Monday, October 5, 2015

First Official Link-up Ceremony near the Elbe River

26 April 1945: Major General Emil F. Reinhardt (Commander of the US 69th Infantry Division of Courtney Hodges' First Army) and Major General Vladimir V. Rusakov (Commander of the Soviet 58th Guards Rifle Division of Aleksei Zhadov's Fifth Guard Army) lead the celebrations as the Western Allies and the Red Armies link on the River Elbe near the town of Torgau (Southwest of Berlin, Germany). This was an important propaganda event for both sides, Soviet and American. Every American unit along the Elbe-Mulde line was anxious to be the first to meet the Red Army. By the last week of April it was well known that the Soviets were close, and dozens of American patrols were probing beyond the east bank of the Mulde, hoping to meet them. Elements of the First Army’s V Corps made first contact. At 11:30 on 25 April a small patrol from the 69th Infantry Division met a lone Russian horseman in the village of Leckwitz. Several other patrols from the 69th had similar encounters later that day, and on 26 April the division commander met General Rusakov in the first official link-up ceremony. Photo by George Stevens

Source :
"Victory in Europe: D-Day to VE-Day in Full Color" by Max Hastings and George Stevens

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