February 23, 2018




The Battle of Poznań ended in Soviet victory.  It was a massive assault by the Soviet Union's Red Army against the Nazi stronghold in the city of Poznan, in occupied Poland. The battle ensued for almost an entire month as the Soviets painstakingly reduced the German fortified positions, using intense urban combat, leading to a final attack on the city's citadel by the Red Army. The city of Poznań (called Posen in German) lay in the western part of Poland which had been annexed by Nazi Germany following their invasion of Poland in 1939, and was the chief city of Reichsgau Wartheland. The Nazi defenders made use of some of the surviving Festung Posen (strongholds) 19-th century fortifications built during Prussian rule. The Fort Winiary citadel stood on a hill to the north of the city centre. Around the city perimeter were 18 massively-built forts, spaced at intervals of about 2 kilometres in a ring with a radius of about 5 kilometres. General Chuikov described the forts as follows: "....underground structures each with several stories, the whole projecting above the surrounding terrain. Only a mound was visible above ground -- the layer of earth covering the rest. Each fort was ringed by a ditch ten metres wide and eight metres deep, with walls revetted with brickwork. Across the ditch was a bridge, leading to one of the upper stories. Among the forts, to the rear, there were one-storey brick bunkers. These were clad in concrete almost a full metre thick, and were used as stores. The upper works of the forts were sufficiently strong to provide reliable protection against heavy artillery fire. . . . the enemy would be able to direct fire of all kinds against us both on the approaches to the forts and within them, on the rampart. The embrasures were such that flanking fire from rifles and machine-guns could be directed from them."

German Town Annihilated by British Bombers:  The largest attack during World War II was the bombing of the German city of Pforzheim. On the evening of February 23, 1945, RAF bombers carried out a raid with devastating consequences. About 17,600 people perished, almost a third of the towns population and about 83% of the buildings were completely destroyed. The Allies believed that the town was producing  precision instruments for use in the Wehrmacht, and that the town was a central hub of German transports. (In 1944  many of the towns factories had been converted to manufacturing weapons such as anti-aircraft shells, bomb fuses, and suspected to have made parts for the V1 and V2 rockets.)

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