The Romanian Army in Bessarabia, 1940

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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KlemenL
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Post by KlemenL » Sat May 10, 2003 7:30 am

Thanks Sid(ney). Will get back to you later in the evening. I have the list of Soviet (and in some cases also Romanian) casualties for some skirmishes in Bessarabia in 1940, in some cases even the names and ranks of the fallen Soviet soldiers.

Lp,

Klemen
US PGA Commentator - "One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing so well is that, before each tee shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them .... Oh my god!!!!! What have I just said?!!!"

Victor Nitu
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Post by Victor Nitu » Sat May 10, 2003 10:11 pm

KlememL wrote: dom,the Romanian Mod' site(http://www.mapn.ro) has an english version where you can see the new structure of the Armed Forces.
I am not aware of any such book, but then again I am not a historian and I do not know all the books that are being published. I could only find few details in my books. Sorry.

All I could find so far in a book I have (12 invazii rusesti in Romania by Nicolae Arnautu) was that a battalion was forced by the Soviets to surrender its weapons in Balti (Beltsy) railway station on 29 June. They also stopped the embarkation of some Romanian troops in the port of Reni.

I have also found some short personal testimonies, if you are interested.
KlememL wrote: Can you name the locality? I could then see if I have something in my files.
Sorry I cannot for the moment. The episode was mentioned shortly in the memories of a former political prisoner, who met an officer who fought there. But I did not manage so far to locate the fragment.
KlememL wrote: Sounds great! Where did you grandmother's family live in? I mean which town?
They lived in a village (called Budai) near the city of Telenesti. They owned a lot of land in the region (over 800 ha) and had large herds of cattle. All went down the drain. My grandmother, her sister and mother left with only two carts, but they also had to abandon these and barely escaped a rape by Soviet troops. But the relatives who remained in Bessarabia had a less fortunate fate. Most of the men were either deported or shot by the NKVD.
KlememL wrote: Are there in Bucuresti any archives we could turn on to get some more information about Bessarabia 1940?
Probably the Archives of the Ministry of Defense.
KlememL wrote: It seems the Romanians were indeed on a fast run for most of the time.
Well, because the decision to evacuate was communicated to late (because for months Carol II had said how not one meter of land would be ceded without a fight), it was impossible to take all the material. Even the civilians were evacuated too late and many left just like my grandmother did.
KlememL wrote: Well, Romania is the Land of Count Dracula, isn't it
He was not a count and he did not rule in the whole of Romania, but only in the southern part (Wallachia).

sid guttridge
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Post by sid guttridge » Mon May 12, 2003 7:43 am

Hi Klemen,

Looking at the material I sent you earlier, it seems possible that only 3rd Army plus 1st Mountain Brigade were actually in the parts of Basarabia and Northern Bucovina annexed by the USSR. The Siret Group was presumably behind the River Siret, which is well outside the annexed area.

I see that the Romanians had only three days to evacuate Basarabia. Compare this with the ten days the Czechs had to pull out of the much smaller Sudetenland. It is also noticable that the Germans kept to their phase lines, whereas the Russians did not.

Look forward to the Soviet OB.

Cheers,

Sid.

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KlemenL
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Post by KlemenL » Mon May 12, 2003 5:00 pm

Zivjo Victor & Sidney,

Sorry for a bit late reponse. Got kinda tired asnd bored of internet the last few days. The fact that no "interesting" discussion are taking place on this forum also doesn't help much. :wink:
I am not aware of any such book, but then again I am not a historian and I do not know all the books that are being published. I could only find few details in my books. Sorry.
No need to sorry. I am just a bit suprised this chapter is not covered very much in Romania's military history.
I have also found some short personal testimonies, if you are interested.
OF COURSE!!! Gotta to confess that my sources don't mention anything about the incidents at Beltsy or Reno.
Probably the Archives of the Ministry of Defense.
Do they have perhaps an e-mail address to make first an inquiry whether they have anything on Bessarabia 1940 at all? :wink:
He was not a count and he did not rule in the whole of Romania, but only in the southern part (Wallachia).
Yes, I know. I was just joking a bit on Romania's expense. Sorry. :wink:
Well, because the decision to evacuate was communicated to late (because for months Carol II had said how not one meter of land would be ceded without a fight), it was impossible to take all the material. Even the civilians were evacuated too late and many left just like my grandmother did.
What has forced Carol II. to give up so quickly from his previous stand?
Looking at the material I sent you earlier, it seems possible that only 3rd Army plus 1st Mountain Brigade were actually in the parts of Basarabia and Northern Bucovina annexed by the USSR. The Siret Group was presumably behind the River Siret, which is well outside the annexed area.
After going through my dusty piles of paper this evening, I was finally able to find some records I have in connection with this campaign. According to some of the information from my notes its is evidently that the province of Bessarabia was defended on the eve of Soviet invasion in 1940 by the 3rd (Chisinau) Army Corps and the 4th (Iasi) Army Corps. The 3rd Romanian Army Corps, headquartered in Chisinau controlled 12th Infantry Division (Ismail/Izmail) and ill-fated 15th Infantry Division (Chisinau/Kishinev). The 4th Romanian Army Corps oon the other hand had under the 7th Infantry Division (Roman), 8th Infantry Division (Cernauti/Chernovtsy), 14th Infantry Division (Balti/Bel'tsy) and the 2nd Cavalry Division (Iasi).

The Dniester river line was breachd on 28 June by special detachments and separate battalions leading the way. The Prut river line was assumed by the Soviets on 20 June.

The 12th Army was organized in southwest Ukraine to tackle Bukowina, while 9th Army, fresh from the Russo-Finnish Winter War, was also called to enter Bessarabia together with 5th Army.

According to the official Romanian documents the Romanian losses were 9 killed, 5 wounded and 62,503 missing, mostly deserters, POWs and of course soldiers from Moldavia who had simply fled home forming the majority of this group.

The Soviets lost some 10 men killed, and that's all what I could come up regarding the Soviet losses.
Look forward to the Soviet OB.
The Soviet opposed against the Romanians three armies (12th, 5th and 9th). Altogether the Soviet Southern Front opposing Bessarabia and Bukowina consisted of 32 (or 31) rifle divisions, 2 (or 3) motorised rifle divisions, 6 cavalry divisions, 11 tank brigades, 3 airborne brigades (one in reserve), 14 corp's artillery regiments, 16 artillery regiments of the Main Reserve Command and 4 heavy artillery divisions. In numbers this would be: 460,000 men, ca. 12,000 guns and mortars, ca. 3,000 tanks and 2,160 aircraft. Or to put it in another way the Romanians stood no chance had they rejected Molotov's demands. :wink:

Hopefully these information would help you to come up with some new interesting details about the Romanian army. :D :D

Lp,

Klemen
US PGA Commentator - "One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing so well is that, before each tee shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them .... Oh my god!!!!! What have I just said?!!!"

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Post by sid guttridge » Tue May 13, 2003 7:32 am

Hi Klemen,

Thanks very much for that. Its the first detail I have ever seen of this operation.

You may be interested in Gafencu's comments on p.293 of "Prelude to the Russian Campaign:

"Since the time was obviously inadequate, the German government intervened to request some delay, which Moscow accepted in principle, but its armies did not respect in fact: the evacuation of Romanian troops was made under the constant pressure of Soviet troops, who took the course of jostling the Romanians and cutting their retreat in order to possess themselves of large quantities of provisions, munitions, and war material."

As the Russian first echelon was mechanised, whereas none of the Romanian units were, this was quite easy for the Russians.

Cheers,

Sid

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Post by Victor Nitu » Wed May 14, 2003 8:42 am

KlemenL wrote: OF COURSE!!!
This fragment is from the book: Romania in al doilea razboi mondial by Dinu C Giurrescu, All Istoric, 1999.
The memories are of mrs. Silvia Ciplea (maiden name Jeleriu)
Thursday, 27 June 17:00. The city was in turmoil. The word was that Bessarabia and Cernauti will be given to the Soviets. The officials had not said anything yet!

At 18:00, the military commander of Cernauti Railway Station, cpt. (r) attorney dr. Gheorghe Jeleriu (my father), received the confirmation: the next day, 28 June, at 14:00, Soviet troops were going to cross the river Prut and occupy Cernauti. Only 20 hours remained for evacuation.

Cpt. Gheorghe Jereiu requested the approval to announce the news to the population. The answer was: Do what you think it is necessary.

The prefect of the Cernauti county did not receive the permission, however. The deputy prefect Dimitrie Socoleanu did not even let his family know. The vpeople in the villages around Cernauti did not know what was going on. Some fled, on foot, losing everything they had.

In the morning of 28 June 1940, the church bells were ringing, like for the dead. People were running. Others kneeled and prayed. Many were in a state of shock.

Groups of communist agitators strated the provocations. They were booing the army, throwing with stones at them. Around 10:30 a young man climbed on the city hall, threw down the flag and replaced with the red banner. The army had strict orders not to react to provocations. A soldier however aims and shoots, killing him.

Hundreds and hundreds of people were heading towards the rail station carrying whatever they could gather in a few hours. Wagons were hastily brought and the people were shoved in there as many as possible.

The last train left Cernauti at 14:00. Cpt. Jeleriu was in it. Five minutes before he had received the news that Soviet battalions had entered the city.


KlemenL wrote: Do they have perhaps an e-mail address to make first an inquiry whether they have anything on Bessarabia 1940 at all
The site of the MoD is http://www.mapn.ro
KlemenL wrote: What has forced Carol II. to give up so quickly from his previous stand?
The fact that Romania was practically hanging in the air as he put it in his diary on 28 May 1940. We were practically alone and in no situation to defend ourselves against all our foes. The most surprising thing however is the fact that he postponed the evacuation, knowing this very well.

For example, the CO of the 4th Army requested the evacuation of Bessarabia on 12 June 1940, but he was refused, in order not to create panic. The government was probably more interested to keep its image.
Last edited by Victor Nitu on Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Victor Nitu
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Post by Victor Nitu » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:15 am

Although after the annexation Bessarabia by the SU, I found the following incidents on the new Romanian-Soviet border.

Royal Decree No. 156bis/27 January 1941
The Virtutea Militara Medal peace version 2nd class awarded to:
serg. Dumitru Damian
cap. Vasile Arion
fruntas Vasile Cretu
sold. Marin Dumitrascu
sold. Dumitru Gradinaru
sold. Ioan Calugaru,
who distinguished themselves during the attacks made by the Russians with superior forces on the Tiganasi and Ocrub posts on 11 August 1940.

On 25-26 October 1940, at 01.00 hours, four Soviet monitors landed marines on the Daleru, Tataru and Maican Eyots, located at the mouth of the Chilia branch of the Danube. There was a skirmish with the few Romanian frontier-guards, which left six dead behind, before they retreated in front of the Soviet numerical superiority. Thus the Soviets gained control over the Chilia channel and have kept the eyots since (today they belong to the Ukraine).

Royal Decree No. 1270/8 May 1941
The Virtutea Militara Medal peace version 2nd class awarded to serg. Alexandru Barbu (drafted 1938) and sold. Gheorghe Ungureanu (drafted 1937), who, on 5 January 1941, captured captain Alexander Kozlov from the 25th Frontier-guard [NKVD] Regiment from Cahul

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Enrico Cernuschi
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Post by Enrico Cernuschi » Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:36 pm

Hello Victor,
what happened on 11 Aug. 1940? Who gained, at least, that day, Tiganasi and Ocrub (and where are them)?

Thank you.

EC
Ciàpla adasi, stà léger.

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Post by dragos03 » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:48 pm

It seems like the first Romanian officer who died in WW2 was Captain Ioan Boros from the 16th Artillery Regiment, 6th Infantry Division. In the morning of 29 June 1940, at 4 o'clock, Soviet tanks entered the small town of Herta. Captain Boros told them that it must be a mistake, cause Herta was not supposed to be occupied by the Red Army. The Russians opened fire with the tank machineguns, killing Cpt. Boros, Slt. Alexandru Dragomir and a Jewish soldier named Solomon. It seems that Molotov, when drawing the new border on the map, used a pen with a thick head and included Herta in the Soviet zone by mistake. The mistake was never corrected and Herta is now in Ukraine.

Another clash: on 1 July, Soviet armoured elements tried to seize the Giurgiulesti bridgehead before the agreed schedule. The 5th Tank Company from the Romanian 1st Tank Regiment was defending the bridgehead, commanded by Captain Napoleon Popescu. At 11 o'clock in the morning, the 1st Platoon (Lt. Mihail Pana) opened fire and destroyed 3 Soviet tankettes who ignored the warnings to stop.

My own grandfather, Slt. Virgil Baldescu, was fired at by some local Jews while evacuating equipment from airfields in Basarabia.

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Post by Victor Nitu » Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:46 am

Enrico Cernuschi wrote:Hello Victor,
what happened on 11 Aug. 1940? Who gained, at least, that day, Tiganasi and Ocrub (and where are them)?

Thank you.

EC
Tiganasi is northwest of Iasi, on the Jijia River, several km inside the Romanian border. See the map here:
http://www.hartionline.ro/ro/harta/j2.html
It was just a Soviet incursion west of the Prut.
Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the decree for the decoration of officers in charge there, which I think had more details.

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