Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
Teaser Image

Hungary, Air Force

Under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon following World War I, Hungary was forbidden a military air service. Between the two world wars, however, the Hungarian government secretly worked to establish, develop, and modernize an air force. The Hungarian air force came into being as an independent arm on 1 January 1939. For financial reasons but also because it lacked the industrial infrastructure (especially machine tools) and raw materials required, Hungary did not attempt to produce its own combat aircraft but purchased them from abroad, chiefly from Italy. In the late 1930s, however, it did begin production of an excellent short-range biplane reconnaissance aircraft, the Weiss Manfred 32 Sólyom (Hawk).

The Hungarian air force was first deployed in April 1941 during the invasion of Yugoslavia. At the time, it had on paper 302 aircraft, but only 189 of them were operational and most were obsolete. After Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union in late June 1941, the air force was deployed to the Eastern Front. In 1942, the 2nd Air Force Brigade was established with 76 aircraft to support operations of the Second Hungarian Army in the Soviet Union. Almost half of its aircraft were gone by early 1943, and those that remained were merged into German squadrons.

In 1943, under terms of an agreement with the German government, Hungary began production of the Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter to offset production from German factories destroyed by Allied bombing. Hungary also produced the Me-210. The terms of the agreement provided that 40 percent of aircraft production was to remain in Hungary, but this pledge was not kept. Nonetheless, Hungary was able to add some 170 modern aircraft to its inventory by 1944.

The revitalized Hungarian air force suffered devastating air raids by the Allied powers beginning in 1944. Remaining aircraft were then removed to Austria. Ammunition and fuel shortages meant that no Hungarian aircraft participated in the last weeks of the war. Those that remained were either destroyed by their crews or handed over to Allied forces. During the war, Hungary produced 1,182 aircraft and 1,482 aircraft engines. Among the aircraft were 488 Bf-109s and 279 Me-210s. Of these, Hungary received only 158.

Anna Boros-McGee


Further Reading
Kozlik, Viktor, György Punka, and Gyula Sárhidai. Hungarian Eagles: The Hungarian Air Force, 1920–1945. Aldershot, UK: Hikoui, 2000.; Szabó, Miklós. A Magyar Királyi Honvéd Légiero, 1938–1945 [The Hungarian Royal Air Force, 1938–1945]. Budapest: Zínyi Kiadó, 1999.; Szabó, Miklós. "The Development of the Hungarian Aircraft Industry, 1938–1944." Journal of Military History 65, no. 1 (January 2001): 56–76.
 

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Introduction
  Essays
  A
  B
  C
  D
  E
  F
  G
  H
  I
  J
  K
  L
  M
  N
  O
  P
  Q
  R
  S
  T
  U
  V
  W
  X
  Y
  Z
  Documents Prior to 1938
  1939 Documents
  1940 Documents
  1941 Documents
  1942 Documents
  1943 Documents
  1944 Documents
  1945 Documents
  Images
ABC-cLIO Footer