Four maps of the Second World War

From the collections of the Maps Department of the National Library of Russia

Plan of Berlin. - Scale: 1:5 000. - Leningrad, 1944. Fragment

On 15 September 1943, the Leningrad Military Mapping Unit received an order from the General Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief: as soon as possible to compile and prepare a detailed plan of Berlin at the scale of 1 cm to 50 m for publication. Under the hardest conditions of the siege of Leningrad (Leningrad was the name for St. Petersburg in 1924-1990), cartographers had to recreate the layout of the enemy's capital bit by bit. Old maps of Berlin and guidebooks were put to use as sources. More than six thousand names of streets, squares, districts and strategic objects in Berlin were transcribed into Russian in preparation of the plan.

Few people know that Soviet pilots took aerial photographs of the enemy's city from the Dorniers, German bombers acquired before the war. The Nazis mistaked them for their aircraft and did not fired.

The presented fragment of the plan already uses conventional signs to show blown up bridges, fortified areas, barricades in the streets and machine-gun emplacements. This map saved many hundreds of lives of Russian soldiers and commanders during the Battle of Berlin.