Serbia / Romania


SERBIA the Defiant & Romania: Transylvanian Gambit

A two game set.

Note that these titles are now included with The Eastern Front: 1914 – 1917.

Serbia the Defiant

August 1914:

Austria-Hungary is determined to punish Serbia for the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Yet the Austro-Hungarian army does not have adequate forces to both defend against the Russians and to conduct operations against Serbia.

Determined to attack anyway, the Austro-Hungarian army moves across the Serbian frontier with the two weak armies it has left in the theater. The initial offensive goes poorly as the battle experienced and well led Serb army throws the invaders back across the borders. Soon Serbia is in a position to counter-invade Austria-Hungary.

The Austro-Hungarians regroup and try again later in the year. Massing to the northwest of Serbia, they re-enter the country and are successful in driving the Serbs to the south, capturing Belgrade. But the success is bought at a high price. Depleted Austro-Hungarian units with tenuous supply lines are now all that is left of the invading armies. The Serbs counterattack, Belgrade is retaken, and the Austro-Hungarians are again driven from Serbian soil.

October 1915:

Germany had left Serbia to be dealt with by the Austro-Hungarians, but now the pressures of the British campaign in Gallipoli mandated the opening of supply lines through Serbia to the hard pressed Turks. A German army is sent to assist the Austro-Hungarians with ending the Serbian problem once and for all. Promises are also made to the Bulgarian government for Serb territory in return for their participation.

The combined weight of the additional enemies overwhelms the Serbs who have received little help from their allies. But the Serb army refuses to collapse.  Taking their prisoners with them the retreat through the snow covered mountain passes into Albania, where they are moved by allied navies to the refuge of Corfu, where they can reorganize to fight again, even if not from their own territory.

Romania: the Translyvanian Gambit

August 1916:

Recent Entente success against the Central Powers in the course of offensives on both the eastern and western fronts, together with promises of coveted territory convince Romania to join the Entente cause. Unfortunately for the Romanian’s, their hedging and “wait and see” attitude has caused them to delay their entry into the war until after the Entente offensives have been contained.

The Entente had hoped for Romanian action into Bulgaria, which, together with an allied offensive from Salonika would have put extreme pressure on the Bulgarian army. The Romanians however, opt to attack into Transylvania, the territory they desire most.

Only a motley crew of border guards and policemen in militia units guard the Austro-Hungarian province of Transylvania, yet they defend their territory well. The Romanians fail to push quickly deeper into themountainous terrain, and there is time for the last available Austro-Hungarian and German reserves to be rushed to the area.

The first aggressive action taken against the Romanians comes not from Transylvania, but from Bulgaria. There a mixed force of Germans, Bulgarian, and Turks under the able leadership of German Field Marshall von Mackensen, concentrates and quickly attacks into Romania to clear the southern bank of the Danube. The weak Romanian forces in the area are put to flight. Russia sends what reinforcements she can to the area, but the drain of the Brusilov offensive has left them with little to send to the new front.

Even the transfer of Romanian forces from Transylvania to the Danube is too late to thwart von Mackensen’s offensive, and a Romanian crossing of the Danube farther to the west is easily contained.

With attention now focused in the south, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians start action in the north to retake lost territory in Transylvania and to threaten Romania across the mountain passes. Since the Romanians had thinned their army in the conquered areas to meet von Mackensen’s threat, they are compelled to fall back slowly in the face of attacks by elite mountain units such as the German Alpine Korps.

The south bank of the Danube cleared, von Mackensen now reconcentrates for a crossing of the Danube to the west of Budapest. His successful crossing of the river, combined with successful German and Austro-Hungarian attacks that have captured the Transylvanian mountain passes, put the bulk of Romania in an untenable position. The fertile province of Wallachia, which will feed the Central Powers for another winter , falls, and Bucharest in entered by von Mackensen on a white charger.

Romania, which could have been a decisive factor had she entered the war at the height of the Brusilov and Somme offensives, or if she had attacked south instead of north, instead turns out to be a millstone around the neck of the Russians. The resources of her conquered territories allow the Central Powers to continue the fighting into 1918.


The Serbian Front.

The Romanian front.



  • Scale: 20 km per hex
  • 4 days per turn
  • Unit Sizes: Division / Brigade
  • 560 Backprinted Counters
  • Two 34″ × 22″ Maps