6.ϟϟ-Panzerarmee (Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen)

5.SS-Panzerdivision Wiking
After the failure of Operation Konrad, 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking began defensive operations. On March 24 1945, a Soviet offensive tore a gap between the IV.SS-Panzerkorps and the neighboring 3.Hungarian Army. The Wiking executed a fighting withdrawal into Austria. The 9.SS-Panzer-Division Hohenstaufen of SS-Oberführer Sylvester Stadler played a decisive role in the successful breakthrough by Wiking. The march continued to Mauterndorf, where the first American advance guards were encountered the night of May 8 – 9 1945. Image: SS-Panzergrenadiers of Wiking engage in conversation during a break in Hungary 1945. The man on the right is armed with the MP43/StG44 assault rifle. The StG44 used the lower-powered Kurz cartridge which allowed a fully automatic fire capability within a lightweight weapon. Making use of steel pressings in its manufacture the Sturmgewehr 44 was a highly influential rifle, much copied after WWII in such designs as the Soviet AK-47. Commons: Bundesarchiv.

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