In 1945 just as the beginning of the end starts for Berlin at Seelow Heights, Hitler makes drastic changes to the shrinking front lines. All remaining men, tank units and artillery are moved from the town of Seelow Heights and likewise all forces from the West are sent back to the main city of Berlin as the Führer no longer wants them to be used in hopeless battles but rather a hard won battle for the allies, thus a chain of battles do not take place by the Germans, drawing back as many resources, divisions, panzers, and supplies. Hoping to inflict mass deaths on them as they attempt to take the great city of Berlin from the German people, adopting guerrilla tactics, suicide attacks and sniper campaigns into a much longer battle and quickly turns into a mirror of Stalingrad.........
Prelude to Battle
The German dictator giving in to Joseph Goebbels propaganda, decided the German people would make sure Berlin would be a hell hole for the Allies before they ever captured it from them, and that it would be led personally by him until the end. This now meant Hitler would make important changes to the front lines. He declared all forces from Seelow Heights, Halbe and across the Rhine to retreat back to Berlin for the defence of the glorious city, a battle until the very end. The German High Command never expected Hitler to suddenly soften like this. However, many were convinced he now saw reason and clarity, especially since the walls around Germany were closing in on him.
Men, tanks, equipment, food and water were all poured back into the capital from across the front lines, the Berlin defence force now comprised of 300,000. This included soldiers, sailors, SS, civilians and Hitler youth, for the inner and outer skirts of the city.
Now with greater manpower, heavier German defensive procedures were taken to help better fortify Berlin.
The Allied armies did not expect at all for Hitler to make this last major decision. However, they would have to continue to go on with their plans, the Soviet offensive to capture Berlin went ahead with a mass force 2.4 million men ready.
April 16th: Soviet Attack begins
The Russians arrive in force with 2.4 million men in trains and tanks, attempting to storm their way through the outskirts not expecting much resistance. Morale is high among Soviet troops. Many of them stormed through houses and buildings carelessly allowing German troops to ambush and pick them off one by one. As Russian tanks move farther into the outskirts, they are easily destroyed by hidden German panzers and by the end of the first day 250 tanks destroyed by SS divisions.
Supplement and Stock
Famine and disease slowly poured in as the city was closed in on. However, the Germans did their best to stock up on food and weapons. The accumulation of weapons, remaining artillery and use of small firearms, continued to be poured in by what the army had left.
Guerrilla and Suicide Tactics
Completely unorthodox by Nazi standards, the German army adopted extreme measures which proved highly successful in urban war, the use of hit and run tactics, sniper shootings, human shields and suicide bombings against Soviet units and tank units. The Hitler Youth mainly volunteered for the suicide attacks, one in particular used in defence of the Reichstag inflicted as many as 400 Soviet deaths.
As part of the fall back the Luftwaffe was also taken back in order for the final long defence of Berlin. (Therefore Operation Bodenplatte has not occurred) and significant air power has been reserved for the final battle against Soviet troops.
The Soviet army experienced colossal losses over the next few days, especially against its tanks which proved to be a disaster in the urban area. However, this did not effect any determination or weaken morale, the Soviets continued to storm the capital, going through buildings and houses. In fighting against young, old and weak men. Stalin and the rest of the Politburo did, in fact, expect this kind of harshness from the shrinking German resistance. However, it seemed far too much for high Soviet losses to be already as they were with loss of 100,000 men by 23 April. Soviet troops poured into the city. For the Germans, this made them easy targets.
As the Russian army continued their push into the Berlin, the Germans sustained heavy losses as well. The Russians could not use tanks any more so relied on heavy machine gun and artillery. German troops now pulled back, others remained in house-to-house fighting against Red Army troops. Volkssturm forces, being the less trained, bore the brunt of German casualties.
The Western Allies watched carefully as things had not gone to plan on the Soviet side. The German army's retreat from the West allowed British and American forces to capture more land then in the OTL, and therefore had a stronger foothold on Europe then Russia did. As it was becoming clear that Soviet forces were having a hard time ending the battle of Berlin, the Allies began to plan their own intervention and advance on Berlin.