Part 1 – 44M Tas and Tas Rohamlöveg Hello everyone, welcome to part 2 of the Hungarian series. It’s a bit unusual to have part 2 and no introduction to the Hungarian army yet. Part 1 dealt with the most modern Hungarian projects to “whet your appetite”, but now it’s time to start at the beginning. Hungarian branch will definitely be one of the most interesting branches of the upcoming EU tree, so let’s have a look at them. As I wrote earlier, I imagine the branch to be something like this: T1 – Straussler V-4 T2 – Toldi I/II light tank T3 – Toldi III light tank T4 – T-21/Turán I medium tank T5 – Turán II/III medium tank, Zrinyi I/II T6 – ???? T7 – 44M Tas, Tas Rohamlöveg Of course, that is just my imagination, but it should give you an idea about the composition. Introduction to the Hungarian Army The Royal Hungarian Army (Magyar Királyi Honvédség) was without a doubt one of the most powerful allies of Germany in World War 2 and – with the exception of Italy – the Axis power with the best armored forces. But it was not always so. After the Great War, the once great Hungarian Empire was in ruins. The war was lost and during the process of post-war map redrawing, Hungary lost a huge part of its former territory to the newly emerging nations, including Czechoslovakia. The situation was made even worse by the poor agricultural and social situation of the land, leading to years of political instability and civil unrest. The real problems started during the war already: in 1918 the war was going badly, leading to the resignation of the wartime government in 1918. Pro-peace forces in Hungary took the opportunity and Count Mihály Károlyi proposed a new government, consisting of a right-wing and social-democratic coalition. The Hungarian King at the time (Charles IV. of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty) was however reluctant to confirm Károlyi’s appointment, which led to huge demonstrations, forcing the king to accept the situation. After his appointment, Királyi started negotiating for peace. His results however were very problematic for Hungary: both Slovakia and parts of Romania (a feud that would spark hostilities for decades to come) declared the intention to secede from the Hungarian Kingdom, which – in Slovakian case – led to a short border war in first week of November 1918, in which the experienced Hungarian army pushed the Slovak (essentially volunteer) forces from Slovak regions. However, after diplomatic pressure from France, Hungary was forced to retreat from what would later become Slovakia. In the meanwhile, Prague (the capital of the newly born Czechoslovakia) mustered its forces (consisting of experienced troops who formerly fought on both sides of the Great War) and took the rest of the Slovak territory. On 16.11.1918 in Budapest the king was forced to resign, parliament was dissolved and Hungary became a republic with Count Károlyi as its first president. The situation in Hungary was bleak – World War 1 was understood as the worst national defeat since the Turkish incursions, there were problems with food supply even for the capital and riots were daily occurence. Such turbulent times always do support the rise of extremism, that was in Hungary’s case represented by Bela Kun, who founded the Communist Party of Hungary, that quickly rose to popularity. In the meanwhile France was very clear in its pressure on Hungary to let go of the Szeged and Debrecen territories (including the cities), which was something unacceptable for both the government and the people. Desperate for help, the government (now controlled by social democrats) turned to Béla Kun, a hardcore communist (who wanted to impose the proletariat dictature on Hungary) for help. In March 1919, the government was renamed to the “council of people’s commissars”, a huge amount of property was nationalized and political opponents of the communists were imprisoned. Naturally, Hungary essentially becoming a bolshevik state did not make a lot of people happy. France was also not happy – French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau was not interested in having what he saw as communist bridgehead in Europe. An anti-communist coalition was struck and in April 1919, Romanian and Czechoslovak armies attacked Béla Kun’s bolshevik Hungary. Hungary was not alone however, as the Red Army was pressing on the Romanian forces also. That didn’t help though, the Red Army was stopped, Hungarian forces were routed (many capable officers deserted to the newly formed anti-bolshevik National Army, formed in Szeged by admiral Miklos Horthy). In the end, the communist regime fell and the new government formed after 6.8.1919 took harsh measures against the former bolshevik leaders. Leading communist officials were arrested and many were executed. Béla Kun himself managed to escape into exile and moved to Moscow in 1920, but he did not escape his fate in the end: he was arrested on Stalin’s orders in 1939 and executed. As a result of this tragic year, it was decided to name Miklos Horthy the “regent of Hungary” (1.3.1920). From January to April 1920, negotiations were also held regarding the Hungarian territory losses, resulting in the Trianon treaty, that confirmed them. It was this treaty that would later lead Hungary straight into Hitler’s hands, but in 1920, the situation was different. By this treaty, Hungary lost 66 percent of its territory (that was split between Czechoslovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria) and 60 percent of its citizens. Furthermore, it was decided that Hugary may not ever again join Austria in one state, the Hungarian army was severly limited (to 35 thousand men) and banned from using chemical weapons, armored vehicles, airplanes. The amount of artillery was also strictily limited. But that was it. No more war, no more defeats, Hungary took a deep breath and started working on its prosperity. The last echoes of the old order – two Habsburk attempts to seize power in early 20′s – were quickly taken care of, as were remnants of the bolshevik regimes. Future finally looked brighter for Hungary, or so it seemed… Straussler tanks As I mentioned above, Hungary was banned by the Trianon treaty from having any armored forces. However, just like Germany, in the early 30′s, as the Allies’ grip on these treaties and their enforcement became looser, Hungarian army – previously very poorly armed – had started to experiment with tracked vehicles. At that point the leading force behind the tracked vehicle innovation was Nicolas Straussler. A car designer of some renown, the was active mostly in Britain and co-developed for example the Alvis-Straussler AC1 and AC3 armored cars. However, Straussler wanted to break thru in Hungary too and Continue reading →

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