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27 April 1945: Russians and Americans link at Elbe. Russian and American troops have joined hands at the River Elbe in Germany, bringing the end of the war a step closer. Statements have been released simultaneously in London, Moscow and Washington this evening reaffirming the determination of the three Allied powers to complete the destruction of the Third Reich. According to a statement issued by Downing Street, the commanders of a United States division and of a Russian Guards division met at Torgau, south of Berlin on 26 April at 1600 hours local time. In fact the first contact was made between patrols on 25 April when a first lieutenant and three men of an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon of the US division met forward elements of the Russian Guards division. First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue of the 3rd Battalion, 273rd Infantry, 69th Infantry Division took his men in a boat across the Elbe to be greeted by Lt Col Alexander Gardiev, Commander of the 175th Rifle Regiment of the 58th Guards Division, 34th Corps. They made arrangements for the formal handshake in front of photographers at Torgau the following day. By joining forces at Elbe, the American and Soviet troops have successfully cut the Germany army in two. However, The Times correspondent warns of the possibility of “a protracted period of mountain warfare”. The American and Russian military leaders have paid tribute to their troops. In Moscow 324 guns fired a 24 salvo in honour of “victory of the freedom-loving peoples over Germany”. (Source: BBC)

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