Forward Soviet tank units reached the Baltic, and the German forces in Pomerania became trapped in a series of encirclements. Russian troops then pushed on to Danzig—strategic location and the last German stronghold in the region—reaching it in early March and putting it under siege. A third stage was the operation to take the Arnswalde and Kolberg areas. Kolberg was one of the key German positions in the “Pomeranian wall,” the vital link between Pomerania and Prussia. The German high command had planned to use the port facilities for the logistical supply of nearby German forces, and hoped that the presence of this stronghold would lure Soviet forces away from the main thrust toward Berlin. The ensuing battle was brutal, with Soviet troops eventually seizing Kolberg. Finally, spearheads of the 1st Byelorussian Front advanced against the German Eleventh SS Panzer Army, which was being assembled in Pomerania. What followed was a bitter and bloody battle for the town of Altdamm.
The offensive successfully cleared the remnants of German forces northeast of Berlin, allowing Zhukov’s forces to finally launch the battle of Berlin from the Seelow Heights on the Oder on April 16, 1945.
Forces and commanders
Stage I: Konitz-Koslin offensive Operation
Stage II: Danzig offensive operation
Stage III: Arnswalde-Kolberg operation
Stage IV: Altdamm offensive operation