Effectiveness of Romanian Troops

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David Lehmann
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Post by David Lehmann » 11 Jan 2004 13:41

Well you know people often propagaded myths without sometimes knowing about the real details, they accept generalized ideas.
I could give you examples of French troops dying on their positions instead of surrendering or retreating ... Many tank units suffered more than 50% losses and still continued to fight ...
During the Gembloux-Hannut battle (12-16 May 1940) when French troops entered in Belgium it was the first big tank battle of WW2 : 376 French tanks (2nd and 3rd DLM = Division légère mécanique) and 664 German tanks (XVI. Pz Korps).
Half of the 35. PzRgt was destroyed by the French artillery. From the 700 men of the 7th RTM (skirmisher regiment) only 74 are still alive on 16th May. The front didn't collapse but the losses were really heavy. At Gembloux it is a Pyrrhus victory for the French but the German pierced the lines in an other area.
LOSSES IN GEMBLOUX :
- 105 tanks destroyed on the French side
- 165 tanks destroyed on the German side (but the German old the battlefield ground and could therefore repair some of them)

In La Horgne, less than 2000 men of a Spahis regiment (cavalry unit), pitifully armed, had held their ground against half a Panzer division for one day.
Guderian's Panzer Korps was in the process of breaking out from the Sedan bridgehead, heading West. In front of them was only a scattering of units, including the 3e Brigade de Spahis, which was ordered to hold the road junction of La Horgne against the panzers for as long as possible. All concerned realised this was going to be a sacrifice mission. On the day in question, 15th May, the 1.PzD split into two Kampfgruppe, one of which headed for La Horgne, where the Spahis had hastily dug themselves in.
But they were only able to buy this amount of time because they made
the optimum tactical use of the ground and of what weaponry they had,
as all good soldiers should.

etc etc in many other battles ...

Stonne saw very hard fightings and some German officers said they will never forget Stalingrad, Stonne etc. Look for example the book of Karl Heinz Frieser (Bundeswehr) : "Blitzkrieg Legende" to go further than several myths.
Abbeville and the different allied attacks (BEF + French) saw the use of about 500 tanks ... It was the single big attack of the allied in 1940, but who really cares about it ? All the attention was for the Dunkirk pocket at that time.

etc. but who cares ? People are just generally pleased to tell everybody that the French ran to surrender ... It is sometimes the same for the Romanians etc.

Regards,

David

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 11 Jan 2004 21:32

You are right. You could also mention the defensive actions in southern France, on the Italian border, or De Gaule's attack near Abbeville or the 1st Light Divion at Bir-Hakeim etc, etc

Witch-King of Angmar
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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 12 Jan 2004 02:28

You mean ineffectiveness? :)

I wouldn't give too much credit to the comments of either Erich von Manstein or Hans Speidel. And, BTW, I wouldn't throw in the "technological factor" either. Weapons and machinery can be invented, developed and built, if needed, even with very small material resources. Maresal M-05 or TACAM come to mind. (Porsche is even a better example, the first Model 356 cars were built in a barn in 1948-1949). The "human factor" is the one from which the others stem. Not incidentally, the "human factor" in Romania was very low before and during WWII, and hardly improved since. (More specific, for Victor: not necessarily in the field of education as commonly understood, but as "human quality" in a broader acceptance of the word).

~The Witch-King of Angmar

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rcristi2271
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Post by rcristi2271 » 12 Jan 2004 04:25

you said that "human factor" is the most important... hmm check this out:
http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?t=167

The best story to "prove" your point is this: "At Stalingrad some Romanian soldiers climbed on Russian tanks with Axes (or Hammers)" - so they got the heart but not the meanings.

We can talk about the quality of the german "human factor" who couldn't help them too much in the end.

My point is that without technology the human factor means nothing.

Karl
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Post by Karl » 12 Jan 2004 05:57

Even Beevor writes about the Romanians not really being politically motivated anyway, especially after siege of Odessa. Also, many German officers often lamented at the bad treatment of the men by their Romanian counterparts (which was actually well known).

In other words, they weren’t really into it and morale was bad, much like the Italians.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 12 Jan 2004 09:37

Witch-King of Angmar wrote:Not incidentally, the "human factor" in Romania was very low before and during WWII, and hardly improved since. (More specific, for Victor: not necessarily in the field of education as commonly understood, but as "human quality" in a broader acceptance of the word).

~The Witch-King of Angmar


I would say it got worse since WWII, not better.

Witch-King of Angmar
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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 12 Jan 2004 10:40

rcristi2271 wrote:The best story to "prove" your point is this: "At Stalingrad some Romanian soldiers climbed on Russian tanks with Axes (or Hammers)" - so they got the heart but not the meanings.


Exact quote here:

A T-34 was advancing on an artillery battery. One of the officers jumped on the tank with a large hammer and broke the machine-gun's barrel with it. Then he started hitting the tank furiously. The Soviets probably thought they wre taking fire from an AT gun and retreated.


rcristi2271 wrote:We can talk about the quality of the german "human factor"


Which wasn't exactly perfect either. Ever heard of Schulze-Boysen, Stauffenberg, Beck, Scholl etc etc? (I wonder to which number we reach if we count all of them :D )

rcristi2271 wrote:My point is that without technology the human factor means nothing.


The "human factor" comes first for the simple reason that you need a guy to invent the technology first. Like Constantin Ghiulai, the designer of the Maresal M-05 and the TACAM.

Bravery is just an element of the "human factor", and not exactly the most important either. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) had shown that each man/woman can be motivated to do superhuman acts if the right "buttons" are pushed in his/her mind. Usually the importance of bravery/courage/guts/sisu is overestimated.

(Incidentally, the journalist Robert D. Kaplan, who visited Romania in early 1990s, supported the two Generals' opinion, claiming the "Romanian Army has a good combat reputation". Another voices claimed in 2003 that USA wants Romania in NATO "to put to good use the talents of the Romanian Mountain Corps. Ha, ha. Brilliant. :D )

More important that sheer courage are traits like loyalty, unity, desire to improve himself/herself physically, mentally and culturally (which is more related to martial arts than WWII), self-control and resilience. Which I don't find too much around myself, and I doubt were easier to find in the 1940s, judging the memories of various people from the time.

Adrian Severin, Chairman of OSCE, in 1999 wrote:Romania does not have at this particular time the social and ethnic cohesion to withstand a foreign attack.


Emphase is mine. He didn't say we didn't have the military equipment (bad as it is), or the combat ability. A bon entendeur, salut.

Bottom line, I doubt either myself, or Victor, Daphix, Alixanther etc etc are what can be considered "good soldiers". Add our (almost hilarious) vulnerability to manipulation, proven in 1989-1991, and the hopes are even dimmer.

~The Witch-King of Angmar

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hauptmannn
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Post by hauptmannn » 12 Jan 2004 15:54

Hauptmann, give up your view that the Germans were far superior than all other military's. The Romanians SHOULD HAVE expected equipment from the Nazi's. Thats something ALLIED ARMIES should expect from each other.

i.e. Lend/Lease
NATO


I'm sorry sir but i did not mention that the Germans were superior, the industrial capacity of Germany was not high enough to equip all her allies so what are you on about. Are Germany's allies too incompetent to equip herself with weapons? Was NATO in a World War? NATO's countries gave equipment to each other, but this was at peacetime and if not, then not during a full scale war.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 13 Jan 2004 04:10

Panzermayer wrote:

People are just generally pleased to tell everybody that the French ran to surrender...


I understand half the two million French POWs taken by the German Army surrendered in the last week bofore the signing of the armistice on 22 June 1940, ie after the French Government had sued for peace.

Once could hardly expect French soldiers to go on fighting and dying after their own government had conceded defeat by asking for an armistice.

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John W
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Post by John W » 13 Jan 2004 05:02

Panzermeyer wrote:People are just generally pleased to tell everybody that the French ran to surrender
I don't think people appreciate the difficulties one has when one has a 'militaristic' Germany on their borders ;) :P

I remember reading many a German commander being "disappointed" by the lack of fight put up by the French, after the ferocious resistence offered by the French during the Great War.

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Post by Alixanther » 15 Jan 2004 01:39

I never said anything about the Allied side, Panzermeyer. I asked for an Axis member to show the same prowess in battle. Sorry if my question proved to be too vague to be correctly understood.
Dear Witch-King. How could you expect NOT to find such ISOLATED INCIDENTS to happen on the battlefield, when 80% or more of the Romanian army comprised peasants, who - besides their infantry training - had no idea about ANY working machinery on the battlefield? I consider such an action - as jumping on a T-34 and disabling the machinegun with a hammer-like tool - as a work of a rather intelligent human being - who, by the way, proved flexible thinking, quick reaction time, resolute action and - of course - that he was scared to the death in order to do such... How high do you rate the "human factor" of this person? If you consider that respecting your officers, doing your duties without any mutinies, virtually no defection to the enemy (until Stalingrad) means a "low human factor" then, of course, you're right. I've seen too many intellectuals (without any military practice) speaking about "the human factor" and not taking into account that a soldier needs a different set of values than a civilian in order to survive the battlefield. Of course, there's a difference between a peace-keeping (or police) force and an army. For me, killing a partisan (franc-tireur, etc.) means a good "human factor"... even better if you hang them in the open... "Pity is not for the military!" - is what your drill sergeant used to repeat to you again and again... If not, I guess you talk about boy scouts, right?

P.S. Oh, and drop dead that Adrian Severin's quote. If he's a military expert then I'm the Pope. And I'm damn sure he was speaking about the moment when the Soviets demanded Bessarabia (Basarabia) from us. In early 1940 we hardly had guns! Social and ethnic cohesion? Pwah!

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 15 Jan 2004 08:20

Actually the guy who jumped on the tank with the hammer was an officer IIRC.

As for the morale and dedication, the unity, which our wizard thinks they lacked, just look at Tiganca, Oarba de Mures etc.

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Post by Bob_Mackenzie » 15 Jan 2004 19:11

hauptmannn wrote:
I'm sorry sir but i did not mention that the Germans were superior, the industrial capacity of Germany was not high enough to equip all her allies so what are you on about. Are Germany's allies too incompetent to equip herself with weapons? Was NATO in a World War? NATO's countries gave equipment to each other, but this was at peacetime and if not, then not during a full scale war.


The Germans may not have had the industrial capacity but they consistantly refused licences to The Romanians to produce German types of tanks.

Whats more the stuff they sold to their allies was given inflated prices. In Spielburgers StuG book there is a list of the price mark up (over German Prices) that was offered to each ally. Only Japan got to pay German prices, all the "minors" were charged extra.

To my mind the Germans were more interested in keeping theor "allies" under the thumb than they were in equipping them well and maki8ng them strong

Cheers

Bob

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Orok
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Post by Orok » 15 Jan 2004 20:06

Bob_Mackenzie wrote:The Germans may not have had the industrial capacity but they consistantly refused licences to The Romanians to produce German types of tanks.


The Hungarians got the same treatment!

Best Regards!

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 15 Jan 2004 20:17

Bob_Mackenzie wrote:Whats more the stuff they sold to their allies was given inflated prices. In Spielburgers StuG book there is a list of the price mark up (over German Prices) that was offered to each ally. Only Japan got to pay German prices, all the "minors" were charged extra.
Hi!

Interesting, could you post the prices?

Regards, Juha

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