Operation Spring Awakening

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Abel Ravasz
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Post by Abel Ravasz » 17 Nov 2003 10:41

Oh yes, and as for the Hungarian units:

5/3/1945 the following Hungarian units were involved:

II. Hungarian Corps - at 6. SS PAOK
20. Hungarian Division - at II. Hungarian Corps
25. Hungarian Division - parts at I. Kavalerie Korps, parts at I. SS Panzerkorps

Best,

Abel

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 17 Nov 2003 12:56

Abel Ravasz wrote:II. Hungarian Corps - at 6. SS PAOK
20. Hungarian Division - at II. Hungarian Corps


Are you sure Abel. As you mentioned the division was part of the II. Hungarian Corps, but this corps was subordinated to 6.Armee (Balck) during the Operation Frühlingserwachen, defending the northern coast of Lake Balaton.

Abel Ravasz
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Post by Abel Ravasz » 17 Nov 2003 13:31

From: http://www.diedeutschewehrmacht.de/6%20ss%20pz%20a.htm

Kriegsgliederung der 6.SS-PzA: Stand 05.03.1945
II.SS-PzK 2.SS-PzD "Das Reich", 9.SS-PzD "Hohenstaufen", 44.ID "H.u.D", 23.PzD
I.Kav.-K 3.Kav.-D, 4.Kav.-D, T.25.ung.ID
II.ung.AK 20.ung.ID
XXXXIII.AK 356.ID, Gren.Brig.92, T.PzD "Feldherrnhalle"
I.SS-PzK "Leibstandarte" 1.SS-PzD "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler", 12.SS-PzD "Hitlerjugend", T.25.ung.ID
der Armee direkt unterstellt:
Nachtrag:


Kriegsgliederung der 6.SS-PzA: Stand 21.03.1945
II.SS-PzK 2.SS-PzD "Das Reich", 9.SS-PzD "Hohenstaufen", 44.ID "H.u.D"
I.Kav.-K 3.Kav.-D, 4.Kav.-D, 25.ung.ID
II.ung.AK 20.ung.ID, ID "Sant Laslo"
XXXXIII.AK 356.ID, Pz.Gren.Brig.92, T.PzD "Feldherrnhalle"
I.SS-PzK "Leibstandarte" 1.SS-PzD "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler", 12.SS-PzD "Hitlerjugend", 23.PzD
der Armee direkt unterstellt:
Nachtrag:


Cheers to your 200th post

Best,

Abel

Spitze
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Post by Spitze » 17 Nov 2003 13:45

Wasn´t it during that offensive some propaganda was: "We should give our Fürher the Romanian Oil Fields in birthday present".
Or am i wrong :) .

Mark V.
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Post by Mark V. » 17 Nov 2003 15:18

Cheers to your 200th post


Thanks Abel, I guess since I've missed your 100th a few days ago, I'll have to wait a while to congratulate you on your 200th - just don't let me wait to long. :D

20.ung.Div. didn't take part in the operation, there was however a plan (proposed by HG Süd) to land on the southern side of the Lake Balaton with several Hungarian battalions - but the general with the most "authority" in HG Süd - Hermann Balck was against it.

Cheers
Marko

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John W
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Post by John W » 17 Nov 2003 20:45

Spitze wrote:Wasn´t it during that offensive some propaganda was: "We should give our Fürher the Romanian Oil Fields in birthday present".
Or am i wrong :) .
I don't think you are wrong. I do believe that that quote is credited to Dietrich who said:

"I'll give the Ploesti Oilfields to the Fuehrer for his birthday"

Was it not in this opperation that Hitler, learning about the collapse of the offensive, raved and ranted and ordered the "cowards" of the 6th SS Pz. Armee to remove their honour cuffs as they were no longer "entitled" to wear them. This so enraged the soldiers that they sent the arm (with the honour cuff) of a wounded soldier in a latrine bucket to HQ.

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KalaVelka
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Post by KalaVelka » 17 Nov 2003 20:55

Yes Hitler gave this kind of order, but Dietrich didnt pass (like the good CO ;) ) the order down the ranks and LAH, Hohenstauffen, HJ, DasReich and Totenkopf were allowed to use cuffbands.

Kasper

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genstab
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Operation Spring Awakening

Post by genstab » 11 Dec 2005 17:51

So what date did the offensive actually start?

Thanks,
genstab

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 11 Dec 2005 18:07

John W wrote:
Spitze wrote:Wasn´t it during that offensive some propaganda was: "We should give our Fürher the Romanian Oil Fields in birthday present".
Or am i wrong :) .
I don't think you are wrong. I do believe that that quote is credited to Dietrich who said:

"I'll give the Ploesti Oilfields to the Fuehrer for his birthday"


Sure they did not mean the Hungarian oilfields? It is quite a way from Lake Balaton to Ploesti (760km), while to the Hungarian oil fields at Biharnagybajom it is only 150km.

Or maybe Dietrich had trouble reading maps, which would not surprise me either.

All the best

Andreas

Igorn
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Post by Igorn » 11 Dec 2005 18:51

Gents,

Some more infor about Spring Awakening (Balaton Lake Operation)


Numeric strength of Heersgruppe Sud, dated 6 March 1945

71 Infanterie Division: 7 units of Jagdpanzer, 20 units of StuG
1 Volks-Gebirgs Division: 12 units of StuG
16 SS Panzergrenadier Div: 24 units of StuG
118 Jager Division: 7 units of StuG
3. Kavallerie Division: 7 units of Jagdpanzer, 11 units of StuG (13 SP guns are on maintenance)
4. Kavallerie Division: 4 units of Pz-IV, 2 units of Jagdpanzer (2 tanks and 15 SP guns are on maintenance)
1 SS Panzer Division: 14 units of Pz-IV, 26 units of Pz-V, 15 units of StuG, 6 units of Flak Pz IV
12. SS Panzer Division: 12 units of Pz-IV, 9 units of Pz-V, 14 units of Jagdpanzer, 13 units of StuG, 2 units of Flak Pz IV
2. SS Panzer Division: 24 units of Pz-IV, 6 units of Pz-V, 9 units of Jagdpanzers, 23 units of StuG, 8 units of Flak Pz IV
9. SS Panzer Division: 19 units of Pz-IV, 24 units of Pz-V, 10 units of Jagdpanzer, 16 units of StuG, 5 units of Flak Pz IV
23. Panzer Division: 15 units of Pz IV, 14 units of Pz-V, 11 Units of StuG, 11 units of Jagdpanzer (41 tanks +22 SP guns in short/medium term maintenance)
44. Reichs-Grenadier Div: 3 units of Jagdpanzer (5 SP guns on maintenance)
1. Panzer Division: 5 units of Pz-IV, 23 units of Pz-V
3. Panzer Division: 12 units of Pz-IV, 22 units of Pz-V, 13 units of Jagdpanzer, 2 units of StuG
5. SS Panzer Division: 3 units of Pz-IV, 9 units of Pz-V, 6 units of Jagdpanzer (39 tanks + 49 SP guns in short/medium term maintenance)
3. SS Panzer Division: 5 units of Pz-IV, 16 units of Pz-V, 6 units of Pz-VI, 12 units of StuG (58 tanks + 10 SP guns in short/medium term maintenance)
509 sPz Abt.: 35 units of Pz VI (B) + 8 units of Flak Pz-IV
501 sPz Abt: 31 units of Pz VI (B) + (23 units of Pz-VI (B) in maintenance
560 sPzJ Abt: 6 units of Pz-VI + 6 units of Jagdpanzer + (10 units of Pz-VI in maintenance)
I./pzReg 24 (Panther): 32 units of Pz-V


sPz Abt. “Feldherrnhalle: 26 units of Pz-VI (B) + 7 units of Flak Pz IV
Hung. 2nd Armored Div: 12 units of Turan, 10 units of StuG
6. Panzer Division: 22 units of Pz-IV, 68 units of Pz-V, 12 units of Jagdpanzer


Total: 494 tanks and 276 SP guns + 41 Flak Pz IV = 811 operational vehicles + machines in maintenance

Some information about Spring Awakening (Balaton Lake Operation)

“Upon completion of the combats between 29 March-10 April 1945, the artillery staff of the 3rd Ukrainian Front in presence of representatives of NIBT Poligon, Ammunition Narkomat (ministry) and artillery branch of the Soviet Army conducted again the inspection and research of the knocked out German combat machines in the area of Balaton Lake, Elusha canal, Kapos canal, Sharviz canal, Sekesfehervar. In the course of work the committee accounted and observed nine hundred sixty eight (968) knocked-out, destroyed or abandoned tanks and SP guns as well as four hundred forty six (446) personnel carriers (SdKfz). Many vehicles previously inspected in February 1945 were also included in statistics. Four hundred machines, which were the most interesting for research had been marked and examined. All heavy tanks and new brands of SP guns underwent the special study. Out of 400 examined destroyed tanks and SP guns there were 19 units of Tiger II, 6 units of Tiger, 57 units of Panther, 37 units of Pz-IV, 9 units of Pz-III (mostly flamethrowers, Pz BeobWg III and commanders’ tanks), 140 units of SP guns (StuG, Jagdpanzer etc.), 27 tanks and SP guns of Hungarian brands and 105 units of other vehicles (Wirbelwind, Wespe, Bergepanther, Brummbar, Hummel, SdKFZ 138 Ausf. etc.).

Among the examined 400 vehicles, 389 vehicles were destroyed by the artillery fire, 11 tanks were either exploded on mines or destroyed by other means. By main statistical parameters the result of this inspection were similar to the one conducted in February 1945. The new finding was that the number of armor penetrations made by 76mm AP shells and 57mm AP shells became almost equal. The number of penetrations caused by 100-122 mm shells increased by 2.5-3.2 %. “

The examined vehicles were marked and photographed. The original photographs are kept in the Central Archive of the Russian Ministry of Defense and many of them are available in Baronov's book.

Sources:

a. O.Baronov, Balaton Defense Operation, Moscow, 2001, PP.82-106

b. Inspection of German armored vehicles, discovered after combats in the area of Balaton Lake, Elusha canal, Kapos canal, Sharviz canal, Sekesfehervar. April 1945 – Central Archive of the Russian Defense Ministry


Conclusion:

The last German offensive operation on the Eastern Front was carefully planned with large scope and secrecy. But even at that time (February-March 1945) all German calculations were based on the underestimation of the enemy. Combats in Hungary and Balaton Lake operation in particular is interesting because nearly all named Waffen SS Panzer divisions (LAH, DR, Totenkopf, Wiking, Hohenstaufen, Hitlerjugend) as well as many famous Wehrmacht panzer divisions (1,3,6,13 etc.) took part in these operations. The panzer composition was represented by nearly all best German armor vehicles (Tiger, Tiger II, Panther, StuG, Jagerpanzer etc.).

However from tactical and operational perspectives German panzer forces performed much weaker compared to Kursk Battle. Precise calculation and skilled maneuver warfare, which took place in 1943 were replaced by straight forward fanatical attempts to crush Soviet defense, strengthen by Pak-fronts. Under conditions of spring terrain and lack of air supremacy that was impossible. Again as during Kursk battle Soviet divisional and anti tank artillery was massively applied. The weak point of Soviet anti-tank defense was insufficient endurance of infantry coverage. Sometimes after first strikes of German panzers infantry covering anti-tank gun belts was retreating. This was partially because of offensive mood in mind of Soviet soldiers in 1945 and partially because significant part of 3rd Ukrainian Front (which was fighting in the secondary direction) replenishment came from drafts on the liberated Soviet territories and didn’t have enough training.

From tactical point of view, Soviet anti tank, divisional artillery and SP guns showed their worth from the best side. Firing methods from the short distances at the most vulnerable parts of panzers and SP guns (side and rear armor) were well taught and practiced. These were achieved by means of so called “fire bags” when three-four batteries coordinated their fire against common targets. Interesting to note that German casualties ratio in Balaton and Vienna operation exceeded Soviet losses. That was achieved by large concentration of Soviet artillery, Soviet air supremacy (over 6 regiments of fighter aviation)as well as poor performance of German troops and not good management of German High Command (coordination of Heergruppe F and Heersgruppe Sud, as well as delays in making decisions that had assumed most urgency)

Georg Meier: “The increasingly necessary intervention of Hitler in details, at times all the way down to battalion level). While a unified Russian High Command could provide immediate and rapid coordination and decision making through the use of deputies, this unity and decisiveness was missing on the German side. In any event, the Germans were second rate in comparison to the Russian command and control organization. This gave the Russians an additional advantage.”

Final conclusion of combats at Balaton Lake was of the great importance. Germany didn’t simply suffered defeat in one of the combat operation. As a matter of fact the defeat of German formations in Hungary in March 1945 put an end to the last attempts of Nazi leadership to keep the Third Reich. And significance of this Russian win is not only in fact that Germany lost their last ally (Hungary), lost in Budapest the “second Stalingrad” and at Balaton Lake the ”second Kursk”. The main point is that German panzer forces drained and lost their last combat worthy tank formations, which could be used to inflict counter blows and secondly, Germany lost their last oil fields for their tanks and aircrafts. These losses were not recoverable because remains of the German military industry were not capable to replenish catastrophic losses in tanks after combats in Hungary and provide fuel for future operations.

The victory in Hungary opened the way for Soviet army to Berlin and collapse of the Third Reich was inevitable.

Best Regards from Russia,

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DenesBernad
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What I Wrote About 'Frühlingserwachen' (Spring Awakening)

Post by DenesBernad » 12 Dec 2005 16:00

Here is what I wrote about this event.
Any comments, additions and corrections are welcome.

Introduction:

"In the meantime, Hitler decided for a last stance in Southwestern Hungary, in early March. The Axis counter-attack between Velence Lake and the Balaton Sea, known as Operation ‘Spring Awakening’, was to be the last large Axis offensive and the last major tank battle of the war in Europe. A total of 140,000 German and Hungarian soldiers, supported by 700 tanks and assault guns, 3,200 cannon and mortars, as well as around 850 airplanes, were amassed for Hitler’s last large-scale offensive. However, after a promising start for the Axis, the operation proved to be a failure in less than two weeks. It was followed by a hasty retreat beyond the Reich’s borders."

Main text:

"The code name for the new offensive was Frühlingserwachen (Spring Awakening). It was to be the Wehrmacht’s last Grossoffensive (Big Offensive). Its aim was to clear the area between Danube and the Dráva Rivers and to form bridgeheads across the Danube for further offensive action. The 2. Panzerarmee had the mission of taking Kaposvár. The 6.Panzerarmee planned to cross the Sió Canal, connecting Lake Balaton and Danube, and to capture Dunaföldvár. Armeegruppe Balck (3rd Army and 6. Armee, formerly Fretter-Pico) was supposed to attack southeast of Székesfehérvár and clean the area between Lake Velence and the Danube. The IV. SS-Panzerkorps was kept in reserve. Heeresgruppe Süd attacked north across the Dráva River at Valpovo (Veröce). But the Germans were to put their Schwerpunkt between the Sárvíz Canal and Lake Balaton, where they expected the least resistance. They did not count on the terrain, although warned by the Hungarians that it is extremely wet and muddy. They counted on cold spring, but in 1945, the spring came early and at the beginning of March, the temperature reached 11 deg. C. The terrain became impassable even for tracked vehicles, and unpaved roads could not support wheeled transports.

The offensive began on March 6, when the units from Heeresgruppe E crossed the Dráva River and established a bridgehead at Alsómiholjác (Donji Miholjac). The 2. Panzerarmee attacked on March 6 in front of Nagybajom. Due to the stubborn resistance of the Soviet and Bulgarian defenders, and to the low number of tanks and assault guns in its armored formations, it could not achieve a decisive breakthrough. The main attack, supported by the 6. Panzerarmee, occurred on a front 35 kilometers wide between Lakes Velence and Balaton. The Germans encountered fierce resistance, because the Soviets were warned by their excellent intelligence about the place and time of the attack. The attackers had to break through multiple defensive lines, and could not utilize their superiority in armor, as the tanks were confined to the roads, due to impassable terrain. The Soviets had the roads covered with mines and multiple heavy antitank guns, which caused the Germans heavy losses. The 6. Panzerarmee did advance over 30 kilometers in the first two days. However, by the end of the third day, the Soviets were able to judge the direction of the main thrust, and called in their reserves.

On March 9, the II. SS-Panzerkorps managed to break through the Soviet lines in the sector of the of the 27th army. By the fifth day of the offensive, the I. SS-Panzerkorps reached Simontornya and crossed the Sió Canal. But by this time, lack of ammunition and fuel began to be felt by the German units.

The 3rd Ukrainian front has been gravely tested. It used up all its reserves, but continued to build its defenses and bring additional troops to the front. On March 12, the III. Panzerkorps successfully attacked along the southern bank of Lake Velence and reached Gárdony. In the meantime, the Soviets moved the 9th guards army and the 6th guards tank army north of Lake Velence, and assigned them to the 3rd Ukrainian front. By March 15, the Germans still did not reach Danube. Their losses were grave. Heeresgruppe Süd lost 15,117 casualties in the first eight days of the offensive. The 6. Panzerarmee and the 6. Armee had only 332 tanks operational of the original approximately 1000 operational.

The Soviets had their plans for a counter-offensive ready. It began on March 16, 1945, when the 6th guards tank, 4th guards and 9th guards armies attacked on a 30 kilometers front north of Lake Velence. The 46th army with the 2nd guards mechanized corps was attacking westward south of the Danube. There it encountered the Hussar Division, which was defending a section of the Vértes Mountains. Although the division was in much better shape than other Hungarian units, it was overwhelmed in short time and had to retreat, especially when its neighboring German units have already fallen back.

The whole German front in Hungary now collapsed, and German and Hungarian units, together with their dependents, were trying to get into Austria. By April 12, the whole Hungary was occupied by the Soviet Army. The remaining Hungarian forces fought in three areas. The 1st Army was pushed into southern Slovakia and finally into Bohemia, where its 16th and 24th Infantry Divisions and the remnants of the 3rd Replacement Division surrendered to the Soviets.
The 3rd Army with Hussar, 2nd Armored, 1st Mountain, 23rd Reserve and 9th Border Guard Divisions was pushed along the northern banks of Danube into Austria, where it was captured by the Allies.

The third group, the II Corps, with the 20th and 25th Infantry and Szt. László Divisions, were fighting Tito's partisans and Bulgarian units in northern Croatia and southern Austria up to the end. The 20th Infantry and the Szt. László Divisions retreated across the Cor Alps to Carinthia, where they surrendered to the British."


Dénes

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 21 Dec 2005 15:05

This 3 dimensional map would be helpful in understanding Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen. I'll translate words inside this map later.


*Image Source: ベルリン攻防戰(The Battle of Berlin)
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Kim Sung
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Simontornya

Post by Kim Sung » 21 Dec 2005 15:32

The offensive of the German Sixth Panzer Army stopped at Simontornya through which the 64th National Road goes now. Germans crossed this canal from the right(northwest) to the left(southeast) in Operation Frühlingserwachen.
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Kim Sung
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Siófok

Post by Kim Sung » 21 Dec 2005 15:40

The view of Lake Balaton from Siófok. The German Sixth SS Panzer Army depended on Lake Balaton for the defense of their southern flank.
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Kim Sung
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Doomed German Attack

Post by Kim Sung » 22 Dec 2005 13:25

On the morning of March 6 1945, Panzergrenadiers of the German 1st Panzer Army advance along lake Balaton, with Konigstiger and Panzerfausts. Some miles away, the Soviet 3rd Ukrainian Front Army were waiting for them. Was this the last desperate stand of the glorious German Panzertruppen?
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