The Soviet Budapest Offensive and the Siege of Budapest

5.SS-Panzerdivision Wiking
Wiking SS-Panzergrenadiers
The Soviet Budapest Offensive and the Siege of Budapest: The offensive lasted from October 29 1944 until the fall of Budapest on February 13 1945. The siege started when Budapest, defended by Hungarian and German troops, was encircled on December 29 1944. The Germans lost all or most of 13.Panzer-Division, 60.Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle, 8.SS-Kavallerie-Division Florian Geyer and 22.SS-Kavallerie-Division Maria Theresa. The Hungarian I Corps was completely destroyed. Budapest lay in ruins, with more than 80 percent of its buildings destroyed or damaged. Soviet losses are estimated to 320,000 casualties. When the Soviets finally claimed victory, they initiated an orgy of violence, including the wholesale theft of anything they could lay their hands on, random executions and mass rape. An estimated 50,000 women and children were raped. Hungarian girls were kidnapped and taken to Red Army quarters, where they were imprisoned, repeatedly raped, and sometimes murdered. Even embassy staff from neutral countries were captured and raped, as documented when Soviet soldiers attacked the Swedish legation in Germany. In January 1945, 32,000 ethnic Germans from within Hungary were arrested and transported to the Soviet Union as forced laborers. Many died there as a result of hardship and ill-treatment. Overall, more than 500,000 Hungarians were transported to the Soviet Union. While this destroyed most of the German forces in the region, troops were rushed from the Western Front and, in March 1945, the Germans launched Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen (Operation Spring Awakening). Top image: Panthers of 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking. Commons: Bundesarchive. Bottom image: SS-Panzergrenadiers of 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking when penetrating deep into Soviet defences in Operation Konrad (Hungary in January 1945). Commons: Bundesarchiv.

1 comment:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.