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Aspects of the Romanian front

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Realised by me, a 15-year old student, very interested in the history of the Great War, especially about what my country did during the war. Many times forgotten, Romania still has many war stories to tell, some of them very impressive.

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Morar Andrei

Battle of Marasesti - The Last Stand

It's been a long time since my last post in this blog, so here is one interesting article.



The Romanian 2nd Army's success at Marasti forced the Central Powers to revise their plans. The offensive planned in the Namoloasa area was abandoned and the bulk of the forces were moved in the Focsani area. The new offensive was going to be launched west of the Siret River, on the Focsani – Marasesti – Adjud direction, with the German 9th Army (general Johannes von Eben) and on the Oituz Valley with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army (Archduke Joseph). The objective was to encircle and destroy the 2nd Army.


On the other side, the Romanian General Headquarters decided to cancel its attack in the Namoloasa area. The Russian 4th Army had to be pulled out from the front in southern Moldavia and moved north, where it could threaten the flank of the Austro-German forces advancing in Galicia. The Romanian 1st Army was going to replace the Russian troops departing the area.

For the offensive, the German 9th Army was strengthened with units brought from the French (the Alpine Corps, which arrived on 6 August) or Italian fronts. General von Eben decided to deliver the main blow with the German 1st Corps (6 divisions), while to its left the German 18th Reserve Corps (3 divisions) had to pin down the Entente troops opposite it. The right wing of the 9th Army was manned by the Ramnic Group (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one German and one Austro-Hungarian divisions and the Alpine Corps, which arrived in the area during the first day of the battle. The German forces in the attack sector were 102 infantry battalions, 10 cavalry squadrons, 24 pioneer companies, 2 armored cars, 1,135 machine-guns, 356 mortars, 223 field guns and 122 heavy guns and howitzers.


Opposite the German 1st Corps was the Russian 4th Army, which had in contact with the enemy only two corps: on the right the 8th (3 divisions) and on the left the 7th (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one infantry and one cavalry divisions. These totaled 84 infantry battalions, 52 cavalry squadrons, 280 field guns and 36 heavy guns. The bulk of the Romanian 1st Army was at Tecuci and was getting to cross the Siret River and replace the Russians.

The German 9th Army's offensive was preceded by a powerful artillery preparation, which began at 0430 hours on 6 August 1917. At 0730 hours the 1st Corps (general Kurt von Morgen) started the attack, with the 12th Bavarian, 76th and 89th Infantry Divisions in the first line and with another two divisions in the second echelon. The front defended by the Russian 13th and 34th Infantry Divisions was broken and 10 km breach was created. The Russians started a disorderly retreat east of the Siret River. At the request of the Russian command, general Constantin Christescu, CO of the 1st Army, ordered maj. general Eremia Grigorescu, CO of the Romanian 6th Corps, to intervene west of the Siret with the 5th Infantry Division and with the 9th Infantry Division to defend the river's eastern bank. The 32nd Dorobanti Regiment Mircea and the 8th Dorobanti Regiment Buzau counterattacked and stopped the Central Powers offensive on the line Moara Alba – Doaga – Furceni.


Seeing that the chances to force the crossing over the river are minimal, in the morning of 7 August, the German command redirected the offensive to the north, with four divisions. The effort was concentrated against the Romanian 5th Infantry Division, but the assault was repulsed. However, a bulge was created at the junction with the Russian troops, but the situation was saved by the counterattack of two battalions from the division's reserve. At noon, after a short artillery preparation, the enemy renewed the attack enjoying a 3 to 1 numerical superiority. The 3rd Vanatori Regiment held out in the Doaga village against an entire German division. The same thing happened in the sector of the 32nd Dorobanti Regiment Mircea. The soldiers in this unit made several bayonet charges only in their shirts, because of the suffocating heat, managing to push back the Germans to their positions. In the evening, the 1st Corps attacked and broke through the front of the Russian division on the right flank of the Romanian 5th Division. Threatened with the encirclement, the 32nd Regiment retreated to the Cosmesti Bridge. To fill the gap created, the Romanian 9th Infantry Division was introduced west of the Siret River. It was continuously attacked. In the evening of 7 August, under the cover of darkness, a German group approached and assaulted the 9th Division's flank, engaging into hand-to-hand fights. The Romanians abandoned Doaga and retreated to the outskirts of the Prisaca Forest, where a new defensive line was established. That day the 5th Division lost 44 officers and 1,770 soldiers (dead, wounded and missing). The front moved back 2-3 km.

On 8 August, general von Eben changed the attack sector to the west, on the front held by Russian units. In the evening, during the second assault, they were forced to retreat. A Russian regiment was almost completely destroyed. The Romanian front was bombarded and the attack on the 5th and 9th Infantry Divisions resumed the following day. On 9 August 1917, the German effort was increased. The assault started at 1900 hours, after a powerful artillery preparation, which caused many casualties to the 9th Division. Its troops were only able to dig foxholes, because the ground was very dry and hard to dig. The Germans again took heavy casualties because of the Romanian and Russian artillery situated on the eastern bank of the Siret River, which was firing directing into the attackers' flank. However, the first line of the Romanian defense was pierced in several spots, but reserves intervened and repulsed them after some very violent fighting. The 34th Regiment, which faced the 12th Bavarian Division, held out against three consecutive assaults. Only the 2nd Battalion, under the command of Major Gheorghe Mihail, the future Chief of the General Staff in 1940 and 1944, remained in the first line. It counterattacked and captured 62 prisoners and two machine-guns. The unit's battle flag was decorated later with Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The same award was bestowed upon the regiment's CO, colonel Virgiliu Dumbrava, as well the 2nd Battalion's CO. But the casualties were heavy: 35 officers and 1,551 soldiers. The 36th Regiment lost 36 officers and 954 soldiers. Also, the 7th and 32nd Dorobanti Regiments suffered many casualties. During the night, at 0200 hours, another assault took place and the Germans managed to push back for several hundred meters the 9th Division and the right wing of the 5th Division. The neighboring Russian division was also forced to retreat, but the Russian 4th Army counterattacked and captured 2,500 prisoners and recovered the lost ground.

The last failures had weakened the German 9th Army. Thus, general von Eben strengthened the 1st Corps with a new division and the 18th Reserve Corps with the Alpine Corps.


On 10 August, it was the Entente's turn to attack. General Christescu and general Ragoza, the CO of the Russian 4th Army, decided to strike each with a corps of two divisions the bulge in the German line. During the morning, the 9th Army attacked the Russian sector, but gained little ground. At 1700 hours, the allied infantry started the assault, after a long artillery preparation. The 9th Infantry Division took the first German trenches, but because of the losses it had to abandon them. Reinforced with a regiment form the Romanian 13th Infantry Division, it resumed the attack, but again without success. The 5th Infantry Division and a regiment of the 14th Infantry Division managed to get inside the German positions, but could keep them. The 8th Dorobanti and 3rd Vanatori Regiments managed to enter the Doaga village, but were repulsed. The situation was similar in the sector of the Russian 4th Army. However the offensive had reduced the combat potential of the German 76th, 89th and 115th Infantry Divisions, which had suffered the brunt of the assault. These were already exhausted after several days of failed attacks. The report of general von Eben to the Army Group CO, marshal von Mackensen, mentions the fact that the 216th Infantry Division had suffered many casualties because of the flank bombardment of the Romanian artillery yon the eastern bank of the Siret.

For the following day, general Christescu imposed a limited objective to the 6th Corps: the Doaga – Susita Valley. The Russian 4th Army had decided to remain on the defensive. The Germans attacked in its sector at 1600 hours, after a three hour artillery preparation, and again forced the Russian troops to retreat. At 1630 hours, the Romanian 9th Infantry Division began the assault without knowing the situation in the neighboring sector. After the Russian retreat the flank was exposed. The division's CO sent a battalion to extend the line. The Germans were advancing on Marasesti and the situation became extremely dangerous for the Entente.

The 9th Vanatori Regiment, which was in the division's reserve, was quickly brought in and set up positions in the factory north of the town. It managed to stop the German troops that were threatening to encircle the 9th Infantry Division. For this action, lt. col. Gheorghe Rasoviceanu, the regiment's CO, was awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. A regiment of the 13th Infantry Division, from the 6th Crops' reserve, established the link with the Russians. The 5th Infantry Division attacked in the Doaga area, but the 7th and 8th Dorobanti Regiments failed to enter the village. The same day, maj. general Eremia Grigorescu was named at the command of the 1st Army.

Noticing that the troops of the German 1st Corps were exhausted, general von Eben decided to assign the main strike to the 18th Reserve Corps of maj. gen. Kurt von Wenniger, which had suffered fewer losses and was less tired. Thus, on 12 August, the 9th German Army attacked with small forces the 5th Infantry Division, in order to pin it down, and concentrated its forces against the Russian 4th Army, taking Panciu. Following this failure, general Ragoza wanted to retreat the Russian-Romanian front north of Marasesti., but abandoned the idea at maj. gen. Eremia Grigorescu's pleas. Lt. gen. Constantin Prezan, the Chief of the General Staff, decided to replace the Russian 7th Corps with the Romanian 5th Corps (10th and 13th Infantry Divisions) and to put the Russian 8th Corps under the command of the Romanian 1st Army. The staff of the Russian 4th Army was retreated to Bacau from where it was reassigned to another front.


On 13 August, the 18th Reserve Corps attacked the Russian troops north of Panciu, but failed to make any breakthrough. The following day, general von Eben ordered the 1st Corps to eliminate the Romanian bulge in the area of the Prisaca Forest and take the bridge over the Siret River at Cozmesti. In the same time, the 18th Reserve Corps had to attack on the Zabraut Valley. After powerful artillery preparation commenced the assault on the Russian 8th Corps' positions. Brig. gen. Henri Cihoski, CO of the 10th Infantry Division, sent the 10th Vanatori Regiment as help. It surprised the Alpine Corps and caused it important casualties, some in vicious hand-to-hand combat.


The vanatori managed to take Hill 334, but were forced to retreat following a powerful artillery bombardment. The 38th Infantry Regiment Neagoe Basarab also intervened and its CO, col. Gheorghe Cornescu, received the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class for the counterattack that stopped the German offensive, which threatened to penetrate in the Susita Valley, behind the Romanian 2nd Army. The Russian 8th Corps was forced to pull back north of Iresti and Straoani.


The 5th Infantry Division, at the other end of the front, had been reduced to one third of its initial size during the last days of fighting. The positions in the Prisaca Forest were heavily bombarded by German artillery. At 1700 hours the assault began with two divisions and forced the Romanian troops to retreat. The division's reserves, as well as a regiment form the 14th Infantry Division, in the army's reserve, intervened and stopped the German advance north of the Prisaca Forest. The bridge at Cozmesti was blown up, as the Romanian engineers had built another two to the north. The exhausted 5th Infantry Division was pulled out of the first line.


On 15 August, the 18th Reserve Corps continued the offensive and managed to create a breach at the junction between the 10th Infantry Division and the Russian division to its right. The 10th Vanatori Regiment, supported by 10 Romanian and 3 Russian batteries, counterattacked and reestablished the situation. However, with its left wing, the 18th Corps took Muncel, forcing theRussians to pull back. Thus the link between the two Romanian armies was threatened. The 2ndArmy attacked with the "Colonel Alexiu" Detachment made up of 2 vanatori battalions, 2 infantry battalions and 3 artillery batteries, which, together with a Russian cavalry division, retook control of the village. The following day, the Germans occupiued half of Muncel, but were again forced to retreat after the assault of col. Alexandru Alexiu's men.


The days of 17 and 18 August were calm. The losses suffered by both sides, forced the commanders to reorganize their units. Maj. gen. Eremia Grigorescu replaced the 14th Infantry Division, which was deployed east of the Siret River, with the 1st and 6th Rosiori Brigades and the hard pressed 5th Infantry Division with the 2nd Cavalry Division. The latter and the two brigades formed the Cavalry Corps. The 14th Infantry Division was moved on the northern bank of the Siret River in the Cozmestii de Vale area. Also, the army's heavy artillery was redeployed so that it could better cover the sector of the 5th Corps (10th, 13th and 9th Infantry Divisions). The 1st Army's reserve was made up of the 15th Infantry Division and of the 5th Infantry Division, under reorganization. On the other side, at the intervention of marshal von Mackensen, general von Eben grouped 7 infantry divisions under the command of the German 1st Corps and subordinated almost all the heavy artillery of the 9th Army to it. These forces totalized 55 battalions and 95 batteries.


On 19 August, the Germans resumed the offensive, attacking with the 1st Corps towards Marasesti and with 18th Reserve Corps on the Panciu-Muncel direction. The main effort was concentrated in the sector between Marasesti and the Razoare Forest, defended by the Romanian 9th and 13th Infantry Divisions, the latter being assaulted by three enemy divisions. The artillery preparation started at 0630 hours in the area of the trenches of the 47/72nd, 51/52nd and 50/64th Infantry Regiments, from the first line of the 13th Infantry Division, and at the western outskirts of Marasesti, where the 9th Vanatori Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division was located. It lasted for two hours and was the most violent artillery bombardment of the entire battle. At 0900 hours the first assaults small scale began and were easily repulsed. After 1100 hours a very powerful attack started. The main blow was delivered north of the Razoare Forest, at the junction of the 13th and 10th Infantry Divisions. The 10th Infantry Division was attacked by the 13th Austro-Hungarian Division, which failed to breakthrough the Romanian lines.


The 13th Infantry Division, commanded by brig. gen. Ioan Popescu, was the Romanian unit that saw the most action that day. It occupied a front 6 km wide, with the 47/72nd Infantry Regiment at the south-western edge of the Razoare Forest, the 50/64th Infantry Regiment in the Negroponte Vineyards and the 51/52nd Infantry Regiment in the middle. The reserve was made up of one battalion of the 50/64th Regiment and the 48/49th Regiment. 15 Romanian and 15 Russian batteries provided artillery support.


The attack started at 0900 hours. In the sector of the 47/72nd Infantry Regiment, the German assaults failed one after another. The 1st Battalion was situated on the left wing, south of the Razoare Forest. It was attacked by the 28th Bavarian Infantry Regiment (from the 12th Bavarian Division) and by units of the German 89th and 115th Divisions. The 2nd Battalion, on the right wing, was assaulted by the Austro-Hungarian 13th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion was kept in reserve. The regiment's CO, lt. col. Radu Rosetti, the former chief of the Operations Bureau of the General Staff in 1916, was wounded at a leg during the fighting. At the center, the 51/52nd Regiment was situated in an open position ands was also powerfully attacked. It had to pull back. The Germans tried to use the momentum and infiltrate behind the positions of the two regiments on the flanks of the Romanian 13th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Infantry Regiment, under the command of maj. Draganescu counterattacked and stopped their advance. The reserves of the 51/52nd Regiment joined the fight directed by the unit's CO, lt. col. Ioan Cristofor, buying time for the reinforcements sent by the division to arrive. The 1st Machine-gun Company commanded by cpt. Grigore Ignat, stubbornly held its position, being almost totally destroyed. Its CO was posthumously awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. However, the Germans advanced towards Hill 100, behind which the allied artillery was situated. The 50/64th Regiment had to pull back its right wing, because of the enemy advance in the sector of the 51/52nd Regiment. Lt. col. Diamandi Genuneanu, the 50/64th Regiment's CO, organized the defense south of Hill 100 and managed to hold out against two Bavarian regiments for two hours.

General Popescu organized the counterattack against the German forces closing in on Hill 100. The 2 battalions in reserve, together with the 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Regiment and other units attacked from several different directions the German 115th Infantry Division, which had infiltrated between the Razoare Forest and the Negroponte Vineyards. The artillery of the 10th Infantry Division also intervened in the fighting at that moment, at the orders of the army's CO. The 1st Battalion/50/64th Regiment, commanded by cpt. Nicolae Miclescu, emerged from the Negroponte Vineyards and surprised the German infantry in the area and pushed it back to towards the Razoare Forest. Cpt. Miclescu was wounded during the action. He was later awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion/48/49th Infantry Regiment joined the battle. The resistance at the edge of the Razoare Forest was broken following a violent bayonet charge. The Germans started a disorderly retreat. The entire 47/72nd Infantry Regiment started a counterattack, followed soon by the 39th Infantry Regiment (from 10th Infantry Division). The German troops retreated towards the Susita Valley, dragging along the units of the Austro-Hungarian 13th Division. The Romanians captured the first line of the enemy positions, but the advanced was stopped by maj. general Eremia Grigorescu, because von Eben had already started to deploy his reserves.


The 10th Division and, especially, the 13th Division had achieved a great victory. The commanders of the two divisions, as well as the commanders of the 47/72nd, 50/64th and 51/52nd Regiments were awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. Another 7 officers received this high distinction for the fighting on 19 August. The 39th Infantry Regiment Petru Rares captured 376 POWs and 7 machine-guns and advanced 500 m on a 4 km wide front. The 47/72nd Infantry Regiment took 209 POWs and 4 machine-guns. But the losses were high. The same regiment lost 880 men (99 killed, 300 wounded and 481 missing). The regiment's flag, as well as those of the other hard pressed units on 19 August were also decorated with the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class.

The same day, the Germans attacked the sector of the 9th Infantry Division, situated south of the 13th Division. It had been reduced to 4,500 men in the previous days of hard fighting. In the first line were the 9th Vanatori Regiment on the right wing and the 40th Infantry Regiment Calugareni on the left wing. After a powerful artillery preparation, two German infantry divisions started their attack. Following some heavy fighting in the ruins of the factory north of Marasesti, the 9th Vanatori Regiment was forced to fall back towards the city. The 40th Infantry Regiment also abandoned its first positions. The 9th Division reformed the front on the line south Negroponte Vineyards – Marasesti Railroad Station – south Marasesti, which it held against the enemy assaults, with the help of the artillery of the 14th Infantry Division from the eastern bank of the Siret River, firing directly in the German flank.


Because of the failure of its army to take the objectives on 19 August, general von Eben decided that the continuation of the offensive was no longer possible. A week of pause followed, which both sides used for reorganizing. The 9th Army again changed the attack sector. The 18th Reserve Corps was strengthened with 3 divisions and the entire heavy artillery at the army's disposal. The Romanian 1st Army received the 11th Infantry Divison. Maj. general Eremia Grigorescu redeployed his forces. Thus, the Russian 8th Corps formed the army's right wing in the Muncelul area. It had two divisions in the first line and another two reforming in the back. The Romanian 5th Corps (10th and 15th Infantry Divisions) held the front all the way to Marasesti Railroad Station, where it linked up with the 3rd Corps (14th Infantry Division), situated between Marasesti and the Siret River. East of the river was the Cavalry Corps (1st and 6th Rosiori Brigades, 2nd Cavalry Division and one brigade of the 5th Infantry Division). The army's reserve was made up of the 9th, 11th and 13th Infantry Divisions and the other brigade of the 5th Division.


The offensive of the 18th Corps started in the sector of the Russian 8th Corps on 28 August. At 0900 hours the German troops infiltrated between the two Russian divisions and forced them to retreat. Two regiments of the Romanian 3rd Infantry Division from the 2nd Army intervened and managed to stop the German advance together with the Russian reserves. The following day, general Grigorescu prepared an attack in the Muncelul area, aimed at eliminating the bulge created by the Germans. He put at the disposal of the Russian 8th Corps another Russian division, as well as the Romanian 9th Infantry Division, a regiment from the 13th and another from the 15th Division. The two regiments from the 2nd Army were also supposed to participate in this action.


The assault started at 0800 hours, from the north and west, but found the Germans ready for an attack of their own and it was repulsed. The second one, around 1700 hours, was also repulsed. The Germans forced the right wing of the Russian 124th Division to pull back. Two battalions from the 2nd Army intervened and managed to stop the enemy advance during the night. The 11th and 13th Infantry Divisions were brought behind the threatened areas. The 5th Division crossed to on the western bank of the Siret River. On 30 August, the German 18th Reserve Corps resumed the attack and its troops managed to get between the 18th Dorobanti Regiment Gorj and the 2nd Vanatori Regiment of the 2nd Army. The 34th Infantry Regiment Constanta, belonging to the 9th Division from the 1st Army, counterattacked and plucked in the breach.


The Russian 8th Corps was strengthened with the 13th Infantry Division on 31 August, when, because of the weather, there was no fighting. General Eremia Grigorescu subordinated the 9th Infantry Division and a Russian division to the CO of the 13th Division, brig. general Ioan Popescu. This group attacked on 1 September. The artillery preparation started at 0600 hours, with all the artillery available to the group, as well as with the artillery of the other two Russian divisions and the army's heavy artillery. After one hour, the 9th and 13th Divisions attacked from the west and the 3rd Infantry Division (belonging to the 2nd Army), commanded by brig. general Alexandru Margineanu, from the north. After some heavy fighting, the 13th Division advanced up t o200 m of Muncelul. The 18th Corps counterattacked in the sector of the 3rd Infantry Division, but was repulsed. The following day, the same 3rd Division suffered the brunt of the 9th Army's strike. The main objective was the Porcului Hill, defended by the 30th Dorobanti Regiment Muscel. It lost the positions, but they were retaken following the counterattack of the division's reserves and of a Russian regiment. It was the last major operation of the German 9th Army in the Marasesti sector.


The offensive of the 1st Army in the Muncelul area was resumed on 3 September. The 11th Infantry Division was subordinated to the General Popescu Group, entering the first line beside the 9th and 13th Divisions. The Russian division and the regiments of the 2nd Army formed the reserve. The plan was to attack frontally with the 9th Division and a brigade of the 11th, while the 13th Division and the other brigade of the 11th Division were going to attack the Muncelul village, threatening the enemy flank. The artillery preparation started at 0630 hours and at 0800 hours the 13th Infantry Division started the assault, but could not make any progress. The same happened in the sector of the 9th Division. A second artillery preparation, which lasted for an hour and a half, and some violent hand-to-hand fighting were necessary for the 13th Infantry Division to occupy the eastern edge of the Muncelul village. But the Romanian losses that day were heavy: about 2,700 men.


This was the last day of the battle of Marasesti, both sides deciding to adopt a defensive attitude on the entire front. The Romanian 1st Army had lost 610 officers and 26,800 NCOs and soldiers, while the German 9th Army had lost about 47,000. Forty Mihai Viteazul Orders 3rd class were awarded for deeds accomplished during the fighting around Marasesti. Maj. general Eremia Grigorescu received the Mihai Viteazul 2nd class. Also, the flags of no less than 9 regiments were decorated with the Mihai Viteazul 3rd class. The fighting continued with little intensity the following days, with local attacks and counterattacks. In one of these clashes, on the Secuiului Hill on 5 September, the volunteer Ecaterina Teodoroiu was killed by machine-gun fire, while leading her platoon. On the other side, on 8 September, maj. general Kurt von Wenniger, CO of the German 18th Reserve Corps, was killed by an artillery shell in the Muncelul area.

Morar Andrei

The Romanian front in images

During the fights in Romania, there have not been many who imortalised the images in photographies or films. But still, there are a few movie fragments that survived over the last century. Here are some of them. 


*Sorry for bad video quality, I tried to het it as close to the original, which was not very clear as well.












Morar Andrei

1st of December, National Day of Romania

Today, there is 1st of December, and all the Romanians celebrate this year 99 years since the Great Reunification of 1918. But the national day was not the same in the last 150 years, having different dates. Romania's national day ran from 1866 to 1947 on May 10, then from 1948 to 1989 on 23 August. By law no. 10 of 31 July 1990, promulgated by President Ion Iliescu and published in the Official Gazette no. 95 of 1 August 1990, December 1 was adopted as a national day and a public holiday in Romania. This provision was resumed by the Romanian Constitution of 1991, Article 12, paragraph 2. The anti-Communist opposition in Romania advocated in 1990 for the adoption of 22 December as a national holiday, a fact recorded in the transcripts of the parliamentary debates.In 1990, after the 1989 anti-communist revolution, the NSF-dominated parliament refused the opposition's proposal to adopt December 22 as the national holiday of Romania. On the background of the inter-ethnic confrontations in Târgu Mureş in March 1990 and the mining of 13-15 June 1990, the Romanian Parliament adopted on July 31, 1990 the Law no. 10 of 1990, which repealed the Decision of the Council of Ministers no. 903 of August 18, 1949, declaring August 23 as a national holiday and proclaiming the day of December 1 as the national holiday. Law 10 of 1990 does not specify the meaning or reason for the election of December 1 as the national day of Romania. The law passed in 1990 by the FSN-dominated parliament and promulgated by Ion Iliescu aimed at combating the sympathies related to the monarchical tradition of Romania with the historic national feast on 10 May, as well as countering the demand for anticommunist opposition to adopt the day December 22 as a national holiday. The election of December 1, though unexplained, made reference to the unification of Transylvania, Banat, Crisana and Maramures with Romania in 1918, and the Alba Iulia Proclamation, which took place on 1 December 1918. The election of this day as a national holiday Romania was seen as an affront to the Hungarian minority in Romania, for which the day of December 1 meant a political loss. The first national day of December 1, whose central festivities took place in 1990 in Alba Iulia, was marked by political polarization, the speech of Corneliu Coposu, the then leader of the anticommunist objective, being interrupted several times by booze Petre Roman, the then prime minister, was pleased with the repeated interruption of the opposition leader's speech, which made President Ion Iliescu give him a sign to stop, gesture filmed and broadcast widely by the media.Historian Neagu Djuvara showed in an interview with TVR in 2011 that the election of December 1 by the Iliescu regime was a conjectural one, explaining that on December 1, 1918, only Transylvania and Banat were united with Romania, while the other the historical provinces, namely Bessarabia and Bucovina, were united at different dates.



Morar Andrei

Romania and The Great War - What Happened

Many times forgotten or remembered only for the catastrophic campaign of 1916, Romania was involved for a longer time than any would think. If we add the romanians that fought in the Austro-Hungarian army and the romanian legions from France and Italy, we can even say that they fought for most of the war.

When the war broke out in 1914, Romania, under King Carol I (member of the Hohezollen-Sigmaringen family, close to the german imperial family), was part of a secret defensive treaty signed in 1883  with the German Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire, in case of any of these powers was attacked. But, as the Austria-Hungary was the one that invaded Serbia, Romania was thinking if they should join the Central Powers or remain neutral. Eventually, after the Crown Council of Sinaia, the king decided the neutrality of the nation. In October 1914, Carol I died, being succeded at throne by his nephew Ferdinand, who was married to Mary/Maria of Windsor, who was a pro-Entente activist. The population, such as the Gouvern, was splitted betwen pro-germans and pro-french, leading to many arguings during the neutrality.

In August 1916, after secret negociations with France, Romania finally joined the Entente. On the night between 27 and 28th of August, after a war declaration was delivered to the austrian embassy, the romanian troops entered in Transylvania, according to "Ipoteza Z" war plan,  meeting initially little resistance. At the beginning of September, Bulgaria declaired war. Germanily sent in Bulgaria Marshal August von Mackensen, which obtained a crushing victory at Tutrakan/Turtucaia together with general Ivan Kolev (a defeat that was over-exagerated by the Romanian news, causing panic among the population). Meanwhile, Erich von Falkenheim was sent in the Transylvania at the command of the German 9th Army, pushing back the romanians to the border. Romanian war plan was expecting to face 8 german divisions in Transylvania, but there were in fact 40 divions. Plus, they didn't expect such a quick Bulgarian answer, which transformed everything into a huge chaos: units were sent from the transylvanian front to the bulgarian one, the hole lenght of the front being now by 1100 kilometeres, defended by 800.000 romanian soldiers (as an example, on the Western Front, 600 km were defended by 4 milion soldiers). Attacked from all sides by all four Central Powers, without a strong Russian support or a French offensive at Salonika (two days after Romabia joined the war, the French and the Russianz signed a treaty in which they will not support the romanians, unless they will attack the bulgarians first), the romanians were slowly pushed back throught their territory. General Alexandru Averescu proposed a counter-attack at south of the Danube known today as "the Flămânda Maneuver", an attack which, if it was correctly executed says Mackensen, "could encircle the german-bulgarian forces advancing into Dobrogea and put them into difficulty". On 3rd of October, at Bucharest arrived the French general Henri Mathias Berthelot, veteran from the battle of the Marne. He came with the idea of a similar battle, on the Argeș river; his plan, to attack one of the three german columns advancing to the capital was initially a succes. But, after two romanian officers carring with them the plans of the offensive have been captured, the whole plan failed. Continuing their advance, the german-austro-hungarian forces captured Bucharest (coincidence or not, exactly in the day when Mackensen got 64 years old), the royal family, administration and many civilians finding a refuge in Moldavia. The capital was moved to Iași. At the end of the year, the situation was catastrophic for Romania: 2/3 from the country have been occupied, a large typhus epidemic began killing many people and soldiers and the russian help began to become more and more unreliable (they even proposed a mass evacuation of the army, administration and royal family in Russia, in order to reduce the lenght of the front). German propaganda intensified, wishing to make the enemy soldiers dessert in mass and abandont fighting. But there was still hope. In the spring of 1917, the French Military Mission began a large process of reorganising and retraing of the romanian soldiers in using of modern equipment. There have been delivered rifles, canons, machineguns, planes, grenades to the army, and the number of divisions was reduced, still having a total of 415.00 soldiers on the first line, better prepaired, alongside many veterans of the battles if 1916. 

The summer of 1917 was decisive for the Romanian war effort. Their situation became a real fight for survival as a state. The germans even had a prepaired a new offensive for the summer, hoping to crush Romania definitive. Not knowing about the reorganisation of the enemy, vom Mackensen even said "See you at Iași in 15 days" thinking that his enemy was as weak as the previous year. But, before the german offensive, Romania got its own one. In the same time with the Kerenski Offensive, general Alexandru Averescu launched an attack at Mărăști, leading to a significant romanian victory and a morale bonus fir the soldiers. This offensive was stopped only five days later, cause to the rusdian army's process of desintegration. Using this in his advantage, Mackensen launched his double offensive at Mărășești, and, a few days later, at Oituz. After harsh battles that took place for one mounth, with many casualties for both sides, the romanians repelled the german attack. Due to the Russian turmoil and eventually revolution, Romania got alone against all the Central Powers, eventually signing an armistice in November, and then a separate peace in 9th of March 1918. The Treaty of Buftea was not signed by king Ferdinand, fact that will later help at the Versailles Peace Treaty. To Romania were imposed harsh conditions: ceding the mountain peaks to Austria-Hungary and most of Dobrogea to Bulgaria, but were allowed to keep Bassarabia and Bukovina that were recently annexed, the germans had complete monopol on the Romanian industry, agriculture and oil for the next 90 years and their army was obligated to disband. Following next months, on the new Romanian-Bolshevick border took place many skirmishes, mostly forgotten by the communist regime and still are today. On 10th of November 1918, after Bulgaria sorrendered and the fate of the war balanced on the side of Entente, Romania remobilised its army and joined again the war. Eventually, on the 1st of December 1918, near Alba Iulia was signed the treaty in which Transylvania, Crișana and 2/3 of Banat united to Romania, unification oficially recognised atthe Versailles Peace Conference.

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brasov 1916.jpg







Morar Andrei

The arms supply of the Romanian Armed Forces after the Independence War was made almost exclusively by foreign acquisitions. In view of the accession of the Kingdom of Romania to the Triple Alliance, these acquisitions were made mainly from German companies - for artillery weapons - and Austrians for light infantry weapons. On the other hand, the provision of aircraft and the navy was done through French, British and Italian firms. In this respect, General Dumitru Iliescu remarked with bitterness that "the real arsenal, our pyrotechnics and our pulverization were in Essen-Krupp (for cannons) or in Austria, Steyr (for rifles) and Hirtenberg (cartridges), Bluman, Troisdorf and Rottweil (for powders)". At the beginning of 1914, the War Ministry drew up a plan to complete the war material, which provided for the purchase of the following military equipment from abroad, especially from Germany and Austria: 200 000 rifles, 134 machine guns, 582  machine gun rifles, 22 000 carbines, 45 000 guns; 85,000 daggers; 60  75 mm field batteries, 26 heavy 155 mm cannon batteries, 100 million infantry cartridges, 4,000  150 mm shell projectiles. The outbreak of war stopped importing, until August 1914 reached the country with only 24 machine guns, 102,806 rifles and 29,535 Mannlicher carbines. At the outbreak of the war, the Romanian Armed Forces, in terms of combat capacity, could not provide the force instrument at the hands of the country's political leadership to achieve the goals of eventual participation in hostilities. This state of affairs was due to a permanent neglect of the army by political decision-makers. As shown by Ion G. Duca: "The expedition in Bulgaria from the previous year showed that our military power was fictitious, that our army did not have enough cadres, that its reserves were not organized, that equipment, ammunition, weaponry, heavy artillery was missing , services back, drugs". Under the impact of these lessons identified, the new liberal government installed in early 1914 decided to launch a massive recovery program and strengthen the military's combat capability, which is in a critical situation because, as general Dumitru Iliescu showed, the sub- Chief of the General Staff, "on January 1st 1914, the army was in the greatest lack of everything it was necessary to enter the campaign." In this context, the Ministry of War - whose owner was even Prime Minister Ion I.C. Brătianu and the General Staff have developed four military reform plans with the overall aim of increasing its combat capability, including the "Plan for the Completion, Transformation and Repair of Weapons, Ammunition and War Materials" and "Equipment Completion Plan of all categories, and that of resolving the subsistence of humans and animals at all echelons of struggle and studying the establishment of large centers for the supply of nutrition and equipment." To implement these plans, significant funds were allocated, both through budget and extraordinary credits. The budget of the Ministry of War increased from 73,000,000 lei in 1913 to 115,000,000 lei (18% of the state budget) in 1916. At the same time, until the autumn of 1916 the amount of the credits for the army reached 700,000,000 lei, and until Romania entered the war at 838,841,215 lei. Regarding the addition of military equipment and military equipment, military officers had to cope with two critical situations: the lack of qualified personnel and means for domestic war production and the restriction of external supply sources, the two coalition battalions being reluctant when it was about honoring the orders of the Romanian state. Also, the variety of armament gauges had a negative impact on the training of troops, not allowing the uniformity of instruction and brought difficulties in the supply of ammunition during the World War. The result of the efforts of the years of neutrality resulted in the transformation of the Romanian army into a fighting instrument, but with two great limitations: an inferiority of the technical endowment - as a result of the difficulties in providing arms and ammunition as a result of the outbreak of the war - and a lack training and instruction on new methods, tactics, and procedures for fighting the warfare.


Infantry equipment:


In the period immediately following the conquest of independence, a first stage of the process of endowing the Romanian Armed Forces with modern armaments took place. The German Henry-Martin Caribbean model 1879, imported from Germany, as well as the Steyr carabiners in Austria, have now been purchased and imported. In a later stage, starting with 1894, they were replaced by the Mannlicher re-rifle, model 1893, caliber 6.5 - for infantry and similar caravans for cavalry.

The Mannlicher was delivered in a modified model according to the requirements of the Romanian part (especially the replacement of the standard 8 mm diameter pipe with a 6.5 mm diameter), known as the "Mannlicher Romanian model - 1893". Until 1902, 150,000 such rifles and carbines were ordered. With the entry of these weapons, ammunition with smokeless powder was introduced, which provided an initial bullet velocity of over 700 m / s.  After 1910, the first automatic weapons, the Maxim, Md. 1909, cal. 6.5 mm (specially modified to use the same ammunition as the Mannlicher rifles), Germany, and Schwarzlose, Md. 1907/1912, 6,5 mm, from Austro-Hungary. The quantities delivered until the outbreak of the war were small, providing only the endowment of a four-piece company for each infantry regiment (160 pieces).  Prior to World War I, the infantry armament of the Romanian Army endowed: 474,036 rifles, 39,231 carbines, 413 machine guns and 61,189 pistols and revolvers, of a great variety of types and sizes, which would negatively influence both the quality of troop training and the supply with ammunition during the war. Here is a list of the infantry equipment used during the war:


- M.1893 Manlicher rifle cal. 6,5 mm (271.130 in the army stock, together with 194.570.000 bullets)

- M.1889 and M.1895 Manlicher rifles cal. 8 mm (60.000 in stock, together with 28.229.856 bullets)

- M.1879 Martini-Henry rifle cal. 11,43 mm (142.906 in stock, together with 17.707.676 bullets)

- Berthier repeating rifle, M. 1917/1915, cal. 8 mm

- Vetterly-Vitali, M.1870/1887, cal.10,35 mm

- M.1909 Hotchkiss machinegun rifle cal. 8mm

- M.1915 Chauchaut CSRG machinegun cal. 8mm

- M.1912 Lewis machinegun cal. 7,62mm

- Maxim M. 1909 machinegun, cal. 6.5 mm

-  Maxim, M.1910 machinegun cal. 7.62 mm 

- Chattellerault Mittler M.1907 machinegun cal. 8mm

- Schwarzlose M.1907/1912 machinegun cal. 6,5mm

- Vickers Mk.1 machinegun cal. 7,7mm

- Colt M.1895/1916 machinegun cal. 7,62mm

- Hotchkiss M.1914 machinegun cal. 8mm

- officer's sword M.1893

- officer's infantry sword M.1916


Cavalry equipment:


The cavalry troops were endowed with the same type of weaponry as the infantry, with the specification that it was the carbine variant of those weapons: 


- Manlicher M.1893 carabine cal.6,5 mm

- Martini-Henry M.1879 carabine cal.11,43 mm

- Maxim M.1909 machinegun cal.6,5mm

- Saint Etienne Revolver M. 1896 cal. 8 mm 

 -Steyr M.1912 automatic pistol cal 9 mm

- offficer sword M.1893

- mounted gendarm sword M.1895

- cavalry sword M.1906

- cavalry officer sword M.1909

- cavalry lance M.1908




At the beginning of the war, the field artillery was endowed with German Krupp steel cannons, model 1880, 75 mm and 87 mm guns (slow-blowing cannons). Starting 1905, the "fast-pulling" cannon, M.1904 Krupp, a 75 mm caliber, with ammunition using smoke-free powder, was fitted. In addition to the cannons, the field artillery was also equipped with a large caliber "Krupp" model 1901, caliber 120 and model 1912, caliber 105 and "Schneider-Creusot" model 1912 caliber 150 (imported from France). The artillery was equipped with bronze cannons "Armstrong", model 1883, caliber 63 mm. Prior to the war, a small number of more efficient French cannons "Schneider-Creusot", model 1912, caliber 75, came from import. Fortress artillery was equipped with German cannon "Krupp" and French "Hotchkiss", with cubed dome produced at "Saint Chamond" (France) and "Grüson" (Germany).


Field Artillery


- Armstrong M.1883 canon cal. 63 mm

- Krupp M.1880 canon cal. 75 mm


Field Artillery Modification


- Krupp M.1904 canon cal. 75 mm

- Krupp M.1912 canon cal. 105 mm

- Schneider M.1912 howitzer cal. 105 mm

-  Schneider M.1912 howitzer cal. 150 mm

- Smooth-drawing barrel Krupp, Md. 1880, cal. 75 mm

- Puteaux  M.1897 canon cal. 75 mm

- Long barrel De Bange, M.1878 cal. 120 mm

- Short barrel De Bange, M.1878 cal. 120 mm

- Vickers M.1896 howitzer cal. 127 mm


Fortress Artillery 


- Fast-Tuning Hotchkiss, Md. 1888/1891 cal. 57 mm

-  Krupp M.1885/1891 canon cal. 105 mm

- Krupp M.1885/1891 canon cal. 150 mm

-  Krupp M.1888/1891 howitzer cal. 210 mm

- Fast pulling gun Grusson, M.1887  cal. 37 mm

- Fast pulling gun Grusson M.1887 cal. 53 mm

- Sprue horns Krupp, M.1888/1891 cal. 120 mm


Air Defense Artillery


- Krupp M.1880 canon cal. 75 mm, installed on a rotating platform

- Fast-Tuning Hotchkiss, M.1888/1891, cal. 57 mm, mounted on the "Black" type

- Fast-Tuning Hotchkiss, M.1888/1891 cal. 57 mm, mounted on the "Burileanu"

- Fast pulling gun Grusson, M.1887 cal. 53 mm, mounted on the "Burianu"

- Fast-Tuning Hotchkiss M.1888/1891 cal. 57 mm, mounted on the "Krupp"

- Antiaircraft Tunnel with Deport Dragging Fast, Md. 1911, cal. 75 mm

- Anti-aircraft gun with fast firing Puteaux, M.1897 cal. 75 mm

- Antiaircraft autotun Putilov M.1902 cal. 76.2 mm


Antiaircraft guns


- Christopher & Montigny anti-aircraft guns, M.1872  cal.11 mm

- 90 mm Harel projectors


White Arms Change


- Sword for artillery troop, M.1890

- Officer sword, M.1893

- Sword for artillery troop, M.1896

- Sword for artillery troop, M.1916


Air forces


The aeronautics had two sections in 1913, the first of which had five "Bristol-Coanda" machines at the Cotroceni Pilot Military School, and the second nine Bristol-Coanda aircraft, "Bleriot", " Farman "" Vlaicu ". Until the outbreak of the war, the number of planes reached 29. Planes used:


- Bleriot

- Maurice Farman

- Henri Farman

- Voisin L III

- Caudron G3

- Morane Saulnier

- Nieuport (tip 11,12,17,21)

- Aviatik

- Breguet-Michelin

- Farman 40

- Sopwith 1  1/2 Strutter


Aerostatic equipment:


- Captured Drachen cylinder baloon of 630 cubic meters

- Caquot type M balloons of 930 cubic meters


Military Navy


The Military Navy's development program provided for the purchase of twelve new ships (three torpedoes, a cruiser, five police boats, three cannon boats) from French and British companies between 1886 and 1887, as well as various shipping and barges produced at the Galati Flotilla Workshop. Since 1906, eight UK stars have been introduced to the Danube Fleet, and four Italian monitors have been hosted.





- „Brătianu”

- „Catargiu”

- „Lahovary”

- „Kogălniceanu”


River stars


- ,,Maior Ene Constantin


- „Căpitan Nicolae L. Bogdan

- „Căpitan Romano Mihail

- „Maior Dumitru Giurăscu

- „Maior Șonțu Gheorghe

- „Maior N. Ioan

- „Locotenent Călinescu D.

- „Valter Mărăcineanu




















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Morar Andrei

Battle of Oituz

A major confrontation in the First World War, following which the German-Austro-Hungarian offensive aimed at penetrating Moldova and removing Romania from the war was stopped.

Almost at the same time as the offensive from Transylvania, the Oituz, Kassin and Slanic valleys, the Germans attempted to break the front through southern Moldova, on the Focsani-Mărăşeşti direction, the two operations being closely related. The mission of Oituz was entrusted to the Gender-Driven Group. Friedrich von Gerock, who was located in the right flank of the Austro-Hungarian Army, deployed in the Eastern Carpathians. Displaced between the Doftana Valley and Ireşti, it consisted of the 8th Army Corps (composed of 70 Honved Divisions, 117 German Infantry and 71 Austro-Hungarian Infantry) and the Haber Group, which consisted of the 8th Austrian-Hungarian Mountains Brigade, Division 1 Austro-Hungarian cavalry, the 37th Honvez Division, etc.

According to the plan, the main strike was on Ferestrău-Grozeşti-Onşti (Valea Oituzului), while the 70th Honved Division attacked Târgu Ocna to destabilize the right flank of the Romanian Army 2 and the left flank of the Russian Army 9. The disproportion of forces was quite large, to the detriment of the Romanians. Thus, if the enemy had 54 battalions and 200 fireplaces, the Romanian army had 34 battalions and 104 fireplaces. At the same time, the Romanian Army had to cover the breach left by the departure of the Russian Army Corps 40 in Galicia and Bucovina, where on 19 July / 1 August 1917 the Russian front was pierced by Austro-Hungarians and Germans. In compensation, he recaptured the two divisions, 7 and 12, which had been taken to strengthen Army 1, which was preparing the offensive from the Namoloasa sector. The entire Army 2 device was 60 km wide, the main sectors being driven by gender. Gheorghe Văleanu and Gen. Arthur Văitoianu. The battle began on July 26 / August 8 (two days after Marasesti) with a few hours' bombing, followed by the 8th Corps attack, the shock being received by the 6th and 7th Romanian divisions forced to withdraw. In the following days the enemy occupied important positions such as Cireşoaia peak, the Coşna hills (789 m) and Ştibor. As a dangerous situation had arisen, the Great General Headquarters strengthened the 2nd Army with the 1st Cavalry Division, the 1st Hunting Regiment, the Mountain Hunting Battalion, and the Border Guard Brigade. The 1st Cavalry Division attacked Stibor Hill, conquering the 629 line alignment (Boboc Grass), and the 1st Hunting Regiment hired violent fights around Grozesti. On July 31 / August 13, a Romanian counterattack aimed to successfully retake the Coşnei, and Cireşoaia peak, failed. The Battle of Oituz took place on July 29 / August 11 - July 31 / August 13, when the enemy made great efforts to overcome the concentration of Romanian troops. Animated by the slogan "This is not over!", The Romanian soldiers resisted with heroism, frustrating the opponents' plans. Until Aug. 5/18, battles decreased in intensity, limiting to artillery duels and patrol clashes. On August 6/19, the Gerock group resumed the offensive, managing to reoccupy Coşna, but without any further succes.After August 9/22, the calamity gradually settled, the enemy being exhausted by the efforts made. The losses of the 2nd Army in the Battle of Oituz were significant, amounting to 12 350 soldiers, including 1 800 dead, 4 850 wounded and 1 570 missing. By the victory of Oituz, the plans of Germany and its allies to bring Romania out of war and penetrate Russia's Ukrainian part were thwarted, and the existence of the Romanian state was defended. At the same time, the morale of the population remained high, still hoping for a favorable outcome to the war. However, following the events in Russia and the coming of power to the Bolsheviks (October 25 / November 7, 1917), Romania's ally on the Eastern Front ended separate peace with the Central Powers in mid-December 1917, forcing Romania to end the armistice Focsani (November 26 / December 9, 1917). Famous figures were involved in these battles. In the Battle of Oituz was the Corporal Constantin Musat, who had lost an arm during the fighting, refused to be left in the fire. He argued that as long as he had an arm he could throw out grenades. On August 13, 1917, during a German attack, when the Romanian lines were in serious danger, our hero remained in position to continue to defend the front. His last words, before being killed by a bullet, were: "Grenades boys, grenades." German general Erwin Rommel, dubbed the "Fox of the Desert" in the Second World War, was also seriously injured in his hand in August 1917 in the battles for the conquest of Oşszów Mountain. This is why it is often said that Rommel learned what war is on the Romanian soil.




Morar Andrei

Revival of the Romanian Army 1917

 The balance of the year 1916 seemed catastrophic for Romania and its army: the royal family, the government, the parliament and the army had been forced to withdraw to Moldova, the enemy occupied 2/3 of the country's territory, including Bucharest, and the front had stabilized on the Oriental Carpathians - the Focşani-Nămoloasa fortified line Siret, close to its spill in the Danube. And yet in this time of restraint and despair, they began to show the dawn of hope and of the future great Romans. On October 3, 1916, the French military mission, headed by General Henri Berthelot, composed of over 1,500 soldiers, including senior state officers, pilots, doctors, arrived in the country. Allies received 150,000 rifles, 2000 machine guns, 1,3 million grenades, and 355 artillery pieces. In March 1917 a loan of 40 million pounds, or about one billion lei, was contracted from the Bank of England. At the same time, the Petrograd government accepted that the Romanian prisoners in Russia who had fought in the Austro-Hungarian army to be released and continue to fight as volunteers in the Romanian army, on the Allies side. There will be over 30,000 Transylvanians in this volunteer body. At the end of April 1917, the new Romanian army was established. Less than that I entered the war in August 1916, she counted only 700,000 people. But it was more flexible and better equipped. The core core was the two armies (I and II) made up of 458,000 soldiers. If, from a political and military point of view, Romania entered the new year of 1917 ready for decisive confrontation, the moral factor remained. Romanians, and especially those who struggled in the first line, needed - beyond the hope of unity - a perspective of what they were to live, of a promise that what had been unjust in little Romania would not perpetuate in the great one. And the promise came from the constitutional factor, King Ferdinand, at the right moment. If 1916 had been the year of the disaster, 1917 was to become the decisive year. Romania would either be deleted from the map, with the royal family and its authorities wandering through southern Russia, or will resist the remaining land patch, retaining a minimum of sovereignty and the possibility of continuing the struggle with its allies in order to fulfill the national ideal. The Romanian soldiers will respond to this dilemma in the summer of 1917. Without the tragedies of 1916, without the sacrifices and heroism of 1917, there could not have been the astral moments of 1918.






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Morar Andrei

The Bucharest fortifications system

Few know of its existence, but Bucharest has an extraordinary architectural and historical treasure. It is the fortification network around the capital (18 forts and 18 batteries) built between 1884-1903 by King Carol I, under the direction of the Belgian general Henri Alexis Brialmont, whose goal is to defend the capital in case of war. They were supposed to give a strong defence agains any attack from the north, but the southern flank of this defence ring was less fortified. For the construction of these buildings, which practically surrounds the Capital, adjacent to the Ring Road, at that time lands were expropriated and 111 million lei was paid from the state treasury. General Brialmont also built the fortifications around Amsterdam and the fortifications from Antwerp and Liege - Belgium, known all over the world. Unfortunately, the forts around Bucharest are on the brink and are not accessible to the public. The fortification network around the capital was built by King Carol I under the direction of Belgian General Henri Alexis Bialmont. It consists of 18 batteries and 18 interstellar forts: a fort, a battery, a fort, a battery, about 2 km away, and its purpose was defense. "Between 1883 and 1903, the fortifications under the guidance of the Belgian general Henri Alexis Brialmont were made, after which they began building their buildings. The Otopeni, Jilava, Mogosoaia and Chitila Forts were built in the first ten years. were built as those in the North of the Capital, according to the project. As budget constraints have been modified to fit the allocated budget. The purpose was to protect the capital. It is 18 forts and 18 batteries, they are united by some tunnels. When the war started in 1914, and Romania entered the war in 1916, they were emptied of weapons because there was no funds, and in each battery / fort could enter about 100 soldiers and were equipped with cannons. When the German army entered Bucharest , they thought it would be a hard fight, we had this system of fortifications, but they entered "quiet." Originally it was foreseen that the fortification network will cost 85 million lei, but finally they cost at 111 million lei. Very large amounts have also been paid for the expropriation of the land on which these fortifications were built. A royal decree was given." Currently, the fortification network has several owners: the military, various ministries, local councils, the city hall, private companies. Some of the forts are in good condition, others are flooded or in an advanced state of degradation. "Now it is difficult to access them, some being flooded, some being military units. Some of the military units have been decommissioned, and now there is only a guard. Some of them were warehouses, in other companies, shooting polygons, "explains Alexandrina Nita in in article from 2014. The fortification system is currently in a process of irreversible damage. Today there are 17 forts and 13 intermediate batteries out of the 36 constructions, the rest being destroyed due to accidental explosions of ammunition depots. Of the remaining artillery shells and batteries, most are degraded, abandoned and flooded. Many are on the territory of some military units but have not been used anymore. Some have hosted or housed mushrooms or pickles or are abandoned, hidden under vegetation. In order to protect them, especially on private property, by real estate sharks, and in order to be able to make a rehabilitation project, since 2004, the County Directorate started the procedure of classification on the historical monuments list.



Initially three types of forts were designed, of varying size, but the innovations and adaptations during the final plans led to a diversification of the fortifications. Thus, according to structure, individual purpose and particularities, forts and batteries are classified into the following types:


Fort tip 1

Representatives: 1 Chitila and 3 Otopeni

Structure: pentagonal

Category: Big Forces, from Brialmont's original plans


Fort tip 2

Representatives: 2 Mogosoaia and 13 Jilava

Structure: pentagonal modified versus type 1

Category: Big Forces, from Brialmont's original plans


Fort tip 3

Representatives: 4 Tunari, 7 Pantelimon - 18 Chiajna, total 12.

Structure: trapezoidal

Category: Forces adapted from General Brialmont's plans to a new type of ammunition.


Fort type 4 (water)

Representative: 5 Stefanesti

Structure: pentagonal

Category: Private variant of type 2, surrounded by 3 pieces of water ditches


Fort type 2 modified (unique)

Representative: 6 Smoke

Structure: pentagonal modified versus type 1

Category: Variant modified during construction of type 2

Intermediate batteries


Type 1: 1-2 Chitila, 4-5 Tunari, 5-6 Ştefanesti, 6-7 Smoke and 7-8 Pantelimon


Type 2: 13-14 Jilava, 14-15 Broscărei


Type 3: 2-3 Mogoşoaia, 8-9 Cernica, 9-10 Cătelu, 15-16 Magurele, 16-17 Bragadiru, 17-18 Domneşti, 18-1 Chiajna


Type 4: 3-4 Otopeni

Mixed Type A: 12-13 Berceni

Mixed Type B: 10-11 Leordeni, 11-12 Popeşti















Morar Andrei

Romanian soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Army

From the beginning of the conflict in 1914 until 1918, about 650.000 romanians were enrolled in the Austro-Hungarian army, most of them in the XII Korp(Sibiu) and VII Korp(Timisoara). Aproximatly 150.000 of them died (almost 10℅ of all Austro-Hungarian casualties), have been wounded or were taken prisoners, especially after Romania joined the war in 1916, many of these soldiers preffering to dessert the army and cross the mountains and fought for the romanians (in 1916, their number got to 40000, soldiers that would later be released from the russian POW's and joined the romanian army). The romanian regiments fought in the war against Russia in Galicia and they faced horrific casualties. For example, the 51 Cluj regiment had 3400 casualties in the first two months of the war from a total of 4000 soldiers. The 63 Bistrita regiment lost in 6 days of fighting 60% of its strength. The 21 Cluj honveds regiment lost just on 24 august 1914 50% of its strength. During the Brusilov offensive the casualties amongst the romanian regiments were even higher. During the fights in Galicia, romanians from Transylvania, Banat and Bukovina fought against romanians conscripted in the russian army from Bessarabia. This is the only instance of large scale fighting of romanians against each other tho' I may be wrong. After Romania joined the war, the romanian troops were redeployed on the italian front, mainly because it was the state policy that troops shouldn't fight too close to their own homes. Many fell prisoners to the italian army during the Isonzo offensive. Here is a picture with romanian soldiers from Italy upon their return to Romania in 1919.







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