To the memory of the Soviet-Russian campaign.
1941-07-02 -- 1942-01-10
This is a special presentation on this blog
of some photographs from the photo-album of sergeant József Ködmön. Not much
other information's exist more than that József Ködmön,
a well decorated WW1 veteran, served as a staff sergeant in the 133.th
mechanized transport company. His photo-album contains many interesting and
unique photographs from the 1941 Hungarian participation in Operation
József Ködmön, őrmester (sergeant)
I will start this photo-series with a small
summary of The
Gyorshadtest (Rapid Corps) and the history
of the Hungary's initial participation on the eastern front.
"Együttes pihenő" - Resting
(Hungarian and Russian prisoners posing together)
did not immediately participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union. The
invasion began on 22 June 1941, but Germany did not directly ask for Hungarian
assistance. In alliance with Germany
Germany, Italian, Finnish, Slovak and Romanian troops participated in
Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, many
Hungarian officials argued for participation in the war in order not to
encourage Hitler into favouring Romania in the event of border revisions in
Transylvania. On 26 June 1941, the Soviet air force bombed Košice (Kassa). As a
reaction on this, Hungary declared war against the Soviet Union on 27 June
"A jó barátság" - The good
(József Ködmön between German Luftwaffe personnel.)
1 July 1941, under German instruction, the Hungarian The Gyorshadtest
("Rapid Corps") was sent to participate in the advancing invasion. The
"Rapid Corps" name was something of a misnomer as it was only
"mechanized" compared to other Hungarian units. The corps was not
particularly mechanized when compared to similar units fielded by countries
like Germany or the Soviet Union. The Gyorshadtest was sent far into southern
Russia and saw action at many ocations, most notable at the Battle of Uman,
fought between 3 and 8 August and Battle of Kiev fought between 23 August – 26
September 1941. Hungarian participation
in Operation Barbarossa during 1941 was limited in part because the country had
no real army before 1939, and time to train and equip troops had been short.
Hungary had also built and equipped it's army for defensive purposes and to
defend its borders rather than offensive action.
oszlop" - The convoy in Dyetero.
1941, the Hungarian troops were to attack no less than eight Soviet divisions
on a front almost 180 miles wide. The Gyorshadtest had a total of about 40,000
armed men to do this. The Soviet forces on the defensive had about 56,000 men. Even
victories cost the Hungarians dearly. The Gyorshadtest grew weaker by the end
of the summer of 1941. By comparison, the retreating Soviet armies, far from
growing weaker, seemed to be growing stronger.
"Foglyok" - Prisoners.
(Soviet prisoners of war guarded by German guards along the road)
German commanders typically allowed little room for the Hungarians to take
independent action and yet the mechanized corps fought for five months in a
long campaign and covered over 1,000 miles of territory. By the end of the
summer the Hungarian mechanized corps was down to six battalions. The costs was
not limited to the mechanized corps itself. The costs were also too high to the
whole Hungarian nation. For a country the size of Hungary, the losses were
"Tankolás" - Fuelling up.
the end of 1941, there were over 200 officers and more than 2,500 rank and file
dead. Over 1,500 Hungarians were missing in action. At a minimum, another 7,500
were wounded. Losses in material were high as well. Gone were over 1,200
personnel carriers, 30 air-planes, 28 artillery pieces, 100 per cent of the L3
tankettes, 80 per cent of the Toldi tanks, and 90 per cent of the armoured cars.
"Karbantartás Krivojvogban" -
Maintenance in Krivojvog.
In November 1941, The Gyorshadtest
("Rapid Corps") returned to Budapest.
The withdrawal of The Gyorshadtest ("Rapid
Corps") did not mean the end of Hungary's military participation in the war.
In Budapest, the Gyorshadtest and its remains was re-fitted and made ready for
battle. Germany continued to demand a maximum effort from the Hungarians and
soon the Hungarian Second Army was dispatched in the summer of 1942.
"Kiserőd Dyeszteren" - Pillbox by the
(German and Hungarian soldiers together)
"Orosz-tank elszállítása" -
Removing of a Russian tank.
(The text of this photograph is definitely wrong:
the vehicle is a German heavy armoured reconnaissance vehicle called Sdkfz.
- Shot down Ratta
The term "Ratta" was used for
most air-planes by many soldiers. Ratta means rat in Spanish and was used for
the Soviet fighter Polikarpov 16, by the nationalist side in the Spanish civil
war. The air-plane on the photograph is a Ilyushin Il-2, a ground-attack
"Dyetero" - The town of Dyetero.
Ködmön on top of a Soviet made BA-10 (Russian: Broneavtomobil 10) armoured car.
The Hungarian convoy heading east...
The Hungarian convoy passes by German infantry.
Hungarian soldier stands among the ruin of a burned down house.
Shot down Ilyushin Il-2, a ground-attack
Hungarian soldiers stands in front of a burning oil well.
Abandoned Soviet heavy artillery.
Soldiers on-top of a M38 "Toldi" Hungarian
Ködmön on a STANDARD motorcycle from 1929.
Somewhere in the Soviet union, heading
German military cemetery.
Detail from the photo-album.
Soldiers pose for a group photo on-top of a Hungarian M38 "Toldi".
Ködmön, 2nd Lieutenant László Jobbágy (company commander) and sergeant Bogdán Petúl.
Silhouettes in front of the fire.
Detail from the photo-album.
Destroyed Soviet T-26 light infantry tank.
Hungarian military road-signs on the walls of a destroyed house.
Soviet prisoners of war in a detention camp.
Destroyed Soviet housing complex.
Hungarian soldiers relax in the shade of their trucks.
Captured Soviets artillery.
Soviet prisoners of war, marching into captivity. A Hungarian soldier walks by the column.
Hungarian military cemetery.
German SS military cemetery.
Ködmön and his men in the village of Rakhiv.
German SS military cemetery.
Hungarian soldiers in front of the chimney stacks of burned down houses.
The Hungarian trucks are stuck in the mud.
Sized Soviet weapons.
Traces of small arms fire on the walls.
Struggle on the road.
Hungarian soldiers roast their corn over the fire.
Torn down statue of Vladimir Lenin.
The building of the military academy in Vinnytsia in 1941.
And a photograph as it looks like today..
The last photographs are from a series of a possible road-mine detonation. A truck probably drove on to the hidden mine that went off and damaged the truck and injured a few of the men. No captions were added to these photographs in the album.