2021-06-01


                                                " 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.

 





2021-05-20

                                                    " 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.

2021-04-20

2021-03-06

                                             " 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.

 

2021-02-01

" 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.

 

2021-01-24

" 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.

2020-11-24

                                                    " 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!

 

2020-10-06

 

 "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. 

2020-08-28

" 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.

2020-07-15

"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.

2020-05-28

" 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.

2020-04-04

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

2020-03-27

" 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.

2020-01-31

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.

2019-10-18

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

2019-10-01

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

2019-09-25

" 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.

2019-08-18

" 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.

 

2019-07-23

" 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.

2019-04-24

" 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.

2019-04-17

"Hospital Friends"
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.

2019-04-01

" Bikes across the Border "
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.
 

2019-03-08

T-26 Tanks
Hungarian Air Force private takes some time to inspect captured Soviet T-26 light tanks.
The photograph is from a 1941 Air Force soldiers photo-album.

2019-02-17

Hungarian Private
(Honvéd)
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.

2019-01-21

" Somewhere in Russia "
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.

2019-01-05

Lajos Gróf
Hungarian Artillery Sergeant
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.

Lajos Gróf in 1941, in a trench field equipped.

2018-12-08

" Finally some time to rest "
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. 


2018-11-14

Honvéd Portrait
Hungarian Air-Force Honvéd (private)

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. 

2018-10-15

" Preparing the meal "
Hungarian soldiers prepares some grilled meat as they recently arrived somewhere in Russia. 
Sticks and a fireplace is all that is needed for this improvised cooking.

2018-09-27

" The Best Logistics "
Soldiers from the Hungarian army logistic branch in front of their vehicle, pauses for a moment to make a photograph.

2018-08-27

" Farewell! "
Hungarian Soldiers pose for some last photographs before the departure to the front.