The Budapest Offensive was the general attack by Soviet and Romanian armies against Nazi Germany and their Axis allies from Hungary. The offensive lasted from 29 October 1944 until the fall of Budapest on 13 February 1945. This was one of the most difficult and complicated offensives that the Soviet Army carried on in Central Europe. It resulted in a decisive victory for the USSR, as it disabled the last European political ally of Nazi Germany and greatly sped up the ending of World War II in Europe.
Having secured Romania in the summer Iasi–Kishinev Offensive, the Soviet forces continued their push in the Balkans. The Red Army occupied Bucharest on 31 August, then swept westward across the Carpathian Mountains into Hungary and southward into Bulgaria, with parts joining the Yugoslav Partisans in the Belgrade Offensive. In the process, the Red Army’s forces drew German reserves away from the Warsaw-Berlin central axis, encircled and destroyed the German 6. Armee (for the second time) and forced Army Group South Ukraine’s shattered 8. Armee to withdraw west into Hungary.
From October 1944, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ukrainian Fronts advanced into Hungary. After isolating the Hungarian capital city in late December, the Soviets besieged and assaulted Budapest. On 13 February 1945, the city fell.
According to the historical documents, the Budapest Offensive can be divided into five periods:
After the Budapest offensive, the main forces of Army Group South virtually collapsed. The road to Vienna, Czechoslovakia and the southern border of Germany was widely open for the Soviets and their allies.
According to Soviet claims, the Germans and Hungarians in Budapest lost 49,000 dead soldiers, with 110,000 captured and 269 tanks destroyed.
As most of the German forces in the region were destroyed, troops were rushed in from the Western Front and, in March, the Germans launched the ill-fated Operation Spring Awakening (Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen) in the Lake Balaton area. The expansive goals of this operation were to protect one of the last oil producing regions available to the Axis and to retake Budapest. Neither goal was achieved.
Operation Bagration was the codename for the Soviet 1944 Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history by destroying 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and completely shattered the German front line. It was the fifth deadliest campaign on the European war scene, killing around 450,000 soldiers.
The Korsun-Shevchenkovsky Offensive led to the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkasy Pocket which took place from 24 January to 16 February 1944. The offensive was part of a greater Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive. In it, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, commanded, respectively, by Nikolai Vatutin and Ivan Konev, encircled German forces of Army Group South in a pocket near the Dnieper River. During weeks of fighting, the two Red Army Fronts tried to eradicate the pocket. The encircled German units attempted a breakout in coordination with a relief attempt by other German forces, resulting in heavy casualties, estimates of which vary.
Operation Spring Awakening was the last major German offensive of World War II. It took place in Hungary on the Eastern Front. This offensive was also referred to in Germany as the Plattensee Offensive and in the Soviet Union as the Balaton Defensive Operation.
Operation Saturn, revised as Operation Little Saturn, was a Red Army operation on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in the North Caucasus and Donets Basin regions of the Soviet Union from December 1942 to February 1943.
The Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive or Lvov-Sandomierz Strategic Offensive Operation was a major Red Army operation to force the German troops from Ukraine and Eastern Poland. Launched in mid-July 1944, the Red Army achieved its set objectives by the end of August.
The IV SS Panzer Corps was a panzer corps of the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany which saw action on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans during World War II.
The Battle of Debrecen, called by the Red Army the Debrecen Offensive Operation, was a battle taking place 6–29 October 1944 on the Eastern Front during World War II.
The Siege of Budapest or Battle of Budapest was the 50-day-long encirclement by Soviet and Romanian forces of the Hungarian capital of Budapest, near the end of World War II. Part of the broader Budapest Offensive, the siege began when Budapest, defended by Hungarian and German troops, was first encircled on 26 December 1944 by the Red Army and the Romanian Army. During the siege, about 38,000 civilians died through starvation or military action. The city unconditionally surrendered on 13 February 1945. It was a strategic victory for the Allies in their push towards Berlin.
The 6th Panzer Army was a formation of the German Army, formed in the autumn of 1944. The 6th Panzer Army was first used as an offensive force during the Battle of the Bulge, in which it operated as the northernmost element of the German offensive. The army was subsequently transferred to Hungary in early 1945 and used in both offensive and defensive actions there. The final battles of the 6th Panzer Army were fought in Austria until the collapse of Nazi Germany, at which point the army was completely demoralized. The remnants of the army eventually surrendered to the United States Army. Army commander throughout the army's existence, SS-Oberstgruppenführer Josef Dietrich said in early 1945:
"We call ourselves the "6th Panzer Army", because we've only got 6 Panzers left".
The Crimean offensive, known in German sources as the Battle of the Crimea, was a series of offensives by the Red Army directed at the German-held Crimea. The Red Army's 4th Ukrainian Front engaged the German 17th Army of Army Group A, which consisted of Wehrmacht and Romanian formations. The battles ended with the evacuation of the Crimea by the Germans. German and Romanian forces suffered considerable losses during the evacuation.
The Jassy–Kishinev Operation, named after the two major cities, Iași and Chișinău, in the staging area, was a Soviet offensive against Axis forces, which took place in Eastern Romania from 20 to 29 August 1944 during World War II. The 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army engaged Army Group South Ukraine, which consisted of combined German and Romanian formations, in an operation to reclaim the Moldavian SSR and destroy the Axis forces in the region, opening the way into Romania and the Balkans.
The Vienna Offensive was launched by the Soviet 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts in order to invade Vienna, Austria, during World War II. The offensive lasted from 2 April to 13 April 1945.
The Battle of the Transdanubian Hills was a defensive operation of the Bulgarian First Army during Bulgaria's participation in World War II against German Wehrmacht forces, who were trying to capture the north bank of the Drava river as part of Operation Spring Awakening.
The Nagykanizsa–Körmend Offensive carried out between 26 March and 15 April 1945 was part of the 3rd Ukrainian Front's Vienna Offensive during World War II against the Army Group South forces defending the Kisbajom-Nagykorpád-Nagyatád-Heresznye defensive line north of the Drava river and west of Lake Balaton.
The Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, also known in Soviet historical sources as the liberation of right-bank Ukraine, was a strategic offensive executed by the Soviet 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ukrainian Fronts, along with the 2nd Belorussian Front, against the German Army Group South and Army Group A, and fought from 24 December 1943 – 17 April 1944. The battles on the right-bank Ukraine and in the Crimea were the most important event of the 1944 winter-spring campaign on the Eastern Front.
The Battle of Romania in World War II comprised several operations in or around Romania in 1944, as part of the Eastern Front, in which the Soviet Army defeated Axis forces in the area, Romania changed sides, and Soviet and Romanian forces drove the Germans back into Hungary.
This order of battle lists the German, Hungarian, Romanian, and Soviet forces involved in the Battle of Debrecen in October 1944.
The Belgorod-Kharkov Strategic Offensive Operation, or simply Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive Operation, was a Soviet strategic summer offensive that aimed to recapture Belgorod and Kharkov a, and destroy the German forces of the 4th Panzer Army and Army Detachment Kempf. The operation was codenamed Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev, after the 18th-century Field Marshal Peter Rumyantsev and was conducted by the Voronezh and Steppe Fronts in the southern sector of the Kursk Bulge. The battle was referred to as the Fourth Battle of Kharkov by the Germans.
The 53rd Army was a field army of the Soviet Union's Red Army which was formed in August 1941, disbanded in December 1941, and reformed in May 1942. It fought throughout World War II before again being disbanded after the war in October 1945. The army was first formed for the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and was disbanded there in December 1941. The army reformed in May 1942. It fought in the Demyansk Pocket, the Battle of Kursk, the Battle of Belgorod, the Battle of the Dnieper, the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket, the Uman–Botoșani Offensive, the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, the Battle of Debrecen, the Budapest Offensive, and the Prague Offensive. At the end of the war in Europe it was moved to the Far East and fought in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The army was disbanded in October 1945.
Operation Konrad III was a German military offensive on the Eastern Front of the Second World War. It was the third and most ambitious of the three Konrad Operations and had the objective of relieving the siege of Budapest and recapturing the entire Transdanubia region. Achieving complete surprise, the German offensive began on 18 January 1945. Supported by the Luftwaffe, the IV SS Panzer Corps, the principal German attack formation, overran the Soviet 4th Guards Army in two days, destroying hundreds of Soviet tanks along the way, reached the Danube river on 19 January and recaptured 400 square kilometers of territory in four days. After nine days of high-intensity combat, and the destruction by the SS of nearly all Soviet tanks in the entire 3rd Ukrainian Front, the German offensive was stopped by Soviet reinforcements 25 kilometers short of Budapest on 26 January.