A good example of urban combat as experienced by the U.S. Army can be found in a book called War In The Ruins, about the 100th Infantry Division's effort to secure the town of Heilbron. Another good resource is the U.S. Army's AAR for the battle of Nuremberg.
One technique the western Allies quickly adopted was to keep infantry off the streets. If a squad or platoon needed to advance down a city block, they'd frequently use a bazooka or satchel charge to blow a hole in the wall of the building at the end of the block, clear the building, and breach the next wall into the next building, etc. etc. until they reached the end of the block. In smaller villages, units would frequently hold up out of small arms range, send a patrol or scout car forward, and see what happened (especially near the end of the war). I've read many accounts of how the Germans were critical of the Americans especially, because at the first sign of resistance we'd slam them with arty and air.
Jesus dude, way to kick the hostility level from 0 to 10. Aren't you a mod?
You mentioned that the Reichstag was an event in which the Soviets failed to employ their famous urban fighting doctrine. You obviously don't understand the strategic position the Soviets were in when they tried to take the Reichstag. The reason it took the Soviets so long to cross the Konigplatz was because they encountered heavy fire from the Reichstag, as well as the Knoll Opera house and Ministry of interior building, which were both heavily defended by an entrenched enemy, and had to be individually cleared. In addition to this, the Germans had set up antitank and machinegun positions on the Konigplatz itself, which also had to be cleared. Tanks, assault guns, and aircraft could not be easily brought to bear, because the Reichstag defense area was supported by the Berlin Zoo flak tower, which was 2 kms away, and knocked out many tanks as they moved down the Moltke bridge, and across the Konigplatz. Would you be willing to rush across an area not only heavily saturated with machinegun fire, but heavily bombarded by 20mm, 37mm, 88mm, 12.8cm guns?
Also, direct and indirect weapons would not really work against the Reichstag in this case, as the buildings walls were very thick. Also, the German defenders, after they had lost the Konigplatz, retreated into the interior of the building, and did not stay in areas with outside walls. This forced the Soviets to come in after them, and the defenders had the advantage of firepower, defensive positions, and the high ground once inside the building. They also had enough ammunition, water, food, and armaments to last them at least a week.
Also, the Battle for the Reichstag defense area began on April 28, with the crossing of the Moltke bridge.
And while I have no illusions as to the Germans being a spent force, they did have the advantage of being the defenders, as well as the fact that this was the heart of Germany they were fighting for, against a xenophobic enemy. You pit two xenophobic enemies against each other in a pitched last ditch battle, and you're sure to have a blood bath. Also, the remaining defenders of Berlin also mostly all fanatically believed in what they were fighting for, their lives, their families, and their ideology. They knew that if they were captured, they'd most likely spend the rest of their lives in a Gulag suffering. They knew that German civilians would be treated the same way and probably worse than they had treated Soviet civilians during Barbarossa. They also knew that if they lost the war, their ideology would be destroyed. This is why they fought so fiercely against the Soviets at impossible odds.
And above all else, I suggest you know me personally before you launch some sort of attack based on you "Soviet wanking" comment. By your headline, I assume you are an ANZAC Veteran. Foremost, thank you for your service. My great great grandfather fought at Gallipoli. Also, my 5 of my family members fought on the western allied side during World War II. I appreciate their service, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the service of Soviet veterans as well. For the purposes of this thread, I said I thought the Soviets were the most adept at Urban Fighing compared to the other armies that fought in World War II, because, lets face it, they had the most experience, and fought the bloodiest Urban Battles, and had the best combat doctrine and equipment tailored for it.
Finally, the only wanker here is you, because you are seeing what you want to see. Notice, that my very first post that created this thread was on the Battle of Westerplatz, which was fought between the Germans and Polish. Not the Battle of Stalingrad, Sevastopol, Konigsberg, or Berlin, which would have been the easier topics and play into your "Soviet wanker" theory. And damn me for having an opinion, right?
Thanks for your time.
You might want to read up on Sun Tzu:
“Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.”
― Sun Tzu
“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”
― Sun Tzu
What was Zhukov's mission and his commander's intent?
Was it destroy/annihilate Berlin like something out of the Middle Ages or Crusades?
Or was it clear/seize/hold Berlin and force the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany?
Depending on mission/objective there's a whole lot of options.
I'm not going to Monday Morning Quarterback the Soviet handling of the Battle of Berlin...they succeeded decisively at great cost. But it's pretty obvious trying to look thru the lens of a professional soldier's perspective, that mitigating Soviet casualties was a distant secondary consideration to affecting a Middle Ages-esque sack & pillage. Not exactly a doctrine ANY professional soldiers I know would be keen to emulate, ever....due to the low value obviously held by command of the lives of the soldiers under it.
You posit the Soviets were most experienced in urban combat, had specifically tailored equipment, and the best doctrine.
I disagree....."best doctrine" would surely take into consideration the men at the coalface.
What did Patton say?
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”
I'm far from a subject matter expert on the Battle of Berlin, but I think it's quite safe to say that Russian doctrine and recipe for the battle included a bit too much vengeance and a distinct lack of dispassionate modern military professionalism.
They were an unstoppable Mongol horde and I mean that intentionally in both a positive and negative way.
When conducting a battlefield appreciation a decent(or better) commander will attempt to develop a plan that will shape the enemy to align with the commander's intent/mission/objective.
IF that intent includes an objective of clearing the enemy off of a position, then any decent commander will provide the enemy a means of escape.
This is done both to reduce friendly casualties as well as to more easily destroy an enemy while in pursuit of them.
In the open, on the move, fighting a hasty rearguard action, time and space poor, unable to develop another effective defensive position, unable to break contact, and ultimately more cheaply run down and destroyed or defeated.
What's the easier way to kill a honey badger? Put your arm down a hole and pull out a stump, or burn him out and channel him into an open killing field.
A commander will ask himself "What is the enemy's most likely course of action?" and "What is the enemy's most dangerous course of action?"
In this case, the Germans most likely course of action would be to conduct operations to delay the Russian's as the Germans retreat West to surrender to the US/UK forces.
The Germans most dangerous course of action was to be trapped and fight to the death.
I would posit the Russians willingly and knowingly forced the most dangerous course of action on the Germans for reasons of politics and vengeance and they took on a cornered honey badger.
That to me is not exactly a glowing example of "best combat doctrine", not by a frickin' long shot.
Great post. I think too many people think that infantry is supposed to completely and utterly destroy every enemy they face. Much better to just make them go away.
We did a TEWT recently where a crusty old WO corrected a young officer by mentioning that the officer's plan to CLEAR(not destroy) an enemy position did not allow for an enemy escape route on which to destroy him at a future engagement.....forcing the enemy to select the most dangerous course of action.
He used the example that if a single pistol shot resulted in the enemy retreating = win
You wouldn't corner a single honey badger in a hole, so why would you corner thousands of well armed honey badgers in hidey holes? Unless you have no choice and the mission demands it.
Maybe we should get you and Ngati to run an MP.net TEWTs to unlearn and re-edumicate these youngins.
Um, not bother going further north than Sicily in the first place I think...
Yeah, man. Chill out there and enjoy the food and scenery. The "family businesses" are a little rough in that AO, but hey. Interesting thread, but I have seen the OP in action before. I thought there were age limits to prevent the appearance of precocious boys.
Back to the topic. Interesting discussion if not minding some of the posts... About the general role of infantry, could it be formulated into just contact, conquer/occupy and hold. The destroying enemy part is optional, depending on circumstances and also done with the support of other arms/assets.