Bombs and rockets

“The merciless shelling had no pattern. It was aimless and incessant. Each day it seemed to increase in intensity. Mortars and the grinding howl of rocket-firing Katashkas soon added to the din. Most people now spent much of their time in cellars, air raid shelters, flak tower bunkers and subway stations. They lost all sense […]

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“‘I have no doubt,’ Von Manteuffel told his staff, ‘that on Hitler’s maps there is a little flag saying 7TH PANZER DIV., even though it got here without a single tank, truck, piece of artillery or even a machine gun. We have an army of ghosts.’” Ryan, Cornelius. The Last Battle. 1966. p. 395

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“By now confusion was beginning to sweep the German lines. Shortages were apparent everywhere and in everything. A critical lack of transport, an almost total absence of fuel, and roads thronged with refugees made large-scale troop movements almost impossible. This immobility was producing dire consequences: as units shifted position, their equipment, including precious artillery, had […]

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“In all, one third of Reymann’s men were unarmed. The remainder might as well have been. ‘Their weapons,’ he was to relate, ‘came from every country that Germany had fought with or against. Besides our own issues, there were Italian, Russian, French, Czechoslovakian, Belgian, Dutch, Norwegian and English guns.’ There were no less than fifteen […]

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“From Speer’s office Reymann made a quick visit to one of the defense sectors on Berlin’s outskirts. Each of these inspections only served to deepen Reymann’s conviction that Berlin’s defenses were an illusion. In the strutting, triumphant years, the Nazis had never considered the possibility that one day a last stand would be made in […]

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“As people waited for news, they hid their anxiety in grim humor. A new greeting swept the city. Total strangers shook hands and urged each other “Bleib übrig” – Survive. Many Berliners were burlesquing Goebbels’ broadcast of ten days before. Insisting that Germany’s fortune would undergo a sudden change, he had said: ‘The Führer knows […]

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“It almost seemed as if the authorities were not prepared to face the fact that Berlin was endangered. Although the Red Army was now barely thirty-two miles away, no alarm had been given and no official announcement had been made. Berliners knew very well that the Russians had attacked. The muffled thunder of artillery had […]

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“Inside the fort the noise was almost intolerable. Added to the firing of the batteries was the constant rattling of automatic shell elevators, which carried ammunition in an endless stream from a ground floor arsenal to each gun. G Tower was designed not only as a gun platform but as a huge five-story warehouse, hospital […]

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“Blaschke took one look at the tooth and told Hitler that it had to come out, there was no way he could save it. Blaschke explained that he would need to remove two teeth – a false tooth at the rear of the bridge as well as the infected one next to it. That meant […]

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“Everyone had a score to settle. But along the Western Front the German Army scarcely existed any longer as a cohesive, organized force. Decimated during the Ardennes offensive, the Reich’s once-powerful armies had been finally smashed in the month-long campaign between the Moselle and the Rhine. Hitler’s decision to fight west of the Rhine rather […]

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