The Battle of Halbe (German: Kessel von Halbe, Russian: Хальбский котёл, Halbe pocket) lasted from April 24 – May 1, 1945 was a battle in which the German Ninth Army, under the command of Generaloberst Theodor Busse, was destroyed as a fighting force by the Red Army during the Battle for Berlin.
The Ninth Army, trapped in a large pocket in the Spree Forest region south-east of Berlin, attempted to break out of the pocket westwards through the village of Halbe and the pine forests south of Berlin to link up with the German Twelfth Army commanded by General Walther Wenck with the intention of heading west and surrendering to the Western Allies. To do this the Ninth Army had to fight their way through three lines of Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front under the command of Marshal Ivan Konev, while at the same time units of the 1st Belorussian Front, under the command of Marshal Georgy Zhukov, attacked the German rearguard from the north east.
After heavy fighting about 30,000 German soldiers—one fifth of those trapped in the pocket—managed to reach the comparative safety of the Twelfth Army’s front lines. The rest were either killed or captured by the Soviets.
A column of PzKpfW IV Ausf.G and Tigers of the 2. SS-Panzer-Division ‘Das Reich’ marching through a snowy forest, near the city of Kirovohrad, 250 km southeast of Kiev, to combat the forces of the 1st Ukrainian Front. Ukraine. 1 December 1943.