" Ready for communication "

Signallers of the Royal Hungarian Army used standard German Feld-Hell machines, possibly with Hungarian legends/labels. The equipment was a heavy and sensitive and required well trained soldiers physics and skills to operate well. The round field-antenna on the radio transmitter was a well known sign of the signaller squad, and had to be concealed during field conditions for the enemy spotters. 


 " Lightning the field-stove "

The portable field-stove is a simple, old and important technique for every army in history. Warm food makes every soldier better prepared for any task that can come before him, and give a the well deserved energy for the day.




Decorated Comrades
A nice wartime photograph with a group of two lance corporals, two corporals and one private 1.class. Amongst the decorated, the Tűzkereszt (lance corporal in the middle) and the bronze class medal for bravery (corporal, second from left).


 " River-crossing "

It ha been a while since I last posted here on this Blog. A whole lot of new material has come in to the collection, and I will be posting new (old) and interesting Hungarian military photos here regularly. Be sure to check the Instagram of the page as well!


                                                   " Gendarmerie Wedding "

A wedding procession of a Gendarmerie master sergeant is ready to leave, but a final photograph has to be made before everything else. Unknown place, unknown date and people, but still an interesting glimpse of a precious moment of their lives.


 " Hungarian Honvéd "
Portrait photograph, scanned from glass-negative.


  Royal Hungarian Ludovika Military Academy

Long time ago now that I had any militaria items at the webpage. These are two academy price badges, awarded to officer cadets at the Royal Hungarian Ludovika Military Academy.


Lieutenant general Gábor Faragho visiting the Gendarmerie barracks and training centre in Galánta in early 1944.

On September 1, 1944, he was promoted to Colonel general, and on the 28th he headed to Moscow for a ceasefire delegation. On October 11, he signed the preliminary ceasefire agreement on behalf of Hungary. After the Arrow Cross took power, he was deprived of his rank. As a member of the Moscow Working Committee, he also took part in the ongoing negotiations on the formation of the government. From December 22, 1944 to July 21, 1945, he lived in the Provisional National Government as a Minister of Local Government. 
Later in life he was deprived of all military ranks by the communist government in Hungary, and died in poverty after being evicted to farm near the southern Hungarian town of Kecskemét.


"A small photograph as a memory"

This small photograph came to me recently in a batch together with other various military photos. Usually not much can be found out from photos like this. The image where probably made during a day in town, by some friend of the soldiers, and a copy where to one of the lads on the photo. He them sent it to his girlfriend as a memory..

The reverse says; "As a memory to my Bözsike" (Elisabeth) from Peti (Péter), Szeged 1943-05-22

As with most photos like this, unfortunately the fate of the people depicted, is hidden in the many decades passed.




1943 January

This date is forever imprinted as the start of the annihilation and demise of the II. Hungarian army on the eastern-front. On night to 13 January 1943, the Soviets began the second stage of Little Saturn, the Voronezh–Kharkov Offensive. The Bryansk Front, Voronezh Front, and Southwestern Front attacked simultaneously.

The Hungarian Second Army's losses were made especially severe by the severe winter conditions and the lengthy lack of supply's, equipment and ammunitions for the fighting troops. Most units of the Second Army was encircled and either annihilated or succumbed to the extreme cold (-30°C – -40°C) while trying to escape in the following weeks of heavy combat.

This tremendous loss of military manpower, more or less settled Hungary's participation of WW2 and effected many families over the nation. During The Hungarian Second Army's twelve months of activity on the Eastern Front, the Army's losses were enormous. Of an initial force of about 200,000 Hungarian soldiers and 50,000 Jewish forced labourers, about 100,000 were dead, 35,000 wounded, and 60,000 taken prisoners of war. Only about 40,000 men returned to Hungary, scapegoated by Hitler for the catastrophic Axis defeat. 



 " The Winners Luck "

Hungarian soldiers photographed in an intense moment during a game of cards.


" Budapest Parade "

Artillery and Air-Defence are among the troops on parade on one of the Budapest boulevards. Two snap-shots, in probably a series, made by a bystander watching the event. The two small photographs came among many more various photographs in a bundle to this collector, and I'm very careful not to separate the photos since they clearly belong to the same series and moment. 



" Ready to Fire! " 

Hungarian soldiers use the Schwarzlose M7 machine-gun as an anti-aircraft gun, a complete crew and the Zászlós officer stands with the binoculars ready to direct the fire.


                                                " Memories from the Artillery "

Some photographs is all that's left for the future, some images from the past taken by a soldier at the Royal Hungarian "Count Miklós Bercsény" Artillery regiment. Four album pages of photographs of the daily life and some group-photographs.

No name, just the year 1935 1st. squad, II. company. The owner took for granted that the names of his comrades, the time and date will stay with him for as long as he knows, just like many soldiers do, putting together the album with the freshly developed photos. Nobody thinks about the historic value when Your are young.

It still makes a really interesting glimpse of the feeling of the conscripted artillery soldier with a camera, making this photo series for himself and his comrades to preserve the time in the army. Often the privately taken photos give a more accurate picture of the soldiers everyday, then the official assigned army-photographers.



                                                    " Sergeant with a view "

Looking out from a possible castle ruin, the photographer captures the perfect frame for a nice photo. With the binocular ready, and the medals on his chest, the Hungarian sergeant makes the best target for the perfect picture.



                                             " The value of personal memories "

 I recently visited the Ljungbyhed museum of the Scania Cavalry Regiment, the Royal Swedish Fifth Air Regiment and place for The first flight-school in Swedish aviation history in the south part of Sweden, to photograph a certain portrait painting for a project a friend of mine are working on. It was a quite and calm Saturday afternoon and I had plenty of time, just like my friend and man responsible for the museum. Most museums have been hit hard by the consequences of the resent pandemic and the visitors have naturally been kept away. So we had plenty of time, and the man at the museum enjoyed himself talking to the two interested visitors (and my wife who isn't the regular military buff, but very interested likewise). 

Walking around the museum, I noted the lack of everyday photographs taken by the soldiers and officers themselves. The photographs where mostly great quality images taken by the official staff-photographer and had officers, NCO's and soldiers on stiff poses with horses, vehicles, royalties and visiting dignitaries. All in the great manners representative for a proud regiment. Talking to the man at the museum, I brought up the subject of private photographs, and that my collection (of Hungarian) military photo materials contains mostly privately taken images in great contrast to most museums I have visited.

He then told me that it's one dilemma most military museums (that cares about true history) struggles with. Since most of the existing historical photo-materials where taken at special events, by assigned photographers, the everyday life where documented by the by the soldiers and disappeared into their private photo albums, never to be accessed by the museums. Only in rare cases are great photo material presented to museums and ends up in the hands of collectors.

I left the museum in Ljungbyhed after few intense hours with great memories and a great feeling for the acquired knowledge of their history. The humour and enthusiasm of our guide left me with new inspiration for my own research, and strive to continue the historical work I do. But the most important lessons learned where the immense importance of privately taken photographs by the soldiers in their everyday life. Like the photograph above, soldiers goofing around, out of order, playing like the young men (kids) they are in that age. A moment surely not ending up in any museum, but still a glimpse of the everyday life.



" Front-mail on it's way - 1942 "
Somewhere at the Eastern Front in the summer of 1942, the group of soldiers responsible for the military mail take a break among the fully loaded mailbags. As important as food, ammunition and good equipment, mail from home where the most treasured surprise for the soldiers at the frontline. Any news from home gave a small brake from the everyday chores and routines and was the most important reason to stay alive and keep on exercising the duties.



" Határvadász on Patrool "
A Hungarian border-guard soldier pose for a photograph somewhere in the mountainous regions along the Hungarian WW2 borders. He is wearing a sheepskin west over his tunic, made for the harsh winter and the white colour also gives him a lever of camouflage in the snowy terrain. The extra protection was usually worn in the field and was not used elsewhere or widely regulated to the entire Honvéd forces.


                                                    " View From The Barracks "

Two Hungarian soldiers looking out form the barrack window. The photographer down on the street, who may or may not know them, captures the moment. It becomes a small 6x9 faded photograph 70+ years later, and it catches my attention while scanning a bunch of random photos. Because of it's simplicity, the photographed moment deserves a spot on this page!




 "In the first lines"

A Hungarian officer with his German made MP-40 (Maschinenpistole 40) submachine gun in a trench somwhere along the first lines on the Eastern Front in the fall of 1942. The photograph is from a small series front-line photographs depicting this unknown officer. 


" Hegyivadász "
Hegyivadász (Mountain Hunter) is the Hungarian expression for Mountain/Alpine infantry. The troop colours are green just like the regular infantry with the distinction of the Edelweiss flower worn on the side of the field cap. This was the symbol for Mountain/Alpine infantry in the old Austro-Hungarian army as well as the German Mountain/Alpine infantry (Gebirgsjäger). It was also common to wear  a field cap with the visor because of the strong sunlight in the higher regions in the mountains. The Visor caps were introduced for the regular army by the end of WW2 as standard, while the Mountain/Alpine infantry had used it for several years.


"Machine Gunners"
Hungarian Air Force staff in light summer tunics demonstrates a Schwarzlose machine gun.
The round large sights are for air-defence and a quick aim at a possible fast moving target.


" Fratelli Italiano "
A Hungarian transport company together with Italian soldiers pose for a group photograph in the fall of 1941.  At the beginning of the Soviet campaign in 1941, Hungary participated with a smaller contingent at first and later escalated the participation with fighting troops as well.


" Happy Memories "
Hungarian army sergeants  share a moment of happiness and relaxation by singing together.


" Ilovskoje 1942 "
The Hungarian Air-Field at Ilovskoje was the main base for the Hungarian Air-Force at the Eastern Front. On the photo, the ground crew pose in front of an Italian made Reggiane Re 2000 Falco I fighter.


Photographs from the past !
After a longer brake www.tuzkereszt.com is back and active, ready with new (old) material. During the absences, a great amount of  Hungarian military photographs/albums/negatives has been added to the collection and is in the digitalization process. I will continue to publish highlights and interesting glimpse's of Hungarian military past here on the website, so keep an eye on the updates.


"Beautiful Horses"
Two Hungarian corporals on horseback while their corporal colleague holds the horses reins with a a steady grip.


" Smoke break "
Hungarian infantry sergeant relaxes after a day of activities at the barracks.


" Artillery Friends "
Hungarian Artillery artillery platoon posing for a group-photograph outside their barracks.
The reverse of the original photograph dates the moment to the winter of 1940.


" Смерть Гитлеру "
Hungarian soldiers pose for a photograph on-top a Kliment Voroshilov (KV) KV-1 tank, a series of Soviet heavy tanks named after the Soviet defence commissar and politician Kliment Voroshilov. The writing on the tank says " Смерть Гитлеру " (Death to Hitler) in Russian. The KV tanks were the most feared tanks at this time since their heavy armour had no real counterpart in the early stages of the invasion of the Soviet-union. The tanks were unfortunately too heavy for the simple roads on the front, and even a small river or stream could limit it's manoeuvrability since most bridges couldn't bear it's weight.

The photographs are from a photo-series from the 1942 summer offensive near the Russian town of Korotoyak, and is from the photo-album an unknown Hungarian 1/st Lieutenant.



" Welcome to Pécs! "
Military reception at the railway-station in the south Hungarian town of Pécs. 
Officers as well as nicely decorated veterans lining up for the reception.
Photograph from an original glass-negative, most likely from the early 1930-th.


" Yesterday's Heroes "
Hungarian 2/Lt with the bronze Signum Laudis Military Merit Medal, on the red war ribbon with crossed swords for exceptional merit, the 1938 Return of upper Hungary and the 1940 Return of Transylvania remembrance medals.