Romanians

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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MikeWindheuser
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Romanians

Post by MikeWindheuser » Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:33 pm

Untill relatively recently, i did not know the extent to which the Romanians fought in the War. Could anyone give me any information about them , I know that they fought in the battle for Stalingrad and were swept away due to their lack of AT weapons, but not much else. In particular I would find their organisation, combat effectiveness and what, if any, AFVs they used interesting,

Mike
Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.

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Post by Ichi » Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:08 pm

lets see, not much but a start...

Few links:

http://miscarea.com/alte-limbi.htm
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=10353

The Romanian Legion of The Archangel Michael aka the Iron Guard(Garda De Fier)

The Romanian Cavalry and mountain troops can be classified in very good troops. For example during the end stage of the assault on Sevastopol, the 1st Romanian mountain division fought bravely. This unit was then between the 54. and 30. AK and took more than 10000 soviet POWs.

Manstein didn't judge the Romanian soldiers bad, according to him they did what they could with what they had. They had also no problem being led by German higher HQ because they were not interested in too much "national pride" that would have decreased the efficiency on the field. This fact is probably to be credited to Marshal Antonescu.

Nevertheless Manstein noted several points and/or drawbacks :
- the Romanian soldiers are brave and resistant
- the training is really insufficient, especially in close combat, and not at all adapted to modern warfare --> therefore sometimes high losses and also bad moral after that
- the NCO formation was really insufficient
- there were initially German minorities in the Romanian army but due to a national feeling these soldiers were not often promoted to higher ranks and they tried to join the German army
- corporal punishment of the troops was still in use
- the link between the soldiers and the officers was really weak in comparison of the cohesion of the German army
- the armament was often obsolete or insufficient especially for the AT means ... but one could ask why the German army didn't provide them better weapons perhaps ?
- there was also the idea that the Romanian troops had too much respect for the soviet troops in comparison to the German consideration for the soviets
Despite several facts, Manstein thought they fought well
Romania has lost on the Eastern Front 624 740 soldiers !
Antonescu, Marshal of Romania Ion Victor (1882-1946):
19-20: Commandant of Special School for Cavalry
22-23: Military Attaché to France
24-26: Military Attaché to Great Britain
26-27: Commanding Officer 9th Rosiori Cavalry Regiment
27-30: Commandant of Higher Military Academy
30-33: Commanding Officer ? Brigade
33-34: Chief General Staff
34-36: General Officer Commanding 3rd Division
: General Officer Commanding 4th Corps Area
37-38: Minister of War
40 : Retired
40-44: Conducator & Commander in Chief Armed Forces
41 : Commander in Chief Army Group Antonescu
41-42: Minister of War
46 : Condemned to death and executed as traitor



Romanian Waffen SS volunteers.

Another category, aside from German ethnics, of Romanian citizens that served in the Waffen-SS, were Romanian ethnics themselves. After the coup on 23 August 1944, a "government in exile" was established at Vienna, under the leadership of Horia Sima. In November 1944, Himmler decided to create the "Romanian National Army" from members of the Iron Guard (aka the Legion of the Archangel Michael) that had fled to Germany. However, these were too few: 120 were assigned for the new "government", 200 were sent to saboteur schools (see below) and only about 70-80 men remained. So they had to enlist POWs (most from the 4th Infantry Division), Romanians that were studying in Germany in August 1944 and were arrested afterwards, and deserters. Not all men joined because of their anti-communist beliefs. In fact the majority had to choose between starving in German camps and the German army. Frictions between the Iron Guard and Antonescu sympathizers among the "National Army" were frequent.

At the beginning of 1945, two regiments (each with two battalions) were ready for action. Horia Sima managed to convince the Germans not to use them against Romanian troops. The 3,000 men of the Waffen SS Grenadier Regiment Rumänische Nr. 1 saw action in Pomerania, north of Stettin, where they were almost completely wiped out. The second regiment was transformed into an AT regiment: Waffen SS Panzer-Zerstörer Regiment Rumänische Nr. 2. Despite the name, it was equipped with … bicycles. They were all taken prisoners by the Western Allies in May 1945. A third regiment began training, but because the end was near, they were used mainly as work teams.

Alongside these regular units several commando groups were trained. One of them, consisting of 70 men, was trained in guerilla warfare at Korneuberg. Another one was trained by the Abwehr and then parachuted behind Soviet lines, where they carried out sabotage missions. The most important of these groups was the one subordinated to Skorzeny’s SS Jagdverbände Sudost. They were suppose to take part in the March offensive in Hungary, which never actually took place. They participated, however, in several missions until the end of the war.

The majority of the Romanians fighting in the Waffen SS surrendered to the Western Allies, but some were sent back to Romania, where the new pro-Communist government would take care of them.

The Legion of the Archangel Michael symbol
Image

Corneliu Zelea-Codreanu
Image

Horia Sima, 1939 Comandant
Image

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Post by Victor Nitu » Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:12 am

MikeWindheuser, you could start by getting a hold of ONe of Mark Axworthy's books on the Romanian during WWII: one is entitled Third Axis, Fourth Ally and was published by Arms&Armour 1995, but is unfortunately very hard to find now. An extraordinary book, which should be reprinted. The other one is a scaled down version of the first published by Osprey in the Men-at-Arms series.

Online, there is a website in English, which offers an insight on many aspects of the Romanian participation in WWII: http://www.worldwar2.ro

There is also an article on Feldgrau regarding the cooperation between Romanian units and Manstein's 11th Army: http://www.feldgrau.com/articles.php?ID=75

I am sure that if you would search this section of the forum you will find some other topics on Romanian forces, like the material posted by Ichi on the Waffen SS volunteers, which was taken from a material I wrote some time ago.

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MikeWindheuser
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Post by MikeWindheuser » Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:50 am

Thankyou Ichi, both your post and links have been very useful in answering my questions. Thankyou Victor aswell, I will look for Third Axis, Fourth Ally in my local library and I believe that my local model store has some books by osprey coming in soon,

Mike
Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.

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Post by Ichi » Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:52 am

Sorry victor i forgot to mention you as the original poster.

Like i said, props to Victor Nitu ;)

Just the other day i came across a book on Romanian SS, i'll look it up and post about it as soon as i found it.

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Books about or with info on, Romanian SS

Post by Ichi » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:30 am

Waffen-SS Encyclopedia by Marc J. Rikmenspoel
ISBN: 0971765081 - English

Romanian Volunteers of the Waffen-SS, 1944-1945 by Richard Landwehr
ISBN: 0918184088 - English

Both books are rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Check http://www.amazon.com/ for more books and reviews on them.
There's an easy to use search option so...
They have new and used books. I bought a lot of books there and so far no disapointments ;)

Good luck, Ichi

p.s. I just found this picture of the Legion Horia Sima, they march trough boekarest, saluting the new head of state, General Antonescu. On top, middle of the picture, there is a photo of Cornel Zeleo Condreanu, founder of the Iron Guard.

Image

I scanned and uploaded this for you cus i thought you might like it. Romanian legion in traditional outfits. This photo was made in September 1940 after King Carol II declaired General Anthonescu to be "Conductor Statulul" (leader of State).

It's funny how you find out more and more about things, even though i had this book for about 20 years or so ;). The book i'm talking about is one of a large series of books about WWII, kinda like an encyclopedia about the war. I got them from my parents when i was a kid.

De 2e wereldoorlog - Verraad en Verzet
(The 2nd Worldwar - Treason and Resistance)
Published by Lecturama and written in Dutch

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rhaught
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Post by rhaught » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:47 pm

Agree with Victor. Go to the WW2 Romania forum, a lot of information. Especially helpful when trying to get an impression together.

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:16 am

Hi Guys,

The Waffen-SS lead is a diversion. Romanian Waffen-SS members were of virtually no significance either in the Waffen-SS or in Romania. It only goes to illustrate how the Waffen-SS publishing industry has hijacked the military history publishing industry. It is ridiculous that the subject of the Romanian Waffen-SS even merits a book to itself in English, let alone when the likes of "Third Axis, Fourth Ally" are out of print.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:19 am

P.S. The "five star rating" relates to the reliability of the book seller in getting purchases to clients, not to the quality of the book itself!

Sid.

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Post by Victor Nitu » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:02 am

Sid is right. The roughly 5,000 Romanians serving in the Waffen SS are just a small footnote in Romania's participation in WWII, as is the Iron Guard/Legion of the Archangel Michael, which disappeared even before Romania actively joined the war.

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Post by Ichi » Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:28 pm

sid guttridge wrote:P.S. The "five star rating" relates to the reliability of the book seller in getting purchases to clients, not to the quality of the book itself!

Sid.
There are 2 kinda ratings Sid, one for the sellers reliability and one set by people who wrote comments/insights about a sertain book.

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Romainan Army

Post by The Chief » Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:23 am

Mike,
Don't put down the Romanians at Stalingrad. The resistance that the Romanians put up on the flanks put the Soviets a couple weeks behind schedule. The Romanian performance at Stalingrad is often simplified in a similar way to the German blitz into Poland. Both the Romanians and Poles fought valiently and well, putting up far more resistance than expected. Even after Stalingrad, the Romanians did not have a defeatist attitude. It was once they were withdrawn from the front and put on anti-partisan, and costal watch duties that their morale plummeted.

As for AFV's that the Romanians used:
Czech R-1 (CKD AH-4)
Chech R-2 (LT-35)
Chech/German pkw-38T
German PZIII
German PZIV
German Tiger
German Panther
French/Polish FT17
Vickers 6-Ton
French R-35
TACOM T-60
TACOM R-2

For more information on Romanian armor go to http://www.tankhistory.com

The Romanian Marsalle tank destroyer never made it past the prototype stage.

For Aircraft:
No WW2 Aircraft book is worth it's salt if it doesn't include the Romainan IAR80/81. This is my standard for buying aircraft books. These planes were excellent domesticly produced aircraft which were modernized throughout the war. On par with the HE-112 and early BF-109 models (mind you, I haven't actually compared the stats, I'm in Iraq right now and do not have access to all my resources). The Romaninas also had a bomber force which included several Polish aircraft purchased before the war, and aquired some which fled in the wake of the German invasion.

Hope this helps!

-Rick

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Post by Victor Nitu » Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:58 am

No Tigers and Panthers in the Romanian Army during the war. After the war, the Soviets delivered several Panthers, which were in use until 1950. Also, no Vickers 6-ton served in the Romanian Army. For more details on Romanian armor, see:

http://www.worldwar2.ro/arme/?section=19

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Post by Benoit Douville » Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:47 pm

Rick,

I like your comparaison when you said that the Romanian performance at Stalingrad is often simplified in a similar way to the German blitz into Poland. I totally agree, both Army fought very well with courage and determination. I wonder why those myth still exist?

Regards

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Post by Athanaric » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:07 am

Hi MikeWindheuser,

Petre Dumitrescu, the commander of the 3rd Roumanian Army at the Don Bend wrote in 1945:"...At the Don Bend 4 soviet armies with 26-28 divisions of rifles, 4 infantry brigades, 4 cavalry divisions, 17 armour brigades and 2 aerian corps attaked 5 roumanian divisions...". Original romanian text:"Atacul rus s-a dezlantuit cu o mare putere in capul de pod de la Deviatkin, unde armatele 1 garda si 5 blindata au atacat pe frontul diviziilor 9 si 14 infanterie romane. Acest atac a fost flancat la dreapta lui de un atac demonstrativ, executat pe frontul diviziei a 11-a romane. In capul de pod de la Serafimovici au atacat trupe din armata a 21-a, iar la Kletskaia a atacat armata 65. Deci 4 armate ruse cu un total de 26-28 divizii de tragatori, 4 brigazi de infanterie, 4 divizii de cavalerie, 17 brigazi blindate si 2 flote aeriene au atacat 5 divizii romane. Superioritatea inamicului era colosala. Trupele romane din aparare au primit atacul luptand pe pozitie. Infanteristii aflati in gropi individuale, au fost in mare parte calcati de tancuri si amestecati cu pamantul. Artileria anticar, ca si artileria diviziilor, a tras cu deznadejde asupra carelor, insa fara efect, pana cand acestea au trecut peste tunuri si peste artileristi. Numeroase acte de eroism, facute de aparatorii frontului de pe Don, vor ramane pentru totdeauna necunoscute... " din lucrarea "Consideratii asupra bataliei din Cotul Donului" Petre Dumitrescu - Comandantul Armatei a Treia Romane, Bucuresti 1945

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