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|WorldWar2.ro Forum > Western Front (1944-1945) > Budapest Hippodrom Jan. 1945|
|Posted by: paul panzer September 10, 2012 03:43 pm|
Would be grateful if someone could translate following statement (bing translation does not make much sense as far as the fate of the counterattacking German tanks is concerned ).
1) Any idea of the sources used by the author of the article?
2) Are you aware of any other info regarding the fights in the area (hippodrom)?
3) Any further comments?
"În continuare Vasile Popeangă, din Regimentul 94 infanterie, descrie intensitatea deosebită a luptelor pentru Budapesta: „Deşi era începutul lui ianuarie, timpul era frumos. În general aşa a fost în primele două săptămâni ale noului an. Rar fulguia câte un pic. Luptele purtate în aceste zile au fost de o intensitate neobişnuită. Se resimţea din plin îndârjirea cu care inamicul apăra fiecare colţ de stradă şi fiecare clădire pestană. Înaintarea noastră viza ocuparea hipodromului şi a fabricii de rom. Când ne apropiam de hipodrom, un contraatac efectuat de o puternică formaţie de tancuri „Panther” şi „Ferdinand” a izbit ca un ciocan în linia de rezistenţă sovietică. De pe linia de tramvai, situată cu aproximativ un metru deasupra câmpului din stânga, am văzut cum se apropiau tancurile germane. Tunurile sovietice le-au întâmpinat cu un foc dens când s-au apropiat la 600-700 metri de linia de apărare. Am asistat la un spectacol rar întâlnit. Tunarii trăgeau la disperare, proiectilele izbeau turela tancurilor şi ricoşau, înălţându-se, aprinse, câteva sute de metri în aer, până când obosite parcă şi atrase de pământ, cădeau. Când au văzut acest spectacol, ostaşii sovietici, luptători cu o îndelungată experienţă de război, au introdus trotil pe ţevile tunurilor şi au provocat explozia lor, după care s-au retras. După ce am constatat această situaţie, m-am furişat printre case şi am raportat colonelului Mihăilescu situaţia creată, cerând ordine asupra atitudinii noastre în caz că tanchiştii inamici ar decide să treacă şoseaua şi linia de tramvai”.
Many thanks in advance for your appreciated help!
|Posted by: 21 inf September 10, 2012 07:59 pm|
| Here is your translation:
Vasile Popeangă, from 94th Infantry Regiment, describe the ferocity of the fight for Budapest: „Even if it was at the begining of January, the weather was fine. It was like this for the first two weeks of the new year. It snowed only rare. In those days the fight was of a high intensity. It was fully felt how the enemy stubornly defended every street corner and house from Budapest. Our push had the aim to ocupy the hipodrome and the rum fabric. When we were aproaching the hipodrome, a counteratack made by a strong formation of Panther and Ferdinand tanks smashed like a hammer the soviet line of resistance. From the tramway line, elevated aproximatelly one meter above the field from our left, we saw how german tanks were coming. Soviet cannons opened a dense fire when they were at 600-700 meters from the defensive line. We were spectators to a show rarely seen. The artillery men were firing desperately, the shells hit and bounced from the armor, going straight up, in flames, several hundred meters until, like looking tired, they felt back on the ground. When the soviet soldiers, battle hardened fighters, saw this spectacle, put dinamite in the barrels of their own guns, blew them off and retreated. When I saw this, I sneaked between the houses and reported to colonel Mihăilescu the new situation, askink for orders about what we have to do in the case the enemy tankers will decide to cross the road and the tramway line”.
|Posted by: paul panzer September 10, 2012 08:58 pm|
| Many thanks for that. I really appreciate.
It would be interesting to precisely date, locate on a map and identify the units involved.
I note that there was no "Ferdinand" in Budapest. Thus, the witness has probably seen another type of assault gun or tank hunter instead (i.e. AFV without turret). The terminological mistake is commonplace.
As a matter of fact, a tramway line is stretching south of the horse race field.
It is interesting to note that the anti-tank guns - probably light guns - were - if I understand correctly - manned by Soviet, not by Romanian soldiers.
Do you think it would be possible to reach out with Mr.Popeanga to clarify a number of points?
|Posted by: 21 inf September 11, 2012 05:09 am|
| The denomination of "Ferdinand" for some german tanks, by romanians, was a common situation in comunist time literature. I dont know if the denomination was really used in WW2 by romanian troops.
Regarding to your question of who manned the guns mentioned in the above fragment, yes, the soviets were the one who manned them, not the romanians.
|Posted by: Florin September 11, 2012 05:45 am|
| "21 inf" did a great job.
Paul, if you need the translation for more than reading it yourself, replace "rum fabric" with "rum factory". Military ranks and nations start with capital letters. You can also replace "It snowed only rare" with "It seldom snowed".
|Posted by: paul panzer September 11, 2012 12:40 pm|
|Thank you. This complement is much appreciated.|
|Posted by: aidan zea September 13, 2012 11:16 am|
|Obviously the fight scene quoted by you paul panzer, was seen by advanced elements (reconnaissance units) of the romanian 19th Infantry Division, probably supported by soviet antiarmor artillery units, the one involved in this fightings! The ennemy in this case was the german Panzer-Division Feldherrnhalle 1.|
|Posted by: paul panzer September 13, 2012 03:40 pm|
| Many thanks for your contribution.
Both the war diaries of the romanian 19th inf. div. and 9th cavalry div. refer to an axis attack supported by AFVs on 4 January in the sector of the 9th cavalry div. (race field). The diary of the cavalry division is specific: The attack was made by 4 AFVs and one German batalion at 3.20 pm and was defintely repulsed by 5 pm.
In a release dated 5 January 1945, the soviet press office explicitly referring to unsuccessful axis counterattacks in the area of the race field refers to 300 Germans killed in action and 4 destroyed AFVs. The diary of the romanian cavalry div. also refers to an axis attack of one company in the morning of 5 January at the connection point with the soviet ally (no mention of AFVs in romanian report relating to fights of 5 January).
I am not aware of any other source dating attacks supported by AFVs.
(The race field is definitively conquered by romanian 9th cavalry division on 9 January by 6 pm).
In view of the intensitiy of the figths, I can imagine that other Romanian witness statements do exist which could give more details... not speaking of eventual russian sources...
|Posted by: Florin September 13, 2012 04:26 pm|
| My personal opinion is the Romanians that witnessed that fight scene actually saw "Tiger II" tanks and they estimated them as "Panther".
I don't think the frontal armor plate of the Panther could cope with what was described (quote from translation made by "21 inf " ):
".....The artillery men were firing desperately, the shells hit and bounced from the armor, going straight up, in flames, several hundred meters until, like looking tired, they felt back on the ground. When the soviet soldiers, battle hardened fighters, saw this spectacle, put dinamite in the barrels of their own guns, blew them off and retreated...."
|Posted by: 21 inf September 13, 2012 05:14 pm|
|Depends on the caliber of the soviet AT guns. If they were of smaller caliber, a not so thick armor could make the AT shell bounce.|
|Posted by: Florin September 14, 2012 05:09 am|
You have a good point.
You have to believe me that I thought about that while writing. I just considered that after almost 4 years of fighting with Germany, more than two years since facing the first Tiger I and more than 1 year since facing the first Panther, the standard equipment in a Soviet anti-tank battery was much better than in 1941.
|Posted by: 21 inf September 14, 2012 07:46 am|
|I agree with you, Florin. I considered also the fact the soviet AT guns should be better in 1945 than in 1941, but I thought that giving the fact that soviets throw in battle a very eterogen equipment, with what info we have in this stage, every hypothesis is valid: Tiger II's or small caliber soviet AT guns.|
|Posted by: paul panzer September 14, 2012 09:49 am|
| I am still digging...
“Pentru aceste fapte, Corpul 7 armată citează regimentul în ordinul de zi nr. 10/15 octombrie: “Regimentul 7 artilerie grea a sprijinit atacurile infanteriei, determinând ruperea rezistenţelor şi ocuparea poziţiilor inamicului”; “Divizionul 1 din Regimentul 36 antitanc (comandant: maior Ivanov Alexandru) în toate luptele duse de Corpul 7 armată şi în special la 4 ianuarie 1945, a avut o atitudine dârză în faţa contraatacurilor inamice cu care de luptă, rămânând neclintit pe poziţie şi trăgând continuu contra lor şi a infanteriei inamice a reuşit să oprească contraatacul”
“În ziua de 4 ianuarie 1945, germane-maghiarii au dat un contraatac puternic sprijinit de care de luptă pentru recucerirea Hipodromului şi ajungerea pe calea ferată. Singura artilerie grea (Regimentul 7 artilerie grea şi Regimentul 1 artilerie grea) împreuna cu artileria anticar au oprit acest contraatac cu pierderi grele pentru inamic”
(Source is pages 181-182 of following study http://www.rft.forter.ro/17_bibvirt/pdf/001-165_de_ani_de_existenta_a_artileriei.pdf)
I'm note 100% sure about exact meaning, but assume that message is essentially that Romanian field artillery units were (also) involved in repulsing counterattack aside from AT guns. Help would be appreciated, including in the following issue. I understand that the quotes refer to AFVs. Considering romanian terminology then in force, is it possible or not to identify the type/category of AFVs (eg. tank with turret and/or assault gun and/or tank hunter)?
|Posted by: aidan zea September 14, 2012 10:10 am|
Is not necessarily so 21inf! F.i. if they had used ZiS-3 anti-tank guns, 76mm caliber, they would have been ineffective against Panther tank frontal armor! I know that soviet heavy antitank equipment like BS-3 or M1944 guns was available to the soviet troops at that time, but I do not think that quantities delivered were enough! Probably they used lighter 76mm ZiS-3 guns!
|Posted by: Florin September 14, 2012 01:07 pm|
This is a very specific input, that should bring light to the problem.
|Posted by: Florin September 14, 2012 01:15 pm|
Paul, this piece of text is focused on citations (official congratulations) toward few Romanian artillery regiments, mentioning also what they did to deserve this. There is no mentioning of AFV's, with the expection of the term "care de lupta" beloging to Axis. "Care de lupta" is a very general Romanian term. Literally, " war chariots" – but the usage if for any kind of AFV, including tanks. Writers are using it mostly for tanks. (Of course, we also other more specific words. )
I am sorry, I don't have time to translate.
|Posted by: 21 inf September 14, 2012 02:43 pm|
| Here is your translation:
For these deeds, 7th Army Corp is citing the regiment in the Order of the Day nr. 10/15th of October: “7th Heavy Artilery Regiment suported the atacks of the infantry, having as efect the breaking of enemy resistance and the ocupation of enemy positions; ”; “1st (Divizion - I dont know the term in English) from 36th AT Regiment (comander: Major Ivanov Alexandru) in all the fights of 7th Army Corp and especially on 4th of January 1945, had an unflinching atitude against the enemy counterattacks with AFV's, keeping it's position and continuously firing against them and against the enemy infantry he managed to stop the counterattack”.
“On 4th of January 1945, the german-hungarians gave a strong counterattack suported by AFV's in order to conquer the hipodrome and to reach the railway. The only heavy artilery (7th Heavy Artilery Regiment and 1st Heavy Artilery Regiment) together with AT artilery stoped this attack inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy”.
|Posted by: paul panzer September 14, 2012 03:32 pm|
| Many, many thanks for that. This is very valuable. I think we are moving forward.
I understand that the art. regiments that are referred to (1th, 7th and 36th) are regiments that are organically subordinated to the 7th corps (i.e. they are NOT organically attached to infantry or cavalry divisions).
Further, I understand that the "divizionul" is a subunit of such regiment. The unit the CO of which is Major Alexandru is a "divizionul" of an antitank regiment. Thus the term "divizionul" is probably best translated by batailon (in German : Abteilung).
If someone would know something about the equipment of those units or the unit of Major Alexandru, this would be great. Is it possible that Regimentul 36 antitank could have been equiped with 75mm Resita AT guns?
|Posted by: aidan zea September 14, 2012 11:05 pm|
|From what I know paul panzer the 36th Antitank Regiment used the romanian produced Resita 75mm at gun, while the 1st and 7th Heavy Artillery Regiments used both the french Schneider 105mm guns and the czech Skoda 149mm howitzers.|
|Posted by: Victor September 15, 2012 05:18 am|
"Divizion" is indeed translated by battalion.
For details on the artillery regiments, read here: http://worldwar2.ro/organizare/?language=en&article=36
|Posted by: Dénes September 15, 2012 11:41 am|
Was divizion and divizie the same? I don't think so.
|Posted by: 21 inf September 15, 2012 04:47 pm|
|Divizie is a great military unit, designation used for different branches: infantry, cavalry and so on. Divizion is a smaller unit, equivalent to a infantry batalion, designation used exclusivly for artilery.|
|Posted by: Victor September 15, 2012 05:10 pm|
Divizie and divizion are two different things and I don't see where I might have implied that they weren't.
Divizion was up until recently the designation for artillery battalion in the Romanian Army. It was also used to designate cavalry battalions until this branch of service was disbanded.
|Posted by: ANDREAS September 16, 2012 05:39 pm|
|In January 1945 the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 (heavy tank battalion 503) (from 21 December 1944 called schwere Panzer-Abteilung "Feldherrnhalle" when he was part of the Panzer Division "Feldherrnhalle") had no heavy tanks Tiger II operational anymore. Is therefore presumed that the soviet and romanian troops advancing in Pest in January 1945 could not encounter anything but Panthers equipping the 13th Panzer Division and Panzer Grenadier Division "Feldherrnhalle" (at that time reunited into one single division the "Feldherrnhalle" Panzer Division after heavy losses in the previous battles). So I guess we can assume that the Panthers were the tanks that the soviet antitank gun crews could not destroy in the quoted battle scene.|
|Posted by: paul panzer September 16, 2012 06:39 pm|
| Many thanks for your useful comments.
Another comment from my side: I suspect that Mr Popeanga was watching from the "S-Bahn" line, i.e. urban train line (not strictly speaking a tramway), located North of the race field. It is interesting to note that the axis troops counter-attack supported by AFVs of the afternoon of the 4th January was also reported in the diary of the (romanian) 19th inf. div. which seems to have been affected as well, though to a much lesser extent than the cavalry division. I understand that Mr Popeanga served in a regiment organically belonging to 19th inf. div. I am still a bit puzzled by the reference to soviet soldiers manning the AT guns he saw: Can it be that he refers to romanian soldiers who were veterans of the Eastern front or is the wording clearly indicating that the soldiers were Udssr soldiers/citizens? Regardless of this issue it seems that the merit of repulsing the counter attack was ultimately with Romanian field artillery/AT guns. Would be good to have more witness statements. Does the Dascalescu book of 1974 say something (I do not have a copy)? Is it worth trying to obtain the book?
|Posted by: paul panzer September 20, 2012 11:41 am|
| Some further data input:
- I understand that on the left/southern wing of the 9th cav. div., the soviet 297th rifle division (18th sov. corps) reached the area of the horse race field (southern part) in the night of the 4/5 January 1945 which ultimately speeded up the conquest of the race field. Any info about 297th rifle division involvement is welcome.
- The axis resistance in the area of the race field seemed to have been concentrated in the spectators' stands ("tribunes") of the race field. It seems that the last of the two stands was conquered on 7 January by Romanian troops
-I also read a reference to the support of the 7th romanian corps by a 114th (soviet) anti-tank regiment in January 1945 (note: reference does not relate to figths in the race field area).
Question: Is it possible that Mr. Popeanga refers to (soviet) gunners belonging to the latter (soviet) unit?
|Posted by: paul panzer September 28, 2012 10:33 am|
| Old film footage of the "hippodrom" in Budapest. Note the tribunes: