The Russian Front was the decisive theatre of World War II, millions of men and women fought the most vital battle of the war. The German campaign on the Eastern Front, from their first significant defeat at the gates of Moscow in 1941 to the defeat at Stalingrad and the Russian capture of Berlin marking the end of the war in Europe. Hitler's flawed dream of conquest in the East brought about the end of the Thousand Year Reich .
April 25 1945: Ten days previously, Soviet armoured forces, totaling more then 4000 tanks (prominent was T-34/85) comprising the powerful First. Second, Third and Fourth Guards tank armies of the Red Army consolidated the iron grip they had thrown around Berlin, capital of Adolf Hitler's Thousand
| Year Reich. |
Direct support for the infantry generally came from the well-armoured and well-gunned KV-l-s and IS-2 (Stalin) heavy tanks spearheading the attack as well as the powerful 1SU-152, whose large 152mm (5.9in) gun proved devastating in clearing buildings, quite often by simply blowing whole floors out with a single shell.
As Soviet armour pushed into the center of Berlin. Soviet tank officers broke down their large combat units into small combat groups of three tanks. As one tank moved along the left-hand side of the street, another secured the right, and the third, slightly to the rear, moved down the center. The tank on the left fired at targets - or suspected targets - to its right, while that on the right
| engaged the left-hand side of the street: both were covered by the center tank. Behind this advance guard were usually 10 other tanks acting as a reserve to replace losses amongst the front three Tanks. |
Supported by tanks operating in this manner, by May 5 forward infantry elements of Eighth Guards Army successfully assaulted the Reichstag, the German Parliament. Although the fighting in Berlin continued for several more days, and the war did not officially end until May 9 1945, hoisting the Red Flag over the Reichstag on the Communist May Day holiday, symbolized the Red Army's defeat of Germany, and its finest hour. At the forefront of victory were the tanks, officers and men of the Armoured and Mechanized Forces of the Red Army.