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Posted: 10/1/2014 8:05:30 PM EST
...Soon afterwards, the Hungarian Capital became the focus of one of the most brutal struggles of the war, scarcley noticed in the west because it coincided with Hitler's Ardennes offensive and thereafter with the massive Russian offensive father north...


...Stalin had ordered the capture of Budapest, and at first hoped to achieve this without a battle:even when the Russian had almost completed the Capital's encirclement, they left open a western passage for the garrison's withdrawal. The German front commander wanted to abandon the city; Hitler, inevitably, insisted that it should be defended to the last. Some 50,000 German and 45,000 Hungarian troops held their positions, knowing from the onset their situation was hopeless. One artillery battlion consisted of Ukrainians dressed in Polish uniforms with German insignia. An SS Calvary division was described as "Totally demoralized" and three SS Hungarian police regiments were classified as "extremely unreliable"...

...On 30 December, a thousand Russian Guns opened a barrage on Budapest that continued for ten hours daily, with air raids in between...

...In some places the Russians drove prisoners in front of them, who shouted despairingly, "We are Hungarians!" before both sides' fire tore into them. Bizarrely, a group of seventy Russians defected to the defenders, asserting they were more afraid of retreating-to face the NKVD's machine gunners behind their own front-than of coming forward to surrender. Stalin's unwilling allies suffered heavily: on 16 January a Romanian corps reported that since October it had lost 23,000 men dead, wounded and missing-more than 60 percent of it's strength...

...Hunger gnawed at every man, woman and child. The garrisons 25,000 horses were eaten. Only 14 of 2,500 animals in the city zoo survived-the rest were killed by Soviet fire or slaughtered for meat; for weeks, a lion roamed the underground rail tunnels until it was captured by a Soviet task force dispatched for the purpose....

...Throughout the siege, the persecution and murder of Budapest's Jews continued....An estimated 105,453 Jews died in or disappeared from Budapest between mid-October 1944 and the fall of the city...

...The Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenburg, who was amoung those trapped in Budapest, strove to check the Jewish massacres, warning German commanders that they would be held responsible. But killings continued, sometimes including the shooting of Hungarian police officers sent to protect Jews. Wallenburg was eventually murdered by the Russians...

...Mastery was contested in a dozen parts of the city simultaneously. Buildings changed hands several times amid attacks and counterattacks. Hungarian soldiers who deserted to the Red Army were offered an abrupt choice: they might join the Red Army to fight their former comrades or face transportation to Siberia...After the war, it was found that the death rate had been similar between those who chose captivity and those who joined the Red Army...

...On 11 February 1945, resistance collapsed in Buda. The commander of the Hungarian antiaircraft artillery disarmed Germans in his headquarters in the Gellert Hotel, raised a white flag and had his men shoot those who defied him and wanted to prolong resistance...

...Some defenders sought to escape along the sewers by candlelight...Others who trudged on westwards found themselves emerging from woodland into the open Zsambek Basin. Here, exposed against the snow, Soviet snipers and machine gunners shot them down in the hundreds...Only 700 of the 43,900 men on 11 February reached the German front farther west; of the remainder, 17,000 had been killed and more than 22,00 taken prisoner.

From:
http://www.amazon.com/Inferno-The-World-War-1939-1945/dp/0307273598








Link Posted: 10/1/2014 8:40:49 PM EST
btt
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 8:52:41 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 9:07:59 PM EST
Staggering when you read about the numbers of life's lost.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 9:27:29 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/1/2014 9:30:17 PM EST by TylerF]
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Originally Posted By beardog30:
Staggering when you read about the numbers of life's lost.
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Unfathomable today.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 9:29:14 PM EST
Interesting. Thanks for posting this.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 9:36:28 PM EST
All to write another footnote into the pages of history.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 9:44:11 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:21:31 PM EST
Thank you.

It's always amazing seeing the numbers of annialated forces or forces that surrendered during WWII... groups as large as a quarter of our active military at times.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:30:05 PM EST
Thanks for the reminder. A friend's grandfather survived, spared as a WW1 hero and doctor, even though they knew he was a Jew. Escaped to the US after the war. The Hungarians suffered horribly in the Second World War and afterward.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:32:23 PM EST
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Originally Posted By WesJanson:
All to write another footnote into the pages of history.
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My first thought.

Sad...
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:36:58 PM EST
Thanks. I never read about the Battle for Budapest.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:40:23 PM EST
Certainly one of the lesser-remembered battles of that war.

Very interesting.

Thanks for sharing it.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:46:14 PM EST
Truly tragic.

The absolute hell on earth it must have been to be a Jew there, attacked by nearly everyone.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 1:19:40 AM EST
Good read. Thanks for sharing.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 1:24:32 AM EST
Great post, thanks.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 2:13:09 AM EST
I want to know more about the capture of the lion. Knowing the soviets they tossed men at it until it got tired from killing them and passed out.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 2:21:38 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Riply21:
I want to know more about the capture of the lion. Knowing the soviets they tossed men at it until it got tired from killing them and passed out.
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Lol, most likely.

Link Posted: 10/2/2014 2:40:31 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Accidental:
Thank you.

It's always amazing seeing the numbers of annialated forces or forces that surrendered during WWII... groups as large as a quarter of our active military at times.
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I happen to know what your avatar is.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 11:44:46 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 3:57:59 PM EST
Once more.















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