With the beginning of D-Day and the launching of Operation Overlord, the Western Allies had resumed the Western Front of the European Theatre of World War II, and begun to liberate Western Europe. Although initially being bogged down in the north of France, they began to make gradual advances, and eventually broke through into France and began their liberation of Europe. After a week-long battle in August, Paris was liberated from the Nazis, and with this, France and her cities fell, one by one, back into the Allies hands, and their push into Europe got closer to Germany with every push. Much of the European lowlands had fallen back into Allied hands by the end of November, and subsequently, the advance from Paris to the Rhine River began.
But with the launching of Unternehmen Hindenburg, the American general, George S. Patton, saw a great opportunity to strike. He asked General Dwight D. Eisenhower if he could have access to enough fuel and tanks, with which he could attack the Rhineland, and eventually go deeper into Germany. Eisenhower told him he would do what he could, and promised if anything, he would receive his requested supplies in February. Patton, bullheaded as ever, was angered by this, but continued attacking on into the German Siegfried Line. His Army's greatest efforts eventually pierced the line by January, and he made it to the Rhine River of February 22, 1945, becoming the first Allied commander to do so. With his advance to the Rhine completed, Eisenhower gave George's 3rd Army the tanks and fuel he needed to push into Germany, synchronizing perfectly with the defeat of the Germans in the east. With his new supplies, Patton launched his Operation Pershing, named for the American general of First World War fame.
Invasion of West Germany
With his advance to the Rhine completed, George now had to accomplish his second goal of invading Western Germany, setting a target for his first objective, Frankfurt am Main. However, when he advanced up to the city, his army faced heavy resistance by the German Volkssturm, and his objective of capturing the city withing five days of leaving the Rhineland seemed bleak. But with the assistance of Allied air power, Patton was able to take Frankfurt on March 17, just within the time he planned. But after having taken Frankfurt, Patton had two major choices to make, either advance along the roads to Bad Hersfeld, and then to Erfurt, which would likely incur more partisan activity, or simply push across the land and take it directly, likely facing the German Army. Old Blood and Guts decided for the more direct route, and with just four hours of his renewed advance, he faced opposition from both the German Home Guard and from the I SS Panzer Corp. But the British 21st Army Group creeping into Germany in mid-March the I SS Panzer Corp was forced to retreat back to Erfurt, leaving the Volkssturm to fight for themselves against Patton's tanks.
On March 30, Patton attacked Erfurt, and begun a rapid takeover of the city, but the city, defended by the I and II SS Panzer Corp, did not fall as easily as Patton had hoped. He decided to use his air power again to defeat the defending Germans, but, amazingly, the German Luftwaffe was able to put enough planes into the air to defeat the Allied air power, and began bombing Patton's forces. Patton withdrew around 40 miles west to Eisenach, where he heard news that Montgomery was advancing in the north, and had already captured Bremen, and was on his way to Hamburg. Germany was caught between a rock and a hard place as Montgomery advanced in the north and Patton in the south, but Patton was confident that soon he would be outside of Berlin.
Patton renewed his advance for Erfurt on April 8, pushing for the city, and finally allowing his forces to take the city after just four days of fighting. But with Hamburg about to fall to Montgomery's men, the race was on for Berlin.
Invasion of Southeastern Europe
With Germany falling to the north, the First and Ninth US Armies were sent to attack Southeastern Europe, a stronghold for Nazi allies. Their commander was General Omar Bradley, who worked with Patton to develop a battle plan for the invasion, but the first objective, Prague, seemed almost out of reach to the Americans, whose eastward advance had only brought them outside of the city.