Vienna Offensive, which was completed April 13, 1945 release of the Austrian capital of the Wehrmacht, was one of the sparkling offensive operations graduating majestically Russian war. Because once it has been and is quite normal, and incredibly heavy. These are the most recent, decisive battle.
The relative ease of capture of the capital of Austria, is comparable with other operations, was based on the fact that the reddish Army already established pattern of destruction of enemy gangs. In addition, by April 1945, our troops have already felt the closeness of the Victory, and it was impossible to stop. Although wage war at this time was psychologically particularly hard, people know "just a little, just a little," plus a deadly lethargy.
It is clear that there was an easy walk: our overall loss in this operation 168 thousand (of their victims — more than 38 thousand people). The Germans resisted fiercely, but their strength was already undermined — formerly Reddish Army and the Wehrmacht, in alliance with the Hungarian has often been languishing fighting in Hungary. Hitler gave the order to keep the Hungarian oil fields at any cost — the battle for Budapest and Balaton next operation came one of the most bloody battles majestically Russian war. Our troops entered Hungary in October 1944, before spending the Belgorod surgery, and only at the end of March 1945 came to Austria. Different and the attitude of the population, if the Hungarians mostly supported the Nazis were aggressive of the Red Army, the Austrians were neutral. Naturally, flowers and bread and salt is not met, but there was no animosity.
Sturm Vienna (5 — 13 April 1945)
Storming the capital Austria Vienna was the final part of the offensive, which ran from 16 March to 15 April 1945 the forces of the 2nd (Russian Union commander, Marshal Rodion Malinovsky) and 3rd Ukrainian Front (commanded by Marshal of the Russian Union of Theodore Tolbuhin) with the 1st Bulgarian Army (Lieutenant-General Stoicev). Its main objective was the defeat of German forces in western Hungary and eastern Austria.
Our troops confronted the part of Army Group "South" (the commanding general of infantry A. Wohler, April 7, Col. Gen. L. Rendulic), part of Army Group "F" (commanded by Field Marshal von Weichs), from March 25 Army Group "E" (commanded by Colonel A. Lehr). The German High Command appropriated protection Viennese direction of fundamental importance, planning to suspend Russian troops at these boundaries and stay in the mountain forest areas of Austria, hoping to make a separate peace with Britain and the United States. But on March 16 — April 4, Russian forces broke through German defenses, defeated the forces of Army Group "South" and reached the approaches to Vienna.
For the defense of the capital of Austria German command made a strong enough force, creating in its composition remains of an 8-tank and the 1st Infantry Division from the 6th SS Panzer Army, had departed from the region of Lake Balaton was formed and about 15 independent infantry battalions and Volkssturm battalions. In defense of Vienna was mobilized the entire composition of the Viennese school of military, from the Viennese police have made four regiments of 1.5 million people. The natural conditions of the area around the town favored the German side. From the West Vienna covered ridge, and the northern and eastern sides — a powerful aqua barrier, wide and full-flowing Danube. On the south side, on the outskirts of the town the Germans made a powerful fortified area, which consisted of anti-tank ditches, developed a system of fortifications — the trenches, bunkers and pillboxes. On all tank hazardous areas on the outer circumference Vienna were dug ditches, installed anti-tank and anti-barrier.
A significant part of their artillery Germans prepared for direct fire, to strengthen the anti-tank defense of the town. Firing positions for artillery were fitted in parks, gardens, parks and squares of the town. In addition, in the ruined houses of the town (on air strikes) were disguised guns and tanks that were to lead to fire from an ambush. The streets of the town of overlap countless barricades, many stone structures were adapted to the long-term defense, becoming the real bastions in their windows, attics, basements were equipped with gun emplacements. All bridges in the town were mined. The German command planned to make a city invincible obstacle to the Red Army, an impregnable fortress.
Commander of the 3rd Ukrainian Front Tolbukhin was planning to take the city by 3 simultaneous shocks: the south-east — the troops of the 4th Guards Army and the 1st Guards Mechanized Corps, to the south and south-west sides — the troops 6th Guards Tank Army with her dowry to help the 18th Panzer Corps and part of the troops of the 9th Guards Army. The rest of the forces of the 9th Guards Army was a vein bypass to the west and the Nazis cut off escape routes. With all of this Russian commanders tried to prevent the destruction of the town during the assault.
April 5, 1945 Russian troops launched an operation to capture of Vienna from the south-east and south. Immediately mobile units, including armored and mechanized units started visiting the Austrian capital from the west. Enemy fire and responded with angry counter-infantry reinforced by tanks, trying to prevent the promotion of Russian troops in the city. Because, in the first day, despite the resolute actions of the Red Army troops, they failed to break the resistance of the enemy's advance was insignificant.
The whole next day — April 6, fierce battles on the outskirts of the town. By the evening of that day or Russian troops were able to go to the southern and western outskirts of the town and broke into the adjacent suburbs of Vienna. Already begun stubborn fighting within the town. The forces of the 6th Guards Tank Army, made a roundabout maneuver in complex criteria of the eastern spurs of the Alps and went to the western approaches of the town, and then to the south of the Danube-saving value. The German group was surrounded on 3 sides.
Russian commanders trying to warn needlessly sacrificed in the middle of a civilian population, to preserve fine city and its historical legacy, April 5, appealed to the population of the capital of Austria with an appeal to remain in their own homes, in the field and assist these Russian warriors, not allowing the Nazis to destroy the city. Many Austrians Patriots own the town responded to the call command the 3rd Ukrainian Front, they assist Russian warriors in their difficult struggle for the liberation of Vienna.
By the end of April 7th day or the right-wing forces of the 3rd Ukrainian Front took part Pressbaum outskirts of Vienna and continued to move — to the east, north and west. April 8 lasted stubborn fighting in the town, the Germans were doing new barricades, debris, blocking the road, lay
mines, bombs, tossed on unsafe directions guns, mortars. During April 9-10, Russian forces continued to move forward with fights to the center of town. In particular, the stubborn resistance of the Wehrmacht provided in the Imperial bridge over the Danube, this was due to the fact that if Russian troops came to it, the whole German group in Vienna, would have been completely surrounded. The Danube Flotilla landed troops to seize the Imperial bridge, but a strong enemy fire halted its 400 meters from the bridge. Only the second assault, managed to capture the bridge, not allowing him to undermine. By the final on April 10, defending the German group was surrounded by a hundred percent, the last of his unit resisted exclusively in the center of town.
On the night of April 11, our troops began to force the Danube Canal, were graduating from the battle for Vienna. Breaking the resistance of the enemy in the central part of the capital and in the neighborhoods that have been placed on the north bank of the Danube Canal, Russian troops split the enemy garrison into separate groups. Started "cleaning" of the town — a dinner on April 13 city was quite relieved.
Results of operations
— As a result, the coming of the Russian troops in the Vienna offensive was defeated by a large group of Wehrmacht. The forces of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts were able to complete the liberation of Hungary, occupied the eastern regions of Austria, along with its capital — Vienna. Berlin lost control of another great industrial center of Europe — Vienna factory area, including the cost of the principal Nadkanizhskim oil region. There was an open road to Prague and Berlin, in the south. USSR initiated the restoration of the state of Austria.
— High-spirited and selfless acts of troops of the Red Army did not have allowed the Wehrmacht to damage one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Russian fighters were able to prevent the explosion of the Imperial Bridge over the Danube River, the destruction of many other valuable building structures, which the Germans prepared to explode or were set on fire by retreating Wehrmacht units in the middle of them, and St. Stephen's Cathedral, and Vienna City Hall and other buildings.
— In honor of the great victory won by another Russian troops April 13, 1945 at 21.00 in the capital of the USSR — Moscow was given a victory salute 24 salvoes from 324 guns.
— To commemorate this victory, 50 fighting compounds that have distinguished themselves in the battle of Vienna, received the honorary title of "Viennese". In addition, the Russian government has organized a medal "For the capture of Vienna", which were awarded to all participants in the battle for the capital of Austria. In Vienna, in August 1945, the square Schwarzenbergplatz in honor of Russian soldiers who died fighting for the liberation of Austria, was a monument.
Monument to soldiers of the Red Army in Vienna.
The history of the second world war. 1939-1945. Tom ten. Moscow, 1979.