The 24th Panzer Division in Hungary, Sept. 1944

The 503rd Tiger Battalion Also Arrives

The 24th Panzer left from the DuklaPass on the 11th and arrived in Budapest to quell the potential Hungarian betrayal. The 503rd had also arrived from France for the same purpose.

When the 24th Panzer departed from DuklaPass, it had an assortment of tanks in the armor regiment, only 20 Pz IV and StGs. Its 2nd Bn\21st PG and 2nd Bn\26th PG were carried in various types of trucks. Like most of the panzer divisions in Hungary, it was threadbare. Some sources indicate the 24th Panzer Division actually had only three Pz III, 18 StG III, and 22 Pz IV. The Pz IVs were in Panzer companies 10 and 12, while the StGs in Companies 9 and 11. Its divisional artillery, the 89th SP Artillery Regiment, had two light batteries and one heavy battery. The 26th PG regiment had only one such battalion. The 26th PG Regiment contained 31 Sd.Kfz 250, 25 Sd.Kfz. 251 armor personnel carriers, while its 24th Reconnaissance Bn. contained  10 Sd.Kfz. 250 APCs and 8 armor cars. Its actual strength was a full company. Operationally speaking, on Oct.1, the division could deploy:

14 Pz IV

4  StG III

3 Pz III Command tanks

86 APCs

7 Armor Cars with 150mm

The division received on Oct 8th, 17 Pz IV L/70, This greatly increased its firepower. Thus, by the time the division entered into the battle area, its real operational value was equal to an armor brigade. Thus, the need to commit the 503rd Tiger Tank Battalion.

The 503rd Tiger Battalion arrived from France. While in France, the unit fought the British near Caen in July. At that time, it contained 33 Tiger I and 12 Tiger II. It fought there until September when it was transferred to Paderhorn for refurbishment.  There, it received 45 new Tiger II, and arrived in Hungary to help suppress the Hungarian “coup d’etat” on Oct 13-14. Its presence was a definite psychological edge for the Germans and helped Hungary remain a German ally instead of surrendering to the Russians. These two units were the strongest units in Hungary at that time.

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