I often describe myself as slightly paranoid, which then seems to make others think I have some sort of philological issues. I don’t believe I am being “watched” for example. That would, in my opinion, suggest that I hold some degree of celebrity in my mind; this would also, if it were the case, indicate that I think that I am somehow a fellow of above average interest to others. I must admit that if I were any less interesting people would fall asleep during a hand shake with me. Perhaps what I should say is that I strive to be more careful than average when it comes to making purchases and in believing everything I am told. Purchases such as left-handed baseball bats and non-flammable candles may be easy enough to avoid. However I have lost count of all of the collectables I have purchased and then a few days later wondered how I could have made such unwise choices. A few examples of what I allude to are, prices being far too high or items that really didn’t fit into my collecting themes.
The problem of knowing when you are being told something other than the truth can at times be difficult. There are some physical signs which must not be taken on individual basis, such as someone rubbing their nose or excessive blinking of the eyes. These so-called signs, on their own, can be explained away as having nothing to do with attempted deceit. Collectively such signs, along with other indications may be used, in law enforcement as an example, to accept the statement or doubt what you are being told.
The most difficult “stories” to determine their truthfulness is when the person telling the story actually believes it to be the truth. This and the manner in which the story is delivered and the interpretation of what has been said may end in one doubting the story as being the truth. Two examples come to mind. If you hear someone say that smoking can be bad for you and you need to take measures to avoid smoking, you may think of someone inhaling smoke from a cigarette, which fits the caution; or something else. If you are standing too close to your BBQ and your clothing is starting to smoke then surely you need to take measures (stepping back) to avoid bursting into flames. My second, and last example, comes from the television comedy, Saturday Night Live (SNL) that first appeared in 1975 which is famous for their rather juvenile humour appealing to the adolescent mind. I became rather old and stuffy about 40 years ago and therefore stopped watching SNL. One of the sketches involved a group of people telling an individual on a beach that “You can’t look at the sun too long”. Most of us would take this as a warning and realize staring at the sun could be detrimental to your vision and not misinterpret this as you can’t get over the majesty of the sun, for example. Of course the poor fellow being advised took the first interpretation with disastrous results.
No, my retelling of this story is not very funny however, as has been said, “You had to be there to see it”.
One of the stories that has floated around guns shows and places where people interested in military history gather, at least here in Canada, is the topic of this blog. Yes, I know it has taken me a long time to get to the point...as usual. Why say something in a couple of dozen words when a plethora of paragraphs can achieve the same results? That’s a rhetorical question of course.
The story is that one can turn an FN FAL C1,or C1A1, rifle from a semi-automatic to a full automatic weapon by inserting a piece of match book in the correct place in the internal workings. This I have always held as being complete garbage. Any of those reading this who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces in the past and used the FN FAL C1 and the FN C2 please hold off on your hate mail until the end of this blog.
The Canadians used the FN FAL C1, a semi-automatic battle rife with the 7.62X51mm NATO round from 1953, being the first to officially adopt the FN FAL, until 1984 when it was replaced by the 5.56x45mm NATO C7 rifle and the C8 carbine both based on the American US AR-15. The British and Commonwealth Nations used the same rifle as Canada but called it the L1A1. I have read that the rifle was commonly known as the FAL however in my area of Ontario at least, we refer to it as simply the “FN”.
Here’s where the claim of using the FN C1, inserting a piece of match book to turn it into an automatic weapon, becomes argument. In each case where this has come up in the past I have tried to delve more deeply into this claim by asking if the service person is saying that with the insertion of a matchbook into the FN C1 they have changed it from a battle rifle (semi-automatic) into an assault rifle (full auto). Without exception the answer is “yes”. The problem in my mind, I have just recently discovered, is not whether you can modify an FN C1 with a foreign object to malfunction and discharge the weapon in rapid succession but have you actually “changed” this battle rifle into an assault rifle. A basic definition of an assault rifle is that it is a carbine sized firearm using a large capacity magazine capable of sustained full automatic fire. The FN FAL, even fitted with a large capacity magazine, falls short of being an assault rifle on two of the most important requirements that I have stated, even with the matchbook modification.
To all of the servicemen in my past who have engaged me in this argument, and there have been quite a few, I apologize. You are correct in that you can make an FN FAL C1 malfunction to fire several rounds in rapid, automatic-like, succession. On the other hand I would offer the suggestion that this could be done with almost any semi-automatic rifle.
On the other hand (you knew there would be an “on the other hand”) to all servicemen in my past who have engaged me in argument you failed miserably in qualifying your claim fully. You did not, I must repeat, did not, change this battle rifle into an assault rifle, and especially to one fellow who claimed to have changed the FN FAL C1 into the C2A1, the squad automatic weapon (SAW), as the C2 has a much more robust barrel to withstand the heat generated by sustained rapid fire. Some of our members might note that they have seen an FN FAL C1 with a selective fire option and you would be correct. There were some FN FAL C1 rifles fitted with the selective fire option and used only by the Royal Canadian Navy to give boarding parties the option of a full automatic weapon without the weight of the C2A1.
In past blogs I have managed to attempt to prove and at times disprove some claims. I’ve disproved some claims about the Battle of Crecy and the crossbow. We then proved the capabilities of the crossbow in experiments that were undertaken with minor casualties. These experiments also brought to light that during an apology for a range mishap the suggestion that, “It is only a cat”, is best left unsaid.
I think we successively supported claims regarding the possibility of an accidental discharge of the STEN gun. Now we have supported the claim that the FN FAL C1 can be made to fire with the insertion of a foreign object; yet without actually fully admitting that I was wrong.
It’s a win, win situation!
I will continue with my version of paranoia and look for myths that I can prove or disprove, while being on guard against my own poor purchase decisions.
The post has just arrived and I need to close now and open the shipment of prefabricated postholes I purchased on eBay.
Not too long ago I was attending a Gun Show in our area and had just completed a negotiation for the purchase of a Pattern 1908 British Cavalry Sabre. The guard had “possibly” been repainted green in the same shade as the WWI models, though I see no indication that this is not the original paint job; some of these were green and some a khaki colour. The seller stated that it had been issued to the Fort Gary Horse (Canadian) which to his mind warranted a slightly higher price than one might normally expect. This example, I did agree, commanded a higher value but not for the reason he presented as the guard was stamped R.H.G. (Royal Horse Guard). As a shameless fan-boy of Victorian era military, anything marked to the Horse Guard is prized. “Hold on there sunshine”, you may be thinking, “haven’t you forgotten the dates of Victoria’s rein (1837-1901) or missed the fact that the sabre is a Pattern 1908?” The Pattern 1908 was in fact accepted into service by King Edward VII (1901 –1910), rather reluctantly according to some sources as he considered it a very ugly pattern compared to those patterns that came before. I considered this specimen a real treasure and therefore was prepared to pay a bit of a premium. For a change the lack of attention to detail was not mine and I came home with a treasure, in my opinion. Granted I could have pointed out that the stampings did not support his original claim with the intentions of negotiating a lower price, however, since he felt the sword commanded a premium price and I agreed, albeit for a different reason, therefore I feel no remorse at withholding the information. A case where Caveat emptor was somewhat reversed; Caveat venditor perhaps?
The Household Cavalry and I believe Royal Horse Guards still use their Pattern 1892 Mk.II for ceremonial purposes, however during the WWI period they were issued the Pattern 1908 while on active service.
By way of some explanation as to why, if I am so inclined to collect Victorian era black powder military firearms and swords, have I added the Pattern 1908 Cavalry troopers sabre and the Pattern 1912 Officer’s Cavalry sabre to the collection? My collection theme, and I do have one, (a method to my madness if you will), is that I like my collection to tell a story and yet not necessarily including every Pattern of sword or Mark and Number of every musket ever made. Therefore the Pattern 1908 and 1912 is the final chapter in the story of British Cavalry sabres. Also, I do collect in the “other direction” so the collection also has examples of weapons from George III, George IV, William IV as well as Victoria, a range from 1760 to 1901 or 1912 in the case of the last cavalry (Officer’s) pattern.
I find it interesting that the Patterns still in use today by Officers, though for ceremonial purposes only, end with the Victorian Patterns. One exception that I am aware of is the use of the Pattern 1908 by Canada’s R.C.M.P. in their world famous Musical Ride. Now, finding one marked to the R.C.M.P. would be a banner day indeed.
After I had secured the sword I slipped it into what is called a “rifle or gun sock” for transport around the balance of the show. My reasons for this, other than treating the sword with respect and protecting it from any damage while it is in my care, is the unwanted banter that often comes from the vendors. If you carry around a firearm or sword, for that matter, every other dealer is shouting out at you asking if “it” is for sale. I find it rather annoying though I understand their reasons. Sword collectors immediately recognize the shape in the rifle sock and some will ask if they can see what you have. Naturally one would never decline to show off a new prize and the resulting conversation that follows. Eventually I came to a table of a long time acquaintance of mine who is also a fellow sword collector. He is a collector of ancient Japanese weapons and armour, the real thing not the WWII NCO and Officer’s katanas or the cheap scrap metal reproductions out of China. I showed him my latest purchase and he said, upon handling it, that it was a really poor sword and felt awkward in the hand and he thought it would also be a poor sword for fencing. It should be explained that this is common between us, his running down of British military swords and me asking once in a while, when no one else can hear, if a certain blade on his table came out of China recently. I would agree with his tongue-in-cheek assessment that the 1908 Cavalry Sabre feels much different in the hand than a Japanese katana, and he was as usual joking, as I have a couple of Japanese swords in the collection dating from the early 1650s. I also agree that the 1908 would make a terrible fencing sword based on the fact that in my younger days I belonged to a fencing club, using the epee for the most part. Then he hit upon the obvious that the 1908 had no true (sharp) edge and was “too dull to even cut butter”, I have not experimented but I assure you the butter remark was a little over the top. My friend knows his swords so his comments only elicited a laugh from me as I knew he was kidding. The downside is that he now has one up on me!
This has led me to thinking about the current trend on television to run programs comparing different weapons systems and warriors throughout history. Comparing a ninja to a fifteenth century fully armoured knight for example. Who would win? First off there is no such thing nor never has been a ninja outside the realm of fiction and fantasy, so let’s call our imaginary friend a samurai. They were both in more or less the same time periods but the warfare they engaged in was completely different calling for different tactics and equipment. Also the samurai portrayed in these silly “competitions” is almost always indicative of the warriors of the 1650’s period and probably should at least be the fully armoured samurai of the 1500’s. Total nonsense! No different than comparing the Japanese katana of the 1650’s, of which I have two examples in my collection, to the Pattern 1908 British cavalry troopers sabre. Katanas are cutting, or slashing, weapons and the 1908 is a “thrust centric” sword, not even a true sabre; it’s actually more of an estoc. True you can thrust with the katana but just looking at it tells you that the principal use is as a cutter. You’ve probably seen samurai movies where the hero has just polished off 1,714 of the opposition’s samurai then flips his sword under his arm and stabs another opponent who is coming up behind him. Nice move for the camera but not one that would be very useful on the battle field. To make my point, the distance from the body of the samurai to the point of strike (about 4 inches from the tip) on the blade is 42 inches. The point of fatal contact with the enemy approaching from behind is 10 inches taking into account a needed four inches of penetration for a kill. Why would the enemy not simply strike his opponent, who is facing away from him, using a cut at 42 inches away instead of coming within the 14 inch strike range of his adversary? If you stand 14 inches away from your opponent it is almost impossible to make a power cut or even “give point” (thrust, or stab). You may simply say, “There he goes again, making unsupported claims”. Surprisingly enough, while I may blend a couple of stories together to make one better tale every now and then, I never make unsupported claims. Today was a very nice day so I went out into the back yard with my wooden practice katana (officially called a “bokken”) and my tape measure and carried out some experiments. The neighbours are used seeing to my so-called experiments in archeology. Some neighbours tend to describe me as eccentric, for some reason. There are probably less polite terms used when speaking to each other about their neighbour, I am sure.
If we now look at the 1908 cavalry sword and read the history behind it we find that it was designed as a thrusting weapon only and only while on horseback. It was to take the place of the lance for the most part. It is not a fencing epee or a slashing weapon, this I assure you as I have studied and participated in both European and Japanese styles of fencing.
In conclusion there is no comparison, not because one is superior to the other but simply because you can’t compare the two; they are totally different “animals”, different time periods and using different tactics.
I apologize that I have not included photographs this time. I am not set up for photographing larger items and had a lot of trouble when I tried to insert Photoshop reduced backgrounds (canvas).
To the Point, Part 1
British Edged Weapons Problems.
Yet another function where my attendance is somehow mandatory, seated at a round table with barely room for five couples none of whom I know; if I did get to know them I am confident I would not like their company. Men in suits that look like they originally belonged to their fathers with dress shirts that are so small that the top button can only dream of ever being reunited with its intended closure. A failed attempt to hide up the fact that the shirt is far too small made by disguising the open space with the large King Edward’s knot reminding one of a convicted felon, neck in the noose, awaiting the final drop to oblivion. Then there is the inane conversation. The ladies content to swap stories of grandchildren and the men struggling to find a mutually respected sports team. My wife has cautioned me on several occasions about my conduct and what I should and should not say or discuss among those of whom I am unfamiliar. To the question as to whether I follow or have an interest in a certain sports team I now simply say “no”. Apparently this is preferable, according to my spouse, to replying with, “not in the least”, to the sports question. Personally I can tolerate those with single faceted, career related, interests at least they can be interesting and there is a slight chance that one can actually learn something new, making the sacrifice of my time, a finite commodity, somewhat worth the expenditure. I like to hope that at least a couple of these posturing male gorillas attempting to establish themselves to be the alpha silver back has enough intellect to avoid metaphorically throwing their own feces and even accidently offering up a topic of interest; but sadly, no. It’s not that there are no topics that I could be engaged in to discuss, even debate. Of course history, but also science and the feared taboo topics of politics and religion, both of which I am quite capable of carrying on a civilized, or a more heated, conversation.
Finally there is an oasis in the midst of this sea of banality, the “seven minute lull”. It has been said that during any conversation, I suspect even more so during trivial banter, there will be a lull in the conversation every seven minutes or so. It is times like these that I find myself wishing there was a terrorist waiting in the lobby ready to rush in, encased with explosives, screaming some ridiculous babble, intent on ending our existence. Oh, would it were so. I assure you that I would run up to this fanatic, hugging him, pulling the detonator pin myself; but, again, sadly no. Just prior to the so-called lull and my wish for escape, any escape, someone said, “The problem with today’s society is social media”. Eureka, the topic for this month’s blog suddenly came to me. No, no, not today’s social media as my “world” is the mid to late 19th century; it is the media of the Victorian times and in particular the “fake news” (yes, I know the modern reference) as it pertained to the British military swords and bayonets of the day. Oh, yes, the topic of what is wrong with the world today quickly deteriorated into what was wrong with today’s youth. From what I see today’s youth is basically not a lot different from the youth “of my day”. I just may not have yet reached the age where I am convinced that I know what the problems of today are and especially how to solve them. Though I suppose some people are wise beyond their age; yep, sarcasm.
We are all exposed to today’s media, be it through the handheld devices, laptop, PC, or traditional media. It is apparent that some sources are very bias toward a certain political idealism or popular consensus but while we may think we “own” this phenomenon as it seems so relevant to our times it is nothing new. Reports back to the home front from military actions, for example, have been common place for centuries in the form of official war diaries and more “as it happened” journalism through war correspondents. In the mid to late nineteenth century war correspondents were often “in the thick of it” during battles such as the Zulu and Sudan campaigns. In the case of the Sudan campaign, the Battle of Abu Klea 16 January 1885, some of the war correspondents defended themselves during this vicious battle with their privately purchased revolvers. As a point of possible interest an ancestor of mine, Lieutenant Richard Wolfe, No. 4 Co., HCR/Scots Greys, lost his life defending the British square during this battle.
As I have stated above some of the news papers of the time were very quick to point fingers, as to blame military failures, on the political party in power, in particular the Prime Minister. It was found that some of the swords and bayonets failed to perform as needed during the fierce battles often resulting in the death of the British Officer or soldier. This resulted in what was called the 1885 Bayonet Scandal. Basic blame was placed on the poor quality of the swords and bayonets used by the troops. In the case of the Officers they purchased their own swords as opposed to the NCO and other ranks who were issued government supplied weapons. At the time many sword blades were made in Germany and then sold to sword makers in Britain who would then finish the sword and sell it to the government for issue to the NCOs and other ranks, then swords for the Officer class were sold to retailers for private purchase. Some of the tailors, or retailers, would even place “proof marks” on the ricasso as if the sword had passed testing and were therefore “battle ready” which many were not. The “scandal” resulted in the testing of swords and bayonets already in the hands of the military as well as those in stores. It was found that a large percentage of weapons failed the trials; in the case of the socket and sword bayonets for the Martini-Henry this involved both the bending and twisting tests.
One of the early excuses for the failure of bayonets in the field was the accusation that soldiers used their bayonets as pokers to keep camp fires blazing. This was a “smoke screen” used by authorities to hide the testing results and associated blame from the public. An article in The Times, 13, January 1885 discounts this quoting an army source as saying, “Any use of a bayonet as a poker would not likely pass inspection the following morning”. This served to discount the original accusation. While the contractors who produced the sub-standard bayonets were never officially named there were two factors uncovered by the investigation in the manufacturing process that caused the defects.
“Firstly, the bayonets were all subject to bending tests and, so that the contractor could get the bayonet passed, he left them unhardened. This was necessary because, if hardened, they would break under tests, as inferior steel was used in the manufacture. The second reason was that some contractors used casehardening so that when bayonets were manufactured they were ground, then hardened and were then passed on for final grinding. If the bayonet was not much oversize then the bayonet would probably be all right, but if it were too much oversize all of the casehardening would be ground off, leaving the soft metal.”
Source: “British Military Bayonets from 1700 to 1945” by R.J. Wilkinson Latham.
The Patterns involved in the scandal, the Pattern 1853 sword-bayonet and the Pattern 1876 socket bayonet, were replaced by the Pattern 1886 which brought to an end the problems experienced. Future sword and bayonet manufacture was dominated by the firms of Wilkinson and Mole and manufacturing of weapons from firms in Germany ceased.
In this blog we looked mainly at the British bayonet and the associated scandal, in next month’s submission (Part 2: Staying Sharp) we will discuss the earlier problems with the British Cavalry swords, in particular those used during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Mutiny).
I Hate Moving!
It has taken a while but the Home Office has moved two doors down the hall and the vacated room is now converted over to a second collection room. My dear astute wife is starting to suspect a form of Lebensraum is taking place within our home. She has countered my resent move, generated by the need to expand my territorial claims, with a policy of her own which states that she will concede the space but this is the last time appeasement will be offered before some undisclosed action is taken. I have assured her that if this latest claim is granted then I will make no further territorial claims. Of course the agreement was written on a piece paper which she proudly waved to the family proclaiming that there was to be peace in our time. This is strangely starting to sound familiar.
Like the size of most collections mine has waxed and waned over the years yet continued to survive in one form or another to the point where the space is filled and a move was necessary. You will notice, as did my dear wife, that the option to sell off large sections of the collection never seemed to enter this equation. To be fair I have reduced the collections somewhat in the past couple of months, getting rid of a lot of “smalls” both military and non-military antiques. Naturally some of the items were used in trade for other collectables and the cash realized from the balance of the sold items was quickly rolled over into even more military collectables. My latest obsession is a renewal of an old passion for British military swords, specifically Victorian and older. So while at first it might have appeared that I was indeed reducing the size of my collection (my initial intention) as soon as the cash was in hand something took hold of my better judgement and more items were secured. The other factor that foiled my good intentions was that the items traded and sold were indeed “smalls” but the items I gained in their place were swords; so not so small.
Even though the move was not of any great distance there was the usual complaining from the staff here at The Home Office. The computer needed to be moved and hooked up and book cases relocated, new sword racks constructed and a lot of rearranging so that neither collection room looked too sparse, though the new room (former office) has ample space for a couple more years of collecting available. A large and very comfortable arm chair was “liberated” from the family room and after turning it on its side, with a lot of manipulation through the door way, found a new home. I doubt this chair will be reclaimed by the family as it was very difficult navigating it into the room, though it may end up costing me for a new chair to replace the vacant spot in the family room. Perhaps they won’t notice.
Since I seldom post photos of myself or the staff members here at The Home Office I decided to make an exception this time, especially for those who wonder if there really is a Home Office complete with staff. The photo below is of us and our move and a second photo thrown in just for fun shows a group of friends at a military show contemplating the purchase of a new addition to one of their collections. The fellow looking on from the right hand side of the photo seems to have done well, scoring some nice Swiss military equipment. Well done!
That’s all for now as I am going into the new room with a cup of coffee to relax in the arm chair and admire the new additions to the collection.
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 VanatoriRegiment, 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.
The Value of a Collection
A lot is said by collectors as to what their collection is worth. Last month I threw out a subject for dialogue regarding the use of avatar names on the Social Network sites and one of the comments was in regard to collection value; more specifically that there is a need for anonymity to help prevent theft. This is a very valid point indeed and one that could generate much discussion on its own merit. It has been pointed out that one may even discover someone’s identity if they use an avatar on eBay, for example, and their proper name here on the GMIC. This may be accomplished by paying attention of what is in the background of the picture of the posted item for sale then noticing the same background here on this forum. I’ve seen this myself in regard to one of the GMIC members who also sells on eBay, though I only know his real name as we both have been members here for a long time. I am also guilty of this in that I used to sell a lot on eBay and always employed the same grey corduroy back drop cloth in every photo both on eBay and on the GMIC.
I usually wait until later in a Blog to get sidetracked but this time I started with being distracted, though it may be argued that it was after the first paragraph when this blog went off the rails, so-to-speak. I leave that up to you.
One comment, last month regarding security started me thinking, which is the very reason for these Blogs, about my collection and the attractiveness to criminals that it might present. I do have a security system but not of the James Bond laser, poison gas type. The concept that someone could easily cut the phone lines just outside of the house has been eliminated when I built a shop attached to the side of the dwelling. The lines all remained in the same location and the shop was built over them so the lines are eight feet below the surface of the yard and enter the dwelling inside the shop. We live in a small community and an extremely quiet neighbourhood where the biggest event of the year is when the first robin arrives back from the south in the spring. So it is a fairly safe and secure neighbourhood in a small and low-crime town. This left me with looking at what my collection was actually worth and with this exercise came a rude awakening.
Exactly what is any collection worth? Certainly if you have kept good records of the amount paid out for your collectables you could state the cost of a collection. Probably a figure best kept locked away in a secret safety deposit box and the key hidden from your spouse. What you paid and what it is actually worth are two completely different figures. If a criminal broke in and was able to steal whatever they wanted what would they take? Firearms would be on the top of the list I am sure and then anything they could easily sell, usually to support their drug habit. Unless you have diamond encrusted military awards or solid gold medals the criminal may have to sort through dozens, perhaps hundreds of military medals in order to take only those made of silver. Keep in mind most thieves are “grab and run” types and do not take the time to sort, especially if an alarm system is blaring away. Most pawn shops are hesitant to take in any quantity of so-called collectables, though anything that could be easily melted down may be more desirable to the less honest pawn shop owner. I would say that electronics would present a more attractive target than 200 bayonets, even with their original scabbards.
Moving on from the possibility of criminal activity because you have either taken precautions to “harden the target” (police terminology) or preserved your anonymity by not allowing every Tom, Dick and Harry in to see your collection, let’s look at post mortem sales. This may be the fate of a lot of our collections. Certainly our own mortality is not in question; unless you have found out something I haven’t. If you have, sharing it would be much appreciated. So here we are in a state of personal extinction, dead as a dodo bird and securely under six feet of dirt, with your collection in the hands of your heirs. I have found that spouses and family are fairly quick to dispose of the deceased collector’s hoard. It is not because of greed and the desire to pick the carcass of the estate clean, in most cases, at least in my opinion. It is a time of grief and your collection is a small part of the whole issue at hand. One should never discount how much your hobby has irritated the family and their point of view may not be that of the selfless parent or spouse but rather has always been a silent point of contention. There may be a small bit of resentment over the time and money you have lavished on your collection, time and attention, if not money, that could and should have been spent on them. This could be a moment of self-reflection for me, if it were not for my deep seated lack of empathy; my dear wife calls me her, “cold hearted old bastard”; that rather sums me up on so many levels. In retaliation I call her, “yes dear”. Perhaps that should make me even more reflective but, nope, it doesn’t. I’m sure my collection will be sold as soon as they can pry it from my cold dead fingers. At least I hope they will wait that long.
So you are gone and your heirs go to a dealer or two and offer your collection for sale. What could they expect to see out of your “investment”? We’ve all heard such discussions between collectors and it usually goes something like this, “Those @#$%& bastards (dealers) will only give you ten cents on the dollar”. With this in mind I asked around and found that the range from those dealers who would actually offer an estimate varied greatly. The highest was from an American source at 60 cents on the dollar with the average here in Ontario at 20 to 25 cents on the dollar, Australia came in around the same as here. Bear in mind that any dealer must consider the purchase of a whole collection as a long term investment tying his money up perhaps for years. The highest estimate was from a collector/dealer with the lowest estimate from a dealer with a “brick and mortar” shop and therefore with the highest amount of overhead to cover monthly expenses. The average came from dealers who set up at shows with little to no overhead.
Looking over my own collection, which includes firearms (all deactivated except my muskets, they are all in working order), I realize that I have two room filled with history’s unwanted junk. Obsolete tools of war and medals to persons long gone that tell no real story on their own. All items that any self-respecting thief (an oxymoron is I ever wrote one) would not risk his freedom to take. This, you may think, would be a bit sobering, even depressing for me and it would if I weren’t so self-absorbed and believed my collection is indeed my treasure trove of historically significant objects.
So what is your collection really worth? To others perhaps an average of 40 cents on the dollar for your investment but more importantly to people like us it’s priceless.
Avatar names; Why?
What I would term as odd or bizarre human behaviour has always interested me and the search for why people act as they do has not only fascinated me but at times eluded my powers of comprehension. The person who said that there is nothing as funny as a barrel of monkeys obviously was not, at the time, situated in a room full of people. Since politics and religion are subjects non grata here on the GMIC, and rightfully so, I will resort to the plethora of other subjects that I personally find irritating; subjects upon which I obsess.
Straight off I will say that I do not tend to keep up with modern lingo as used in today’s internet communications. Using the letter “n” to represent the word “and’ or ISO (in search of), IMO (in my opinion) and BRB (be right back) simply seems as foreign to me as putting maple syrup on your French fries (chips for those of the British persuasion). This brings me to today’s rant, so get ready as this is probably going to ruffle some feathers.
Why do people insist on using avatar names? For the most part I am talking about avatar names on the internet in general, You Tube, as an example rather than a forum such as ours. Since I have admitted that I do not keep current on modern terms perhaps I just don’t know what the term avatar means. Upon looking it up I found that in Hinduism it is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth: an incarnate divine teacher. Well, this could not be the definition I am searching for as we are not allowed to talk about religion here and from some of the comments on the internet I can ascertain they not likely come from any form of divine teacher. The next definition given was from the computing “world” as, “an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet, etc”. Ah, there we have it a suitable definition from which to work; something that represents a person on the Internet.
Of course I knew this ahead of time but why say something in a few words when a whole paragraph will do (besides I am paid by the word). Again I will reiterate that I have no problem with avatar names here on the GMIC as we do have very good controls regarding ungentlemanly behaviour. Over the years we have seen a few members “cautioned” as to their conduct. However, on the Internet in general that seems to be exception rather than the norm. I never use an avatar name whether here or commenting on the Internet because if I am willing to put something down in writing I am will to stand by what I say. If I am incorrect in my convictions I do stand to be corrected followed by my apology or expression of gratitude whichever is appropriate.
On the other hand I don’t see myself as an offensive sort of fellow, I have never found pleasure in kicking a cat for example, not even unintentionally. There was an incident a number of years ago when one of our daughters arrived home late from her part-time pizza shop job sans her door key. She decided that sleeping in the car was a poor choice and rang the door bell to awaken someone to let her in. This resulted in my rushing through a darkened house to let her in before she woke the whole household. I should mention that we had a cat; a cat whose name evolved in proportion to his girth to the point where the kids aptly renamed him “Fat Tony”. Fat Tony was fast asleep, his natural state when not gorging himself on Fancy Feast, or some other over-priced cat food. Unknown to me this lump of a cat was transfixed, due to his preponderance, to the floor in line with my path of travel. My left foot apparently just missed him however my right foot made contact with the force of a footballer (soccer player for those of you of the North American persuasion).
As a science lesson this is an example of Newton’s First Law of Motion, sometimes referred to as the Law of Inertia, “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. Just to clarify, the “object at rest” and the “unbalanced force” represent the lethargic and comatose Fat Tony. The “object in motion” being yours truly. Imagine, if you will, a football player taking a penalty kick or attempting to kick a field goal (depends on your definition of football) and the ball is replaced by an anvil. Suffice it to say that the object in motion, in this case, still stayed in motion though transformed from a vertical state to a horizontal one in a split second. Thus ends the science lesson and the answers the question as to why you never kick a cat, or at least not Fat Tony.
To return to the question at hand, why do people use avatar names? Do they feel more at ease giving an opinion and if so what is it about expressing their ideas that frightens them. Is it giving free range to rude and crass people? Well, sometimes. Perhaps it much the same as using an avatar picture, such as the Canada General Service Medal’s reverse that I use. It hints that I am a Canadian and it is a bit of fun, after all life without a little whimsy would be most dull. At times I find it awkward to respond using the avatar name as it is just too impersonal, therefore I usually simply make the response and live with the feeling that I have failed to act in a polite manner by not starting with “Hello X2bKl9”, or whatever their avatar name happens to be. I would like to see the use of a first name in the closing of an entry or response with “Regards (your first name here)” as an example. At least a reply could be made to what would appear to be a real person and not some sort of Bot. I do hope I used that Internet term for Robot correctly, in today’s terminology I run the risk that this is somehow an offensive term. If so I apologize.
By now you must have realized that I had nothing for this month’s blog but I hope this amused you somewhat and gave some folks pause to think.
Brian (a real person not an Internet Bot).
In 1818, during the reign of John Caradja, the prince of Wallachia, an unmanned hot air balloon was flown off Dealul Spirii in Bucharest. On July 7th, 1874, Colonel Nicolae Haralambie, together with Ion Ghica and a third person flew over Bucharest in a hydrogen balloon named "Mihai Bravul", which had made its first flight on June 9 of the same year.
On November 20, 1909 the Chitila Piloting School was formed as a joint venture by Mihail Cerchez. The school, conducted by French flight instructors, had five hangars, bleachers for spectators and workshops where the Farman planes imported from France were assembled. The school opened on July 9, 1910, when the chief flight instructor and director of the school René Guillemin crashed a Farman III biplane from a height of 40 metres during a demonstration flight, and broke his leg.
Guillemin was succeeded by Michel Mollawho made the first flight across Bucharest on September 7, 1910. Molla was succeeded by two others before the school closed in late 1912 due to financial difficulties, having trained six officers, but only licensed two.
In November 1909, the Romanian Minister of War commissioned Aurel Vlaicu to build the Vlaicu I airplane at the Bucharest Army Arsenal which first flew on June 17, 1910. On September 28, during the Fall military exercise, Vlaicu flew his airplane from Slatina to Piatra Olt, carrying a message, Romania thus becoming the second country after France to use airplanes for military purposes. Along with other Romanian pilots, Vlaicu flew reconnaissance missions during the Second Balkan War. Vlaicu III, the first metal aircraft in the world, was completed after his death, in May 1914.
Also, there should not be forgotten the so-called by some "controversed" plane built by Henri Coandă, considered by some and ancestor of the jet plane, back in 1910.
World War I
During World War I, Romania acquired 322 aircraft from France and ex-RNAS aircraft from Great Britain including Nieuport 11 and 17 single seat fighters and Morane-Saulnier LA and Nieuport 12 two seat fighters. Caudron G.3, Henry Farman HF.20, Farman MF.11, and Farman F.40 & 46 artillery observation and reconnaissance aircraft, Caudron G.4, Breguet-Michelin BLM and Voisin LA bombers were also bought. On September 16th, 1916, a Romanian Farman F.40 downed an Imperial German Air Force aircraft near Slobozia; this was the first Romanian Air Force victory. By the end of World War I, Romanian pilots had flown about 11,000 hours and 750 missions; however, it was unable to prevent the defeat from the offensive at the Battle of the Arges, which resulted in the occupation of 2/3 from Romania, and eventually an armistice on 6th December 1917.
Here is a list of the most important airplanes used in that period:
Blériot XI was a French plane built by the Blériot Aircraft Factory. It was originally used as a school plane, later used as a reconnaissance plane during the first part of the First World War. The Blériot XI aircraft was in possession of the Air Corps Airborne Squadrons of the Romanian Armed Forces at the beginning of the 1916 campaign, with a total of 6 pieces, but in a non-operational state. The Blériot XI was designed in a top-wing monoplane configuration with a tractive propeller (placed in front of the engine). The engine was 50-horsepower-cooled Anzani. The plane had a wooden fuselage, the amperes were classical, with a stabilizer set in the rear, followed by the direction. Carlinga, which contained the engine and crew space, was fitted to the wing. The landing train was composed of a pair of simple wheels in front and a skateboard in the back. The plane was intended for reconnaissance and school missions.
Maurice Farman MF.11
Maurice Farman MF.11 was a French military aircraft built before the First World War by the Farman-Avions Farman Aircraft Factory. It was used as a light bombardment aircraft in the early part of the war, later being used as a reconnaissance plane or school. Farm Farm MF.11 was also the endowment of the Romanian Air Force. During the war, he noted the fronts of France, Italy, Greece and the Middle East, also playing an important role during the campaigns of the Moldavian front in the summer of 1917.
Nieuport 11, nicknamed Bébé, was a French biplane fighter designed by Gustave Delage. It was the main airplane that in 1916 brought France to victory in the western front air warfare at a time when Fokker Eindecker German fighter monkeys, equipped with synchronous machine guns, had outgrown the allied airplanes. After the war, in the 1920s it was used as a training plane. Nieuport 11 was in the service of several French allied forces such as Russia, Italy, the United Kingdom. In the history of Romanian aviation, Nieuport 11 is a famous apparatus, being the first specialized hunting plane of the Romanian Army.
Aviatik C.I was a German military aircraft built by Aviatik Aircraft Factory, used as a light observation and bombardment aircraft during the First World War. The Aviatik C.I aircraft was endowed with the Air Force in the Romanian Army, at the beginning of the 1916 campaign, there was only one copy received from the Germans before the war began.
Breguet Bre.5 was a French military aircraft built by the Breguet Aircraft Factory. It was used as a hunting jet, escort, reconnaissance and light bombardment during the First World War. Breguet Bre.5 was in possession of the Air Force Staff of the Romanian Armed Forces at the beginning of the 1916 campaign, with a total of 20 pieces, another 18 being received from France by the end of the year.
Farman F.40 was a French military aircraft built by the aircraft factory Maurice Farman. It was used as a lightweight reconnaissance and bombardment aircraft at the beginning of World War I, later being used as a school plane. The Farman F.40 aircraft was in possession of the Air Force Staff of the Romanian Armed Forces at the end of the 1916 campaign when a total of 55 pieces were received from France, of which 38 in operational status, the rest being destroyed during transport .
Sopwith 1½ Strutter
Sopwith 1½ Strutter was a British military aircraft built by the Sopwith Aircraft Factory. It was used as a hunting jet, escort, reconnaissance and light bombardment during the First World War. He was in possession of the squadrons of the Air Force Corps of the Romanian Armed Forces, starting with the campaign of 1917 when these appliances were received from the United Kingdom.
Photos in order:
- Vlaicu I plane
- Vlaicu III plane
- Henri Coandă M1910 "jet plane ancestor"
- Nieuport 11, Romanian markings
- Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, Romanian markings
- the air battle above Slobozia from September 16th 1916 between a Romanian Farman F40 and a german fighter
The IAR CV 11 was a Romanian fighter prototype from 1930, designed by Elie Carafoli, and it was IAR's first original aircraft.
In early 1930 a contest was called by the ARR for a new fighter type to equip its squadrons. During July and October, seven foreign types were tested at an airfield near Bucharest. No decision was made, however, since none of the contenders reached the minimal speed limit set by the requirements at 300 km/h. Despite the inconclusive results, the favourite plane seemed to be the chunky-looking Polish P.Z.L. P.1/II prototype, registered SP-ADO. During the same period, the air force commission was informed that a new fighter prototype had been completed at I.A.R., and it had reached an impressive 319 km/h top speed during initial test flights.
Built according to the plans of Dipl.-Eng. Dr. Elie Carafoli and Lucien Virmoux, the I.A.R. fighter was an advanced construction. Named the C.V. 11 after its designers, it had a mixed metal-wood structure and cantilever, low-wing configuration, modern features soon to be adopted by all major aircraft manufacturers. The front fuselage structure was made of duraluminum tubes, while the rear part was of pinewood. The engine nacelle and the fuselage up to the cockpit were covered by duraluminum sheets, the aft part by plywood. The rear part of the fuselage merged with the tail without a substantial cross-sectional change, giving the aircraft a rather unusual arrow-like look. Due to its unconventional fuselage configuration the overall length came to less than 7 m, while the height was only 2.46 m. The 11.50 m span wing was made up by three sections of combined duraluminum/pinewood construction,reinforced by steel cables. The centre part housed the main wing fuel tank. The unbalanced control surfaces, which proved to be too small during trials, were made entirely of wood covered by fabric.
The powerplant chosen was a Lorraine-Dietrich 12Fa Courlis with 12 cylinders arranged in a W configuration. Its maximum output was an impressive 600 h.p. (447 kW) but it proved to be too heavy for the small and light fuselage, which weighted only 1,100 kg, and caused a dangerous tendency to go into a spin at low speed. This shortcoming could not be eliminated, so the prototype, officially designated I.A.R. C.V. 11/W.8, had finally to be abandoned.
In the meantime, a second prototype was completed at I.A.R. This time a less powerful but sensibly lighter Hispano-Suiza 12Mc engine, with 12-cylinders in V, had been fitted to essentially the same fuselage. Although weaker than its predecessor, this engine gave a superior maximum speed of 328 km/h at sea level and 295 km/h at 5,000 m.
The armament of two 7.7 mm Vickers machine guns firing through the propeller arc had been retained from the first prototype. An O.P.L. type gunsight helped the pilot to aim its guns.
After initial test flights, the second prototype, designated in French style I.A.R. C.V. 11 C1 (Chasseur monoplace), had been shipped to Istres, in France, where it arrived in January 1931. During the following two months further trials were conducted involving French specialists as well.
The French specialists report, however, did not have any significant impact on ARR commission members. After the initial failure in reaching a verdict, this prompted the ARR leaders to set up a new, five member committee to decide the choice of fighter type to be introduced into Romanian service. After several months of inquiries and test flights, the commission finally decided four to one in favour of the P.Z.L. P.1 and against the faster but less manoeuvrable, spin-prone I.A.R. C.V. 11.
Therefore, once the prototype returned to Romania, as a last measure, the I.A.R. team decided to make an attempt to break the speed record on a 500 km closed circuit. The record of 306,696 km/h in effect at that time for this category had been set up by the Frenchman Joseph Sadi-Lecointe, with a Nieuport-Delâge airplane. The record-breaking attempt was scheduled for the morning of 9 December 1931 on the Bucharest-Fetesti-Bucharest route. With the Capitan aviator Romeo Popescu at its controls, the C.V. 11 took off from Pipera-Bucharest military airfield at 11.30 a.m. The first 370 km were flown without any trouble at an encouraging average speed. Close to Lehliu railway station, however, the overheated Hispano-Suiza engine suddenly stalled, forcing the pilot to try an improvised forced landing with the now vicious airplane. Cpt. Popescu approached a nearby open field, but at contact with the thick snow cover one of the main wheels collapsed and the fighter turned over, crushing the pilot under the fuselage. Romeo Popescu, an experienced test pilot and holder of three Romanian national aviation records, died instantly. The investigation following the incident concluded that the lubrication of the overstressed engine, working at maximum power, was insufficient, causing seizure. Until that fatal moment, during an hour and thirty-four minutes of flight, an average speed of 319 km/h had been recorded by the onboard instruments, thus a good chance had existed of achieving the goal set by the temerarious pilot.
However, by that time the dies had already been cast. Months before, in September 1931, General Constantin Lazarescu, the new inspector of DSA, decided not to consider the I.A.R. design any more, but to purchase the Polish P.Z.L. P.11, an upgraded version of the initial P.1
• Crew: one
• Length: 6.98 m (22 ft 10⅞ in)
• Wingspan: 11.50 m (37 ft 8¾ in)
• Height: 2.46 m (8 ft 0¾ in)
• Wing area: 18.20 m2 (195.9 ft2)
• Empty weight: 1100 kg (2425 lb)
• Gross weight: 1510 kg (3329 lb)
• Powerplant: 1 × Hispano-Suiza 12Mc, 373 kW (500 hp)
• Maximum speed: 329 km/h (204 mph)
• 2 x .303 Vickers machine guns
The IAR 471 was a 1943 prototype of ground attack aircraft and dive bomber aircraft built by Industria Aeronautică Română.
The IAR-81 had not proved a great success as an improvised dive bomber and experience with the IAR-47 showed that the IAR 14K would not be up to the demands of powering a full-sized dive bomber. Thus by early 1943 the Romanians still lacked an effective ground support aircraft . In November 1942 IAR had at last secured a license for the manufacture of the German DB 605 engine and planning now centred on this powerplant. On January 16, 1943, a new dive bomber project, the IAR-471, was commissioned which was to be powered by the DB 605. Although the Germans lent Romania numerous Stukas from mid-1943, they would not sell any. Therefore, the design of the IAR-471 was persevered with for reasons of self-sufficiency.
Despite its designation, the IAR-471 bore little resemblance to the smaller IAR 47 and was essentially a different aircraft. It was designed with a superior performance to the Stuka, much helped by the retractable undercarriage, but a lighter bomb load, and on May 7, 1944, the Stuka's two underwing 37mm cannons were ordered to be included in its specification. It was planned to order 100 IAR-471s and 136 engines from IAR in 1944/1945, but IAR was in the throes of dispersing its factories and beginning production of the Bf 109G and declared itself incapable of simultaneously producing the IAR-471. This halted the project even before Romania's defection to the Allies in August. No prototype flew. There were (at least) one IAR 471 prototypes built, its fate being unknown. No picture of the plane has survived.
• Crew: 2
• Length: 11 m ( ft in)
• Wingspan: 14 m (45 ft 10 in)
• Height: 3.2 m ( ft in)
• Wing area: 29 m2 (312 ft2)
• Gross weight: 4300 without bomb load kg (9,479l lb)
• Powerplant: 1 × IAR DB 605, 1,100kW kW (1,475 hp)
• Maximum speed: 490 km/h (304 mph)
• Service ceiling: 8000 m (26,245 ft)
• 1 x 20mm MG151 cannon firing through the airscrew spinner
• 2 x 7.92mm Rheinmetall wing mounted
• 2 x 37mm BK 37 Rheinmetall under wing
• 2 x 7.92mm Rheinmetall MG for rear gunner
• 500kg (1,100lb) bomb under fuselage
2 x 100kg (220lb)
Hoarder to Historian
One of the types of articles I absolutely distain are the “personal journey” stories with some sort of life changing message at the end. The only thing intentionally placed at the end of one of my blogs is a full stop. That’s a “period” for our American friends. I actually say “full stop” just to irritate my Canadian friends who insist on speaking like Americans, which is alright if that’s what you are going for. I said it was “alright” with one exception. One of my all time favourite modern actors is Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor who has brilliantly brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, “Sherlock Holmes” into the twenty-first century. As an open letter statement to Mr. Cumberbatch, please, please do not attempt an American accent as you did in the movie Doctor Strange. Listening to him announce that he (his character) was an Am-air-ik-an was painful. It makes me wonder what Americans ever did to him.
To get back on track, while I was making notes for this blog I suddenly realized that the topic was pretty much about my own journey in collecting. As I have said I really dislike those types of articles so I will end this blog with a tip on how you can save money to allow you to do more collecting rather than some hippy-like transcendental useless spiritual advice. Yep, another public service announcement from the Home Office. I suppose you are surprised to read that I actually make notes prior to banging away on my keyboard. If you think I ramble on and on now, you should read the unedited notes.
Getting back on getting back on track, see what I mean; and these are the edited results. Many of us start out collecting as hoarders, to a point. Not real hoarders such as seen on television programmes that deal with the physiological illness of hoarding but the accumulation of specific items at an accelerated rate to the exclusion of any in depth research and study. As an example I offer the short story of a fellow I knew who collected British War Medals and Victory Medals from WWI awarded to Canadians from a specific regiment. This was the same regiment he had served in during peace time just before the Desert Storm era. It is understandable why he would collect WWI medals from his old regiment and there is nothing wrong with that. Another fellow from his regiment was also trying the “corner the market” in these medals and a stiff rivalry ensued on the internet auctions between them, complete with bidding wars and heated emails between the two competitors. The fellow I knew would receive the medal or medals he had won then place them in a large zip-lock bag hiding them in the attic space under the insulation. He claimed it was to foil burglars, however, considering he left the small step ladder in the same place directly under the attic hatch it was obvious he was hiding the amount he was purchasing from his wife; a fact that I know to be the true reason. He often said that he intended to open a museum to his old regiment but in reality even a few hundred medals is not enough on their own to fill a museum. I have 210 drawers (I just counted them) filled with collectables, mostly medals and even that would make a pretty poor showing for a museum. The fact that he simply stored the medals away, out of sight and out of reach of his wife, she is quite a short lady, makes me categorize his as a hoarder. I will admit that I was in much the same category for many years then something strange (not Dr. Strange) happened. My collecting started to slow down and research started to interest me more and more. I say “strange” because as I aged my disposable income increased. I am much happier now than when I was driven by an obsession to add to the “pile”, as organized as it was. Now the accumulation of knowledge, and still adding to the collection of course, has become paramount in my obsessive little mind. Perhaps it is age or perhaps it is a simple matter of available space to house my collection, I’m not really sure. The one thing Nature and a collector agree on is that they both abhor a vacuum and will try to fill any void.
Now for that money saving tip.
One of the areas one can save money and therefore have more funds to spend on a collection is by doing-it-yourself. Take the high price of children’s shoes for example; they’re just little shoes so why do they cost so much? Why not make your kids foot wear in your shop; no shop then in your kitchen, as the materials are cheap and tools readily available in the average home. Take two cardboard boxes of the correct size, or cut larger boxes down to the appropriate size; use the ones your latest collectables from e$cam arrived in. Once you have them to the correct size cover them with duct tape. I used silver but it comes in black as well. If your child is a boy then adding a strip of “camo” duct tape (I used Gorilla tape) will give it that masculine look that most boys strive to achieve. If you have a daughter then duct tape also comes in bright colours as well. Take a black magic marker and draw laces on the tops of the shoes, after all we don’t want to emotionally scar the little buggers too much, and besides we are not animals. Once this is done, “Robert’s your father’s brother”, you have a nice pair of shoes, and darn sporty looking if I do say so myself.
Just another public service from The Home Office...you’re welcome.
Continuing the series of the Romanian made planes, here comes the IAR 37, a bomber produced during the Interwar period and used on the Eastern Front.
IAR 37, IAR 38 and IAR 39 is a series of Romanian biplane airplanes with three seats for easy reconnaissance and bombardment of Romanian conception and achievement of the 1930s. Its producer is the Romanian Aeronautical Industry.
In 1936, the IAR Factory carried out the design of a reconnaissance and bombardment aircraft easily derived from the French aircraft Potez 25. Initially, this aircraft was equipped with the engine IAR 14K, a Gnome-Rhône Mistral Major engine, which was manufactured under license. The prototype (IAR 37.1) was tested in the spring of 1937, and as a result of the good test results, it began to be manufactured under the name of IAR 37. On the basis of a contract with the Ministry of Air and Marine, by the end of 1937, pieces. Still, the IAR 14K engine was not available anymore, so there was the problem of adapting another engine. In the summer of 1938, the BMW-132A engine, 700 hp, was adapted for which some changes to the cell were needed. The version equipped with this engine was called IAR 38 and from this version were produced 75 copies. In November 1938, the new IAR 14K II C32 engine was equipped with 49 IAR 37 airplanes, but due to the increasingly powerful engine variants, there were structural problems that required changes to the project initial. The first device of the new variant, called IAR 39, made the first flight on 13 March 1940, and by the end of the year 95 pieces were produced. As the IAR plants were busy with the production of IAR 80 and SM 79B bombers, starting with 1942, the production was transferred to SET Bucharest, where the aircraft also received an improved engine, the IAR 14K IVC engine. The variant made at SET was called IAR 39A. Production ceased in the autumn of 1944 after 160 aircraft had been produced. On the series of airplanes produced at the SET was added the letter "S".
• Use in combat
The first planes were equipped with the observation squadrons in 1939. By the end of 1940, three Information Floats were fully equipped with IAR 37, 38 or 39 planes. The organization was as follows: Fleet 1 Information, based on the Iaşi airfield, consisting of 19, 20, 21 and 22 observation squadrons; Fleet 2 Information, based on the Someseni-Cluj aerodrome, which consisted of observation squadrons 11, 12, 13 and 14; Fleet 3 Information, based on the aerodrome in Galati, which consisted of observation squadrons 15, 16, 17 and 18. Each squadron consisted of 12 apparatus. The first wave in 1941 Modification These fleets participated in World War II with the start of Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941. Each army corps was attached to observation squadrons, used to observe and photograph the front line and the movements of enemy troops. Of the total, 11 squadrons (No. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22) were used in reconnaissance, observation and liaison missions and one (18) easy bombardment. They were also used to attack enemy troops, artillery positions, convoys, anti-aircraft guns, and partisans. The distribution of the squadrons was as follows: Squadrons 11, 12, 13, 14 were assigned to the Aeronautical Command as the escorts to link to the 3rd and 4th Armies. Squadron 15 was attached to the 1st Armored Division. Squadron 16 is at the disposal of the Dobrogea Aeronautical Command. Squadrons 17, 20, and 22 served the 4th Army as observation squadrons. Escadillo 18 was part of Group 2 of Fleet 2 Bombardment. Squadrons 19 and 21 served the 4th Army as observational escads. The first loss occurred on the very first day of the attack, when an IAR 37 of Recognition Squadron no. 19 was shot down by a Polikarpov I-153 VVS (Voenno-Vozduhnîe Silî) - Soviet Air Force. On this day, four observation devices were lost. The first victory was approved two days later, when Sergeant Vasile Puşcaşu, the backside machine gun of an IAR 39 apparatus of the Recognition Squadron no. 22 shot down a Polikarpov I-16 "Rata". During this first campaign, 30 IAR type 37, 38 or 39 were lost.
• At Stalingrad in 1942
Modification In the Stalingrad campaign from September 1942 to January 1943, six of the observation escorts and the light squadron were involved. Campaign losses were 13 IAR 38/39.
• In 1943
Modification In 1943, most missions aimed at recognizing the Black Sea and escorting convoys between Constanta, Odessa and Sevastopol. Also, missions to recognize the front area were performed. Since November 1943, some IARs 37 and 39 have been used to tow DFS-230 sailplanes of the Aircrafts Squadron 109 Squadron. The IAR 38 machines, due to their weaker engines, could not pull the loaded gliders to their payload capacity of 1100kg but loaded with only 500kg.
• In 1944
Change In 1944, IAR 39s were fused into 9 observation squats, and IAR 37s equipped the light bombardment squadron. They all performed missions in the front area. After the events of August 1944, two observation squads of the Observation Group 2 took part in the campaign in Transylvania. Two more observation squads of the Observation Group 1 soon joined them. In the Transylvanian campaign, 10 appliances were lost. The campaign continued in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Due to the few remaining enemy fighter jets, the losses in the observation devices were determined by the air defense. The last plane lost in the war was an IAR 39, on May 8, 1945, near Voderady, in eastern Moravia. The last mission of ARR in the war was on 9 May 1945, observing the handover of German troops. With all their low speed and vulnerability due to the lack of any armor, IAR 37, 39 and 30, nicknamed "Santa Claus", were used by ARR from the first to the last day of war. Because of them, the infantry had a sense of security knowing them patrolling over and directing the artillery.
• After the war
After the war, the remaining planes received civilian registrations and were used until the 1960s. None has been preserved to date.
• Technical detailes
The Piaggio-P.XI engine is derived from the same engine Gnome-Rhône Mistral Major as the IAR 14K, which is extremely similar in appearance. The fuel could be loaded into two tanks, one of 539 liters and one 123 liters fitted under the pilot's seat. The propeller was bipolar, wooden, with a diameter of 3,400 m.
The board equipment with which it was equipped also allowed night-time navigation. The plane had two retractable headlamps. The airplane had a fire-extinguishing facility and oxygen installation for each member. The aircraft had a Telefunken 901 A/F radio with a power of 20 W with a fixed antenna and a moving antenna.
2 x 7,92 mm
2 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
Rheinmetal MG 15
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
1 x 7,92 mm
12 x 50 kg
12 x 50 kg
24 x 12 kg
24 x 12 kg
This my first topic from a series that will cover at least some of the planes used by Romania during the Second World War. First one will be about the only romanian-built fighter, the IAR 80.
IAR 80 was a monoplane fighter and dive bomber. It was conducted at IAR Braşov by a team composed of Prof. Ion Grosu, Ion Coşereanu, Eng. Gheorhe Zotta, Viziru Grosu and Ion Wallner. At that time, the IAR 80 was comparable to the most modern combat aircraft, such as Germany's Bf 109, Mitsubishi A6M Zero in Japan, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire in the UK. In the second part of the war, this project proved to be technologically outdated. About five years after the end of the war, the planes were completely replaced by Soviet models. In 1955, the Military Air Force Command decided to dismantle the apparatus and destroy it. No plane has been preserved, but two copies are now found at the National Museum of the Aviation, and the other at the National Military Museum, both in Bucharest.
At the end of 1937 the IAR 80 started working, initially designed with the open cockpit and the IAR K14-III C32 engine of 870 hp (649 kW). Slow work was done on this project and the first flight was conducted in April 1939. Subsequent tests were impressive: the airplane reached a speed of 510 km / h at a height of 4000 m. Several small issues discovered by the tests were resolved in the following year. For more power, a new engine of 930 hp (690 kW), ie version C36 of K14-III, was installed. Due to the power of this engine, it was also necessary to modify the fuselage. As a result, the tank was increased to 455 l, the wings extended and the tail modified to eliminate some aerodynamic problems. Carlinga was moved a little in the back, and to offset the visibility of the pilot's seat, the entire cockpit was lifted.
The improved prototype was tested on the Heinkel He 112 plane that had just arrived from Germany as the beginning of a larger order. Although the He 112 was somewhat more modern and much better armed, the IAR 80 with a stronger engine proved to be much more performing in the rest of the range. The Royal Aviation, being impressed, immediately ordered 100 pieces on December 18, 1939, and the orders for He 112 were canceled.
- Length: 8,16 m. Width: 10.0 m.
- Height: 3.6 m. Carrier surface: 15,50 m². Weight (empty): 1780 kg.
- Mass (maximum): 2280 kg.
- Engine: IAR K14-III C32, 870 hp (649 kW), later IAR K14-III C36, 930 hp (690 kW).
- Maximum speed: 510 km / h at 4000 m. - Ceiling: 10500 m (34,500 ft). - Climbing time at 5000 m: 6 min. - Weapons 2 × FN (Browning) 7.92 mm
- IAR 80: Production was supposed to begin immediately, but procurement of weapons proved to be a serious problem. On the prototype, only two Fabrique Nationale guns of 7.92 mm Belgian production were mounted. This weapon was obviously too weak for use in war and according to the project the plane should have been equipped with six such weapons. On the occasion of the invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands by Germany, the supply of these weapons ceased and unfortunately there were no Romanian weapons fitting on the plane. In the absence of weapons, production was stopped. In November 1940, Romania entered into an alliance with the Powers of the Axis, and the Germans allowed the resumption of Belgian arms transport. Even if more weapons were purchased, the planes produced had only 4 machine guns fitted. Serial specimens have increased the length, width and bearing surface. It received a stronger engine and increased overall weight. A total of 50 devices, numbered 1 - 50, will be built from this version.
- IAR 80A: In April 1941, Romania was included in Germany's sphere of influence, so the Germans supplied more weapons. The weaponry was quickly incorporated into the project and the 80A model resulted, according to the project, was equipped with 6 weapons. The windscreen was also made of armored glass and armored pilot's seat. The plane was powered by the new IAR K14-1000A engine, 1025 hp. Because this engine was too strong for the original cell, the fuselage was modified and strengthened. Although the IAR 80A had a stronger engine, the addition of weapons, ammunition, and armor weight contributed to a slight reduction in maximum speed to 509 km / h. The new model was an obvious breakthrough and replaced the old model with the 51th aircraft. Eight new planes were completed in time to participate in the war of liberation of Bessarabia starting June 22, 1941. From this version will be built 90 devices with numbers 051-090, 106-150 and 176-180.
- IAR 80B: In this version, two of the Browning machine guns were replaced by two NF machine guns of 13.2 mm and the range increased. Improved fuel tank and armor protection on the pilot's side. From this version, 20 appliances were manufactured, with numbers 181-200. Next, 11 appliances in the series 201-211 will be equipped with two additional fuel tanks of 100 l, wide, located under the wings.
- IAR 80DC: At the Aircraft Repair Workshops (ARMV), which later became the Aircraft Company Bucharest, several IAR 80 units were converted to the training biloc, the version being called IAR 80DC (double command). These machines were equipped with hunting pilot schools.
- IAR 81: It is a version equipped to carry out missile bombing (Bo-Pi) missions. For this purpose, it started from various versions of IAR 80, which were equipped with bomb launchers. The IAR 81 base version started from the IAR version 80A, to which were added three bomb launchers, two 50kg bombs placed under the wings and one for a 250kg bomb placed under the fuselage. The weapon was the same as the IAR version 80A. From this version, 50 copies were produced, with the numbers 091-105, 151 -175 and 231-240.
- IAR 81A: This version comes from the IAR 80B version. The differences consisted of a 13.2 mm machine gun cartridge, and instead of the 50 kg bomb, it had additional fuel tanks. There were 29 copies, with the series 212-230 and 291-300.
- IAR 81B: In this version, 13.2 mm machine guns are replaced by two 20 mm Ikaria (20-mm license), each with 60 strokes each. Thus his fire power was similar to that of the Spitfire V device. There were 50 copies, with the series 241-290.
- IAR 81C: In this version, Ikaria cannons were replaced with Mauser MG 151 cannons of 20 mm, with increased bumps. From this version there were produced 38 copies of the 100 series ordered, with the series beginning with 301.
• Other versions: An Junkers Jumo 211 Da Engine, a twelve-cylinder turbocharged 12-cylinder turbocharged engine with a higher power output of 1340 hp (1000 kW), has been tried on an IAR 81. The results are little known. Also, an IAR 80 replaced the original engine with a BMW 801, used by the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190, which could develop a speed of at least 600 km/h, but this could not be put into practice on a scale because of the fact that the Germans were unable to provide the engine.
One of the greatest obstacles, ignoring spelling and grammar, in the way of writing pieces related to history is staying objective. I have never made any secret that I tend to be a bit of an Anglophile, which is not the worst “phile” one can be, even though my family has been here in Canada well before Confederation and our roots are, for the greater part, German. I recall, when I was very young, being in the classroom and seeing the large pull-down maps at the front of the room showing the map of the world. The British Empire was shown in red and the rest of the world in rather different shades of “we don’t care about them” colours. I recall being told that we were to be proud of being a part of the great British Empire and will admit that the message left a lasting impression on my little mind. Strange that we tend to tell children what they think and what they are proud possibly out of fear that they won’t see it the same way once they start to develop a more analytical mind. I would have said an “adult mind” but let’s face facts what we are told as children sticks with most of us and conservation of energy being what it is we tend not to bother taxing our brains all that much. The vast majority of people took a “sure whatever” attitude towards history taught in school so it could be argued that any potential self-serving propaganda inherent in any memoirs of the war years of modern history is lost on them. Still there are those who took a greater interest and even went beyond what they were initially told to look for the truth or should I say accuracy as “truth” implies so sort of conspiracy. Gathering intelligence on a local Neo-Nazi group a number of years ago clearly showed what a little knowledge, perverted and distorted, can produce. As a side note; at one of our debriefing meetings the question was posed as to whether gathering “intelligence” on a Neo-Nazi group would qualify as an oxymoron. It was pointed out that it would be more of an “exercise in futility”. While they were anything but a joke a little levity is often welcomed. Changing the minds of certain fanatical groups is more or less an impossible task; however, our efforts certainly showed what exposure to strong sunlight and fresh air can do to stop the growth of a fungal infestation.
Some other issues effecting objectivity is around what we are told as the truth and perhaps as detrimental what we were never told. Both of these issues are often cured through the passing of time and the expansion of our horizon. As an example when I was taking some engineering courses there was a fellow student from Hong Kong who was already an engineer and was here on leave from Hong Kong Hydro and planned to return after his courses. Just to clarify I am and have never been an engineer. He related a story about a question he was once asked, by a fellow student, soon after he came to Canada. He was asked what he thought about the Opium Wars (First Opium War 1839-1842, Second Opium War 1856- 1860). He told me that he was absolutely dumb-founded at such a question and had to admit that this was the first he had heard of such events. At the time there was no mention in any school history books regarding either conflict. There is no doubt, in my mind, that this was not simply an oversight but purposeful omission, possibly for political reasons.
The second point is in what we are actually told compared with what actually took place or rather why certain events took place. Two good examples, from World War Two, would be the raid on Dieppe and the bombing raid on the island of Heligoland.
The Raid on Dieppe, 19 August 1942, has been shrouded in mystery by the Official Secrets Act until only a few years ago. The raid was initially and officially touted as a raid to test German strength along the so-called Atlantic Wall. The raid was quite costly in lives and material with a total of 3,623 either killed, wounded or taken prisoner out of the 6,086 involved in the action. It was only after decades that the real reason for the raid was made available to the public. The raid itself was a diversion staged in order for Military Intelligence for secure a working example of the German Enigma coding device. Unfortunately the machine had already been moved out of Dieppe and to make things even worse they were planning on adding another coding disk, in the near future, to make their messages even more secure.
Another example of the reasons for a raid being kept secret was the 1,000 plane bombing raid in a small German island named Heligoland on April 18, 1945. The reason given in the post mission briefings was that there was a need to completely destroy the last remaining German planes and the submarine pens located there to prevent any last minute suicide raids by the German personnel stationed there. This seemed odd to many who took part in the mission as the island had been cut off completely earlier on and the fuel for any such retaliatory strikes unavailable. The cost of the raid was nowhere as great as the Dieppe Raid with 3 Halifax bombers being lost due to malfunctions and not enemy fire. As an aside; I personally knew two independent witnesses who saw two of the planes go down over the sea. The planes were “stacked” one above the other in waves, the upper plane hit an air pocket or down draft and was forced down directly on the bomber below. These two witnesses, both in separate bombers watched as the two planes spiralled, still one on top of the other all the way down into the sea below. There were no survivors. The true reason for the mission was to deny the Soviets any possible access to the submarine pens in the post war era. The continued bombing of the island until 1952 as “practise” can be better understood in the context of, if you want to blow things up then better on your neighbours land than your own.
However, we are not here to judge history just to record and hopefully try to understand it.
I suppose the two examples above could fall under things that frustrate and impede the historian in attempting to report on history accurately rather than preventing objectivity. The necessity to keep certain information from the general public has long been a reality and the current trend by today’s generation for “totally transparency” is rather naive and potentially dangerous to the security of nations. A good historian avoids stating personal views so I would instruct the jury to disregard that last statement...has that ever actually worked. In some cases the history of an action may have been recorded for posterity based on the facts given and the judgement of those recording the incident. A good example could be post-coital regret, officially known as post-coital triestesse (PCT) or dysphoria (PCD) which in extreme cases could result in charges of sexual assault. If the accused is found guilty then he could very well be labelled as a sexual offender for life; even though the original act was completely consensual. Unlike post-matrimonial regret where the end result is coitus of an ongoing monetary expenditure nature.
In retrospect, looking over this blog, I have arrived at the conclusion that I don’t really have a problem with maintaining my objectivity; my problem is remaining serious for any length of time.
Happy New Year to all who read my blogs and for those who don’t; well, what I can say that would matter, you’ll never see it anyway.
On the Lounge Paul asked the question, “What is the dumbest things you ever did” under the heading “Let’s liven things up around here” in the Lounge. This is an excellent topic and one which allows for many different styles of response from serious to the jocular. Yes I used the word “jocular”; only because it is a word you seldom see these days, much like “happenstance”. Don’t worry I won’t use “happenstance” today but only because I couldn’t figure out where to work it in. There’s always tomorrow.
When I thought about Paul’s question and the possible real life responses I said to myself (I do that a lot the older I get) this sounds like it would require something embarrassing, a mistake or a regret from one’s past. My personal philosophical take on this is that if one is happy with one’s life or circumstances then can you really say that anything that transpired in your personal history was a mistake. If you could go back and make changes to your past then it could and very likely would have dire consequences on the present and therefore the future. If you said that you are not happy with your present circumstances then you could make those changes by going back to school, for example. I noticed that some of the members have done just that after retirement from their careers. This thinking rather ruled out “mistake” from any response I might undertake to write.
I do wish I could have made some sort of humorous reply, however a lack of any appreciable sense of humour on my part would make that an impossibility. I blame a lack of comic ability on my rather stoic British/Germanic upbringing, which at times was rather Dickensian in nature, to say the least. That old “stiff upper lip” and “staying the course” or simply “man up” has left me the rather bland and linear thinking person you see today. Just so you know, we anal retentive people tend to prefer “linear thinking” as a term to describe ourselves.
I was left with regret as a subject for a response but felt that this would only serve to “pirate” Paul’s post somewhat; therefore, I decided to write this message as a blog.
Around Christmas time, several years hence, a very good friend of mine passed away. We were extremely close and shared in numerous adventures including hunting and fishing as well as just “hanging out” together. His passing had a devastating effect on me, not so much that he is no longer with us, which is a deep sadness, but because I never got to tell him something I think was very important. Perhaps you know what I mean. There never was a correct time or place; we were either having too much of a good time to possibly ruin the moment or the moment was too serious or sad to bring up what might have been an awkward subject. Now my close friend has gone to his grave and I can never tell him that which I agonized over for many years.
I so wish I had simply blurted it out regardless of the situation or the atmosphere of the moment. Sadly my dog died never knowing he was adopted.
Merry Christmas everyone!
This time, I want to get simething a bit different from the Romanian military history, and discuss about its allued from the first part of WW2, Germany and its tanks. Not any german tanks, but the huge projects P.1000 "Ratte" (the Rat) and P.1500 "Monster". Hitler, being a veteran of the Great War, had an obsession for oversized weapons, such as the Maus super-heavy tank, "Gustav" and "Dora" 800mm supercanons, the "Flack Towers" and many others. From this obsession were also born the projects for P1000 and P1500.
Landkreuzer P.1000 "Ratte"
The Ratte is known for its enormous size: it would have weighed 1,000 tonnes, five times the weight of the Panzer VIII Maus. The divided weight of the Ratte included 300 tonnes of armament (the total weight of the guns themselves was 100 tonnes, so turret armour would have weighed 200 tonnes), 200 tonnes of armour and frame and 100 tonnes of track and automotive components, while remaining weight would be distributed to miscellaneous features. It was planned to be 35 m (115 ft) long (39 metres (128 ft) when including naval guns), 11 m (36 ft) high and 14 m (46 ft) wide. To compensate for its immense weight, the Ratte would have been equipped with three 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) wide and 21 m (69 ft) long treads on each side with a total tread width of 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in). This would help stability and weight distribution, but the vehicle's sheer mass would have destroyed roads and rendered bridge crossings next to impossible. It was expected that its height, and its ground clearance of 2 m (6.6 ft), would have allowed it to ford most rivers with relative ease, thus eliminating the need for bridge crossings. Planned propulsion was by two MANV12Z32/44 24-cylinder marine diesel enginesof 6,300 kW (8,400 hp) each (as used in U-boats) or eight Daimler-Benz MB 501 20-cylinder marine diesel engines of 1,500 kW (2,000 hp) each (as used in E-boats) to achieve the 12,000 kW (16,000 hp) needed to move this tank. The engines were to be provided with snorkels, also like those used by German submarines. The snorkels were designed to provide a way for oxygen to reach the engine, even during amphibious operations passing through deep water. The Ratte's primary weapon would have been a dual 280 mm SK C/28 gun turret. This was the same turret that was used on the German capital ship Gneisenau but modified by removing one of the guns and its associated loading mechanism. Removing the third gun allowed extra accommodation of ammunition, and reduced the total weight of the tank by 50 tonnes. The guns used for the Ratte would have fired ammunition developed for other naval guns. It also included armour-piercing rounds with 8.1 kg (18 lb) of explosive filler, and high-explosive rounds with 17.1 kg (38 lb) of explosive filler. Further armament was to consist of a 128 mm anti-tank gun of the type used in the Jagdtiger or Maus, two 15 mm Mauser MG 151/15 autocannons, and eight 20 mm Flak 38 anti-aircraft guns, probably with at least four of them as a Flakvierling quad mount. The 128 mm anti-tank gun's precise location on the Ratte is a point of contention among historians, most believing that it would have been mounted within the primary turret, with some others thinking a smaller secondary turret at the rear of the Ratte more logical. Some concept drawings exist to suggest a flexible mount on the glacis plate. The tank was to be provided with a vehicle bay that could hold two BMW R12 motorcycles for scouting, and several smaller storage rooms, a compact infirmary area, and a self-contained lavatory system. The large size and weight would have rendered the tank unable to cross bridges at the risk of collapsing them, and travelling on roads would soon destroy them. Though its top intended speed was 40 kilometres per hour, its huge size and high visibility would have made it extremely vulnerable to aerial bombardment and artillery fire. Its great size would also have made it nearly impossible to transport—no existing railway or train car could bear its weight and its width was too great for existing tunnels.
Landkreuzer P.1500 "Monster"
This "land cruiser" was a self-propelled platform for the 800mm Schwerer Gustavartillery piece also made by Krupp—the heaviest artillery weapon ever constructed by shell weight and total gun weight, and the largest rifled cannon by calibre. This gun fired a 7-tonne projectile up to 37 km (23 miles) and was designed for use against heavily fortified targets. The Landkreuzer P. 1500 Monster was to be 42 m (138 ft) long, weighing 1500 tonnes, with a 250 mm hull front armor, four MAN U-boat (submarine) marine diesel engines, and an operating crew of over 100 men. The main armament was to be an 800 mm Dora/Schwerer Gustav K (E) gun, and with a secondary armament of two 150 mm sFH 18/1 L/30 howitzers and multiple 15 mm MG 151/15 autocannons. The main armament could have been mounted without a rotating turret, making the vehicle a self-propelled gunrather than a tank. Such a configuration would have allowed the P. 1500 to operate in a similar manner to the original 800mm railroad gun and Karl 600mm self-propelled mortars, launching shells without engaging the enemy with direct fire.
Development of the Panzer VIII Maus had highlighted significant problems associated with very large vehicles, such as their destruction of roads/rails, their inability to use bridges and the difficulty of strategic transportation by road or rail. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger these problems became. Propulsion had also proved problematic in the development of the Maus: The prototype had failed to meet its specified speed requirements which meant that even larger vehicles such as the P. 1500 were likely to be slow-moving.
Yesterday, there was 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.
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 type 1
Representatives: 1 Chitila and 3 Otopeni
Category: Big Forces, from Brialmont's original plans
Fort type 2
Representatives: 2 Mogosoaia and 13 Jilava
Structure: pentagonal modified versus type 1
Category: Big Forces, from Brialmont's original plans
Fort type 3
Representatives: 4 Tunari, 7 Pantelimon - 18 Chiajna, total 12.
Category: Forces adapted from General Brialmont's plans to a new type of ammunition.
Fort type 4 (water)
Representative: 5 Stefanesti
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
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
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.
This Blog Could Save Your Life...well...maybe
Ever notice that as you age you start to feel a lot more run down, tired, listless and perhaps even slightly depressed, though not really a depression per se. Is getting through the day becoming harder and harder and staying focused has become a challenge. Well, here’s some really good news for those experiencing those symptoms mentioned above. You may be suffering from a lack of iron and other essential metals in your system. After a good deal of research we here at the Home Office have developed a cure aimed at many of us here at GMIC and others worldwide.
With this in mind we (my wife and I) started on an experiment, which is not the first time here on the “News from the Home Office” blog, to cure the above mentioned symptoms with an increase in iron and other very important metals. To begin with, just over a year ago, I purchased a 2000 GMC Sierra 4X4 truck. This was one of those once in a life-time “barn finds” in excellent condition and owned by a car collector who had stored it in a climate controlled facility.
Once we had arranged the purchase the work started, even though it was in almost pristine condition. The body was stripped down to the frame, then rebuilt, and the engine, a small block V8 (4.8 litre), and drive train completely rebuilt, with the help of a good friend of mine who happens to be a retired auto mechanic. Any of the body parts that did show signs of deterioration were discarded and a new replacement piece was purchased from the GMC dealer and installed. The only section that was actually replaced was the box side on the driver’s side, known here as the “salt side”. All parts such as brakes, rear axles, and exhaust system were discarded and new top of the line parts installed. The interior was in almost showroom condition so that took no work at all. The whole truck was painted black, which was the original colour with new black rims and large-lug truck tires just to make her look “bad”. To date I have invested around the $18,000.00 mark for what is essentially a vehicle that looks like it did the day it rolled off the assembly line, though the parts you can’t see have all been upgraded. There is absolutely no body fillers in this vehicle; it is all original steel parts.
I have always wanted to rebuild a truck but could never afford a classic so when this came up for sale my dear wife agreed that I should “jump on it”. At my age a “once in a life time deal” is actually that!
The process from start to finish took over a year and while it was fun I would not want to do it again. I did learn a lot, one of the most interesting things I learned was that mechanical and vehicle restoration takes a lot of time and seems to involve a lot of foul language.
In addition to this project my interest in British military swords has been revitalized and along with the infusion of the new/old iron (truck) I feel middle aged again. Ok, so when I am in my truck I do feel like one of the cool kids.
So when you are feeling low and just seem to be dragging yourself through your day add some iron to your life. Medals, firearms, swords etc, also counts. After all it’s not just collecting it’s a matter of your continued good health.
Caution, this is not a substitute for real medical advice and I do not provide marital counselling in the event you follow my suggestions.
Romania used many kinds of tanks during the war, bought or captured from France, Czechoslovakia, Germany or Russia. There were also attempts to create their own tank destroyers, but the Romanian industry was not able to create a 100% original vehicle, basing on imports. The first tank division was created in 1919, containing 74 Renault Ft.17 vehicles. During 1930s, they tried to modernise the arsenal, by buying new tanks (Renault R.35, AH-IV, Panzer 35(t) etc.). Many problems will appear during the fights on the Eastern Front, many tank models being outclassed by the new soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks. This later lead to the creation of the Romanian tank destroyers, a basic adaptation to the original tanks, but with decent results.
Tanks built or produced in Romania
"Mareșal" Tank Hunter is a concept of antitank mobile cannon developed in Romania during the Second World War. From a constructive point of view it is similar to the Hetzer German tank hunter. Six prototypes (M-00, M-01, M-02, M-03, M-04, M-05) were built between December 1942 and January 1944. On October 26, 1944, the remaining prototypes and tanks' were seized by the Soviet army on the basis of the armistice.
TACAM R-2 was an SPG used by the Romanian Army in the second part of the Second World War. The first prototype appeared in the summer of 1943 and was named "Tun Anticar pe Afet Mobil R-2". In total, 21 (one being the prototype) copies were produced from July 1943 until July 1944. In July 1944, under the 1st Battle Regiment, the 5th TACAM R-2 Company was formed under the 2nd Battalion Training, and was later transferred to Company 63 Antitanc. They have effectively taken part in the struggles for the liberation of Romania. Subsequently, following the decision of the Soviets to abolish the 1st Blind Division, the remaining 6 TACAM R-2 remained operational, were transferred to the 2nd Battalion Regiment, a regiment that took part in the liberation of Hungary and Austria. He survived the war in a single copy, being exposed today at the National Military Museum in Bucharest.
TACAM T-60 (Antitank Canon on the Mobil T-60) was a tank destroyer used by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. In 1943, thirty-four copies were transformed into Leonida Workshops using red Army captured material: the chassis was from the T-60 tanks, the superstructure armor was from the BT-7 tanks, and the F-22 cannons 76.2 mm Model 1936 were Soviet-made. The TACAM T-60 tank hunters have been used by the "Greater Romania" Division 1 and by the 8th Motorized Cavalry Division on the East Front. Thirty-four copies were converted to the Leonida Workshops by the end of 1943. Sixteen vehicles were assigned to the TACAM Company in the 1st Armored Regiment, and eighteen were allocated to the TACAM 62 Armored Regiment. However, the TACAM T-60 tank hunter units were sent where the situation on the front was worse. The Blind Cantemir Group, ad-hoc formed on 23 February 1944 to strengthen the defensive in northern Transnistria, had 14 TACAM T-60 vehicles, organized in two batteries. Tank hunters were returned to the 1st Armored Division to participate in Moldova's defensive during Operation Iasi-Chisinau. All TACAM T-60 tank destroyers who survived the events before and after August 23, 1944, were confiscated by the Red Army after October 1944. It is possible that one surviving vehicle to be located in Kubinka Tank Museum, if it was not already scrapped.
The R-35 tank hunter was a version designed and produced in Romania by the French tank Renault R-35, used in the Second World War. Following the disastrous results of the Battle of Stalingrad, suggestions have been made to upgrade existing Renault R-35 tanks either by replacing the original turret with that of the T-26 light tank or by replacing the main cannon with a Soviet 45 mm or with a 47 mm Schneider antitank cannon. In December 1942, it was decided to focus the research on the replacement of the 37 mm original cannon with the 45 mm Soviet cannon obtained from the captured BT-7 and T-26 tanks, and the project was entrusted to Colonel Constantin Ghiulai and Captain Dumitru Hogea. The tunnel was attached to a frontal extension of the turret that would contain the kickback mechanism, but even so the interior space was too narrow to allow a ZB coaxial machine gun to be mounted. Additionally, the 45 mm bumpers were three times larger than those of 37 mm. The prototype was completed at the end of February 1943 and, after being tested in the summer of that year, the Mechanized Troops Command ordered the conversion of 30 R-35 tanks. The 45 mm guns were reconditioned at the Army Army of Targoviste, while the storms were poured into the Concordia plants in Ploiesti. The conversion of the 30 tanks took place at the Leonida Workshops and lasted until June 1944. The vehicles, called the "The Ranger 35 (Transformed) Hunter", were returned to the 2nd Battalion Regiment. In July 1944, the Mechanized Troops Command ordered that the remaining R-35 tanks be converted, but events after August 23 prevented this. The R-35 hunters were used together with R-35 tanks in the Czechoslovak and Austrian campaigns, all of which were lost until the end of the war. Today, there is only one piece left of this tank, a turret discovered in the Hron river valley in Slovakia.
The Renault EU was a tracked vehicle manufactured in France between 1932 and 1941 and used by the Romanian army. In 1930, at the request of the French infantry, the decision was made to design a lightweight, crafted armored vehicle capable of hauling and carrying ammunition for lightweight artillery pieces. In 1931, the contract was awarded to Renault, being chosen as the EU track and trailer. In 1937, the improved EU 2 was chosen for mass production. More than 5000 pieces were built from both versions, including under license in Romania at Malaxa factories, the Renault UE tracker being the standard equipment of the French infantry divisions.
The T-1 scenic was a project developed by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. The Ford factory in Bucharest had to build between 1944 and 1945 a thousand trailed tractors, officially called T-1 (Tractor 1). These were to be used for towing anti-stick Reciţa Model 1943 75 mm caliber, manufactured in Romania. The vehicle was based on the Soviet tractor used in agriculture STZ. The vehicle was engineered by Military Engineers specializing in the Technical Division. The T-1 Stack was partially tested in the summer of 1944, with good results. The engines and transmission were to be manufactured by Rogifer, the Reşiţa plants made the frame and the propulsion, and the Ford factory assured the bodywork and assembly. Only five prototypes were built, because the Marshal tank hunter had priority. After August 23, 1944, the project was canceled. Tractor T-1 was the first tractor vehicle manufactured in Romania.
AB md. 1941 (abbreviation: Autoblindat Model 1941) was the prototype of a self-propelled vehicle made by Resita plants during the Second World War. The armored vehicle was built in 1941 to enter the Romanian army, but it did not enter the production stage due to the limited industrial capacities of the Kingdom of Romania. The main unit of fire consisted of a 37 mm Czechoslovak cannon.
AH-IV, named R-1 within the Romanian army, was assigned to the mechanized recognition squadrons of the cavalry brigades. Cavalry Brigades 5, 6 and 8 received six R-1 tanks, and cavalry brigades 1, 7 and 9 received four. Between 1941 and 1942, with the Cavalry Corps (made up of 5, 6 and 8 cavalry brigades), they took part in the actions of southern Ukraine and the Caucasus, but also in other areas of the front where cavalry units in Odessa). The Cavalry Training Center withdrew the R-1 tank from the Romanian army as a consequence of the defeat at Stalingrad. From this tankette, Romania created a prototype called R-1-a, produces in 1 copy.
Used, but not built in Romania
Panzer 35(t): As part of the army modernization program started in 1935, in August 1936 126 Škoda LT tanks.35 were ordered from Czechoslovakia. The first 15 tanks were received on May 1, 1937, but they encountered technical problems on the engine, which was incompatible with the climate and local fuel. Therefore, tanks were sent back and modified according to Romanian specifications. All 126 tanks (called R-2 in Romania) were received until 1939, but another order for 382 tanks sent in mid-1939 was denied by the Germans. R-2 was assigned to 1st Division Combat 1st Armored Battalion in 1941-1942. Acting as a shock unit, the Armored Division 1 gained considerable success in the battle for Chisinau, but in Odessa suffered heavy losses when the R-2 tanks were used to support the infantry, their thin armor making them a light prey for Soviet anti-tank rifles. At the end of the 1941 campaign, 26 R-2 tanks were damaged without recovery, so in 1942 Germany agreed to deliver 26 Panzerkampfwagen 35 (t) tanks almost identical but worn to cover the losses. The 1st Armored Division was rebuilt in the country until August 1942 and was assigned to the 3rd Army defending the Don's Cot. As the German-Romanian troops encountered an increasing number of T-34 tanks, Armored Division 1 tested the effectiveness of an R-2 against a captured T-34. The test proved that the T-34 was invulnerable in front of the 37 mm cannon of the R-2 tank. During the Battle of Don's Battle, where medium and heavy Soviet tankers created chaos among the exhausted and badly equipped Romanian troops, the Armored Division 1 lost 60 percent of the fighting capacity, crossing the Cir River with 19 R-2 tanks, some towed T-3 or T-4 tanks due to lack of fuel. The total R-2 tank losses at Stalingrad were 27 out of action, 30 abandoned due to fuel shortages and 24 due to mechanical problems. Some surviving R-2 tanks were used by ad-hoc armored detachments in 1944 (the Cantemir Armored Mixed Group on the Basarabian front and the Popescu Armored Detachment on the oil fields near Ploiesti). Two R-2 tanks that escaped the Soviet requisitions in February 1945 were used by the 2nd Regiment to fight during operations in Czechoslovakia and Austria. Both were lost on 12 April 1945 to Hohenruppersdorf, northeast of Vienna, when the 2nd Battalion Regiment rejected a German counterattack consisting of elements of the 3 Panzer, 25 and 26 SS divisions.
Renault R35: In December 1937, Romania began negotiations with France for the inauguration of a production line for armored vehicles in the country. The planned production included 200 Renault R-35 tanks, but the deal could not be completed and eventually the tanks were ordered from France. The needs of the French Army, as well as concurrent exports to Yugoslavia, Poland and Turkey, have slowed the delivery of the product. Only 41 Renault R-35 tanks were received until 1939, deliveries ceased after the fall of France in 1940. At the end of September 1939, a total of 34 Polish R-35 tanks in the 305 battalion that had fled to Romania was taken from it on the basis of a Romanian-Polish agreement, resulting in a total of 75 R-35 tanks available for service in the Romanian army at the end of 1939. The R-35 tanks endowed the 2nd Battalion Regiment, established on 1 November 1939 Several adjustments were made to the original vehicle, such as replacing the 7,5 mm Chatellerault machine guns with 7,22 mm lightweight ZB machine gun, improving suspensions or replacing wheels with rubber rims with some more resilient with metal wheels designed by the lieutenant - Colonel Constantin Ghiulai. Since the operational characteristics of the R-35 tanks compared to those of the more modern R-2 Tanks in combat regiment 1 were different, it was decided before June 22, 1941 that the Armored Division 1 would retain only the Regiment 1 which fought, the Regiment 2 the battle was transferred to the 4th Army General Headquarters. They were used to free Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina and to the siege of Odessa. Although they enjoyed considerable armor, their low speed and weak cannon retained them solely for the role of infantry support.
Panzer 38(t): Between May and June 1943, Germany delivered 50 Panzerkampfwagen 38 (t) used tanks to the Romanian Kuban district. The tank was produced at the ČKD Czech factories between 1939 and 1942 for the German army, so that until the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 it had become quite common among the Wehrmacht troops. Leaving aside their poor condition that led to the German-German understanding, the tanks were only slightly superior to the R-2 and still remained vulnerable to all Soviet anti-tank guns and rifles. They were named T-38 and formed the T-38 Tank Battalion of the 2nd Battalion Regiment, with Companies 51, 52 and 53 comprised of 15 tanks each. In the winter of 1943 and 1944, Temporary Company 54 was created with the five T-38s of the battalion headquarters. The unit became operational in June 1943 and was attached to the Cavalry Corps in July. They took part in defensive battles in Kuban and Crimea. Since November 1943, T-38 tanks from companies 51 and 52 have been evacuated to Romania. However, in April 1944 there were still ten T-38s from Tank Company 53 as support of the 10th Infantry Division in the Crimea. Many were lost in these operations, and in August 1944 the Battalion 2 Regiment could barely throw a nine-tank T-38 company into battle. They participated in the battles around Bucharest and the oilfields near Ploiesti, and in March 1945 the fortification of the rivers Hron, Nitra, Váh and Moravia in Czechoslovakia and then in Austria. Until April 22, 1945, the regiment still had in possession five highly used T-38 tanks which were confiscated by the Soviets.
Panzer III: 12 Panzer III tanks were delivered to the Romanian Army in the autumn of 1942. These were the Ausf model. N, painted in khaki color. The tanks were officially named T3 (or T-III) by the army and were inscribed with both the German cross and the "Mihai Cross" to avoid confusion among the Axis armies. Almost all T3 tanks were lost during the Battle of Stalingrad and the Don's Cote, except for one tank. Another copy was kept in Târgovişte for instruction. This type of tank was not delivered by the Germans to the Romanian Armed Forces, being considered outdated. The two T3 tanks were later assigned to the Joint Battle Group Cantemir, formed on February 24, 1944, being lost during the fighting for the defense of Transnistria.
Panzer IV: Romania received from Germany a total of 138 Panzer IV tanks called T IV in the Romanian army. Of these, 11 were the G model, delivered by Germany in September-October 1942, before the Battle of the Don, and the remaining 127 were the H and J models (possibly the previous G model) delivered between November 1943 and August 1944. Most of these armored were lost in the fights on the eastern front in the spring and summer of 1944, and a small number who survived fought on the western front in Transylvania, Czechoslovakia and Austria. At the end of the war, only two T IV tanks were still operational, participating in the military parade of August 23, 1945.
Renault Ft.17: The first Romanian Armored Force Battalion, Battle of Fighters, was established in 1919. It was equipped with 76 Renault FT-17 tanks, obtained as a result of the cooperation between Romania and France. Of these, 48 were equipped with a Puteaux tunnel (caliber 37 mm) and the remaining 28 with a Hotchkiss (8 mm caliber). The crew of the Renault FT-17 tank was made up of two people: the mechanic and the commander, who operated the rotating turret. Between the two world wars, some of the FT-17 tanks were refurbished at the Leonida Workshops and the Army Arsenal in Bucharest. With the outbreak of the war against the USSR, the already obsolete FT-17 tanks, renamed FT meanwhile, formed the FT Battle Battalion, an independent unit tasked with security and training missions. During the conflagration they were used to protect important cities and industrial centers in Romania (Bucharest, Ploiesti, Sibiu, Resita). They therefore made a decisive contribution to the elimination of German resistance in these locations after the coup d'état of 23 August 1944. In February 1945, the Soviet army seized all copies of the Romanian army, except for one, kept today in the National Military Museum from Bucharest.
Komsomoleț T-20: In 1943, the Romanian army decided to refurbish 34 Komsomolet T-20 tractors at the Rogifer plant (previously called Malaxa). The official name was the Russian Sheenalet Capture Ford. The engine of these armored tractors was manufactured under Ford's license. Since in Bucharest there was Ford Truck Factory, maintenance and refurbishment were relatively simple. The vehicles were equipped with a towing hook to tow the German anti-tank gun 50 mm PaK 38. The armored tractors were distributed as follows: 12 pieces were sent to the 5th and 14th Infantry Divisions, six were delivered to the Regiment 2 Fight and four were sent to the 5th Cavalry Division in August 1944. All vehicles were lost on the Moldavian front in the summer of 1944 or seized by the Soviets after August 23, 1944.
StuG 3G: 100 StuG III Ausf. G were delivered to Romania in autumn 1943. They were officially named TAs. In February 1945, 13 assault guns were still in the army's inventory. No copy of this delivery has caught the end of the war. In 1947, 31 TAs were in the inventory of the Romanian army. Most were StuG III, but there was also a small number of Panzer IV / 70 (V), officially named TAs T4. These StuG III came from the Red Army's capture stocks, as well as the repair of units out of the war during the war. StuGs were used until 1950, when they were replaced by SU-76 Soviet manufacturing. Until 1954, all German tanks were dismantled.
SdKfz 250: A Motorized Infantry Battalion of the 1st Armored Division was equipped with semi-dented SdKfz 250 (called light SPW) and 251 (called medium-sized SPW) between 1943 and 1944, supplied by the German army following the Olivenbaum arming plans. Most of the vehicles were already used when they were received by the Romanian army. The motorized infantry battalion thus became the equivalent of a Panzergrenadier battalion within the German army. In March 1945, 5 SPWs were still in the inventory of the 2nd Battle Regiment. Only 3 SPW vehicles were in the army after signing the armistice.
Leichter Panzerspähwagen: The Leichter Panzerspähwagen were organized in reconnaissance companies within armored divisions and were officially named AB in the Romanian Army's inventory. On December 12, 1942, the Armored Division 1 research group was equipped with a SdKfz 222 vehicle (10 vehicles). 40 SdKfz 222 trucks were delivered to the Romanian Army since September 1943 following the Olivenbaum Armament Delivery Plan. The Niculescu detachment had 5 SdKfz 222 vehicles available during the battles for the liberation of Transylvania in September 1944. In early 1945, the 2nd Battle Regiment had 8 SdKfz 222 armored cars. On November 15, 1947, the Romanian Army had 13 SdKfz 222 dealerships in their possession.
AB-41: 8 AB 41 were delivered to Romania at the end of 1943 following Olivenbaum's contingency plans. These were confiscated by the Germans after the truce signed by Italy and delivered to Romania.
OA vz 27: Little is known about the career of the OA vz. 27 in Romania after one Czech platoon of three sought refuge there in March 1939 other than it performed internal security duties. Two were destroyed during one of the American bombing raids on Ploiesti during the summer of 1944 while being serviced at the depot there.
OA vz.30: Almost nothing is known about the career of the OA vz.30 in Romania after one Czech company of nine sought refuge there in March 1939. One unconfirmed report says that some were on the strength of the Romanian dictator Antonescu's bodyguard unit (Batalionul de gardă al mareşalului Antonescu or Regimentul de gardă al Conducătorului Statului). Supposedly three were destroyed during American bombing of Ploieşti in the summer of 1944 while being serviced at the depot there.
Modifications to Romanian vehicles
Flackpanzer Mareșal: Flakpanzer Mareșal was a German proposal to modify the Romanian tank hunter "Mareșal" in an anti-aircraft vehicle. The German version was supposed to be armed with two 37 mm anti-aircraft guns. This proposal has never gone beyond the sketch stage.
Hetzer: Two Hetzers were captured during the battles for the liberation of Transylvania (September-October 1944). These were used by the Romanian troops for a short period, but were later handed over to the Red Army under the terms of the truce signed on September 12, 1944 between the Soviet Union and the Kingdom of Romania.
Zrinny II: A functional Zrinny II was captured by the Romanian troops in September-October 1944 in Northern Transylvania and was used for a limited period of time. Later, it was seized by the Red Army.
T-26: at least 2 have been captured by the Romanians and used during the fights on the Eastern Front.
T-60: vehicles captured by the Romanian army have been mostly converted in the TACAM T-60 tank destroyer.
Jagpanzer IV: At least one Jagdpanzer IV / 70 (V) was in the Romanian Army after the end of the Second World War. It came from the Red Army's catch stocks. The official name of these vehicles was TAs T4 (T4 tank-based assault vehicle). German autotunes were used by the Tudor Vladimirescu-Debrecen Armored Artillery Regiments until 1950, when they were replaced by Soviet SUVs SU-76, SU-100 and ISU-152.
Panzer 5 Panther: In May 1946, Romania received 13 PkKpfw V Panther tanks from Red Army stocks. The tanks were initially used by the 1st Brigade of Tanks, and later they were assigned to the Tudor Vladimirescu-Debrecen Division. The 13 tanks were different models (Ausf A, Ausf D and Ausf G) in an advanced wear state. However, they were painted and inscribed with the emblem of the Romanian Army. Officially, the tank was named T5 Panther, in 1948 it was painted with the new emblem of the Romanian Army (cockarde). In 1950, all 13 tanks were abandoned and replaced with T34 / 85. The T5 Panther was used for training, military maneuvers and parades, such as May 1, 1948 in Bucharest. Until the introduction of Soviet manufacturing tanks, the T5 was the heaviest armored at the disposal of the Romanian Armed Forces.
Hummel: The Romanian Army received only one Hummel from the Soviet stocks at the end of the Second World War. The self-propelled cannon was used by the 2nd Battalion Regiment. The vehicle was officially named Hummel TAs, with registration number U069009. Autotun could not be used because it lacked the cannon lock. However, he participated in 1946 at the military parade on the national day of the Kingdom of Romania in Bucharest, being inscribed with the emblems of the Romanian Army.
T-34: During the Second World War, the Romanian troops captured a small number of T-34 tanks, but they were only used for a short period due to the lack of spare parts. Most captured tanks were sent to Romania for testing and training. The plans of the General Staff to produce a copy of the tank in Romania did not materialize because of the embryonic autochthonous industry. All Soviet manufacturing tanks were seized by the Red Army after August 23, 1944.
R-3: In the middle of 1940, the traditional arms suppliers of Romania, France and Czechoslovakia were under German influence. Deliveries of Renault R-35 tanks were stopped after the French Army defeated. Because the army's equipment was precarious, Romania wanted to buy 216 medium Skoda T-21 tanks. This tank, originally called S-II-c, was the successor of LT vz. 35, already in the armament of the Romanian armed troops. The tank is about 17 tons and is equipped with a 47 mm cannon and an armor with a thickness between 16 and 30 mm. The attempts of 1940 did not materialize because Romania was not yet officially a member of the Axis. Negotiations were resumed because Germany sold the license to build the T-22 tank in August 1940. The T-22 was a variant of the T-21 tank and was later built in Hungary under the name of 40M Turán I. In January 1941 , Romania tried to buy this tank again, but the order was not delivered due to limited industrial capabilities, despite the efforts of the Romanian and German governments. In June 1941, Romania tried to build under the license 287 T-21 tanks, officially named R-3, but the project was abandoned due to the limited industrial capacities of Skoda plants and the Romanian embryonic industry.
TACAM R-1: TACAM R-1 (Antitank Gun on Mobile Support R-1) was a project developed by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. On 22 November 1943, the General Staff decided to turn the 14 R-1 tanks available in TDs. Tank hunters were supposed to be equipped with a Soviet anti-Soviet canon (of catch stocks) of 45 mm and they had to guard strategic objectives in Romania. The project was canceled because the utility of this vehicle did not justify the resources needed to develop.
TACAM T-38: TACAM T-38 (Anti-Tank Canon on T-38) was a project developed by the Romanian Armed Forces during the Second World War. In 1943, the State Staff decided to convert dozens of T-38 tanks into tank hunters, following the TACAM R-2. Fourty guns of 76.2 mm (s) of Soviet manufacturing were retained for this plan. Since the TACAM R-2 project has not been completed, TACAM T-38 plans have not been put into practice.
Romanian "Goliath": During 1944, Romania designed and built its own model of remote-controlled tracked mine, known as "Romanian Goliath", due to lack of information about its actual name. However, it was markedly different from its German counterpart. The few surviving photos show that the vehicle had no armor, and it is not known if that was ever changed. It did have some logistical improvements, however, as the Romanian-designed chassis allowed it to cross trenches and craters much better than its German counterparts. Little is known about the stats of this Romanian vehicle, aside from the fact that it never went beyond the prototype stage and that it weighed about two tons.
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.
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
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).
- 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
- 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
- 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
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:
- Maurice Farman
- Henri Farman
- Voisin L III
- Caudron G3
- Morane Saulnier
- Nieuport (tip 11,12,17,21)
- Farman 40
- Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
- Captured Drachen cylinder baloon of 630 cubic meters
- Caquot type M balloons of 930 cubic meters
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.
- ,,Maior Ene Constantin”
- „Căpitan Nicolae L. Bogdan”
- „Căpitan Romano Mihail”
- „Maior Dumitru Giurăscu”
- „Maior Șonțu Gheorghe”
- „Maior N. Ioan”
- „Locotenent Călinescu D.”
- „Valter Mărăcineanu”
This a chapter of the Romanian history many times forgotten, but remembered at least by the ones who had ancesters involved (my family too). 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.
8th - 9th of October 1916. Outskirts of Brașov (Brasso), near the train station of Bartolomeu. After a two days battle against the german and austrian armies, repelling many weaves, an entire romanian regiment of 300 soldiers is killed by the german-austrian artillery, without any survivors. Historiography generally agrees on what has happened, but presentations vary in detail, and sometimes interpretation becomes tendentious. The Romanian-Romanian newspaper "Gazeta Transilvaniei" reported the event five years after its production: "It was a huge battle during which the company and half of the 45th Regiment (Vlasca) had spent all the ammunition. The enemy, seeing the stubborn resistance that opposes it, was the belief that there was a strong Romanian archery in front of him. Consequently, he concentrated more powers and after two days of fighting, he forced the night to Oct. 10. (Sunday) the crossing of the railway beyond Bartolomeu station, which Captain Cristescu Sava defended with 1/2 company, who had to withdraw in front of the enemy puff. By this sudden retreat during the night, the left wing of the line of shooters, which was hauled along the railway line from Bartholomew railway station to Brasov railway station, remained uncovered and unaware of what had happened. The enemy, who had crossed the line using the darkness of the night, snatched two machine guns into the Bartholomew machine depot, placing them in a window to the left flank of the line of shooters, and behind the line of shooters, armed with hand grenades. In the morning of 10 Oct. the Romanian company suddenly woke up from its flank with a machine-gun fire. Many soldiers have fallen dead in the first few moments. Those remaining alive have begun to retreat to the city. But taking a few steps back, they were greeted with hand grenades. Of about 250 soldiers, who were along the track, he did not get away with life. All were barbarically killed on the flank and back. This cruel act, which the enemy also recognized in describing the Battle of Bartholomew, was undoubtedly a vengeance for the two-day struggle that fallen Romanian heroes and the fear that the opponent had stopped for 2 days the advancement is found to be much higher than it actually was. Immediately after the fight, an enemy officer photographed the line of shooters with the fallen Romanian soldiers ... By concluding another finding made by the enemy. For the soldiers fallen in the line of shooters, no cartridge was found. Evidence that in the 2-day battle they shot all the bullets. "
Photos taken by the German army, shortly after the cessation of fire, and published in a war propaganda booklet: