Immediately after Yugoslavian regent Prince Paul signed the Tripartite Pact to join with Germany and Italy, military leaders overthrew the regime, rescinding the agreement. Hitler then launched Operation Punishment as a lesson on the costs of defying Germany, and he urged other members of the Pact to join the attack. In Hungary, Admiral Horthy was “all fire and flames” to send his troops down the Danube in support of the Germans at the first opportunity. Prime Minister Count Pal Telecki objected, however, as he had signed a pact of “eternal peace and friendship” with Yugoslavia. Horthy toned down his rhetoric, but on April 11th, five Hungarian Brigades crossed the border. The Yugoslavian Army put up little resistance to the Hungarians. As Hungarian forces reached the small village of Senta on the third day of their advance, their motorized units began to run out of gas and were forced to obtain critical fuel at the indigenous equivalents of filling stations. Resistance coalesced briefly as civilians – hastily armed with little more than antiquated rifles – bitterly fought back. Count Telecki, his views more and more unpopular, shot himself rather than acquiesce in collaborating with the Germans. His final message to Admiral Horthy read “out of cowardice, we have allied ourselves with scoundrels”.
Attacker: Hungarian (3rd Army)
Defender: Yugoslavian (1st Army and Volvodina Civilian Defenders)