One of the bloodiest and most bitter armor and artillery battle ever in the history of warfare was fought on both sides of the Oder River. The Red Army gathered in the little village of Küstrin on the eastern banks of the Oder and the German Army dug in on the flatlands and hills on the western side. This was the bitter winter 1944/1945. We see both sides rushing artillery and armor to the front and digging in as refugees flee in all directions. The weather is bitter cold.
There are ruined buildings and bodies lie about in the snow. Soviet commanders study their maps of the area and we watch them plan their next move. Sturmovik bombers are overhead and we are in the cockpit, looking down on the battlefield. Ancient fortifications are reduced to rubble. German radio is filled with inspirational speeches and powerful music, but the end is obviously near.
We see probably the greatest pilot of all time, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, receiving his special medal – the Knights Cross with Oak Leaf, Crossed Swords and Diamonds – in Gold! No one else ever was decorated with this incredibly high honor. He was in his hospital bed but he vowed to return to the fight quickly. German Panzers are hidden in the woods waiting for the waves of Soviet T-34 tanks. They don’t have long to wait! The Kaytusha rockets are launched, arriving in wave after wave of destruction. The Red Army is advancing. Marshall Georgi Zhukov is now on scene and in overall command – the wave of the Red Army moves rapidly to the west. They find traitors hanging in the trees as they advance.
25 April 1945 – it is all but over and we are in the cockpit of Soviet aircraft high over the ruins of Berlin.