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Romanian soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Army

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Morar Andrei

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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.

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The participation of Romania in the WW1 on the side of the Allieds was a disaster for the country .Romania until the death of King Carol I was at the side of Austria and Germany . inclusive with formal alliance. but the King died and with him his policy. In 1916 Romania declared the war to Austria and invaded Transylvania .in the confidence of the support of Russia .and her great victory over the Austrians .the Brussilov Offensive. the offensive not destroyed the Austrians and the Romanians invading were repulsed and obligated to retreat then the Austro Germans invaded and occupied nearly all Romania . except Iasi .and forced an armistice . and a treaty .

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Indeed, the Romanian army got a bad time in 1916. The soldiers had the morale and determination, but were ill equiped and poor trained. They recoveredd in the winter between 1916-1917 thanks to the French Military Mission under Henri Mathias Berthelot, and rezisted preety well against the german offensives from august 1917, as I already mentioned in "Revival of the Romanian Army 1917" and "Battle if Oituz". Unfortunately for them, Russia, their only allied that offered direct support by sending units to the Romanian front, got out from the war in november 1917. This situation forced Romania, now fighting alone against all the Centrals Powers, to sign an armistice, later the Buftea Peace on 9th of March 1918, which was not cosidered legit by king Ferdinand, who didn't sign it. Later, on 10th of November 1918, seeing that the fate of the cinflict is on the side of the Entente, Romania remobilised its army and re-joined the war.

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