The Battle for Berlin

The Battle for Berlin

From the Oder to the Reichstag

Battlefield Tours

17th - 22nd April 2020
(6 Days)

Expert Historian : Major Nigel Dunkley MBE

Tour price: £1,945

click here to book

The Battle for Berlin

From the Oder to the Reichstag

Battlefield Tours

Your Holiday Essentials

17th - 22nd April 2020
(6 Days)

Return flights from London, 4 star hotel, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees, and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Major Nigel Dunkley MBE

Tour price: £1,945

Single supplement: £230
Deposit: £200
Price without flights: £1,845

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

The Battle for Berlin was the decisive action that brought an end to the war in Europe. The tour will focus on the fierce and bitter action from the point when the Red Army crossed the Oder River to the eventual fall of Berlin. You will be based in the capital itself, a city that has arguably been through more change than any other in Europe over the last 50 years. Virtually flattened during the Second World War and cruelly split in two during the Cold War, it has now become a vibrant, bustling and culturally rich metropolis. Eight times bigger than Paris, the city is home to endless galleries and museums, and displays a wide range of architecture, that can be explored to enrich your experience of this magnificent city. Importantly for this trip, in particular, the city doesn’t hold back in memorialising and documenting its turbulent past, leaving plenty to be discovered.

Background

After crossing the Oder it took the Red Army just over three months to advance 100km and take the city. ‘Fortress Berlin’ as Goebbels named it was to be defended at all costs. The first line of defence at the Seelow Heights, some 90km east of Berlin, took Zhukov’s armies four days with heavy losses to break through, however once cleared it left the Red Army free to encircle the city and prepare the coup de grace.

Berlin was defended by roughly 45,000 regular troops supplemented by the Police, the Hitler Youth and Volkssturm (essentially the German version of the Home Guard). The fighting began with a ferocious artillery barrage, adding to the already devastating destruction of the city. Although defended stoically, the continuous waves of Soviet attacks, the Germans’ limited resources and the brutal house to house fighting meant there was only going to be one outcome and the city finally surrendered on 2nd May 1945, nine days after the Russians had entered. The War in Europe was as good as over.

Highlights

  • With soldier & historian Major Nigel Dunkley
  • Vist Seelow Heights 
  • Explore the Zossen Bunker Complex
  • Visit the Olympic Stadium and Tempelhof Airport

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival

Fly London to Berlin and check in to our hotel for 5 nights. Evening talk on the battle of Berlin and welcome dinner.

Day 2 – Crossing the Oder

Start by travelling east to Kienitz, one of the Red Army’s Oder bridgeheads, commemorated by a T-34 tank memorial. We’ll see where the Soviet river crossings took place, the massive Mistel craters, the Jahnsfelde tank ambush and the tragic Jahnsfelde Schlosspark where wounded German soldiers were massacred. Follow the Russian advance westwards, to the site of the last defensive line outside Berlin at Seelow Heights. The impressive museum documents the battle in detail, exhibiting a number of examples of Russian armour and artillery and offers great views of the battleground itself.

Day 3 – Approach Berlin

At Zossen, explore the vast bunker complex which served as headquarters for the Wehrmacht from 1939. Finally, we view the famous Tempelhof Airport, with its imposing Nazi era building.

Day 4 – Central Berlin

We explore Berlin’s extant defences at the Humboldthain Flak tower and bunker, before exploring the more recognisable sights of Berlin, such as the Reichstag area, the Brandenburg Gate, the Tiergarten with its Soviet Memorial, the site of the Fuhrer bunker, and numerous examples of Third Reich architecture and government buildings. Visit the German Resistance Museum set in the Bendler Block where Operation Valkyrie was plotted and where Colonel Stauffenburg was shot. On to Ploetzensee Prison where so many who resisted against the regime were imprisoned and subsequently executed. Both of these sites expose the brutal and perverse nature of the Nazi justice system.

Day 5 – Battle of Berlin

Follow the route of the battle for the Reichstag. It took the Soviets three days to take the building and raise the Red Flag. We cross the Moltke Bridge, traverse the Koenigsplatz and view the impressive Reichstag building. We then visit one of the largest war memorials in Europe: that to the soldiers of the Red Army at Treptow Park and visit the fascinating German Russian Museum on the site of Germany’s surrender of the city. Our day ends at the immense 1936 Olympic complex including the stadium, the Clock Tower boasting fine views over the city and the haunting Langemarckhalle : these are arguably the best examples of National Socialist architecture in Berlin.

Day 6 – Potsdam

A brief visit to Grunewald station, a major site for the deportation of Berlin Jews. Visit Wannsee Conference Villa where the ‘Final Solution’ was planned. We cross the Glienicke Bridge (The Bridge of Spies!) en-route to the Cecilienhof Palace, host to the Potsdam Conference in 1945, where the ‘Big Three’ met to decide the fate of Germany and the post-war boundaries for the rest of war-torn Europe. The meeting rooms have been fantastically preserved to make you feel you’ve walked into the meeting yourself. Continue to the airport for our return flight.

Recommended Reading List

Major Nigel Dunkley MBE

Major Nigel Dunkley MBE

Nigel, a former Royal Scots Dragoon Guard Officer, performed intelligence gathering duties in the former communist East Germany with BRIXMIS during the Cold War. He was awarded the MBE and Bronze Star Medal for his services with the US 1st Cavalry Division during Operation Desert Storm. He was Chief of Staff at the Royal Armoured Corps Centre at Bovington, ending his army career as Defence Attaché at the British Embassy in Berlin. Living so much of his life in Berlin allows him to indulge in his interest in the Nazi era and World War Two in general and being fluent in German and Russian enables him to study campaigns from the ‘other side’ adding colour and an extra ‘insider’ aspect to his tours. He has featured on the National Geographic Channel’s “Battle of Berlin” and has made with two others the highly successful German ZDF TV’s series “Cold Fronts - military espionage in the GDR”, the “Danish SS”, the Lost Evidence Berlin Series, No Reservations (with Tony Bourdain) and many more.

Photo Gallery

  • T34 Tank
  • Tempelhof Airport
  • The 2019 Group at the Moltke Bridge with The Reichstag beyond
  • Treptower Park
  • Treptower Park
  • Seelow Heights Museum
  • Plötzensee Prison
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • Olympic Stadium Berlin

Your Holiday Essentials

17th - 22nd April 2020
(6 Days)

Return flights from London, 4 star hotel, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees, and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Expert Historian: Major Nigel Dunkley MBE

Tour price: £1,945

Single supplement: £230
Deposit: £200
Price without flights: £1,845

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Reviews

Take a look at some of the images taken on our most recent tour

Take a look at some independent reviews of this tour by previous participants here

Photo Gallery

tours by datethemesperiodsdestinations

direct link

Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter

For up to date news as well as details about all of our tours please subscribe to our fortnightly e-newsletter by entering your name and e-mail address below ...