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The battle for ORADEA, 1944 
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adrian_mociulschi

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wo apr 04, 2007 4:04 pm
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Bericht The battle for ORADEA, 1944
The war memoirs of the lieutenant-general Leonard Mociulschi (the last commander officer of the Romanian Mountain Corps during the Second World War) were published by the Military Publishing House (Editura Militara) in 1967: “The Charge of the mountain troops” (Asaltul Vanatorilor de Munte). Even it was moderately censured by the Romanian secret police (Securitatea) it was significant the regime’s authorization to publish the war memoirs of a general who stayed 7 years and 2 month in the communist prisons. In fact, Bucharest had serious tensions with Moscow that time, culminating with the disapproval of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Many career generals had the chance than to be released from awful prisons and somehow rehabilitated.

This book reflects the dramatic events after the Red Army occupied Bucharest in the last days of August 1944, despite the fact that the King Michael of Romania stated publicly that the Kingdom joined the Allied coalition (on the 23rd of August 1944). Only on September 12th, after Romania accepted to cede Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union (and to pay considerable war reparations), an armistice was signed. However Romania regained its sovereignty over northern Transylvania. The Romanian troops participated to the liberation of the northern area of the country. In the thrilling pages of the general Mociulschi’s book, there are described many major battles, from Transylvania to Czechoslovakia. Famous unit of the Romanian Army, the 3rd Mountain Division was one of the Special Forces engaged by the Soviets on the Western Front because of its renowned strength and competence. The experienced general Mociulschi maintained the command of the division (well known by the Soviets, since the Caucasus military operations).

I translated the VIth chapter of this notable book during my free time.

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NB: the article above is informally and reflects the author’s individual point of view or personal information/research.


ma apr 09, 2007 11:18 pm
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Frank M

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vr dec 23, 2005 9:43 pm
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Thank you Adrian, I'm looking forward to reading the translated excerpts.. Will they be places on this forum or on the go2war2 section? Funny by the way, that when I read your post I read this
Citaat:
by the Soviets on the Western Front
.. For us it reads something different then for you: we would say the 'Eastern Front', but that all depends on the location from wich you're reading. :D

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"..geef me tien jaar; u zult Duitsland niet meer herkennen.." Adolf Hitler

Avatar: mijn huis met op de voorgrond gevangenen uit kamp Erika.


di apr 10, 2007 11:28 am
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adrian_mociulschi

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The pleasure is mine. The recalls from the battlefields of Leonard Mociulschi might be interesting for everyone concerned about the history, in general; that is way I decided to post a fragment of this rare book even here, because I appreciate this website for its particular attention to the World War Two.

As I promised, here you have the excerpt from the giant battle for the liberation of Oradea (an important Romanian city of the north-west of the country). Few words before to invite you for the lecture. It was the largest tanks battle ever fought on the Romanian territory (mainly between the famous Soviets' T-34 vs. the terrific Axis’ Tiger tanks). During these fights were engaged the Romanian 3rd Mountain Division of the general Mociulschi (major-general that time) and "Tudor Vladimirescu" Division as well the 337th Soviet Infantry Division, the 2nd, 6th, and the 9th Soviet mechanized brigades. On the other side, there were the 4th Hungarian Infantry Division and the 76th German Infantry Division, with few panzer divisions in support. It is possible that other units participated in this combat, too (but they are not mentioned in the book). The city was freed on the 12th of October 1944:


<<The main forces of the 3rd Mountain Division were controlling the south cliff of Crisul Repede River, between the city of Oradea and its confluence with the Felfögö channel. The weather was cold and wet. The deputy commander of the division, colonel Constantinescu, usually a silent person, this time was joyful and willing to speak. Looking to the river he jokingly said:
- Sir general, we won't have any troubles with the tanks here...
- Maybe you are right but you shouldn't be surprised if they might. The war has its own tricks mostly when you don't know the enemy...
- What do you mean, sir general, sir?
- he asked visible surprised. They can never pass through such obstacles!
- How can you be so sure?
- I answered him with another question. They can ford the river not necessarily here. They can try elsewhere, where the water stream is much thinner. And so on...
- This is also possible... I begin to understand what you mean.
We walked for a while making tactical controversies. Soon we reached the Ferdinand farm, where there was the command center of the colonel Constantinescu. From that point forward we could better observe the combat disposition of the division between Crisul Repede River and the Living Hill. At the foot of the hill there was the city of Oradea. I noticed the depth of the river: more then 60 inches.

According to an unconfirmed report I heard that the 337th Soviet Infantry Division and the Romanian "Tudor Vladimirescu" Division entered the city... I remained skeptical and I ordered my troops to begin to scout the area. Than I said to the colonel:
- We must take care about our flanks. The river, as an obstacle for the enemy is a good friend for us but both our flanks imposes caution; around the flanks we are vulnerable for the moment. You have to maintain a close contact with all the units defending our extreme sides of the division... While we were talking, the enemy artillery began to fire. I took the phone to enquire about the situation. The 11th and 12th battalions reported that they already engaged the fight with the enemy. From the surveillance point of the division located north-west, the captain Aurel Lupescu observed the enemy forces concentrated on the left flank of our 3rd Mountain Division, in the area Bérékböszörmen-Körösszeg. I was looking on the map pointing to the colonel Constantinescu:
- You won't have much rest here... As I feared, the enemy is attacking us by the flanks! The 11th Mountain Battalion must occupy the Toboliu railway station! And very fast! Than I called major Claianu and I ordered him to attack the village of Harsani. I tasked the captain Lupescu, the commander of the prestigious 21st Battalion, to intercept the roads to Salonta and to be prepared to defend the Ferdinand farm. I trusted them most. I was lucky we managed in time the arrangement of the telephone communication. This way I could receive important information and give vital orders to my troops. I left the colonel Constantinescu to take all the needed measures to secure our right flank and I returned to my command center, at Les. The Soviet liaison officer, captain Berechet, was waiting for me there. He let me know that a large scale enemy offensive is expected on two main directions: Oradea and Salonta. In the meanwhile the Tudor Vladimirescu Division arrived in the area of our right flank, together with the 337th Soviet Infantry Division. Also, the colonel Constantinescu leaded his boys to victory and conquered the Toboliu railway station as I requested. I was waiting with calm the enemy. All night long, the scout of the adversary was very powerful. Around 3.00 AM they forced an attack but my mountain troops hold their positions. In the early morning light, on our right side, on the defense position of the “Tudor Vladimirescu” Romanian Division and the 337th Soviet Infantry Division could be heard an infernal noise of the heavy artillery bombardment. In the meanwhile the sky was filled with the heavy drone of Heinkel and Messerschmitt engines, amplifying the resonance of the explosions of the bombs. I was informed that many German and Hungarian forces, supported with heavy artillery, combat airplanes and armored vehicles had already begun a major offensive across the surrounding area of the city of Oradea. The soldiers of the Divisions “Tudor Vladimirescu” and the 337th Soviet Infantry courageously hold their positions in front of the enemy violent attacks. Many Romanian and Soviet fighters were killed in action, during these bloody confrontations. Leading the valiant warriors of the Romanian 2nd Regiment, the commander himself, lieutenant-colonel Ion Gh. Buzoianu had fallen as a hero. Another staff officer, the colonel Iacob Teclu, was lethally wounded. The pressure of the German forces had been increasing. The regiments of the “Tudor Vladimirescu” Division were forced to retreat to the afforested area. The battle was taking place at the north of several small localities - Chisirid, Apateu, Pausa and Cordau.
Another enemy unit with heavy tanks had been attacked on the left of the “Tudor Vladimirescu” Division, managing to break the defense positions and to advance, menacing again my right flank. I had continuously contact with the units of the mountain troops near the closeness of the defense zone of my division. The group of the colonel Constantinescu, on the cliff of Crisul Repede River, defended the villages Saint Andrew, Tarian, Girisul de Cris and Toboliu railway station; the situation was unchanged. No enemy attacked frontally… The unit of major Claianu lost a company in the village of Roit and moved with the rest of the troops to the east, near the Ferdinand farm. They were seeking for a new defense position on the road Oradea-Les trying to protect the bridges next to Felfögö channel… The unit of the lieutenant-colonel Wagner, located in Chisirid, reported that the enemy mechanized infantry had been broken through Nojorid, pushing back his troops… The elite 21st Battalion engaged immediately the battle in Nojorid… The communications were not working anymore… On the right flank of my division the thunder of the artillery blasts become more and more violent…
A direct conclusion was that there is not any change to the center; no immediate danger to the east but a grave danger on our right flank was about to happen… all my attention was focused on that direction!

To realize better the existing situation on junction point between my 3rd Mountain Division and “Tudor Vladimirescu” Division I sent there a motorcycle combination with the captain Lupescu and the second lieutenant Pasarica. They went on the way Miersing to Oradea as they could. One moment they stop the vehicle at a crossroads and hidden it in the crops with grains. I remember how the captain Lupescu told me, much later, the tense dialogue with his comrade:
– What shall we do Pasarica? – he asked the second lieutenant. Everything seems to be a wasteland. Nobody seems to be on these desolated surroundings. Like one and all had been disappeared in the ground! Only the noise of the battle… You are seeing very well those two roads, now… Who goes forward? … You are younger. I let you choose the way…
– Sir captain, sir! I turn to the right. God speed! – Pasarica answered.
– Good! I shall go forward. But, be careful, very careful Pasarica! – he continued. We move with the highest precaution. We must have our eyes opened on the enemies, to see them first. Otherwise we shall bring instead of advantage to our division, a disaster! We shall try to contact our troops and then we shall gather here, to return. - he finished his words shaking the hand of the young officer and he left on his way. The captain Lupescu went few miles forward until he was lost in the darkness. Luckily, he met even an unit of the 21st Battalion who fought at Nojorid and was push down over there, but from that point forward there were no friendly forces near-by. The soldiers were very happy to meet their commander by chance. Sometimes I believe nothing is accidental in life... Maybe you are wondering now what happened with Pasarica? The young officer followed the instructions the captain Lupescu ordered him. He went hidden in the bushes about half an hour. Only loud projectile explosions could be heard. On the sky had begun the inferno. The German fighter planes were rotating, falling down in diving. The dropped bombs on our troops were making a dreadful noise. After few miles of cautious scout he stop to take a breath. At once, three German Tigers had been appeared from the back. He worryingly saw another five other heavy tanks behind. Pasarica get weaker losing his strength when he saw a German officer talking by the radio station. But he noticed that the German was communicating with the airplanes that were bombarding our troops. The Germans did not see Pasarica because of the fallen night, so he could escape on the same road… When he met captain Lupescu at my H.Q. in the coming day, he said: “I thought I'll never see you again, sir! I was inside of the enemy lines!”. Even the informations were not substantial, I realized the fight was taking place near the forest, where the enemy could not go through with the armored vehicles.

While Pasarica and Lupescu were trying to get informations for our military intelligence, the commander in chief of the 33rd Soviet Corps, the general Semionov himself, asked for the major Anton Jitariu, the chief of my division staff, for an evaluation about the tactical situation of the army corps within the 3rd Romanian Mountain Division. He did not call me personally because of the immediate danger for my division. The message I had received from the general Semionov was very clear: “…Superior enemy forces of infantry, tanks and aircrafts forced "Tudor Vladimirescu Division" and the 337th Soviet to retreat in the area of the forest Sauseu-Mierlau. On the left, in Salonta region, the situation is uncertain and dangerous. In this situation the 3rd Romanian Mountain Division is almost surrounded!” The major Jitaru, very calm, pointed the situation on the map. He said that the general Semionov saw our division already encircled. It really was a desperate situation. Any second was precious. We had to react very fast, before the enemy to close completely the circle. In such moments, the mind of a commander is overtaxed. I was thinking… How? … When? … What kind? If the enemy manages to surround my division, what shall I do? How long can we oppose? But, for the moment, they did not manage to close the circle… The right side is almost closed… On the left I have more space to move my troops but the enemy did not reveal his forces, yet. Going backwards remains the only choice now, as I can guess... These thoughts and the suggestions of my officers were in my mind all the time so I could have a synopsis view on the tactical situation. I took the adequate measures. First, we should reply without being seen by the enemy… But how could I send such an order, as fast as possible? Of course, the radio could be a solution. But in that moment it was reported that for two hours the communications were lost with the units of the colonel Constantinescu. More units of mountain troops had been engaged the battle with the panzer divisions, amongst them being the elite 21st Battalion and our entire artillery. But the survival of the whole division was linked, unequivocally, by this order. How could I contact the colonel Constantinescu? I had no time to loose. The order must be sent by any means! That moment, the captain Lupescu appeared. He was also worried about the luck of communications with the colonel Constantinescu.
– Sir general, sir! - he said, any means of communication doesn't work anymore because of the enemy radio jamming. I request to give personally the order to the colonel Constantinescu. All the units must reply on the area Husalaul de Tinca – Gurbediu – Causad – Ianoshda as soon as possible... I expressed my gratitude again to the captain Lupescu, for his bravery. I gave him two of the best and the most courageous rangers of the 21st Mountain Battalion this time. This small commando team left in a hurry, on a motorcycle combination, with machine guns and grenades, full of ammo, in the attempt to reach the destination as soon as possible. How they accomplished this difficult mission I shall reconstitute by the recalls of the captain Aurelian Lupescu:
“The motorcyclist was looking only in a straight line. The ranger and I were ready to shoot with the machine guns. An ambush could occur any moment. I was shocked to notice that the road I was passing through few days ago became a desolate tract. The houses I have been seen had the windows shuttered and I could see no one else. Seemed that all the natives had been disappeared in that cold autumn day… I guess there were less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The motorcycle, running at top speed, was almost like flying… The indicator was pointing around 100 miles per hour. We passed like a flash through Gepiu village until the railway station. Next to a fountain, on the left, we saw few people. The motorcyclist slowed down the vehicle. Who could be? Our fingers were on the triggers… The grenades ready… No matter what happens, we were decided to go forward! We get closer so we could finally identify them… They were the warriors of the 21st Battalion! So we could reach safely the H.Q. of the colonel Constantinescu. Bend down to the map he was looking worriedly to the point marking the top of the enemy advance, near by Nojorid. They were threatening the flanks and the rear of our units. From Salonta and Harsani other enemy forces were advancing menacingly… The situation was very grave. In the catastrophic situation that the adversary could attack on the directions Nojorid - Les and Harsani - Saint Nicholas we were lost! The enemy forces were countless so we expected any moment to be surrounded. These were the conclusions of the colonel Constantinescu I could understand. I did not report him from the beginning the order of the general Mociulschi, because I observed that the colonel himself was going to deduct that the critical situation requires a decisive retract. Than I said to the colonel:
I bring you the order from the commander. We must go immediately to Oradea. But let’s say few “technical” problems highlighted by the staff of our division...
We go to Oradea! – than, understanding the confidential character of the meeting, he invited me in the improvised bunker, a subterranean vault further than the basement. The space was even smaller because of the considerable quantities of military radio equipment.
I am listening! – he said.
Sir Colonel, it is necessary to reply all the battalions engaged here, right now! If the enemy will understand our movements, there is the risk to be indubitably encircled! You have clear only the road I could reach your H.Q. There is no second to loose! All the available units must begin to move back now. In the probably situation they find the ways close must attack and to manage to arrive at the command center of the division. Sir General Commander-in-chief is waiting for you with all the troops in the designated area. Good luck! The colonel Constantinescu – a valiant commander in battles – showed no hesitation. Looking in my eyes he shake my hand friendly and said:
Inform sir general Mociulschi that the mission will be accomplished before the sunset. The enemy won’t encircle the mountain troops under my command. We should take care about the road you came, because it is possible this instant to be already in the enemy’s hands! It would be advantageous to prevent the capture of this road but we shall do whatever might be possible. – he finished his words with an open smile on his face. I only reported him that the division sent already a special unit from the reserve to secure this crucial way. In the meanwhile the radio link between the division command center and the colonel Constaninescu had been established… The commander-in-chief, the general Mociulschi enquired if I safely arrived in the combat area and asked for my urgent return to the main H.Q., the road being already secured.”

The tactical situation was changing from one hour to another. The problem number 1 of the division was, for now, the reply. To break the fight and to retreat during the day it is not so simple, especially when you are dealing with superior enemy forces. So look how the colonel Constantinescu managed this critical situation: he moved very fast to the sector commanders, informed them about the situation and ordered the retreat, keeping some elements in close contact with the adversary in order to ensure an efficient cover. He requested a strong cooperation between all the mountain troops' battalions during the reply operation. They were instructed to retreat until the designated area. Any stop was forbidden, except the combat situation. He also gave precise instructions, on the right flank of the division, to the young but fearless commander of the 11th Mountain Battalion, lieutenant-colonel Vasile Costin:
- You must face a powerful enemy attack against the flank of our division. In case that the enemy will overcome our forces in this sector the 6th Battalion in close proximity will help you to maintain the positions. I shall send this order to the 6th Battalion and they will keep a permanent radio link with you, ready to come in support. As I saw your courage and skills, I am sure you will maintain our right flank until the entire operation will be finished. Our life depends on you, son! In the meanwhile, on the right side of the division, beyond the railway Salonta-Oradea, I found two officers from “Tudor Vladimirescu” Division who reported that their units were pushed back because of the crushing enemy attack from Oradea and now they retreat fighting in the afforest region. After he checked that the 11th Battalion is prepared to defend against a powerful attack on the right flank of the division, the colonel returned to his command center, close to Ferdinand farm. The commander of the 6th Battalion, the major Claianu was waiting for him, ready to assist his comrades from the 11th Battalion. The colonel Constantinescu ordered him to scout to the east, on direction Les-Nojorid, in order to keep a close contact with the 11th Battalion.

The retreat could finally begin! Our artillery opened a powerful fire against the main enemy forces, while some of the units had begun to change rapidly their positions. The contact elements, formed by the most experienced rangers from all the battalions, had also opened a lethal machine guns fire, in order to facilitate the retreat of our boys. I ordered to the logistic department of the division to provide large quantities of ammo for all the rangers engaged in the diversion. The battalions had begun the retreat without any stop, amongst the crops of cereals, an excellent and very welcome camouflage during the day. These movements occurred in a perfect order and silence so our enemy even did not observe when the last mountain troops unit had been passed through the safely area, about 4.00 PM. The only unit engage in a fight was the 11th Battalion, in the proximity of Salonta-Oradea railway. German infantry from Nojorid tried to break our lines and to advance forward. The lieutenant colonel Vasile Costin observed during the enemy assault that the attackers may have become vulnerable through placing themselves in the elongate depression on the surface of the ground. He assumed a courageous action, giving the order to his mountain troops placed on the high ground to counterattack vigorously. They gain the initiative, stunning their attackers directly. The Germans had many casualties and were forced to move back. This decisive action allowed the 6th Battalion of major Claianu to begin its own reply. After this unexpected "escape", the Germans bombers had been appeared and begun to fire using both new low altitude tactics and conventional medium altitude attacks. Few Heinkel 111 circled over our mountain troops at a low altitude and then dropped heavy bombs, apparently aiming for the infrastructure. The bombers then went away but soon came another wave, this time for the obvious purpose of destroying our communications and land forces. About a quarter of an hour later, several Junkers arrived to continue the work of destruction. Our troops were machine-gunned for at least 15 minutes. The bombing grew in intensity and was continuous, ceasing only at 8.00 PM. Over a radius of ten miles round, our military trains with troops and supplies were systematically pounded to pieces. Many horses were also killed and few trucks with materials were completely burned. A German dive bomber which was flying low-level had burst into flames and crashed, hit by our anti-aircraft artillery. We used 0,79 inches guns to disperse the low-altitude raids. Finally, after sunset, the last units arrived in the Gepiu village despite the powerful bombardment. I received a report that a bomb had been exploded next the house where the colonel Constantinescu and his deputy commander sheltered. The blast of the explosion produced the collapse of the building and the both officer were buried under the ruins and débris. By a miracle, the deputy commander and the colonel survived and managed to leave the destroyed place, helped by the mountain troops from the outside. When they arrived at my H.Q., the colonel Constantinescu only said:
– They rumpled our uniform, sir general! We were lucky that we stop under the door’s frame…

In the reply zone of the division had been arrived, one by one, the battalions 5th, 11th and 22nd. The last one was the 21st Mountain Battalion. This elite unit had serious troubles with the enemy forces during the retreat. About 10.00 PM, a group of German medium tanks attacked our mountain troops. Even without the support of the 1030th Soviet Regiment near-by, they managed to repel the attack using our 29,52 inches anti-tank guns. The enemy left two Panthers in blazes on the battlefield and this elite battalion managed to reach the reply area about midnight, by its own. A phase of the combat operations had been finished. Despite the fact we were still in a difficult situation, at least we managed to save the entire division from a disaster. The accomplishment of this maneuver was determined by the skills of the mountain troops to use the advantages of the relief forms and the tactical abilities of their commanders. I must say that the colonel Constantinescu played a key role in the coordination of the entire operation with a lot of courage and a high professionalism. I proposed him to be awarded with the highest Romanian military order by the King Michael of Romania, “Mihai Viteazul”.

After this success I was demanded without delay to go to the Soviet H.Q. from the Cociuba Mare village, on the 1st of October 1944. Many Soviet unit commanders gathered there. The general Semionov, the commander in chief of the 33rd Soviet Corps, had begun to analyze the tactical situation, making remarks on some of the operations lead by the Soviet commanders. I noticed he was very pleased because my 3rd Mountain Division managed to avoid to be encircled. He also informed that large units of Soviet tanks have just arrived in the area. Lastly, he established the new assignments for all the units, the primary mission being the main offensive, to prevent the regroup of the enemy. The 3rd Romanian Mountain Division was designated to attack together with the Soviet armored brigades. Around 1.00 PM I was on the way to my own command center. We hurried to arrive as soon as possible to my troops, to let the necessary time to commanders for surveying the enemy’s movements and to prepare the attack for tomorrow. We moved forward singly but encountered no enemy. Only the artillery fire was continuous even if it slowed down at times, like a burning fire that blazed up until the blasts became terrific. The intensifying pitch of the battle became incredible loud. We could hear only the explosions and the sounds of the machine guns or the noise of the armored vehicles. The enemy concentrated its heavy artillery bombardment on the area we were passing through. We get away the main route and chose an old country road. I left the car and we entered on the battlefield. Mortar explosions violently resonated on the vibrating ground. Luckily, we met at the end of our way the captain Lupescu with some of the division staff. I asked him and he reported the grave situation in the sector:
- Sir general, sir! The enemy once more attacked after you left for the briefing. The mountain troops resisted with obstinacy on the defense positions. The Soviets anti-tank guns fired until their ammunitions finished. The German tanks are running the risk of infiltration in the empty space between our unit’s flanks, now. After I heard this succinct report I sent him in the first line to gather information about the evolution of the fight and give specific instructions to commanders. In the meanwhile, our battalions were critically pushed down. The deputy commander of the division, the colonel Constantinescu, urged that all the units should focus on a new line of attack: Gurbediu - South Sititilec Forest - Osand. But any communications were jammed or intercepted by the enemy, so I gave him permission to go by a captured tank to accomplish this difficult mission. Fatefully, the enemy artillery fire concentrated on the surrounding area. The bombs had been exploded so intensely I could feel the destructive shock wave even from my position. By a miracle, his armored vehicle escaped in one piece. Few enemy heavy tanks had begun to pursue our unit, firing while moving with the cannons and the machine guns. A channel full of water (approximately 13 ft length and 5 ft depth) blocked-up their advance. Our mountain troops courageously left their damaged vehicle and crossed the water stepping on a floating death horse for passing the obstacle. The colonel Constantinescu and the captain Lupescu reached the already dispersed units from the first line. They had begun to reposition them in order quickly. By this measures and the personal example of such commanders, the Special Forces had been placed promptly on the new locations. The Romanian and the Soviet officers could plan properly making the necessary moves to insure the cooperation for the coming battle and scout the adversary. Our 3rd Mountain Division was ready to attack on the designed direction next day.

The October 2nd, amongst the Soviets tank units, the Romanian 3rd Mountain Division began its charge. The mountains troops had been occupied the small town of Bihaciu. There, they had to ensure to right flank of the 6th Soviet Mechanized Brigade. The recall of the fight with so many tanks is still in my memory. Also the mountain troops had never been occasion to fight amongst so many tanks. The ground was shaking... The sky was a huge fire... The sounds of the engines made an infernal noise... It was like a fire hurricane... Shells exploded all around… The hit tanks exploded and began to burn fiercely in blazes. The enemy resisted forcefully, counter-attacking with tanks and infantry, throwing in heavy concentrations of artillery against the hundreds of Soviets tanks. We had begun to take a heavy fire from the German anti-tank guns, too. The enemy used the terrific “Armored Fist” (Panzerfaust) in close range against our tanks, being hidden in circular holes in the ground. Single shot, manually reloaded weapons, the antitank grenade launcher destroyed many Soviet armored vehicles. The head of the grenade contained enough high explosive to penetrate even the thickest tank armor. The Soviet tanks made also considerable efforts not to run over the anti-tank fields of mines. These movements slowed down their advance. A German counter-attack followed very quickly. The cadence of the fight had been severely increasing. We tried to move forward with our command vehicle. An anti tank mine had been detonated at the exact point where we had been, damaging our ACV. The Soviet and German tanks were fighting each-other, in a tacit noise. Not far from our position, another loud explosion halted one of the Tiger tanks, stunning the crew. A Red Army tank from behind was within reach of the Tiger when a shell hit its own cab and exploded in the body of the Soviet vehicle. Because of the destroyed tanks there was a giant smoke which could be seen for miles...

After the fight I met one of the Soviet commanders. He was so upset because of the losses I could see the sadness on his eyes, despite the fact that large amount of Panther and Tiger tanks had been destroyed by the Soviets. Moreover, the Soviet commander in chief himself decided not to use anymore the armored vehicles in that area, because of the severe casualties. They decided during next day that the task to continue the offensive to remain only to the infantry and the artillery. The mountain troops were assigned to change some of the Soviet units, extending the left flank of my division.

During the night of October 4th-5th, the Romanian 3rd Mountain Division was taking the place of the 2nd and the 9th Soviet mechanized brigades. These units received new assignments. So I was the only responsible commander for the entire current sector! After we had been replaced the Soviet units, our opponents fiercely counter-attacked with the armored vehicles. The fight was very brutal. Amongst the armored vehicles there were units of the German infantry. I ordered our battalions to let the enemy draw near the area of our anti-tank warfare hidden in the shrubs. This kind of vegetation, by its multiple stems and lower height about 5-10 ft tall, was a perfect cache for our anti-tank guns. Our artillery men were opening a precise fire from a short range against the enemy tanks, stopping their advance. Immediately, the mountain troops counterattacked vigorously and pushed back the attackers even with the bayonets. This quick and decisive maneuver produced severe casualties to the enemy's mechanized forces. In the next day, we gain the initiative attacking with the Soviets on the left, on the direction Pincota farm - the Notary farm - the Tamasi farm and the Toboliu village. Our primary target was Toboliu - Girisul de Cris. The enemy opposed a powerful resistance on the hill peack 112 and attacked twice with the tanks. The German infantry managed to temporarily break through our lines. Consequently, they were removed twice from their positions. Before the sunset, the division conquered the entire Saint Nicholas - 112 peak - Pincota line. But in the coming days our offensive was stop. We kept our positions and we had begun an intense scout activity covered by the artillery fire. At the command center of my division arrived the deputy commander of the 33rd Soviet Corps, the colonel Tihomirov, the officer in charge with the artillery. He was concerned about our needs in field artillery support. After he noticed our proposals he left to his command center. In the meanwhile our scout activity by night brought us important informations. We had in front of the 3rd Romanian Mountain Division two Axis infantry divisions: the 4th Hungarian and the 76th German.

On the 9th of October, in the afternoon, I was demanded again at the command center of the 33rd Soviet Corps where we discussed the plan to free Oradea. I was informed that the attack of Oradea will be leaded by my division together with "Tudor Vladimirescu" from the Romanian side and 337 Infantry and 6th Armored Brigade from the Soviets. Also the group of the general Piliev was requested to reply in support from the south-east. The Order of the operation No. 097 was: "... The 3rd Mountain Division must clean the area between the railway Oradea-Salonta and Crisul Repede. This action will be supported by the Soviet artillery regiments 1030th and 484th..." To accomplish this mission I created two groups: a main group for the military operations along the railway Salonta-Oradea and a secondary group, available on the Roit-Toboliu direction. The main group was leaded by the colonel Carnu and it was composed by the 5th, 21st and 22nd battalions as well as the Soviet artillery regiments 1030th and 484th and our 39th anti-aircraft company. This group was tasked to initially attack along the railway and then to follow the line Ferdinand farm - Saint Andrew in a close cooperation with "Tudor Vladimirescu" Division on our right flank. The second group was commanded by the lieutenant-colonel Wagner and was composed by the 6th and 11th battalions and an artillery battery of the 484th Soviet Regiment. They should attack on the direction Roit-Toboliu-Crisul Repede. I had in reserve the 12th Battalion of the major Novacovici. We scouted all night long in the area of Roit-Toboliu ready for the final attack in the morning. But the attack was postponed for the next day. Around 11.00 PM, the 33rd Soviet Corps ordered that the attack on the city to begin on the 11th of October at 8.00 AM. In fact, during the morning of the 11th of October, after a short powerful artillery fire delivered before the attack to disrupt the communications and disorganize the enemy's defense, we had begun our charge together with "Tudor Vladimirescu" Division and the 337th Soviet Infantry Division. The mountain troops attacked with a high enthusiasm being proud to free another Romanian city. Heavy fights occurred around the peacks 120 and 124, where the enemy tried desperately to stop our advance to Oradea. Before the sunset, my division managed to occupy the area of Roit. On the right side the attack was stop in front of the Les railway station. The 21st Mountain Battalion opened a destructive fire with the automatic weapons covered by our artillery. After a brave charge, the mountain troops of this elite unit cleared the area of the enemies. About noon, after another artillery preparation for 30 minutes, they have begun the general attack against the adversaries located on the cliffs of Crisul Repede River. The mountain troops scaled the break-water quickly, attacking the Toboliu village on the right. They were "welcomed" with the fire of the German automatic weapons. The 21st Mountain Battalion expelled the enemy resistance, than had been intercepted the road Oradea - Saint Andrew. This success was crucial because getting this road we had just cut off the enemy's possibilities to retreat. In the meanwhile, together with our attacks from the south, the Soviet armored divisions were entering in the city of Bishopric of Bihor. Threatened to be surrounded, the enemy had begun a hurried retreat. Continuing the advance, our 3rd Mountain Division reached Crisul Repede River on the 12th of October, in the evening closing the circle of the city of Oradea while the "Tudor Vladimirescu" Division was fighting already inside the city with the last German resistance.

Oradea, this important industrial city and communication knot, our beautiful Romanian city on the Crisul Repede River was finally free!>>


[op.cit. pp.58-76]

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NB: the article above is informally and reflects the author’s individual point of view or personal information/research.


di apr 10, 2007 1:32 pm
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adrian_mociulschi

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Bericht the original cover of the book
Afbeelding
Asaltul Vanatorilor de Munte

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vr aug 24, 2007 3:05 pm
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adrian_mociulschi

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Bericht a photo of the author
Afbeelding
The lieutenant general Leonard Mociulschi

Picture source: www.general.mociulschi.ro

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vr aug 24, 2007 9:46 pm
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Wilco_Vermeer

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Very nice and very interesting, thanks for sharing all Adrian.

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za aug 25, 2007 2:32 pm
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adrian_mociulschi

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Bericht Epilog
The pleasure is mine. This excerpt represents the VIth chapter of the book, "In the torrent of the battles for Oradea", really epic pages able to portray large scale confrontations on the Romanian territory, during the bloody autumn of 1944 all over the Europe. In these crucial fights there were engaged the newest weapons that time, on the battlefiled (i.e. the German heavy tank Tiger, the Soviet T-34) also aviation with bombers and fighters (Heinkel 111, Junkers Ju-87, Messerschmitt 109, IAR 80), infantry and the Special Forces. But, the most important remains, in my opinion, the bravery of all the heroes who served the Army in the respect of military honor and the call of duty.
Somehow it was also an experience and a thought for me to translate the entire book, one day...

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zo aug 26, 2007 8:16 pm
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adrian_mociulschi

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Bericht a photo during the fights
Afbeelding
The lieutenant general Leonard Mociulschi in the middle of the battles...

Picture source: Mociulschi family archive

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wo aug 29, 2007 9:02 pm
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Barry

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Just read your posts. Thanks for sharing this information. It's really interesting!

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wo aug 29, 2007 9:06 pm
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Wilco_Vermeer

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Adrian, do you have any knowledge on the other military on the photo?

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"Als de Weg wordt gevolgd, gebruikt men paarden om akkers te ploegen. Als de Weg niet wordt gevolgd, gebruikt men paarden om oorlog te voeren."
(Lao-Tse)


wo aug 29, 2007 9:44 pm
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adrian_mociulschi

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Wilco, is hard to say and I can not assume any speculation... They wear campaign uniforms so we do not know even the rank of the others...

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wo aug 29, 2007 11:04 pm
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adrian_mociulschi

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Bericht Few of the heros from the Battle for Oradea
During the researches for the book I am going to publish I found few interesting pictures of the persons we could read above. The quality of the images is not very good, but always something...


Afbeelding
Major Anton Jitariu, the chief of the 3rd Mountain Division staff


Afbeelding
The famous colonel Constantinescu, the deputy commander of the 3rd Mountain Division


Afbeelding
Captain Aurelian Lupescu, the skilled commander of the elite forces of the 21st Mountain Battalion (3rd Mountain Division)

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di sep 25, 2007 9:13 am
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Wilco_Vermeer

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Thanks Adrian, always nice to see some faces with names mentioned.

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"Als de Weg wordt gevolgd, gebruikt men paarden om akkers te ploegen. Als de Weg niet wordt gevolgd, gebruikt men paarden om oorlog te voeren."
(Lao-Tse)


di sep 25, 2007 11:18 am
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Gattaka

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di jul 21, 2015 9:59 am
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Bericht Re: The battle for ORADEA, 1944
Hello adrian_mociulschi i know this is a post from 2007, but i was wandering if you have a digital copy of the book you mentiond "saltul Vanatorilor de Munte" i am from Romania so a romanian version wold be fine. Thanks.


di jul 21, 2015 10:03 am
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jw1985

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Bericht Re: The battle for ORADEA, 1944
Gattaka,

i think you can find the book using this link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n0q02dnr0xq0z ... D.rar?dl=0

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di jul 21, 2015 12:43 pm
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