The invasion of Romania and the Balkan countries. – The four groups of qualified “Ukrainian” armies, under the orders of Žukov (I), Malinovskij (II), Tolbuchin (III) and Petrov (IV), who had settled in the Carpazî Selvosi and at Prut, from the sources to the mouth, at the end of April, the offensive on the whole front resumed in the first days of August. The two fortresses that protected the accesses to the central Carpazî, Sambor and Boryslaw, capitulate on the 7th; 12 German-Romanian divisions were encircled in Cernǎuţi on the 27th and, having crossed the Romanian border on the 22nd, the Soviets entered Galaţi, Iaši and Ismail, at the mouth of the Danube. The Germans renounce to defend the plain of Wallachia and retreat to the Carpazî; so that the Soviet armies of the Second Ukrainian front rapidly advance into the interior of the country, first of all occupying the oil area of PloeŞti (30 August); the day after Bucharest, reaching the Bulgarian border between Giurgiuc and Silistria (2 September). The further advance develops in three directions: to the south, through Bulgaria for Rusciuc and Plevna on Sofia, which is occupied on 18 September without encountering resistance, having signed the armistice on 9 September; to the west, along the Danube with the aim of Turnu Severin, reached after a lively struggle on the 6th together with the Romanian-Yugoslav border; to the north, from the PloeŞti-Râmnicul-Vâlcea front to the passes of the Transylvanian Alps, with the aim of reaching the Hungarian border to compete with the troops operating for the Eastern and Wild Carpathians, for the invasion of Hungary. While the resistance of the German-Magyar troops is vigorous in the footsteps of the Eastern and Wild Carpathians, so as to stop the progress of the Soviet troops, the same does not happen in the Transylvanian Alps, which are crossed both at the Oituz pass and at those of Bran and Turnu RoŞu. BraŞov is occupied on the 6th, on the 10th Sibiu; on the 11th, Alba Iulia; Deva, the 14th. The rapidity of the movement is explained by the fact that the Romanian troops pass to the camp of the Soviets and immediately collaborate with them in the fight against the ancient allies. The advance continues at an accelerated pace, both towards the Hungarian spring with Transylvania, the main target: Cluj and Oradea Mare; both to the west, straddling the MureŞ river, with the aim of Budapest; especially in the latter direction, so that Arad is reached by the Second Ukrainian front on 24 September and, after crossing the border on 9 October, Makó and Gyula are occupied.
Meanwhile, the third Ukrainian front penetrates into Yugoslavia and Negotin connects with Marshal Tito’s liberation army, proceeding rapidly together on Belgrade, where the Germans intended to resist indefinitely. The battle for Belgrade, in fact, was hard and long and ended on 22 October.
According to iamhigher.com, the troops of the 4th Ukrainian front, engaged in the bitter struggle in the mountains, manage to overcome the defense in mid-October, which leaves the ridge line from the hill of Łupków to that of the Tartars. The defenses on the Central Carpathians from the Dukla pass to that of Jablonica still resist, attacked by the troops of the first Ukrainian front of Marshal Konev from Galicia.
With the entry, from the east, of the 2nd front (Malinovskij) into the Hungarian plain, a single block was formed with the armies of the 4th front, which converged on Budapest. The struggle flares up on the upper and middle Tisza and between this river and the Danube: the center of the struggle Debreczen; while the right wing engages in the Slovak Carpazî to penetrate Slovakia and give the hand to Marshal Konev and then proceed to Moravia and Bohemia.
Debreczen falls on October 22; Transylvania was totally cleared of the Germans on the 27th; Budapest resisted and only on February 13, 1945, reduced to a heap of ruins, after the failure of repeated attempts to free it made by the German-Magyars, capitulated. The tenacious resistance lasted 45 days and the victor captured 110,000 men, between Germans and Hungarians.
However, operations continued during the siege of the Hungarian capital. The 4th Ukrainian front had penetrated Slovakia, had reached and passed the Hron and had advanced into the high Tatra valleys, occupying Košice and PreŞov on 28 November.
On the western front the Tolbuchin Soviets cross the Danube at Mohács on 1 December and occupy Cinquechiese (Pécs) and Szekszárd; after which, with a large conversion to the right, they bet on Paks and Kaposvár that the Germans and Hungarians defend to the bitter end. The obstacle is overcome and the offensive proceeds between Drava and Balaton to the NE. and to the O. of Kaposvár, and on 6 December the Soviets abut the lake. At the same time in northern Hungary they cross the Slovak border at Lučenec and east of this locality and enter the Nitra mountains and then towards the Little Carpazî, in the direction of Bratislava.
Between Balaton and Danube the Soviet pressure increases in the third decade of December; but a great battle is fought in Alba Reale (Székesfehérvár), which continues throughout the month. At the end of 1944 the situation was very favorable to the Soviets. The armies of the USSR were deployed from the northern frontier of East Prussia to the Drava, on a front that tended to converge. It still had a profound salient in the center, in Poland, in the Łódz region and the left wing far ahead of the rest of the front in Slovakia and Bulgaria; but this was due to the different intensity of the resistance encountered: minimum in the south (Romania and Balkan), maximum in the north (East Prussia).
The pressing winter does not stop or even slow down the Soviet offensive; also because it must harmonize with that of the allied armies coming from the West. The final phase, which will be conclusive for the purpose of resolving the conflict and which will be summed up in the assault on the Reich fortress from east and west, begins without any interruption and as regards Soviet action, takes on the form and essence of a great front maneuver, with maximum effort in the center, on the Poznań-Berlin route. It will give rise to parallel battles on the Oder. The supreme fight on the Oder will be preceded by operations in the three sectors: northern, central and southern, which will end with the wing battles necessary to reach the general objective with the expected alignment.