The Siege of Küstrin, 1945: Gateway to Berlin
The unexpected arrival of Soviet troops at the end of January 1945 at the ancient fortress and garrison town of Kuuml;strin 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 Kuuml;strin 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 defences shielding Berlin west of the Oder River. Despite Hitler's orders to fight on to the last bullet, the Kuuml;strin garrison commander and 1,000 of the defenders managed a dramatic break-out 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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The Russian Siege of August 1758
The VistulaOder Operation
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1st Byelorussian Front 25th Panzergrenadier Division 8th Guards aircraft Altstadt ammunition anti-tank artillery Artillery Barracks artillery fire attack Battalion Berlin Bienenhof Bleyen bombs breakout bridgehead building bunker cellars Cellulose Factory Chaussee civilians company command post comrades crossed dark defence deployed Division dressing station Drewitz dyke east embankment enemy evacuation farm February Feldgendarmerie fighting flak foxholes front line garrison Golzow Gorgast heavy weapons Hitler Youth infantry January Kietz Kiistrin kilometres Kohlase AKTS Kohlase Band Kustrin Landsberg Lieutenant Luftwaffe Lunette machine guns March metres morning mortar moved Neustadt night Oderbruch Officer Cadet Officer Cadet Corporal orders Panzerfausts Panzergrenadier platoon position railway bridge reached refugees Reichsstrasse Reinefarth Reitwein remained reported rifle road bridge Russians Schloss Second-Lieutenant sector Seelow sentries sergeant shells shot side situation Soviet Soviet tanks staff Thrams took town train trench troops unit vehicles Volkssturm Vorflut Canal wagons Warthe Warthe bridges Wehrmacht wounded Zhukov