Berlin: The Battle

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Soviet troops with PPSh sub machine guns storm into Berlin. Here they are advancing into an exit at Frankfurter Allee Station to flush out the German defenders. The address in the old photo lets us know that we have the right exit today. The

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A mighty JS-2 (Joseph Stalin) tank takes a break during the advance down Frankfurter Allee, here at Proskauer Strasse. Although some of the buildings have been renovated, the roofline is unmistakable.

A T-34 at the Brandenburg Gate after the battle.

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Two victorious Soviet soldiers pose for a photo in front of the City Palace, home of the Kaisers overlooking the Spree in the heart of Berlin. Destroyed in the fighting, it was torn down shortly after the war. In 2013 reconstruction began, and it is expected to be completed in 2019 when it will be a museum.

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In the Götterdämmerung of the Third Reich the Germans threw everything and the kitchen sink into the final battle, including these two World War I era British Mark V tanks hauled out of the Altes Museum (seen in the background) and used it in the city's defense. The results were predictable. Though the story surrounding these anachromisms is murky, historians believe they weren't captured in World War I, but actually captured during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. During the Civil War that gripped Russia from 1918-1921 the British supplied the anti-Bolshevik forces with arms, including the latest in tank technology. The Bolsheviks captured these tanks and put them in a museum celebrating their victory, and when the Germans invaded they captured the museum and hauled the tanks out and brought them to their own museum in Berlin. Then in 1945 they were once again used against the Bolsheviks.

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Another shot of one of the destroyed Mark V tanks. In the background is the Berlin cathedral. Reconstruction of the bombed out building began in 1975 and still continues today, as you can see from the scaffolding on the building's front.

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The wreckage of war strewn along the Unter den Linden. The Brandenburg Gate stands in the background. Another example of German desperation is the armoured vehicle in the foreground. It is a Borgward IV, a sort of remote controlled tank that would drop explosives in front of enemy fortifications. They would have been useless in the defensive so they were fitted with a rack of anti-tank rockets, as you can see, and driven at enemy tanks. It is doubtful they had any effect on the JS-2s and T-34/85s.

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Dazed civilians receive care from Red Cross personnel in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The juxtaposition with the tourists on bikes looking at their smart phones today is jarring.

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