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The European Front
After gaining Banat and southern Hungary, the EA troops crossed into Serbia, where Serbian partisans informed them that the Soviets had fled to Albania, abandoning Belgrade and the rest of Serbia. With the help of the Serb partisans, the EA troops were able to liberate Albanian villages along the way to Tirana, where Stalin was resisting. In Poland and Byelorussia, EA troops were also gaining land, capturing cities such as Brest and Minsk by early October 1923. Their march on Moscow was now ready to begin. However, Secretary Trotsky went about fortifying major cities on the way, such as Smolensk and Novgorod. In the Balkans, Stalin once again fled Albania to Thessaloniki, Greece, were Greek and SRB troops were waiting for Stalin's "victorious homecoming" (Soviet media had wrongly informed the public of Soviet victories on every front). When Stalin arrived with his rag-tag army in October 1923, his comrades were very surprised of the news. At once, they set about fortifying the city at the maximum, and sending a few ships to guard Mount Athos and the surrounding islands. In November 1923, when the German troops arrived at the gates of the city, the city's Greek commander (forced to the job by Stalin who had fled to Bulgaria), General Constantin Padriodopoulos, immediately surrendered his city. The German and EA troops, joined by Bulgarian, Romanian, and Greek irregulars, stopped in the city for the winter, preparing for the final drive on Sofia and then Moscow. The orders for the attack were awaited for January 1st 1924.
The Asian Front
The Thai rebellion continued well into late 1923, blocking the Japanese counter-offensive and retreat. The Japanese government freed up its troops in Indochina and sent them to help the Thai government in Bangkok. Taking advantage of the weakness of the Japanese troops in Indochina, Napoleon IV and Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered an all-out invasion of Indochina. French paratroopers landed in the rice fields of Annam, while German and French marines landed in the south, near the Mekong Delta. The troops quickly progressed through the country side to Saigon, which fell in June 1923. The few Japanese defenders in Hue and Hanoi were both outnumbered, and after another French landing in Haiphong (in September), the Japanese were forced to cross into China and surrender Indochina. Meanwhile, the Dutch rebels in Indonesia were able to liberate Sumatra and most of Java by the end of summer. During the rain season, the Japanese troops were forced to leave all of Indonesia to prepare a counter-offensive with Maoist forces. However, the Maoist troops in Nepal were driven out by pro-EA rebels, and their few strongholds in central China were being constantly attacked by the Nationalist Chinese army, strengthened by EA convoys. By December 31st, Japanese forces were holding on to Shanghai while the British forces attacked Yunnan and the Franco-German troops marched north, directly towards Shanghai.