The first, respected author of the letter. Your grandfather is a hero! Which for the most part were all the soldiers and officers of the assault groups of the Red Army. What filmmakers show us, more often than not, is historical the truth. This is not to distort history. Just a movie has its own laws. An athlete with pumped up muscles fits well into the image of the “great warrior”. But in reality, such a "broiler" with a huge mass of muscles is a rarity.
You have not written at least about the date of the death of your grandfather. Therefore, let me express my opinion exactly. This happened at the start of 1945. Why do I think so? Just to Koenigsberg the Red Army went out at the end of January 1945. However, due to certain military and political events of the time, the troops “stood” until April 1945. And they did not just stand, but also learned to fight in conditions completely new to them.
Everybody learned. From front commander to simple fighter. Such training was vital. The forts and fortresses of Königsberg still earn the respect of military engineers of various armies. According to most experts, these are ideal defenses even today. And in the middle of the 20 century?
The defense of the city had three distinct rings. The first was in 6-8 kilometers from the city center. The foundation of this ring was the 15 forts built at the end of the 19 century. Thick walls, underground passages, perfectly prepared sectors of fire for the artillery of the fort, comfortable conditions for the autonomous life of the garrison for several months. The garrisons of these forts are few by military standards. Until 200 is a man of personnel. But the forts were armed with many machine guns, prepared minefields, artillery (12-15 guns). On the "little things" like mining the area around the forts and the use of barbed wire and various engineering traps will not even talk.
After the breakthrough of this ring, Soviet soldiers had to go to the second ring. Almost approach the city. It must be remembered that Konigsberg is an old city. The buildings there are really built for centuries. Therefore, almost all the buildings on the outskirts of the city were turned into fortresses, the streets were blocked by barricades and mined. Which excluded the use of armored units and formations. Or single Tanksor tank units maximum.
A "snack" the Nazis left the third ring of defense. City center. These are well-fortified bastions (9 pieces) and ravelins of the middle of the 19 century. The Ravelins of Königsberg were not just auxiliary defensive structures of the fortress, but also independent combat units. In fact, mini-fortresses.
But back directly to the issue. Who really were the "elite" soldiers of Marshal Vasilevsky? Who were selected as part of the famous, in fact, the main assault on the Koenigsberg assault groups?
Alas, even at the end of the war, the Red Army was not able to train fighters for such units. However, the combat experience of soldiers and officers by that time already allowed to speak of them as trained and persistent fighters.
The basis for conducting combat operations was the rifle battalion. It was from its composition that the assault groups stood out, which, in turn, were divided into subgroups. Each battalion created two assault groups and a reserve. That is, in fact, the battalion was divided according to the usual company principle. Just two companies were reinforced by the attached means.
The assault group was divided into subgroups. Most often there were five such subgroups. The first to go into battle were two fire subgroups. Their task was to go right behind the firing shaft, which created artillery. That is why in these subgroups the armament was appropriate. Automatic rifles, machine guns, flamethrowers and sapper department. The number of each fire subgroup ranged from 20 to 30 people.
Behind the "fire brigade" was a subgroup consolidation. The number of machine gunners here was reduced to 8-10. However, this subgroup included a platoon of heavy machine guns, a squad of sappers, and attached guns or mortars (up to 2 units).
Together with the subgroup fixing acted fire subgroup. To this part of the attackers, it is necessary to attribute attached tanks, guns, and other means that were not part of the reinforcement subgroup. In some areas, such "fighters" were a rather formidable force.
For quick replenishment of subgroups a backup subgroup was created. There were sent 10-15 machine gunners, gun crews (1-3), the branch of the sappers and the branch of easel machine guns.
Thus, the assault group was a fairly serious force. Reinforced rifle company, two light guns, two regimental guns 76-mm, two divisional guns (of type ZIS-3) 76-mm, gun or howitzer (depending on the combat mission) 122-mm, two tanks or 122-mm SAU, a squad of 82-mm mortars, a platoon of heavy machine guns, a squad of sappers, a backpack flamethrower squad.
Such a group was necessarily supported by a battery, and in some cases a regimental or divisional artillery division.
I do not know who your grandfather was in the military specialty. But as part of the assault groups, as you probably already understood, there were many such specialties. And not all of them demanded great physical strength, possession of small and cold weapons. Although by the year 1945 experienced soldiers who would be poorly owned personal weapons, there were few. War is a good school.
Dying arrows, who went on the attack on fortified positions almost openly. The sappers who shot mines ahead of the attackers died. Indeed, in the conditions of the battle there was no time for mine clearance. Mina just found and with the help of "cats" tore off, causing undermining.
Gunners died in the conditions of the city working on direct fire, and the protection in 6-8 did not save millimeters from enemy fire. Tankmen, who in their cars on narrow streets became an easy target for grenades and faust-cartridges, died. Flamethrowers who actually worked on enemy positions were killed, given the firing range of backpack flame throwers.
But the soldiers did their work. The backbone of the fascist beast was broken. And we should be proud that they are our soldiers. Our, Soviet. Russians, no matter what language they speak. Glory to your grandfather, dear Andrei!