Budapest Offensive

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Budapest Offensive
Part of Soviet-German Front of World War II
BUDAPEST 45 II.jpg
Soviet tank JS II in action (battle of Budapest)
Date29 October 1944 – 13 February 1945
(108 days)
Location
Budapest and northwestern Hungary
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Soviet Union
Flag of Romania.svg Romania
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Germany
Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946).svg Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Rodion Malinovsky
Flag of the Soviet Union (1936-1955).svg Fyodor Tolbukhin
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Johannes Friessner
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Otto Wöhler
Units involved
Casualties and losses
Soviet:
80,026 dead and missing
240,056 wounded and sick
Total casualties:
320,082 men
1,766 tanks destroyed
4,127 guns and mortars
293 aircraft
135,100 small arms [1] [2] [3]
48,000 killed
26,000 wounded
51,000 captured
Total casualties:
125,000 men [1]
76,000 civilian dead [4]
38,000 civilians dead in the siege (7,000 executed)
38,000 died in labour or POW camps

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. [5]

Red Army 1917–1946 ground and air warfare branch of the Soviet Unions military

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991.

Romanian Land Forces ground warfare branch of Romanias military

The Romanian Land Forces is the army of Romania, and the main component of the Romanian Armed Forces. In recent years, full professionalisation and a major equipment overhaul have transformed the nature of the Land Forces.

Axis powers Alliance of countries defeated in World War II

The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.

Contents

Prelude

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.

Balkans geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe

The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range.

Bucharest Capital of Romania

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′57″N26°06′14″E, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.

Carpathian Mountains mountain range in Central and Eastern Europe

The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a mountain range system forming an arc roughly 1,500 km (932 mi) long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the third-longest mountain range in Europe after the Ural Mountains with 2,500 km (1,553 mi) and Scandinavian Mountains with 1,700 km (1,056 mi).

The offensive

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.

3rd Ukrainian Front army unit

3rd Ukrainian Front was a Front of the Red Army during World War II.

4th Ukrainian Front

The 4th Ukrainian Front was the name of two distinct Red Army strategic army groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II.

Siege of Budapest siege

The Siege of Budapest or Battle of Budapest was the 50-day-long encirclement by Soviet 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.

According to the historical documents, the Budapest Offensive can be divided into five periods: [6]

Fyodor Tolbukhin Soviet military commander

Fedor Ivanovich Tolbukhin was a Soviet military commander.

Belgrade Offensive 1944 Second World War battle

The Belgrade Offensive or the Belgrade Strategic Offensive Operation was a military operation in which Belgrade was liberated from the German Wehrmacht through the joint efforts of the Soviet Red Army, Yugoslav Partisans, and the Bulgarian People's Army. Soviet forces and local militias launched separate but loosely cooperative operations that undermined German control of Belgrade and ultimately forced a retreat. Martial planning was coordinated evenly among command leaders, and the operation was largely enabled through tactical cooperation between Josip Broz Tito and Joseph Stalin that began in September 1944. These martial provisions allowed Bulgarian forces to engage in operations throughout Yugoslav territory, which furthered tactical success while increasing diplomatic friction.

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. [5]

Army Group South name of a number of German Army Groups during World War II

Army Group South was the name of two German Army Groups during World War II. It was first used in the 1939 September Campaign, along with Army Group North to invade Poland. In the invasion of Poland Army Group South was led by Gerd von Rundstedt and his chief of staff Erich von Manstein. Two years later, Army Group South became one of three army groups into which Germany organised their forces for Operation Barbarossa. Army Group South's principal objective was to capture Soviet Ukraine and its capital Kiev.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Czechoslovakia 1918–1992 country in Central Europe, predecessor of the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

According to Soviet claims, the Germans and Hungarians in Budapest lost 49,000 dead soldiers, with 110,000 captured and 269 tanks destroyed. [8]

Aftermath

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.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 Frieser et al. 2007, p. 922.
  2. Glantz, David M., and Jonathan House. When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler. (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1995. ISBN   0-7006-0899-0) p. 298
  3. Krivosheev, G. F. Soviet casualties and combat losses in the Twentieth Century. (London: Greenhill Books, 1997. ISBN   1-85367-280-7) p. 152
  4. Ungváry 2003, p. 330.
  5. 1 2 Самсонов, Александр Михайлович Крах фашистской агрессии 1939-1945. — М.: Наука, 1980. (in Russian)
  6. Минасян, М. M. Освобождение Юго-Восточной и Центральной Европы войсками 2-го и 3-го Украинских фронтов 1944-1945. Издательство "Наука", Москва, 1970. (in Russian)
  7. Frieser et al. 2007, p. 897.
  8. Наша Победа. День за днем - проект РИА Новости

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