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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.
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).
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 was a Front of the Red Army during World War II.
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.
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:
Fedor Ivanovich Tolbukhin was a Soviet military commander.
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.
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 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, 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.
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.
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 the 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 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 capture 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, fought from 24 December 1943 – 17 April 1944, was a strategic offensive executed by the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Ukrainian Fronts, along with the 1st Belorussian Front, against the German Army Group South, intended to retake all of the Ukrainian and Moldovian territories occupied by Axis forces.
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 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.
The 7th Mechanized Corps was a mechanized corps of the Red Army, formed three times. The corps was first formed in 1934 in the Leningrad Military District and was converted into the 10th Tank Corps in 1938. The corps was reformed in the summer of 1940 in the Moscow Military District and fought in the Battle of Smolensk, after which its headquarters became part of Group Yartsevo's headquarters. The corps was formed a third time in August and September 1943. The third formation fought in the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, Uman–Botoșani Offensive, Jassy–Kishinev Offensive, Battle of Debrecen, Budapest Offensive, Bratislava–Brno Offensive, Prague Offensive, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria. Postwar, the corps' third formation became a division and was disbanded in 1957.
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.