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Battle of Košice (Fall Grün)

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Battle of Košice
DateDecember 6 - 12, 1938
Result Decisive Hungarian victory
Belligerents
Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946; 3-2 aspect ratio) Hungary
Commanders
Flag of Czechoslovakia Brig. Gen. Ondřej Moravec White flag Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946; 3-2 aspect ratio) Maj. Gen. András Littay
Strength
Czechoslovakia:
• Hraniční oblast 41 ”Alfons”
Hungary:
• 13th Infantry Brigade
Casualties and losses
Military casualties:
510 killed,
302 WIA
200 captured
Civilian casualties:
40 killed,
31 injured
Military casualties:
568 killed,
870 WIA

The Battle of Košice was a military engagement between the Republic of Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Hungary fought between November 4-12, 1938, over the control of the city of Košice.

Background

While the Hungarians made the largest gains in the winter period, they were suffering from lack of ammunition and supplies, as well as winter clothing and heavy casualties, and the Hungarians suffered heavy casualties for each advance they made.

At the Košice front, the 13th Infantry Brigade made limited gains, except for advancing around 30 km northward west of the town. Meanwhile, the Hraniční oblast 41 ”Alfons”, commanded by Brig. Gen. Ondřej Moravec, began preparations for an assault on the city.

The defenders were only equipped with rifles, light machine guns, ten heavy machine guns and three 75 mm howitzers. Barricades were set up at the entrances of the town, while the infantry entrenched themselves in the outskirts and in buildings inside the city.

On December 3, Letov Š-328 light bombers of the Peruť IV/3s Pozorovací letka 10 and - Pozorovací letka 16 bombed the Hungarian positions located south and east of the city, inflicting heavy casualties on the Hungarian troops and causing the attack to be delayed for 48 hours in order to get replacement personnel forward.

The battle

On December 6, elements of the III/13th Infantry Brigade began the assault of Košice following a short artillery barrage. While the III/13th Infantry Brigade attacked from the southeast, the 13th Infantry Brigade assaulted the city from the south, west and northwest, while also advancing north of the city, supported by a company of the III/13th Infantry Brigade, in order to cut of the defenders. The Czechs were forced to retreat into the town itself in order to set up defences there. The Hungarians pursued them, and fighting continued into the night. At the same time, the commander of Hraniční pásmo XVI ”Ferdinand”, Div. Gen. Ondřej Mézl, and Brig. Gen. Moravec had been encircled with a company of Czech soldiers in the city centre by Hungarians, and thus were unable to escape the pocket. However, remnants of the HO 41 (of battalion strength) led by Staff Lt.Col. J. Pacholík managed to escape, in order to set up positions north of the city.

Aftermath

In the early morning of December 10, Div. Gen. Mézl and Brig. Gen. Moravec, along with the Czech soldiers, capitulated to the Hungarians, but local Hlinka Guard snipers and Czech soldiers continued to fight the Hungarians for the rest of the day. For the rest of February, the 13th Infantry Brigade only dealt with a few artillery barrages and infantry assaults on their positions.

See also

Invasion of Czechoslovakia
Battle of the Border
(Opava    Operation Freudenthal    Šatov    Znojmo   České Budějovice)

Bohemian front
(Plzeň    Prague)


Moravian front
(Olomouc    Brno)


Hungarian front
Komárno    Zvolen    Kosiče)

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