Reference, Osprey Elite 148, The Hungarian Revolution 1956
January 23 2007 at 5:30 PM
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Elite 148, The Hungarian Revolution 1956. By Erwin Schmidl & Laszlo Ritter, with illustrations by Peter Dennis. Soft cover, 7.25 x 9.75-inches, 64 pages. Contains 45 B&W photos, eight pages of color art, two maps, two charts, index and bibliography. ISBN 1-84603-079-X. Price: $17.95 USD.
Although there had been armed resistance to Stalin’s takeover of several Eastern European nations after the end of the Second World War, notably in Poland (where some estimates put the death toll at up to one million souls!), the uprising in Hungary during 1956 was far more publicized and therefore far more well-known in the west. It too was fueled by post-war unrest in East Germany and Czechoslovakia; the 1956 strikes in Poland only added more impetus to the Hungarian’s determination to throw off the yoke of post-Stalinist Soviet rule. Sadly, this was not to be for several more decades, but the struggles of 1956 came to be synonymous with resistance against communism throughout the so-called Satellite States in central Europe from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic coast.
History has proved that the struggles of the peoples of the captive nations for self-determination were not in vain.
The latest book in the Elite series begins the story with a brief introduction to the Hungarian nation and its people, as well as their relationships with their neighbors, from a period beginning in the tenth century AD. Post-war geopolitics and the introduction of satellite status in the Warsaw Pact are also briefly mentioned. This is followed by the causes of the revolt, the actions that took place and the aftermath. Separate sections detail the structure of the Hungarian and Soviet regular forces committed, as well as local militia and insurgent groups. All of this is provided in the lively and easily digested text, accompanied by two charts that detail the structure of the Hungarian People’s Army and the Soviet Special Corps in October of 1956.
The photographic content of the book is largely dedicated to the various people who took part in the struggle, with many of them named and their personal exploits described; in this regard, the captions are uniformly outstanding. This will please figure modelers to be sure. But, unlike some books in this series, there are a fair amount of photographs depicting the various AFVs and other military vehicles in use, many clearly showing markings and other details, which modelers will find to be of interest. AFVs depicted include T-54s, ISU-152s, PT-76s, BTR-152s and T-34/85s, along with the occasional piece of ordnance.
Of course, the main attraction in this as with most Osprey books, are the color plates in the center of the book. They have all been meticulously researched and many are based on actual personalities, or actual incidents; two plates show various markings seen on T-34/85 medium tanks. In addition, the commentary for each is extremely detailed, often telling of the sad fates of the individuals involved, many of whom were liquidated in time by the victorious Soviets. In short, there is much here to inspire modelers of many disciplines.
This book, then, is full of interesting anecdotes, many of which will inform the reader of the old maxim, that “Freedom is Never Free”. In addition, there is a wealth of source material within the covers that will prove to be of use to figure painters, AFV modelers and diorama builders.
Frank V. “Curley Stooge” De Sisto
Osprey books are available from mail order and retail outlets. They can also be acquired direct through their web site at: www.ospreypublishing.com.