Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

A complete overhaul and re-development of Gary Grigsby's War in the East, with a focus on improvements to historical accuracy, realism, user interface and AI.

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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

Unfortunately we’ve lost touch with Beethoven1 as of October 27. We hope that he’s ok. Unable to contact him on the forum or via email since then, Erik asked me to take over his position in this AAR. Beethoven has provided me an enviable position. He launched a successful opening assault that caused Romania to surrender, while successfully pocketing the 6th Army and setting himself up for a quick dash to the passes and Transylvania. In Yugoslavia, he seems to have been able to keep Malyhin off balance while he found forces to move east through Romania and Bulgaria to go to the assistance of the partisans.

I think Malyhin being new to the scenario, didn’t appreciate just how quickly the Soviets could get across the passes while also moving to Belgrade south of the mountains. At the same time, there were some changes made that didn’t get into the scenario in time for the start of this AAR game. Also, the AAR game brought up some issues we’ve since addressed with two additional house rules. Now this scenario was intended to be a very difficult one for the Axis player to manage. Trey wrote the following in his designer notes in the Steel Inferno manual:

“The scenario is absolute madness and for the German player, the situation certainly looks hopeless. I would not recommend anyone to play a PBEM game without playing a few solo sessions first as there are many events and house rules that can sneak up on you and take you completely by surprise if you are unaware of the consequences. Please read the players notes and the weekly events in game so that you grasp the many different aspects of the scenario. I consider this scenario to be more of an advanced scenario for the more experienced players looking for a significant challenge. This scenario is tough and unfair and it was designed to be that way.”

Based on some earlier test game feedback, Trey added a few more partisans in the far west, but also added a number of additional units into the mix to help contain the partisans, thus freeing some Axis units to head east. In addition, he weakened the Bulgarians some to account for the difficult position they were in during the first few weeks. He also made some mountain hexes in Yugoslavia impassable, helping to channel some of the partisan forces. After much discussion, we also added house rules to account for the command and logistics struggles faced by the Soviets while the Bulgarian forces transitioned to be full allies of the Soviet Union. These rules would have had an impact on this game, slowing the movement of the Soviets into Yugoslavia. This would have given the Axis a bit more time to fend off the partisans and Bulgarians, and prepare for the Soviet arrival. Even so, this scenario will always be a challenge for the Axis player. We thank Malyhin for his willingness to take on this challenge. Having taken over Soviet command, I can say Beethoven took advantage of his opportunities and made a few of his own.

Now, returning to the AAR, when I looked at the starting turn 6 (24 September) situation, I found the Soviet forces winning the battle of Transylvania. Several Axis units were already isolated, and others were trapped. I noticed rain was falling and light mud was popping up in places. Below is the start of Soviet turn 6.


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The Soviet command situation was a bit of a mess, but certainly understandable considering the swirling action that had taken place here over the past few turns. My first goal here will be to secure Cluj, and prepare to move forward in mass across the Hungarian plain to Debrecen. I need to clear a rail line headed east. Given how well things are going so far, and the lousy terrain in the area, I’m likely going to rout out a few units that I’d normally want to isolate first. I’m going to try to balance my inner Montgomery’s need to tidy up the battlefield and organize my command chain and logistics, and my inner Patton’s desire to head west full throttle. Here’s the before and after screenshots for my turn 6 (without showing the units on the map at the end of the turn for operational secrecy). Below you can see I took Cluj, destroyed or routed most units in my rear, and headed east. I ran into a few units once into the open which I bypassed but attempted to trap (including what looked like a good German mountain division).

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In the Belgrade to Budapest area, Beethoven had previously advanced quickly, surrounding Belgrade and moving more than half the distance to Budapest. A small bridgehead was made over the Danube in eastern Croatia. These spearheads started to run into some opposition, and my goal for the turn was to reinforce this rapid movement with additional troops, clear Belgrade, and continue north toward Budapest. My tip of the spear is weak, but the speed of advance also likely means his forces near Budapest are weak as well. As Malyhin finished cleaning out the Croatian partisans, and no doubt recognized the difficult situation to the east, I expect to see more Axis units showing up on the line of the Danube over the next few turns. Below is the start of Soviet turn 6.

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As can be see below I was able to defeat the small Belgrade garrison and continue another 50 miles toward Budapest. More units are marching behind the spearheads, although I don’t have the kind of concentrated power as I do in the Cluj area, as the 3rd Ukrainian Front had detached some troops to deal with the Axis forces south of Belgrade (described later). If things go well in the north, I may be able to have the two Soviet Fronts meet up east of Budapest next turn. I did decide to make a tactical withdrawal by one of the units in the bridgehead in Croatia to avoid encirclement. Yugoslavian unis were gathered and sent to reinforce the area south of the bridgehead. I’ve started to disband partisan units in secure areas, thus providing manpower that I expect will be used to rebuild some of the Yugoslavian units worn down by isolation and/or combat.

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In the far south in the map below, there are at least two major areas of operation. South of Belgrade there is a crescent shaped grouping of Axis units as shown in red near Pristina. These units were likely trying to fight their way north, only to be blocked by the Yugoslavs, Bulgarians, and eventually Soviet units. Historically the Germans were able to clear a passageway from Sarajevo to Pristina, and keep this open long enough for units coming from Greece to fight their way north and escape. Due in part to the quick arrival of some Soviet units (which would be slowed by the not yet implemented house rules), and the fact that Malyhin does not appear to have attempted to move a force east from Sarajevo, this exit is not an option. In the far south, once again, a few Soviet units combined with local Bulgarians and partisans were able to stymie the Axis forces, so I find myself with the option of trying to take out one of the two Axis controlled supply sources in Greece (underlined in red). My goals for the next few turns here are to prevent the Axis from moving any further north, while also trying to take the southern supply sources. Ideally if I can cut the southern units off from the coast, and without the supply sources, they will all become isolated.

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I was partially successful, although I can’t yet give full details about all the actions near Pristina. This scenario is a balancing act for both sides, as there are never as many good units as you have jobs for them to do. I’m not complaining though as I think it’s much harder on the Axis side. In the far south, I saw a fairly large garrison in Thessaloniki consisting of 2 regiments of the 4th SS PzGrd division and a security regiment. I decided to cut them off from access to the west, isolating the hex. This doesn’t force their surrender if they retreat (the units are not isolated yet), but provides some incremental combat advantage. I left a retreat path to the southeast, and threw in a strong attacking force well supported by artillery. I even got a little air support from the Bulgarian air force. Here I had success, and the garrison retreated to the southeast where I hope to eventually force their surrender. I was also able to extend the area under my control to within 20 miles of the other southern supply source, Katerini. It is now reduced to being a major depot, and key control point for the arrival of the remaining German troops in Greece. If you look closely below, you can see a few Allied air drops to partisans in Montenegro. I also had the American bombers fly a few missions to bomb the depot I assume is in Sarajevo (just off the map to the north). I also finished off the Hungarian Armored Division that had been isolated just south of Belgrade.

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Final thoughts on turn 6:
Basically I inherited a very strong position from Beethoven and tried not to muck it up. I found plenty of choice points during the turn, which is what makes playing WitE2 fun for me. I played quite a bit of this scenario in its early iterations, but much has changed in the scenario since I first played it (and some things have changed in the game). That’s the nature of development of scenarios, which in this case continued right up to release (and will, as with most Wit… scenarios see some improvements after release). Thanks again to Malyhin for his ongoing participation in both testing and this AAR.
All understanding comes after the fact.
-- Soren Kierkegaard
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by TallBlondJohn »

Thanks for taking over Joel, this scenario is fascinating. All the best to Beethoven.
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

This is an overview of 6 turn of the game for the Germans. Joel pulled ahead a little! :)
The Soviets continue to overcome the resistance of German and Hungarian troops in the Southern Carpathians. In addition, as a result of the breakthrough of Soviet troops from Romania through Bulgaria, Belgrade was surrounded. At the same time, the troops in Greece were finally cut off from Hungary. I decided to organize a defense along the Danube and withdraw troops from Eastern Hungary to Budapest. At the same time, I try not to give up cities with railway stations without a fight in order to delay the advance of the enemy and make him lose time repairing damaged railway stations.
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At the same time, Croatian troops continue to destroy the Yugoslav partisans. However, the rest of the troops were mainly transferred to the Danube for defense purposes.
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Troops in Greece, Albania and Kosovo stopped trying to break through the corridor to Hungary. At the same time, a defense line was prepared in Greece to ensure the withdrawal of troops from southern Greece to Katerini.
Image
Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

During the 7th turn, I continued to withdraw troops from Eastern Hungary to Budapest and form a line of defense along the Danube.
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In Yugoslavia, the struggle against the partisans by the forces of the Croatian units continues. Part of the Croatian units also occupy defenses in the east and hold back the offensive of the Bulgarian and Yugoslav troops from Bulgaria.
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Soviet and Bulgarian troops drove the Axis forces out of Thessaloniki. The remnants of German troops are fighting heavy defensive battles in Kosovo and Greece. Prepared the defense of the last source of supply in Katerini.
Image
Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

As the calendar turned to October, the plan in the north is for the 2nd Ukrainian Front to continue the advance to Debrecen. A link up with 3rd Ukrainian Front is also desirable. The infantry, some of it slowed by the scattered resistance of bypassed enemy units, needs to push forward. The true power of the Front won’t be felt until this main body catches up. It will be needed for the expected battle of Budapest. The map with the start of turn positions, also shows the Advanced Guard of the 3rd Ukrainian Front within 50 miles of Budapest. The goal is to advance as close to Budapest as possible. If I can advance quickly with the armored and cavalry forces, it may allow the following infantry to reach Budapest before mud makes things more difficult. I expect it will be difficult to get over the Danube south of Budapest. However, it may be possible for 2nd Ukr Front to push west north of the river, heading toward Bratislava. A lot depends on what kind of Axis reinforcements can be brought to fill in the line. I do expect the arrival of several good German mobile divisions over the next few weeks, along with more Axis units being released from the partisan fighting in the west.

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Resistance proved to be very light, and I was just able to capture Debrecen. The cavalry forces of the 2 fronts met 50 miles south of Debrecen, forming a continuous front line on the Hungarian plain. The 3rd Ukr Front spearhead reached the outskirts of Budapest, finding it too well garrisoned to attempt an attack. Although the spearhead is exhausted from the past few weeks of rapid movement, I left the units in contact. I don’t think the Germans have enough mount a major counterattack and/or encircle them.
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In the center, my small bridgehead near Pecs is hanging on, and I’d like to reinforce it and also connect with it from the south near the bend in the Danube. A lot of my infantry is still lagging behind, but will be headed for this area. Eventually, I expect some of the 3rd Ukr Front units near Budapest will be able to move south once the 2nd Ukr Front reaches Budapest. With a shortage of forces, I’m relying on holding a large section of the front down toward Sarajevo with partisans and the Yugoslavian mountain divisions, reinforced with a few Bulgarian and Soviet units. A move toward Sarajevo will be attempted, but it’s likely to be slow going until more of the 3rd Front forces are able to move up from the far south. Here's the start of turn positions:

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Fighting in, and south of the bridgehead area, continued to be fierce, with no less than 3 Axis cavalry divisions and an SS mountain division in the area. The prior turn 13th SS Mountain division attacks were repulsed with high German losses, but several Yugoslavian units were routed. I was able to reinforce the area and clear out the enemy strongpoint in my rear, but wasn’t able to advance further. I think I can hold now, and pin the Axis forces, but time will tell whether I’ll be able to advance further in this area in October. In the west, anti-partisan operations continue. I take solace in the fact that the partisans are delaying the Germans from being able to bring additional forces to the front.

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In the south, the Germans appear to be fighting a rear guard action near Pristina, withdrawing forces toward the coast. Last turn I tried to move some units around the flanks in anticipation of such a move. I don’t have a lot of forces, but I’ll continue to try to get around them and block their path along the coast, both to the north and the south, while going after the rear guard forces with what I have. In the far south, I’m pushing toward Katerini. If I can take it, I can prevent any additional units from escaping from Greece. It will also eliminate the last major Axis depot in the south. If I can take the last port in Albania, and hold the line up the coast from it, I can isolate all the units in the south. As shown in the start of turn map below, the small partisan divisions are being asked to do a lot. German forces in the south are likely having supply issues, but unless the partisans can get some help, the Germans may be able to push past them before stronger units arrive.

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By the end of the turn, Pristina had been taken, and the Yugoslavians formed a barrier to the north along the coast. However, they were blocked in their other attempts to move west. There seem to be a number of large Axis units, although likely poorly supplied, moving into Albania. German forces north of Katerini were driven back, and I may be in a position to launch a strong attack on it next turn. The isolated SS units in Northeastern Greece are being slowly pushed back.

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Ongoing disbanding of partisan units in inactive areas to the east have allowed me to build up a pool of replacements. Unfortunately, aside from a few Yugoslav divisions I’ve managed to refit, most of the Soviet units are finding it hard to get any replacements on the march. Overall, progress continues to be good in the north, a stalemate in the center, and a wild affair in the south where I hope to prevent Axis units from escaping to the north.
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

During the 8th turn, the situation on the map practically did not change. The Axis forces continued to withdraw from Eastern Hungary towards Budapest. In the Budapest area, several successful attacks were carried out against advanced Soviet units. So, the 8th Romanian cavalry division was put to flight and the brigade of the 7th Soviet mechanized corps was thrown back. The strengthening of the defense line along the Danube continued, in places counterattacks were carried out against advanced Soviet and Yugoslav troops.
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The Croatian security forces continued to exterminate partisans in Croatia and Istria.
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Axis forces in Kosovo continued into Albania, where Axis forces took up defensive positions in Tirana. In Greece, the remnants of the Axis forces took up defensive positions at Katerini. At the same time, a serious defeat was inflicted on the 28th Bulgarian Infantry Division in the Katerini area.
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Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

Turn 8 – October 8-14
My spearhead approaching Budapest was thrown back by the equivalent of 2 Panzer Divisions plus miscellaneous other forces, The Romanian Motorized Cavalry Division will be feeling the after effects for some time. Also, the Axis line on the Danube has filled in. However, it doesn’t change my basic plan. While advancing the main body of 2nd Ukrainian Front, I will look for opportunities to continue the advance to the north and south of Budapest. I’m trying to advance the main body quickly, but at the same time, trying to minimize their fatigue by generally advancing only in previously captured territory. I’ve found the savings in MPs, and thus the increase in CPPs and reduction in fatigue, allow for a much higher retention of fighting power. It also marginally improves their ability to resupply from depots now far in the rear, while allowing for the repair of more damaged elements due to all of the above. Time will tell whether this is the best strategy. Rain continues in this northern area of operations, bringing plenty of light mud. I’m not sure if, or when, heavy rain will strike this area as it already has in Yugoslavia. Greece remains clear. This is an area where three different converging weather systems can cause unpredictable weather. I’ll be facing a lot of light mud, and eventually some heavy mud in the turns ahead, although at least the roads are getting generally better as I head west.

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Hungarian forces and a German Jaeger Division slowed down my advance north of Budapest. I’m still taking territory with relatively light forces, as the Axis forces haven't had the strength to make a determine stand. A Hungarian Division was sent packing from the suburbs of Budapest. Payback for what was done to the Romanian Cav Division. A reinforcement Mech Corps appears in the far north having just crossed the mountains.

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In the center, German attacks against my bridgehead near the Danube bend continue. My goal continues to be to hold the bridgehead, and meet up with forces driving around the bend from the south. I should be able to bring several new units into the fighting this turn. Also, 2 small Bulgarian armies have just formed in Bulgaria. The larger of these is going to be sent to the area south of the Danube bend.

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The reinforced bridgehead forces retake lost ground. Forces from the south advance, but don’t quite meet up with the bridgehead. The 4th Guards Army in this sector has some outstanding units, but mixed in are a Romanian corps and a number of Yugoslav Divisions that have limited offensive capabilities. Hard to see the 4th Guards going far in the short run if the Germans retain their forces here. The 2nd Bulgarian Army is railed to Belgrade. I didn’t want to make them march all the way from Bulgaria through the heavy rain, only to arrive late and too fatigued for the action. Partisans in the far west continue to lose ground. The weather was too poor for air drops or air support. Given the weather and the scarcity of forces, there was no activity on the Sarajevo front.

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In the south, the main goal is preventing the Axis forces in Albania and Greece from escapting to the north. Blocking the path north up the coast, taking Katerini, and taking the Albanian port of Durres, are what’s needed to achieve this goal.

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While steps were made toward ultimately achieve the goal, Katerini held out. It was a near run thing, although given the poor Bulgarian commander, probably not a surprise the attack failed. Unfortunately, the Soviet commander in the area is no better. Maybe I should have found a better commander. At least the fortifications were reduced. Just to the north the German 22nd Jaeger Division was marched off to captivity.
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Although disappointed by the setback in Katerini, I’m still feeling good where things stand overall. The infantry of 2nd Ukrainian Front should be arriving near and north of Budapest during the next two weeks. The bridgehead near the bend of the Danube should hold, and the forces in Albania and Greece appear to be contained. The question now is what the weather is going to look like the next several weeks. The forecast is light rain over most of the map, but heavy rain in parts of the center.
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

9 turn October 15-22, 1944.
In Hungary, German and Hungarian troops continue to strengthen the defenses along the Danube. There were no active hostilities.
Image

In Yugoslavia, I tried to drive the enemy across the Danube, but had no success. The destruction of partisan detachments in the rear continues.
Image

In Greece, the remnants of German troops are concentrated in Albania and Katerini. Their position is hopeless.
Image
Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Rosencrantus »

Playing DotD myself, if romanian surrender triggers does it mean basically any units in the eastern parts of romania would be cut off? Seems to discourage defending romania aside from western romania which axis occupies.
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

Yes, and in this scenario, Romania should surrender every time on turn 1. All Soviet players should be able to force a surrender on turn 1. It's virtually impossible to defend in the east (south of the mountains), as there just aren't any Axis units there. It only takes a few turns for the Soviet player to move through Romania, as the east and central Romanian hexes switch to Soviet control. There's no German forces to put south of the mountains to stop them.
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

Turn 9 – October 15-21
No enemy activity in the north. I’m mostly running into weak Hungarian units. 18th army led by a few cavalry divisions heads toward Slovakia. 16th Guards Tank Army is in the lead and intends to move north of the Danube. It will be followed from north to south by 7th Guards Army, 27th Army, and 4th Rumanian Army. Trailing, but moving up in front of and just south of Budapest is 53rd Army. This turn, only the 16th Guards Tank Army aided by a few mobile elements of 4th Romanian Army are able to take new territory. Next turn the advanced elements of the infantry should be in position to assist in the expected attacks needed to push northwest of Budapest. 2nd Ukrainian Front is moving up in strength. Below are the goals for this turn.

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Two German Jaeger regiments and a few bypassed Hungarian units delay me, so I’m not able to push past the MLR once I reach it. I fall short by a few hexes of my objectives. However, having identified the MLR, it appears weak, and if it’s still there next turn my infantry should be able to help me push through it. Budapest does not appear to be heavily garrisoned, but it is backed up by several strong German units. The plan is still to try to go past Budapest to the north, while also looking for a weak spot to get a bridgehead over the Danube to the south of Budapest. A guard rifle corps is transferred from 2nd Ukr Front to the 57th Army in the 3rd Ukrainian Front. This unit, together with the VI Rumanian corps on the Danube will look for a place to cross.

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In the center, German attacks failed. The goal continues to be to stabilize and expand the bridgehead over the Danube, while also connecting it with units south of the bend in the Danube. Mission accomplished here, as the 4th Guards Army was able to link up with IV Rumanian corps, while also retaking Osijek after having to evacuate it several weeks earlier. The 2nd Bulgarian Army has just reached the front, slotted just south of the IV Rumanian Corps, and north of a 90 mile section of the front held by the Yugoslavians. A lot of refitting and reorganizing of Yugoslavian formations is underway. To the south, I Bulgarian corps has made no progress toward Sarajevo.

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In the south, after isolating the Katerini hex during the turn (but not the units yet), and having brought up another division, 52000 Soviets force 20000 beleaguered Germans to retreat west from Katerini. Next turn they will be isolated and the rest of the Axis garrison in Greece will be marching to captivity. In Albania, the German forces have nowhere to go. The Allied Balkans Air Force contributes by bombing the German depot in Tirane, after 10 transports out of 57 are lost while flying in supplies to the German forces (4 shot down by P-51s and P-38s). Once I take the port of Durres, all Axis units in the area will be isolated. I’m pretty sure the Axis don’t have the transports required to prevent the isolation, especially given the bad weather to the north.

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Here are the ground losses to date, and the OB screen as of the end of the turn. Beethoven’s opening moves destroyed most of the 6th and 8th Armies, and he followed it up destroying a number of Axis units in Transylvania. The losses continued with his blocking the exit of the Army Group E from Greece. There’s been no let up, and the Axis forces have paid the price. Things are looking grim for the Axis. The forecast is for more of the same weather, which means light rain in most of the important areas around Budapest and south to Pecs and Belgrade.

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turn 9 ob screen.jpg
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

During the 10th turn of the German side in Hungary, the formation of a defense line along the Danube and north of Budapest to the Tatra Mountains continued. At the same time, I left separate weak units for the defense of key logistics hubs in central Hungary in order to delay the advance of the Soviet troops and worsen their logistics. However, this has little effect. The Soviet player still has excellent supplies, despite the length of the supply route.
Image

In Yugoslavia, German and Croatian troops also do not have the opportunity for active hostilities, with the exception of the destruction of the last pockets of partisans in the rear. The main troops were transferred to the front line along the Danube. The Croatian security brigades are engaged in the destruction of the partisans.
Image

The remnants of the German forces in Greece and Albania are fighting heavy defensive battles with little or no supplies.
Image
Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

Turn 10 (Oct 22-29)

Having reached the Axis MLR north of Budapest, it’s time to breach it. Soviet mobile formations in the area have 30-37 MPs. I have concentrated 3 Mech Corps, 2 Tank Corps, 2 Cavalry Corps plus 3 cavalry divisions, ready to hit just north of the Danube. Even though there is light mud, I should be able to make decent progress in the clear terrain behind the MLR. The MLR itself looks weak, as the best German divisions appear to be south of the Danube defending the immediate flanks of the Budapest garrison. The plan has always been to try to drive north of the Danube. The heavy rain 30-40 miles north of the Danube has turned the very northern section of the map into heavy mud, so my main focus will be the 30 miles just north of the river. It’s a simple plan. Use the infantry that is moving to the front to assault the MLR, with hasty attacks where possible, and then push the mobile forces through the area as far as possible. In the far north, a Cavalry Corps and a Tank Corps will push into Slovakia.

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There was no substantial opposition in the northern mountain passes in Slovakia, so the advance was just slowed by the terrain and the muddy conditions. Just north of the Danube, the 27th Army used 3 Rifle Corps to pulverize the MLR. The 30 miles of front was defended by 18000 men, half of them Hungarian, and some of them in a second line. I tried to avoid any combat delays, using hasty attacks, but given the line was backed up, I could only manage keeping them to a 1 combat delay. Some infantry was available to hit the 2nd line, but I did have to commit some mobile forces to the final attacks and pursuit attacks on the retreating enemy. Advanced elements were able to advance 50 to 60 miles into enemy territory. Considering the light mud and many minor rivers that needed to be crossed, I considered this good progress. The 7th Guards army attacked over the border of Slovakia and took up positions on the northern flank of 27th Army. All the mobile forces advanced into the breach, under the control of 6th Guards Tank Army and the 4th Romanian Army. The Front HQ moved up to Debrecen, the new forward rail depot on the direct line from the Soviet Union. Repaired rails also extend north from Bulgaria to Belgrade to within 50 miles of Budapest.

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Just south of Budapest, 53rd Army saw a chance to get it’s own bridgehead and jumped at the chance. Further south, the Rumanian bridgehead from the prior week was consolidated by 57th Army. Near the Danube bend, the 4th Guards Army and IV Rumanian Corps continued their slow advance, faced by no less than 8 Axis divisions. Tying down these units was critical, allowing operations in the north to succeed. South of the Danube bend, the recently arrived 2nd Bulgarian Army, assisted by several Yugoslavian divisions, pushed back the weaker Axis Croatian forces. East of Sarajevo, the Bulgarian I Corps made little progress.

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There is talk, given the success of the operations in Yugoslavia, of having most of the Bulgarian forces withdraw within the next 2 months. My hope is that the built up Yugoslavians will be able to take the place of most of these units in the Sarajevo area, while some Soviet units freed from Greece will fill in for the 2nd Bulgarian Army west of Belgrade. The units from Greece are marching back to the operable rail lines in southwestern Bulgaria and will be catching trains headed north over the next several turns. In the far south, the Axis forces in Albania are clearly exhausted and out of supply. They made no effort to defend the port of Durres, so the Yugoslavians seized it, and with the help of a few Soviet and Bulgarian divisions, surrounded all of the Axis forces. Next turn they should be able to force their surrender. There are probably about 3 German divisions here, including the German 1st Mountain Division. A few of the Soviet units began to peel off and head up the coast toward Mostar. Just to the south of the map shown below, the last 24000 Germans in Greece were forced to surrender (2+ German divisions).

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The losses screen tells the tale for turn 10. The continued surrender of bypassed Axis units, and the punishment taken north of Budapest have weakened the Axis forces. Although some reinforcements have no doubt continued to arrive, the Axis manpower strength on the map was reduced by 35k this turn. the weather forecast for next turn is more of the same, while it's possible that weather fronts may bring heavy rain in two weeks. Is it possible that the war in the Balkans could be over by Christmas?

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malyhin1517
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

At the 11th turn in Hungary, as a result of the enemy's breakthrough north of Budapest towards Bratislava, there was a threat of encirclement of Budapest. In this area, I have practically no combat-ready troops. In order to hold the front line, I am forced to divide the German divisions into regiments that cannot effectively resist the Soviet rifle and mechanized corps. The Hungarian units do not actually recover after the defeat due to the lack of personnel and weapons. The situation is close to disaster.
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In Yugoslavia, German and Hungarian waxes are on the defensive and cannot actively operate against superior enemy forces. In the west of Yugoslavia, the destruction of partisans has actually been completed.
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In Greece, the last German troops were destroyed. In Albania, the death throes of Army Group E, the last troops of which took up defensive positions in Tirana and in the mountains of northern Albania.
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Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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Joel Billings
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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by Joel Billings »

Turn 11 (Oct 29 – Nov 4)

German forces have shifted north, trying to counter the operation north of Budapest. However, given the weather and the wide gap in the line, a complete line was not filled in, and what was there were all regiments. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Soviet mobile forces, feeling the impact of the constant movement forward as well as the mud, are running out of steam. MPs were generally in the 20s. Thankfully the cavalry are a little better off. I’ve tried to rest a few units where I could, but the opportunities for gains have been too great to pass up. The heavy mud to the north, prevented a movement in that direction, so it was straight toward Bratislava. Three good German regiments fought a valiant delaying action (one losing 90% of its tanks), but in the end another 30-50 miles were gained. A Cavalry Division and a Tank Corps managed to reach the outskirts of Bratislava but had nothing left and couldn’t attempt to seize the city. In the far north, the advance was only slowed by the heavy mud, while 4 Axis units are trapped by the mountains and will likely be unable to get away. It may be possible to reach Brunn and the north edge of the map within a week or two as there’s not much opposition. Around Budapest, more crossings were made just to the north and south of Budapest, making it almost certain that Budapest will be surrounded next week. This sector appears ready for a total collapse. The only caveat is that heavy rain is forecast to come as far south as Lake Balaton and Budapest next week. If it does, it will bring heavy mud to the entire region.

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In the center, the 22nd SS Cavalry Division was pushed back with heavy losses by 3 Rumanian infantry divisions supported by 4 artillery and rocket units. Thanks in large part to the Rumanians, the 57th Army got 2 divisions over the Danube and started a drive toward Lake Balaton. In heavy fighting, 4th Guards Army gained another 10 miles toward Pecs. Further south, the 2nd Bulgarian Army continued its offensive against mostly Croatian garrison units, pushing them back 20 miles. Even some Yugoslavian units were able to make progress about 50 miles northeast of Sarajevo.

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In the south, Bulgarian I Corps infiltrated toward Sarajevo, with little opposition remaining in the area. It looks like most Axis units here have shifted north. In Albania, over 70,000 mostly German forces surrendered, including 3+ German divisions. This was the culmination of Beethoven’s early southern strategy, more of which will be discussed later. The rapid Soviet advance in the north has certainly been aided by the inability to evacuate the German forces in the south. Those German units did tie down some Soviet units, but many of those have already caught trains headed north.

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It’s worth noting that due to the rapid advance and the poor weather, the Soviet Air Force has mostly been moving up and resting this turn. The air losses were brutal for both sides in the opening months of this campaign.

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And here’s the graph for total men in the game so far. Note a lot of the Soviet manpower decline was from disbanding of partisan units. Some of these have flowed back into units over the past few turns. So the main question for next turn is will the weather be enough to hold back the Soviet onslaught as it heads toward Bratislava, Vienna, and points northwest toward Germany.

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Re: Drama on the Danube (SI DLC) AAR (Beethoven Soviets vs Malyhin Axis)

Post by malyhin1517 »

The only good news for the Axis at turn 12 of the game is the total annihilation of the partisans in Yugoslavia. Everything else is very bad and the outlook is even worse. The Axis does not have enough troops to create a stable line of defense, and the schedule for the arrival of replacements also does not promise anything good for the Axis. All hope for bad weather and logistical problems for the Soviets, but these hopes did not justify themselves. Judging by intelligence data, the enemy has good supplies in almost all regions of the map. At the same time, in Yugoslavia, the supply lines of the Axis were cut off and, due to the lack of the possibility of repairing the railway, I was forced to gradually withdraw from Yugoslavia closer to the supply depots.
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Sorry, i use an online translator :(
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