Unexplained bombing of Košice. 80 years ago, Hungary entered the war in a strange way

Although the aircraft, as observed from the ground, bore yellow markings as machines of the Axis Powers, their origin could not be determined. However, two pro-German-oriented generals – Chief of Staff Henrik Werth and War Minister Karola Barth – immediately declared that the attackers were certainly Russians.

Who really bombed Košice?

In the past, various speculations have arisen about this raid. According to one claim, the traditionally hostile Romanians were behind Hungary: for being taken over by Transylvania in 1940, they wanted to drag their neighbor into the war against the Soviet Union in order to weaken it.

Others saw the Germans, or even the warlike Hungarians themselves, as the masterminds of the attack, eager to join the “anti-Bolshevik crusade.” The author duo Charles K. Kliment and Dénes Bernád in the book Hungarian Army 1919–1945 claims that, according to recent research, the perpetrator of the attack was indeed the Soviet Union. The pilots allegedly bombed Košice by mistake, as they followed outdated maps and probably believed that they were bombing the territory of enemy Slovakia, to which Košice until recently belonged. The discovery of two unexploded Soviet bombs and metal bomb holders supported this version. On the same day, Soviet fighters (allegedly) attacked a passenger express train on the Körösmezö-Budapest route, killing three civilians and wounding six, while other unidentified aircraft repeatedly penetrated Hungarian territory from the east, but caused no damage.

Up to the war

In any case, these acts, especially the bombing of Košice, provided the Hungarian government spy clear, and therefore on June 27, “Admiral without the Sea and Fleet,” Regent Miklós Horthy, declared war on the Soviet Union. He based his strengthened powers and only later submitted his decision to the government and parliament for approval. The leader of the Hungarian Communists, Mátyás Rákosi (surname Rosenfeld), was even released from life imprisonment in 1940 and traveled to Moscow in exchange for Honvéd battalions captured by the Tsarist army in suppressing the Hungarian Revolution in 1849.

A joke for a hundred

Even before the US entered the war, an American journalist interviewed the Hungarian ambassador to the USA: “Hello. After your country enters the war against the Soviets, the reader would be interested in a few details, Your Excellency. Hungary is the kingdom of that. Who is the king at the moment? ”“ We don’t have a king, the state is ruled by Regent Admiral Horthy. ”

“Ah, so the Navy must have a lot of influence in Hungary.” “We don’t have a navy or a sea.”

“I understand. You entered the war with the USSR. Do you have any territorial claims against Soviet Russia? Or against other states? ”“ Not against the USSR. We have claims against Slovakia and Romania. “

“And you’re at war with them, too?” “No, they’re our allies.”

The absurdity of Hungary’s participation in the war against the Soviet Union cannot be expressed more aptly.

The Hungarians are attacking

In this context, one cannot help but recall the joke circulating about the role of Horthy and Hungary in World War II. Even before the US entered the global conflict, an American journalist interviewed the Hungarian ambassador to the United States: “Good day. After your country enters the war against the Soviets, the reader would be interested in a few details, Your Excellency. Hungary is the kingdom of that. Who’s the king at the moment? “” We don’t have a king, the state is ruled by Regent Admiral Horthy. “” Ah, so the Navy must have a lot of influence in Hungary. “” We don’t have a navy or a sea. “” I understand. You entered the war with the USSR. Do you have any territorial claims against Soviet Russia? Or against other states? ”“ Not against the USSR. We have claims against Slovakia and Romania. “” And you are at war with them, too? “” No, they are our allies. “

On June 30, the Carpathian Army Group was formed in Khust with a mobile corps, the 8th Border Guard Brigade and the 1st Mountain Brigade, aimed at crossing the Carpathians, pursuing Soviet troops as far as the Dniester and seizing bridges over it. The Hungarian offensive officially began on July 1, but the first units crossed the border on June 28. A total of six brigades (two motorized and one cavalry, mountain, border and construction), 93,010 soldiers, 138 field guns, 120 anti-tank and 72 anti-aircraft cannons, 102 mortars, 81 light tanks, 60 tanks, set aside a total of six brigades for the initial phase of the eastern campaign. 48 fighters, the same number of bombers and 29 reconnaissance aircraft, 5,858 cars, tractors and tractors and 21,265 horses.

How many people cost the Hungarians a “crusade against Bolshevism”?

According to the statistical report of losses, the Hungarian army (Honvédség) lost on the Eastern Front from June 26, 1941 to December 31, 1944 a total of 3851 soldiers (19 officers, 10 officers and 3822 members of the team), which compared to the significant losses of Romanians and Finns not dramatic numbers. Of these, 954 were dead and dead (eight officers, four officers and 942 members of the team), 2574 wounded (11 officers, six officers and 2557 members of the team), nine members of the team were captured and 314 remained missing.

The following figures show how sharply the Hungarian losses increased. According to the same report, in 1942 they climbed to 33,763 soldiers, in 1943 already – mainly due to the heavy defeat of the 2nd Army – to 105,085 and for the fateful year of 1944 to 113,732! Data for 1945 are completely missing. In total, the Hungarian army paid for the “crusade against Bolshevism” only in the period from June 26, 1941 to December 31, 1944 256,431 soldiers (37,490 dead and dead, 88,296 wounded, 5,755 captured and 124,890 missing, among whom probably predominate captivity). Of these, 9097 were officers, 3018 officers and 244,316 members of the team.

German figures vary considerably

According to the German command, the losses of the Hungarian ground and air forces on the Eastern Front by the end of 1944 (numbers are missing for later periods) reached only 148,514 people (42,361 dead, 74,056 wounded and 32,097 missing). It can be seen from this that many missing (captives) were not registered at all: The relatively small number of wounded compared to the fallen (1.75 wounded per one fallen) can be explained by the fact that the majority of wounded were among the captives.

And how did the Hungarians see it themselves?

Árpád Snyder estimated in 1946 that 100,000 Hungarian soldiers had died on Soviet territory, 24,000 during the siege of Budapest, and 12,000 for various reasons, for a total of 136,000 soldiers from Hungarian territory within its present borders. The above-mentioned Charles K. Kliment and Dénes Bernád put the Hungarian losses in World War II at 340,000 to 360,000 soldiers, of which 120,000 to 160,000 fell, and the rest were wounded, dead from injuries and missing persons. Of the 600,000 men captured by the Soviets, at least a fifth of whom were civilians, 150,000 to 200,000 never returned, according to Hungarian figures. According to a statistical study of Russia and the USSR in the wars of the XX. Issued in Moscow in 2001, 513,766 Hungarian soldiers were captured in the Soviet century, of whom 54,755 (ie 10.65%) died. According to various data from 513 aircraft shot down between 1941 and 1945 by Hungarian pilots, 339 to 369 were Soviet.

How did the Germans evaluate the Hungarian army?

The German general considered the Hungarian army to be second-rate and poorly armed, and moreover, Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler disliked neither the Hungarians nor Horthy, whom he considered a relic of the past as a former Austro-Hungarian officer (and commander of the navy). However, on September 10, 1941, he awarded him the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, which Horthy never wore. On December 4, 1941, the commander of the mobile corps, Bél Dálnoki Miklós, received the same honors, on March 31, 1943, Colonel General Gusztáv Jány, commander of the 2nd Army, who lost 96,016 men on the Don between January 1 and April 6, 1943. Géz Lakatos, Commander of the 1st Army, 28 October 1944, Commander of the 3rd Army, József Heszlényi, 12 January 1945 to Colonel Zoltán Szughy, Commander of the “Szent László” Division, and 5 March 1945 to Colonel General Dezsö László, Commander of the 1st Army. After all, after Szálasi’s pro-Nazi coup, the underestimated Hungarians stood by the side of the Third Reich until the bitter end and paid dearly for it.

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Source: Reflex.cz by www.reflex.cz.

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