In the last phase of the Second World War the Sixth Panzer Army was the last army available to the German military leadership which was more or less intact and was capable of launching a major offensive. After it had been withdrawn from the Western front in the aftermath of the failed Ardennes counter offensive, it was replenished with men and gears as fully as was possible in the given circumstances, and as a result it almost regained its 1944 autumn strength. It would not have been a surprise if it had been deployed on German territory against the Allied troops advancing to Rhine, or in Silesia or in the Baltics or even if it had been sent as a reinforcement to the Army Group Vistula to defend the distant approaches to Berlin against the advancing Soviet army - reinforcement and fresh troops capable of launching counter offensives were desperately needed everywhere. But it happened otherwise: the Sixth Army was deployed in Hungary and participated in the Operation Spring Awakening, launched in the western part of the country on 6th of March, 1945. This was the last German "big offensive" in the course of the Second World War. Several questions come to mind about the operation. What were the goals originally set to be achieved by this seemingly pointless attack? What role was assigned to the once formidable German Panzer Corps? Is it true that the Soviet command used the same defense directives as had been used during the battle of Kursk in 1943 because they had proved to be viable then? What types of tanks and armored vehicles fight in West Hungary and in what numbers? How did the American made M4A2 tanks manned by Soviet crews fare against the much heavier German Panther and Tiger B tanks on the Hungarian soil? What were the losses on both sides in tanks and armored vehicles? To what extent can be the prompt and powerful response of the Soviet side - the offensive towards Vienna - evaluated as being successful? How did the Germans, the Soviets, the Hungarians and the Bulgarians use their tanks and armored vehicles in this operation? Besides giving a detailed chronological description of the events, the book tries to find answers to these questions. The facts extracted from the operational documents of the fighting sides have been supplemented with excerpts from diaries and memoirs, and even the maps have been drawn on the basis of the original ones. The author has explored some new archival sources kept in Russian archives and also incorporated some published Russian materials into his research that was neglected up until now by other researchers, along with some newly published German memoirs - all this has made possible to create a narrative of the events related to us by the author in hitherto unprecedented detail.
In March 1945 the German Wehrmacht undertook its final attempt to change the course of the war by launching a counteroffensive in the area of Lake Balaton, Hungary. Here, the best panzer forces of the Third Reich and the elite of the Panzerwaffe were assembled - the panzer divisions SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Das Reich, Totenkopf, Wiking and others, staffed by ardent believers in Nazism and armed with the most up-to-date combat equipment, including up to 900 tanks and self-propelled guns. At the time, this was considered a secondary axis for the Red Army, and thus the troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front had to stop the German counteroffensive with their own forces and could not count upon reinforcements from the Stavka Reserve, which were needed for the decisive storming of Berlin. Relying upon their combat skill and rich combat experience, the Soviet troops carried out this task with honor, stopping the tidal wave of German armor and inflicting a decisive defeat and enormous, irreplaceable losses upon the enemy. The defeat of the Sixth SS Panzer Army became a genuine catastrophe for Germany, and Balaton became the tomb of the Panzerwaffe. In this book, penned by two leading Russian military historians, this major defeat suffered by the Wehrmacht has been described and analyzed for the first time using data from both Soviet and German archives. It focuses not only on Operation Spring Awakening, but also describes the preceding Konrad offensives conducted by the Germans in the effort to come to the aid of the encircled and desperate German and fascist Hungarian defenders of Budapest. This edition is lavishly illustrated with over a hundred rare photographs of destroyed or disabled German armor taken shortly after the battle by a Soviet inspection team, besides other photographs and specially commissioned color maps.
Days of Battle describes a hitherto neglected part of the military history of Hungary during World War II. Dr Norbert Számvéber the presents detailed accounts of four important clashes of German-Hungarian and Soviet armor north of the river Danube, in the southern territory of the historical Upper Hungary (part of Hungary between 1938 and 1945, at the present time now part of Slovakia) in three separate studies. The first is an account of the battle between the Ipoly and Garam rivers during the second half of December 1944, in which the élite Hungarian Division "Szent László" saw action for the first time. The second study is about the fierce tank battle of Komárom, fought between the 6-22 January 1945. This was an integral part of the Battle for Budapest, parallel in time with Operation "Konrad". The third part of the book describes the combat during the German Operation "Südwind" in February 1945 and the Soviet attack launched in the direction of Bratislava in March 1945. The author, chief of Hungary's military archives, has based his research firmly on files and documentation from German, Hungarian and Soviet sources. The book's authoritative text is supported by photographs and color battle maps. This is a very important new study that throws much-needed light on armored warfare on the Eastern Front during the final months of the war.
Following the dramatic destruction of Army Group Centre and overshadowed by Koniev’s and Zhukov’s rush on Berlin, this particular theater of operations has been somewhat ignored. This monograph is an opportunity to go into the details of these clashes whose last convulsions one month and three weeks before the German capitulation at Reims were definitively the Panzers’ last lunge.
The desperate struggle between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army for Budapest in 1944 and 1945 was as lethal and destructive as any of the urban battles fought during the Second World War. The losses of men and equipment sustained by the Germans were so great that they hastened the collapse of Hitler’s regime. Yet what happened in Budapest is less well remembered today than other flash points in the conflict on the Eastern Front. Anthony Tucker-Jones’s photographic history is a fascinating and graphic introduction to this neglected episode in the closing months of the war. The battle began with Operation Panzerfaust in October 1944 when the Germans seized Hungarian leader Admiral Horthy to prevent his country defecting to the Soviets. Red Army advances then left German and Hungarian units trapped in the city and sparked fifty days of intense fighting. Then in March 1945 Hitler launched Operation Spring Awakening, the reckless final German offensive of the war, designed to recapture Budapest and stabilize the Eastern Front. It failed spectacularly, opening the road to Vienna for the Red Army. The selection of archive photographs gives a sharp insight into every aspect of the fighting in and around Budapest and records the ravaged city the battle left behind.
This title is presented with a new foreword by Istvan Deak. The battle of Budapest in the bleak winter of 1944-45 was one of the longest and bloodiest city sieges of World War II. From the appearance of the first Soviet tanks on the outskirts of the capital to the capture of Buda Castle, 102 days elapsed. In terms of human trauma, it comes second only to Stalingrad, comparisons to which were even being made by soldiers, both German and Soviet, fighting at the time. This definitive history covers their experiences, and those of the 800,000 non-combatants around whom the battle raged.
For many people the very image of Blitzkrieg is of massed columns of tanks sweeping through Europe, smashing all resistance and leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. Indeed, it was the Panzers' achievements in battle that were largely responsible for Germany's early run of success in the Second World War and, once the tide of war began to turn against the Reich, the Panzers subsequently became the backbone of its defence. The dramatic story of Hitler's tank divisions is brought to life in this authoritative narrative. Panzerkrieg vividly describes the evolution, exploits and eventual destruction of this superlative fighting force in immensely readable fashion. Particularly accessible to the general reader who wants to know more about Germany's Second World War tank forces, the authors dispense with technical jargon and pedantic detail to give a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the subject, both human and technical. The book gives particular emphasis to the men who fought in and led the Panzer divisions: great generals like Guderian, Rommel and Manstein, tank masters like Wittmann and Bake, and inspired commanders like Balck and Bayerlein. The whole vast canvas of the war emerges from this narrative, as it follows the titanic struggles which ranged between the bocage country of France, the desert wastes of North Africa, and the limitless steppes of Russia. The evolution of German fighting vehicles and tactics is fully charted, and the many myths, fallacies and misconceptions that have grown up around the Panzerwaffe are exploded. Extensive research, reference to the memoirs of the leading participants, and original new conclusions all contribute to a comprehensive account that critically examines the achievements, failures, and ultimate legacy of the Panzer divisions. Features INCLUDE: The secret pre-war birth and development of the Panzerwaffe The lightning campaigns in Poland and France The four bloody years of the Russian campaign, the greatest clash of arms the world has ever seen The exploits of Rommel and his Africa Corps Hitler's increasingly disastrous influence on the Panzerwaffe Disputes between the Panzer officers and their High Command Portraits of the Panzerwaffe's leaders Detailed analysis of the great tank battles such as Kursk and the Battle of the Bulge, with clear maps Comparative rank and organizational charts Information on the technical evolution of Germany's armoured fighting vehicles, including the development of the mighty Tigers and Panthers Unique sections on uniforms, crew functions and how German tanks were built Rare coverage of how the Panzer leaders fared after the war The legacy of the Panzers
The Waffen-SS were considered the elite of the German armed forces in the Second World War and were involved in almost continuous combat. From the sweeping tank battle of Kursk on the Russian front to the bitter fighting among the hedgerows of Normandy and the last great offensive in the Ardennes, forever immortalized in history as the Battle of the Bulge, these men and their tanks made history.
History has tended to measure war's winners and losers in terms of its major engagements, battles in which the result was so clear-cut that they could be considered "decisive." Cannae, Konigsberg, Austerlitz, Midway, Agincourt-all resonate in the literature of war and in our imaginations as tide-turning. But these legendary battles may or may not have determined the final outcome of the wars in which they were fought. Nor has the "genius" of the so-called Great Captains - from Alexander the Great to Frederick the Great and Napoleon - play a major role. Wars are decided in other ways. Cathal J. Nolan's The Allure of Battle systematically and engrossingly examines the great battles, tracing what he calls "short-war thinking," the hope that victory might be swift and wars brief. As he proves persuasively, however, such has almost never been the case. Even the major engagements have mainly contributed to victory or defeat by accelerating the erosion of the other side's defences. Massive conflicts, the so-called "people's wars," beginning with Napoleon and continuing until 1945, have consisted of and been determined by prolonged stalemate and attrition, industrial wars in which the determining factor has been not military but matériel. Nolan's masterful book places battles squarely and mercilessly within the context of the wider conflict in which they took place. In the process it help corrects a distorted view of battle's role in war, replacing popular images of the "battles of annihilation" with somber appreciation of the commitments and human sacrifices made throughout centuries of war particularly among the Great Powers. Accessible, provocative, exhaustive, and illuminating, The Allure of Battle will spark fresh debate about the history and conduct of warfare.