In 1936, Hungary obtained a single Landsverk L-60 light tank from Sweden for trials and reached an agreement for license production in 1937.
In 1938, the Honved selected the MAVAG railway plant for production, later extended to the Ganz factory as well.
It was decided to arm the Hungarian version, named the Toldi, with the locally produced version of the Solothurn 20mm antitank rifle along with a co-axial Gebauer 34/37.M machine gun.
In view of Hungary’s lack of experience in tank manufacture, the production process was delayed and the original contract batch of 80 Toldi tanks required the import of some components from Sweden and Germany, including its Bussing-Nag engine.
In the event, the first Toldi tanks were completed in March 1940.
The Toldi tanks were used to equip tank companies in the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades.
More Toldis were required as the original plans to further deploy Toldi tank Companies in the four cavalry brigades were expanded to the conversion of the 9th and 11th bicycle battalions into tank battalions for the new motorized brigades.
This led to a second production series of Toldi tanks from May 1941 to December 1942, totaling a further 110 tanks.
Equipped with stronger torsion springs and - due to difficulties in the supply chain - more locally manufactured components, this second batch got the designation of Toldi II.
Hungary reluctantly entered the war with the Soviet Union, but did not take part in the initial invasion on June 22, 1941.
A Soviet air attack on Hungarian border towns on June 26 served as the pretext for the declaration of war on June 27.
This Operation initially involved the same three brigades of the Fast Corps as used in Yugoslavia, and at the time included 60 Ansaldo tankettes and 81 Toldi light tanks.
The Fast Corps fought on the Southern front from Nikolayev to Isyum on the Donets River, a distance of some 1,000km.
However te corps had to be withdrawn back to Hungary on November 15, 1941 after suffering 4,400 casualties, as well as losing all of its Ansaldo tankettes and 80 percent of its Toldi light tanks.
Of the Toldis, only about 25 had suffered combat damage but 62 had been worn out with severe mechanical problems requiring a complete overhaul.
The Honved wanted a modern medium tank, but in the short term was forced to settle for expedients.
As a result, some 80 of the Toldi II tanks were rebuilt as the Toldi IIa in 1943 and 1944, which introduced a 40mm gun derived from the Bofors anti-aircraft gun and incorporated a rear turret bustle to provide more internal space for the larger gun.
It had to come as no surprise that even the upgunned Toldi IIa's were totally inadequate to the modern Red Army arsenal of armoured vehicles.
Due to the excellent battle results obtained with the 5 Marder II provided by the German ally, the Toldi tank destroyer equivalent, equally equipped with the 7.5 cm anti-tank gun, was developed in spring 1944, but because of insufficient production capacity and lack of time no more than just one single prototype was built.