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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Chap 35b - Soviet Nuclear Weapons in Hungary in the Cold War – Another Twist in the Tale

Researcher László Becz believes Gábor Rimner erred when he assumed that a carrier vehicle for Soviet Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that he saw when visiting a Soviet military base in in 1974 meant that such ICBMs were deployed in Hungary.

Yet, it seems at least one other person saw an ICBM in eastern Hungary at that time.

Photo: Soviet 22nd Missile Brigade with battlefield nuclear missile at Dombóvár, southern Hungary, c 1975. This is an SS-1C Scud B missile. Photo Stanislas Karpenko

Time to return to an old story - and one that actually drove me to begin this blog back in the dark days of Covid, Phase 1, in 2020.

But first, an apology. I've allowed the story of Gábor Rimner to lapse. I admit that one problem was that there seemed little reader interest in the later posts. Plus I had to do more interviews with Gábor, and it seemed difficult to meet up. So, this kind of died.

But, to my amazement, I've come upon an old email that I'd saved, but forgotten all about. And it adds another twist to this whole story.

So, for the historical record, and with the hope that this might, somehow, shed more light into this murky backwater of military history, here is the email, with full name and addresses redacted, sent to me two years ago.

Steve S is a Hungarian American, and former manager of a manufacturing company in Hungary.

---------- Forwarded message ---------

From: Steve Sxxxx​

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2021 at 21:42

Subject: Chapter 35a – Soviet Nuclear Weapons in Hungary in the Cold War - A Military Expert's Critique

To: Kester Eddy yyyy

Kester, just caught up with this chapter.

There was at least one ICBM in Hungary circa 1973 or 1974. I know because I saw it!

Accidentally stumbled on a convoy of around 50 to 100 Soviet vehicles.

It was about 2 am on the road from Jászberény to Nyíregyháza on highway 4. The ICBM was right in the middle of the convoy. It was huge and could not be mistaken for a Scud or tactical weapon.

Armed guards were stationed at-the-ready at points on the flat bed on which the ICBM was loaded. There was no evidence of Hungarian army involvement whatsoever. I thought I had somehow stumbled into WWIII.

I was on my way to visit my brother-in-law, who was dying from leukemia in a hospital in Nyíregyháza. Shortly before encountering the convoy, heading east [ie towards the then Soviet border with Hungary - ed] on highway 4, I was on a secondary road in my rented Zsiguli (renamed Lada).

Prior to the intersection with 4 the road was closed. I and two other civilian cars were waiting to be allowed to continue. Sitting there in the dark, I turned on my inside light and looked at my map for alternative roads. There were none that looked attractive.

Suddenly I became aware that someone was standing next to my window. It was a Russian soldier. He asked, "Voda?" and then showed his canteen and pointed to the car's motor.

I decided to only speak in Hungarian and I said no and thanked him. He walked away. About twenty minutes later he waved us on and a kilometer further we entered highway 4.

Then in typical Hungarian fashion, I and the other two drivers quickly caught up with the convoy and started passing two or three soviet vehicles at a time.

It was then that we saw the ICBM. "Holy Shit" was my reaction. "Hope it is going back to Russia."

Of course, Steve does not give any evidence that this missile was stationed in Hungary, he merely writes that he saw it. But his dating is in line with Gábor's visit, and helps deepen the mystery – I'm pretty sure Gábor and László will find this of great interest when they read it.

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