Military Review

Battle of Balaton: defeat of the German armored elite

49

By the spring of 1945, Soviet troops had already destroyed the Debrecen and Budapest enemy groupings, entered Western Hungary and created conditions for the continuation of the offensive. At this time, the Headquarters of the Supreme Command set the 2 nd and 3 rd Ukrainian fronts the most important task: to strike in the Vienna direction, destroy the German Army Group South and transfer the hostilities to the territory of southern Germany. It seemed to many that the days of the Third Reich were numbered, but the Germans were preparing to inflict their crushing blow.


Losing Hungary for Germany meant losing a significant part of its industry. The last oil fields near Lake Balaton were also under threat. It was there, despite the need to protect Berlin, that the elite 6th tank army of the SS. With the support of the 6th Field Army and the 2nd Tank Army, it was supposed to defeat the southern flank of the Soviet troops and drag out the war for several more months.

The Soviet leadership greeted the intelligence reports on the concentration of heavy German equipment beyond Lake Balaton with distrust. According to all forecasts, the combat-ready troops of the Wehrmacht were to be pulled together to their capital. Despite this, the commander of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, Marshal Fyodor Ivanovich Tolbukhin, received another order: without stopping preparations for an offensive on Vienna, organize a defense and destroy the enemy. The front had at its disposal about 200 "thirty-fours" and "Shermans", but this was not enough to repel the German attack. Tolbukhin's headquarters relied on artillery and rifle formations, which, having occupied several defense zones, could weaken and then stop the offensive.

Before the offensive, more than 800 German tanks and assault guns were concentrated at Lake Balaton. The German plan was called "Spring Awakening" and provided for 3 attacks simultaneously, which were supposed to inflict a crushing defeat on the troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. There were all possibilities for this.

The operation began on the night of March 6 with two diversionary strikes. The 2nd Panzer Army of the Wehrmacht broke through the defenses and moved towards the city of Kaposvar. At the same time, the German allies (Hungarian and Bosnian formations) attacked from the south and occupied a strategically important foothold on the left bank of the Drava River. This came as an unpleasant surprise for the Soviet command, because the main attack of the Germans was supposed to come from the north, but it was not long in coming. The offensive began at 9 am. After half an hour of artillery preparation, heavy tanks moved into battle.

The tactics of Soviet soldiers were called the "fire bag". A battalion of 2-3 batteries was located on the way of the German equipment, which was the first to open fire on the frontal armor of the enemy, revealing the location and taking the blow on itself. However, at that moment, when the German tanks were a couple of hundred meters from the firing point, camouflaged batteries and self-propelled guns on the flanks began to shoot at them. Attacking enemy vehicles from 3 directions, the soldiers of the Red Army were able not only to delay the SS tank wedge, but also to inflict the first losses.

Meanwhile, the narrow space between Lakes Balaton and Velence did not allow the German command to throw the entire 6th Panzer Army into battle. The second SS Panzer Corps began to advance only in the evening. While German tanks, self-propelled guns and armored personnel carriers were equipped with night vision devices, Soviet soldiers only had rockets and shells with a pyrotechnic charge. They partially helped, but they revealed the positions of the defense. After XNUMX hours of fighting, the Red Army had to leave the important settlement of Sheregeliesh to the east of Lake Velence. however, there was no breakthrough into the depth of the defense. The Germans failed to fulfill their task.

On the second day of the operation, German equipment was moving east of Sheregeliesh, at the position of the Soviet 18th Panzer Corps. At this time, Fyodor Tolbukhin ordered to organize a counterattack involving all the corps reserves, including 20 repaired thirty-fours with untrained crews. The German self-propelled guns repelled the Soviet blow: "Naskhorny", "Marder", "Jagdpanther" and "Stugi".

Only on the 3rd day of the operation did the Germans manage to break through the main line of defense and come close to the last line. The vanguard remained about 25 kilometers to the city of Dunafeldvard and the Danube. Tolbukhin at this time reinforced the 18th corps with self-propelled artillery and threw it at the forefront of the German strike. It was a deadly fight. Tanks fired from small distances and the lives of the crews depended on the reaction and accuracy of the shots. The T-34 had 2 major advantages: lower ground pressure and good turret rotation speed. While the German vehicles got stuck in the mud and slowly turned their guns, Soviet tanks repeatedly hit them with armor-piercing shells. German troops retreated, leaving 10 destroyed and 14 destroyed tanks on the battlefield. This was the first tank victory of the Red Army during the Balaton operation.

However, in other areas, the successes were much more modest. The enemy continued to attack. Marshal Tolbukhin was forced to ask for reinforcements from the 2nd Ukrainian Front, but was refused. On the morning of March 9, the Germans attacked in the southwestern direction. The attack was attended by up to 450 tanks and assault guns, as well as hundreds of armored personnel carriers, which mixed with the ground the defense zone of the 35th Guards. rifle corps. Fyodor Tolbukhin gave the order to throw into battle all the reserves of the two armies in that area. At that moment, other directions were more vulnerable than ever.
Seeing the arriving Soviet tanks, the Germans stopped the onslaught and began to look for weaknesses in the defense. Time passed, and the number of Red Army troops grew in number. The artillery batteries took up positions, providing a numerical advantage. To minimize losses, the SS commanders decided to postpone the attack overnight and repeat the previous success, but everything did not go according to plan. With the onset of darkness, the attack on Germany began, when suddenly Soviet anti-aircraft searchlights came on. German crews not only did not receive advantages, but also began to see targets worse than Soviet tankers and artillerymen. Neither this nor in the following days did the German troops manage to break through to the Danube.

The Battle of Balaton was the last major defensive operation of the Red Army. Soviet soldiers were not only able to repel the attack of the most powerful armored forces at that time, but also prepared an offensive operation, which ended in the complete expulsion of the Germans from Hungary. The Reich army lost fuel, the tank elite of Nazi Germany ceased to exist, and there was practically no military power left to defend Berlin.

For more details, facts and details of the key battles of the Balaton defensive operation, see the video from the creators of the famous game World of Tanks.

49 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Grandfather
    Grandfather April 27 2021 05: 50
    +11
    By the spring of 1945, Soviet troops had already destroyed the Debrecen and Budapest enemy groupings, entered Western Hungary and created conditions for the continuation of the offensive.
    and before that, they cleaned half of Europe from the Nazis, and those who together hate us now. Stalin would have known ...
    1. rocket757
      rocket757 April 27 2021 06: 06
      +18
      There is no one to be friends with in Russia's gayrope, at all !!! Comrade Stalin managed to create at least some kind of isolating buffer, at least for a while .... these are those who came for him and were unable to preserve what our ancestors had created.
      Created by great military labor!
      1. max702
        max702 April 27 2021 06: 55
        -6
        Comrade Stalin dismissed the snot, believing that he accepted the repentant fascists into the family of peoples who embarked on the path of social development .. Naive .. It was not necessary to drive and talk about the brotherhood of the socialist peoples, to force to pay ALL this European riffraff in full would have worked for the USSR a year or so until 197 giving everything and everyone you look and respect would be an order of magnitude more .. And right now, there it is like a full spoon ..
        1. rocket757
          rocket757 April 27 2021 07: 42
          +9
          Who we are and what we know to condemn the decisions of those people, decisions made in that situation ...
          Now and with our situation it didn’t bother us ...
          1. max702
            max702 April 27 2021 07: 43
            -12%
            Well, how would we just disentangle their decisions .. That is why we can judge whether they are correct or not ..
            1. rocket757
              rocket757 April 27 2021 08: 01
              +15
              Come on, right after all, we are disentangling the decisions of those leaders ??? And can we just those who destroyed everything previously created and now squeals that it stood badly, was badly done?
              Anyway, you need to create your own, and not throw yourself at the previous ones ... it won't help in any way, it will only quarrel with a part of the people with whom you will have to deal with restoration, creating a new one, in short, moving forward!
              1. max702
                max702 April 27 2021 08: 23
                -3
                It is not necessary to rush, but it is extremely undesirable to repeat mistakes as with the same brazkonodnost ... Therefore, the next who will come to us with a sword to force us to pay in full for generations in advance .. That's what the thought was ..
                1. rocket757
                  rocket757 April 27 2021 08: 47
                  +2
                  So I always say that a bitter truth is always healthier than a sweet lie !!!
                  It is necessary to remember about past actions, how to evaluate them, this is much more difficult ...
                  It is probably not worth repeating the failed "experiment" !!! Especially since he quarrels about the past, it is absolutely stupid !!! We don't have to build a new past !!!
                  You will have to build something different, your own. For objective reasons, by the way.
              2. tihonmarine
                tihonmarine April 27 2021 08: 34
                +7
                Quote: rocket757
                And can we just those who destroyed everything previously created and now squeals that it stood badly, was badly done?

                I also have the same opinion. It is not the creators who squeal, but the destroyers.
                1. rocket757
                  rocket757 April 27 2021 08: 50
                  +3
                  Destroyers cannot build, by definition ... otherwise they would be called differently.
            2. ramzay21
              ramzay21 April 30 2021 08: 36
              +2
              Stalin's decisions led to victories, Gorbachev's decisions led to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and then the USSR, and Yeltsin's decisions finished him off.
              Each action and decision has a first and last name.
      2. yehat2
        yehat2 April 27 2021 11: 50
        0
        Quote: rocket757
        There is no one to be friends with in Russia's gayrope, at all

        it is foolish to say that.
        Russia has many allies in Europe.
        For example, the population of a number of countries - Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, almost the entire population has a good attitude towards our country. In other countries, those who do not watch TV, but are interested in real facts, there are also many who want to be friends - Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy ...
        1. rocket757
          rocket757 April 27 2021 11: 57
          0
          Quote: yehat2
          For example, the population of a number of countries

          Well, well, try to conclude some kind of binding agreement with the population of "friendly countries" ....
          You separate the flies from the cutlets, and then ... everything later.
          For example, can it be argued that Americans, citizens, are so bad and direct, straightforward, such enemies of Russia?
          1. yehat2
            yehat2 April 27 2021 13: 11
            0
            Quote: rocket757
            can it be argued that Americans, citizens, are so bad

            Yes
            these are indifferent people who, for the sake of profit, are able to very much get away from the accepted morality
            and their favorite phrase is "nothing personal, just business."
            until they see what can be taken away from you, they may look like good ones, but if they see a chance to cash in on your account, then their true face will show through.
            I'm not even talking about a significant part of the marginals - there is generally mascara.
            1. rocket757
              rocket757 April 27 2021 13: 17
              0
              Different people are needed, different people are important .... your opinion is clear ... I do not agree, not everything is so simple.
              1. yehat2
                yehat2 April 27 2021 13: 35
                +1
                I describe those whom I personally met and communicated with.
                1. rocket757
                  rocket757 April 27 2021 13: 38
                  0
                  So I'm not refuting ... it's just that everyone has their own experience.
            2. Free wind
              Free wind April 29 2021 12: 52
              0
              Chinese looking at Russians just spit. Americans and Europeans are quite friendly.
              1. yehat2
                yehat2 April 29 2021 13: 17
                -1
                I prefer a sincere Chinese who will tell you everything honestly and with whom you can negotiate.
                And it is often impossible to come to an agreement with deceitfully smiling Europeans.
                1. Free wind
                  Free wind April 29 2021 13: 56
                  -1
                  Corrupt people. those who claim that the Chinese are friends are our enemies. The Chinese are our enemies.
                  1. yehat2
                    yehat2 April 29 2021 14: 07
                    -1
                    and who says that the Chinese are friends?
                    I don't see anyone but you
        2. tihonmarine
          tihonmarine April 27 2021 14: 03
          +1
          Quote: yehat2
          Russia has many allies in Europe.

          First you need to figure out who the allies are, and then talk about the number of allies.
          1. yehat2
            yehat2 April 27 2021 14: 06
            0
            for me, an ally is at least one who does not spit on the fact that you are Russian.
            the one for whom you are just one of dozens of adequate nations for cooperation.
            I do not expect much from allies, just normal relationships are enough.
            1. tihonmarine
              tihonmarine April 27 2021 16: 55
              0
              Quote: yehat2
              I do not expect much from allies, just normal relationships are enough.

              Correct thought. I also have the same opinion.
            2. andrew42
              andrew42 April 27 2021 18: 07
              +1
              Well, you actually described "neutrals". There are more demands on the ally.
        3. Barberry25
          Barberry25 April 27 2021 21: 10
          -1
          yeah ... eighteen million people ... who mean nothing
    2. tihonmarine
      tihonmarine April 27 2021 08: 28
      0
      Quote: Dead Day
      and before that, they cleaned half of Europe from the Nazis, and those who together hate us now. Stalin would know ..

      Yes, and Europe did not want to be "conceived" from Hitler. We all see it well now.
      1. yehat2
        yehat2 April 27 2021 13: 45
        +1
        those. how did you not want to?
        Hitler conquered most of the countries in battle
        1. tihonmarine
          tihonmarine April 27 2021 13: 48
          +3
          Quote: yehat2
          Hitler conquered most of the countries in battle

          And they that resisted?
          1. yehat2
            yehat2 April 27 2021 13: 53
            +3
            yes with varying degrees of stress.
            The same Yugoslavia quickly perished because it was attacked at once from all sides by Germany, Italy and Bulgaria. Probably, the Poles fought the most shameful of all - with such a large army, the Germans actually solved the issue in 2 weeks. Read what they write about their "heroic" defense. The French were summed up by a very strange plan for the war and the unfulfilled reform of the army. reproaching them for surrendering without a fight is at least strange.
            The Dutch quickly surrendered, but with their territory no one expected more.
            1. tihonmarine
              tihonmarine April 27 2021 14: 31
              +4
              Quote: yehat2
              The Dutch quickly surrendered, but with their territory no one expected more.

              You see, everyone just pretended to be at war, and they themselves were waiting for Hitler. And he came, and all of Europe served him as vassals should, and they liked it, and now they like it too (True, there has not yet been another "Bavarian corporal," but a corporal in a skirt does not fit.)
              1. yehat2
                yehat2 April 27 2021 15: 08
                0
                I'm sorry that you are constantly trying to reduce everything to a grotesque simple formula.
                and forget about any processes that do not fit your conclusions.
                1. tihonmarine
                  tihonmarine April 27 2021 17: 01
                  +2
                  Quote: yehat2

                  0
                  I'm sorry that you are constantly trying to reduce everything to a grotesque simple formula.

                  What a grotex. All of Europe under Napoleon lived in peace, and under Hitler also did not need liberation.
                  1. yehat2
                    yehat2 April 27 2021 17: 22
                    +1
                    under Napoleon, half lived on pain of punishment. as soon as problems appeared, they immediately fell off.
                    1. tihonmarine
                      tihonmarine April 27 2021 17: 34
                      -1
                      Quote: yehat2
                      as soon as problems appeared, they immediately fell off.

                      The problems did not fall off, but Kutuzov put a pen in the ass to Napoleon. And if I hadn't inserted it, there would still be only France.
            2. andrew42
              andrew42 April 27 2021 18: 09
              +1
              Then it was not the Poles, but the Czechs who fought the most shameful of all. That is, they practically did not fight. At the same time, there are no such claims to Austria, for the GERMANS.
              1. Cheerock
                Cheerock April 28 2021 15: 41
                +1
                So the Czechs have been part of Austria-Hungary all their lives. They just returned home 20 years later, just like the Hungarians. That is why they did not fight.
            3. cat Rusich
              cat Rusich April 29 2021 00: 28
              +1
              Quote: yehat2
              yes with varying degrees of stress.
              The same Yugoslavia quickly perished because
              On March 25, 1941, Yugoslavia joined the "Triple Pact" (Axis countries) ...
              Then a military coup, a change of position, etc. and so on ...
              But legal government of Yugoslavia in March 1941 made its choice in favor of the 3rd Reich.
              You can also remember - Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Finland, Italy, the Slovak Republic in 1939-45 - were allies of the 3rd Reich.
              Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia - began to resist the "occupation" on May 5, 1945 ...
              50 CZK Bohemia and Moravia
              50 CZK Bohemia and Moravia - this is such an occupation ...
    3. lucul
      lucul April 27 2021 08: 46
      +3
      and before that, they cleaned half of Europe from the Nazis,

      So compare the battle at Balaton, where the well-trained elite of the German troops took part, with the Ardens, where half of the German troops were ordinary reservists.
      1. andrew42
        andrew42 April 27 2021 18: 11
        +3
        Half of the Balaton group would sweep away the allies in the English Channel.
  2. Victorio
    Victorio April 28 2021 09: 43
    0
    thanks for the article, but it is somehow not written in Russian, translation or something (
    / Germany's plan was called "Spring Awakening" and provided for 3 attacks simultaneously, /
    / On the second day of the operation, German equipment was moving east of Sheregeliesh /
    / German troops retreated, leaving 10 destroyed and 14 destroyed tanks on the battlefield /
    / With the onset of darkness, the attack on Germany began, /
    / Neither this nor in the following days the German troops to break through to the Danube /
  3. demiurg
    demiurg April 28 2021 14: 33
    +2
    One could write briefly.
    Tanks are powerless against normal anti-tank equipment. Even a concentration of up to 100 tanks per kilometer does not help if, on the other hand, 100 anti-tank guns are covered with minefields and corps artillery.
    You can also write that neglect of mobility and reliability for the sake of armor in a maneuver war is unacceptable.
    And the Germans did not have air supremacy over Balaton.
    Actually, this is the first correct confirmation that it is unprofitable to fight tanks against tanks. You can, Dizful is an example of this, but there is a better solution. Normal VET decides.
    1. chenia
      chenia April 30 2021 08: 47
      0
      Quote: demiurg
      Normal VET decides.


      I agree. Correct organization of anti-tank defense and the resilience of the fighters (something we did not have in 1941), even in the absence of normal anti-tank guns (in contrast to the Germans). did not allow two tank and two field further 40 km to crawl into our defenses. At the same time, having lost almost all the tanks (and these are not the T-1, T-2, T-3 and the first T-4, but the perfect T-4 and the menagerie) And this is against the inferior in strength and means. not the most powerful 3 UV (although 2 UV slightly helped).
      In general, the Kursk Bulge is the death knell for the Wehrmacht, and Balaton is already an expected pattern.
    2. lucul
      lucul 1 May 2021 18: 42
      0
      And the Germans did not have air supremacy over Balaton.

      This is key, if air supremacy were, they would timely detect and destroy all ambushes of those anti-tank guards with long-range artillery or aviation, as was the case in 1941.
      But there is no air supremacy - there is no victory.
  4. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov April 29 2021 09: 55
    +3
    They cut off the German infantry from the tanks and then the tanks had no chance. By 1945 they learned this and did it well.
    A relative of mine commanded a regiment (31 Silistrensky regiment) of the First Bulgarian Army in the battle of Drava in March 1945 and he always emphasized this. The tanks passed through our positions and we had 2-3 percent of the loss, but the German infantry did not pass. Tanks without supplies had to retreat, and with that they lost all the vehicles that had failed.
  5. certero
    certero April 30 2021 11: 49
    0
    There are no references to documents, or to specific actions of individual units, there is no data on losses on the part of the enemy and on the part of the Red Army.
    1. obratov
      obratov 7 May 2021 10: 52
      0
      Ours won! We have almost no losses ... and theirs are all dead!
      Their entire elite! Exactly! Since then, only offensive operations ... no defensive ones!
  6. Valery V.A.
    Valery V.A. 4 May 2021 18: 56
    +1
    Well, what is there in the military in this "Military Review"? One phrase is enough - "the battle .... has become a major .. operation .." to draw a conclusion about zero military knowledge and zero military training of both the author and the entire "military" FOUNDATION. Yes, and a new "battle" appeared in the content of the Great Patriotic War! And it turns out that in the course of the defense they are "crushed"! Oh no! They smash during the offensive, during the defense - they repel the enemy's blows! Well, everything else is childish babble and disgrace! In general, another essay by a stoned pioneer based on the story of a drunken grandfather Makar!
  7. Valery V.A.
    Valery V.A. 4 May 2021 19: 12
    0
    In order not to be unfounded, we will have to continue: "flank of Soviet troops", "German attack", "3 attacks that should have been defeated", "strategically important bridgehead" (why not a trench?), "The tactics were called" fire bag " , "German technique advanced", "mortal combat", "TANK VICTORY of the Red Army", "strike in the southwest direction", "stopped the onslaught", "SS commanders", "German attack." Not the slightest idea of ​​the art of war, but all the same - "strategy", "tactics"!