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before and after

 

Battle of Seelow Heights


                                

Mapgolzow

Within 2 weeks in January 1945, the Soviet army crossed Poland, bottled up places like Breslau and Posen, and even crossed the River Odra. Berlin was within their reach. Within 2 hours a tank would be able to enter the city. At the end of January, there seemed to be just a few, very young and non-equipped German soldiers standing between the Odra and Berlin. This is one of the many questions: why did the Soviets not advance straight to Berlin in February...
1945? Instead, they exceeded their bridgeheads, connected them, and after they had gained enough ground to attack the German troops, they started their final assault on April 16, 1945. Firepower that the world has not ever witnessed again up to this day helped the Soviet soldiers to reach Seelow Heights. The hills were the last natural obstacle on the way to Berlin. With the city heavily defended by the Wehrmacht, it took the Soviets three days to overcome the Germans’ resistance. The time between late January and April 19 is what this tour is about. It involves tours of battlefields and some bunkers that still remain. Pictures and maps help you to understand in detail what happened where. The tour enables you grasp the tactics on the battlefield and the Germans’ strategies of defense, as well as how the Soviets attacked. And maybe this is the most important: by being here, right where everything played out, and with a little help from me as your guide, you will get a real-life feeling for this hell on earth that was here in spring 1945.

 

Kleiner Friedrich1  battlefield Jahnfelde

After Seelow Heights was taken by the Soviets, disoriented German units retreated toward Berlin. Close to a little...
city called Jahnfelde, 488 batteries were caught by advancing Soviet tanks. There is an eye-witness report of what happened then, and the landscape has not changed at all.

 

Kleiner Friedrich1  first-crossing of the Odra

No one had reckoned with the Soviets being on the western side of the River Odra in late January 1945. There was...
only thin ice on the water, no pontoon bridges or anything like that, and the reconnaissance units of the Red Army did not have any air support. The place is untouched, and when you stand there today, you can experience an authentic feeling of what happened in January 1945.

 

Kleiner Friedrich1  battlefield Golzow

In order to block the supply routes to Kustrin, the Soviets connected the two bridgeheads north and south of...
Kustrin by fighting and cutting off the German troops that were holding the route open. As a counteraction, the Germans tried to break through the newly formed Soviet lines to open up the way to Kustrin again, and a battle developed during the night. The whole action proved to be very unsuccessful and led to many German losses. Let me tell you what happened exactly.

 

Kleiner Friedrich1  shooting gallery

Le Tissier describes it this way … “a shooting gallery” … . It's a road leading to Seelow Heights that the Soviets had...
to take in order to advance. It’s just that from a hill in the distance, the German soldiers had an excellent view onto the road. I would like to climb up the hill with you (I always have binoculars with me) and hear what you say when you take a look at the situation from the defender’s standpoint!

 

Kleiner Friedrich1  Reitwein spur

Close to the River Odra, east of Seelow Heights, is situated the Reitwein Spur, which is up to 200 feet high. This spot...
was fought over right from the beginning when the Soviets crossed the river. The Red Army soon occupied the northern part of it, but the Germans still fought for the southern part until March 22. In particular, the manor of Klessin was a hot spot of fighting. Zhukov had his bunker built in the Soviet-held part of the Spur, and from here he initiated the final attack on April 16. The whole area was restored in 1989. It’s a bit of uphill walking, but very much worth the effort. And once we are up there, we could debate the question of whether General Ivan Konev’s or Zhukow’s narration of the events is the correct one....

 

Kleiner Friedrich1  Seelow Heights

In fact, the whole Heights is only 157 feet high. But because the landscape surrounding it is extremely flat...
,this was the only position where a defense could be organized. Adding to these conditions was the weather in the spring, the way the roads were built here, and Soviet Marshall Zhukow’s tactical failure, even though the word “failure” is debatable...You should keep all these factors in mind when climbing up the hill. From the Heights there is an excellent view out over the battlefield!! Also the museum up there is interesting.

 

Kleiner Friedrich1 Kustrin- Pompeii of the north

The old town of Kustrin was a Prussian fortress that controlled the road to Berlin. Situated right at the eastern side of...
the River Odra, it was held by the Wehrmacht as a stronghold until April 1945. Only after General Vasily Chuikov set up a plan to concentrate all existing firepower in one place did the town fall to the Soviets. Be prepared to find Old Kustrin just as it was left after the war—I call it the Pompeii of the north....

  Friedrichgold4 © Bernhard