Manuscript-Annotated Map Showing Soviet Forces Entering Germany for the First Time!
A fantastic map showing the first Soviet breakthrough into Germany-proper, during the leadup to the Battle of Berlin and the closing stages of the Vistula-Oder Offensive. The map comes from the personal collection of Major General Nver Georgievich Safaryan, who led the 89th Armenian Rifles during the Vistula-Oder Offensive and the Battle of Berlin.
The map centers around Frankfurt (Oder) in eastern Germany on the present-day border with Poland, and stretches from Kustrin in the north to Neuzelle in the south, in the west is Fürstenwalde, almost on the outskirts of Berlin. This swath of territory represents the first foothold of the Soviet Red Army as it pushed into Germany-proper in the quest to capture Berlin. This map is particularly special as it shows in contemporary manuscript the Red Army front as it first crossed the Oder River into Germany.
The manuscript notes on the map show several fronts, one north of Frankfurt (Oder), pushing just across the Oder River; one just to the south of Frankfurt (Oder), encircling the town; and then a less-well-defined front advancing in several layers west towards Berlin. The Seelow Heights ("Зеелов") are shown on the map - this was the site of the final major battle before Soviet forces reached Berlin.
The most detailed manuscript notes are just to the south of Frankfurt (Oder), where the 89th Armenian Rifles were engaged in capturing the city.
A red pencil shows a track from Frankfurt (Oder) north to Müncheberg and from there north-west to Berlin. The 89th Armenian Rifles participated in the assault on Berlin from the north, along with other aspects of the 3rd Shock Army.
The hand-drawn notes on the map show the Tamanyan Division entering the city from the north through Reinickendorf-Ost, proceeding to capture the Schäfersee Lake, Bornholmer Strasse rail station, Humboldthain Park (with its massive concrete Flak Tower), Rosenthaler Platz (where several small fronts are shown), crossing the Spree River just to the east of Friedrichstraße, continuing to the Reichstag, and Königsplatz. To the west, the manuscript notes show deployments of the 390th, 400th, and 526th Regiments of the 3rd Shock Army in Charlottenberg.
The 89th Armenian Rifles arrived at the Reichstag just after its capture by other elements of the 3rd Shock Army.
Wikipedia provides the following overview of the exploits of the Tamanyan Division during the Battle of Berlin:
The 89th arrived in the German capital on the night of April 29, along with other elements of the 3rd Shock Army, and deployed the 390th, 400th, and 526th Regiments to take part in heavy street-to-street battles in the Wedding and Reinickendorf districts.The division's artillery was put to good effect to level buildings where lurking panzerfaust teams were holding up the unit's advance into the central part of the city. On April 30 the division had encountered the twin four-story structures at Flakturm III at Humboldthain Park. Safaryan ordered that they be encircled, and brought his artillery to bear against the flak towers and had his sappers lay a thousand kilograms of explosives at the foundations. Though they caused a great number of casualties, including inflicting concussions against the defenders within, they were unable to penetrate the four meters of iron and concrete walls. But under withering artillery and anti-tank gunfire, on May 2 the commander of the flak towers agreed to surrender.
In several days of fighting the division had overrun seven districts. For its role in the capture of Berlin, the 89th was awarded with the Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class and Major General Hmayak G. Babayan was bestowed with the Hero of the Soviet Union. The 89th Rifle Division is recorded to have liberated a total of 900 cities, towns, and villages. It had advanced a distance of 3,700 kilometers in its combat history, and 7,333 of its members were given commendations and awards, nine of whom were decorated with the award of the Hero of the Soviet Union. A "friendship monument" and memorial was erected in the division's honor in Sevastopol.
Nver Georgievich Safaryan (Нве́р Гео́ргиевич Сафаря́н) was an Armenian military officer who commanded the Soviet 295th (1942), then the 89th Rifle Divisions (1943-1946). Under his command, the 89th Tamanyan Rifles participated in the Vistula-Oder Offensive and the assault on Berlin.
On February 19, 1943, Safaryan was promoted to the rank of Colonel, and on December 21 of that year, he was promoted again, to the rank of Major General. On May 31, 1945, by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, he was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, 2nd Class.
This map and two others were purchased from the descendants of Major General Safaryan.