Europe 1944: Liberation of the Balkans
The Allied push through Belgium was stalled by an unexpected German counterattack through the Ardennes in December 1944, however the Soviet offensive continued into Hungary. In the Balkans, where insurgencies had been causing the Germans problems since their initial invasion, Yugoslav Partisans and Soviet troops liberated Belgrade, forcing Hitler to evacuate Greece and Albania.
14 Sep–24 Nov 1944 Belgrade Offensive▲
Beginning in September 1944 Soviet forces and Yugoslav Partisans launched separate but loosely cooperative operations against German forces in occupation of the area around the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade, while simultaneous Bulgarian and Yugoslav operations were conducted in the south. The attacks threatened to sever German communication lines to Greece, forcing Hitler to begin a general withdrawal from the Balkans. On 20 October the Yugoslavs and Soviets liberated Belgrade, although fighting in the area continued for another month.
29 Oct 1944–13 Feb 1945 Budapest Offensive▲
From October 1944 the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Soviet Ukrainian Fronts advanced into German-occupied Hungary. By late December they had reached the Danube and isolated the Hungarian capital Budapest, which they proceeded to besiege and assault. Despite German counteroffensives in January, Budapest finally fell to Soviet forces on 13 February 1945.
10 Nov 1944–8 May 1945 Retaking of Finnmark▲
Norwegian forces arrived in Kirkenes, Norway, traveling from Britain via Murmansk, relieving the Soviet forward positions and retaking Finnmark, the northernmost province of Norway, from the retreating Germans.
16 Dec 1944–25 Jan 1945 Battle of the Bulge▲
On 16 December 1944 the Germans launched their last major offensive campaign on the Western Front, advancing through the forested Ardennes region of Belgium in a last-ditch attempt to split the Western Allied forces. Despite achieving total surprise and isolating an American contingent at Bastogne, the Germans were halted by 24 December and Bastogne relieved by the US Third Army two days later. The battle continued for another month before the front line was effectively restored to its position prior to the attack.