Happy Birthday, Adolf. Love, Stalin. Artillery from the Soviets begins to fall on Berlin today in WW2 history, 4/20/45. Hitler had a brief 56th birthday celebration and was then urged by his generals to head south. Refusing, he instead set up a northern command under Dönitz and a southern command under Kesselring. Hitler would be dead in 10 days.
The crews of two Soviet Br-5 heavy mortars (280-mm) prepare to open fire somewhere on the Eastern Front. This was the heaviest Soviet field piece. The Br-5 was one of the most crucial weapons during the Battle of Berlin. Its 168-kg HE shell would create 10-meter wide craters upon impact, with a zone of devastation out to 100 m.The weapon had low rate of fire due to barrel overheating.