Romanian General Leonard Mociulschi...

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yerbamatt
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Romanian General Leonard Mociulschi...

Post by yerbamatt » 04 Jun 2004 06:44

Can anybody provide me any information about him? Any books, even in Romanian? His name seems Polish - what about his ancestors?

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 04 Jun 2004 08:22

The name is definitely of Polish origin. He was from the Botosani County, in northern Moldavia, close to border with Poland (then the border with Austria Hungary and Russia).
He was one the most able vanatori de munte (mountain troops) commander. He was also one of the most decorated: Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd and 2nd classes (only several Romanian generals received the 2nd class), DkiG and Ritterkreuz. During the war he served in the 1st Mountain Brigade and then in the 2nd Mountain Division and finally assumed command of the 3rd Mountain Division which he held for almost 3 years, until 1945.
There are no books about him that I know of, but there is a book written by him (Asaltul Vanatorilor de munte=The assault of the mountain troops) and published in the 60s about the operations of the 3rd Mountain Division in Transylvania, Hungary and Slovakia from 23 August onwards (as the period before did not officially exist during the Communist regime). Unfortunately it does not contain biographical data about him.
I planned to write later a short biography of him (with the incomplete data I have on him) for the site (http://www.worldwar2.ro), but I will try to do it within the next week and come back to you with a more complete story of this exceptional soldier.

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USAF1986
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Post by USAF1986 » 05 Jun 2004 01:31

Victor,

I look forward to your profile of Mociulschi! Of note, he received the German Cross in Gold on 25 October 1942 as a General de brigada and commander of the 3rd Mountain Division. Per the first volume of the Horst Scheibert DKiG book, I've been able to spot only three Romanian holders of that decoration (that’s not to say there weren’t possibly a few more): Gheorghe Avramescu (also awarded on 25 October 1942), Mociulschi and Capitan Nicolae Dabija (awarded 10 February 1944). Keep up the excellent work!

Best regards,
Shawn

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yerbamatt
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Post by yerbamatt » 06 Jun 2004 03:50

Thank you, Victor, so much for your help. It's a pity we know so little about one of the best Romanian variors of both world wars and Romanian war effort as a whole. By the way - your mountain troops were considered by Germans as one of the best in the Eastern Front. Besides, I'm curious of his, Mociulschi's postwar period - I know that he spent a good few years in prison. Anyway, I'm looking forward to your promised biography. Multumesc again!

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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 06 Jun 2004 20:58

yerbamatt wrote:By the way - your mountain troops were considered by Germans as one of the best in the Eastern Front.


Other people(up to our days) said the same - that Romanian Mountain troopers were and still are a very good military force, even an elite. For reasons which should be obvious for Victor, I tend to doubt it. (I'm not even remotely comparing them to Gurkhas)

~The Witch-King of Angmar

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dragos
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Post by dragos » 06 Jun 2004 22:34

Witch-King of Angmar wrote:
yerbamatt wrote:By the way - your mountain troops were considered by Germans as one of the best in the Eastern Front.


Other people(up to our days) said the same - that Romanian Mountain troopers were and still are a very good military force, even an elite. For reasons which should be obvious for Victor, I tend to doubt it. (I'm not even remotely comparing them to Gurkhas)

~The Witch-King of Angmar


The Romanian mountain troops were superior to the infantry and other branches of Romanian Army by their professional training. I don'y know a thing about "Gurkhas", but the Romanian mountain troops showed a lot on the eastern front. Among others, they were "responsible" for stopping the Soviet offensive in Caucasus, in the winter of 1943, which intended to cut off the Army Group "A".

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 07 Jun 2004 07:52

You cannot compare the Ghurkas (SE Asian tribe, serving in the English Army) with the Romanian mountain troops simply because the first were/are all volunteers, IIRC, while the latter were conscripts. If you want you can compare the Ghurkas with the Foreign Legion (although the Legion is the best :D ).
However, the mountain troops were above the regular infantry in terms of training, physical prowess and, very important, initiative. Compared to the reguylar infantry they were an elite. Teh situation today is debatable. I know some guys who servede mountain troops for a reduced term and learned to do a lot of things. They lack good equipment though.

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Victor
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Here it is!

Post by Victor » 12 Jun 2004 20:19

Maj. general Leonard Mociulschi

17 October 1941: Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class
6 October 1942 – 8 April 1945: 3rd Mountain Division
25 October 1942: German Cross in Gold
18 December 1943: Knight’s Cross
19 February 1944: Mihai Viteazul Order 2nd class
11 May 1944: promoted to maj. gen.
23 March 1945: Mihai Viteazul Order with swords 3rd class
8 April – 20 May 1945: Mountain Corps

Leonard Mociulschi was born on 27 March 1889 in the village Simincea, Botosani county (in northern Moldavia). He was one of the "pure breed" mountain troops divisional commanders of WWII and also one of the most successful. He started his military career in 1910, when he was admitted in the Infantry Officer School. He graduated in 1912 and received the rank of 2nd lieutenant. During WWI he was lieutenant and then a captain (in 1917). He was promoted major in 1920. In 1932 he was assigned the command of the mountain battalion in Sighetul Marmatiei and received the rank of lt. colonel. He held this position until 1937, when he was promoted to the rank of colonel.

On 10 February 1941 he was named deputy commander of the 1st Mountain Brigade, which was under the leadership of brig. gen. Mihail Lascar. This unit was part of the 3rd Romanian Army and saw action initially in Northern Bukovina. It liberated together with the 4th Mountain Brigade the region's capital, Cernauti, where he commanded a group that made the direct attack on the city. Then advanced to the Dniester River, the pre-1940 border with the Soviet Union. On the eastern bank of the river was the fortified Stalin Line the Romanian mountain troops managed to breach in several places on 17 and 18 July, after some very heavy fighting. This is where colonel Mociulschi first distinguished himself, personally directing the crossing under enemy fire. He was awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class for this action.

The 1st Mountain Brigade advanced along with the rest of the 3rd Army all the way to the Nogayisk Steppe. There, from 24 to 29 September, it took part in the so-called Battle of the Azov Sea , which resulted in the destruction of the 9th and 18th Soviet Armies. Being the mountain brigade with the fewest losses until then and thus the most
battle-worthy, it was selected to participate in the general von Manstein's assault on Crimea. After they had penetrated the defenses in the Salkovo Isthmus, the Romanian mountain troops started a followed closely the retreating Soviet forces. Colonel Mociulschi commanded one of the three detachments organized by the 1st Mountain Division for the operation. It took 1,360 prisoners, including an entire Soviet cavalry regiment.

The "next stop" for the mountain troops was Sevastopol. The German 11th Army started the first siege of the fortress in the winter of 1941. Colonel Leonard Mociulschi was named commander of the Attack Group of the brigade (four battalions), which initially did not have all the forces at its disposal, two battalions being deployed on coastline. By 23 December 1941, the 1st Mountain Brigade managed to take the Chapel Hill and the Chorgun and Karlovka villages.

His conduct during the first year of the war earned him the promotion to the rank of brigadier general. In April 1942 he was reassigned to the 4th Mountain Division again as deputy commander. This unit, commanded by maj. general Gheorghe Manoliu was also in Crimea since 1941. In June and July it took part in the second assault on Sevastopol, where it played a key role in the offensive of the 54th Corps and entered the city together with the German troops. He was awarded the German Cross in Gold for his deeds in this battle.

After the failure of the 3rd Mountain Division's offensive in the Caucasus, its commander, brigadier general Radu Falfanescu was sacked and replaced with brigadier general Leonard Mociulschi. The Soviet winter counter-offensive found the 3rd Mountain Division on defensive positions in the Krimskaya-Abinskaya region. It was subordinated to the German 9th Infantry Division. Mociulschi had under his direct command the 3rd Mountain Group and the German 57th Infantry Regiment. In January 1943 the mountain troops faced the Soviet assaults, which lasted from 12 to 14 and then from 26 January to 18 February. It was repulsed with heavy casualties for the attackers.

After this, the 3rd Mountain Division was moved to Moldovanskoe and subordinated to the 9th, 97th and 101st German Divisions. Thus general Mociulschi did not have a sector under his direct command, as his battalions were assigned to different German units. However, during the third Soviet assault on the Kuban bridgehead, in May 1943, his mountain troops again supported the brunt of the offensive and gave a very good account of themselves.

The 3rd Mountain Division was pulled out of the first line in June and sent to Crimea in August, for rest and refitting. In September 1943, the Kuban was evacuated and during the night of 31 October/1 November the Soviets landed near Kerch and at Eltigen. The bridgeheads were contained and, in December, the 6th Cavalry Division, reinforced with two battalions from the 3rd Mountain Division and German assault guns, eliminated the forces at Eltigen. About 800 Soviet soldiers under the leadership of the CO of the 318th Rifle Division, managed to escape from Eltigen during the night of 6/7 December and occupy the Mithridates Hill, south of Kerch. They entrenched their positions there and received reinforcements from over the straits. Brigadier general Mociulschi received the task to take out the strongpoint and he did so by 11 December. 1,100 Soviet soldiers were killed and 820 taken prisoner. Large quantities of weapons were also captured: 720 submachine-guns, 60 heavy machine-guns and 17 AT rifles. He was awarded Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for this action.

Between 29 December 1943 and 4 January 1944, he commanded a grouping of mountain troops that, together with the grouping of maj. general Ion Dumitrache, took out over 3,700 partisans in the Yaila Mountains in Crimea. Following his latest victories, Leonard Mociulschi received Mihai Viteazul Order 2nd class. He was also promoted to the rank of major general.

After the Soviet breakthrough into Crimea in April 1944, the 3rd Mountain Division pulled back to Sevastopol, where it was situated on the right wing of the defensive perimeter. General Mociulschi assumed command of the entire German 5th Corps (to which his division belonged), while general Allmedinger was away in Germany. He repulsed several Soviet attacks, the one on 23 April being the most powerful (it was supported by approximately 100 tanks). By 30 April, the division had only two battalions and the mounted squadron in the first line, the rest being either evacuated or kept in reserve. After the Red Army broke the front around Seavstopol, the 17th Army retreated to the Kherson Cape, from the boarding on ships had to take place. During the night of 9/10 May, the 3rd Mountain Division (in fact only the 5th, 12th and 21st Battalions) formed the outposts of the Kherson position. They were evacuated within the following days.

Major general Mociulschi and his division were assigned to the 1st Romanian Army and were deployed on the border with Hungary in southwestern Transylvania. He used the period away from the front to start reorganizing the battalions, which had suffered many casualties in the last year. This process wasn't complete on 23 August, when marshal Antonescu was toppled and King Mihai I announced the armistice.

After several border clashes, the Hungarian Army started its offensive in southwestern Transylvania. General Mociulschi was in command of the Crisuri Group, made up of the 3rd Mountain Division (minus two mountain battalions), 2 regional fixed battalions and one frontier-guard battalion. He faced the 12th and 9th Hungarian Infantry Divisions, which attacked on the Crisul Negru Valley towards Beius on 12 September. The 3rd Mountain Division managed to fight a delaying action on several successive lines. By 17 September it was at the outskirts of the city. The Hungarian troops attacked supported by 30 tanks and breached the defense in several places. General Mociulschi had at his disposal only one AT gun, because the 39th AT Company was also temporarily away. With the intervention of the two battalions, which had arrived in the meanwhile, he managed to save the division from encirclement and to pull back, abandoning Beius. However, in six days of fighting he had delayed the Hungarian offensive long enough for the Romanian and Soviet reinforcements to arrive and caused over 1,200 casualties (including 10 tanks destroyed) to the attackers.

The 3rd Mountain Division was assigned to the Soviet 33rd Corps which supplied an AT regiment and a Katyusha battalion were in order to strengthen it. On 22 September the Soviet and Romanian troops started the offensive. Beius was retaken and the division pushed on towards west, following the retreating Axis forces. It had captured 2,000 prisoners by the time it had reached positions south of Oradea. The Germans launched the Operation Zigeunerbaron and attacked towards Salont. They pushed back the Soviet divisions on its flanks and the mountain troops were in danger of being surrounded. Maj. general Mociulschi managed to retreat his men out of the bulge and save the division. The Soviet command brought 2 tank brigades in the area and attacked. The 3rd Mountain Division advanced west of Oradea, threatening to encircle the Axis troops inside the city and forcing them to pull out.

After this, general Mociulschi and his men passed into pre-1940 Hungary and were engaged in the battle for Debrecen. They cleared the western side of the city of German troops, after some heavy street-by-street fights. Some 274 prisoners were taken and two tanks were captured. The offensive continued until the division reached Miskolc in mid November.

By that date it has received reinforcements from Romania and was completely equipped and manned. It returned under Romanian command and was subordinated to the 4th Corps (from the 1st Army). The new theatre of operations were the Bükk Mountains where general Mociulschi faced the German 18th Gebirgsjäger Division. The fighting was very hard because of the difficult weather, but gradually the Germans were pushed back. During the night of 15/16 December most of the division infiltrated around Axis positions on mountain trails, through blizzard. The Germans were forced to retreat quickly to avoid being encircled.

The 1st Romanian Army crossed into Slovakia, where it was engaged in the Lucenec area. On 14 and 15 January the 3rd Mountain Division crossed the wooded hills west of the city and forced the Axis troops opposing the Soviet 35th Corps in the area to retreat. In February it was engaged in the Javorina Mountains, facing the 8th Gebirgsjäger Division. By the end of the month it had managed to take all the major peaks. He was awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order with swords 3rd class. Only three Romanian generals received the model 1941 3rd and 2nd classes and the model 1944 3rd class of the order, Mociulschi being one of them. Incidentally all were mountain troops commanders.

On 8 April, when maj. general Mociulschi was replaced from command, the 3rd Mountain Division had reached the river Hron. Thus ended almost four continuous years of service on the front. He was named commander of the Mountain Corps in Romania.

In 1947 he was retired and in 1948 was arrested and imprisoned in the Poarta Alba penitentiary. He was released in 1955, but he was forced to live at Blaj at I. I. Micu Clain Street, no. 33. He had a poor health condition after his detention and no pension, not even proper clothes. In October 1955 he requested that his pension be restored in order to sustain himself. He got a job as a railway worker and from August 1956 he also received a small pension. But it wasn't enough and his wife got a job as a worker a timber warehouse and then at a flower glasshouse. His pension was gradually increased from 1959 onwards. In August 1960 he moved to the village of Purcareni, Brasov county, and in December 1964 in Brasov, where he resided until his death. In 1967 he published his memoirs from the anti-Axis campaign. He passed away on 15 April 1979. His body was incinerated at his request and the ashes were scattered in a clearing in the Postavarul Mountains, where he used to climb.

Source: http://www.worldwar2.ro/portrete/index.php?language=en&article=12
Last edited by Victor on 27 Jun 2004 19:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by yerbamatt » 14 Jun 2004 05:49

Many thanks Victor for all the information and for keeping your word - the article appeared on time, as promised. I really appreciate it.

As for the general - what a sad and tragic life...

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