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wingsofwrath's avatar

Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas and assorted other winter holidays!

As usual around this time of year, the Christmas greeting card for my reenactment group, "Traditia Militara"

This is officially the first drawing I ended posting this year on DA, because all the things I've been working were either architecture or under NDA so couldn't be posted in a public gallery.

The scene is meant to show Romanian soldiers feeding civilians in Budapest during it's occupation of Hungary as a result of the Hungarian-Romanian War of 1919. It's based on several period photos.

This particular conflict was a direct continuation of WW1 - initially, after the collapse of Austria Hungary, most of it's constituent parts went their separate ways.
Transylvania had voted to join Romania on December 1st, 1918, and newly established Hungary had disarmed as a gesture of goodwill by the new head of government, the pacifist Count Mihály Károlyi.
However when the new borders of Hungary were announced by the Allied Council at the Paris Peace Conference, the loss of territory (over 75% of it's pre war land) stood poorly with the Hungarian population and triggered a coup by Béla Kun, who ousted Károlyi, declared the Hungarian Soviet Republic and vowed to take back the lost lands, by force of arms if necessary.
As a direct result, Romania remobilised and prepared for war, fearing a joint invasion by Bolshevik Hungary into Transylvania and by Bolshevik Russia into Bessarabia, which had also joined Romania in 1918.  As tensions were mounting and Hungary was rearming, Romania set the date for an attack against Hungary on the 16th of April, but, on the 15th the Hungarians attacked across the line of demarcation in a pre-emptive strike.  Initially the Romanian lines were breached, but Hungarian success was brief - by April 19th the tide had turned and Romanian troops were on the advance and Budapest itself fell on August 4, forcing Béla Kun into exile and paving the way to a power takeover by admiral Miklós Horthy.

During the occupation, the Romanian army provided administration of Hungarian lands, including distribution of food and peacekeeping until the Treaty of Trianon, which, on June 4 1920, recognised Transylvania as Romanian territory and also awarded Romania half of Crișana, Timiș and parts of Banat and Bucovina, which would still have been Hungarian according to the Paris Conference border, which was on the line between Satu Mare, Oradea and Arad, with those three cities remaining in Hungarian hands. If not for Béla Kun's ill conceived notion of recouping lost territory by force...

Besides the question of lost territory the aftermath of the war provides another bone of contention between Romania and Hungary into the modern age, because, being denied reparations from Germany by the Allies at the Paris Peace Conference but seeking to recoup at least party the goods lost in the war as well as those plundered by the Central Powers during their occupation of Romania between 1916 and 1918, the Romanian Government imposed stiff reparations on defeated Hungary and confiscated most of the Hungarian armament industry as well as 50% of the railway rolling stock (800 locomotives and 19,000 cars), 30 percent of all livestock, 30 percent of all agricultural tools and 35,000 train cars of cereals and fodder.
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© 2019 - 2021 wingsofwrath
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mikopol's avatar

Eastern Europe is still haunted by all these old disputes. At times it seems kinda surreal to me, how tensions from the past shape the present (especially when One isn't heavily educated in history). Probably one can only accept that this is how our world works.

menapia's avatar

Best wishes for the new year and once again thanks for pointing out that Tannenberg game to me.

One day I'd love to see a mod for our 1916 Rebellion here in Ireland....the first example of Urban Warfare carried out with any number of weapons.

Seriously the Irish rebels seem to have used anything that went "bang" - Swiss and Italian Vetterli's, Martini-Henry rifles, Lee-Metfords, Lee-Enfields were also acquired from "bent" british army soldiers for £5 a time. They also almost had a shipment of Moisin-Nagant Rifles, the Germans decided to smuggle weapons to Ireland using a confiscated ship they called the Aud.

It's like a plot from a spy novel, the Germans produced forged paper work to pass the ship off as Swedish and recruited a number of German soldiers who knew Scandinavian languages in an attempt to fool any foreign officials.

They carried a cargo of Russian rifles and machine guns confiscated from Russian Empire P.O.W.s, it was a very cheap method for screwing over the British Empire.

wingsofwrath's avatar
Amusingly, the situation in the Romanian Army by early 1917 was similar in terms 0f weapons - we started the war with the main riffle being the Austrian produced Mannlicher M.93 in 6.5x53mmR, but, after declaring war on Austria-Hungary, there was no way we were getting any more, for obvious reasons, so we got a whole bunch of rifles from France (Berthier Mle 1907) Italy (1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali) as well as Russia (Mosin-Nagant M1891) and even Japan (Arisaka Type 38). Finally, for second line troops, we dug up the good old Martini-Henry Model 1879...

Also, I do know the story of the SS Libau and it's masquerading as the Norwegian (not Swedish) "Aud", and it was pretty much par for the course when it came to German WW1 blockade runners. For example, take the very similar story of the SS Rubens, a British ship which had been captured by the Germans early in the war and which was renamed as the "Kronborg", given a Danish flag as well as a crew fluent in Danish and sent in 1915 to resupply the SMS Königsberg, which was currently besieged by the Royal Navy deep in the Rufiji Delta, in what was then German East Africa and is now Tanzania.

It went about as well as with the Libau, as in the British caught on immediately and the crew were forced to scuttle the ship in Manza Bay... Unlike with the Libau though, the German forces in East Africa led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck managed to salvage most of the equipment and then led a successful guerilla campaign for the rest of the war, tying up a large number of Allied troops. They ended up surrendering on November 25, 1918, a full two weeks after the Armistice on the Western Front...
Oh, and by that time the Königsberg was long gone, as it was sunk in July 1915 by a pair of British monitors named HMS Mersey and HMS Severn (Which then served in Romania, on the Danube, as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War), which were the only ships with small enough draught to go into the delta after the German cruiser. It's guns survived though and were used as land artillery by the Germans for the remainder of the campaign.
menapia's avatar

Yeah, the SS Libau and the whole debacle could have come out of a spy novel by Erskine Childers. Here in Ireland we have his yacht Asgard which was used to smuggle in 1871 Gewehr Mauser rifles.

Just finished reading a book by a Major Crawford - "Guns for Ulster!", rare 1947 edition. The contrast between the gunrunning by the Unionists and Nationalists couldn't be more clear, the Unionists sought quotes for over 2,000 rifles of various types and 1 million rounds of ammo.

The Unionists actually had the services of tramp steamer ships SS Fanny & SS Clyde Valley to bring their guns over while the Nationalists had to make do with two small yachts.

Also recently found a catalog from 1913 from a German surplus Arms dealership......just truly weird reading, this company was capable of selling everything you'd need to overthrow a govt. or kit out an army.

Seriously the catalog had second hand military musical instruments, just in case you needed an army band. Officers sabre swords - yep they got them, revolvers - got them, half a dozen types of army surplus rifles ranging from France, Germany, Scandinavia, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy and the U.S. and Switzerland.

Each item has a neat little illustration of the weapon in question and the cost and how many thousands the firms has of them in stock. Want to buy 50,000 Swiss army surplus Vetterli repeater rifles with 11 shot tubular magazine and a special deal for each 1000 pack of ammo you buy?, sure!.

Arianod's avatar
Merry belated Christmas and a happy new year to you!
dariusagurkis's avatar
AriochIV's avatar
Merry Christmas!
wingsofwrath's avatar
Merry Christmas to you too!
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