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.
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.
A great photograph of soldiers visiting their friends at a Hungarian military hospital. Looking at the uniforms and type of photograph, the photo might have been taken around the early 1930-th. Obviously a staged group picture, it gives a great glimpse of the humour and style of the military life.
Hungarian bicycle-infantry crosses the Hungary - Romania border into Transylvania, during the 1940 Return of Transylvania (Erdély) campaign. The Hungarian population across the border cheers as the bicycle-infantry passes.
Portrait studio-photograph from an original glass-negative. The razor-shap image quality is really fun to work with, digitalizing historical images. The negative has not lost any of it's original finish and could easily preserve the photograph for many years on. Using digital scanning technology every part of the gray-scale can me enhanced for the best result, even better then originally intended working with darkroom equipment for paper-prints.
German and Hungarian soldiers gathered around a Red-Cross motorcycle for a quick photograph. The primitive houses and mud filled roads, is starting to make the fighting soldier's everyday life harder for every day. Heavy rain and freezing temperatures eventually turned the tide for the Germans and their Hungarian allies in the war when the supply lines broke down, due to the circumstances mentioned as well as the wast distances on the Russian front.
These are some of the photographs from the photo-heritage of artillery sergeant Lajos Gróf, taken between 1937-1941. The photographs gives a small glimpse of the everyday life, as well as the moments with friends and fellow Honvéd artillery soldiers.
The happy life during the summer-exercises.
Everyday cleaning duty.
The Hungarian Artillery passes the border to Romania (Transylvania) during the 1940 return of Transylvania campaign.
Among friends by Artillery garden decor.
Posing for a group photograph in the regimental yard.
Everyone who has been in service knows that every little time of non activity is a great opportunity to rest and relax. Even for a few minutes, every second counts for any tired soldier. To be able to push yourself beyond your limits, it takes energy!
This small photo-series of two unknown photographs, a snapshot from a Hungarian soldiers life, just says it all for us former soldiers, that summons this exact feeling.
I often get the question what kind of photographs I use for this blog. Do I use the best possible quality photos, what size images I use, how do I acquire the right contrast and do I fix the photographs by manipulation.
The photographs I use is normally the ones that is overlooked, but still contains very interesting details, and have potential if scanned and worked on. They might not be very expensive or sought after, but still a part of history.
I scan the photographs in very high resolution and digitally remove damages and dust so the photograph get's it's original quality back, and then I work on the contrasts for the best finish. Sometimes this work (usually done in the darkroom by the paper developing) was never properly made, and left the original photo with poor contrast. This is easily fixed in Photoshop and brings out an image never seen before.
A last photograph before the soldiers leave, sitting in the back on the transport lorry. No notice or text where ever made on the back of the printed copy, so the place and destination, place or names of the Hungarian soldiers will most likely remain in the secret vault of history. The photo itself is a great snapshot and a detailed documentation of everyday military life.
- Sergeant Sir! Hungarian sergeant with a proud expression for the perfect studio photograph. Regular sergeants uniform of the later type (past 1936) with folded collar and silver bullions, buttons and metal star.
Some moments are not always special, and one does not realize any special importance to capture it, or make it last. Just like when the trains stops on the tracks and pauses for a while. One soldier though, grabbed his camera and took the opportunity to make some photos.
I like these special moments of "non-importance" because this is what military and ordinary life contains, and it gives a special touch of regularity amongst more important moments in history.
A Hungarian private (Honvéd) and two corporals, all three nicely decorated with the 1941- Return of Southern Hungary (Délvidék) remembrance medals. The corporal in the middle is also decorated with the green infantry marksman lanyard.
Hungarian artillery sergeant pose with his loved one. The photograph is an original colour slide most likely form sometime after 1941/42. The three ribbon bars that the artillery sergeant wears, are the most common combination in this time.
From left; the 1938- Return of the northern territories (Felvidék) remembrance medal, the 1940- Return of Transylvania (Erdély) remembrance medal and the 1941- Return of Southern Hungary (Délvidék) remembrance medal.
Levente Youth on parade through some unknown Hungarian town. The national patch on the Levente Youth uniforms indicates that it's some early (1920-30) version, as well as the feather in the Levente cap.
A familiar view for every man who ever served in any army, any time. The everyday chores fills most of the days until the the service is done. It's not always the battles or the triumph of heroism that's the most lasting, but the everyday life and the comrades made for a lifetime, that are the most common connection for soldiers. Here's a great glimpse of the everyday life at the barracks, taken by someone who knew this life and wanted to preserve a very telling moment.