Battle of the Oder-Neisse Begins as Soviets Approach Berlin
The Battle of the Oder-Neisse is the German name for the initial (operational) phase of one of the last two strategic offensives conducted by the Red Army in the Campaign in Central Europe (1 January - 9 May) during World War II. Its initial breakthrough phase was fought over four days, from April 16 until April 19, 1945, within the larger context of the Battle of Berlin. The Soviet military planners divide the frontal and pincer phases of the operation, named Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation into:
Settin-Rostock Offensive Operation (16 April 1945 - 8 May 1945) by the 2nd Belorussian Front
Seelow-Berlin Offensive Operation (16 April 1945 - 2 May 1945) by the 1st Belorussian Front
Cottbus-Potsdam Offensive Operation (16 April 1945 - 2 May 1945) by the northern flank and Cavalry Mechanized Group of the 1st Ukrainian Front
Spremberg-Torgau Offensive Operation (16 April 1945 - 5 May 1945) by the southern flank of the 1st Ukrainian Front
The battle included heavy fighting by the three Fronts of the Marshals of Soviet Union Konstantin Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front, Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front and Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front, that assaulted the defending Wehrmacht Army Group Vistula commanded by General Colonel (Generaloberst) Gotthard Heinrici and Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner' Army Group Centre.
Joseph Stalin had effectively ordered his two leading generals - Zhukov and Konev - to race to the German capital. With such a huge advantage in manpower and equipment, getting to the actual capital was relatively easy in that the Germans were constantly retreating whereas the Russians had the advantage of forward momentum. However, both Zhukov and Konev knew that the battle for the actual city would be very difficult.