The house of cards finally collapses. The remnants of the Wehrmacht desperately tries to shore up its increasingly precarious position. Concluding that northern Germany is a completely lost cause Hanover is abandoned so its garrison can scramble southward to join the line protecting the northern side of the south German defensive position. With Vienna, Prague and Berlin in Soviet hands the only viable defensive position left is a lodgement running along the Rhine.River before turning toward Mannheim and encompassing Munich and the northern Approaches to Austria the Ruhr is now completely sealed off and half in American hands. The southern lodgement also must be defended from the East as American and British Armor had been running wild seizing one city after another. The eastern line is thin and most ominously Munich is only garrisoned by a number of assorted units, only one of which has any sort of intrinsic artillery support. The southern end of the German position is very vulnerable from both the east and the west where the defense line has already been compromised.
In Italy most of the Axis forces scuttle north to form a new line behind the Po in expectation of falling back to the Alpine passes in the second half of May.
The collapse starts at isolated and out of supply Hamburg. The northern section of the city is already in Allied hands with the surviving German units in the region taking refuge in southern Hamburg and Lubeck. Hamburg is stormed by a force built around an American airborne division and various other Allies units that have entered the region. The garrison is wiped out.
In the Ruhr the U.S. army attacks the northern and eastern ends of the German position In both cases the fighting is bloody with heavy losses for the American engineers and infantry, but retreat is impossible and the garrisons are destroyed. A American motorized infantry corps with two brigades of tanks storms Munich. Again the Americans take losses, but the German garrison is destroyed. The road to Stuttgart is open and the city’s garrison has been diverted to the frontline. Now a British armored division exploits its way into the undefended city.
The Allies are already negotiating their surrender with the Allies. Facing the destruction of what little they still hold on May 15 OKW agrees to unconditional surrender.
At the end of the May I turn, the Germans only held Mannheim and two completely surrounded hexes of the southern and western Ruhr. Since the government had already relocated falling below six major cities was sufficient to trigger German surrender. In the end the destruction or withdrawal to the East of most Germany’s mobile units made Wehrmacht’s defensive positions completely untenable.