Unfortunately for Commissar Kuznetsov, replacing the suspended Admiral Golovko proved a hard task indeed. Decades of neglect imposed on Naval Affairs, first by the Czarist and then the Soviet governments, meant skilled and experienced admirals were few. In the end, he decided to nominate Admiral Oktyabrskij, somewhat famous for his unlikely survival in an ill-fated campaign off the coast of Norway.
A few days later, however, his problems once again seemed like nothing, compared with those of the Enemy. Rumors started spreading on the afternoon, and it was late in the night when confirmation came.
Adolf Hitler was dead.
Not only that, but it seemed the Nazi leadership in general had been decapitated, at least partially. The new President was General Ludwig Beck, and the new Chancellor Car Goerdeler. No-one had dared take up the role of Führer.
Already demoralized by repeated military defeats, loss of territory and ships, the German forces collapsed with the death of their leader.
3 days after the news, a badly protected Soviet transport fleet ran into the remnants of the Baltic Kriegsmarine. The Soviet Admiral, equipped only with 5 old destroyers, was initially worried, but he soon realized the Enemy had no will to fight, or even much will to live, as they started firing on their own ships, before running away.
Some weeks later, the Assault on Berlin started, led by Admiral Pavlov. Again the Red Army was expecting a surprise, an ambush, or an instance of fanatical defense in hard urban terrain, and thus decided to use overwhelming numbers.
The Army's fear would prove to be unfounded once more, as Austrian Generalfeldmarschall von Böhm-Ermolli proceeded to evacuate his HQ and a mauled division with what few trucks he had left, leaving only a handful of doomed men to defend the city.
Victory was swiftly achieved.
In the Southern point of the front, the Revolutionary forces of Bulgaria took heart from Soviet advances, and control of the country, lost by the fascists as they bled the nation needlessly to help their German puppet-masters.
One day later, complete control was Berlin was secured. The honor fell to Lt. General Rybalko and the 28th Mechanized Corps. Eternal Glory to them!
Success in the battlefield is, of course, no excuse for the home-front to slack in its indispensable labor, as the Soviet Shipyards Workers once again proved, only 5 days after the fall of the former Nazi capital.
Honoring that and the many other Victories of the Red Forces, the new ships were named Slava (Glory), Pobeda (Victory) and Torzhestvo (Triumph).
Good auspices the new Battleships proved to be, as later in that very same day, Budapest also fell to the Red Army.
A special thanks to RGB for translation support, and keep on tuning for more updates! Yes, probably next month...