German glider resupply to Buda Feb 9 1945?

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mfy4444
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German glider resupply to Buda Feb 9 1945?

Postby mfy4444 » 06 Oct 2017 18:32

Hello all. I found in Google Books online in James Mrazek, "Airborne Combat: The Glider War" a tantalizing reference to a major resupply effort by glider into besieged Budapest (well, by that time just Buda, Pest had fallen by January 18). It says:

"One of the most spectacular, and at the same time, tragic missions took place on 9 February. Ju52s, Do17s, and He111s towed 48 gliders toward Budapest. Before they could get to their release point, 12 gliders had been shot down or had aborted because their tow planes had crashed. Thirty-six gliders managed to reach the field and land successfully. However, by this time, Russian guns had the range of the tow craft and downed all..."

And at that point, frustratingly, it goes to the next page and I get one of those "pg. 262 is not part of the preview of this book" messages. So before I rush out and seek the book in question, I'm wondering why I can find no other reference online to this large-scale glider resupply mission. Also, other sources say the last successful resupply to Budapest by air came on February 8, and amounted to only four tons air-dropped by parachute. That's a far cry from 36 fully-laden gliders reaching the landing point, supposedly Feb 9. Other sources also say that the last gliders reached Buda on February 5: and in this case, six of seven gliders managed to get down without a catastrophic crash (most of the gliders were disabled, but their cargo was recoverable). Also, that day gliders and parachuted supplies reached a high point, delivering 97 tons of ammo, 10 tons of fuel, 28 tons of food, and four tons of motor oil and spare parts-- one of the most successful supply days of the siege. So if 36 gliders got down in Buda that figure should have been far exceeded, nevermind that the dates don't match if Feb 8 was the last successful resupply flights.

Finally, I have to wonder where 36 gliders could have put down in Buda at that time. The last-ditch landing field for gliders was Vermezo meadow, a flat green space about 800 meters long fronting a row of apartment buildings, in no way (I would think) capable of accommodating 36 gliders coming in close together. Usually landings (also sometimes of small planes) at Vermezo were carried out at night, due to Soviet fire, and rarely involved more than four to seven gliders at a time. I know of no other operational landing areas in the shrinking Buda perimeter as late as Feb 9 (the Axis forces would attempt a breakout on Feb 11, so the game in "Fortress Budapest" was about up by that time).

So can anyone fill in the blanks from Google Books and tell me if they ever heard of this fairly large-scale resupply mission that Mrazek cites? It would seem to be a considerable effort for the Luftwaffe at that stage of the war. Or is it possible that the mission did not go to Budapest, but to Axis troops in the vicinity outside the city? It would be strange for Mrazek to have just invented the whole thing, so I doubt that's the case...

Or do I have to find and buy that damn book just to read the omitted sentence or two?

Regards and thanks for any help.

Mike Yaklich

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Ironmachine
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Re: German glider resupply to Buda Feb 9 1945?

Postby Ironmachine » 06 Oct 2017 22:22

mfy4444 wrote:Hello all. I found in Google Books online in James Mrazek, "Airborne Combat: The Glider War" a tantalizing reference to a major resupply effort by glider into besieged Budapest (well, by that time just Buda, Pest had fallen by January 18). It says:

"One of the most spectacular, and at the same time, tragic missions took place on 9 February. Ju52s, Do17s, and He111s towed 48 gliders toward Budapest. Before they could get to their release point, 12 gliders had been shot down or had aborted because their tow planes had crashed. Thirty-six gliders managed to reach the field and land successfully. However, by this time, Russian guns had the range of the tow craft and downed all..."

And at that point, frustratingly, it goes to the next page and I get one of those "pg. 262 is not part of the preview of this book" messages.


The book goes on as follows:

"...but two of the remaining thirty-six. Thirteen men were killed and twenty-nine wounded, and ninety-six were missing from the mission.
On 13 February, twenty gliders took off for Budapest. None of the tow planes returned, and the fate of the gliders was never determined by the command at Wiener Neustadt. The irony of these operations is that the glider pilots had little information about the severity of the enemy antiaircraft fire they would encounter; information was purposely withheld so as not to lessen their determination to complete their mission."

Thus ends the section about Budapest.

It should be noted that the book German Air Force Airlift Operations by Generalmajor a. D. Fritz Morzik gives the same exact number of men lost (13 dead, 17 seriously wounded, 12 slightly wounded and 96 missing in action) for the whole operational period, not just for this mission. And what's more, Morzik writes that during the whole operational period a total of thirty-six gliders (DFS-230s) landed supplies into the target area and were abandoned, plus another 12 that were lost (and that the only suitable landing field was lost on 9 January and after that date supplies can only be delivered by air drop). Again a strange coincidence of numbers! It seems as if Mrazed missunderstood his sources and put all the gliders and the losses from the whole operational period in just one day!

mfy4444
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Re: German glider resupply to Buda Feb 9 1945?

Postby mfy4444 » 09 Oct 2017 16:41

Ironmachine, thanks. I have been having this discussion simultaneously in several different forums-- figuring it was best to cast a wide net in trying to figure this out-- and I was also referred to the Morzik book and came to the same conclusion. Seems like Mrazek (pretty confusing that the two authors' names are so similar!) took the totals for all the glider resupply missions up to February 9-- and misinterpreted them into one big mission ON February 9. Since his is the only book that seems to mention that mission-- a pretty large-scale effort for the Luftwaffe by that stage-- I assume it was an error by Mrazek. I was also curious, Morzik mentions a "drill field" at the Castle as an emergency landing ground, but says it was abandoned after one use. Do you think this refers to Vermezo meadow, or did the Castle have a small drill grounds adjacent? (I visited Budapest a long time ago but alas don't remember the Castle grounds that well-- time to try Google Maps I guess). It seems the "drill grounds" referenced by Morzik was tried for Fieseler Storch landings but found to be too small for that, hence abandoned. I'm waiting for a librarian friend to send me a pdf of the 8 relevent pages in Morzik, which seems a better source and should hopefully cast more light on this (so far he only e-mailed me some short quotes from Morzik).

Thanks for the response

Mike Yaklich

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Ironmachine
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Re: German glider resupply to Buda Feb 9 1945?

Postby Ironmachine » 09 Oct 2017 18:28

mfy4444 wrote:I was also curious, Morzik mentions a "drill field" at the Castle as an emergency landing ground, but says it was abandoned after one use. Do you think this refers to Vermezo meadow, or did the Castle have a small drill grounds adjacent?

Battle for Budapest: 100 Days in World War II by Krisztián Ungváry clearly states that the drill field and Vermezo meadow were different places:
Emergency landing zones and parachute dropping points were established at the Racecourse, the north Csepel recreational airfield, the site of today's People's Stadium and the Kisrákos drill ground in Pest, and in Tabán Park and Vérmezo Meadow in Buda.


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