Budapest, Siege of – During World War II, on 16 December 1944, the Soviet Army’s 2nd and 3rd Ukranian Division under the leadership of Marshalls Malinovszkij and Tolbuchin, encircled Budapest and the siege of the Hungarian capital began. 200,000 German and Hungarian soldiers defended it against the superior enemy power. After Pest fell into the hands of the Soviets, the defenders retreated to Buda on 18 January 1945. The retreating German units blew up the bridges over the River Danube. Buda fell on 13 February 1945, after the surrounded defenders from the Buda Castle tried a breakthrough, which failed with terrible losses, and with it the siege of Budapest ended. The siege lasted 59 days, involving street-to-street and house-to-house fighting, the defenders being without any new supply of ammunition or food, even for the civilian population and without public services. During the siege, 19,718 Hungarian and German soldiers were killed in action, including more than 3,000 Hungarian policemen in addition to the 25,000 civilians. The Soviet Army lost 70,000 soldiers and officers in action. After the battle, 138,000 Hungarian and German soldiers were taken prisoners. During the siege, 32,753 houses were completely demolished, while most of the office buildings and almost all buildings of any kind were damaged; all the seven Danube bridges were blown up. The sacrifice in the defense of the Hungarian capital caused a significant delay in the advance of the Soviet army. – B: 1217, T: 7668.→World War II, Hungary in; Hitler, Adolf; Horthy, Miklós; Szálasi, Ferenc.