After Action Report: War in the East: Don to the Danube - Border Battles to Budapest
The battle continues! The Russian Army continues their advance against the German Army, nearing Budapest with striking speed and action.
Part 1 can be viewed here, this is Part 2!
The German Army is in the midst of being pushed back after the Russian offensive made its initial thrust. How long will their lines hold? Will the German Army be able to prevent a Russian breakthrough? Read on!
German Turn 6
The Soviets are now next to clear terrain in the northernmost part of the map, and are outflanking my defensive positions in the south. To prevent encirclement, my forces withdraw to a line along the rivers in the area.
The Panzer divisions will have to give up Arad before the mud season starts, but the combined German/Hungarian forces will hold on to their positions near Nyíregyháza for several turns before Soviet pressure will force a withdrawl.
Soviet Turn 6
In the north the drive through the passes is slowed considerably by the stubborn fighting of the Hungarian First Mountain Brigade. They fight brilliantly, and it takes me five tries to finally get them to vacate their mountainside defensive positions. I reach the Tisa River with my lead troops and find it very well defended. We will have to wait for the rest of the boys to come up before trying to force a crossing. The sooner I can take Nyiregyhasa the sooner the Hungarians will have to start making surrender die rolls.....
I think I am about one turn too late to get anything decisive done up here. Panzers have arrived, and I am not quite all the way through the mountains. Next turn I will try to force a river crossing.
The Germans have dropped back behind the river. I klarn one Hungarian cavalry unit but otherwise do not push too far as I feel a little vulnerable until the Infantry can get online.
Pieter doing a great job at delaying me, it feels like I can never come to grips with him.
German Turn 7
The Soviets are slowly approaching my defensive positions. I was a bit surprised by the advance in the north as the Soviets are now advancing towards difficult terrain, instead of towards the clear terrain of central Hungary. That gives my forces more time to dig in.
I'd also say the Soviet cavalry formations trying to dislodge the Hungarians in the southeastern part of their country could have been of more use near Arad, because the combat value of the Hungarian forces there is minimal, there are no points to be gained that would not be gained when the Hungarians will surrender after the fall of Budapest and my forces would be forced to withdraw soon anyway to avoid a double envelopment.
As intended, 6th Army still ties up numerous Soviet and Romanian forces.
Soviet Turn 7
More slugging through the mountains. I finally get a little bit of running room and clear one hex of the river bend, but I just barely do not have enough movement left to occupy my new bridgehead.
More troops showing up, I just can’t get all the way busted loose. Panzers showing up here is going to put a crimp in my hopes for a breakthrough.
Mechanized forces of 6th Tank Army bypass the German outposts and force their way across the rivers into Szeged against little opposition. Pliev Cavalry flanks around and we get a temporary isolation on the SS Cavalry that has been holding me up. They will get away, but it is going to be difficult.
I’m not sure if Pieter was trying to bait me into advancing too far and then pocket killing my motorized troops or not. I’m trying to lure him into an attempt so I can get my infantry corps into the fight on those panzer divisions and get them bogged down into fighting me.
German Turn 8
Scott thought his move towards Szeged would mean disaster for my defensive positions, but it's just a minor inconvenience at the moment. It also allowed me to isolate his mobile forces. I could have attempted to isolate them in such a way that I would have been able to destroy them at a later turn, but it would've been far too risky. There should be mud next turn, and I didn't know how strong the forces south of Arad were. If the encirclement attempt would've gone wrong, it would have cost me my mobile units. If it would've succeeded, all it would have accomplished would be slightly slowing down the Soviets, which is something the Danube will take care of shortly.
Part of the Tisza line has been pulled back, to avoid the Soviets crushing the defenders. This battle is all about force preservation and surviving, there's no need to fight battles that are risky or battles I can't win. The Hungarian forces will eventually surrender and due to their armament point (required to equip men) shortage, I can't keep their formations up to strength even though I have about 50.000 men in the pool. They take about 1500-2000 losses in each attack in any case. The Germans have plenty of armament points, but hardly any manpower, so the opposite of the Hungarian situation.
Soviet Turn 8
Germans fall back on this front. My guys clear a couple of hexes along the mountains and attempt to get Nyiregyhasa surrounded, but once again I do not have quite enough movement points to get all the way around.
Pieter has my north board edge creep halted and I am now trying to get the boll rolling to the southeast, with a potential of cutting off a lot of Hungarians still fighting to the west.
Another fallback from the Germans, but the take the time to isolate the 6th Tank Army and shatter the lone Rumanian Cavalry. We make a few attacks to try to get some room to work at Szeged and rout the SS cavalry to get it out of the way.
Pieter doesn’t take the bait on my little trap, but settles for cutting off my point troops for a turn. I anticipated this and flew in supplies last turn, but we are still forced to make only a few attacks due to an MP shortage.
German Turn 9
The first mud turn. I now have some time to prepare new defensive positions and move reinforcements and the reconstituting divisions of 6th Army and 8th Army into place. Destroyed German formations reconstitute as empty shells that are frozen in place for 6 turns. The first reconstituted units are currently holding Budapest to prevent the Hungarians from surrendering, which they might do if there are less than 3 German divisions in Budapest after the Soviets capture Arad and/or Nyíregyháza.
Thus far, the timetable in terms of when cities are captured is more or less historical even though the Soviets are now approaching Nyíregyháza from the north instead of the south/east.
Soviet Turn 9
Mud hits this turn, bringing my boys to a slithering halt. The turn is spent squishing forward and I decided to take a shot of the big picture of the front. You can see the fighting in eastern Hungary. I make a couple little attacks to try to drive northwest from Szeged, we might get some better weather next turn.
Mud, ‘nuff said.
German Turn 10
More mud. My forces are being pushed towards the Danube. Overall, I'm still happy with the strategic situation. Some of the Hungarian forces east of Nyíregyháza will be evacuated by rail, most will eventually be forced to surrender in the upcoming turns. My forces are still in control of Nyíregyháza.
Soviet Turn 10
The weather is still mud. Severe shortage of supplies at the front is hampering my advance. I use overwhelming force to push forward a few hexes against weak German stacks. The good news is that the infantry is starting to catch up to the line now.
Pounding Hungarians and sliding forward a little is the best I can do here. I am playing for the chance of good weather next turn in order to get rolling. It could happen…
German Turn 11
More mud. Nyíregyháza has been evacuated due to Soviet flanking maneuvers threatening to encircle the defenders.
Soviet Turn 11
My guys take Nyiregyhasa this turn continue to press southwest from the north. Two more minor attacks in the south, and that is about it.
German Turn 12
A snow turn, earlier than expected, forces me to radically withdraw as many forces as possible to avoid them being encircled. Aside from a number of Hungarian formations, all of which are of little military value, most of my forces are now fairly safe. The withdrawal will continue in the next few turns, eventually leading to the front stabilizing for several turns along the Danube.
The forces in the northernmost part of the map are withdrawing towards the rail line several hexes to the west of their current position.
Soviet Turn 12
Snow weather allows me to get some progress made. Leading tanks from the 6th Tank Army nose their way into the outskirts of Budapest put lack the strength to do much else.
And so ends Part 2 of the Don to the Danube After Action Report. Part 3 will come next week, with the battle continuing with "Defending the Danube". Will terrible weather continue to hinder the Soviet advance?