A Bugle and Its Challenging Tour
The Royal Hungarian Army established a unique bugle and banner for its Rapid Deployment Forces, different from those of its infantry units. Styled after the traditional cavalry bugle, this new version measured 59cm in length, accompanied by a 40cmx40cm banner or flag, adorned with red and green flowing ribbons, with gold inscriptions “FORWARD!” (Előre!) and “FOR THE HOMELAND!” (Hazáért!). The Vak Bottyán Military Bicycle Battalion #3 was established in 1921. In early 1939, the garrison was deployed from its Esztergom base to Vásárosnamény as part of the Lower Carpathian occupation. On a 3 day, 270km advance, the unit pushed through Beregszász to Nagyszöllős, encountering heavy armored opposition in also occupying Huszt and Técs, finally penetrating the Black Tisza Valley and the plains of the Kőrös, to reach the Polish border. The unit was presented their bugle in Vásárosnamény on their return trip. Along with the following message: “With adoring gratitude to the Eastern Carpathian liberators, Vásárosnamény appreciates your conquering victory of Sobránc and reestablishment of the millennial Hungarian-Polish border.”
The accompanying banner/flag was awarded by the city of Beregszász. The unit was redesignated as the Vak Bottyán 14th Military Bicycle Battalion, stationed in Nagyszöllős. The unit participated in retaking Erdély (Transylvania) and a campaign in Russia. Kolozsvár became their new base. During the 1942 reorganization of the Hungarian Armed Forces, the 14th was merged into the Debrecen 16th and eventually the 25th and 27th Transylvanian Reconnaissance Units. The bugle and banner remained with the unit’s successor in Kolozsvár. The aftermath of the Battle of Torda saw the 25th Reconnaissance Unit serve as the rear guard for retreating Hungarian forces, but unfortunately unable to find its bugle and banner upon returning to Kolozsvár. Unbeknownst, the unit’s former and first commander, Colonel (Hu) Emil Muhoray, evacuated it to Western Hungary, then to Austria, successfully evading Russia’s invasion forces. The bugle/banner remained under the care of Colonel Muhoray during his postwar residence Lindau, West Germany, until his passing.
The succeeding protector of the bugle and banner became Egon Siegler, the Vak Bottyán unit’s Lieutenant and later Company Commander. Serving as a German Military Attaché, Siegler was stationed in Paris, Bern and Brussels. This storied relic was on full view in Siegler’s office by an array of NATO Command’s military representatives. In August 1992, Colonel (Ge) Egon Siegler presented the vaunted bugle and banner to Colonel (Hu) dr. Lászlo Korsós, director of the National Military Museum of Hungary. In accordance with the requests of those Vak Bottyán veterans still living and members of the Nyiregyházi Military Historical Society, the bugle and banner were placed on permanent display at the András Jósa Múseum of Nyiregyháza.
Special thanks for Cornel Muhoray (USA), Peter Csoma and Laszlo Varga (Hungary)