling Berlin’s city centre, while Marshal Konev’s 1st Ukrainian Front had pushed in the north through the last formations of Army Group Centre. The German defences were mainly led by Helmuth Weidling, they were badly equipped, as well as of Hitler Youth members. Within the next days, the Soviets were rapidly advancing through the city and were reaching the city centre, and capturing the Reichstag.
Before the battle was over, German Führer Adolf Hitler and a number of his followers committed suicide. The city’s defenders finally surrendered on 2 May. However, fighting continued to the north-west, west and south-west of the city until the end of the war in Europe on 8 May (9 May in the Soviet Union) as German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets.