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Romanian Campaign of 1916.The Invasion


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*The German units of Kosch Army were:as Infantry,the 217th Division(without Regiment 9th,left in Dobrogea and Landstrum Regiment 115th ;the Cavalry Division von der Goltz was made out of Reserve Mounted Hunters Regiment,the 6th Ulans Regiment ,7th Husars Regiment of reserve,the 12th Dragons Regiment ;the Detachments of Mountain machineguns no. 234 and 240;as artillery there were parts of Regiments 65th,201st,69th,1st Bavarian,6th,9th ,13th 67th a.s.o.The 8th Battery of heavy mortiers of ridge .Battery 25th of short cannons of fleet ;finally the 6th Battery de Minenwerier[3] and Section 243 of Aviation.

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Destroying Giurgiu

The right wing Bulgarian was advancing towards Giurgiu,weakly defended by two Romanian Battalions of Militia and by some old batteries,with oxes.In the days of 25-26th of November ,the Bulgarians bombard with savagery the city ,from the Southern shore of Danube,transforming whole neigbourhoods into ruins.In the day of 27th,Giurgiu was occupied by the columns coming from Zimnicea and by other troops which have crossed the Danube at Rusciuk.The first Bulgarian troops ,entering the city ,had part of bloody street fights with Romanian troops ,in retreat.Occupying the deserted city ,the Bulgarians stormed over the houses and the ownings of its inhabitants.The shops and houses have been robbed by everything .When the last thing hs been "lifted" came the turn of the windows and doors and everything that could be strip.All the pray of this savage plunder was transported with waggons in Rusciuk,on the boats-bridge ,throwed between the two cities.

This banditry is confirmed by one of the German correspondents ,which was following the German-Bulgar troops*:"Giurgiu was first hit by the heavy artillery fire ,during the artillery duel which preceeded the crossing of Danube and,what escaped untouched,perished during the street fights ,which took place in the city .Bulgarians ,which consider the War against Romania as a personal revenge War ,have unleashed their hatered and destroyed evetything they could .Everything which escape the fire ,has been destroyed by their blind hate".The Bulgarians were paying as their soul dictated them ,the debt contracted at Grivita ,Plevna and Smirdan (in 1877-1878 War against Ottoman Empire).

*Hugo Schultze,"Arbeiter Zeitung",(Wien),16th of December 1916.

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The fight and charge at Prunaru

The center of the invasion Army ,advancing through Toporu,occupies with the 217th DIvision German,in the evening of 26th of September ,Prunaru Village ,on the driveway Alexandria -Bucharest.The occupation of this village set in to critical position the Romanian troops in Alexandria-Dragasani region,to which the retreat was in this way cut,towards Bucharest and the junction with the 21st Romanian Division ,which was expected from this direction.

The base military formation of the Romanian Detachment of Zimnicea ,was made by 43rd Mixt Brigade ,of the 18th Division ;it was made of weak units ;four rests from Milita Battalions and one from 20th Teleorman Regiment ;as artillery ,three divizions of old cannons of 87 mm.For strengthening was send to Zimnicea Detachment ,the 2nd Rosiori Regiment(Cavalry) ;he assumed position in Grosu-Poenari-Schitu region ,between Alexandria and Dragasani.The Regiment has made ,in the frame of the 2nd cavalry Division the Ardeal Campaign ,from Oituz to Birsei Country,fought unmounted ,with the lance in hand,at Magherus and when the damns of the Kingdom were broken ,has been transported in the Kingdom ,as reserve of the Group of Danube Defence ,in Oltenita region.When the enemy has crossed the Danube at Zimnicea ,the Regiment has been brought in Alexandria zone and set to the disposition of the 18th Romanian Infantry Division.

At 27th of November ,Colonel Naumescu ,the Commander of the 2nd Rosiori Regiment has noticed that the infantry of the 43rd Brigade ,tired of fight and defeated ,with very big casualties is in retreat at Prunaru towards West ;the enemy threatened to enter our lines .General Referendaru ,the Commander of the 18th Division decides to try to reoccupy Prunaru and gives to the 2nd Rosiori Regiment the mission to protect the left flank of the infantry.All night of 27-28th of November ,the Germans throw lighting rockets and burn up the hay stakes ,to intimidate the Romanians.The Romanian attack is set for the morning of the 28th of November.At 5 in the morning ,the attack troops ,Romanian of the 43rd Brigade begin to advance ,without knowing well the positions occupied by the enemy in Prunaru Village at North of this one.

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It is a very thick fog which obstacles completely the visibility;the only repere line is Draganesti-Prunaru driveway,which makes big rounds .As the Infantry of the 43rd brigade engages the fight with the enemy ,in the edge of the village ,the 2nd Rosiori Regiment sets to marching ,with Prunaru direction ,from where the noise of the fight is coming;the Regiment is made of Escadrons 1st,2nd,3rd(the 4th is detached into another sector),strengthened with two Platoons of Regiments 3rd and 7th .The marching through darkness and thick fog is penible also because of the carriages of the units and the waggons of the refugees from the villages ,which obstacle the circulation.At 6 in the morning ,Colonel Naumescu receives the order :"The Cavalry to pass forward!" .The Regiment sets in fighting position ,having as avanguard the 2nd Escadron .because of the fog ,the attack direction is very simple :attack straight forward ,along the driveway ,together with the Infantry.The misson of the regiment is to protect the left wing of the Infantry ;that is why he unfolds on to the left side of the driveway ,on the Eastern rib of the Valley of Buna ,at the South-Eastern corner of the Scurtu Forest.

At 7 in the morning the Rosiori close in, by the edge of the village from where ,between artillery bursts ,of machineguns and rifle bullets ,the shouts of "uraa!" of the Romanians show that bayonet attacks are given.The fog obstacles the knowing of the flanks of the enemy positions ,such that the advance can be made only straight on to the driveway.After two hours ,it is sensed that our artillery is raring her fire :sign that the ammunition is ending soon;the rows of soldiers are retreating towards West ,imploring for the saving intervention of the Cavalry ;there are signalled enemy reinforcements ,coming from South direction .The Romanians have fought with bravery ;Prunaru Village has passed three times from one hand to the other.The fight closes in, to the Cavalry positions; Colonel Naumescu keeps a short council with the Commanders in suborder ;all opinion to go straight in the aid of the Infantry .Colonel Naumescu takes place at the temple of the Escadron in avanguard ;although sick ,fresh out of the hospital ,he has a high conception about duty of a Commander and does not understand to leave to someone else the honour to be the first at danger .It is 8,30 in the morning.

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At a sign of the Colonel ,the horsemen set with all Escadrons in line,pedal to pedal?,passing from trapp to gallop ,and advance as a hurricane ;Colonel Naumescu ,followed by his officers of Staff ,gallop at the center ,ahead of 1st Escadron .The trumpet gives the signal for the charge ;the horsemen leaned over the saddle front ,start in a crazy torrent ,as a wall of lances and swords ,on the slope of the hill which descends towards the village .The enemy,surprised by the unexpected apparition from the middle of the fog,of this impetuous attack,runs away like hell towards the villege.His first rows are broke by horses chests and smashed under the feet of the horses .The Cavalry continues with the same fury .Some horses fall to the ground ,keeping the horsemen under,of which rows are raring,here and there.The charge is at the edge of the village ,which they attack from two parts .With all the bravery of the horsemen ,it is noticed that the conditions of modern war are not favorable anymore to the theatral unfoldings ,of Napoleonean charges.From behind the fences ,from behind bushes ,and from the windows and mansards of the houses ,transformed in mouths of fire ,the enemy hidden with tens of machineguns ,trows spins of fire over the proud Regiment .Horses and horsemen,fall over ,ones over the others .In a place on the main street of the village ,a baraj of trunks of trees ,stops the elan of the horsemen;from behind ,the machineguns fire in mass;few horsemen which succeed to jump over the obstacle ,cannot stop but only to the opposite edge of the village.The ones, off their horses ,continue the fight on foot with fury,through the yards of the houses

The Regiment is destroyed .Few horsemen from the left side escaped with life,beeing defended by a terrain mound.Of the proud Regiment ,two hours before,had 14 officers and 360 soldiers;are left 2 officers and 50-60 men,which have continued the fight on foot ,together with a handful of infanterists of the 20th Teleorman Regiment.Over 250 men have remained on the battle field making,together with their horses dead bodies ,piles of bleeding flesh.Ahead of them ,Colonel Naumescu ,gravely wounded ,dies after few days in a hospital in Sofia.

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At around 11 the weather which has been foggy and sad,lightens ;the sun takes the fog away,and the heavy German artillery ,arrived and placed in to batteries at South of the village started the firing range with a frightening precision .At 2 in the afternoon ,the Romanian Commander breaks the fight ;the superiority of the enemy was too overwhelming .The rest of Romanian troops retreat towards North in Letca Veche direction ,Mereni and Rusii lui Asan from where then are taken at Jilava ,to remake themselves .The martyr at Prunaru had not been in vain .

At 27th of November ,the enemy Army of Danube ,was mastered on line Alexandria-Dragasani-Prunaru-Giurgiu .Mackensen gave the order for an energic advance towards Bucharest ,along roads Alexandria -Bucharest on one side and Giurgiu -Bucharest on the other ,cross Valleys Glavacioc ,Neajlov and Arges .These valleys have seen ,during the centuries ,ferocious fights ,in which the Romanian defended his piece of land against the invason.There are the fields of battle of Radu from Afumati and of great Mihai.They will witness now of the supreme effort ,which will be made by enything that exist as Romanian Army ,to save the land of the Kingdom and the Capital of it by the invasioneer.These forcings will summon up in the most formidable fights that took place in the first part of our War.It is the great battle on Arges and Neaslov.

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4.The Great Battle On Neajlov And Arges

The convergent march of the enemy towards Bucharest.

At 27th of November ,Olt line has fallen at North ,the enemy has taken Curtea de Arges(Arges Court) and the line of Topolog;at South the line Rosiori de Vede -Alexandria -Giurgiu was in his hand.The three enemy Armies ,Kraftt,Kuhne and Kosch ,formed now an unique Front,drawing a vast arch of circle ,of which left was Curtea de Arges ,the center at Slatina ,and the right at Giurgiu.

At 28th of November in the morning ,the three Armies starrted to march convergent towards Bucharest .The impression of the enemy was that the road to Bucharest is free ;the Romanian Armies defeated ,weakened by the heavy casualties suffered ,with the shaken moral ,they could not be capable of a serious resistance .Different episodes proved the demoralization of the troops.Numerous groups were surrendering to much inferior German Detachments .

One of the most evident episodes of this state of spirit is the one at Ciurari.A Detachment of Militia ,of 1200 men with 12 cannons and machineguns ,under the Command of Major Ricman -was retreating from Olt ,where it has abandoned the guard of bridges of Islaz and Izbiceni.Being followed at North of Rosiorii de Vede ,in direction Butculesti-Ciurari,by a Cavalry Escadron ,German,accompanied by an armoured automobile ,the Detachment surrended without fight and without conditions ,with all weapons and luggage.The shameful surrender was made exactly in the moment when the German Captain decided that,faced to the great inferiority in which he was and by the breaking of his automobile ,to cease the pursuit.

Under the influence of the advance of the enemy in Muntenia(Southern-Central region of Romania),the Romanian Front in the mountains started to shake as well.At 28th ,the Army which held almost two months the glorious resistance at North of Cimpulung ,threatens in the back by the progression of the enemy Group ,neighbour towards Pitesti ,started herself the retreat with direction Tirgoviste -Ploiesti.On her tracks ,set to move the Group of General Morgen.

At 29th of November ,the line of the German Front advanced like an invasion wave .The circle arch have diminished its ray.At North-East ,Kraftt Group has occupied Pitesti and was advancing along the driveway with railways towards Golesti-Titu.The Group was now made of three Divisions of Infantry:the Bavarian Alpine Corps ,the 216th German Division and the 73rd Austro-Hungarian Division.The last one of them ,has been constituted of the Alpine Brigades Austro-Hungarian 2nd and 10th,which have fought on Olt Valley and on Topolog Valley Commander,Feldmarshal Goiginger.It has been aded a new Division of Cavalry ,German,the 2nd ,General von Etzel.

At the center ,Kuhne Group has touched with his five Divisions ,the approximative line Costesti-Rosiori de Vede.At his left flank ,te 301st Division ,held for some time at Dragasani ,was at about 6 Miles from Costesti ,and at the right flank ,the 115th Division,which constituted the reserve ,was on the road between Caracal and Rosiori de Vede.Between the two wings of the Group was :the 41st Division at Mirosi ,the 109th Division at Beuca ,and the 11th Division Bavarian exactly at Rosiori .6 Miles ahead ,the two Divisions of Cavalry of Schmettow ,with the Cyclist Brigade ,with auto-machineguns and its armoured automobiles ,were making the avanguard ,masking by their unfolding the march of the Divisions arriving from behind.

At the right wing of the enemy Front ,Kosch Army was advancing with 217th Division on driveway Alexandria -Bucharest.At left the 217th Division ,at North of the driveway.The Mixt Cavalry Division von der Goltz was forming the phallanxguard ;behind ,the 26th Turk Division was at Dragasani as reserve;on the right ,the Bulgarian Divisions 1st and 12th were closing in by Calugareni.

The three Armies :Kraft ,Kuhne and Kosch ,represented with this face a force of 12 Didivisions of Infantry and four Cavalry Divisions .For to give more cohesion to the formidable ensemble of forces ,it has been given to Marshal Mackensen the Supreme Command of all forces of the enemy ,allied in Muntenia,Falkenhayn remaining Commander of the IX-th Army.

The German strategy succeeded.The Supreme Commander united all powers on a single firing line ,which was starting now,impetuous and irresistible towards the supreme target:the Capital of the Kingdom of the enemy.

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Bucharest fortress

The situation of Romanians appeared desperate .Three months after the War proclamation for the liberation of their opressed brothers ,they were on their own territory now invaded ,and in front of the enemy strong without mercy ,thirsty of revenge and greedy after pray.The Romanians could oppose now only troops in retreat ,decimated ,missfortuned with lowered moral ,bowing the head in face of inexorable fatality .Will it be rennaunced to any trial of resistance and will it be the enemy let to conquer Bucharest without a fight?

About a resistance of the Capital ,in itself,could not be talk.It is true that Bucharest was considered as a strong fortress and,on maps ,it was drawn that it was surrounded by a strong belt of 18 big forts and 18 intermediary batteries .The fortification of Bucharest has been made after the plans of celebre General Brialmont [4],who also fortified Anvers.The forts of Bucharest(or Bucharests)build out of concrete masonry with earthworks ,armed with long cannons of 150 mm ,with howitzers of 120,210 and 240 mm ,protected with armoured turrets ,passed between one of the most succesful works of fortification.Defended by this formidable belt ,seemd as an inexpungable fortress .In front of the big calibers, modern ,of artillery ,no armor could stand .The experiences made at Liege ,Namur and Anvers[5] proved it enaugh.Besides,the cannons with long firing ,of the enemy,could bomb the city ,firing over the defence belt ,distanced with only 6 Miles by the city .If the only belt of forts was broken in one of the sector,the fate of the fortress was sealed.The only use that could have been given to the forts was to serve as shelter for an infantry defence ,but the much extended perimeter of the fortifications line would have reclaimed a force of 100 000-200 000 men,which would have been condemned beforehand to surrender.The fall of fortresses of Maubeuge ,Przemysl,Novogeogievsk (Modlin)[6] and Turtucaia showed what was the fate of the fortified cities ,wich let themselves to be surrounded.That is why ,during the neutrality,learning from the lessons of the Great War,the forts have been declassed.It has been taken out from them,all the artillery material which,placed on wheels build in manufacure shops within the kingdom,have contributed to the increasing of the artillery which has been used in the first part of the Romanian War,especially heavy artillery.

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The plan for the battle of Bucharest

The Commander of the Romanian Army decided to not consider the War as lost,but to try a supreme effort for the defeat of the enemy and saving of Bucharests.

The defence of Bucharest was imposed by moral considerations ,and military ones.The Capital of Romania was the brain and heart of the kingdom;its fall woud have had an imens echo and would have demoralized deeply the kingdom and our foreign allies friends.Besides Bucharests were the vital node of the organization of national defence and of the communication ways;they were the "concrete platform" of the the railway network of the kingdom.The occupation of Bucharest would have meant the complete evacuation of Muntenia ,for which there was no rocade line anymore.The whole kingdom from West ,North and South of Bucharest ,with all its riches ,meant to be abandoned in the hands of the enemy.The leaders of the Army could not content with such a loss ,without making a supreme try to avoid it.The decission of the Commandment was made :it will be given a great battle for Bucharest.

The only line which could be used as support for the battle for saving Bucharests,was Arges River line.Its military value was much inferior to that of Olt River line.As Olt formed the shortest line ,leaning perpendicular on mountains and Danube ,Arges formed an oblique line ,running towards South-East ,almost double in length compared to Olt line.As obstacle,Arges was smaller than Olt ,and the dominant shore was the South-West one.Besides ,in the Northern part ,in Pitesti -Cimpulung sector ,the enemy was on the Eastern side of Arges.Still there was no other way ;it was the single line which the Romanian Commandment had at its disposition .The great battle for defending Bucharest will take place,along Arges River line ,in full flat land;the most important actions will take place in the region between Arges and his afluent,Neajlov River.It is the Battle on Neajlov and Arges,also called the Battle for Bucharest.The Command of the operations of the great battle was given to General C. Prezan,which has earned a beautiful reputation by well conducted operations in Transilvania and especially by the excelent defence of Moldavian Passes ;the former Commander of the Northern Romanian Army became available in the wake of replacing the most part of Romanian Army in Moldavian Mountains by Russians.It has been set to the disposition of the new Commandment all available forces in reserve and in remaking .The plan of the battle on Neajlov and Arges was excelent made .It was supported on the judicious observation of the dispozitive of the enemy forces.The Commandment of the RomanianArmy has observed that the enemy ,in his impetuous advance ,has adopted a very risky dispozitive.After the informations of the Great Romanian Headquarter ,the enemy was advancing in to two Groups:a Northern Group-Kraftt Army-was in Pitesti-Costesti region,and a Southern group -Kosch Army ,along the driveway Alexandria -Bucharest .This latter group was more advanced than the Northern one ,making a pronounced outing ,and had the left flank "in the air".By the existence of a connection between the two groups ,the Romanian Commandment had no knowledge whatsoever;he suspected that Kuhne Army which,coming from Jiu ,crossed the Olt ,separated its units between the two Armies ,neighbour.It seemed that in the great interval between the two enemy Armies ,there was only the weak connection made by Schmettow Cavalry.

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The Romanian Commander discovered that in the left flank ,uncovered ,of Kosch Army ,the weak point of the enemy dispositive ;here must be applied the blow.He conceived the plan of the classic manoeuvre on interior lines ;to sneak with the Romanian forces between the two enmy Armies ,before they could operate the junction ,then to attack them one by one.Firstly,it has to be attacked Kosch Army,which was in the most unfavorable position and which was the most threatening ,by its advance towards Bucharest.If the first blow succeeded and Kosch Army was throwed in to the Danube River,the Romanian forces ,becaming in this way available ,to turn against the Northern and Eastern enemy*.For acomplishing this plan ,it has been taken the following dispositions:in Moldavia ,all the Carpathians Front ,until Vrancea Mountains ,passed under Russian Commandment.On the Front of the II-nd Romanian Army in Vrancea Mountains until South of Cimpulung ,General Averescu received the order to resist with strength and to hold to a stop the enemy ,which was looking to descend the valleys of the mountains towards Buzau,Ploiesti and Tirgoviste.

Between Pitesti and Costesti was in retreat the I-st Romanian Army .She was formed by the remains of Olt Corps ,which fought in upper Olt Valleys and Topologului ,together with the rests of the Group defeated at Jiu,which have executed a long and penible retreat through Filiasi ,Craiova and Slatina .The I-st Army was also subordinated from operative point of view to the Group of the Southern Armies ,Commanded by General Prezan and received the task to "to keep with any price on its positions".In the case in which would be attacked by forces totaly superior ,to retreat step by step,fighting on successive positions of resistance.It must be observed,that the task of this Army was not an easy one .She had in front the four Divisions of Kraftt Army and the 301st Division of Kuhne Army ,meaning five Divisions ,of which two fresh ones.The resistance of the Ist Army had to give time for the execution of the manoeuvre aimed against Kosch Army.This mission ,principal,came to the Group of Southern Armies ,under direct Command of General Prezan.

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At the left wing was "The group for Danube Defence" under the Command of General Iancovescu.It was formed by the remains of the 18th Division which has formed the defence of Danube and had to be completed with the 9/19 Mixt Brigade ;behind him was brought as reserve parts of the 7th Division ,General Istrati,which has fought on Trotus Front .The Group was occupying the region Sout- West of Calugareni ,from Neajlov to Danube ,having in front of him Divisions 1st and 12th Bulgarians.The mission of the Group for Danube Defence was to held on stop the enemy and to repell him ,not letting him to cross over Neajlov River or over Arges River.Between the Ist Army and the Group of Danube Defence ,General Prezan gathered a mass of manoeuvre ,destined to be the key of the entire battle.As the two armies at the wings had to oppose,against the enemy advance ,a fierce resistance to bring him to a stop ,the manouvre mass had to intervene actively ,attacking the left flank and behind of Kosch Army.For making this Army of Attack,have been reclaimed into the fight three Divisions ,which were in reserve.They were ,firstly,Divisions 2/5-General Socec -and 9/19 -General Scarisoreanu-made ,as we know ,by the rests of the Divisions with the corresponding numbers ,united two by two ,because of their very reduced effectives in the wake of the bloody fights in Dobrogea.;remade in Buzau-Braila region,they were now displaced between Arges and Olt ,for the planned manoeuvre over Olt,which has been given up.Making a leap back,Prezan was opening up his right to gain freedom of movement ,using the two Divisions in to a new mission.There were then Division 21st-general Lambru-which has sustained until the end of October the defence of Predeal.Divisions 2/5 and 9/19.starting from the points were they were ,Pitesti and Titu,had to fall perpendicular on driveway Alexandria-Bucharest ,behind and on flank of Danube Army ,as the 21st Division had to attack the same Army frontal,making the connection with the right of the Group of Danube Defence.

The Cavalry Divisions 1st and 2nd were tasked to defend the flanks and to make the connection between the attack columns .At South of Ploiesti was held in reserve the 10th Division ,remade in the wake of the fights in Predeal region.

The mission given to the attack Group was of an exceptional importance .By the success of it hanged the victory .This victory hanged ,in her turn,by the fulfiling of certain conditions and was linked by certain risks.Firstly,was the doubt if the Division making the Attack Group ,reorganized in haste,will be capable to give the intensive forcing asked from them.The legendary power of resistance to marchings of our soldier and his heroism in the fight ,gave to the Commandment all the needed trust.Secondly,the advance of our troops in the empty space between the enemy Armies presented two dangers :they could be crushed between the two Armies:then it would be produced-also on our part-an empty space between I-st Army and the Group for Defending the Danube.As much as our Attack Group advanced South ,the greater this empty space becomes and the flanks ,internal,of the two wings could be turned by the enemy.Will Prezan be able to beat the enemy advancing from Danube ,before to be caught by the one coming from Olt?

The plan of the battle had ,as such,big risks .It was counted on the complete secret of the operations ,which had to be masked by the movements of the Cavalry troops and by the speed of the attack ,which had to give us the success,before the enemy to realize the sense of our manoeuvres.

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The conscience of the gravity of the situation and the concern for punctual fulfilling of the mission given to different units ,yields from all the orders of operations which the Commandment was addressing to the troops ."By the fate of the battle which will be given in the day of 29th of November ,depends the fate of our nation.This being said,the troops attack ,either they defeat,or they have to die".Such voiced the order of 27th of November .At 29th ,Ceneral Prezan explains once more to the troops the hour of grave times in which we were and what is expected from them :"The fight which begins tomorrow ,being the only one by which depends the fate of the nation ,does not admit retreat.From soldier to general ,have to die attacking".The words take unusual meanings ,after the circumstances in which they are spoken.In other circumstances ,they would have sounded fals ,as a bombastic speech ,as an effect declamation .The tragic of the hour gave to the words of the Commander unresembling gravity.Conscious or unconscious ,an entire country was waiting with unrest the unfolding of the drama which was preparing in the flats of Neajlov and Arges .From there the voice of the cannon had to carry ,on wings of wind ,the news of victory or slavery.

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*It has been established some kind of analogy between the plan of Arges-Neajlov battle and the manoeuvre executed by the Anglo-French Army in the culminant moment of the great Battle of Marna .Between the German Armies of General von Kluck and von Bulow has been produced a big empty space :the empty space at Rebais ,covered on some 19 Miles wide ,only by a curtain of Cavalry.Through this empy space sneaked with vigor the British Corps of Marshal John French and the left wing of Franchet d'Esperey Army ,rejecting the German troops ;they have crossed Marna ,turned the internal flanks of Kluck and Bulow Armies and landed on to the communication lines behind the two armies of the Germans .It is the decissive blow ,given in the day of 9th of September ,which provoked the general retreat order of the German Armies ,so called "the miracle of Marna".

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General look over the adversary forces and their settings

The battle of Neaslov and Arges took place in their decissive days ,29th of November-3rd of December ,on a Front of 75 Miles,from Golesti until close to the Danube River.It was made of a series of fights ,isolated ,but forming an operative ensemble ,lead by both sides by a unique will and goal.The analogy with the grea Battle of Marna is obvious:the principal fighting line was the valley of a river ;the battle has engaged almost the totality of the available forces of the two adversaries ;it had to be decissive for the fate of the Capital of the country.

On the side of the enemy,have took part 16.5 Divisions ,grouped in three Armies ,and on the Romanian side 13.5 Divisions,grouped ,also,in to three Amies ;to these it was added in the last day two Russian Divisions.The comparison of the above figures is not enaugh to give us an exact ideea about the raport of the adversary forces.The Germans had not more Divisions than us ,but some of them were fresh troops ,entered not long ago in the fight ,as all Romanian Divisions were those who stayed almost permanently in to the fighting line.The effectives of most of them have been reduced at less than half;those reorganized in haste have been throwed in the fight before they could rest ,as it should be.

Divisions 1/17 and 11th were smashed.The Army at Jiu ,which was in continuous retreat for two weeks.Division 13/23 ,was made of the remains of the Divisions which have been eaten day by day on to Olt Valley ,for two months ;their effectives were derisory ,and the fight capacity almost null.The 18th Division which constituted the principal mass of the Group of Danube Defence ,was a troop of mediocre value ,made mostly of militia tasked with the guard of Danube;she has been entirely decimated and deorganized in the fights given with the enemy which has crossed the Danube ,reduced at few Battalions.The single complete units were those brought from the remaking zone :2/5,9/19 and 21st.This "remaking" has been far from the true sense of the word ;the organization of the units has been made in a rush ,it has not been time for instructing the men.In full activity of organization ,the troops have been put in the train and send to the danger place.The 2/5 Division was entering in the fight tired after series of marchings and countermarchings ,provoked by the continuous change of the operations plans ,determined by the direction of enemy attacks ,which had now the total initiative of movments.The 21st Division ,retreated from Predeal Front with a small effective,remade at Baicoi,has been send at Predelus ,then turned from her way and send to neajlov.

For the systematization of the description of the fights given in the days of 30th of November-3rd of December,the battle theatre may be separated in three Sectors.:a)Superior Arges Sector ,with the initial Front Costesti-North -East of Pitesti having as unfolding axis of the fights ,Arges Valley ,the driveway and railway CGolesti-Titu .The sector was defended by the I-st Romanian Army ,general Stratilescu,having in the first line Divisions 1/17,8th,14th and Divisions 11th and 13/23 -the rest without combative value -a reserve on the second line .The 1st Cavalry Division covered it on the left side.On the side of the enemy operated in this direction Kraftt Army von Delmensiengen ,made out of the Bavarian Alpine Corps ,the 73rd Austro-Hungarian Division ,the 216th Division the 2nd German Cavalry Division ,as well as two Divisions :301st and 41st of Kuhne Army.

b)Arges Sector and of middle Neajlov was the sector of the Attack Group Romanian .The fighting action unfolded alon Valleys Glavaciocului ,middle Neajlov and Arges,having the driveway Alexandria -Bucharest as advancing axis .The Romanian Group was made ,as we know ,of Divisions 2/5 ,9/19 and 21st sustained on the right by the 2nd Cavalry ;between this sector and the preceeding one was added latter the 10th Division.The enemy had in this region Divisions 109th,11th and 113th of Kuhne Army ,the two Cavalry Divisions -6th and 7th -which formed the group Schmettow and a part of Kosch Army .Division 217 German ,Division 26th Turk and the Mixt Division of Cavalry von der Goltz.

c)Neajlov Sector and of inferior Arges ,with the tactical center at Calugareni ,having as Front infrerior Neajlov until the flowing of this one into Arges ,continuing then towards South ,till the Danube .The advancing axis :drveway Giurgiu -Bucharest .In this sector .were fighting on the Romanian part Division 18th -reduced at four Battalions and two Escadrons -parts of the 7th Division and the Mixt Brigade 9/19.On the enemy side were Divisions Bulgarian 1st and 12th (five Brigades) and a Mixt Brigade Germano-Bulgarian.

The geometrical center and tactical of the field of battle will be Sector Neajlov and middle Arges ,along driveway Alexandria -Bucharest .There ,there will be given the most fierce fights and decissive.

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How were the "allies" helpping us

Again there were made interventions ,near the Russian Great Commandment ,as along the Tzar ,personally,for that in this supreme hour ,which will be decissive for Romania ,a part of the numerous Russian troops ,which were available,to take part in to the great battle which was preparing on Arges.The telegram addressed by Bratianu(Romanian primeminister) to General Coanda ,written in determined and energic terms ,is given with intention open,to impress the entire Great Russian Headquarter:"Romania is wondering with unrest -writes the Romanian Primeminister-if the brothers in arms will let her to be crushed ,without those who may come in help to spear her by the desastre of an occupation of Bucharest".The Romanian appeal is suported with warm also by the French Commandment .At 26th of November ,Joffre intervenes also next to the General Gurko,the succesor of Alekseev ,and Poincare next to the Tzar ,asking for the concentration in Bucharest region of the available Russian forces.The French reminds to the Russians of the decissions taken in commune and the assurances given by them,and show them in a solemn way the importance of a failure of Romanians ,if the Entente would let one of her Armies to be crushed.

The direct interventions of General Berthelot towards Russian Stavka from Moghilev are made by General Janin ;he asks the Russians to send in the aid of Romanians the 40th Division of Infantry and 8th Division of Cavalry from the Danube ,as well as VIII-th Corps Army,the reserve of General Lecitki.But Gurko is worse than Alekseev.His answer falls brutally at 26th of November through Beleaev:"not a man ,nor a cannon"*.Janin thinks that in this categoric response can be seen as the Russians indisposition against the Romanian Commandment ,which will not take in to account by Belaev oppinions-representing Stavka's conception -after which the Superior Romanian Commandment should be lowered to the rank of an Army Commander interposed in to a Group of Armies under a Russian Commander.Berthelot sees himself forced to notice in his respons towards Janin :"The public opinion is very surescitated against the Russians ,of which offensive has been delayed and which keeps in the face of the dezastre a peacefulness and indifference which contrasts with the gravity of times".

To give the impression of good will,at 27th of November ,Beleaev communicates to the Great Romanian Hedquarter ,that in the case in which Romanian guarantees to the Russians 16 trains a day ,then Russia gives up at her offensive ,which was supposed to begin on Moldavian Front even the next day,and in the same time will head some of these troops towards Muntenia.The Russian General asked for an answer within an hour.The request of the Russian was an impossibility .General Iliescu could not answer ,but that Romania cannot guarantee the 16 trains,because the railways are full already with the transport of Divisions 7th and 9/19 which are send to the fighting Front at Arges ,and also with the numerous evacuations which are made towards Moldavia.That is why,he preferes that at least the Russians to begin ,even the next day 28th of November,their ,much awaited offensive on the Moldavian Front ,which wil bring a felt ease in the situation of Romanians.

Much better intended than his generals,the Tzar communicates to the King ,through General Coanda,that he has given a day order to Zaharov to send the 4th Division of Infantry at fetesti ,together with a Cavalry Division ,to take part,together with Romanians ,to Arges battle.The Tzar has also asked to the Russian Commandment to assign for the Command of this Group ,one of the most capable of the Russian Commanders of Army Corps ,"engaging the honour of that General for his cooperation for the success of the manoeuvre".It has been assigned General Aliev.It has been given to Aliev Corps the mission to strengthen the left wing of the Romanian Front in inferior Arges Sector .How Zaharov and Aliev understood to correspond to the good intentions of the Tzar and to engage the honour ,would be seen in the unfolding of the battle.

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*The Russian thesis exposed by General Vinogradov ,is that Stavka has the right to refuze the imediate Russian concur ,for the operations on Arges ,because Bucharest did not have the importance of a commune objective in the face of the vital interests of the Entente,to risk an Army.On the other hand ,the limited output of the Romanian railways did not give the possibility for a fast transport ,quick of the troops on Arges to ensure the victory ,and their arriving in small packages would have lead to a series of partial failures.The Russian Group nearest by (the Danube Army) had a serious mission ,which they prepeared to fulfil ,that is why it was logic that General Zaharov to refuse to enterprize something untill the end of the concentration of all the elements amd means of his.To appreciate the value of this argumentation,to be seen further,in the text ,the conduct of General Rasvoi ,in the middle of the fight on Arges ,and of general Zaharov in Dobrogea ;these were even on the fighting terrain ,in imediate contact with the enemy,when they refuzed to fight.

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The prologue of the great battle

The Romanian attack ,planned to take place in the day of 29th of November against the enemy Army of "Danube" ,could not take place in this day ,because the Romanian troops could not arrive in to the fighting zones ,nor in the middle sector ,or the Southern one.In all sectors,however ,wer given by different units ,which were seeking to reach their concentration zone,isolated fights ,but very lively,with the enemy units whith which they came into contact.The general aspect,drawn by these fights,forecasting of the great battle ,could be exposed with the next face :in superior Arges Sector ,the I-st Romanian Army ,in retreat was occupying solid positions at East of Pitesti and West of Costesti ,sustaining fights with the enemy.The fights are given on a Front in the form of an arch of circle ,between Pitesti and Golesti.Costestii are well defended.

In the Middle Sector,the troops of Divisions 2/5 and 9/19 are in march towards South ;they collide with the avanguards of Kuhne Army which follows its marching towards East.None of the two parties knows what adversary has in front.The Germans have no knowledge of the existance of the strong columns of the Attack Group,which advances from North to South ,perpendicular on to their own advancing direction ;they think they have only to deal with the arierguard of the defeated troops at Jiu ,in retreat towards East.At their turn,the Romanians do not realize the importance of the enemy troops coming from West ;they think there are only small Detachments of Cavalry ,sometimes strengthened with Infantry,which are making the connection between the two enemy armies.

In Neajlov Sector ,however ,the enemy is in full offensive along the line Alexandria-Bucharest ,as well as on Calugareni Front .Sustaining at the left wing the strong attacks of the enemy ,the troops of the Group of Danube Defence and of the Attack Group execute with the right ,the great move of converssion towards South-West .The Front of these groups pivotes around the left wing ,which is at South of Calugareni,as the right wing which goes around ,made by Division 2/5 Socec ,advance fast with directions North-South,towards Draganesti.

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The marching of Socec and Scarisoreanu Divisions

On the roads which descend the hill region towards the flat lands of Muntenia ,are unfolding long columns of troops of different weapons.Thin,pale,bend under the weight of the filled backpacks ,with tore and decoloured uniforms ,the soldiers of Divisions of General Socec and of General Scarisoreanu,tired by entire days of marchings,advance all the time fermenting with their boots the holes of the ground and the water with snow covering the roads.Through the humid and cold air ,through the thick fog of November days ,they seem like some unfinished corteges of shadows ,pushed forward by a blind fatality towards unknown destinies.But in the hands of this ghosts is the fate of the great battle.The great director of the drama which begins to unfold have casted the prime roles to these soldiers ,tired and discouraged ,And,as the action begins ,they transfigurate .From the first touch with the enemy ,they are not recocnizible anymore.The foot starts to step stiff,the bend backs straighten up,the eye envigorates ,the arm tightens on the weapon ,the bayonet has shines of lightning.The rows get in to fighting formations ,the artillery leaves in horses gallop and sets into position ,the attack begins ,with despise for death ,superb...

Socec Division, remade herself uncomplete at Buzau.She had barely the time to reorganize the officers ,complet the effectives and start to learn the handling of the new machineguns when,in the day of 17th of November , she has to gather up and leave for Pitesti.From here it was send at 23rd of November on to the Eastern Shore of Olt ,between Dragasani and Topolog Valley,to obstacle the crossing of the enemy in this region.In the night of 26-27th of November she had to break up the fight and leave at Costesti,for then to go towards Draganesti .This Division would have to fulfill the most difficult mission and dangerous ;she was the extreme right wing -the going around wing-af the Attack Group.She had to turn the left flank of Kosch Army ,falling in the back at Draganesti.

In five days of march the Division had pass at Costesti and aimed towards Draganesti ,on two columns ,distanced with 1-2 Miles one from the other :at the left is Racovita Brigade,Romanian,which advances along the driveway Pitesti-Draganesti-Giurgiu,on Glavaciocului Valley ;on the right is Serbescu Brigade,Romanian,which advances on a lateral road ,through Clantei Valley ,A Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division is attached to the Division ,to acompany it as phallanxguard ,the other Brigade acompanies the I-st Army.

The advance of Socec Division is made in to a contact very close to the enemy avanguards columns ,which in their turn were advancing from West to East ,perpendicular on to the advancing direction of the Romanian Division.There are troops,especially belonging to the 6th Cavalry Division of Schmettow Group and the avanguards of the 11th Bavarian Division ,the most advanced of the German columns .From place to place produces not only collisions of patrols but also of Detachments more numerous .Most of the times ,the artillery has to intervene and the infantry to start to attack to away the enemy which has occupied the villages ,have nested in the woods ,or established on to the ridges which had to be rove through by the columns of the Division in march.As the Division advances towards South ,the collisions become more serious.

In the day of 29th ,the column on the right side -Serbescu brigade-occupies after short fights the villages Zlotesti ,Negreni and Dracesti,the enemy retreats at Talpa Ionesti.The next day ,the avanguard of the column is attacked with machineguns fires and of artillery from the edge of the village Valea Postei ,which he occupies by fight.Villages Talpa Postei and Talpa Ionesti are occupied by enemy Cavalry Escadrons ,unmounted .They are set on the run and the Romanian column continues her road towards South.In the evening the Brigade has arrived at Frasinet and Babaita ,were has stationed over the night.

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On the left side ,Racovita Brigade ,following the driveway in Glavaciocului Valley ,finds in the day of 30th of November Catunu Village occupied by few Escadrons of the 6th German Division ;at the apparition of the Romanian troops ,the Germans retreat towards South in Blejesti direction.Near Caldararu ,between Adunatii Butesti and Budeasca ,the enemy having infantry forces with numerous machineguns and with artillery ,attacks the avanguard of Socec Division .Two Romanian Battalions ,sustained by artillery ,proceed to a veiling attack and occupy one by one villages Purani and Blejesti .The Germans retreat towards South-West in disband ,leaving in the hands of Romanians 240 prisoners ,10 machineguns on carriages ,two cannons ,automobiles and a big quantity of material of all kind.The pursuit cannot be made :the link with the own Cavalry has been broken,and Romanians have to follow the road South.In the evening of the same day ,the Brigade seized Flaminda ,occupied by German-Bulgar troops ,of Kosch Army ,from which they capture prisoners and material.Behind the Romanian column reappears the German cavalry ,which catches the ambulance and few carriages of the Division.

Socec Division has touched the objective .Before her was Tirnava Village and then Draganesti :the Army of Danube of Kosch.

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