In March 1945 the German Wehrmacht undertook its final attempt to change the course of the war by launching a counteroffensive in the area of Lake Balaton, Hungary. Here, the best panzer forces of the Third Reich and the elite of the Panzerwaffe were assembled - the panzer divisions SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, Das Reich, Totenkopf, Wiking and others, staffed by ardent believers in Nazism and armed with the most up-to-date combat equipment, including up to 900 tanks and self-propelled guns.
At the time, this was considered a secondary axis for the Red Army, and thus the troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front had to stop the German counteroffensive with their own forces and could not count upon reinforcements from the Stavka Reserve, which were needed for the decisive storming of Berlin. Relying upon their combat skill and rich combat experience, the Soviet troops carried out this task with honor, stopping the tidal wave of German armor and inflicting a decisive defeat and enormous, irreplaceable losses upon the enemy. The defeat of the Sixth SS Panzer Army became a genuine catastrophe for Germany, and Balaton becamse the tomb of the Panzerwaffe.
In this book, penned by two leading Russian military historians, this major defeat suffered by the Wehrmacht has been described and analyzed for the first time using data from both Soviet and German archives. It focuses not only on Operation Spring Awakening, but also describes the preceding Konrad offensives conducted by the Germans in the effort to come to the aid of the encircled and desperate German and fascist Hungarian defenders of Budapest. This edition is lavishly illustrated with over a hundred rare photographs of destroyed or disabled German armor taken shortly after the battle by a Soviet inspection team, besides other photographs and specially-commissioned color maps.
Aleksei Isaev was born in 1974. Since the year 2004 up to the present date, he has written approximately 20 books on the history of the Eastern Front in the Second World War, with a particular emphasis on the events of 1941 and the Stalingrad battle. His particular research interest today is the war's final period. In the years 2007-2010, he worked as an academic scholar in the Russian Ministry of Defense's Institute of Military History. He was a contributor to the new 12-volume official Russian history of the war. Thanks to the opening of the previously classified military archives in Russia, since then he has done a lot of work with the war's documents as an independent scholar. Mikhail Kolomiets was born in Moscow in 1968. He is a 1994 graduate of the Moscow Higher Technical Institute. Upon graduation, he did his compulsory military service in the Soviet Army. His childhood interest in military history gradually focused on the history of the armored vehicles and tank forces of Russia and the Soviet Union between 1914 and 1950. In 1992 Kolomiets began work in the Russian State Military Archive, at a time when a large amount of the Red Army documents dating to the period before 1941 were still classified. Thanks to his specialization in the institute, he was able to obtain one of its allotted access passes, so he was one of the first to become acquainted with the documents of the Red Army's Main Motorized Armor and Tank Command from the 1931-1941 period. In September 1995, he became one of the first independent scholars to receive access to the documents in the Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kolomiets is the author of several dozen books on the history of the creation and combat employment of the armored vehicles of Russia and the Soviet Union. Stuart Britton is a freelance translator who resides in Cedar Rapids, IA. He is responsible for a growing number of translated Russian military memoirs, battle histories and operational studies, which saw an explosion in Russia with the opening of secret military archives and the emergence of new Russian scholars who take a more objective look at the events and historical figures. Two works that received prizes or prominent acclaim were Valeriy Zamulin's Demolishing a Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka, Kursk 1943 and Lev Lopukhovsky's The Viaz'ma Catastrophe, 1941: The Red Army's Disastrous Stand Against Operation Typhoon. Notable recent translations include Valeriy Zamulin's The Battle of Kursk: Controversial and Neglected Aspects and Igor Sdvizhkov's Confronting Case Blue:Briansk Front's Attempt to Derail the German Drive to the Caucasus, July 1942. Future translated publications include Nikolai Ovcharenko's analysis of the defense, occupation and liberation of Odessa, 1941-1944, and Zamulin's detailed study of 7th Guards Army's role and performance in the Battle of Kursk against Army Detachment Kempf.