The Battle for Berlin

The Battle for Berlin

From the Oder to the Reichstag


The Battle for Berlin

From the Oder to the Reichstag


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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.


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.


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


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 notorious Schloss Park. 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. Closer to the city we will visit the memorial to the Gross Beeren forced labour camp. 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 Humbolthain Flak tower and bunker, before exploring the more recognisable sights of Berlin, like 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 those 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 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 Olympic Stadium, built for the 1936 Olympics and arguably the best example of National Socialist architecture in Berlin.

Day 6 – Potsdam

Visit Wannsee Conference Villa where the ‘Final Solution’ was planned. Thence 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 flights.


Recommended Reading List

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

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