Fortress Budapest focuses on the Soviet offensives that swept through the Carpathian Basin into Hungary and toward the southern flank of the Reich itself in 1944-45. The 100-day siege of Budapest and the three waves of panzer-led counterattacks to relieve the city took place at the same time as Hitler’s Ardennes offensive, and so have often been overlooked in history. This book also covers Operation Spring Awakening, the last German offensive of the war in March 1945.
Whilst this book covers the history of the eighth months of battles, it is first and foremost, a wargaming supplement – packed with scenarios, special rules and new units. Author Bryan Cook has jam-packed the 168 pages of this supplement, encouraging different ways to play Bolt Action, particularly in its central setting of Budapest. The book contains full rules for urban warfare, with many of the included scenarios focussing on smaller 4 x 4′ tables. This gives such street fights their own distinct feel within the Bolt Action game system.
These urban warfare rules cover city fighting, buildings, sewer movement, command & control, city siege assets and minefields. The use of these rules are not restricted to the scenarios within the book, and can be adapted for use with any army and collection.
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Major Edömér Tassonyi was the commanding officer of the I/I Battalion. He developed a hard fighting and pragmatic reputation while fighting on the Attila Line to defend his nation’s capital. His courage under fire and leadership helped his paratroopers hold the front line for 19 days of continuous close combat.
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The Soviet units assigned to the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts (the armies tasked with taking Hungary and Austria) featured many armoured units equipped with Lend-lease tanks and vehicles, so these units are now properly fleshed out and part of the Soviet army list. There are also a number of specialist units that get force selectors to help represent them. The Urban Assault Group is a dedicated street fighting formation boasting loads of close range firepower and access to many more heavy weapons than a standard platoon. In contrast to this ponderous unit, there is the fast moving Forward Detachment Reconnaissance Party. These platoons ranged ahead of the main tank units in armoured carriers such as the M3 Scout Car, seizing vital bridges and crossroads. This selector allows you to field a rapid moving platoon of infantry mounted in armoured personnel carriers bristling with machine guns. These specialised platoons offer Soviet players a new experience as neither force is your typical high order dice affair, but they gain other advantages instead.
The Hungarian campaign of 1944-45 was of vital importance to Hitler’s plans and he deployed almost half his powerful panzer divisions to the theatre to secure the oil fields and guard the Reich’s southern approaches. In this book you will find six new German theatre selectors, some of these allow you to field dedicated Panzer Kampfgruppe, Panzergrenadier, and Panzer Reconnaissance platoons. These feature new special rules and structures to really help capture the feel of these units on the table.
A mixed German-Hungarian platoon gives German players the opportunity to add a few Hungarian units to their armies – giving ample opportunity to both inject variety in both painting and gaming.
At the time this campaign book is set the Romanians have actually just switched sides. After their country falls to the Soviet offensives they now join their former enemies on the Allied side to fight against their ancestral foe, the Hungarians. Again there are a few new units for the Romanians to add to their army list, the elite Mountain Division and hard fighting Combat Engineers. There is also a new theatre selector to cover the Romanians fighting under the Soviets on the Allied side, including a new and complete set of national special rules allowing for some Soviet supporting units to be added in.
Whilst the book contains new theatre selectors and units for Soviets, Germany and Romania, the army that receives the most benefit is undoubtedly the Hungarian Army, with no fewer than twenty new infantry, artillery and vehicle units. You’ll find a wide variety of troops in the book: light infantry specialists of the Carpathian Mountains Border Guard, tough as boots Paratroopers, Assault Pioneers, a variety of militias defending Budapest and even several rocket weapon systems produced by Hungary’s own engineers. New theatre selectors cover Hungary’s Armoured Field Divisions, Assault Artillery Batteries, Border Guards, as well as the defenders of Budapest itself.
A Hungarian Army can make for a unique force on the tabletop, owing in part to their special rules:
- Axis Support – Hungarian armies are allowed to include, that does not count towards a platoon’s maximum, one additional unit from the German or Italian army list, within certain restrictions.
- Experienced Officer Corps – Due to their extensive training, all Hungarian HQ units count as Fanatics meaning that they are not prone to fleeing when the going gets dire.
The ability to include one other Axis unit makes for a fantastic amount of variety between collector’s Hungarian armies. Once fielded alongside some of Hungary’s more bizarre rocket weaponry, a Hungarian Bolt Action army can really stand out on the tabletop.
The staple of any Bolt Action army is its infantry and though a Hungarian rifle platoon was not as well trained in infantry tactics as their German comrades, they will serve you well on the field of Bolt Action, whether in support of German allies in the offensive of Operation Barbarossa or in their stoic defence of Budapest.
Two versions of Honved divisions are available, allowing you to create a force in winter gear if you so choose.