Battle of Vienna
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseBy the end of Mar 1945, Soviet troops had overran the territory of the First Slovak Republic, ie. the eastern half of occupied Czechoslovakia. Although the Soviet forces were now ready to concentrate on Berlin, Germany, Joseph Stalin observed that there was no risk that the Anglo-Americans would reach Berlin first, thus he decided to divert some of his forces to take over Vienna, Ostmark, southern Germany. Under the command of General Fyodor Tolbukhin, the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front encircled the city, which was defended by the German II SS Panzer Corps and the 6th Panzer Army, both of which were under-strength through prolonged fighting. The German defense was under the overall command of General Rudolf von B├╝nau, while the SS corps was under the command of SS General Wilhelm Bittrich. Between 2 Apr and 7 Apr, fighting was generally contained in the southern and eastern suburbs, but by 8 Apr, Soviet troops had gained several key positions in the southern suburbs, including the main rail station, and moved into the western and northern suburbs. The main attack against the city center was launched on the following day. By 13 Apr, most German forces in Vienna were isolated in various pockets, with the exception being the remaining troops of the II SS Panzer Corps, which was able to penetrate the western ring of the encirclement and escape destruction. Without the ability to coordinate between the pockets, German resistance ceased to be effective by the end of 13 Apr 1945.
ww2dbaseWith Vienna generally secured, the battle-hardened and disciplined Soviet forces moved to toward Graz in an attempt to destroy the fleeing German forces. When the Soviet occupation forces arrived in this ruined city, the city suffered rape, looting, and murder for the subsequent weeks.
Last Major Update: Feb 2012
Battle of Vienna Interactive Map
Battle of Vienna Timeline
|30 Mar 1945||Soviet troops crossed the Hron and Nitra Rivers in Czechoslovakia and crossed into occupied Austria near Koszeg, Hungary. They were now 50 miles from Vienna, Ostmark, Germany.|
|1 Apr 1945||Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front captured Wiener Neustadt, occupied Austria.|
|2 Apr 1945||Soviet troops captured Wiener Neustadt, Eisenstadt, Neunkirchen, and Gloggnitz in southern Germany, thus now threatening Vienna.|
|3 Apr 1945||Soviet 2nd Ukrainian Front penetrated the German defensive lines between Wiener Neustadt and Neusiedler Lake, advancing toward Vienna, Austria. Major Carl Szokoll, a leader of the Austrian resistance, met with Soviet authorities about cooperation in Vienna to prevent the city's destruction.|
|5 Apr 1945||Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front cut the rail line from Linz to Vienna, occupied Austria.|
|6 Apr 1945||Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front began attacking the suburbs of Vienna, occupied Austria.|
|8 Apr 1945||Soviet troops gained control of the main railway station in Vienna, Ostmark, Germany and surrounded the city.|
|9 Apr 1945||Soviet troops began assaulting the central region of Vienna, Ostmark, Germany.|
|10 Apr 1945||German 6.SS-Panzerarmee defended against strong Soviet attacks against Wiener Neustadt and Baden in occupied Austria. Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued in the central districts of Vienna.|
|11 Apr 1945||The Soviet 4th Guards Army attacked the canals over the Danube River in Vienna, Ostmark, Germany. Nearby, Soviet 20th Guards Rifle Corps and 1st Mechanized Corps attacked the Reichsbr├╝cke Bridge but failing to take it. After observing the fighting on the front lines in the district of Florisdorf, Otto Skorzeny concluded that Vienna was to fall within a day.|
|13 Apr 1945||The Soviet Danube Flotilla landed men of the 80th Guards Rifle Division and 7th Guards Airborne Division on both sides of the Reichsbr├╝cke Bridge in Vienna, Ostmark, Germany, securing it. Later on the same day, Soviet troops secured the Essling district of Vienna while the Danube Flotilla delivered more men near Klosterneuburg 15 kilometers up the river. By the end of the day, German resistance in Vienna, broken up in several pockets, ceased to be effective.|
|15 Apr 1945||Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front advanced toward Graz in occupied Austria.|
|29 Apr 1945||The Soviet Union set up a provisional government in Vienna, Austria.|
|9 Jun 1945||277,380 Soviet and Bulgarian personnel were awarded the medal for the capture of Vienna, Ostmark, Germany (occupied Austria).|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945
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