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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. I hope you find it helpful and entertaining.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Battle for Budapest

On returning from Budapest I was pleased to see the main feature in this month's Wargames Illustrated is the Siege of Budapest in early 1945.

The battle was one of the longest (102 days) and most costly city sieges of WW2, coming second only to Stalingrad in terms of human trauma. Nearly a million civilians were in the city when the Soviets attacked and few were evacuated.

Wargames Illustrated focuses on a couple of interesting units involved in the siege and the preliminary battles on the Hungarian plain. The 13 Panzerdivision Feldherrnhalle had its origins in the SA or Brown Shirts. After their leadership was eliminated in the 1934 Night of the Long Knives the SA regained some standing in the Nazi organisation and formed the basis for this division in October 1944. It was the key German unit in the defence of the city.

Another article looks at the Hungarian assault gun forces. In addition to German equipment they had the locally manufactured Zrinyi Assault Howitzer and Turan tanks. These were formed into eight assault gun battalions in support of Hungarian infantry.

For a detailed history of the siege I would recommend 'Battle for Budapest' by Krisztian Ungvary, published by Tauris. This author had access to German and Soviet archives and takes the reader through the battle week by week.

In the Citadel museum in Budapest there is a large collection of photographs of the city during and after the siege. It is amazing how well the city has been reconstructed given the damage. The picture below was taken in the museum that is situated in the anti-aircraft control bunker.


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