The 44M “Mace Thrower” was a devastating anti-tank weapon employed by the Hungarian Army in the Siege of Budapest of 1944.
The Attila line at Budapest
In November 1944, at the farmstead of Alsó Vany, the ‘Swallow Brigade’ of the Soviet 4th Guards were to bear witness to a secret new Hungarian weapon. The rockets unleashed by this terror arced over the 3km distance to the assembling tanks of the Soviets – the rocket’s trails could be traced back to their origin, stretching out as giant spectral fingers.
Upon contact, the rockets detonated in a huge explosion much like an artillery round, tearing chunks through Soviet armour. This weapon had a propaganda name, ‘Szálasi’s Rocket’. We know it as the Hungarian 44M.
The “Mace Thrower”
At the beginning of hostilities against the Soviets, the Hungarians sorely lacked sufficient anti-armour capability against the rugged and dependable T-34 tank. A large proportion of their weapons were supplied by Germany, but the Germans were not willing to share all their developments, particularly as the war stretched on and the logistical enormity of the war effort on the Eastern Front threatened to overwhelm them. Thus the Hungarians began research and development of their own anti-tank weaponry in 1942.
The Hungarian 44M “Buzogányvető” (translated most closely as “mace thrower” was a Hungarian designed experimental anti-tank rocket for use against Soviet armour towards the end of World War Two. The system allowed for two types of warhead, allowing a multi-purpose role to make it just as effective against enemy infantry. It is since regarded as one of the most effective anti-tank platforms of the War, despite its relatively short production run. The weapons were produced from Spring 1944 until December 20th 1944, when the WM factory fell to the Soviets. Between 600 and 700 were produced in total – the majority utilised in the Defence of Budapest in late December 1944.
The weapon consisted of a launcher capable of holding two rockets with shaped charge rounds, operated by a three-man crew. A tripod-based mount proved inefficient and captured Soviet wheeled mounts were often incorporated into the operational units. The weapons operational parameters made it ideally suited to the close-knit urban warfare of the Siege of Budapest
Two types of rocket were produced, the first was an anti-tank warhead known as ‘Buzogány’ (mace) from which the weapon derived its name. This carried 4.2kg of explosive and was more than capable of tearing through 300mm of armour – more than sufficient for any Soviet heavy tank at an effective range of 1200m. The second warhead was known as ‘Zápor’ (rainfall, shower), and was used in an anti-personnel capacity.
In Bolt Action
|Cost||96pts (inexperienced), 120pts (Regular),|
|Weapons||1 Rocket Launcher|
|Special Rules:||– Fixed
– Shaped charge
– Two-rocket salvo: The weapon has two ammunition types, and has the below profiles. Declare which profile you are using before firing. You must load two rockets of the same type, so the following shot will need to use the same profile. Then, you can start the process again, for the second rocket.
Buzogány (mace): Range: (36“) Shots: 1 Pen: +7
Zápor (rainfall): Range: (36“) Shots: 1 Pen: HE (3”)
– Small carriage: The weapon system was actually mounted on captured Soviet Maxim machine gun carriages. As such, the weapon was too small to tow behind a vehicle. The crew and weapon are instead counted as infantry when being transported, taking up 6 transport slots inside a vehicle. The crew may move the weapon up to 6″ when given a Run order, even over rough ground.
Get Started with the Hungarian Army
The Royal Hungarian Army was created in 1922 after the defeat and breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War. Initially limited to 35,000 men under the Treaty of Trianon, the army peaked at nearly 1 million men during the battle for Hungary itself in 1944.
Campaign: Fortress Budapest
Throughout the autumn of 1944, the Axis forces in the Carpathian Basin were fighting for their very existence. Campaign: Fortress Budapest will inspire and guide you through the entirety of this particular conflict and on to many more victories with your Bolt Action forces…