Warfare History Network
A really bad idea.
Even in the dark days of March 1945, when the Third Reich was on the brink of collapse, its troops managed to exhibit that grim humor that enables frontline soldiers to endure the horrors of battle. As the panzer crews of mighty Tiger II tanks rumbled forward in the last German offensive of World War II in eastern Hungary, they joked about the difficulties they were having coming to grips with the enemy. A few of the 68-ton King Tigers sank up to their turrets in the mud produced by an early spring thaw. Making light of the situation, tank commanders quipped that they were steering tanks, not U-boats.
The Soviet forces gathering on the Oder River in early 1945 seemed not to bother Adolf Hitler. The German leader became fixed on the need to protect the Hungarian oilfields from Red Army tank and rifle units that had encircled Budapest in late December 1944. Hitler had sent the IV SS Panzer Corps against the forces threatening Budapest in three consecutive counterattacks in January 1945 that were known collectively as the Konrad Offensives. But the tenacious Soviet forces had repulsed each assault. On February 13, the city fell to the soldiers of Marshal Rodion Malinovsky’s 2nd Ukrainian Front.
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