Oberleutnant Geza Both (listed as acting Divisional Adjutant 23.12.1944)
November 30 1944: Organisation of a second Hungarian SS Division is decided.
December 22 1944: 2 000 pro-fascist university students from Budapest arrive at Rajka to join the Hungarian SS divisions. They have to sleep outdoors in –12 degrees Celsius due to lack of quarters.
December 23 1945: A Hungarian field police battalion arrives at Rajka.
The Hungarian defence Minister Beregfy issues special order 1787 which authorises the formation of a second Hungarian SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division.
December 24 1944: The command from the Hungarian Defence Ministry for the setting up of a second Hungarian SS division arrives at Neuhammer and at 08.15 the order is released. (7)
The division’s commander position is filled temporarily by András Podhradszky (8)
December 28 1944: 4 days after the arrival of the Hungarian Ministry command it is announced by SS Head Office that a second Hungarian SS division is to be set up. 8 000 men from 25. SS Division ,,Hunyadi” are used as the nucleus for the new division. This becomes 26. SS Division ,,Hungaria”.
The divisional staff of ,,Hungaria” arrive at Neuhammer camp.
December 29 1944: Some men are issued with uniforms (mainly greatcoats).
December 30 1944: ,,Hungaria” numbers 16 761 men. (9) It has808 K98 rifles, 10 rifles with telescopic sights, 792 Mannlicher rifles (from the Hungarian gendarmerie}, 400 M08 pistols, 273 M09 pistols, 50 Beretta machine pistols, 15 light and 2 heavy machine guns, 4 motorcycles, 2 cars and 2 trucks (10). Approximately 3 706 men are equipped with German uniforms and 2 601 men are in Hungarian uniforms and the rest are in civilian dress. SS ranks are used from this day.
Amongst the arrivals to join 26. ,,Hungaria” at Neuhammer are 650 trained armoured troops (intended to form 26. Panzerjaeger but instead they become grenadiers), a company of cavalry (also destined to become grenadiers) 400 Airforce personnel (including 110 pilots) and a full company of paratroopers (in camouflage smocks) recently withdrawn from the front.
January 1 1945: At 03.00 ,,Hungaria” is ordered to Sieradz in Poland thus leaving ,,Hunyadi” (with a few small parts of ,,Hungaria”) alone at Neuhammer camp. At 05.30 SS Transport company 500 arrive to help move ,,Hungaria”. At 08.00 64 Regiment starts to load onto trains at Oberleshen railway station (near Neuhammer)for transporting to the new camp. At 10.00 the trains leave for Sieradz via Sagan and Glagau. The men are issued with blankets to help them with the cold temperatures due to lack of clothing. The food for the journey is served cold.
January 2 1945: At 01.00 the trains carrying 64 regiment arrive at Sieradz camp.
January 4 1945: 65 & 85 regiments leave Neuhammer for Sieradz.
January 5 1945: 26 schi battalion is assigned to IV SS Panzer Corps (11) to assist the Corps efforts to relieve Budapest. Before leaving they are equipped with assault rifles. They travel by rail via Ostrava and Bratislava to Gyroszentivan
26 Artillery regiment is the last of the regiments to come into existence (12) and leaves Neuhammer.
January 6 1945: The transfer of the bulk of ,,Hungaria” to Sieradz is completed.(13)
Conditions are basic, as most of the accommodation to which the troops are assigned consists of farmhouses where there is no lighting or drinking water. The lack of clothing combined with the cold (it is minus thirty degrees) and 50 inches of snow lowers the morale of the troops.
Order of battle (16 761 men)
Commander Waffen-Oberführer Zoltán Pisky
1ic Waffen-Hauptsturmführer János Zoltay
Divisional Staff (FP 04 606)
Military Police platoon (FP 04 606/A)
Translator platoon (FP 04 606/B)
Signals platoon (FP 04 606/C)
Messenger platoon (motorcycle and horse) (FP 04 606/D)
I battalion, 1-3. Waffen-Hauptsturmführer Ferenc Pálfay
II battalion, 4-5. Waffen-Hauptsturmführer József Paksy
Waffen Nachrichten Abteilung der SS 26 (FP 66 843)
Waffen Pionier Battalion der SS 26 (FP 66 211)
January 7 1945: A Cossack unit is attached to 26. ,,Hungaria”, the unit numbers 105 men and their horses.
Standartenfuhrer Jeno Brenner takes command of 26 Artillary Regiment
26 Artillery regiments head quarters staff arrives at Strans.(14) The enlisted men arrive 5 days later from Rajka
January 8 1945: Training begins in 50-60 cm of snow. The training is mainly theory due to the weather and lack of ammunition.
Over the next few days ,,Hungaria” receives various deliveries of equipment from the German 9th army
January 10 1945: By this date the division has received the following equipment. 2000 K98k, 200 Beretta type machine gun, 40 light and five heavy machine guns, eight light and eight heavy mortars, 10 flame throwers, eight infantry cannon, 10 light and 10 heavy field howitzers, two telegraph machines, 11 radios, along with five motorcycles, an automobile and 200 bicycles.(15)
Because of the set up difficulties Hauptsturmführer Ferenc Pálfay and his staff arrives at Strans.
January 11 1945: A supply unit from 26. ,,Hungaria” is attacked between Sieradz and Klein by Polish fighters which results in men being killed and wounded.
January 12 1945: The enlisted men that will make up 26 Artillery Regiment start to arrive at Strans from Rajka
January 13 1945: The last of the 550 men of the 26 Artillery Regiment arrive at Strans.(16)
January 14 1945: Russian offensive breaks through the German lines and threatens the area in which ,,Hungaria” is stationed.
The division waits for news and instructions from SS Headquarters but non-are forth coming.
A detachment arrives from the 9th German army and requisitions most of the stores and equipment from ,,Hungaria” for use by local German troops.
January 15/16 1945: The Russians are advancing in Silesia around Breslau and still there is no communication from SS Headquarters. To find out the latest situation members of ,,Hungaria” listen to the BBC broadcasts on Polish Resistance radio.
The Cossack unit attached to ,,Hungaria” is temporally attached to a Army group A unit.
January 17 1945: With no communication of any kind from the SS Head quarters ,,Hungaria”s commander makes the decision to move ,,Hungaria” to the west as there is a danger it being encircled.(17) Waffen-Hauptsturmführer János Zoltay with the help of Captain Reinholdt manages to secure enough cold food for 4 days to feed ,,Hungaria” on the withdrawal from Sieradzi. They also manage to provide various coats and other items of clothing along with military blankets to protect the men from the cold.
January 18 1945: At 13.00 ,,Hungaria” headquarters hear that the Russians have captured Lodz. At 22.00 the scattered units are placed on full alert. By 23.00 most of the units of ,,Hungaria” have received their orders to march
January 19 1945: The Russians advance close to Sieradz. Volunteers from 26. SS ,,Hungaria” form SS Kampfgruppe ,,Krasznay" (18) Around 15.30 they move out to the east of Sieradz between Sieradz and Freihaus to defensive positions. These positions are held until January 22. After assembling the scattered units, at 08.00 the rest of ,,Hungaria” retreat on foot along with the rest of the German 9th Army on the one road that is still passable in the bad weather.(19)
January 20 1945: ,,Hungaria”s artillery regiment having not set up their quarters in Sieradzi arrive back at Neuhammer camp. The division accomplishes 80 kilometre over the first 24 hrs and at Kalisch find a detachment of the German's 9th army command in the city. There is a difference of opinion on where the division should head. Zoltay wants the division to go towards Neuhammer–Strans, Pisky on the other hand wants to go towards Posen. Since both are in the same direction the division leaves towards Glogau, hoping to reach Jarotschin. They replenish their supplies from the German supplies abandoned by the side of the road.(20)
II company of 65 grenadier regiment and 26 Pioneer regiment have not been heard from since the division left Sieradzi.
January 21 1945: Around 03.00 the division arrives at Jarotschin and Pisky orders a rest-day for the division in any local accommodation that can be found. Captain Reinholdt decides to try and reach Posen by car to try to get equipment (mainly clothing) from the local German commander. Around 12.15 Pisky attempts to reach the local German commander in a Kubelwagon but at around 14.00 Pisky returns to the division after he was unable to reach the local German commander due to the congestion on the roads. He locates some horses in a local stable and tries to reach the commander on horseback. Setting off before it grows dark he is not seen again and his fate is unclear.(21)
January 22 1945: At 4.00 Kampfgruppe ,,Kresznay” moves in a south westerly direction back to Sieradz. At mid day they meet up with Gruppe ,,Nehring”
Hauptsturmführer János Zoltay takes temporary command of 26. Division ,,Hungaria”
,,Hungaria” reaches Sandberg.
I company of 65 grenadier regiment led by Obersturmfuhrer Dr Lengyel goes to nearby Gostingen to search for any German civilians and more importantly supplies. They return with some food and 7 automobiles. Also found are SA uniforms and great coats which are distributed to the soldiers still in civilian clothes.
January 23 1945:Brigadefuhrer Berthold Maack (German) is named as replacing Pisky as commander of 26. ,,Hungaria”. He arrives at Neuhammer camp two weeks later just as the bulk of ,,Hungaria” arrives.
Kampfgruppe ,,Kresznay” along with Gruppe ,,Nehring” are joined by II.companyof Waffen Grenadier regiment 65 (ung. Nr. 5) which has been wandering since it left Sieradz. (22) All the soldiers then walk from Kalish in a westerly direction.
During the morning division headquarters receive orders that the ,,Hungaria” division resume its march. In the course of the march one of the companies take a wrong turning due to the traffic signs being turned the wrong way. The companies’ commander realises his mistake and turns back. When they come to the river Warta they notice that German pioneers are getting ready to blow up the bridge. The company, thinking that the division had not yet crossed the bridge becomes involved in a debate with the Germans. While this is going on some Russian tanks cross Warta Bridge and capture the German and Hungarian troops.(23)
At around 14.00 on the road between Sandburg and Gostingen the division comes across a burning supply warehouse and are able to rescue approximately 2 000 coats for use by the division.
At around 18.40 approximately 70 men from 1company/II Battalion/ 85 regiment rejoin ,,Hungaria” after coming into contact with Russian forces near Schrimm.(24)
January 24 1945: In the evening the Hungarian units decide to leave Gruppe ,,Nehring” to try and re-join the rest of ,,Hungaria”.
The main part of the "Hungaria" division is about 130 kilometres from Neuhammer in Leszno (Lissau). The ,,Hungaria" grenadiers have to stay in the Polish town for an extra two days before carrying on to join the main part of ,,Hungaria”. The delay is due the Grenadiers on several occasions having problems with the local German Feldgendarme before being allowed to carry on the withdrawal.
January 25 1945: 26 SS Ausbildungs & Ersatz Einheiten (training and replacement) arrives at Neuhammer.
January 26 1945: At around 16.00 after a 36 hour march the men of Kampfgruppe ,,Kreszney” and II./W.-Gren.Rgt. d.SS 65 (ung. Nr. 5) rejoin ,,Hungaria” (25)
Parts of the division due to road signs showing the wrong direction end up in Kozmin and Krotocsin forcing the main bulk of the division which is at Leszno to wait.
A kampfgruppe of 200 men is formed from ,,Hungaria” to help German field police defend the town of Leszno/Lissau
January 27 1945: A battalion from 26. ,,Hungaria” takes part in action near Kriewen. It stays in the area until withdrawing on February 2 1945.
January 28 & 29 1945: Rest days for ,,Hungaria”. Approximately 7 000 soldiers along with 400 horses are at Fraustadt and 1 500 soldiers are at Altkranz.
January 30 1945: the grenadier division of 26. ,,Hungária” arrives at Neuhammer and joins ,,Hunyadi” being stationed between Strans and Neuhammer. Zoltay asks Grassy for help in providing warm food, clothing and support for ,,Hungaria” which is near Glogau.
Due to frostbite 117 men have to have operations to have feet removed at a nearby German hospital train.(26) On the train they also give first aid to 272 troops suffering from smaller cold related injuries and wounds.
January 31 1945: ,,Hungária” crosses over the old German-Polish border at Glogau where ,,Hunyadi” feld gendarmes are already waiting for them. The feld gendarmes list the number of troops and their equipment. On arriving warm food is distributed on the local barracks' yard which is the first the troops have had since leaving Sieradz. After feeding, the troops are ordered to go to Sagan where basic hygienic is checked and bathing and delousing carried out. The troops are transported by lorries on the 65 kilometre journey from Neuhammer. Radio contact is made with SS Headquarters for the first time in 12 days.
1 A 26 panzer grenadier division was considered by the SS Head Office around 13 September 1944 for use on the western front. The division was to use the 49. SS Panzer grenadier brigade as the nucleus. The brigade was moved from Denmark to France in preparation for the formation of the division. The 49 Panzer grenadier brigade was eventually used to form part of the 37. SS Panzer grenadier regiment, part of the 17. ,,Götz von Berlichingen” SS-Panzer grenadier division which had suffered heavy losses.
2 There seems to be some confusion as to the naming of the division. All Hungarian sources state the name ,,Hungaria” as the name of the division from when it was first formed to when it was absorbed into ,,Hunyadi”(please see note 7). Some sources do not give the division a name, some name it both ,,Hungaria” and ,,Gombos” The question of naming is not helped by some late war papers (deutschen Dokumenten S. 451, Anm. 24 being one) referring to the 26. Division as ,,Gombos” and not ,,Hungaria” (a date of 21.03.1945 is mentioned in one source as the date of naming/renaming another as 14.03.1945). A Hungarian source states that the paper (s?) “mistakenly”calls the division ,,Gombos”. One source states the division started life as ,,Gombos” but that on 29th January 1945 the 26. Division ,,Gombos” was renamed ,,Hungaria”. The division will be referred to as ,,Hungaria” through out this section .
3 Some Hungarians sources state the 28th when Pisky takes over while other sources states the 23rd
4 Hauptsturmführer János Zoltay took temporary command after the disappearance of Pisky for 2 days until the appointment of Maack. Some sources list Laszlo Deak as a commander from January 23rd 1945 until January 29th 1945 with Maack taking over on the 29th. This is unlikely as Oberfuhrer Laszlo Deak was nominally in command of the SS XVII (ungarisches) Army Korps by the end of January 1945
5 He took over as temporary commander whilst Grassy was incapacitated due to a car accident late in the war
6 Two source’s list Tiemann as commander of the 26. Division in November 1944. In March 1945 he is listed as chief of staff. Perhaps he filled the same role as Muller did with 25. ,,Hunyadi”
7 According to one source the wording was as follows:
Divisional Order Number 1
a- I wish it to be known to the assembled volunteers in the town of Rajka and vicinity (the zone of the Rajka assembly area), that the Royal Hungarian Army Minister, Generaloberst Beregfy, has on 23 December 1944, through the special order number 1787, authorised the formation of a second Hungarian (SS) Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division
b- The esteemed Army Minister has simultaneously bestowed upon the unit the name ,,Hungaria”. The title of the unit therefore reads: Panzergrenadier Division ,,Hungaria”
c- The commander of the Division is – the under signed – Zoltan Pisky Oberst der Honved. The regimental commanders are the following
4.Pz.Gr.Rgt – Andor Podhradsky
5.Pz.Gr.Rgt – Dr Bela Lengyel
6.Pz.Gr.Rgt – Ferenc Varney
The further appointments of command positions will be addressed in the course of following divisional orders
d- All of the grouped volunteers in the vicinity of the Rajka assembly area, who at this time hears the reading of these orders, will, without regard to rank or former unit membership, will be placed at the further disposal of the 2nd Volunteer Division
e- All of the volunteers will immediately be placed into military formations under designated officers and NCO’s with the assistance of the field police.
f- The troop strength will be reported to me by 12.00 hours on the 24th
g- All members of the division will then, in an orderly formation, prepare for transport and relocation.
Signed Pisky Divisional Commander
Attested to by Geza Both Acting Divisional Adjutant
8 András Podhradszky is Ádám Podhradszky’s (,,Hunyadi” division's first staff officer) younger brother and he was a colonel in the airforce.
9 This consists of 351 Officers, 1 270 NCO’s and 15 140 men. 10 750 are organised into units and 6 011 are still to be allocated to a unit
10 The plan was that ,,Hungaria” would receive the rest of its equipment when it had assembled at Sieradz
11This battalionalong with the 25. Schi battalion form 1 Hungarian SS Attack hunter (Sturmjaeger) regiment. Please see separate section on 1st Hungarian Sturmjaeger Battalion.
12 The regiment took the Hunyadi division's name temporarily.
13 Approximately 10 750 men move from Neuhammer to Sieradz They are based as follows:
Sieradz - Division HQ along with 26 Security/Recce co (the latter moves on January 14 1945)
Warte – I Battalion 64 Regiment
Jakubice II Battalion 64 Regiment and 26 Pioneer battalion
Chojne – I Battalion 85 Regiment
Dombrowka-Wielka – II Battalion 85 Regiment
Birkenland – I Battalion 65 Regiment
Klein Gliczkow – II Battalion 65 Regiment
Dombrowka – 26 Artillery Regiment
14this consists of 49 officers and NCO’s from the ,,Hunyadi” divisions artillery regiment
15Another source puts the equipment received as - 1943 rifles (40 with telescopic sights), 250 Baretta machine pistols, 35 light and 8 heavy machine guns along with mortars and artillery pieces, 50 Panzershreks, 500 Panzerfausts and 1 000 hand grenades. The division also receives 3 Teletype machines, 15 radio sets, 1 car, 6 motorbikes, 500 bicycles, 22 000 tent quarters, 1 000 gas masks, 11 000 mess tins and 11 000 sets of cutlery. Yet another source lists 2711 K98k,50 cabines,450 P-08 pistols, 792 Hungarian rifles,300 beretta’s,271 Hungarian pistols,50 light and10 heavy machine guns,10 81mm mortars, 10 120mm mortars, 10 FmW41 rocket launches,10 Pak 75 mm anti tank guns,10 IG-18 75MM howitzers, 10 FH-18 105mm artillery pieces, 10 FH-18 150mm artillery pieces, 50 panzershreks, 500 panzerfausts, 1000 hand grenades, 10 motorcycles, 500 horses, 5 trucks and 18 pieces of field radio equipment.
16 Their accommodation is Ostlager-Strans training camp M/ 5 building, the 6., the 8. and 9. in stables
17 One source states that Reinholdt contacted SS Headquarters and obtained permission for the division to withdraw, Another that the division was ordered to move by the General Staff Officer of Army Group A
18 It comprises of 324 men. They are issued with 200 K98k rifles, 50 MP40’s; 10 mg’s and 25 PanzerFaust’s
19 One account states that Russian aircraft attacked the camp shortly after the evacuation.
20 One source states that one company liberated supplies from a local fire station and wore the fireman’s outfit complete with helmets on the march. 150 Russian automatic rifles and ammunition along with 400 horses and 85 horse drawn carts are listed as being acquired by ,,Hungaria” on the march.
21 There are several versions of what may have happened. Killed in fighting by Russian tanks near Schroda is one, killed after running into a Russian roadblock (along with Reinholdt, Obersturmfuhrer Kasas and his driver) is another, captured by the Russians and then killed by them is another. Yet another version is that he was captured by the Russians and taken prisoner and dies in captivity. One Hungarian source states that Pisky was wounded in the fighting and taken to a hospital in Posen and was killed along with 2 000 others when the Russians set fire to the hospital.
22 II company of Grd Rgt 65 had not been told of the retreat due to bad weather.
23 Later approximately 50 men eventually caught back up with it the ,,Hungaria” division. 169 more were captured/killed by the Russians at the bridge.
24 Approximately 100 – 120 men from ,,Hungaria” are killed in this encounter.
25 Kanmpfgruppe ,,Kreszney” has 190 men (including 40 slightly wounded men) andII./W.-Gren.Rgt. d.SS 65 (ung. Nr. 5) has 400 men
26 One source lists the medical staff as being 2 veterinarians,2/3 medical students, 1 pharmacist and 1 field medic