A gripping and detailed study of the brutal urban battle for Budapest, which saw German and Hungarian troops struggling to halt the joint Soviet-Romanian offensive to take the key city on the Danube.
The 52-day-long siege of Budapest witnessed some of the most destructive urban fighting of the war. The Transdanubia region was strategically vital to Nazi Germany for its raw materials and industry, and because of the bridgehead it allowed into Austria. As a result, Hitler declared Budapest a fortress city in early December 1944. The battle for the city pitted 90,000 German and Hungarian troops against 170,000 Soviet (2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts) and Romanian attackers. The operations to take the city ran across several phases, from the initial Soviet approach to Budapest commencing in late October 1944, through the encirclement of city first on the Pest side of the Danube, and then on the Buda bank, and on to the savage urban fighting that began in December 1944 for the Hungarian capital. This superbly detailed work analyses the background, chronology and consequences of the siege from both a military and political perspective, and documents the huge losses in military and civilian casualties and material damage.
While Germany and Austria-Hungary were well-equipped with sniping rifles in 1914, their Allied opponents were not. This highly illustrated volume tells the inside story of the rifles carried by snipers of all the major powers during World War I.
Although military sharpshooting had existed since the 18th century, in 1914 only the German and Austro-Hungarian armies fielded trained snipers armed with scoped rifles. Thus upon the outbreak of World War I, the Allied armies found themselves on the receiving end of a shooting war to which they had no means of response. Only the Canadians brought a dedicated sniping rifle into the trenches, but in small numbers. For the British, although production of a suitable rifle and scope were settled on quickly, the establishment of sniper training was difficult and its success was mostly due to the efforts of a handful of dedicated officers. The French eventually introduced a competent scoped rifle and a sniper training system, as did the Italians. Entering the war in 1917, the Americans experienced rifle shortages but were able to build on their pre-1914 efforts to find a suitable sniping weapon. The country that suffered most grievously was Russia; Russian troops fielded no snipers at all and suffered accordingly. Featuring full-colour artwork, carefully chosen archive images and photographs of the sniping rifles and accessories used in the trenches, this is the inside story of the rifles carried by snipers of all the major powers during World War I.