On 26 June 1941, unidentified bombers attacked the Hungarian town of Kassa, prompting Hungary to join its Axis partners in Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. Hungary's contribution to Barbarossa was designated the Carpathian Group, its most powerful component being the Mobile Corps, which fielded motorized rifle, cavalry, bicycle and light armoured troops. The Hungarians faced Soviet forces belonging to the Kiev Military District, deployed in four armies along a 940km-long front.
On the defeated side in World War I, Hungary had seen its borders redrawn and its armed forces constrained by treaty, but was determined to recover territories lost to adjoining countries. When Hungary decided to participate in Operation Barbarossa, however, the Royal Hungarian Army was deployed in the Soviet Union and not against its neighbours. Meanwhile, the Red Army, while remaining among the most formidable armies of the era, had been seriously weakened by successive purges, its shortcomings exposed by the Winter War against Finland in 1939-40.
During the opening battles (4-13 July), the Hungarian motorized rifle and armoured units clashed with the withdrawing Red Army forces. In the battle for Uman (15 July-8 August) the Hungarians blocked the Soviet troops' efforts to break out from encirclement. During the Hungarian defensive operation at the River Dniepr (30 August-6 October), counter-attacking Soviet units exerted heavy pressure on the defending Hungarians. Both sides would seek to draw lessons from these opening battles as the war in the East continued to rage into 1942. Fully illustrated, this book investigates the Hungarian and Soviet soldiers who fought in three battles of the Barbarossa campaign, casting new light on the role played by the forces of Nazi Germany's allies on the Eastern Front.
The Wehrmacht's last Blitzkrieg campaign was indeed a lightning war, since German forces were required to seize both Yugoslavia and Greece before redeploying immediately to the East ready to attack the Soviet Union in a matter of weeks. Although the plans for the conquest of Yugoslavia were developed in haste, the campaign was extremely successful: in a short space of time, both Yugoslavia and Greece had fallen, accompanied by the capture of large numbers of British, Australian and New Zealand troops. The 1941 Balkan campaign was an apparently brilliant military accomplishment that demonstrated once again the superiority of the Wehrmacht, and its cutting-edge campaigning skills.
This superbly detailed work details the opposing forces that took part in this campaign, documents their weapons and analyzes the effectiveness of their tactics. It explores the initial Axis campaign against Yugoslavia, the breakthrough of the Metaxas Line and advance into Macedonia and the withdrawal of Allied troops south. Detailed battlescenes depict key moments in the land, sea and air battles that took place in the Balkans, vividly bringing to life events of almost 80 years ago.
Ju 87 dive-bombers, originally developed for pin-pointing bombing missions against land targets and Allied naval vessels were deployed by both the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica against the Allied forces. Included in such a target were perhaps the greatest prize of all for a Stuka pilot: a British aircraft carrier.
This superbly illustrated book looks at the duel between the Ju 87 Stuka and the aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy. Despite their gun protection ('pompoms')and their squadrons of fighters, these immense and mighty vessels proved irresistible targets to determined and experienced Stuka aces as they endeavoured to stop British naval intervention in the campaigns in Norway, Malta and Crete. By 1941, the Ju 87 had become known by the British as a fearsome aircraft following its operations in France, specifically at Dunkirk, as well as in the Balkans. For the Luftwaffe, it was an aircraft in which they still had great confidence despite its mauling in the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940. This book examines the key attributes and shortcomings of both aircraft and carrier by analysing various compelling episodes including the dramatic attacks on Ark Royal by Stukageschwader (St.G) 1 off Norway in April 1940, the strikes by the Luftwaffe's St.G 1, St.G 2 and the Regia Aeronautica's 237 Degrees Squadriglia against Illustrious in Malta harbour. Aside from outstanding photography and artwork, this volume also include numerous personal accounts from Stuka crews, the pilots of carrier-borne fighters opposing them and the sailors embarked in the various carriers that came under attack.
The German invasion of Norway was a pivotal moment in modern warfare, the first joint campaign that featured air power as an equal element of all operations. It was, in fact, the superior use of their air force that gave the Germans the decisive margin of victory and ensured the failure of the Allied counter-offensive in central Norway in April and May 1940.
All aspects of air power were employed in Norway, from long-range bombing and reconnaissance to air transport, with the Luftwaffe's ability to transport large numbers of troops and supply ground forces over great distances being particularly important. Norway was the first campaign in history in which key targets were seized by airborne forces, and the first in which air superiority was able to overcome the overwhelming naval superiority of an enemy.
Researched from primary sources, this engaging history by air power expert Dr James Corum skilfully draws out where and why air power made the difference in Norway, and analyses the campaign's influence on the coming months and years of World War II.