The Budapest Offensive was the general attack by Soviet and Romanian Army against Nazi Germany and their Axis allies from Hungary. The offensive lasted from 29 October 1944 until the fall of Budapest on 13 February 1945. This was one of the most difficult and complicated offensives that the Soviet Army carried on at Middle Europe. The offensive was also a decisive victory for the USSR as it disabled the last European political ally of Nazi Germany and greatly sped up the process of ending World War II in Europe. Accoring to the Soviet historical documents, the Budapest Offensive can be divided into five periods:
- The First Period (29/10 - 3/11/1944) and The Second Period (7/11 - 24/11/1944) were marked by the two large offensives of the 2nd Ukrainian Front led by Rodion Malinovksy. The battles in these two periods were exceptionally bloody and fierce since the Germans offered strong resistance against the Soviet onslaught. Though the Red Army managed to gain considerable territorial gains, they failed to capture Budapest due to the fierce German resistance and their own lack of offensive force.
- In The Third Period (3/12 - 26/12/1944), the 3rd Ukrainian Front of Fyodor Tolbukhin managed to reach the Danube river after liberated Belgrade, and thus greatly enhanced the Soviet offensive power in Hungary. Now with adequate forces, both Soviet fronts launched a two-pronged attack north and south of Budapest, finally managing to encircle the city and trapping about 190,000 German and Hungarian troops inside the Budapest pocket.
- The Fourth Period (1/1/1945 - 26/1/1945) was marked by a series of strong counter-offensives launched by German reinforcements in order to relieve the siege of Budapest. Some German units managed to penetrate deep into the outskirts of the city, with the most successful ones only 25km away from the Hungarian capital. However, the Soviets managed to block all the German attacks and maintain their encirclement.
- Finally, in The Fifth Period (27/1 - 13/2/1945), the Soviets mustered their forces to eliminate besieged enemy troops in the city. The German troops still fought for about half a month more before surrendering on 13 February 1945, ending 4-months of bloody fighting in the Budapest area.
After the Budapest offensive, the main forces of Army Group South virtually collapsed. The road to Vienna, Czechoslovakia and the southern border of Germany was widely open for the Soviets and their allies.
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... After isolating the Hungarian capital city in late December, the Soviets besieged and assaulted Budapest ... were to protect one of the last oil producing regions available to the Axis and to retake Budapest ... same period, the Soviets also advanced into Yugoslavia and defeated German forces in the Belgrade Offensive, in cooperation with Yugoslav partisans ...
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