October 11, 2015

Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 in Budapest

After the fighting in France ended schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503 was reconstituted in the Paderborn area where it received 45 new King-Tiger tanks between 19 and 22 September 1944.


King-Tigers on their way to the station of Paderborn
1. King-Tigers of 3. Kompanie on their way to the station of Paderborn on October 9, 1944.


Schw. Pz-Abt. 503 was detrained at Budapest on October 13-14, 1944. On October 15 the Hungarian imperial Regent Admiral Horthy announced that he was seeking a truce with the Allies. Hitler ordered Operation “Panzerfaust” to secure Hungary’s position at his side.

The next days the Battalion occupied the Danube River bridges, blocked all traffic between Buda and Pest, disarmed disloyal Hungarian troops and took positions around the Budapest Castle. Light exchange of fire occurred.

On October 18 the Battalion left the Hungarian capital and joined the 24th Panzer-Division. 503 Heavy Tank Battalion operated in Hungary until February 1945.

King-Tiger in the Castle district of Buda
2. The Castle district of Buda, on St. George Square, near the Royal Castle. The photo shows the façade of the Palace of Archduke Joseph August of Austria. The palace does not exist anymore, as it was severely damaged during the siege later in the war and it was completely demolished in the 1960s. The King-Tigers which occupied the area belonged to the 2nd Company.

40mm MAWAG anti-tank gun
3. The soldiers on the foreground are moving a 40mm MAWAG anti-tank gun M1940.

Close up of the turret
4. Close up of a King-Tiger turret.

King-Tiger overcoming a barricade
5. King-Tiger 200 overcoming a barricade.

King-Tiger 233
6. King-Tiger 233.

King-Tiger 233
7. King-Tiger 233 from another angle.

King-Tiger and 40M Nimród self-propelled anti-aircraft gun
8. To the right of the King-Tiger a 40M Nimród self-propelled anti-aircraft gun is visible.

King-Tiger
9. Notice the first two soldiers equipped with panzerfausts.

The soldier astride the main gun affixes a muzzle cover
10. The “Horthy Crisis” is over. The machines are prepared for movement.
The soldier astride the main gun affixes a muzzle cover to protect the gun tube. 

The Royal Palace in the 1930s
11. The Royal Palace in the 1930s.

The burned-out ruins of the Royal Palace and the Chain Bridge, 1946
12. The burned-out ruins of the Royal Palace and the Chain Bridge in 1946.

Modern view of the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge
13. Modern view of the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge.


Bibliography
Lochmann, Dr. Franz-Wilhelm, von Rosen, Richard Freiherr and Alfred Rubbel. The Combat History of schwere Panzer-Abteilung 503. Winnipeg: J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, 2000.
Schneider, Wolfgang. Tigers in Combat I. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2004.


Photos attribution
1. Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1975-102-12A/Hamann/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
2. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-38/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
3. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8283A-18A/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
4. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-09/Keiner/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
5. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-32A/Keiner/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
6. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-03A/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
7. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-06/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
8. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-20A b/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
9. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-19A/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
10. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-16A/Faupel/CC BY-SA 3.0 de, via Wikimedia Commons
11. Wikimedia Commons
12. Photo taken by; készítette: id. Takács István (1946), via Wikimedia Commons
13. Aritra Kar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons