The Battle of the Seelow Heights was part of the Soviet assault on Berlin, lasting three days in April 1945. Almost a million soldiers of the Red Army under the command of Marshal Georgi Zhukov, attacked the position known as the Gates of Berlin. Defending the German position were110,000 soldiers of the 9th Army.
Seelow Heights was where some of the most bitter fighting in the overall battle took place. Fighting began in the early hours of April 16 with a massive bombardment by thousands of artillery weapons. On the third day the final line of the Seelow Heights was breached leaving nothing but fractured German divisions between the Red Army and the chancellery in Berlin. The number of Russian soldiers thought to have died ranges from 5,000 to 33,000, while some 12,000 German troops perished.
By April 23, the German capital was fully encircled and the Battle of Berlin entered its last stage. Within a fortnight, Adolf Hitler was dead and the war in Europe was effectively over.
- A German soldier lies dead in the street as troops rush forward during the battle to gain control of Berlin.
- Vision of hell: A convoy of Soviet tanks as they drive through the war-torn streets of Berlin in April 1945.
- Russian soldiers raise a red victory flag over the Reichstag in Berlin after the German capital's capture in May 1945 marking the defeat of Germany in the Second world War.