today, we are going to talk about another two major candidates for the European tree. In case you are seeing this post series for the first time or don’t even know what the EU tree concept is, please read part 1 of the series. Part 2 deals with Italy and Czechoslovakia and today, we are going to talk about Hungary.
As one of the very few possible EU branches, Hungary tanks are actually well researched and generally known. The branch itself is quite limited: Hungarians have enough medium (heavy) tanks and tank destroyers to reach tier 7, but practically nothing above that tier. Normally, that would be a serious problem, but the Hungarian significance lies in two things:
- Hungarian tanks are historically important: most actually fought in the war and went through some tough battles on the eastern front
- the tanks themselves (although drawing from Czechoslovak, German and Swedish design schools) are quite distinctive and unique, no other nation used them and there are no copies in this tree, unless you start thinking about making it all to tier 10
For this part, I will be using the work of Károly “Karika” Németh – you might recognize that name from various For the Record articles, written based on Hungarian sources and therefore as close to historicity as it gets. Karika imagines the Hungarian tree (or at least branches) as such:
Light tanks – there are two major sub-types: the Straussler vehicles and the Toldi vehicles. Straussler tanks are based on the work of Miklós (Nicholas) Straussler, a noted inventor, who worked also for the British. His tanks were tested, but rejected. You can read more about them here (it’s not Karika’s article, it’s mine, but it should be accurate nonetheless).
Toldi tanks are the entire family of light tanks, based on the Swedish Landsverk L-62. They fought in large numbers until the end of the war (by that time, they were hopelessly obsolete). There were several modifications and I wrote a two-piece article, dealing with them some time ago – part 1 (Toldi), part 2 (Toldi II, IIA, III).
Medium tanks are mostly based on the Turán vehicle, which in turn (in its first incarnation) was a copy of the Czechoslovak Škoda Š-IIc, also known as the T-21. This design was gradually improved over the course of the war. I wrote an introduction article about the Turán, but the vehicle is covered by wikipedia as well. It was a well-maneuverable and relatively mobile medium tank (43 km/h) with relatively decent armor (50/25/25) and a 40mm gun (46mm/100m at 60 deg). A version with side skirts existed as well.
Turán also had an improved “heavy” version, the Turán III, that would carry a decent 75mm L/55 gun (cca 113mm penetration) with thicker armor too (75/35/55, same numbers apply for the turret, plus 8mm side skirts). It would however be slower (21-23 tons, 260hp engine, 37 km/h). It’s a nice tier 5 tank candidate.
And of course, last but not least, there’s the Tas prototype design. It’s history is quite complicated, but generally, it was a Panther equivalent and a good tier 7 candidate. It was to be lighter than the Panther, but faster (36 tons, 47 km/h), had decent frontal sloped armor (75 to 120mm front, 50mm sides, turret was 100/100/100) an the Panther gun (75mm L/70).
Tank destroyers are also quite interesting. On low tiers, we have open-topped stuff with powerful guns á la Marder – the Toldi tank destroyer (no armor, but it carried the 75mm PaK 40/2):
Then there’s the Nimrod, dual-purpose AA/AT vehicle with a fully traverseable turret and a rapid-fire 40mm gun. Fast, nimble, deadly. You can read about it in detail here.
There was also a proposed upgrade to this vehicle, the “Szebeny” tank destroyer (named after its creator) with an 80mm gun instead of the 40mm. More info on that here as well.
And then there are the Zrínyi series self-propelled guns. Basically an equivalent of the StuG, but instead of Panzer III chassis, they were built around the T-21 (or “Turán”). You can read about them here in detail. As a design, they were quite successful actually.
And last but not least, one of the sexiest tank destroyers ever designed, the Tas rohamloveg. A Hungarian equivalent of the Jagdpanther, built around the Tas chassis, it was to be equipped with either a long 75mm gun, or the 88mm L/71. Its development history is also quite complicated, so if you are interested, you can learn about it here in detail.
Overall, the Hungarian vehicles are clearly inspired by their German counterparts, but in general, they are lighter and arguable more maneuverable. Especially the Tas designs are quite advanced and would make very decent tier 7 tanks. Obviously, there is the elephant in the room – the tree lacks anything really original for tiers 8,9 and 10. This can theoretically be remedied by the post-war use of Soviet vehicles, notably the T-54/55, IS-2, ISU-152 and ISU-122S vehicles. Obviously, that would interfere with the unique character of the tree. Either way, no decision has been taken yet by Wargaming, so we can only hope for the best.
Originally I was hoping to add Sweden to this part too, but there is simply SO MUCH I would like to add that I will keep a separate part for the Swedish tanks only – next part, in fact.