From the Realm of a Dying Sun. Volume 3

IV. SS-Panzerkorps from Budapest to Vienna, February-May 1945

Douglas E. Nash Sr.

The concluding part of Doug Nash's magisterial history of IV. SS-Panzerkorps, covering their actions as they retreated from Budapest to Vienna in the final months of the war.
Publication date:
April 2021
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Language:
English
Illustration :
50 photographs, maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612009568

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
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Overview
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• Herbert Otto Gille's IV SS-Panzerkorps was renowned for its tenacity, high morale and, above all, its lethality, whether conducting a hard-hitting counterattack or a stubborn defence in situations where its divisions were hopelessly outnumbered
• The text is complemented by detailed maps and 50 rare and unseen black and white images.

In the closing months of World War II, with Budapest's fall on 12 February 1945 and the breakout attempt by the IX SS-Gebirgskorps having failed, the only thing the IV. SS-Panzerkorps could do was fall back to a more defensible line and fortify the key city of Stuhlweissenburg. Exhausted after three relief attempts in January 1945 and outnumbered by the ever-increasing power of Marshal Tolbukhin's Third Ukrainian Front, SS-Obergruppenführer Gille's veterans dug in for a lengthy period of defensive warfare.

However, Adolf Hitler had not forgotten about the Hungarian theatre of operations nor the country's rich oilfields and was sending help. To the detriment of the defence of Berlin, SS-Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich's legendary 6. Panzerarmee was on its way, not to retake Budapest, but to encircle and destroy Tolbukhin's forces and completely reverse the situation in south-eastern Europe in Hitler's favour. This overly ambitious offensive, known as Frühlingserwachen (Spring Awakening), was soon bogged down in the face of resolute Soviet defences aided by the springtime thaw. Heralded as Nazi Germany's last great offensive of World War II, it resulted in great losses to Hitler's last armoured reserve in exchange for only minor gains. Though it played a supporting role during the battle, the IV. SS-Panzerkorps was soon caught up in its aftermath, after the Red Army launched its Vienna Operation that nearly swept the armies of Heeresgruppe Süd from the battlefield.

Withdrawing into Austria, Gille's battered corps attempted to bar the route into Germany, while the Red Army bore down on Vienna. Forced to endure relentless Soviet attacks as well as the caustic leadership of the 6. Armee commander, General Hermann Balck, the men of the IV. SS-Panzerkorps fought their way through Austria to reach the safety of the demarcation line where it finally surrendered to U.S. forces on 9 May 1945 after nearly a year of relentless campaigning.