Huns with Guns II

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  Hungarian Assault Artillery Badge

Huns with Guns II
The other battalions of the Hungarian Assault Gun forces

Recently in Wargames Illustrated 277 I wrote an article on Hungarian Assault Gun forces, focusing on the 1st, 7th and 10th battalions. However, there were five other battalions that served during the battle for Hungary. The following article takes a look at their combat records.

13. Rohamtüzér Osztály (13th Assault Gun Battalion)
Battles: Tisza River, Budapest
Armament: 2 Turán II tanks.

There is little known about this battalion and it may never have got any assault guns. On 8 October the 13th Assault Gun Battalion was sent to the front and arrived near Szentes with only their two Turán II training tanks. The rest of the battalion had to fight on foot. Their members were also caught in the Budapest cauldron where they fought with Group Billnitzer, most likely as infantry or anti-tank gunners, but also providing replacement crews.

Read Huns with Guns I here...

Turan II tank

Hetzer.

Most of the Hetzers in Budapest were most likely painted Dark Yellow. 

16. Rohamtüzér Osztály (16th Assault Gun Battalion)
Battles: Debrecen, Tisza River, Budapest
Armament: Turán II tanks, and Hetzers assault guns (in Budapest)

The 16th Assault Gun Battalion was rushed to the front in October 1944 and fought for Debrecen alongside German troops, defending the city and conducting counterattacks. They were initially armed with Turán II tanks, with which they had been training with before heading to the front. 

They may have inherited the tanks of the 1st Assault Gun Battalion when that unit was fully equipped with Zrínyi II assault howitzers. This would of given them two Turán I and ten Turán II tanks.

Turan II tank crosses a river over a destroyed bridge.

On 10 October they were defending the approaches to Debrecen against Red Army cavalry and T-34 tanks. The Hungarians opened fire with their Turán II tanks at a 1000 metres, the Soviet cavalry quickly changed direction but 14 T-34 tanks and supporting infantry kept coming. The Hungarians held their positions and knocked out a T-34 tank, but lost three Turán II tanks during the fight. The Soviets broke off their attack. Late in the day 45 T-34 tanks attacked and the Hungarian assault gunners decided to withdraw to better defensive positions where they held off the new attack.

On 11 October Soviet cavalry had reached the outskirts of Debrecen. Together with German panzers and infantry from 23. Panzerdivision, the 16th Assault Gun Battalion counterattacked and drove the Soviet cavalry and tanks back out of the city to re-establish a defensive line a few miles south of the city.

The battalion was defending a railway embankment on the road to Szolnok on 13 October with German pioneers when they repelled an attack by Soviet cavalry.

The Red Army troops took heavy losses and retreated. West of Debrecen elements of the battalion held off further Soviet attacks with the aid of German and Hungarian anti-aircraft guns.

On 14 October the battalion sent its 1st and 2nd Batteries with Turáns towards Gyula against the advance of the Soviet cavalry. They easily dispersed the, by this time, exhausted and weakened cavalry.

By 19 October the battalion had left Debrecen. The battalion had lost 300 of its 600 men. An unknown number of Turán II tanks were still operational. It retreated towards Polgár on the Tisza River.

Part of the battalion was inside Budapest when it was encircled and fought with Group Billnitzer inside the city.

20. Rohamtüzér Osztály (20th Assault Gun Battalion)
Battles: Western Hungary
Armament: Hetzer assault guns

They received 21 German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzers in late 1944. During December 1944 they saw action on the western bank of the Danube River.

Hetzer

Destroyed Hetzer, most likely from the 20. Rohamtüzér Osztály
(20th Assault Gun Battalion).
 

Hetzer.

The Hetzer recieved by some Hungarian units seemed to be Green
with red brown and dark yellow comouflage.

With 20 Hetzers, they were fighting alongside other Hungarian and German troops during relief attempts to break the encirclement of Budapest. One battery was trapped inside the city with Group Billnitzer.

The 20th Assault Gun Battalion fought on into 1945 under the command of Őrnagy József Henkey-Hőnig, taking part in the Germans’ final Hungarian ‘Frühlingserwachen’ (Spring Awakening) offensive with 15 Hetzers assault guns.

In February 1945 the battalion was reorganised back into three batteries, but only had 15 vehicles in total. They were attached to the Hungarian 25th Infantry Division. In late February 1945 the battalion, with two batteries of Hetzers (total of eight vehicles), supported the 25th Infantry Division during an attack on the Soviet 299th Rifle Division in the area of Balatonbozsok-Alsótekeres, near Lake Balaton.

The unit had 15 Hetzers on strength on 8 March 1945 and was with the German 4th Cavalry Division and the Hungarian 25th Reconnaissance Battalion near Lake Balaton. Between 9 and 11 March the 25th Infantry Division recaptured Enying with support from the battalion. Then on 13 March they broke through the lines of the Soviet 93rd Rifle Division at Siófok.

24. Rohamtüzér Osztály (24th Assault Gun Battalion)
Battles: Budapest Armament: Turán and Toldi tanks and Hetzer assault guns.

The 24th Battallion was attached to Group Billnitzer in November 1944 and was destroyed in Budapest. They fought with Turáns (5), Toldis (2) and Hetzers (22)

Turán II tank

Hetzer

25. Rohamtüzér Osztály (25th Assault Gun Battalion)
Battles: Transylvania, Budapest
Armament: 75mm Pak40, Zrínyi II assault howitzers, StuG G and Hetzer assault guns

The battalion first saw combat between September and October 1944 at Del-Erdely near Torda in Northern Transylvania. Initially they were armed with four 75mm 40M (Pak 40) anti-tank guns.

The battalion commander, Százados Vilmos Vértes, led the battalion, despite its lack of equipment, with great bravery. On the first day of the battles for Torda, 5 September 1944, the battalion captured a great deal of Romanian equipment and took prisoner the commander of the Romanian 20th Infantry Training Division, Major-general Constantin Visarion. Later, between 13 and 14 September, his anti-tank guns knocked out three tanks and a rocket launcher and damaged a further seven tanks. He was killed on 15 September while leading his battalion during the street fighting for Torda. He was posthumously awarded the Officers’ Gold Bravery Medal, the third and last Officer of the Assault Artillery to be awarded so.

The battalion later received some Zrínyi II assault howitzers and StuG G assault guns. In late 1944 they were delivered Hetzer assault guns. 

On 15 March 1945 they are reported to have 38 assault guns on strength, of which six were operational, most likely Hetzer assault guns.

Some Hungarian Terms

Rohamtüzér Osztály: Assault Artillery Detachment, but more usually translated to Assault Gun Battalion.
Rohamágyús: Assault Gun.
Rohamtarack: Assault Howitzer.
Üteg: Battery

Ranks

Őrnagy: Major
Százados: Captain
Föhadnagy: 1st Lieutenant
Hadnagy: 2nd Lieutenant
Zászlós: Ensign
Törzsőrmester: Technical Sergeant
Őrmester: Sergeant
Tizedes: Corporal
Honvéd: Private

See Wargames Illustrated 277 for more on the Hungarian Assault Gunners.

If anybody has more information on these units feel free to send it to be care of the Editor at [email protected]

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WI 277


Last Updated On Thursday, July 7, 2011 by Blake at Battlefront