As the 1945 began, the Russian army inexorably began to close into Germany. The result was foregone. But for the Nazi regime and the German soldiers there was only one option....To fight on...Desperately... Till one died. Surrender was just not an option.
The battle took place during Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front push toward Berlin, part of the larger Soviet Berlin Offensive. The battle was fought in the town of Bautzen (Polish: Budziszyn) and the rural areas to the northeast situated primarily along the Bautzen-Niesky line. Combat began on April 21, 1945, and continued until April 26. Isolated engagements took place until April 30. The 2nd Polish Army under Karol Świerczewski suffered heavy losses, but with the aid of Soviet reinforcements prevented the German forces from breaking through to their rear. It was one of the most bloody battles that the Polish Army had ever been involved in.
After the battle both sides claimed victory. Modern statements as to who won the battle are also contradictory. Polish historiography during People's Republic of Poland portrayed the battle as difficult, but victorious. After the fall of communism, modern Polish historians became much more critical of Świerczewski's command, blaming his incompetence and desire to capture Dresden for the near destruction of the Polish forces. In modern historiography, the battle's outcome is seen as a very costly victory for the Soviets and their Polish allies (despite the heavy casualties, the Polish–Soviet frontline was not seriously breached), because the German local success could not help to slow down the German defeat. German historiography mostly focused more on the regional outcome and speaks of a German victory (because of the recapture of large areas in Upper Lusatia, the by far fewer losses and the slowdown of Soviet and Polish advance to Dresden), but which came too late to have any significant impact on the outcome of the war. It is also sometimes called the last successful German tank operation of World War II.
The Russians Were Coming.....January 1945
The Volkswagen Kübelwagen (short for Kübelsitzwagen, meaning "bucket seat car") was a military vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military (both Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS). Based heavily on the Volkswagen Beetle, it was prototyped as the Type 62, but eventually became known internally as the Type 82.
With its rolling chassis and mechanics built at Stadt des KdF-Wagens and its body built by US-owned firm Ambi Budd in Berlin, the Kübelwagen was for the Germans what the jeep was for the Allies)
On the evening of 24 April units of the 1st Panzer Parachute First Division "Hermann Goering" moved to the north, bypassing the city from the west. April 25 and 26 saw fierce fighting with the 1st Polish Tank Corps
1st March: Units of Army Group Centre launch a limited counter attack and recapture Lauban in lower Silesia.
4th March: The First Belorussian Front breaks through at Stargard and drives towards Stettin, establishing a new bridgehead across the Oder to the South of Frankfurt.
5th March: The German 2nd Army is cut off in Pomerania as the Russian 19th Army reaches the Baltic. The fortress city of Graudenz on the Vistula surrenders to troops of the 2nd Belorussian Front.
6th March: The 6th Army and 6th SS Panzer Armies launch a major counter-attack against the 3rd Ukrainian Front from Lake Balaton towards Budapest.
8th March: The Red Army penetrates into the southern suburbs of Breslau.
10th March: Elements of the 2nd Belorussian Front capture Zoppot, during its attack towards Danzig. The Kriegsmarine evacuates 25,000 civilian refugees from the besieged Baltic fortress of Kolberg in Pomerania.
11th March: The Red Army advances towards Gotenhafen, a vital port of embarkation for tens of thousands of refugees from East Prussia.
13th March: The 2nd Belorussian Front launches an offensive against the Braunsberg pocket to the South of Königsberg.
14th March: German counterattacks to recapture the oilfields near Lake Balaton come to an end. The Red Army cuts all communications between Königsberg and the German forces fighting in the Braunsberg pocket.
15th March: The 1st Ukrainian Front begins an offensive in the Ratibor area of Upper Silesia.
16th March: The 3rd Ukrainian Front counter attacks the German offensive towards Budapest.
18th March: Kolberg falls to the Polish 1st Army, of the 2nd Belorussian Front, although the Germans manage to evacuate 80,000 refugees and wounded first.
20th March: German troops of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their bridgehead across the Oder at Stettin. Elements of the 2nd Belorussian Front capture Braunsberg, 40 miles South of Königsberg.
21st March: The Russians capture Stuhlweissenburg in Hungary, as the German 44th Infantry Division retreats from the town.
22nd March: The 8th Guards Army encircles the fortress city of Kustrin.
23rd March: Elements of the 2nd Belorussian Front reach the outskirts of Danzig and Gotenhafen.
24th March: The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Neisse in Upper Silesia.
26th March: Russians forces capture Papa and Devecser, both German strong points covering the approaches to the Austrian border. The Reichsführer-SS is replaced by General Heinrici as Commander in Chief of Army Group Weichsel.
27th March: Bitter street fighting in Danzig as the Russians force their way into the city's defenses. A counterattack by elements of the German 9th Army, from the Frankfurt bridgehead toward Küstrin, advances to within a few miles of the city's outskirts.
28th March: The 1st Belorussian Front captures Gotenhafen (Gdynia) north of Danzig, along with 9,000 prisoners, after a long struggle. Hitler replaces General Guderian with General Krebs as chief of OKH.
29th March: Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front finally capture the fortress town of Küstrin against desperate German resistance. The Russians seize the oilfields South of Komorn in Hungary, the last source of petroleum for the German war effort.
30th March: Russians troops finally capture Danzig, along with 45 U-boats and 10,000 prisoners. Breslau and Glogau are surrounded, 180 miles South East of Berlin. Russian troops cross the Austrian border to the North of Koszeg. German troops of Army Group Weichsel evacuate their last remaining bridgehead at Wollin to the North of Stettin.
31st March: The Russians enters German territory near Sopron in Hungary. The Russian capture Ratibor in Upper Silesia.
1st April: The 3rd Ukrainian Front captures Sopron in Hungary, a vital road junction between Budapest and Vienna and also reaches Wiener Neustadt as it continues its advance toward Vienna. The fighting in Breslau continues.
2nd April: The 3rd Ukrainian Front and Bulgarian forces capture Nagykanizsa, thereby gaining control of the main Hungarian oil production region. The 2nd Ukrainian front under conquers the industrial area of Mosonmagyarovar and reaches the Austrian border between Dounau and the Neusiedler Lake.
3rd April: The Austrian resistance leader Major Szokoll and Russian military authorities confer about co-operation on the Russian offensive against Vienna. The 2nd Ukrainian Front approaches close to Vienna. The Russians breaches the German defensive lines between Wiener Neustadt and Neusiedler Lake.
4th April: The Russian 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts complete the liberation of Hungary. Troops of the 2nd Ukrainian front capture Bratislava. The Germans forces counterattack in Moravska-Ostrava and Nitra.
5th April: The 3rd Ukrainian Front reaches the railway North West of Vienna, cutting the rail link with Linz.
6th April: Preceded by a tremendous artillery and air bombardment, the 3rd Belorussian Front begins its final assault against Königsberg. The Battle for Vienna also begins.
7th April: Army Group Centre, under General Schörner, continues with its attacks against the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian Fronts.
8th April: The 2nd Ukrainian Front continues its advance into northern Czechoslovakia and establishes bridgeheads across the Morava and Donau Rivers. Heavy fighting continues in the centre of Vienna. The Red Air Force drops 1500 tons of bombs on Königsberg.
9th April: The Russians secure Königsberg, after its commander, General Lasch, surrenders.
10th April: With the battle of Vienna ongoing, the German 6th SS Panzer Army succeeds in defeating fierce Russian attacks to the west of Baden. The besieged Germans in Breslau continue to hold out against repeated Russian attacks.
11th April: Russians forces reach the centre of Vienna, capturing the parliament and town hall buildings.
13th April: Elements of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts complete the capture of Vienna.
14th April: The 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts begin reconnaissance in force actions along their main axes, in preparationn Fronts begin reconnaissance in force actions along their main axes, in preparation for the advance towards Berlin.
15th April: The 3rd Ukrainian Front occupies Radkesburg during its offensive against the industrial area of Mührisch-Ostrau in Moravia. The 2nd Ukrainian Front attacks towards Brno in Czechoslovakia.
16th April: The 1st Belorussian Front opens its assault from its Oder bridgeheads against the Seelow Heights, as the final offensive towards Berlin begins.
17th April: The battle for Berlin escalates a breakthrough is made by the 1st Ukrainian Front . However, the 1st Belorussian Fronts offensive against Berlin is stalled by tenacious German resistance on the Seelow Heights, 2 miles West of the Oder, with great losses of troops and tanks for the Russians. The situation for the German 6th SS Panzer Army in Austria is now critical at St.Polten. The Russians occupies Wilhelmsburg.
18th April: Between Stettin and Schwedt, the 2nd Belorussian Front opens its offensive against the 3rd Panzer Army. The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Forst on the Neisse River, north of Frankfurt. The 1st Belorussian Front continues its attack to take the Seelow Heights, gradually wearing down the vastly outnumbered German defenders.
19th April: The 1st Belorussian Front finally breaks through the German defences on the Seelow heights, despite heavy losses in men and material.
20th April: Russian artillery begins to shell Berlin. Elements of the German 9th Army mount desperate counterattacks both north and south of Frankfurt an der Oder. In Czechoslovakia the Russian pressure increases at Moravska-Ostrava and Brno.
21st April: The 1st Ukrainian Front's 3rd Guards Army captures Cottbus, 70 miles southeast of Berlin. German troops still hold out in the port of Pillau.
22nd April: Hitler announces to his staff that he has decided to stay in Berlin to the end. By the end of the day, elements of the 1st Belorussian Front have penetrated into the northern and eastern suburbs of Berlin.
25th April: The Russian 58th Guards Rifle Division and U.S. 69th Infantry Division meet at Torgau on the Elbe River, 60 miles West of Berlin. Russian units of the 1st Belorussian Front's 47th Army and the 1st Ukrainian Fronts 4th Guards Tank Army meet at Ketzen, to the west of Berlin. In the suburbs, Tegel is captured by elements of the 47th Army and Reinickendorf by the 12th Guards Tank Corps. A relief attack by the 3rd Panzer Corps from the area of Eberswalde, 50 miles northeast of Berlin fails.
26th April: The 2nd Belorussian front captures Stettin on the river Oder, while the 3rd Belorussian Front captures the Baltic port of Pillau, 20 miles West of Königsberg. General Wenck embarks on the last German offensive to relieve Berlin, but only manages to reach Ferch on the 27th April, before the offensive grinds to a halt. The remnants of 9th Army are cut off and surrounded in the Halbe pocket, 30 miles southwest of Frankfurt am der Oder. The 2nd Ukrainian Front captures Brno, in Czechoslovakia.
27th April: The Russian 13th Army reaches Wittenberge on the Elbe River. Russian forces reach the Alexanderplatz in Berlin and Spandau is taken. The 2nd Belorussian front advances in Pomerania, seizing Prenzlau and Angermunde, 70 miles northwest of Berlin. The German 9th Army tries to reach Berlin from the southeast and begins a counterattack at Zossen. The German 20th Army does the same southeast of Belzig.
28th April: Russian forces are fighting in the Wilhelmstrasse and reach the Anhalt Station, which is just half a mile from the Führerbunker.
29th April: During the night Hitler marries Eva Braun, writes a will and appoints Admiral Donitz as his successor. The 2nd Belorussian front advances fast in the Stralsund direction and seizes Anklam. In Berlin furious fighting takes place around the Reichstag, Chancellery and along Potsdamer Strasse.
30th April: With the Red Army only a few hundred yards away, Hitler commits suicide, with Eva Braun, in the Reich Chancellery bunker at 15:30hrs and their bodies are immediately incinerated with gasoline by SS bodyguards. Units of the Red Army erect the Red Flag on top of the Reichstag building. As the final Russian assault on the Tiergarten begins, Goebbels and Bormann send General Krebs, Chief of the General Staff to the headquarters of Marshal Zhukov with a permit to make an armistice. Zhukov refuses and demands an unconditional surrender. Troops of the 4th Ukrainian front capture Moravska Ostrava. Fighting continues in Breslau, as the German garrison refuses to surrender.
1st May: Grossadmiral Dönitz, following the death of Hitler, assumes his duties as the new German head of state.
2nd May: General Weidling, commander of the Berlin Garrison, meets with General Chuikov and accepts his terms of unconditional surrender of Berlin. The garrison in Berlin, surrenders to the 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts at 3pm local time.
3rd May: The Russians make contact with the British 21st Army in the Wismar area and the U.S. 9th Army at Schwerin.
5th May: A civilian uprising begins in Prague and is aided by defecting units of the anti-Bolshevist Vlasov Army.
6th May: Breslau surrenders after an 82-day siege, during which the Russians inflicted 29,000 civilian and military casualties and took more than 40,000 prisoners.
7th May: The German Chief-of-Staff, General Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender to the Russians and western allies at 2.41am. Operations are to cease 1 minute after 12pm GMT on the 8th of May 1945.
8th May: In deference to the Russians, the surrender ceremony to the western allies at Rheims of the previous day, is repeated before Marshall Zhukov and other Russian generals at Karlshorst, a suburb of Berlin. After radio appeals early in the day for protection against heavy German shelling, the Prague resistance reaches an agreement with the Germans for the capitulation of the city, as the U.S. 4th Armoured Division approaches from the west and Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front approaches from the east. The last convoys of German refugees from Eastern Germany arrive in western Baltic ports, ending the largest rescue operation by sea in history. Since the 25th January, a total of 420,000 civilians and wounded soldiers have been evacuated.
9th May: Stalin announces the end of war. German forces of Army Group Courland surrender.
11th May: The Red Army launches a final assault against the remnants of Army Group Centre, which is still holding out in Moravia.
13th May: The last pockets of German resistance in Czechoslovakia are crushed by the Red Army.
The capital of Lower Silesia, Breslau was surrounded on 16 February; it ﬁnally surrendered on 6 May. The day before, Hitler’s last favourite, Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner, marched his troops away leaving the commander of the garrison, General Niehoff, to go to the Villa Colonia to sign the capitulation. Niehoff’s soldiers were led off to captivity in the east. The city had been one of Hitler’s Kesseln: fortresses to be defended to the last drop of German blood. It had suffered horribly, and so had its people. Now they hung white ﬂags from their windows and prepared for the ordeal
VIDEO: GERMAN NEWSREEL BRESLAU MARCH 1945
HISTORY SIDESHOW: POMERANIA
Following the empire's defeat in World War I, Pomerelia was transformed into the Polish Corridor and the Free City of Danzig. Germany's Province of Pomerania was expanded in 1938 to include northern parts of the former Province of Posen–West Prussia, and in 1939 the annexed Polish Corridor became part of the wartime Reichsgau Danzig-West Prussia. The Nazis deported the Pomeranian Jews to a reservation near Lublinand, in Pomerelia, mass murdered Jews, as well as Poles to some extent, through Nazi Germany's anti-semitic and untermensch pogroms.
After Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, the German–Polish border was shifted west to the Oder–Neisse line and all of Pomerania was under Soviet military control.The German population of the areas east of the line was expelled, and the area was resettled primarily with Poles (some themselves expellees from former eastern Poland) and some Ukrainians (resettled under Operation Vistula) and Jews. Most of Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) remained in Germany and today forms the eastern part of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, while the Polish part of the region is divided between the West Pomeranian and Pomeranian voivodeships, with their capitals in Szczecin (Stettin) and Gdańsk (Danzig), respectively.
INTERESTING HISTORY SIDELIGHTS: STETTIN; THE CITY GERMANY LOST....
Source: Yahoo Answers
WHAT WAS A FAUSTPATRONE?
|German POW in Koenigsberg. April 1945|
MORE ON PILLAU
As the Red Army entered East Prussia, more than 450,000 refugees were ferried from Pillau to central and western Germany. Pillau was eventually captured by Soviets on April 25, 1945. After the war, this part of East Prussia passed to the Soviet Union, and the German inhabitants were expelled. During the Russification campaign, the town's name was changed to Baltiysk in 1946.
The Vistula Spit (German Die Frische Nehrung, Polish Mierzeja Wiślana , Russian Балтийская коса Baltiyskaya Kosa ) is a narrow spit of land ( spit ) of about 70 km long and several hundred meters in width (maximum width 1.8 km), extending in a northeasterly direction and the Vistula Lagoon of the open Baltic Sea separates. Across the Vistula Spit is the boundary between Poland ( Pomeranian Voivodeship ) and Russia ( Kaliningrad Oblast ).
At the end of the Second World War was over the frozen lagoon and the Vistula Spit one of the main route of refugees from East Prussia to the west.
MORE ON GOLDAP
During World War II Goldap was planned by the German staff as one of the strongholds guarding the rest of East Prussia from the Red Army on the Eastern Front. As a result of heavy fighting for the city and the regions directly east of it, in August and September 1944, 90% of the town was yet again destroyed. According to German war-time reports, about 50 civilians were murdered (some raped) by the Red Army on its initial entry into Goldap in October 1944. It was the first town of the German Reich to fall. However, in November 1944 the Wehrmacht reconquered Goldap and would be able to keep it until the end of December of the same year. In January, the German positions in far-eastern East Prussia broke down completely.
The Nemmersdorf Massacre. A trailer of the rape and atrocities that the appraoching Russian army would commit in Germany.
THE NEMMERSDORF MASSACRE: BRUTAL RUSSIANS
"In the farmyard stood a cart, to which more naked women were nailed through their hands in a cruciform position...Near a large inn, the 'Roter Krug', stood a barn and to each of its two doors a naked woman was nailed through the hands, in a crucified posture....In the dwellings we found a total of 72 women, including children, and one old man, 74, all dead....Some babies had their heads bashed in."
"When in October, 1944, Russian units temporarily entered Nemmersdorf, they tortured the civilians, specifically they nailed them to barn doors, and then shot them. A large number of women were raped and then shot. During this massacre, the Russian soldiers also shot some fifty French prisoners of war. Within forty-eight hours the Germans re-occupied the area
To many Germans, "Nemmersdorf" is a symbol of war crimes committed by the Red Army, and an example of the worst behavior in Eastern Germany. Marion Gräfin Dönhoff, the post-war co-publisher of the weekly Die Zeit, at the time of the reports lived in the village of Quittainen (Kwitany) in western East Prussia, near Preussisch Holland (Pasłęk). She wrote in 1962 that: "In those years one was so accustomed to everything that was officially published or reported being lies that at first I took the pictures from Nemmersdorf to be falsified. Later, however, it turned out that that was not the case."