By Tony Le Tissier
The unforeseen arrival of Soviet troops on the finish of January 1945 on the historic citadel and garrison city of Küstrin got here as an incredible surprise to the German excessive Command-the Soviets have been now merely 50 miles from Berlin itself. The crimson military wanted the very important highway and rail bridges passing via Küstrin for his or her impending attack at the capital, yet flooding and their very own excessive command's strategic error ended in a sixty-day siege via Soviet armies which absolutely destroyed town. The hold up within the Soviet improve additionally gave the Germans time to consolidate the defenses protective Berlin west of the Oder River. regardless of Hitler's orders to struggle directly to the final bullet, the Küstrin garrison commander and 1,000 of the defenders controlled a dramatic breakout to the German lines.
The protracted siege had an appalling human rate - approximately 5,000 Germans have been killed, 9,000 wounded and 6,000 captured, and the Russians misplaced 5,000 killed and 15,000 wounded. Tony Le Tissier, during this photo and painstakingly researched account, has recorded occasions in awesome aspect, utilizing the shiny eyewitness testimony of survivors to carry the tale of the siege to life.
Kustrin, on the confluence of the Oder and Warthe Rivers and gateway to Berlin, has been a major verbal exchange junction for hundreds of years. This ebook is a verbal heritage of the folk encircled during this an important gateway in 1945.
This publication is basically according to the memoirs of Fritz Kohlase and Hermann Thrams and different contributors of the doomed city.
While Zhukov and his 1st BRF approached the Oder, encircled town in January and might nibble away at it with day-by-day air raids, artillery barrages and the occasional probing assault, the most attack wouldn't occur until eventually early March. it should take the Soviets a month to safe the citadel urban. Suburbs of Neustadt, Altstadt have the highlight during this fight yet within reach Kietz, Gorgast, Vorlut Canal, and the Oder River crossing is additionally covered.
During those 3 months, the writer describes the happenstances of the garrison and civilians, from the mundane to the lifestyles threatening, in a doomed state of affairs that Hitler created. He desired to carry town in any respect fee yet could not provide it with heavy guns or ammunition or enough males and different offers. you are going to examine person infantrymen of their entrance line trenches dealing with improved forces and T34s attacking them. there's additionally insurance of the neighborhood Nazi get together attempting to retain the town below keep watch over whereas the citizen's fears escalate.
While the portrait of the trapped lives is nice, the operational insurance of the attack, whereas having a few attention-grabbing info, is unfortunately total anemic. in reality the bankruptcy on Kustrin within the author's "Zhukov on the Oder" provides a clearer photo of the battle.
There are 11 maps and they are beautiful solid yet you will have to make investments your time to appreciate them. those maps are an identical maps within the author's different ebook simply mentioned.
There is a Notes part and a Bibliography however the checklist is generally German so its usefulness, at the very least for a few of us, may be constrained. there's additionally a small yet attention-grabbing gallery of photographs of the main websites of town. The wide Appendix offers letters and motion stories displaying the desperation within the city.
I gave this e-book 3 stars for 2 purposes: First, notwithstanding the operational features have been by no means intended to be the most topic, the writer must have nonetheless constructed the operational point fuller for you to aid the anecdotes greater and to permit the reader to have a greater realizing of the siege.
Secondly, whereas the writer does pretty much as good a task as anyone in lacing the on hand anecdotes jointly, it nonetheless wasn't sufficient besides the little operational elements, to gleam a fantastic appreciation of the siege. possibly its the size or depth that is varied yet analyzing in regards to the siege of Stalingrad and Leningrad used to be extra idea upsetting and stirred better compassion for the folk.
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Additional info for Siege of Kustrin 1945 - Gateway to Berlin
At first we were dealing with only small and individual groups, but this changed. As helpers for the Red Cross, NSV, Party and other organisations, we distributed food, warm drinks, arranged schools and gymnasiums as overnight accommodation and looked after them. There was much to do from morning to evening, so much that we would gladly have exchanged it for normal school classes. But we had to do our duty. On about the 20th January the situation became serious and threatening. Russian troops were getting closer and were unstoppable.
I still did not know what my superior formation was or who its commander was. Since receiving my orders in the barracks I had not received any further instructions and had no communications with any staff whatsoever. No officer or messenger had sought me out. I only knew that the Russians were attacking and that, since the flight of the Honveds, I now had an almost 3-kilometre-wide open and unprotected flank to the Warthe over which the Russians could renew their attack. An appreciation of the situation showed that we were surrounded by the enemy, forgotten and lost.
In January 1945 I was a lieutenant commanding a company in an infantry replacement and training battalion under the command of Major Shellack and based on the Strantz Barracks in the East Brandenburg town of Landsberg an der Warthe. At the end of January there was a sudden alert. I had to see off my wife and little son who were visiting me in the barracks and put them on a truck going west. Then I received orders to form a line of defence against the expected Russians hard east of Landsberg. 5 to 2 kilometres south to the village of Lorenzdorf.