Operation Spring Awakening

Operation Spring Awakening was a World War II German operation which began on March 6, 1945, in Hungary. Known as Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen in German, the operation main objective was to capture the Hungarian oil fields from the Soviets. Spring Awakening was the last important offensive mounted by Germany before the war ended. It was a desperate and brave attempt to keep vital oil supplies.

The German plan for the offensive of March 1945 had been kept in air-tight secrecy. Frühlingserwachen was initiated in the early hours of March 6, 1945, with the 6th SS Panzer Army leading the attack, which was concentrated in the Lake Balaton area where the important oil reserves were situated. Although the terrain was muddy and rough, the Germans still managed to carry out their attack effectively, taking the Soviets by surprise. The Germans made fast and big territorial gains, which had not been seen, perhaps, since Operation Barbarossa.

Nevertheless, the 6th SS Panzer, under the command of Sepp Dietrich, and the 2nd Panzer Army lacked two vital support elements: air superiority and logistics. This made Operation Spring Awakening grind to a halt by March 14. Highly outnumbered by the Soviet forces, the Germans began to fall back to their initial positions by March 16, when the Red Army launched a massive counterattack.

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