The Russians had prooved themselves to the world. They had comeback strong and pushed German troops back to their own homeland. They had pushed into Czechoslovakia and took Silesia in January of 1945. By the end of February, East Prussia from the lower Vistula to the uper Vistula were taken. By March, Konigsberg and Breslau were theirs.
With the news of the fall of Berlin coming soon, German citizens continued to riot. Food was scarce, water was scarce, and the situation was hopeless. Teens and older men were once again introduced into battle.
Four vital operations were thought up to drive a stake through the heart of the German defenses. They were operation Veritable, Operation Grenade, Operation Undertone, and Operation Lumberjack.
Under Operation Veritable, the Canadian First and British Second Armies were to strike between Maas and Rhine Rivers at the Xanten-Geldern Line. In Operation Grenade, the U.S. Ninth Army was to strike at the Julich-Neuss Line. Under Operation Lumberjack, the U.S. Twelfth Army Group was to rid the enemy at Moselle, Bohn, and Coblenz. In Operation Undertone, the Sixth Army Group would take Moselle, converge on Mainz and approach Freilburg and join up with the U.S. Third Army at Coblenz.
All four operations were successful. When operation Veritable was launched near Nijmegan on February 8, 1945, the Canadian and British armies believed it would be easy. But the weather turned bad. Rivers overflowed and plains flooded, which slowed down the operation. The Germans were very resistant, but were finally pushed back to the Rhine and blew up the bridge to cross it.
Another Allies offensive was launched. This time it was in the air. On February 22, 23, and 24, the U.S. Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Force in Italy, the U.S. Eighth, Ninth and all of the Royal Air Force got together for a huge strike at German supplies and communications posts.
The U.S. Ninth Army crossed the Roer River on February 21 after the Germans flooded it by blowing up the Schwammanuel dam. In Operation Lumberjack, the town of Cologne was taken on March 7, 1945. The Germans then crossed the Rhine River and blew up the Hohenzollern Bridge behind them. The Allies were closing in fast.
One bridge called the Ludendorff was supposedly demolished by the Germans, but the bridge only had a crater in it. The Ludendorff Bridge provided a way to cross the Rhine River. Almost all other bridges that crossed the Rhine were blown up. However, this one was still standing.
Sergeant Alexander A. Drabik in the U.S. 9th Armored Division led his troops to the town of Remagen on March 7, 1945. They reached the Ludendorff bridge and crossed it under heavy fire at 3:50 p.m. Another explosion occured, but the bridge still remained standing.
Reinforcements were rushed in. Engineers raced in to repair the bridge. By the next day, 8,000 trops were across the dreaded Rhine River. Engineers then made two more bridges right beside it. Any attempts to destroy the bridge failed.
Hitler had all men responsible at Remagen shot. He believed he had good reason. Several divisions had crossed the bridige. On March 17, the bridge collapsed due to non-stop bombing. The Americans controlled 8 miles off the river and 25 miles inland. With this, American engineers built 62 bridges in days. The bridge prooved to be priceless, however. By March 25, all Allied armies were across the bridge getting ready to strike.
The next step was to take the area of Ruhr after crossing the Rhine. The Ruhr was the supply center of Germany. The huge blast furnaces made steel and ammunition for German troops, so with this area captured, German would start to bleed to death.
On late March of 1945, a huge convoy of Allied planes destroyed 18 major railways along with key supply furnaces and airfields. On March 24, 1945, Lieutenant General William H. Simpson's U.S. Ninth Army struck at the Ruhr and headed for Lippstadt. Again the Germans foolishly resisted, still not realizing they have lost the war. Lieutenant General Courtney H. Hodges U.S. First Army struck the eastern part of the Ruhr from the Remagen bridgehead. Still, the Germans continued to fight.
On April 1, 1945, the U.S. Ninth and First Armies took Lippstadt. This caused the Ruhr to be surrounded. The Germans fought on, but under Field Marshal Walter Model's orders, the troops surrendered. The Allies took about 400,000 prisoners. On April 21, 1945, Field Marshal Model killed himself because he was ashamed the he didn't follow Hitler's orders. The Ruhr was taken, and so was Hitler's supplies.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Jacob L. Dever ordered his Sixth Army Group to push into Germany from the east. Mannheim was captured by the U.S. Seventh Army on March 29th, and Nuremberg was taken on April 20th, and Munich on April 30th. The French First Army took Karlsruhe on April 9th, Stuttgart on April 21st, and Friedrichshafen on April 30th. The French crossed into Austria.
The U.S. Ninth and First Armies took Kassel on April 4th, and Hanover on April 10th. By April 15th, the U.S. First Army took Halle and Leipzig. The 2nd Armored Division of the Ninth Army established a bridgehead at the Elbe River, and were close to Magdeburg. Montgomery's Twenty-first Army Group went into Holland in the north. The Canadian First Army also went into Holland and took Ijsselmeer on April 18th, 1945. On April 8th, Bremen was taken by the British Second Army. On May 2nd, Lubeck was also taken.
Many Germans surrendered. The Russians were converging on Germany, and many Germans surrendered to them too. The Russians treated the surrendering Germans horribly. The Allies treated them a lot better, so many hopeless Germans ran to the Allies in hopes of an unharsh surrender. With all the surrenders, many took their own lives. To make things worth, Germany's treasure, which they had stole from Jews, merchants, and countries, was found by General Patton's troops. It was worth over $250,000,000. The Germans were being crushed.
In a period of two years, the Germans had lost everything they had gained. They lost Leningrad, the Western Ukraine, Stalingrad, Finland, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria, The Baltics, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and all of Russia. Germany was being slaughtered. The Allies were on the verge of ending this war. The next stop... Berlin.