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Tag: Barbarossa

The Axis Allies in Barbarossa

The last essays from Jason Long’s defunct website “Panzerkeil” have now been published in the Academy, with the kind permission of the author:

The Axis Allies on the Eastern Front

 

 

Hungarian Weapons Statistics

1941 Hungarian Unit Manpower and Weapon Totals

 Bdr XMtn XSec XCav XMot Inf X
Men700067005300?70008500
Officers250250200?350375
LMG180159few228192
HMG4538few8270
20mm ATR1512none5133
37mm AT2020none2020
40mm AA66666
51mm Mtr30241432
81mm Mtr2016none2824
75mm Guns2024none8none
76.5mm Gunsnonenonenone8none
105mm Hownonenonenone1624
149mm How22nonenonenone
Arm Carsnone5none1212
Tankettesnonenonenone3030
Lt Tanksnonenonenone2020

Abbreviations:
LMG-Light Machinegun; SMG-Submachinegun; MMG-Medium Machinegun; ATR-Anti-tank Rifle; AT-Anti-tank; AA-Anti-aircraft; XX-Division; II-Battalion; Bttys-Batteries; Eng-Engineer; Art-Artillery; Arm-Armor; Cav-Cavalry; Chem-Chemical

Sources:
Dombrády, Lóránd and Tóth, Sándor. A Magyar Királyi Honvédség 1919-1945; Zrínyi Katonai, 1987
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Feszerelése és Fegyverzete a Frontra Kivonulása Idején: 1942 Aprilis-Május”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1985/3
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Kiszállítása Ukrajnába és Elonyomulása a Donhoz: 1942 Aprilis-Augusztus”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1986/3
Tóth, Sándor. Magyarország Hadtörténete; A Kiegyezéstol Napjainkig, 1985

Hungarian-built AFV Specifications

NameTurán ITurán IITurán IIIToldi IToldi IIToldi III
Typetanktanktanklt. tanklt. tanklt. tank
Weight (mt)18.219.223.38.79.39.4
Armor, in mm8-608-5035-95?-13?-2323-35
Main gun, in mm40L5175L2575L4320L6540L5140L51
muzzle velocity (m/sec)812400550735812812
ammunition carried1015632?54?
Machine-guns2x 8mm2x 8mm2x 8mm1x 8mm1x 8mm1x 8mm
Max road speed (kph)47.24340504848
Range, road (km)165150120220220220
Ground pressure (kg/sq cm)0.780.830.880.62?0.68??
Number built285139None???
NameZrínyi IZrínyi IINimrodCsaba
Typeassault gunassault gunSP AA gunarmored car
Weight (mt)22.021.510.55.9
Armor, in mm25-10025-75?-137-13
Main gun, in mm75L43105L20.540L6020L65
muzzle velocity (m/sec)?448850735
ammunition carried7052148200
Machine-guns1x 8mm1x 8mmnone1x 8mm
Max road speed (kph)40406065
Range, road (km)220220250150
Ground pressure (kg/sq cm)0.930.91??
Number built466??

Note: Prototypes are not included in the numbers built.

Turán I deliveries commenced June 1942 and were completed in late 1943. By 30 October 1943 242 had been delivered.

Turán II deliveries began 15 May 1943 and were slow to increase. By the end of September, only 49 had been delivered, but a month later numbers had increased to 74. Production ceased after the German occupation in mid-1944.

Only one prototype was completed of the Turán III.

Sources:
Dunigan, Paul. Letter
Kliment, Charles K., and Francev, Vladimír. Czechoslovak Armored Fighting Vehicles 1918-1948; Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1997
Niehorster, Dr. Leo. Personal communication.
Probst, J.C.M. “The Hungarian Turan Tank and its Variations”; AFV News, Jan, 1977

The Hungarian 2. Army in Russia

The Germans began negotiations during the winter of 1942 to secure more troops from their allies to complete the conquest of the Soviet Union. The Hungarians were persuaded to send some 200,000 troops in their Second Army for front-line duties to supplement the troops on occupation duties, but the Germans would have to replace the equipment lost during fall campaign by the Mobile Corps (Gyorhadtest). Former Belgian and Czech equipment, as well some of German manufacture, was transferred during the early winter of 1942 to the 1 armored and 9 light divisions that comprised the Second Army.

Structure

Light Division

A light division had 2 infantry regiments and a field artillery regiment as well as a hussar squadron, a 40mm AA battery, and an AA machinegun company under command. Each infantry regiment had 3 infantry battalions as well as a company of 81mm mortars, an anti-tank company with a mix of 47mm and 50mm guns, a motorized machinegun company, an pioneer company and a battery of 80mm field guns. Curiously these latter units weren’t organized into a heavy weapons battalion like most other armies. Each rifle battalion had three rifle companies and a heavy weapons company equipped with platoons of medium machine-guns, 81mm mortars and 47mm AT guns. The field artillery regiment had 2 battalions, one with a battery of 76.5mm field guns and a battery of German leFH 105mm howitzers and the other with four batteries, two with 100mm Skoda Model 14 howitzers and two with 150mm modernized Skoda 14/39 M. howitzers. Each battery had four guns.

One source states that a reconnaissance battalion was added to the infantry divisions after November ’42. Due to the language difficulties, I’m not yet able to confirm this.

I’m not exactly sure why the Hungarians called their infantry divisions “light (könnyu)”, but it’s probably because they only had two regiments rather than the three found in most other army’s infantry divisions. The “light” name wasn’t used for the three regiment divisions organized from mid-1943.

Armored Division

The 1st Field Armored Division (1. tábori páncéloshadostzály) had the 30th Tank Regiment and the 1st Motorized Rifle Regiment as its primary components. The 30th Tank Regiment comprised a company of engineers and two tank battalions, each with one heavy tank company of 11 Pz IVs and two medium tank companies of Pz 38(t)s. The 1st Motorized Rifle Regiment consisted of three motorized rifle battalions and a motorcycle company. Each battalion consisted of three rifle companies and a motorized machinegun company with platoons of medium machineguns, 81mm mortars and 37mm AT guns. Divisional troops were the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, consisting of a light tank company of Toldi I tanks, a company of Csaba armored cars, a motorcycle infantry company, and a platoon of 50mm AT guns and the 51st Armored Anti-aircraft Battalion with 3 companies of Nimrod self-propelled AA guns. The divisional artillery consisted of the 1st and 5th Motorized Artillery Battalions, each with three four-gun batteries of 105mm leFH 18M howitzers and the 51st Anti-aircraft Battalion had two batteries of 80mm Bofors Model 29 AA guns. One source, however, gives the designation for this last unit as the IInd. As deployed it totaled 108 PzKw 38(t)s, 22 PzKw IV (kurz), 17 Toldi Is, 19 Nimrods, and 14 Csaba armored cars, though some sources claim tht it had only 89 Pz 38(t)s.

Corps Troops

Each corps was organized identically, I think, with a bicycle battalion of two bicycle companies, a hussar (cavalry) squadron with an organic battery of 80mm horse artillery, an anti-aircraft battalion with a company each of 40mm and 80mm AA guns, and an engineer battalion of two companies. Artillery support was provided by an artillery battalion of two four-gun batteries of 149mm Skoda M14 howitzers and a motorized heavy battalion with two four-gun batteries of 150mm Bofors Model 31 howitzers.

Army Troops

The 101st Towed Heavy Artillery Battalion initially had just one battery of Italian 210/22 modello 35 howitzers, but added another battery of 150mm Bofors Model 31 howitzers by the end of the year, possibly acquired from the 150th.

The 150th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion initially comprised 3 batteries of Bofors 150mm howitzers, but by 1943 had managed to acquire a battery of 305mm Skoda siege guns (German aid?), a battery of Soviet 203mm B-4 howitzers and a battery of 152mm Soviet howitzers.

The 101st Antiaircraft Battalion had three batteries of 80mm and one battery of 40mm AA guns. The 151st Motorized Engineer Battalion was only partially motorized as two companies of its engineers were motorized while the other two were mounted on bicycles. It also controlled two assault boat companies. There was also the 101st Motorized Chemical Battalion that had a company of 72 flame-throwers. The 106th and 107th Independent Automatic 40mm AA Batteries were also assigned to the 2. Army.

Equipment

The Hungarian Army used the progenitor of the MG 34 as their LMG and modernized Austro-Hungarian Schwarloze 07/12 machine guns were used in the medium/heavy MG role. Some engineer and signal units used ex-Yugoslav Bren guns. Mortars were a mix of German and Hungarian-manufactured 50mm and 81mm models. Company-level anti-tank defense was provided by two 20mm Solothurn s18-1100 anti-tank rifles. Anti-tank guns were a hodgepodge of Czech 37mm, Belgian 47mm and German 50mm guns. Artillery was a grab bag of partly modernized Austro-Hungarian weapons and modern Swedish, Italian and German guns. Sweden provided all of Hungary’s AA guns, including the famed 40mm Bofors.

Hungarian production of armored fighting vehicles was a relatively recent development with Swedish-designed Csaba armored cars and Toldi light tanks in service. The Csaba was an design of which little information has survived. The first versions of the Toldi were armed with a 20mm gun, probably adapted from the Madsen 20L65, but later models were armed with a cut-down Bofors 40mm. The evidence is uncertain, but most, if not all the Toldis in use in 1942-3 were early models with the 20mm gun.

Hungary requested a license for the PzKw III and IV, but was turned down to avoid upsetting the Romanians. A license was granted to build a Czech medium tank design, the Skoda T-22, as this was less provocative to the Romanians; and they had the oil.

Called Turans by the Hungarians, the first T-22s weren’t delivered until late ’42 and the Germans delivered 108 PzKw 38(t)s and 22 PzKw IVs to allow 1st Field Armored Division to deploy to the Eastern Front. The precise models of both tanks are unknown, but the PzKw IVs were definitely armed with short-barreled guns. Whether the PzKw 38(t)s were delivered fresh from the factory or refurbished is also unknown, but the Ausf G model was in production when they were transferred to the Hungarians. Photographic evidence indicates that at least some PzKw 38(t) Ausf Gs were in Hungarian service. The Nimrod was a Swedish-designed self-propelled 40mm AA gun that used the basic Toldi chassis. The Hungarians, desperate for anti-tank vehicles, used them as such.

41M Turán II – Hungarian Medium tank at Kubinka Museum. Credit: Alan Wilson, 2012

41M Turán II – Hungarian Medium tank at Kubinka Museum. Credit: Alan Wilson, 2012

The Hungarians called their ordinary infantry division-equivalent light brigades, but the units of the Second Army were heavily reinforced and termed light divisions with 14,000 men assigned. They seem to have been influenced by the Italian model as they were structured much like Italian binary divisions, as you can see from the unit organizations above, and normally totaled about 12,500 men without the reinforcements attached to the divisions of the Second Army.

The divisions of III Corps, being the first to arrive in theater, were less well equipped than the later arriving units. They had a 47mm AT gun rather than the 50mm in the regimental AT companies. Similarly the battalion level AT guns were 37mm rather than the usual 47mm. By November ’42 the Hungarians fielded 43 75mm Pak 97/38 (75L36) AT guns. My guess is that they were distributed pretty evenly between the divisions.

Unit Designations and Assignments:

Generally, only the infantry regiments had designations different from the parent brigade. Only non-divisional units corroborated by two sources are shown below. However I feel fairly confident that each corps did field a cavalry squadron.

III Corps

  • 6th Light Division; 22nd and 52nd Infantry Regiments
  • 7th Light Division; 4th and 35th Infantry Regiments
  • 9th Light Division; 17th and 47th Infantry Regiments
  • III Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion
  • 5/II Artillery battalion
  • VI Bicycle Battalion
  • III Engineer Battalion
  • III AA Battalion
  • 1st Cavalry Squadron

IV Corps

  • 10th Light Division; 6th and 36th Infantry Regiments
  • 12th Light Division; 18th and 48th Infantry Regiments
  • 13th Light Division; 7th and 31st Infantry Regiments
  • IV Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion
  • 24/III Artillery Battalion
  • VIII Bicycle Battalion
  • IV Engineer Battalion
  • IV AA Battalion

VII Corps

  • 19th Light Division; 13th and 43rd Infantry Regiments
  • 20th Light Division; 14th and 23rd Infantry Regiments
  • 23rd Light Division; 25th and 51st Infantry Regiments
  • VII Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion
  • 21/II Artillery Battalion
  • IX Bicycle Battalion
  • VII Engineer Battalion
  • VII AA Battalion

Sources:

Abbot, Peter and Thomas, Nigel. Germany’s Eastern Front Allies, 1941-1945; Osprey, 1982
Dombrády, Lóránd and Tóth, Sándor. A Magyar Királyi Honvédség 1919-1945; Zrínyi Katonai, 1987
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Feszerelése és Fegyverzete a Frontra Kivonulása Idején: 1942 Aprilis-Május”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1985/3
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Kiszállítása Ukrajnába és Elonyomulása a Donhoz: 1942 Aprilis-Augusztus”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1986/3
Tóth, Sándor. Magyarország Hadtörténete; A Kiegyezéstol Napjainkig, 1985

Hungarian Order of Battle for Barbarossa (inofficial)

Note to reader: this Order of Battle accompanies a series of esssys by Jason Long about the Axis Allies during Barbarossa and is not official)

Initial Forces

None

Reinforcements

Jul I 41

2x 4-3-8* mot Inf X                1, 2
1x 5-4-8* Cav X                      1
1x 3-4-8* Mtn X                     1
1x 1-2-8* Bdr X                       8
1x 1-8 Bicycle X                      1 Hdsg
1x 1-8 Art X                             Karpat
1x 0-1-8 Eng II                         Karpat
1x 1-8 mot light AA X AA=3  Karpat

Sep I 41

2x 1-5 Sec X                             121, 124
Replace: 1x 1-8 Bicycle X        1 Hdsg

Nov I 41

2x 1-5 Sec X                               105, 108
1x 0-1-8 mot lt AA II AA=1       MC

Nov II 41

Return all initial forces to Hungary

Dec I 41

1x 1-5 Sec X                                102

Replacement Rate:

No replacement points are received. Special replacements generated by the loss of any initial force units are retained in Hungary itself and are unavailable to the Axis player. Special replacements for the units of the occupation force, namely the security brigades and the AA battalion, are handled normally

Special Rules

Only the motorized infantry brigades, the cavalry brigade, and the bicycle brigade of the initial forces may move east of the Dneister or north of the 3C:02xx hexrow (exclusive). Other units may move freely in weather zones C and D.

  • The cavalry and motorized infantry brigades have ZOCs.
  • With the exception of the bicycle brigade, the initial forces are fragile and may not be replaced in the context of Total War.

Designers Notes:

I decided against treating the cavalry and motorized infantry brigades as divisions based on the treatment of the Poles in FtF. A Hungarian cavalry brigade is actually marginally larger than their Polish or Romanian counterparts, but was not reclassified as a division, unlike the latter. These units are larger than normal brigades, but smaller than most divisions and you can justifiably argue in support of either classification.

Hungarian participation in Barbarossa

The Germans initially had no desire for Hungarian participation in Barbarossa which suited most of the Hungarian leadership quite well. But the Germans, meeting more resistance than they anticipated, said that they would welcome any voluntary contribution made by the Hungarians the day after Barbarossa began. This changed the situation radically and the Hungarians compromised by breaking relations with the USSR. This was hardly satisfactory to the pro-German faction within the Hungarian government and the Honved (military), but they weren’t able to do anything more until the Hungarian city of Kassa (Kosice) was bombed, reputedly by the Soviets, on the 26th of June.

The Hungarian Dictator Horthy Miklós and Adolf Hitler, 1938. Credit: Ladislav Luppa

The Hungarian Dictator Horthy Miklós and Adolf Hitler, 1938. Credit: Ladislav Luppa

A Soviet attack on neutral Hungary makes no sense unless it occurred by accident, but it could well have been a provocation staged by the Germans or Romanians to “encourage” Hungarian participation. One Hungarian fighter pilot reported engaging three German-manufactured He 111H bombers flying southeast after Kassa had been bombed. The He 111 was in both German and Romanian service at the time. Any number of theories have been advanced over the years, but nothing has been settled.

The attack enraged Adm. Horthy who decided upon an emphatic response. The pro-German faction got its wish; Hungary would join the attack on the USSR As the Honved was totally unprepared for war, mobilization of selected reservists and the impressment of civilian motor vehicles took several days more than anticipated even though only those forces designated to invade the Soviet Union were mobilized. These were the Carpathian Group which comprised VIII. Corps and the Gyorshadtest (Mobile Corps). VIII. Corps contributed the 1st Mountain and the 8th Border Guard Brigades as well as all of its corps troops. The Gyorshadtest comprised the 1st and 2nd Motorized Infantry Brigades as well as the 1st Cavalry Brigade and, some sources claim, the 15th Bicycle Battalion from 2nd Cavalry Brigade. Other corps contributed bicycle infantry and anti-aircraft battalions as well as two-gun batteries of 150mm artillery. These units were the best available to the Hungarians, even the Border Guards, and were definitely a cut above the rest of the Honved.

The 1st Mountain Brigade was organized into four mountain infantry battalions, plus an artillery battalion of two batteries, each with four 75mm pack or mountain guns. A platoon of two 149mm howitzers was attached for the duration of the campaign. Each mountain infantry battalion had three companies of mountain infantry, each with twelve LMGs, two 51mm mortars and a 20mm anti-tank rifle, a machine-gun company of nine HMGs, a battery of four 75mm pack or mountain guns, a platoon of four 81mm mortars, an anti-tank platoon of four guns, an engineer platoon as well as a reconnaissance detachment. Under the direct control of the brigade were a company of 6 motorized 40mm Bofors AA guns, an anti-tank company of four guns, a motorized anti-aircraft company of ten AAMGs, a cavalry company, an engineer company as well as a platoon each of motorcyclists and five Csaba armored cars.

8th Border Guards Brigade controlled far less at the brigade level than its compatriot in VIII. Corps, namely a motorized anti-aircraft company, an engineer company and a platoon of two 149mm howitzers. All units, even the five border guard battalions, were organized identically to the units in 1st Mountain Brigade.

The motorized infantry brigades were composed of an motorized infantry regiment, two bicycle infantry battalions, an armored reconnaissance battalion, a motorized artillery battalion, a motorized engineer battalion as well as the standard motorized flak and AAMG companies. The motorized infantry regiment had three battalions, each with three infantry companies, each with twelve LMGs, two 51mm mortars and two anti-tank rifles, a machine-gun company with twelve HMGs and four 81mm mortars, an anti-tank platoon of four guns and an engineer platoon. The bicycle battalions were organized identically to the motorized infantry battalions with the exceptions that all units were motorized except the bicycle companies themselves and the addition of a artillery battery of four 105mm howitzers and a platoon of five Italian CV 33 tankettes. The armored reconnaissance battalion had a company of ten Csaba armored cars, a company of twenty CV 33 tankettes, a light tank company of twenty Toldi Is, a motorized infantry company organized like those in the motorized infantry battalions, except that it had three anti-tank rifles, as well as motorized platoons of engineers, medium mortars, and anti-tank guns. The artillery battalion had four batteries, each with four 105mm howitzers. The engineer battalion had only one company of combat engineers and a bridging column.

The cavalry brigade was, quite probably, the most powerful unit of its type in Eastern Europe due to its extensive supporting arms and numerous heavy weapons. It had two hussar regiments, two bicycle infantry battalions, an armored reconnaissance battalion, a motorized artillery battalion, a horse artillery battalion, a motorized engineer company and bridge column as well as the standard motorized light flak and AAMG companies totalling 7350 officers and men. Each regiment had two hussar battalions in addition to a four-gun battery of horse-drawn 75mm mountain guns, a mounted engineer platoon, a motorized platoon of anti-tank guns, and a platoon of tankettes. Each hussar battalion had three companies of cavalry with twelve LMGs and three anti-tank rifles and a mounted machine-gun company of twelve HMGs and four medium mortars. The bicycle, engineer, and armored reconnaissance battalions were organized exactly like those in the motorized infantry brigades. The motorized artillery battalion differed only in that it had but two batteries of 105mm howitzers. The horse artillery battalion had two four-gun batteries of 76.5mm guns.

My sources are rather contradictory about the identities of the non-divisional units assigned to the Carpathian Group so the information given below must be regarded as less than reliable. I do know that VIII. Corps contributed its bicycle, heavy artillery and AA battalions while other corps contributed the odd battalion or so.

The VIth and VIIIth bicycle battalions were far weaker than their compatriots assigned to the Mobile Corps as they lacked the machine-gun company, artillery battery, tankette platoon, and anti-tank rifles of their more powerful brethren. Their anti-tank platoon only mustered two guns and a machine-gun section of two HMGs was substituted for the machine-gun company. It appears that these units were exchanged with two others sometime after July as my primary source mentions the IInd and VIIth battalions in September and doesn’t mention either of the first two after 7 July, after VIII. Corps had requested their return to Hungary on 3 July as they were considered to be combat ineffective due to breakdowns and tire shortages! Hence my tentative conclusion that they were replaced by the other two. With that in mind I’ve given the Hungarians the ability to replace them for free.

Each of the nine corps in the Honved had one of these bicycle battalions for reconnaissance duties, except I. Corps. No higher headquarters existed for them, so I’ve had to group them by their parent armies. The ID used is First Army because it only had two battalions in its subordinate corps.

The corps motorized heavy artillery battalions were severely under strength in 1941 with only two 150mm howitzers in each of their two batteries. VIII. Corps provided its complete battalion, but I., III., VI. and VII. Corps only provided a single battery. I’ve amalgamated them into a single weak counter with the ID of the Carpathian Group as this only lasted for the duration of the campaign.

In contrast to the other arms the anti-aircraft artillery participated in strength. I., V., and VIII. Corps contributed their complete motorized AA battalions. In addition the 6th, 9th, and 14th motorized light AA batteries were assigned to the Carpathian Group from the infantry brigades of the same number. Each anti-aircraft battalion had one battery of four heavy and another of six light AA guns. Each of the motorized light batteries was organized as above. In addition to the above units, one source mentions the 105th Motorized AA Battalion which had the same structure as the corps-level units. Including the 105th the Hungarians have around three points of flak including the flak organic to the brigades. Rather than give some of these brigades an intrinsic flak strength, I decided to show it as a separate unit with the Karpat ID as it is stronger than the usual army-level amalgamation would be. None of it seems to have advanced with the Mobile Corps after VIII. Corps was halted on the Dneister and this allows me to restrict it as well.

The only combat engineers with the Carpathian Group were VIIIth Combat Engineer Battalion and the 151st and 152nd Motorized Combat Engineer Companies. As VIIIth Battalion had two companies, both non-motorized, I decided to round the movement factor down to eight (non-combat/motorized) given the Hungarians’ systemic problems with vehicle maintenance and supplies.

Infantry weapons consisted of the 8mm Huzagol 35 M. rifle, a few of the excellent 9mm 39 M. submachine-gun as it was just entering service, the ancestor of the German MG 34, the 30 M., as the LMG, and modernized Austro-Hungarian Schwarzlose 07/12 machine guns in the medium/heavy MG role. Mortars were a mix of German and Hungarian-manufactured 51mm and 81mm models. Anti-tank defense was provided by license-built 20mm Solothurn s18-1100 anti-tank rifles and German 37mm guns. Artillery was a grab bag of modernized Austro-Hungarian Skoda 75mm 15 M. mountain guns, 149mm 14 M. howitzers, modern German 105mm 1eFH 18 howitzers and Swedish 150mm Model 31 howitzers. Sweden also provided all of Hungary¹s AA guns, including the famed 40mm Bofors and the far more obscure 8cm. The horse artillery used the ancient Skoda 05/08 76.5mm gun.

AFVs assigned to the Mobile Corps totaled 140 CV 33 tankettes bought from Italy, 49 license-built Csaba armored cars and 80 Toldi I light tanks. Both of the latter were armed with a 20mm gun adapted from the Solothurn anti-tank rifle.

The Carpathian Group began its attack on 30 June with attempts to clear the passes through the Carpathians. The defenders demolished many of the roads and bridges in the area which slowed down the advance considerably. The Soviets surprised the Hungarians with their skillful delaying tactics, but the Soviets made no real effort to hold on to the area between the Carpathians and the Dneister. The Hungarians reached the Dneister by 6 July delayed more by supply problems than by the Soviet defense. The units of VIII Corps were relegated to occupation duties after reaching the Dneister, but the Mobile Corps, with the addition of VIIIth Bicycle Battalion, was placed under command of Army Group South and continued on despite immense supply difficulties and numerous breakdowns. It breached the Stalin Line against light resistance during mid-July and continued to advance as Soviet defenses toughened. By month’s end the Corps’ logistics situation had become perilous as it had out-run its supply lines. Its commander requested a week-long pause to recuperate, but this was ignored by the Germans.

Forced to continue its advance, it cooperated with 1st Panzer Group to pocket Soviet forces near Uman in early August. Afterwards, it headed south to Nikolaev with the objective of cutting the Soviet 9th Army’s line of retreat in cooperation with the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps. Despite heavy Soviet counter-attacks, the 2nd Motorized Infantry Brigade entered Nikolaev from the west as the 16th Panzer Division entered from the east. The aggressive Soviets did succeed, however, in preventing the majority of 9th Army’s troops from being encircled.

The Corps finally got its well-deserved rest after the capture of Nikolaev as it was placed in reserve at Krivoi Rog from 24 August. This only lasted a week or so as the Corps was to defend a 200 km (120 mile) stretch of the Dnepr River from Dnepropetrovsk to Nikopol while the 1st and 2nd Panzer Groups encircled the Soviet Southwestern Front behind Kiev. The most dangerous part of this sector was the island opposite Zaporozhe. The cavalry brigade provided the corps reserve with two hussar battalions, but the rest of its troops were distributed among the motorized infantry brigades.

Nowhere were the Hungarians strong enough to do much more than deploy in widely dispersed strong points supplemented with a line of sentry posts. The Soviets were continually raiding across the river, usually in less than battalion strength, and the Hungarians were hard-pressed to defeat these raiders. The Soviets were particularly troublesome around Zaporozhe Island and Nikopol. In fact a multi-battalion attack on 5 September evicted the two battalions defending the island. The first attempt to retake the island by 14th Cycle Battalion failed and the sector commander had to be evacuated to the rear with nervous exhaustion. The next highest-ranking officer present reported himself sick and his replacement reported his troops to exhausted to attack.

Hungarian Convoy with artillery movers in the Ukraine, 1942, Credit: FORTEPAN / Csorba Dániel

Hungarian Convoy with artillery movers in the Ukraine, 1942, Credit: FORTEPAN / Csorba Dániel

It was obvious that the Hungarians had been given more than they could handle and either had to be reinforced or made responsible for a smaller sector. 16th Panzer Division took over 1st Motorized Infantry Brigade’s sector which allowed it to move opposite Zaporozhe Island. This was only temporary as 16th Panzer was withdrawn on 13 September. This did not bode well for the Hungarians as they were completely shot. 2nd Motorized Brigade’s companies had lost half of their combat strength and more than two-thirds of the Corps’ armored vehicles were out of commission! Fortunately the rapidly developing encirclement around Kiev diverted Soviet attentions, and forces, further north to counter the German pincers. The German 4 Security Regiment arrived on 27 September, which allowed the severely weakened 1st Cavalry Brigade to be withdrawn from the front lines and sent home on 5 October.

It was replaced by IInd and VIIth Bicycle Battalions for the drive northeast from Dnepropetrovsk towards Izyum beginning on 11 October. Material shortages and the extensive mud forced the Hungarians to split their force in two parts, one with all the cross-country trucks, well-supplied with heavy weapons, and the other with all the less mobile units. The lead group reached the Donets River opposite Izyum on 28 October, but not before the Soviets had time to evacuate the riverbank and blow the bridges. The Hungarians were in no shape to attempt to cross the river in the teeth of the Soviet entrenchments and they were long overdue to be relieved. The primary delay had been the German requirement for the Hungarians to furnish security troops. They returned to Hungary beginning in the first half of November and were replaced by four security brigades, with a fifth arriving later.

These were formed from second and third-line reserves using the headquarters of regular infantry brigades, but without most of the support units that each normally had, although a cavalry company and a motorized light AA battery were assigned. Each was only at between 50 and 70% strength and was armed with very little other than small arms. They had no artillery at all and only a small number of machine-guns. Each of their two regiments had three battalions of infantry. To equalize the burden, the Honved assigned battalions from every corps district in the country rather than just use the normal battalions.

Losses suffered by the Hungarians in the campaign weren’t very high, a total of 4524 killed, or just over 10 percent of the 44,444 assigned to the Carpathian Group proper, but equipment losses were severe. 1200 motor vehicles, 28 guns and 30 aircraft were lost, as were all of the tankettes, 80% of the Toldi light tanks and 90% of the Csaba armored cars committed.

Air Force Operations

The Royal Hungarian Army Air Force initially contributed two squadrons each of Italian CR.32bis and CR.42 fighters as well as two squadrons each of Italian Ca.135bis and German Ju 86K-2 bombers as well as four squadrons of reconnaissance aircraft. This was reduced after July to two squadrons of CR.42s, and a squadron each of Ju 86K-2 and Ca.135bis bombers. A flight of Italian Re 2000s was deployed from August for combat evaluation. All aircraft returned to Hungary along with all of the rest of the Hungarians in November. These number are only in aggregate enough for a single Europa counter, and rather than inflict a Mxd aircraft counter on the Axis player, I decided to let him pick which one he would like to use.