1945: As The Soviet Army Closed In Slowly.......Last Stages Of WW2 (LARGE IMAGES)


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.

Below is the story of the dying months on the Eastern Front of WW2. The Russians had just stepped onto German soil....The tragic, brutal story begins.....

Staff officers of the 1st Panzer Parachute First Division "Hermann Goering" inspect the battlefield on the outskirts of the German city of Bautzen.  From heavily damaged buildings can be seen how serious were fighting for the city. April 26, 1945. Amongst the destroyed buildings lies a  self-propelled gun ISU-122 Soviet-made with a Polish eagle on the armor.  Behind the self-propelled gun is the body of a dead crew member.


VIDEO: DESPERATE GERMAN SOLDIERS FIGHT ON IN 1945
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BATTLE OF BAUTZEN

The Battle of Bautzen (or Battle of Budziszyn, April 1945) was one of the last battles of the Eastern Front in World War II. It was fought on the extreme southern flank of the Spremberg–Torgau Offensive, seeing days of pitched street fighting between forces of the 2nd Polish Army and elements of the Soviet's 52nd Army and 5th Guards Army on one side and the elements of German Army Group Centre in the form of the remnants of the 4th Panzer and 17th armies.

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 
(Source: theeasternfront.co.uk)


12th Jan: Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front launches a major winter offensive from its Vistula bridgehead at Baranov in southern Poland. The 3rd Guards and 4th Tank Armies advance up to 20km.

13th Jan: Forces of the 3rd Belorussian Front begin their assault into East Prussia.

14th Jan: Bursting out of the Magnuszew bridgehead over the Vistula River south of Warsaw, the 1st Guards Tank Army drives towards the Polish cities of Lodz and Poznan. The attack achieves a breakthrough, which the 5th Shock Army manages to exploit, advancing up to 12km, seizing a bridge over the Pilitsa River.Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front begins an offensive from its Narev bridgehead against Elbing in East Prussia.

17th Jan: The Russian 47th Army assaults across the Vistula, forcing the Germans to evacuate Warsaw, which is liberated the same day by the 1st Polish Army. The German defenders encircled at Budapest withdraw to Buda on the western bank of the Danube.

18th Jan: German troops of the 17th Army begin to evacuate Krakow. A German offensive begins from Lake Balaton, with the aim of lifting the Red Army's siege of Budapest.

19th Jan: The Russians cross the 1939 Poland-Silesia frontier capturing Krakow. Red Army forces of the 8th Guards Army capture Lodz.

20th January: Elements of the 3rd Guards Tank and 52nd Armies cross the German frontier in Upper Silesia.

21st Jan: Tannenburg is captured by the Red Army, but only after the Germans removed Hindenburg's coffin and destroy the war memorial.

22nd January: Elements of the 8th Guards Army encircle 60,000 Germans in the city of Poznan.

23rd Jan: The 5th Guards Tank Army enters Elbing on the Baltic coast and Konev reaches the river Oder in Silesia. The Kriegsmarine begins the evacuation by sea of hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees from East Prussia and the Danzig area, the Red Army having cut all land communications with the rest of Germany.

24th Jan: German forces begin evacuating Slovakia. The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Oppeln and Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia.

25th Jan: Zhukov cuts off the Fortress city of Posen, encircling some 66,000 German troops.

26th Jan: Hitler gives Himmler command of Army Group Vistula. The Russians isolate three German armies in East Prussia. The Red Army captures Kattowitz in Upper Silesia.

27th Jan: Russians troops of the 1st Baltic Front capture Memel on Baltic Coast after the German evacuation, which now leaves the whole of Lithuania in Russian hands. German forces begin evacuating the vital coal mining and industrial region of Upper Silesia.

30th Jan: On the twelfth anniversary of his coming to power, Hitler calls for fanatical resistance by soldiers and civilians alike.

31st Jan: The 1st Belorussian Fronts 2nd Guards Tank Army, establishes a bridgehead on the Oder, to the north of Küstrin and less than 40 miles from Berlin.



A dramatic picture of battle in a suburb of the German city of Bautzen. A German car Kubelvagen (Kubelwagen) came under fire on the village street. One passenger jumped out the car, but was shot in the street.  The car then turned and ran across the street to the building. The remaining passenger was also killed - (can be seen lying on the right of the car).  In the middle of the road is some big vehicle - a truck or a tank.


February 1945: The Russians Were Coming....

1st Feb: Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front surround the fortress town of Küstrin. The same Fronts 1st Guards tank Army secures a further bridgehead on the Oder to the north of Frankfurt. Since the 20th January, the Kriegsmarine has evacuated 140,000 civilian refugees and 18,000 wounded soldiers by sea from East Prussia.

2nd Feb: The 1st Belorussian Front reaches the Oder to the South of Frankfurt. Forces of the 3rd Belorussian Front trap the 3rd Panzer Army in the area of Konigsberg and the Samland Peninsula.

3rd Feb: Russian forces capture Landsberg, 80 miles northeast of Berlin.

4th Feb: A summit conference between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt opens at Yalta in the Crimea. There they discuss plans for the treatment of post war Germany, its division into zones of occupation, reparations and the future Polish western border.

6th Feb: The 1st Belorussian Front makes further advances, reaching the Oder between Küstrin and Frankfurt.

7th Feb: Russian attacks north of Königsberg are blocked with the help of naval gunfire by the cruisers Scheer and Lützow.

8th Feb: Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front breaks out of its Oder bridgehead north of Breslau.

9th Feb: The Red Army encircles Elbing and Posen.

10th Feb: The 2nd Belorussian Front attacks from its bridgeheads on the Vistula River towards Neustett. The 1st Ukrainian front reaches the Neisse River, encircling Glogau and capturing Liegnitz. The remaining defenders of Budapest, some 16,000 men, try to break out from the city, although most are killed or captured.

11th Feb: The Yalta Conference ends. The Red Army encircles the fortress city of Küstrin on the Oder.

12th Feb: Thus far, the Kriegsmarine has evacuated 374,000 German refugees by sea from East and West Prussia.

13th Feb: The Russians finally capture Budapest. The Red Army also captures Schneidemül in Pomerania.

14th Feb: The 1st Ukrainian Front encircles Breslau, which has been declared a fortress under the command of Gauleiter Hanke.

15th Feb: Russian troops are now covering the approaches to Danzig. The Red Army captures Sagan in Silesia. The German 11th SS Army begins a counterattack 'Operation Sonnenwende' with three Corps, the 39th Panzer, 3rd SS Panzer and the 10th SS. However, only the 3rd SS Panzer Corps is ready and begins its attack against the 47th and 61st Armies near Stargard.

16th Feb: The remaining Corps of the 11th SS Army launch their attacks in support of 'Operation Sonnenwende'.

18th Feb: The Red Army encircles Graudenz on the Vistula. Troops of the 11th SS Army are brought to a standstill by stiffening Russian resistance to 'Operation Sonnenwende'.

19th Feb: German forces re-establish communications between Königsberg and the port of Pillau, thus again enabling tens of thousands of German refugees to be evacuated to the west by ships of the Kriegsmarine. 'Operation Sonnenwende' is finally suspended in the face of ever strengthening Red Army resistance.

20th Feb: Red Army attacks against the lines of Army Group Courland fail in the face of stubborn German resistance.

21st Feb: The 1st Ukrainian Front captures Guben.

23rd Feb: The Russians capture the fortress of Posen after a month-long siege.

24th Feb: A German counter attack wipes out the Russian Hron bridgehead over the Danube to the northwest of Budapest. The
2nd and 3rd Belorussian Fronts renew their offensives towards the Baltic coast.

26th Feb: Army Group Courland repulses heavy Red Army attacks in the area of Prekuln.

27th Feb: Under Russian pressure, Rumanian King Michael the 1st, is forced to appoint a Communist government.

28th Feb: The 2nd Belorussian Front captures Neustettin. The Red Army suspends all further offensive operations against the lines of Army Group Courland.

(SOME INTERESTING SIDE-THOUGHTS: WHAT WAS A KUBELVAGEN? 


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)


The grenadiers of the 1st Panzer Parachute First Division "Hermann Goering" after the battle in the village near the south suburb of the German city of Bautzen.  In the distance is seen a German tank Pz.Kpfw. IV.


 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


March 1945: The Russians Were Coming.....

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.

Staff officers of the 1st Panzer Parachute  First Division "Hermann Goering" come to view the battlefield in the suburbs of the city of Bautzen  for which they fought Soviet troops. In the background staff cars Opel Cadet and sanitary Steyr. End of April 1945


April 1945: The Russians Were Coming.....

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.


German snipers at Kubschutz near the German town of Bautzen. April 25, 1945. German snipers of the 1st Parachute tanks First Division "Hermann Göring" in Kubshyutse (Kubschütz), captured from the Red Army on the outskirts Bautzen, Saxony.  Snipers are armed with rifles of various types: automatic Gewehr 43 (1st and 5th right), Mauser 98k (third from left), as well as captured Soviet Mosin rifle (third right) . On April 21, 1945 the Wehrmacht made ​​its last counter-attack, which occurred in the left flank of the advancing units of the 1st Ukrainian Front. After several days of heavy fighting in the environment, a small portion managed to get through to her. The last German offensive halted April 26, 1945, but the fighting in the area continued until the end of April.


May 1945 

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.

Dead German soldiers lie strewn about after fierce street fighting at Breslau. March 1945. Soviet soldiers seen in the distance are a part of the 1st Ukrainian Front.

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

SIEGE OF BRESLAU

The Battle of Breslau, also known as the Siege of Breslau, was a three month long siege of the city of Breslau in Lower Silesia, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), lasting to the end of World War II in Europe. From 13 February-6 May 1945, German troops in Breslau were besieged by the Soviet forces which encircled the city as part of the Lower Silesian Offensive Operation. The German garrison's surrender on 6 May was followed the next day by the surrender of all German forces.

VIDEO: GERMAN NEWSREEL BRESLAU MARCH 1945




Russian soldiers listen to one of them playing the piano. Breslau. March 1945.
Russian soldiers study a map. District River Neisse. April17, 1945


Those who escaped from Breslau crossed the Neisse river at Görlitz. Conditions were so bad there that it has been described as ‘the worst city in Germany’ at the time. In one appalling incident thirty women were driven into a barn and raped. When one refused she was shot. The local Soviet commander heard about the atrocity and went to the barn and shot four of his own men. In another incident eight Russian soldiers died after drinking methylated spirits. Forty more were struck blind.

Wounded Russian soldiers await an ambulance

Russian soldiers engaged in street fighting. Glogau (Glogow) April 1945. The town was made into a stronghold by the Nazi government in 1945 during World War II. Glogau was besieged for six weeks by the Soviet Red Army and was 95% destroyed in the ensuing fighting. The Russian carries a German MP 40 machine gun, which was standard issue to SS soldiers


 German civilians trudge back home

 A Russian sign-board on the Polish-German border. 1945

 A T-34 tank trundles on the street of a German village

A SU 76 crew. The SU-76 (Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 76) was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during and after World War II.


 The legend. General Konev (left) of the Ist Ukrainian Front. He and Zhukov were the two top Russian general who led the assault onto Germany in the dying moments of the war. Along with Konev is General Lelyushenko, commander of the 4th Tank Army. They are at the Poland-German border, Neisse area. April 1945
 Lower Silesia. March 1945. Germans march along with Panther tanks
 March 1, 1945. Dead German soldiers lie alongside a King Tiger tank. Pomerania.

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.
Preparing to attack Berlin. Russian soldiers build a pontoon bridge on the river Oder. 1945


A German Heavy half-track tractor tows a Sd.Kfz.7 88-mm anti-aircraft gun FlaK on a city street of Stettin. March 1945


INTERESTING HISTORY SIDELIGHTS: STETTIN; THE CITY GERMANY LOST....
Source: Yahoo Answers

Stettin belonged to Germany until 1945 as a part of the state of Prussia, province of Pommern. After WW II the German territories eastern the Oder-Neisse line were given under Polish administration. Notwithstanding Stettin is located western of the Oder-River it was given to Polish administration too, to give to Poland the whole of the Oder-mouth into Baltic Sea. The Polish drove away the Germans from their homes and settled Polish population there as they did in the other German territories eastern of the Oder river. So it is now a Polish town: Sczezin. By treaty along with German reunification 1990 Germany had to acknowledge its territorial losses to Poland.

The whole thing has to do with the western shift of Poland by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill, to leave to Russia the eastern territories of Poland (which in reality were Belorussian and Litowian)which they had got by the Hitler-Stalin-Treaty 1939 and to compensate Poland with German territories. For decades there had been disagreement between the Federal Republic of Germany (Western Germany) as to the "temporary" state of Polish administration of German territories, which Poland had always claimed as definitive.

Hell on Earth. German civilians flee Danzig as it burns...March 1945

German soldiers in an armored personnel carrier patrol the outskirts of a town in Germany. March 1945


Roadside signboard in Russian in Germany. Spring 1945

 The soldiers of a Soviet assault battalion in combat in the ruins of the tram depot in Breslau. March 1945


The soldiers of the Waffen SS look at a destroyed Soviet tank T-34-85. in the German city of Guben. February 1945.


German defenders discuss how to defend Pirits in Pomerania. February 1945. Many of them are boys.


Germans walk past a Russian T-34-85 tank. Pomerania. February, 1945

Young German soldiers walk down the street in the town of Lauban in Silesia. March 30, 1945.

A Russian gun fires in Danzig. 1945

The Russians prepare to move to Berlin


A German soldier armed with a Faustpatrone going to the front. Still cheerful! Brave man!


WHAT WAS A FAUSTPATRONE?

A forerunner of the Panzerfaust was the Faustpatrone (literally 'fist cartridge').

Much smaller in physical appearance, the Faustpatrone was actually heavier than the better-known Panzerfaust. Development of the Faustpatrone started in the summer of 1942 at the German company HASAG with the development of a smaller prototype called Gretchen ("little Gretel") by a team headed by Dr. Heinrich Langweiler in Leipzig. The basic concept was that of a recoilless gun; neither the Faustpatrone, nor its successor the Panzerfaust were rockets.

 The IS 2 tank in eastern Pomerania. March 1945

The Iosif Vissarionovich tank (or IS tank, also known as the Joseph Stalin tank), was a heavy tank developed by the Soviet Union during World War II and first used in the Kursk area in September 1943. The tanks in the series are also sometimes called JS.

The heavy tank was designed with thick armour to counter the German 88 mm guns, and carried a main gun that was capable of defeating the German Tiger and Panther tanks. It was mainly a breakthrough tank, firing a heavy high-explosive shell that was useful against entrenchments and bunkers. The IS-2 was put into service in April 1944, and was used as a spearhead in the Battle of Berlin by the Red Army in the final stage of the war.
The Russian air force dominated the skies totally. Luftwaffe was finished. Here Soviet planes fly over Germany.


 Russian troops of the 2nd Belorussian Front occupy Mühlhausen (now the Polish city Mlynary)

A Russian soldier fires from a tank at Germans at Danzig. March 28, 1945

A German town. German soldiers surrender to Soviet troops

The final destination. Russian soldiers look across the river Oder towards Berlin. March 1945
 A short reversal of fortune. Russian soldiers of 311th Rifle Division in the German city Altdam, captured after heavy fighting during March 14-20, 1945.
Russians pose at Muhlhausen


Russian soldiers move rapidly towards Berlin in armored troop carriers


A German soldier hanged in Koenigsberg. February 1945 for looting. The board says "those who loot will be executed".
German POW in Koenigsberg. April 1945

As the russians approached Germany the German civilians fled from East Prussia. Here German refugees get aboard the Hans Albrecht Wedel, the air traffic control ship of the Luftwaffe at Pillau. February 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 German 88mm artillery waits for the inevitable Russian onslaught. East Prussia. February 1945

The capitulation of the Germans in the spit-Frisch Nerung. 1945.

FRISCH NERUNG

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.

Waiting for the Russians with little hope. German defensive positions on the outskirts of Konigsberg.

German landing craft, evacuating troops , enters the harbor of Pillau, March 1945.

Belonging to the 5th Armored Division tank Pz.Kpfw. V Ausf. G «Panther" on the street of Goldap. East Prussia, in November 1944.


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.

German sentry on the bridge in the center of Konigsberg. February 1945.

Parts of the German 5th Army waits. in tanks "Panther" and APCs in the district of Kattenau, East Prussia, 14 January 1945.

The Russian army managed to subdue the German forces at Pillau only on April 25, 1945


 War at Goldap. German soldiers fire at Russian position at Goldap railway station. November 1944.


VIDEO




WW2 footage. German Wartime Newsreel (Die Deutsche Wochenschau Nr. 741, 16-Nov-1944) The Gumbinnen Operation, also known as the Goldap Operation (or Goldap-Gumbinnen Operation), was a Soviet offensive on the Eastern Front late in 1944, in which forces of the 3rd Belorussian Front attempted to penetrate the borders of East Prussia. The offensive failed, due to strong resistance by the Wehrmacht. As a result it is largely known through German accounts of the defence and because of the atrocities that were alleged to have been committed by troops of the 11th Guards Army, the so-called Nemmersdorf massacre. On 16 October, the 5th and 11th Guards Armies went onto the offensive and initially penetrated some 11 km into the German defensive belt. The flanking armies commenced operations the next day, by which time units of the 11th Guards Army had crossed the East Prussian border. The Soviet troops ran into extremely strong resistance, however. It took them four days to penetrate the initial tactical defences, while the second defence line was so strong that Chernyakhovsky was compelled to commit the 2nd Guards Tank Corps to break it. Casualties were extremely heavy. On 20 October, the second line was ruptured by the 11th Guards Army and 2nd Guards Tank Corps east of Gumbinnen, defended by the guns of the 18th Anti-Aircraft Division and the Fallschirm-Panzerkorps Hermann Göring, which had been redeployed in the area to counter the Soviet advance.


German soldiers drop their arms before being evacuated from Pillau. April 1945

Germans at Goldap. November 1944


The Nemmersdorf Massacre. A trailer of the rape and atrocities that the appraoching Russian army would commit in Germany.




THE NEMMERSDORF MASSACRE: BRUTAL RUSSIANS

Nemmersdorf in East Prussia (today's Mayakovskoye, Kaliningrad Oblast) was one of the first pre-war ethnic German villages to fall to the advancing Red Army in World War 2. On October 22, 1944 it was the scene of a massacre perpetrated by the Soviet soldiers against German civilians and French and Belgian noncombattants. Determining the facts has aroused controversy. Scholars now generally believe that while the massacre occurred the Nazi Propaganda Ministry embellished the incident for propaganda purposes.

The 2nd Battalion, 25th Guards Tank Brigade, belonging to the 2nd Guards Tank Corps of the 11th Guards Army, crossed the Angrapa bridge and established a bridgehead on the western bank of the river. German forces tried to retake the bridge, but several attacks were repelled by the Soviet tanks and the supporting infantry. During an air attack, a number of Soviet soldiers took shelter in an improvised bunker already occupied by 14 local men and women. 

According to the testimony of the seriously injured Gerda Meczulat, when a Soviet officer arrived and ordered everybody out, the Russians shot and killed the German civilians at close range. During the night, the Soviet 25th Tank Brigade was ordered to retreat back across the river and take defensive positions along the Rominte. The Wehrmacht regained control of Nemmersdorf and discovered the massacre. 

 German authorities organized an international commission to investigate, headed by Estonian Hjalmar Mäe and other representatives of neutral countries, such as Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The commission heard the report from a medical commission. It reported that all the dead women had been raped (they ranged in age from eight to 84). The Nazi Propaganda Ministry,(separately) used the Völkischer Beobachter and the cinema Wochenschau) to accuse the Soviet Army of having killed tens of civilians at Nemmersdorf and summarily executed about 50 French and Belgian noncombatant POWs,that had been ordered to take care of thoroughbred horses, but had been blocked by the bridge. The civilians were allegedly killed by blows with shovels or gun butts. Karl Potrek of Königsberg, leader of a Volkssturm company present on the retaking of the village, testified in a 1953 report: 

"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." 

The former chief of staff of the German Fourth Army, Major General Erich Dethleffsen, testified on July 5, 1946 before an American tribunal in Neu-Ulm. He said: 

"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

 The Nazi Propaganda Ministry disseminated a graphic description of the events with the intention to inspire the German soldiers. On the home front, civilians reacted immediately, with an increase in the number of volunteers joining the Volkssturm.A larger number of civilians responded with panic, and started to leave the area en masse. 


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."

 Most historians now generally believe that the fact that a massacre by Soviet forces is beyond reasonable dispute, although the accounts by the German Propaganda Ministry embellished the massacre for propaganda purposes.

Germans surrender in East Prussia



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Points To Ponder

WHY WAS THE FIGHTING ON THE RUSSIAN FRONT SO FIERCE DURING WW2?

It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


Quotes....

"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong

Quotes....

"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill

Quotes....

"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."
--Voltaire

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck

Quotes....

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering

Quotes....

"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito