February 3, 2018




Berlin suffered its worst air raid of the war when 1,500 USAAF bombers dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs on the city.  British bombers dropped 45,517 tons of bombs. The raid was led by USAAF Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Rosenthal,  a highly decorated Jewish-American  of the 100th Bombardment Group, who commanded the entire First Air Division's bomber for the raid. Friedrichstadt (the newspaper district), and Luisenstadt (both divided between the boroughs of Kreuzberg and Mitte, the central area) and some other areas, such as Friedrichshain, were severely damaged. The bombs used in this raid consisted mostly of high explosive ordnance and not incendiary munitions.  The bombing was so dense that it caused a city fire spreading eastwards, driven by the wind, over the south of Friedrichstadt and the northwest of neighboured Luisenstadt. The fire lasted for four days until it had burnt everything combustible in its range to ashes.

The Soviets completed the Sandomierz–Silesian Offensive, which was part of the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive. This offensive was initiated on January 12, starting from the Sandomierz Bridgehead led by Konev of the 1st Ukrainian Front. Within 6 days they broke through the German front on the length of 250k and advanced from 120 to 150k; near the end of the offensive the Soviets approached Breslau (Wrocław) and begun crossing of the Oder (Odra) river.

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