The Siege of Küstrin, 1945: Gateway to Berlin

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Pen & Sword Military, 2009 - History - 312 pages
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The unexpected arrival of Soviet troops at the end of January 1945 at the ancient fortress and garrison town of Kustrin came as a tremendous shock to the German High Command-the Soviets were now only 50 miles from Berlin itself. The Red Army needed the vital road and rail bridges passing through Kustrin for their forthcoming assault on the capital, but flooding and their own high command's strategic blunders resulted in a sixty-day siege by two Soviet armies which totally destroyed the town. The delay in the Soviet advance also gave the Germans time to consolidate the defenses shielding Berlin west of the Oder River. Despite Hitler's orders to fight on to the last bullet, the Kustrin garrison commander and 1,000 of the defenders managed a dramatic breakout to the German lines.

The protracted siege had an appalling human cost - about 5,000 Germans were killed, 9,000 wounded and 6,000 captured, and the Russians lost 5,000 killed and 15,000 wounded. Tony Le Tissier, in this graphic and painstakingly researched account, has recorded events in extraordinary detail, using the vivid eyewitness testimony of survivors to bring the story of the siege to life.

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User Review  - Luftwaffe_Flak - LibraryThing

Good book on a little known siege during the final days of WWII. Seemed a little dry in places and favored the German side in terms of first hand accounts. These accounts however were excellent. Would ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

During many years working in several senior official positions in Berlin - including spells as provost marshal and British governor of Spandau prison - Tony Le Tissier has accumulated a vast knowledge of the campaign the led up to the fall of Berlin. He has researched every aspect of the 1945 battle for the city in unprecedented detail and has published a series of outstanding books on the subject, inlcuding The Battle of Berlin 1945, Farewell to Spandau, Berlin Then and Now, Zhukov at the Oder, Slaughter at Halbe, The Third Reich Then and Now, With Our Backs to Berlin, Death Was Our Companion, Berlin Battlefield Guide: Third Reich and Cold War and The Siege of Küstrin 1945: Gateway to Berlin.Kustrin was a German garrison town on the Oder (now in modern Poland) that underwent a two-month long Soviet search early in 1945. This detailed account of the siege begins with a brief history of the town before moving on to the surprise arrival of the first Soviet troops in January 1945, when the local military commanders believed that the Russians were still some way to the east. -

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