Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Big Cat in Hungary

Today's image depicts Königstiger (Tiger II) number 233 from s.H.Pz.Abt. 503 (Heavy Panzer Battalion 503). The image was taken in Budapest in October 1944 after the unit was brought in to provide support for Unternehmen Eisenfaust (Operation Iron Fist).

Operation Iron Fist was conducted in October 1944 with the aim of replacing the government of Hungary with forces loyal to Germany. Regent Miklós Horthy had been negotiating a surrender with the Soviets through General Béla Miklós, and at 2pm on 15th October 1944 his declaration that Hungary had signed an armistice with the Soviet Union was announced over the radio.

Otto Skorzeny was tasked with the operation to remove Horthy from power. He led a convoy of German troops and tanks of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion to Castle Hill and took Horthy into custody. Horthy was then forced to sign a document handing control of the government over to Ferenc Szálasi and the fascist Arrow Cross party.

Many thanks to Per Sonnervik, Hartmut von Holdt and Richard Craig of the Missing Lynx forums for their assistance in identifying particular features of this vehicle.

Further information on the role of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion during Operation Iron Fist can be found in Combat History of German Tiger Tank Battalion 503 in World War II
by Franz-Wilhelm Lochmann and Richard Freiherr von Rosen.

The original photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-680-8282A-06 / Faupel / CC-BY-SA