WW2 Aerial Reconnaissance Studies
The population of East Prussia was woefully unprepared for the final Soviet offensive operation that came in January 1945. Nazi officials suppressed information about the imminence of the danger and refused to let residents evacuate until it was too late. Despite this purposeful inaction however, coverage of East Prussia between Marienburg (Malbork, Poland) and Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia) on 6 August 1944 revealed defensive construction outside both cities. The construction coincided with Operation Bagration (23 June - 19 August) that set the stage the East Prussian Offensive. At Königsberg trenching had been recently excavated along a lake (pond) about 7 km east of the city center (Graphic 1). The trenching probably connected two of the forts surrounding the city. The trenching at Marienburg followed the old defensive perimeter 4 km east of the fortress in the city center, connecting two outer forts (Graphic 2). An older, unoccupied anti-aircraft site was near one of the forts. There was no activity noted at the fortress (Graphic 3).