Battle of Berlin Facts
The Battle of Berlin occurred from April 16th to May 2nd, 1945, and served as the significant concluding battle of World War 2 in Europe. It also served as the culminating point for the Soviet army after seizing the strategic initiative from the Germans after the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. The Soviets reached the outskirts of Warsaw in August of 1944 but did not assist the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising. The Soviets captured Bucharest on August 31st, 1944, and spent the remainder of the year into early 1945 occupying the Baltic States and other territories in eastern Europe. The offensive to take Berlin started in January of 1945 when the Soviet forces removed the remaining German troops from Poland. The move to and taking of Berlin would incur several implications for the Cold War that would begin soon after the conclusion of World War 2.
Battle of Berlin Facts
- Battle of Berlin Facts
- Battle of Berlin Commanders
- Battle of Berlin Order of Battle
- Battle of Berlin Casualties
- Allied Plans for the Battle of Berlin
- Battle of Berlin Video
- Stalin’s Deception at the Battle of Berlin
- Battle for Reichstag Map
- Battle of Berlin Summary
- The Death of Adolf Hitler
- Battle of Berlin References
Dates: 16 April – 2 May 1945
Location: Berlin, Germany
Battle Result: Decisive Soviet victory
Suicide of Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi officials.
The unconditional surrender of the city Berlin garrison on May 2nd, 1945. German forces still fighting the battle outside Berlin surrendered on May 8th and 9th, 1945on 8/9 May
Battle of Berlin Commanders
1st Belorussian Front:
2nd Belorussian Front:
1st Ukrainian Front:
Army Group Vistula:
Kurt von Tippelskirch Surrendered[a]
Army Group Centre:
Berlin Defense Area:
Helmuth Reymann followed by:
Helmuth Weidling (Surrendered)
Battle of Berlin Order of Battle
6,250 tanks and SP guns
41,600 artillery pieces.
For the investment and assault on the Berlin Defense Area approximately 1,500,000 soldiers were employed.
9,303 artillery pieces
In the Berlin Defense Area: Approximately 45,000 soldiers, supplemented by the police force, Hitler Youth, and 40,000
Battle of Berlin Casualties
81,116 dead or missing
280,251 sick or wounded
2,108 artillery pieces
Exact losses remain unknown.
Estimate Casualties from the Battle of Berlin:
Inside Berlin Defence Area:
About 22,000 military dead
22,000 civilian dead
Allied Plans for the Battle of Berlin
Leading up to the Battle for Berlin, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin considered the city one of the war’s major prizes. He feared the British would beat the Soviets to the city with UK Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s 21st Army Group advancing from Holland into Northern Germany. Due to fears of Hitler escaping to the south into Austria, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to plan a broad front offensive using the U.S. 9th Army to conduct mopping-up operations in the Ruhr and then advance eastwards towards the Erfurt-Leipzig-Dresden line. At the same time, Montgomery’s 21st Army Group would protect the northern flank of the Allies, and General Jacob Devers’ 6th Army Group would defend the southern flank. The result would be to meet the Soviet’s advance around Dresden and effectively cut Germany in half. The decision not to make Berlin the focus of the Allied advance was not popular with Churchill, especially after the Soviets had started backtracking on several agreements made at the Yalta conference.
Battle of Berlin Video
Stalin’s Deception at the Battle of Berlin
In direct communication with General Eisenhower, Joseph Stalin made the following points to the General:
- The Allies and the Red Army would meet at the Erfurt – Leipzig – Dresden line.
- Berlin had lost its strategic importance, and the Soviets would only use secondary forces to capture the city.
- The primary thrust by the Soviets would begin in the latter half of May.
- The German army reinforced the eastern front with the 6th SS Panzer Army in addition to two divisions from Norway and two from Italy.
Looking back, the second and third points made by Stalin were fabrications to hide the real plans of the Soviets for after the war. At the same time, Stalin charged his two front commanders, Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov (Commander, 1st Byelorussian Front) and Marshal Ivan S. Koniev (Commander, 1st Ukrainian Front), with reaching the point of Lübben on the River Spree to take charge of taking the capital city.
Battle for Reichstag Map
Battle of Berlin Summary
After the East Pomeranian Strategic Offensive had concluded, the Red Army’s 2nd Byelorussian Front breached the German lines at Pomerania on February 24th, 1945. After this, the army could advance to the west at speed. The army temporarily stalled approximately 60 km east of Berlin on the Oder River. The outer German defensive preparations for the city started on March 20th, 1945, when the newly appointed German commander of Army Group Vistula, General Gotthard
Heinrici correctly identified the main Soviet attack coming over the river. Before the main Battle of Berlin commenced, the Soviets would encircle the city following the Battles of Halbe and Seelow Heights.
The official start of the Battle of Berlin started on April 16th, 1945, when the 2nd Byelorussian Front and the 1st Byelorussian Front attacked the city from the east and south, respectively. A third group would defeat German defending units located north of the town. Before the attack commenced, Marshal Zhukov shelled the city center with artillery, and Marshal Konev broke through the final formation of the German Army Group Center.
German defenses of the city were led by Helmuth Weidling and consisted primarily of poorly equipped and depleted Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS divisions. Additionally, many Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members augmented the defending units. Over the next several days of the battle, the Soviet army would advance throughout the city while taking significant losses. By April 30th, the Soviet Army had conquered the Reichstag after heavy fighting.
The Death of Adolf Hitler
Early on April 30th, General Helmuth Otto Weidling, who was the last German commander of the Berlin defense area, reported to Hitler that the defenders’ ammunition would be exhausted at some point that evening. He was given permission to attempt a breakout through the Red Army lines encircling Berlin. Later that afternoon, Hitler and his wife (Braun) committed suicide. Their bodies were cremated close to his bunker. Upon his death, Hitler’s will appointed Admiral Karl Dönitz as the Reichspräsident or “President” of the country. Joseph Goebbels was appointed as the new Reichskanzler or Chancellor of Germany.
Following Hitler’s lead, many followers committed suicide before the city surrendered to the Soviets on May 2nd, 1945. Fighting would continue around the city until WW 2 in Europe ended on May 8th. During this time, many German units would fight to the west so they could surrender to the Western Allies vice the Soviets.
Battle of Berlin References
- Antill, P. Battle for Berlin: April& |nbsp;– May 1945. Includes the Order of Battle for the Battle for Berlin (Le Tissier, T. The Battle of Berlin 1945, Jonathan Cape, London, 1988. Last accessed 20 April 2013
- Remme, Tilman; The Battle for Berlin in World War Two BBC article, last accessed 20 April 2013.
- Battle in Berlin, ending of the Battle of Berlin, Wikipedia, last accessed 21 April 2013.