the First of April 1945, the Supreme commander convened a meeting in the Kremlin. Stalin asked the assembled generals main question: “Who will take Berlin, we or the Americans?”. It was impossible to exclude that the Germans even before the beginning of the Soviet attack on Berlin would give the allies the city, whose troops quickly advanced on German territory without encountering any serious resistance.

Stalin ordered as quickly as possible to capture the capital of the Third Reich. But it was not easy. The Nazis turned Berlin into a fortress. The city was surrounded by three lines of defense, and all the streets are blocked by barricades and mined. Bridges prepared for the explosions. In the ground been dug tanks and concrete bunkers, which went to a depth of six-storey building. There were more than 400, and each was more than a thousand soldiers with antiaircraft guns and machine guns. Only the Fort was held by about a million people, reduced in 63 divisions, fifteen hundred tanks and more than three thousand aircraft. Furthermore, against the Soviet tanks used the famous Panzerfaust is a German disposable grenade launchers. And the shot of them on the orders of Hitler, adolescents, the elderly and the disabled. How to write then Marshal Ivan Konev, “faustnik, typically, fought to the end and showed a much greater resistance than battered, but broken by defeats and years of fatigue soldiers.” In open battle value of this weapon was small, but the Panzerfaust was a serious threat to armored vehicles.

the Offensive began on April 16 early morning to make it unexpected for the enemy. At five in the morning the city was struck by hurricane-fire guns and thousands of Katyusha rockets and streams of bright light. The commander of the 1st Belorussian front, Georgy Zhukov ordered to blind the Germans with the light of powerful searchlights. The Soviet command hoped to take Berlin on April 21, the birthday of Lenin, but only on the capture of the fortified Seelow heights took three days.

the Battle lasted for two weeks. There were battles for each quarter, the house and the street. By 30 April in the hands of the Germans left only government district Tiergarten. On the night of 1 may, the chief of the German General staff Hans Krebs came to the headquarters of the 8th guards army and Chuikov proposed a truce, but Stalin demanded unconditional surrender. What happened on the morning of 2 may. Surrendered Helmut Weidling, whom Hitler had appointed as commander of the Berlin defense for a couple of days before the fall of the city, and before that wanted to shoot for the unauthorized transfer of its headquarters. When the General learned about the new appointment, then bitterly remarked that “better Hitler had upheld the order for my execution.”

the Second of may 1945 the Berlin garrison capitulated. The third Reich and its capital city fell to the Soviet army.

Author Olga Gavrilova, radio Sputnik

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