Hungarian AFVs of World War Two
Track-link.net 2009-11-25Reviewed by Neville Lord
During World War II, the Hungarian armoured units fielded a mix of nationally produced armour such as the Toldi and Zrinyi, German Panzers and captured vehicles. Despite the considerable interested in the Eastern Front where most Hungarian AFVs were deployed, there is very little in the way of dedicated books on the Hungarian Armoured vehicles and units published in English.
“Magyar Steel” provides an informative English language account of the Hungarian armoured divisions in WWII. The format is an effective mix of text, photos, scale plans, and colour profiles which will appeal to modellers and others interested in WWII military history. The book’s format is an 84 A4 page perfect bound printed on a good grade of glossy paper. The book is published in Poland and written by Csaba Becze.
The text is easy to read and definitely benefits from having Roger Wallgrove as editor in chief and reads as if it was written in English. The book is divided into chapters, each dealing with a major battle or aspect of Hungarian armour. The first 47 pages are largely a mix of text and wartime b/w photos, while the later pages cover museum photos (15 pages), colour profiles (13 pages) and scale plans (9 pages).
Over half the text covers the I Field Armoured Division’s tank battles around the River Don on the Eastern Front (near Stalingrad) during 1942-43. Each battle is covered in depth and includes details from the Division records and veteran accounts to provide a descriptive recount of the tank engagements. Key themes are that the Hungarians lacked the AFVs to take on the Soviet T-34 and KV series tanks and did not always see eye to eye with the Germans. Several maps are included.
Later chapters cover other Hungarian armoured units and battles including the Hungarian Tiger Is. A fFive page history of Hungarian AFV industry provides background to development of major types, which was often based on foreign designs, and several prototypes. This section includes tables on the number of AFVs by type used.
While the text is very informative, one chapter was misprinted and the correct text is provided on a separate A4 sheet. I found the decision to put the chapters on the major tank battles upfront resulted in the book having a disjoint timeline.
The photos accompanying the text are wartime images, largely of the Hungarian unit’s German and Hungarian built tanks, assault guns and armoured cars their crew. Most of the photos were new to me and I would expect would be new to most other readers. The colour museum photos are from eastern European museums mainly Kubinka, and cover the Fiat-Ansaldo 35M Italian tankette, Nimrod, Toldi I and II, Turan II and Zrinyi II plus one image of the Hungarian made Raba-Botond truck.
The 1/35 scale plans by Wojtek Rynkowski include the Straussler F4 prototype tank, Csaba 40M armoured car, Csaba 39M, Nímrod tank destroyer, the Tas SPG & heavy tank (paper designs), Toldi 1 light tank, Toldi IIa & III, Toldi tank destroyer, Turán I medium tank Turán II, Turán III, Zrinyi II assault gun and Zrinyi II 105mm SP howitzer.
The 47 colour plates include Toldi I & II, Csaba 39M and 40M, Turán I, Turán II, Zrinyi I & II, Panzer 38(t), Nimrod, Panzer III M, Panzer IV F1, Tiger I, Krupp Protze, Hetzer, StuG III G, captured Stuart all in Hungarian service.
Magyar Steel provides an informative and rounded history of Hungarian armour in WWII. Most readers will find plenty of new and interesting material in this title, which deserves serious consideration.
This book is stocked by specialist retailers including Historica Books who specialize in WWII titles.
Related 1/35 Kits
Specialist resin manufacturer Botond has produced kits of several Hungarian AFVs.
IPMS UK Magazine 2009-11-25
IPMSUSA.org 2009-11-25Reviewed By Kip Rudge, IPMS# 40597
To say that the story of Hungarian armor in World War 2 has been neglected is somewhat of an understatement. While the Hungarians didn't really register on the vast scales that epitomized the Eastern Front, they played a role that can't be ignored.
This is the first book I have ever seen devoted solely to the Hungarian presence in Russia and the Eastern Front. I have a hard time thinking I'll ever see a better treatment in a standard soft cover format.
Not only do you get the nuts and bolts and numbers of who, what, when, where and why, but Becze provides some excellent first person accounts. This is a book that really does cover a lot of ground in a relatively small space.
The Hungarian armored forces were ill-served by their upper leadership and the grand designs of Hitler's Germany. While they had a relatively competent native manufacturing capability, it was never going to be confused with any of the great European powers. And while the native designs were outmoded, for the most part, by the time the Hungarian vehicles enter combat, there is quite an interesting story to tell.
Personally I always thought the Csaba armored car was a very cool looking vehicle. The Toldi and Turan tanks are very interesting. But the Hungarians tried to upgrade their vehicles, which makes for some interesting reading.
The eyes also get a feast here as well. This book has far more photos of native Hungarian vehicles and those purchased from the Germans than any other book I've seen. Those photos are supplemented by a nice selection of color plates. Add to that a nice set of 1/35th scales plans and photos of surviving Hungarian vehicles in Kubinka and you really have a very nice overview of a little-known aspect of WW2.
Let's see 'a good read and some killer eye candy' can't think of a better endorsement for a really nifty gem of a book.
Missing-lynx.com 2009-11-25Reviewed by Glen Porter
This is the second in Mushroom Model Publication's Green Series (Armour), the first being Codename Swallow by Dennis Oliver.
The latest Mushroom books are up there with the best. Interesting subjects, readable texts, clear (often first time published) photos and accurate plans is the hallmark of this publisher and this one is no exception. Until recently, Mushroom has concentrated on aircraft monographs but now they're into armour also. Yippee!
Magyar Steel covers Hungarian AFVs on the Eastern Front in support of the German Army in the Second World War. The first eleven chapters, most of the text, tells of the 1st Field Armoured Division from their formation to fighting in Noviy Oskol and the defence of Korotscha at the end. Dozens of B&W photos and many personal accounts makes this very good reading along with several maps to put the battles into perspective.
We are then offered a short (11 page) operational history of other Hungarian Armour units in WW 2 followed by 5 pages on the Hungarian Armour industry and vehicles in the same period. These two chapters also have many interesting B&W photos as illustrations.
Next comes 9 pages of 1/35 scale plans of Indigenous Armour drawn by Wojtek Rynkowski just in case you wanted to scratch build one, I doubt you will find many kits in any scale though. Following on from the plans is 15 pages of colour shots from various Museums in Eastern Europe of preserved vehicles as used by the Hungarians. However, although the number is small, the quality of the photography and colour reproduction is very high.
Finally, there are 13 pages of very colourful and detailed profiles including most of the Hungarian built vehicles and some of the German supplied tanks in various colour schemes and all with Hungarian markings.
The only criticism I can make here is a printing error. The third chapter, on page 10, “The First Attack at Korotoyak” has the text from “The Second Attack at Korotoyak”. Obviously, Mushroom realized the mistake and had the correct text printed on a sheet which they've placed loose in the book. I would assume this would be corrected at the printing of the second issue.
The above minor issue not withstanding, this is a worthy addition to the Mushroom Model Publications line and I would recommend it to any modeller interested in the subject.
Armorama.com 2009-11-25by Pat McGrath [ EXER ]
The battles fought by Hungarian forces in world war two are usually depicted in history books as footnotes to those fought by the German Army. This book tells the story of how, though vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the opposing Soviet forces and ill used and badly served by their German Allies, the Hungarian Armoured formations on the Eastern front fought bravely in a hopeless cause.
The book is divided into 7 sections
Hungarian armoured troops at the River DonV The short operational history of Hungarian Armoured units in WW II
The first two sections are a history of Hungarian armoured formations on the eastern front. A lot of history writing can be dry but that is not the case here. Giving an almost day by day account which includes numbers and types of both Hungarian Vehicles and of Soviet Vehicles engaged in battle and using quotes from contemporary first hand accounts these chapters give a real flavour of what Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front must have been like for the Hungarian troops and also makes the book very readable. Mention is made of several Hungarian “aces”, the most notable of whom was Ervin Tarcsay who, because of his record, was promoted out of turn (almost unheard of in the Royal Hungarian Army) to Captain in 1945. The author also delves a little into the ill feeling between the Hungarian troops and the German Army and how the Hungarians were let down on occasion by their own Generals failing to stand up to the German Commanders. These chapters are well illustrated with 70 B&W wartime photos.
The short history of the Hungarian Armour industry and vehicles in WW II
This chapter details the development of Hungarian armour from the 39.M Csaba armoured car through the Zrinyi I & II SPGs to the 44.M Tas which only reached the prototype stage before the Hungarian armaments industry was brought to a halt by American bombing and lack of access to raw materials in 1944. This chapter also covers the manufacture and development under license of foreign vehicles such as the Landsverk L60 and L62 which under Hungarian development became the 38.M Toldi and the 40.M Nimrod. Although Hungarian units were equipped with German Armoured vehicles, either loaned or bought from Germany, Hungary failed to gain a license to manufacture any German vehicles. Included are tables of foreign AFVs in Hungarian service from 1935 -1945 and of Hungarian Manufactured AFVs from 1939-45
There are 30 scale drawings in 1/35 scale covering the Straussler F4 prototype tank, the Csaba 40M,the Csaba 39M, the Nímrod, the Tas SPG (Concept Drawing), Heavy Tank Tas (Concept Drawing), Light tank Toldi 1, Light tank Toldi IIa, Light tank Toldi III, Toldi tank destroyer, Medium Tank Turán I, Medium Tank Turán II, Turán III, Zrinyi II Assault gun and Zrinyi II 105mm Assault howitzer
This gives the list of sources such as archives, books, articles and original manuscripts the Author used in preparing the book. V
Only one Hungarian manufactured AFV remains in Hungary, a Nímrod tank destroyer which is currently being restored at the Hungarian Military academy and some photos of this are included. Photos of an Ansaldo tankette in Belgrade the rest of the photos are from the Kubinka Armour Museum in Russia and seem to have been taken under that museum’s restrictions as to using additional lights.
The 47 colour plates are well done and cover a range of Hungarian manufactured AFVs and German AFVs in Hungarian service including Hetzers, Stugs and Tigers and even a captured lend lease Stuart in Hungarian markings.
Although I knew nothing about Hungary’s role in WW2 before I started this book and my main modelling interests are Allied, I greatly enjoyed reading it. The easy style of the author Csaba Becze is very readable and the wealth of detail make this book of value to modellers and historians alike.
Highs: The style of the author and the contemporary descriptions together with the detailed colour plates and line drawings make this a very valuable reference book for modellers and historians alike
Lows: Although there are plenty of photos of Hungarian armour crews in the book there are no details in the text about their uniforms.
Verdict: This the first reference for Hungarian Armour that I'm aware of and as such it is very welcome. Not only is it a good reference it's also a very good read.
ModelingMadness.com 2009-11-25by Scott Van Aken
This is the second book that Mushroom Models Publications has done on an armor subject, and they have picked a very interesting one. This book tells the story of Hungarian Armor ops on the Eastern Front. The Hungarians were primarily involved in the area around the river Don and were not always treated well by their supposed allies in terms of support and equipment. There are a considerable number of interesting period photos and stories that cover those ops.
This is followed by a section on Hungarian armor, both Hungarian designed and other material received from the Germans. Then comes a section of superb 1/35 scale drawings of the various Hungarian types and then an equally useful section of color closeups of those extant vehicles in museums.
A real boon to modelers is the final section of large, color profiles. These show not only Hungarian built vehicles, but those supplied by the Germans as well. On the back cover are some rare period color photos.
This is a look into an area of armor that few have bothered to cover and it is a fascinating read and excellent reference. It all makes for a book that I can recommend without reservation.
Cybermodeler.com 2009-11-25By Ray Mehlberger
This is the second book on armor by Mushroom Model Publications (MMP). The first book was titled “Code Name Swallow, British Sherman Tanks at Alamein”.
Both books are in 11 ½” x 8 ¼” soft-cover format. This new book is 84 pages long.
The book tells the story, for the first time in English, of Hungarian armor operations during WWII using both Hungarian-designed and built armored vehicles as well as German ones. The Hungarian forces fought bravely on the Eastern Front against overwhelming odds. Their German “allies” were not always supportive or friendly. The main part of the text covers operations of the 1st Field Armored Division on the River Don front in 1942/43 in support of the Germans. Other operations in WWII are also described, and the history of AFV design and production in Hungary during the relevant period is described and profusely illustrated.
The authoritative text, written by a noted Hungarian military historian, is backed up by personal accounts, photos that have never been published before and maps.
This is the story of Magyar Steel – a rarely documented aspect of WWII tank warfare. It is illustrated with 70 rare wartime black and white photos, plus two color ones. There are 78 photos, taken in museums of surviving examples of Hungarian vehicles. These are of the walk-around type. Vehicles pictured are:
Fiat-Ansaldo 35M Italian tankette (in Belgrad Museum and Kubinka)
Toldi I and II (Kubinka)
Turan II (Kubinka)
Zrinyi II (Kubinka)
There are 1/35th scale line drawings of:
Tas Rohamloveg SP gun and the heavy tank version
Toldi’s I, IIa, III and the tank destroyer versions
Turan I & II medium tanks
Zrinyi I with 7.5cm gun and the assault howitzer versions
The book also includes color profile paintings, showing camouflage and markings of: German Krupp Protze Kfz. 70 truck
Ex-Czech Tatra Vz. 20
Casaba 39M armored car and the 40M command version
Ex-Italian Fiat-Ansaldo 35M tankette
A captured M3 Stuart tank
Toldi’s I and II
Turan’s I and II
Zrinyi’s I and II
German Pz.Kpfw. 38(t)
German Pz.Kpfw. III Ausf. M
German Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. F1
German Jagpanzer 38(t) Hetzer
German Stug. III Ausf. G
German Pz.Kpfw. VI Tiger I Ausf. E
Finally, there are three maps and five data charts.
This is essential reading for military historians, tank and AFV enthusiasts and scale modelers. It sheds fascinating light on aspects of armor operations not previously described in any detail in English.
I have three resin models of some of these Hungarian vehicles by Botond brand. This book will really be of great value when I build them.
Military in Scale August 2007 2009-11-25
Gildia Literatury 2009-03-24
Od Csaby do Tigera – recenzja książki "Magyar Steel"Data publikacji artykułu: 10 grudnia 2008 Autor: Hubert Kuberski
Książka "Magyar Steel" Csaby Beczego jest publikacją wydaną przez polsko-brytyjskie wydanictwo Mushroom Model Publications w ramach cyklu Green Series. Mimo że jest to pozycja przygotowana z myślą o modelarzach redukcyjnych, to zawiera mnóstwo informacji o działaniach Węgrów na froncie wschodnim. Książkę wydano w języku angielskim.
Walki węgierskich wojsk z Sowietami Polacy kojarzą zaledwie z kilku scen "Zezowatego szczęścia" Andrzeja Munka. Główny bohater filmu, Jan Piszczyk, nieudolnie pośredniczy między powstańcami a węgierską dywizją, która nie zdecydowała się wesprzeć Polaków. Książka Beczego pozwala usystematyzować wiedzę na egzotyczny temat, jakim są działania węgierskich czołgów na sowieckich stepach i mazowiecko-podlaskich równinach. A to przecież zaledwie wstęp do tego ciekawego zagadnienia. Wojska węgierskie u boku Wehrmachtu, Waffen-SS i Luftwaffe walczyły do ostatniego dnia wojny, osiągając teren Austrii. "Magyar Steel" opowiada o tym, jak Madziarzy brawurowo walczyli w beznadziejnej sprawie.
Książka została podzielona na siedem części. Jeden z pierwszych rozdziałów opowiada o walkach 1. Dywizji Pancernej o Nowy Oskoł i obronie Koroczy. Fakty te wzbogacone są zdjęciami i mapami. W jedenastostronicowej historii opisane zostały działania operacyjne węgierskich czołgistów w II wojnie światowej. Mimo skąpej ilości miejsca, Becze przedstawia dokładne dane o liczbie i typach czołgów oraz pojazdów obu stron walczących w kolejnych zmaganiach. Autor przypomina węgierskich asów pancernych, wśród których wyróżniał się Ervin Tarcsay. Becze przybliża go poprzez cytowanie jego dziennika z walk z Sowietami. Ten rozdział ilustruje 70 czarno-białych zdjęć. W kolejnym rozdziale "The short history of the Hungarian Armour industry and vehicles in WW II" zostały przedstawione losy węgierskich projektów i konstrukcji pancernych. Począwszy od samochodu pancernego 39.M Csaba, poprzez działa samobieżne Zrinyi I i II aż do czołgu średniego 44.M Tas, powstałego jedynie jako prototyp. Autor przybliża również informacje o produkcji licencyjnej, która w zasadzie stworzyła podwaliny pod rozwój węgierskiego przemysłu – czeskie i szwedzkie konstrukcje produkowane nad Dunajem weszły do uzbrojenia armii węgierskiej. Duże znaczenie odgrywała według Beczego niemiecka pomoc wojskowa, która umożliwiła pozyskanie czołgów średnich, dział pancernych, a nawet kilku "Tygrysów".
Częścią przeznaczoną dla wielbicieli plastikowych modeli redukcyjnych jest trzydzieści planów w skali 1/35. Dodatkową gratką okazują się kolorowe zdjęcia niszczyciela czołgów 40.M Nimrod, ustawionego na współczesnej ekspozycji w węgierskiej Akademii Wojskowej, tankietki Ansaldo CV 3/35 z belgradzkiego muzeum oraz czołgu Toldi, stojącego w rosyjskim muzeum w Kubince. Bardzo dobrym pomysłem okazało się zamieszczenie w "Magyar Steel" kolorowych plansz z przykładowymi malowaniami czołgów i pojazdów węgierskich w II wojnie światowej. Mimo że zdjęć jest mało, to edytorsko wypadły one znakomicie, gdyż zostały zreprodukowane w wysokiej jakości.
Książka Beczego wypełnia lukę i kolejną "białą plamę" II wojny światowej. Łatwość, z jaką autor przybliża wydarzenia sprzed sześciu dekad, pozwala na poznanie zagmatwanych losów węgierskich pancerniaków. Uzupełnienie książki o zdjęcia broni pancernej (częstokroć po raz pierwszy publikowane) dodatkowo wzbogaca tę niewielką publikację, przybliżającą mało znane działania Węgrów. Dla maniaków walk na froncie wschodnich jest to pozycja niezbędna, dla pozostałych wielbicieli mało znanych epizodów historii – książka Beczego wielce jest polecana.
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