In March 1945, the Germans fiercely tried to turn the tide of their lost war

the Story “South of the main shock”, written in 1957, the former commander of the platoon firing Gregory Baklanov is not about the toughest moments of those days…

Only with great difficulty, the SS pushed back almost to their original positions.

in March 1945, two months before the surrender of the Reich – Hitler tried one last time to turn the tide lost them the war.

the Fuhrer to the last clung to Western Hungary.

“Goblin” against Tolbukhin

By 1945, the Wehrmacht began to threaten a fuel famine. Most of the factories that produced synthetic gasoline, brought down the Anglo-American aviation. And the last oil fields and refineries owned by the Germans, were located in Western Hungary, lying behind her in Austria.

to preserve these areas, it was necessary to defeat the 3rd Ukrainian front Marshal of the Soviet Union Fyodor Tolbukhin – invading in November 1944 in Western Hungary. And swing it back over the Danube river (which divides Hungary into Eastern and Western halves), safely hiding behind this water hazard.

As the Red Army ripped the Hungarian knot on the verge of a great Victory

the Blows of “Totenkopf” and “Wiking” were only a prelude to a larger scale. On 27 January, Hitler ordered the transfer of Western Hungary the 6th SS Panzer army of the SS oberstgruppenfuhrer and Colonel General of the Waffen SS Josef Dietrich. Thus, Tolbukhin had to collapse the two SS Panzer corps – 1st and 2nd. Which includes including the famous 1st SS Panzer division “Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler” and the 2nd SS Panzer division “Das Reich”.

Together with a group of General of Panzer troops Hermann Balck (6th German and 2nd Hungarian army) the armor fist was supposed to hit from the area between lake Velence and lake Balaton to the East and went out to the Danube to divide the troops of Tolbukhin in two. And then defeated them with the assistance coming towards the South-West of Hungary and Croatia, the 2nd tank army of General of artillery Maximilian de Angelis and the 91st army corps of General of infantry Wernher von Erdmannsdorf.

the Impact of Schwab Dietrich and nigrescans Balck has received the code name “Spring awakening”.

the Shock of the Austrian de Angelis – “ice-breaker”.

Beat the Saxon von Erdmannsdorf – “Goblin”.

And for the Yaroslavets Tolbukhina a reflection of all of these attacks became the Balaton defensive operation (it is also called the Balaton battle).

Intelligence reported accurately

17 Feb 1945 Tolbukhin received a Directive to prepare an offensive on Vienna. But 18th in Slovakia, in the battle on the West Bank of the river Hron, the nearby soldiers of the 2nd Ukrainian front captured a SS of the “Leibstandarte”.

It made alarmed even the Moscow General staff of the red Army.

it turns Out that one of the two buildings thrown on the Soviet-German front, the 6th SS tank army entered the battle not the North (as suggested by the survey), and to the South of the Carpathians.

Then, somewhere around the second, and both are next to Hungary. It is a few kilometers from the Soviet bridgehead at Hron.

So, you can expect the impact of Dietrich and the troops of Tolbukhin.

In early March followed confirmation: the ESM of the 3rd Ukrainian found that the army of Dietrich concentrated between lakes Velence and Balaton.

lines of the letters of a soldier Ivan Orlov are engraved on the memorial in Mishkin

Yes, after fighting with the Americans in the Ardennes it thinned out, and joined her anti-aircraft gunnersmi, signalmen, sailors. But there were many more in the Waffen SS and those who came there voluntarily, were well trained and cheerful spirit. “I’m really pleased that life at the front – a game with death. […] I still believe in my guardian angel who keeps saving me your hand” (from a letter to 17-year-old arrow of the SS division “Totenkopf” Manfred Diener family, January 1945)1.

February 20 Stavka ordered the 3rd Ukrainian to be prepared not only to blow the vein, but also to repel the German offensive in Western Hungary.

the Column of the 13th Guards mechanized brigade on the March. Hungary. 1945. Photo: Lactaphilia company Marshall

the Situation resembled the one that prevailed before the battle of Kursk. On surprise the enemy count, as the direction of his shock clear.

But the preparation of defence is not three months (as at Kursk), and two weeks.

On the Danube plain a lot of wetlands, ground water table too close to the surface. How to dig a trench full profile depth of more than two meters? To protect soldiers from bullets and shrapnel, have to fence in front of a small trench wall or fence.

the Soil is often sandy, the walls of the trenches are crumbling, they need to strengthen boards. And the forests in the district is small, all built of stone.

Where three and four defensive zone to build a still managed. But weaker than at Kursk. Bunkers, anti-tank ditches, wire entanglements, almost was not.

Three streets of Belgrade, renamed in honor of the red Army, Marshal Tolbukhin and General Zhdanov

And who will keep the borders?

Tolbukhin Infantry after the winter battles depopulated.

In the infantry regiments of nine constituent rifle companies had to reduce where to seven (4-th guards army), with five to six (the 27th), where three to six (the 26th). And in those instead of the regular 148 people were on average 73 (4th guards), for 64 (the 27th), for 43 (26 minutes)2…

in 1916, in the Brusilov offensive, commanding the 2nd Zamorska border infantry regiment company “green devils” (so nicknamed by the Germans the TRANS-Amur border guards), Lieutenant Tolbukhin grasped, that small company “decide active task” in battle, it is up to them “depends on the success of the battle”3.

These mouth Marshal Tolbukhin, now was not.

Marshal of the Soviet Union Fedor Ivanovich Tolbukhin. Photo: RIA Novosti

However, there was strong artillery and engineers.

On the tank hazardous areas put artillery regiments – so that the guns could hit tanks from the flank in the side (where the armor is thinner frontal). And prepared firing positions for regiments to be made here on alert.

In the most dangerous area – between Velence and lake Balaton – kilometer front set at 1075 473 anti-tank and anti-personnel мины4.

Create mobile units of barrier – ready to supply new mines.

… but if the front is still not able to withstand the shock tank fist?

on 8 February 1945, Mikhail devyatayev escaped from a concentration camp,

I Doubt even in Moscow. Two months before Winning…

“we should Not forget the alarming March of 1945, Then the Soviet strategic leadership time and time again weighed the odds of the enemy in different variants of actions of the troops. Wondering possible conditions and the outcome of the struggle, especially in the case of a rigid defence on the right Bank of the Danube […] Discussed another option: to move away from the right Bank of the Danube on the left […] In this case, having covered a wide water obstacle, it was possible to ensure the retention of positions across the river”5 (former head of Operaalternative management of the General staff of the red Army Sergei Shtemenko).

Decided to take a chance. Not to move beyond the Danube. Not to boost then it again.

the Crew of self-propelled artillery SU-76 firing at the enemy. Hungary. 1945. Photo: RIA Novostie

on the Morning of 6 March 1945, after a 30-minute artillery barrage on the Soviet positions between Velence and Balaton, moved about two hundred German tanks.

in the basic yellow color, and dark green and brown (or just brown) stained on top of it, and with traces of poorly washed white winter coloring…

Most of them were 45-ton “Panther” (the Soviet designation is T-V) and 68-ton “Royal tigers” (T-VIB “Tiger-B”)6.

the tanks were the infantry.

the infantry – supported tanks and its fire assault guns.

Behind them the armored personnel carriers with infantry…

Photo: Sovfoto/Getty Images an open letter to the German journalist demanded to demolish the monument at the Prokhorovka field

“the soldiers of the infantry fighting with tanks – the most difficult and scary. During tank attacks, which followed one after another out of his head flew all the instructions and lessons. […] One is forced to remember and Hitler’s grandmother, and all the saints”7 (former signalman 645 th infantry regiment Naum Levin).

in Some places the tanks came out of the trenches yet, and suddenly – suddenly emerging from the veil of snow.

And poredenie, poorly trained rifle companies of the 26th army guard Lieutenant General Nikolai hagena and part of the 1st guards fortified area 4th guards army of Lieutenant General Nicanor Savateeva flinch.

“Seeing it, and mortar, had to withdraw from the fire and under fierce enemy fire to move to a new firing line. This was our first departure from their positions during the war”8 (former mortar 140-th mortar regiment Peter Filbert; at the front from September 1942).

But until recently, kept the gunners.

Soviet ground attack aircraft in the air. The 3rd Ukrainian front. January 1945. Photo: RIA Novosti”goodbye, Motherland!”

the Wounded Lieutenant Alexey Sergeev shot from 45-mm guns on the tanks of the 12th SS Panzer division “Hitler youth”, even if only one platoon of anti-tank guns 734 th infantry regiment. Even though “EP” called “goodbye, Motherland!”…

As always, did not retreat without orders anti-tank artillery regiments – Itapy. Unfolded, being bypassed, their 57-mm and 76-mm gun 90 – 100 degrees – and continued to fire.

crossed Yellow cannon barrels in the black diamond with red piping – shoulder sleeve insignia of aptovtsev – called the sincere respect of the soldiers: all knew that anti-tank artillery “barrel is long, life is short”.

“the Earth trembles, and in her ears – a familiar hum and clanking. […] On the other side, landing, moving a herd of tanks.

Writers Vasil Bykov and Viktor Astafiev liberated the right-Bank Ukraine

it Seemed the herd. No order of battle. GURT. Go, like cows to a watering place. Only the front firing cannons. So, without stopping, they trampled half of the positions of the regiment, all crumpled and guns, and machines, and humans”9 (former commander of the platoon firing 1245 th iptap, writer Vasil Bykov).

6-I battery 1965 iptap fired for attacking her at high speed tanks even when they were already 100 metres.

1966 IPTP was taken in a pincer movement by the infantry of the “Leibstandarte”, but did not flinch, and beaten her with shrapnel, with fuses, its “shot” – so to 260 a round of bullets burst from the projectile immediately upon its departure from the trunk.

Abandoned by its infantry, the batteries of the regiment fought in the environment – until, until was destroyed all the instruments.

But to die at the end of the war did not want especially! On the morning of 8 March, “each hoping to delay the time of the upcoming nightmare, so Ston rocket launchers of the enemy hurt slashed at my heart. For Seregelyes got a huge puff of smoke, followed by the heart-rending gunfire”[10] (former chief of staff of tank battalion, 170-th tank brigade, Vasily bryukhov).

Soviet officers inspect the destroyed heavy tank “Royal tiger”. Road Balashov – Armat. Hungary. 1945.”Damn Balaton”

the Land was filled with melt water, the snow was melting too, and the German armored vehicles stuck in the mud – not only in the fields but also on dirt roads.

But went ahead. Looking for the joints between Soviet units, the passages between wetlands, maneuvered and broke.

there Came at night – using night vision devices, burning bullets and shells at home and managed to cover the terrain.

Defenders is also burned buildings and pre-prepared bonfires, lit the battlefield with rockets, illuminating shells and bombs.

battle of Kursk. The stories of the participants of the battles, written in 1944

Seregelyes, Adony, ABA, Sarkeresztur, Simontornya channel Serves – eti Hungarian names were repeated in those days, in the reports at all levels – including dokladyvalis Stalin.

“Huge “tiger” went directly into the funnel where I hid. Had to get out of the shelter and run aimlessly. But I knew that there is no escape, immediately burst or caterpillar crush”11 (former signalman Basil Testoedov).

Again and then could not stand the infantry.

“Right on, we ran the retreating soldiers from under the Balaton”12 (former assistant chief of staff 700 th howitzer artillery regiment Ilya Mariaschin).

Again cemented the defense of the artillery.

Vehemently howled, “Tigers”, gritting your booking.

don’t be shy, gunner! In the soul of the mother… Fire!

you’re Lucky – you come back to dear house,

Remember at leisure, damn Балатон13.

the Author of these lines, a former battery commander 1417-th iptap Ivan Balabanov fought South of lake Balaton. There the Germans have the “tiger” was not only self-propelled guns – but they pressed forward so that the artillery was not to determine grades.

Remember about “bloody Balaton” Ivan didn’t love the rest of your life.

To the death

In the area between Velence and channel Sarvis torn the 26th replaced the 27-th army, Colonel-General Sergei Trofimenko.

At the armor of the enemy already beaten all available hand tools. And delivered for direct fire heavy 122-mm guns and 152-mm gun-howitzers, and 85-mm anti-aircraft guns… shot from ambush tanks and self-propelled guns.

Joined the battle shelves the newest self-propelled guns SU-100 – pierces the armor of the “Panther” and “king tiger” even with the 1500 meters.

They sought to act from ambushes, but mistakes the Germans did not forgive them. Stood on the outskirts of the village – gave the enemy a great guide! “Sunrise began, I lit one torch, the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth – all the artillery the Germans destroyed"14 (the former commander of a tank platoon 170 th tank brigade Alexander Burtsev).

From the air tanks covered cumulative bombs the Il-2 – whose pilots reaffirmed in the eyes of the enemy, his reputation for despising death.

“I’ve seen a lot of Il-2, which careered from side to side, leaving a smoky trail, or go with a hanging down one landing gear, but none of them did us a favor and does not fall”15 (former commander of group I of the 53rd fighter squadron Helmut Lipfert).

In the area of lake Balaton was working all the fighters of the 4th air fleet of the Germans.

Photo: RIA Novosti Pilot Sergei Gritsevets sat under the nose of the enemy to rescue a downed friend

“Over the Balaton… wooo… I thought I had, they told me to swim there cause. […] There were many moments when it was scary, but Balaton abruptly everything else will, I’ll tell you”16 (former pilot 672 th attack aviation regiment Grigory Cherkashin; at the front since November 1943).

March 9, all the reserves of the 3rd Ukrainian front were spent, and the enemy has not yet entered into the battle two armored divisions. And Tolbukhin on the phone asked Stalin, “not whether his troops and headquarters to withdraw to the left Bank of the Danube, in order not to lose control”17.

it is Not necessary, said the Supreme.

he Refused to pass Tolbukhin 9-th guards army, which was intended to be scheduled March 16 attack on Vienna.

the Risk of the Supreme

Stalin, of course, risk – as well as in the critical days of the defense of Moscow in late November 41. Then he, too, was reserved in a reserve three army – gone 6 December counter-offensive near Moscow.

March 9, the “Leibstandarte” and “Hitler youth” broke through for the second of the four having hadSasa before them defensive lines.

the 10th second strip broke through and the group of Balck and 11th – and the “Das Reich”.

12 – 13 March of the “Leibstandarte” and Balck came close to the third strip. Before Balcom it was the last! He went on to break almost half-way to the Danube and 12 km of 24 – 2718.

But 14-th and 15-th “Spring awakening” began to fizzle out. Without the rest consumed by Tolbuhina reserves all compacted defenses, and break through it on to the Germans was not under force.

Stalled and “Icebreaker” with “Devilry”. South of Balaton, de Angelis was able to oust the 57-th army tolbuxinskoe countryman-Yaroslavets, Lieutenant General Michael Sarahina only six kilometres. Hit because of the Drava river von Erdmannsdorf part of the 57-th, 1-th Bulgarian (Lieutenant-General Vladimir Stoychev) and the 3rd Yugoslav (Lieutenant-General Kosta Nadj) armies were stopped five kilometres from the shore.

And on March 16 the fresh 9th guards and the 6th guards tank army struck at the base of the wedge driven into the Soviet defenses Balcom and Dietrich.

Began a hasty retreat of the enemy

Photo: Gettyimages As the Soviet Union in 1945 saved the Japanese from themselves

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3. Kuznetsov P. G., Marshal Tolbukhin. M., 1966. P. 141.

4. Calculated by: Mikhailik A. G. Decree. CIT. p. 408.

5. Shtemenko S. M. General staff during the war. KN. 1 and 2. M., 1989. P. 429.

6. Isaev A. In., Kolomiets, M. V. Recent counter-attacks of Hitler. The Defeat Of Panzerwaffe. M., 2010. Pp. 190-191.

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9. Bykov V. the Long road home. M.; PL., 2005. P. 106.

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12. Gunners. M., 2019. P. 217.

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14. Drabkin A. I fought on the T-34. M., 2005. P. 184.

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16. Drabkin A. I fought in the Il-2. M., 2006. Pp. 224-225.

17. Shtemenko, S. M. Decree. CIT. P. 430.

18. Baron O. M. Balaton defensive operation. M., 2001. The map on p. 64.