BATTLE OF BERLIN – WWII
16 April – 2 May 1945
The final major offensive in Europe of WWII, the Battle of Berlin had 2,300,000 Red Army and 200,000 Polish troops attacking defensive positions of 766,750 soldiers in 36 Nazi Divisions, plus an additional 45,000 troops, police force, Hitler Youth, and 40,000 Volkssturm in the Berlin Defense Area. The Soviets also had river boats of the Dnieper Flotilla—the only navy contingent involved in the battle.
After the Vistula-Oder Offensive in January 1945, the Soviet Red Army continued its offensive advance towards Berlin at a pace of about 25 miles (40 km) per day. By June of 1944, the Nazis had lost more than 1,000,000 men and lacked fuel and ammunition to be combat effective. After the Soviets took Belarus, the Nazis attempted a counter-attack, but failed. The Red Army advanced to Berlin, which had been constantly bombed during daylight hours by US and British bombers.
1st Belorussian Front
2nd Belorussian Front
1st Ukrainian Front
Marshal Georgy Zhukov
Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky
Marshal Ivan Konev
Rear Admiral Vissarion Grigoriev
Eighth Air Force
Army Group Vistula
Army Group Centre
Berlin Defense Area
Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici
General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch
Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schörner
Generalleutnant Hellmuth Reymann
General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling
A victory for the Soviet Union
Soviet forces suffered 81,116 dead or missing; 280,251 sick or wounded; 1,997 tanks and SPGs destroyed; and 2,108 artillery pieces and 917 aircraft lost.
German losses are estimated at 92,000–100,000 killed; 220,000 wounded with 480,000 captured.
Inside Berlin Defense Area, about 22,000 military dead and 22,000 civilians.
During the early hours of 30 April, Weidling informed Hitler in person that the defenders would probably exhaust their ammunition during the night. Hitler gave him permission to attempt a breakout through the encircling Red Army lines. That afternoon, Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide and their bodies were cremated not far from the bunker.
After the fall of Berlin, the war ended on 8 May 1945 and the occupying Allied forces divided the city, and Germany, into separate sectors—eventually leading the Berlin Wall separating Germany for the next 45 years.
Actual color combat footage of the Battle of Berlin