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MH 1. Honvéd Tuzszerész és Hadihajós Ezred
HDF 1st “Honvéd” EOD and Warship Regiment

HDF 1st “Honvéd” EOD and Warship RegimentThe personnel serving with the HDF 1st ‘Honvéd’ EOD and Warship Regiment are the soldiers of fire and water indeed. It is said that militaries fight the last war, and for this unit this is literally true. They are fighting the last battle of a war that ended some seven decades ago. Day after day, they deploy to neutralize the unexploded explosive ordnances (UXOs) strewn around the country, including artillery shells, handgrenades, aerial bombs and different types of mines. They are not fighting against the enemy any more, but rather for life. These soldiers are ready to guard and secure River Danube, the waterway of the nations, and to sweep it for UXOs if needed. They are ready to neutralize conventional and regular types of UXOs as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the favorite weapons of modern-day terrorism.

The 1st ‘Honvéd’ Mine Clearance Battalion was formed in 1947, which operated as an independent grouping until 1964, when as a mine clearance subdivision it was merged into a parent warship unit designated MN 9680 (MN is short for “Hungarian People’s Army”). The demining, ammunition clearance and bomb disposal activities conducted in Hungary were placed under a single direct command by the establishment of the Home Front Defence Command in 1975, and the emphasis shifted from the clearance of contiguous minefields and ammunition-contaminated areas to disarming and destroying the UXOs found and reported all over the territory of Hungary. The grouping was detached from the parent warship unit in 1975, to be activated as an independent unit under the designation MN 4980 1st EOD and Mine Clearance Battalion. On 1 July 2001 it was supplemented with a warship subdivision and reorganized as the HDF 1st ‘Honvéd’ EOD and Warship Regiment.

Although World War II was over more than 65 years ago, the number of unearthed UXOs has not dropped since. The EOD duty service received a total of 2446 calls in 2007, which means seven calls per day on average, but the numbers peaked at 20 to 30 on certain days. The urgent cases requiring immediate response numbered 795 in 2007. The total amount of destroyed UXO weighed more than 211.5 tons and was made up of more than 721,000 different types of explosive devices.

The EOD personnel had a number of other special duties on top of responding to the calls they received from the residents, because they had to destroy more than 60 tons of ammunition that had been decommissioned in the HDF and declared hazardous to handle, and they had been working for a long time next to their earlier demolition site, the M0 motorway belt’s bridge which was under construction. Searching the premises of the former HDF depots in Recsk and Devecser for UXOs gave them a lot of work to do as well.

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