Military Review

The Konigsberg operation: how an impregnable fortress city of the Third Reich fell in 4 days

54

At the end of the winter of 1945, during the East Prussian offensive operation, Soviet troops fought close to Konigsberg.


At that time, the capture of this fortified city was more important than the capture of Berlin. Only in this way would the victory of the Red Army become unconditional, and the Germans would lose the opportunity to dictate their terms to the winners.

The assault on the Prussian capital was a task of exceptional difficulty. The city, surrounded by three lines of defense, was considered one of the most powerful fortified areas in Europe. He had been trained for years to repel enemy attacks. It seemed impossible to take the impregnable fortress city.

The offensive operation was planned by Marshal of the Soviet Union A.M. Vasilevsky. He made the bold decision to launch an offensive even before the completion of the artillery preparation. And not to storm numerous forts, but to block them, then to destroy them with the help of sappers and flamethrowers. At the same time, the authorities of Konigsberg attracted almost the entire population of the city to the Volkssturm battalions, capable of keeping weapon... The number of regular troops and militia in Königsberg exceeded 100 people. And although A.M. Vasilevsky managed to create a significant advantage in artillery, tanks and self-propelled guns, the number of soldiers in his three armies did not exceed the forces collected by the defenders. There were clearly not enough troops for the assault.

The plan of the Soviet operation was based on superiority in firepower of artillery and self-propelled guns. A massive strike was supposed only along the first line of defense. Then the key role passed to 26 assault detachments and 104 assault groups, reinforced with tanks and flamethrowers. Throughout the operation, there was a risk that the Germans would understand the strategy of the Soviet troops and encircle the troops inside the city.

On April 2, 1945, the forts trembled from powerful artillery strikes. For four days, hundreds of thousands of shells fell on the city. On the morning of April 6, the offensive of the Red Army began. While the tanks and infantry were moving towards the first ring of defense, the enemy's trenches and dugouts poured a fiery rain of mortars. During the day, Soviet soldiers managed to take positions in front of the forts.

The assault took place in fierce melee battles. During the capture of the sixth fort, "Queen Louise", the Germans put up serious resistance. It could take several days to capture the citadel, when suddenly a white rag appeared over the wall. The Germans withstood the assault, but surrendered, not wanting to die in the next battle.

Konigsberg was closed in a ring. On the second day, Soviet bombers dropped over two thousand tons of bombs on the city, but the enemy stubbornly continued to defend every meter of the earth. Ambushes and minefields were literally everywhere. Assault groups of the Red Army dispersed over the ruins, threw grenades at cover and burned enemy positions with flamethrowers.

By the night of April 8, 1945, the commandant of the German garrison, Otto Bernard Lyash, ordered his troops to break through from the city center to the west, however, having lost a significant part of the armored vehicles, the Germans retreated. By order of their general, the remnants of the garrisons of the three outer forts left their positions and began to make their way to the citadel.

In the afternoon, her assault began. Direct fire was fired from a safe distance. Tanks and self-propelled guns fired at the embrasures and dark openings of the loopholes. At some point, the guns in the windows of the ancient towers fell silent. There was practically no one to fight back.

The toughest fights took place inside. The remnants of the German units fought to the last, but it was already impossible to hold the defense for a long time. By the morning of April 9, the Konigsberg garrison ceased to exist as a single army unit.

Read more about the Konigsberg operation in the video from the creators of the World of Tanks game.

54 comments
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  1. Andrey Yuryevich
    Andrey Yuryevich 4 January 2021 06: 03
    +18
    The Konigsberg operation: how an impregnable fortress city of the Third Reich fell in 4 days
    grandfather probably didn't think "how", he just took it, as part of the 11th army.
    1. Hunter 2
      Hunter 2 4 January 2021 08: 09
      +14
      And My Grandfather as part of the 18th Moscow Red Banner, the Order of Suvorov, the Order of Kutuzov of the Rifle Division ... 13th Army, he was covering yours! hi
      1. Sergey Averchenkov
        Sergey Averchenkov 4 January 2021 08: 55
        +15
        Are we proud of our grandfathers? And this is true. It should be so.
      2. Undecim
        Undecim 4 January 2021 15: 04
        +11
        And mine in East Prussia managed to get two medals "For Courage" in a month, and there he ended the war, being wounded near Honigbaum.
        1. Vladimir Mashkov
          Vladimir Mashkov 4 January 2021 17: 22
          +6
          Remembered. We celebrated the 35th anniversary of Victory in 1980 at the Sakhalin floating base ... in the sea (it seems already on the Ivasy expedition). Before that, in honor of the anniversary of the Victory, the earnings of the entire floating base (it seems a couple of days) were transferred to the Hero of the Soviet Union, who was enlisted in our crew by the decision of the court assembly, and lived in Kholmsk (a man was truly heroic, by the way). They released a wall newspaper for the holiday with an editorial, a description of the feat of "our" Hero and the memories of the ship veterans of the Great Patriotic War (the Pompolit tried, pulled out a month from them). Veterans were honored at the solemn meeting. They put them on the presidium next to the captain-director and the Pompolite, listened first to the Pompolite, then their stories, gave them gifts. We then had three veterans: two women and a man. One of the women during the war years was a gunsmith in the air regiment. The second - as a teenager, she worked at a defense plant in the Urals. Both women, when they remembered the war and their comrades, wept. The women of the crew also cried. And the man, the senior foreman of the production shift No. 2 Krasnikov Nikolay Fedorovich, did not cry, he braced himself. He was a very interesting person. Good shift supervisor. He was not very talkative, even, calm, swore little and rarely. But when I remembered at the meeting, I was very worried. And after the meeting he closed for a week in his cabin. He had such a sin: once every 3 months he warned the head of production and retired in a cabin. I did not go anywhere, and the waste flew overboard into the window. I don't even know if anyone carried food for him or fed on their own supplies. Peel: on the ship everyone knows everything about each other, even if they don't see. There is a ship saying: all bulkheads on a ship are glass. lol

          And during the war years he was an artilleryman, foreman and commander of an anti-tank gun. And he was awarded several times. I don’t remember all his awards, I only remember that two were "For Courage". The second and last - for the battles in Königsberg, as he said at the meeting.
    2. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins 4 January 2021 08: 25
      +16
      And mine, in general, became an invalid at the age of eighteen on the outskirts of Konigsberg! They rescued my leg for a year in hospitals, but still it remained shorter than five centimeters and did not bend ...
  2. Pessimist22
    Pessimist22 4 January 2021 06: 15
    +13
    It was necessary to keep the entire territory for ourselves, and not divide Poland and Lithuania.
    1. Mordvin 3
      Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 06: 28
      +4
      Quote: Pessimist22
      It was necessary to keep the entire territory for ourselves, and not divide Poland and Lithuania.

      This was the demand of the British. The Polish government, sitting in England, generally wanted to grab the whole of Western Ukraine. Stalin saw the document and was indignant, "What about us?"
      1. Pessimist22
        Pessimist22 4 January 2021 07: 24
        +12
        The territory of Konigsberg was captured by us during the war and not by Poland, and the territory of western Belarus and Ukraine also passed to Poland and back during the hostilities, I don't understand how the defeated and defeated side is demanding something for itself, they could not give anything and that's it ...
        1. Mordvin 3
          Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 07: 36
          0
          Quote: Pessimist22
          could give nothing and that's all.

          This was the demand of the British. They ripped out at the Yalta conference. And at the request of the United States, we attacked Japan.
          1. Pessimist22
            Pessimist22 4 January 2021 08: 21
            +1
            What Yalta, Potsdam decided so.
            1. Mordvin 3
              Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 08: 29
              +1
              Quote: Pessimist22
              What Yalta, Potsdam decided so.

              Maybe I don’t remember everything.
          2. Free wind
            Free wind 5 January 2021 09: 00
            0
            For this they received Sakhalin and the Kuriles.
      2. sevryuk
        sevryuk 4 January 2021 17: 13
        0
        Is Western Ukraine the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria?
    2. nikolai.shupenin
      nikolai.shupenin 4 January 2021 20: 32
      +1
      Yeltsin gave memel after the collapse of the USSR
    3. Oprichnik
      Oprichnik 4 January 2021 23: 03
      0
      And now I would think - how to return. These are unworthy to own and do not have the right, since they have become enemies. In addition, geostrategy dictates that a larger territory gives advantages
  3. Mordvin 3
    Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 06: 23
    +8
    Read more about the Konigsberg operation in the video from the creators of the World of Tanks game.
    Well, what for? All the raspberries have been fucked up. And my grandfather received the Order of Glory for Kenisberg.
    1. Van 16
      Van 16 4 January 2021 07: 05
      +11
      My grandfather had a medal "For the capture of Konigsberg".
      I thought I'd read a serious article now, but here's a link to .. "tanks" ..
      1. Mordvin 3
        Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 07: 06
        +4
        Quote: Van 16
        I thought I'd read a serious article now, but here's a link to .. "tanks" ..

        Just about ... For children, or what?
        1. The comment was deleted.
          1. Mordvin 3
            Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 10: 55
            +5
            Quote: Sergey Averchenkov
            What? Your option.

            I don't play tanks. Came out of childhood.
            Quote: Sergey Averchenkov
            Anything that causes pride in a Soviet person, you will trash.

            Am I going to shit? belay Justify. Personally, in the USSR, I received a salary several times more than now for similar work. And I will rot the USSR?
            1. Sergey Averchenkov
              Sergey Averchenkov 4 January 2021 11: 45
              0
              Okay, let's try ... I'm 64th year of birth. I am a Soviet man And there is nothing to be done about it. Who are you?
              1. Mordvin 3
                Mordvin 3 4 January 2021 11: 57
                +5
                Quote: Sergey Averchenkov
                I am a Soviet man And there is nothing to be done about it. Who are you?

                I am a Soviet man too! Even though you are a dozen years younger! Justify, where I trashed the USSR?
    2. Uncle lee
      Uncle lee 4 January 2021 07: 05
      +6
      Quote: Mordvin 3
      All the raspberries are fucked up

      They make money on the exploits of our grandfathers and fathers!
      1. The leader of the Redskins
        The leader of the Redskins 4 January 2021 08: 33
        0
        I would not be surprised if it turns out to be an advertising move: either a new card will be introduced into the game, or a competition will be timed.
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  4. U-58
    U-58 4 January 2021 08: 31
    +5
    Fyodor Semyonovich Sedykh served as a signalman in howitzer (152 mm) artillery from 1939 to 1947.
    In the war from the first days to the last in the units of the RGK. Kharkov, Rostov-on-Don, Stalingrad, Kursk Bulge, Belarus, Poland, Germany.
    He said that their brigade hit the forts of Koenigsberg with direct fire. And only by the end of the third day cracks and breaks began to form in the walls. Then the offensive began.
  5. Sergey Averchenkov
    Sergey Averchenkov 4 January 2021 09: 49
    +2
    I read about the storming of Königsberg. I read a lot. This article is not new to me. But the truth is written.
  6. Doctor
    Doctor 4 January 2021 10: 49
    +6
    On the question of the ability to fight and the correct commander (Vasilevsky).

    With approximately equal forces of about 100 thousand on both sides, the irreparable losses of the Red Army during the assault amounted to 3700 people.
    And this is in the prohibitively fortified Konigsberg!

    For comparison, the casualties during the storming of Grozny were 1400 people.
    Of the 15 total number of federal troops. wink
    1. your1970
      your1970 7 February 2021 21: 33
      -1
      Quote: Arzt
      And this is in the prohibitively fortified Konigsberg!

      For comparison, the casualties during the storming of Grozny were 1400 people.

      Could Grozny be destroyed with 4 days of artillery fire? In addition to the militants, there are also peaceful OUR citizens lived ... not Germans ...
      We had every moral right to erase Koenigsberg to zero ... Any man over 14 years old was a Wehrmacht soldier.

      With Grozny, everything is easier and more difficult at the same time - partisan actions among civilians.
      1. Doctor
        Doctor 7 February 2021 21: 49
        0
        Could Grozny be destroyed with 4 days of artillery fire? In fact, apart from militants, OUR peaceful citizens lived there ... Not Germans ...
        We had every moral right to erase Koenigsberg to zero ... Any man over 14 years old was a Wehrmacht soldier.

        With Grozny, everything is easier and more difficult at the same time - partisan actions among civilians.

        There is nothing to be done, the principle - who did not hide, I am not to blame. Including when taking YOUR cities.

        Smolensk after liberation.

  7. rruvim
    rruvim 4 January 2021 14: 11
    +8
    Otto von Läsch had at most 20 regular troops, the rest of the militia. The Forts of Königsberg themselves were dilapidated and were practically not updated in the 000s, for the Germans did not even think that someone would encroach on the Citadel of Prussian militarism. By April 40, half of the city was already in ruins from the actions of the allied aviation. In the forts (there are about fifteen of them), there were garrisons of 2-150 fighters, in total no more than three thousand. Vasilevsky, knowing this, made the right decision: to block the forts, shooting them from a safe distance along the way. I don't know what they promised Lyash (he calmly died of his own death in 200), but he gave the order to leave the forts and move to the west, where they fell under the "rink" of the 1971rd Army. The Königsberg garrison did not have a single chance of long-term resistance. Vasilevsky, Chernyakhovsky and Baghramyan - great respect that they released in russian city ​​with minimal losses for this war.
  8. rruvim
    rruvim 4 January 2021 14: 31
    +4
    I often visit Königsgrad, and I have an acquaintance of local lore-ethnographer there. So, in one dispute regarding the inaccessibility of the City, he voiced a whole educational program about the failure of Koenigsberg as a fortified city. And to the question: "What city in Russia was created ideally for the concept of a fortress city with access to the sea?" He replied: "Sevastopol, of course, and Peter, and Koenigsberg - unsuccessful!" Therefore, the task of the RF Armed Forces, located now in the Kaliningrad region, in the event of a large-scale conflict with NATO, is to hold out only 48 hours (this is Soviet secret) until a corridor from Russia through Suwalki is broken through.
    1. boris epstein
      boris epstein 4 January 2021 16: 28
      +4
      In fact, neither in the Crimean War, nor in the Great Patriotic War, Sevastopol was initially not ready for
      land assault. Both times, defensive lines were created during the war. Part of the coastal batteries and the Zheleznyakov armored train near Sevastopol were created from the guns of the sunk Soviet destroyers. Both Sevastopol and Leningrad were initially fortified from an assault from the sea. The defense from storming enemy ground forces in the Great Patriotic War was greatly helped by: Sevastopol-Black Sea Fleet, Leningrad-Baltic Fleet.
    2. Local from the Volga
      Local from the Volga 4 January 2021 17: 38
      0
      and we will break through extremely quickly!
    3. nikolai.shupenin
      nikolai.shupenin 4 January 2021 20: 37
      0
      cover with rockets, and only then a corridor half the width of Poland and Lithuania
  9. steelmaker
    steelmaker 4 January 2021 16: 59
    0
    "There were people in our time ..."
    And in our time, except for a truce in Idlib, our military commanders cannot think of anything. Although, most likely, politicians interfere with the military in Idlib. To take cities also needs political will.
  10. Constanty
    Constanty 4 January 2021 17: 35
    0
    At that time, the capture of this fortified city was more important than the capture of Berlin. Only in this way would the victory of the Red Army become unconditional, and the Germans would lose the opportunity to dictate their terms to the winners.


    This is nonsense. The presence of 400 German soldiers undefeated in Norway did not change anything in the context of Germany's surrender.

    So it was with Koenigsberg. It was enough to isolate, cut off from supplies and
    escape routes by sea and wait for the capture of Berlin - the effect will be exactly the same, and the lives of tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers would have been saved.
    1. mat-vey
      mat-vey 16 January 2021 05: 21
      0
      Quote: Constanty
      a lives of tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers would have been saved

      During the capture of Konigsberg, 3700 people died. ?????????
      1. Constanty
        Constanty 16 January 2021 10: 42
        0
        In fact, the dozens that I wrote about are an exaggeration, it was enough to block the city, and Konigsberg would surrender only in a month.
        3700 fallen Soviet soldiers is 3700 too many.
        Secondly, this is the official data on the losses of only the 3rd Belorussian Front, while the troops of the 1st Baltic Front also took part in the attack, the losses of which are not reported.
        1. mat-vey
          mat-vey 16 January 2021 14: 24
          0
          Quote: Constanty
          troops of the 1st Baltic Front, the losses of which are not reported.

          Do you have data?
          Quote: Constanty
          it was enough to blockade the city, and Konigsberg would have surrendered only in a month.

          And the blocking armies, instead of helping other Soviet troops, would have been waiting on the sidelines ... do you have an estimate for how much their losses would have increased then?
          1. Constanty
            Constanty 16 January 2021 14: 31
            0
            I have no data on the losses of the 1st Baltic Front. Only the losses of the 3rd Belorussian Front are reported, which seems strange.

            Courland was somehow isolated and left without attacks until the surrender - this did not increase the losses of the Red Army.
            1. mat-vey
              mat-vey 16 January 2021 14: 42
              0
              Quote: Constanty
              Courland was somehow isolated and left without attacks until the surrender - this did not increase the losses of the Red Army.

              There were losses because the fierce fighting continued until May 8.
              Moreover, the Königsberg operation was part of the East Prussian operation.
  11. t-12
    t-12 4 January 2021 18: 03
    +5
    Why is this theatrical production when there is an original newsreel?

  12. Old26
    Old26 4 January 2021 19: 25
    +1
    Quote: Sergey Averchenkov
    I read about the storming of Königsberg. I read a lot. This article is not new to me. But the truth is written.

    I've read a lot about this too. Plus the father told me. He served then in the 3rd separate anti-tank brigade of the RVGK. In addition to the most powerful artillery barrage, very powerful anti-tank forces were deployed to the west of Konigsberg. My father commanded a fire platoon (two 100-mm anti-tank vehicles BS-3 EMNIP). According to him, the most difficult thing was to mine the foreground. The positions were behind the highway (the highway between the position and the possible direction of the offensive of the Wehrmacht tank formations breaking through to help). And they tried to mine the highway, but it didn't work. The concrete of the canvas was such that sparks were cut with a crowbar and that was all. True, the tank units going to the aid of Konigsberg did not reach the positions of the anti-tank artillery
    1. agond
      agond 5 January 2021 12: 31
      +1
      At the age of 5-6, I saw the ruins of a castle, it was a heap of bricks of bricks connected by bent armature as thick as an arm
    2. mr.ZinGer
      mr.ZinGer 6 January 2021 15: 00
      0
      Good afternoon, and there are other memories of your father, I have never seen materials about the use of BS-3 in combat.
  13. The comment was deleted.
  14. Ulysses
    Ulysses 5 January 2021 18: 36
    +2
    Not an article, splint for the Pepsi generation.
    A set of escheated speculations.
    A resident of Kaliningrad-Königsberg, if that. request
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 8 January 2021 14: 44
      0
      Already 3 generations of Pepsi have grown. and further will be born .not leavened generations ...
      1. Ulysses
        Ulysses 10 January 2021 22: 04
        +1
        What does the leavened generation have to do with it?
        The assault on Koenigsberg was a serious military operation.

        Another thing is that the article contains a bunch of real nonsense, starting with

        "At that time, the capture of this fortified city was more important than the capture of Berlin. Only in this way the victory of the Red Army would become unconditional, and the Germans would lose the opportunity to dictate their terms to the victors."
        And further such nonsense only remains. request

        PS The Kurland grouping of Germans slightly east of Koenigsberg existed until the end of the war.
        Did the Germans bargain much for the surrender?

        On the storming of the city in general, Andersen's tales, sorry.
        1. antivirus
          antivirus 10 January 2021 22: 11
          0
          that's about fairy tales for 3 generations of Pepsi and said ...
          I read many times about ..... in vain losses, assaults ... and was responsible for revenge for the tortured, free, clean up at any cost. moral duty. die soldiers, but save the women in the Smolensk region, at any cost. the price is known - not waiting, but destruction
  15. Abrosimov Sergey Olegovich
    Abrosimov Sergey Olegovich 6 January 2021 10: 37
    +4
    Quote: rruvim
    I often visit Königsgrad, and I have an acquaintance of local lore-ethnographer there. So, in one dispute regarding the inaccessibility of the City, he voiced a whole educational program about the failure of Koenigsberg as a fortified city. And to the question: "What city in Russia was created ideally for the concept of a fortress city with access to the sea?" He replied: "Sevastopol, of course, and Peter, and Koenigsberg - unsuccessful!" Therefore, the task of the RF Armed Forces, located now in the Kaliningrad region, in the event of a large-scale conflict with NATO, is to hold out only 48 hours (this is Soviet secret) until a corridor from Russia through Suwalki is broken through.


    In no case do I want to plead or defame the memory of the soldiers and officers who died during the assault on Konigsberg, but, according to the recollections of General Otto von Läsch, by the beginning of the assault the fortifications of Konigsberg were not only physically worn out, but also morally shamelessly outdated.
    In particular, the general writes that the forts have turned into huge mousetraps for the garrison. The design of the forts made it possible to protect the garrison from 100mm artillery, there was no opportunity to survey the battlefield around the fort. garrisons were staffed with battalions of the so-called. "ventricles", i.e. of limited combatant soldiers, the anti-tank guns needed to mount the forts on the glassies arrived too late from Berlin.
    Otto von Läsch writes that Königsberg itself lost its strategic importance as a fortress by the beginning of the First World War. According to General Lyash, Russian Cossack patrols already in the First World War reached the gates of the fortress, and already in the First World War the Russians rendered the Konigsberg fortress "too much honor."
    Thus, the legend of the impregnable fortress of Konigsberg was convenient and necessary for the German command, since it was mercilessly used to raise the morale of soldiers at the final stage of the war. Hitler himself unconditionally believed in this legend ...
    At the same time, this legend was and remains necessary for our commanders, historians and politicians, since it allows us to justify the grandiose and not entirely justified losses suffered by us during the assault on Konigsberg ...
    1. Ulysses
      Ulysses 10 January 2021 22: 24
      +1
      At the same time, this legend was and remains necessary for our commanders, historians and politicians, since it allows us to justify the grandiose and not entirely justified losses suffered by us during the assault on Konigsberg ...

      Our losses during the assault on Koenigsberg were not enormous !!
      As for the justification of the assault, this is to the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command.
      The end of the war, we no longer spared shells, and we learned how to fight in cities.
  16. Old26
    Old26 6 January 2021 16: 08
    +1
    Quote: mr.ZinGer
    Good afternoon, and there are other memories of your father, I have never seen materials about the use of BS-3 in combat.

    In the evening I will ask, of course, but as far as I remember, he told me that they deployed their 13th OIPTBR RVGK in the western direction to stop a possible breakthrough of tanks. But it didn’t come to that. And at the forts, as far as I know, they did not shoot
  17. Gregory Charnota
    Gregory Charnota 5 February 2021 21: 40
    0
    I was in this bunker in the summer! very interesting ! wax OttoLyash! cramped rooms.
  18. chakryzhnik
    chakryzhnik April 2 2021 13: 01
    0
    My aunt spent the whole war in a field hospital, from August 1941, she ended the war in Keninsgberg, in April 1945.