Battle of Berlin summary
The Battle in Berlin lasted from 20 April until the morning of 2 May. It was named Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union and was the final major offensive of World War II in Europe.
- The Red Army had temporarily halted it's advance 60 km (37 mi) east of Berlin along the Oder River. Some Soviet bridgeheads were secured on the western side of the river.
- Seelow Heights was the sector in which most of the fighting took place. The battle lasted for four days from 16 April until 19 April. Almost one million Red Army soldiers and more than 20,000 tanks and artillery pieces were deployed to break through the Gates to Berlin which were defended by about 100,000 German soldiers and 1,200 tanks and guns.
- During 19 April, the fourth day, the 1st Belorussian Front broke through the final line of the Seelow Heights and nothing but broken German formations lay between them and Berlin.
- The Soviets advance on the west, north and south encircling Berlin and to the south east of it the German 9th Army.
- On 20 April, Hitler's birthday, Soviet artillery of the 1st Belorussian Front closed in and began to shell Berlin. It did not stop until the city surrendered.
- Army Group Center launched a counter-offensive aiming at breaking through to Berlin from the south. Some initial success gave hopes to Hitler that he could encircle the Soviet troops in the area.
- On 22 April, at his afternoon situation conference, Hitler fell into a tearful rage when he realised that his hopes of the day before were not going to be realised. He declared that the war was lost. The 12th Army facing the Americans was called to relive Berlin.
- On 26 April, the Soviet 8th Guards Army and the 1st Guards Tank Army fought their way through the southern suburbs and attacked Tempelhof Airport, just inside the S-Bahn defensive ring, where they met stiff resistance from the Müncheberg Division.
- By 27 April, the two understrength divisions (Müncheberg and Nordland) that were defending the south east, now facing five Soviet armies—from east to west, the 5th Shock Army, the 8th Guards Army, the 1st Guards Tank Army and Rybalko's 3rd Guards Tank Army (part of the 1st Ukrainian Front)—were forced back towards the centre of Berlin.
- Ignoring Hitler's command to relive Berlin the 12 Army attacked the Soviet trying to help the 9th Army to break through.
- After 3 attempts parts of the 9th Army joined the 12th and retreated to the Elba to surrender to the Americans. Many died in the attempt or were captured by the Soviets.
- By April 30 the defenders of Berlin had almost exhauste their ammunition. Hitler gave the permission to attempt a breakout through the encircling Red Army lines.
- On the night of 1–2 May, most of the remnants of the Berlin garrison attempted to break out of the city centre in three different directions. Only those that went west succeeded in breaching Soviet lines. However, only a handful made it to the lines of the Western Allies—most were either killed or captured by the Red Army's outer encirclement forces west of the city.