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> The battle of Paulis (14-19 September 1944)
dragos
Posted: October 11, 2005 07:36 pm
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The Reserve Infantry NCOs School of Radna, commanded by Colonel Alexandru Petrescu, was ordered to organize a defense along Paulis - Ghioroc - Cuvin and to block the Hungarians' advance on the Mures riverbed. The "Paulis" Detachment was made of three battalions of cadets, one platoon of 93rd Infantry Regiment, one battery of the 38th Artillery Regiment (without guns), the 1st Battalion from the 96th Infantry Regiment and the 61st Heavy Artillery Battalion.

Advancing on the northern bank of the Mures River, on the direction Simbateni - Minis, concomitently with a enveloping maneuver of the righ flank of the Romanian troops, the Hungarian 1st Armored and 6th Reserve Infantry Divisions made contact with the "Paulis" Detachment west of the village of Paulis, on 14 September.

The first assault of the Hungarian troops, carried out with two infantry battalions supported by tanks, was repulsed by the 2nd and 6th Companies of cadets, with heavy losses for the Hungarians. Five more attacks were carried out subsequently against the Romanian positions, but by nightfall the Romanian units were holding their positions firmly. The four anti-tank guns of the "Paulis" Detachment scored 18 tanks and 3 armored vehicles destroyed.

The following day the Hungarians concentrated the attack on the 1st Battalion from the 96th Infantry Regiment, at Hill 471. After a strong artillery preparation the Hungarians forced the Romanian troops to fall back on successive lines of defence, being stopped on Cladova's Valley only after they seized the villages of Cuvin and Ghioroc. In the morning of 16 September, a Romanian counter-attack by surprise, without artillery preparation, carried out by the 5th Company of cadets, managed to destroy a large part of the Hungarian forces which broke through the defense perimeter the previous day.

The climax of battle was reached on 17 September, when the Hungarian command commited all the available forces in the attack. After a 45 minutes artillery preparation, the Hungarians managed to breach south-east of Minis, where they clashed with the 3rd Company of cadets, on defense at Hill 365. The attempt of driving away the Romanian unit failed. By the afternoon a Soviet battalion from the 32nd Motorized Infantry Regiment (53rd Soviet Army) arrived in the area. The counter-attack carried out by the Soviet battalion together with the 1st Battalion from the 96th Infantry Regiment and one company of cadets, north of Ghioroc, forced the Hungarian troops to retreat towards Cuvin. The following day the entire "Paulis" Detachment launched the attack, and by the evening of 19 September the initial disposition was restored.

In the fights at Paulis Hungarians lost 1,287 men (387 POW), 23 Turan and Toldi tanks, and left behind large quantities of equipment. The "Paulis" Detachment lost 377 men (65 KIA).

(IMG:http://img445.imageshack.us/img445/9525/harta8wk.jpg)

(IMG:http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/386/monumentuleroilordelapaulis3xo.jpg)
Photo source: http://members.tripod.com/VirtualArad/Paul...paulis_home.htm

This post has been edited by dragos on October 11, 2005 08:03 pm
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Carol I
Posted: October 11, 2005 07:58 pm
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QUOTE (dragos @ Oct 11 2005, 08:36 PM)
(IMG:http://members.tripod.com/VirtualArad/Paulis/monumentul_eroilor_de_la_paulis.jpg)
Photo source: http://members.tripod.com/VirtualArad/Paul...paulis_home.htm

Dragos, your photo does not show. Hopefuly the one below will.

(IMG:http://www.virtualarad.net/county/Paulis/monumentul_eroilor_de_la_paulis.jpg)
Source: Virtual Arad County
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SiG
Posted: October 31, 2005 06:58 pm
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Do you have any figures about the total forces involved? How many men did the Paulis detachment have? How many men did the Hungarians have? How many tanks?
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Iamandi
Posted: November 07, 2005 07:26 am
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I have read a book about this subject: "Cel mai greu examen". I fotgot the name of the writer. Nice book.

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dragos
Posted: November 07, 2005 07:45 am
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Susan, Dumitru - Cel mai greu examen : Paulis - 1944, Editura Dacia, 1989
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Carol I
Posted: November 07, 2005 11:08 pm
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György
Posted: February 11, 2006 02:09 pm
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Dear Dragos,
I'd like to know whether the sant antitank line near Cuvin can be seen today. I'm very much interested in the topic as my grandfather took part in this battle.
Thank you.
György
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Imperialist
Posted: February 11, 2006 03:06 pm
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QUOTE (SiG @ Oct 31 2005, 06:58 PM)
Do you have any figures about the total forces involved? How many men did the Paulis detachment have? How many men did the Hungarians have?

From Dragos' post, Paulis detachment was made up of 4 infantry battalions and 1 heavy artillery battalion.
You can use this Thread to form an estimate for the forces involved.

take care
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Florin
Posted: March 03, 2006 05:33 pm
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[split from this topic]

QUOTE (Dénes @ Sep 1 2004, 04:28 PM)
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Arad (then a part of Hungary)

Arad stayed within Rumania following the Vienna Award. It was only briefly taken by the Hungarian Army in Sept. 1944.

Col. Dénes

I have doubts regarding "briefly taken". The way I know it: yes, the enemy of the day reached the center of the city, maybe even conquered the center of the city, but Arad did not fell 100% into the enemy's hands.
Also... Weren't also the Germans around? You mentioned the Hungarian Army. Some Romanians who witnessed those days recall mostly the Germans as the main actors in the area. Especially considering the fact that the Germans brought so many enforcements and fresh troops in the area where Arad is, these troops being taken from other areas of Balkan Peninsula. Actually the German troops near Arad were strong enough to keep the Romanian-Soviet advance to a halt, for almost 2 months.
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Dénes
Posted: March 03, 2006 05:50 pm
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The battle for Arad was an independent action of the Hungarian army. The Germans were not involved in it in numbers. The city was hold by Hungarian forces for more than a week. I don't know your sources (since you repeatedly use the word 'enemy', I believe they must be exclusively Rumanian), but mine are very specific about this.

Here is an excerpt from a manuscript I am working on, dealing with this specific event:

"In the meantime [early September 1944], the independent [Hungarian] IV Corps was advancing on the right wing of the offensive, penetrating into the Romanian-held area of Western Transylvania, at Arad. It consisted of the 1st Armored Division, the 6th Replacement Division, the 1st Field Cavalry Replacement Brigade, the 20th and 31st Battalions, the 61st Pontoon Battalion, and the 7th Assault Gun Battalion. This was actually the last independent offensive action of the Honvédség during the Second World War. The IV Corps took Arad on September 13, 1944, less than 13 hours after the offensive started. The IV Corps advanced on Lipova (Lippa) on September 14, but encountered initial resistance west of Păuliş (Ópálos, Alt-Paulisch) from ad-hoc units made up by Romanian cadets from Radna [Máriaradna] (students of the Reserve Infantry NCOs School). The ad-hoc unit – called "Păuliş" Detachment – was made of three battalions of cadets, one platoon of 93rd Infantry Regiment, one battery of the 38th Artillery Regiment (without cannon), the 1st Battalion from the 96th Infantry Regiment and the 61st Heavy Artillery Battalion. The Rumanian defenders put up a stiff fight, with the help of significant close air support (which the attackers totally lacked), considerably slowing the Hungarians’ advance along the Mureş (Maros, Mieresch) River’s northern bank towards Radna. During six days of battle, they claimed 23 Hungarian light and medium tanks (Toldi and Turán) destroyed or damaged, along with three other vehicles. The Rumanian cadets were soon reinforced with experienced Soviet units from the 53rd Soviet Army. Together, they managed to repulse the Hungarian offensive, at significant cost. The 7th Assault Gun Battalion destroyed during these battles 67 T-34 tanks, but lost 8 StuG IIIs completely, 10 were badly damaged and 12 lightly damaged.

When the Soviet and Rumanian allies counterattacked, they completely overwhelmed the badly trained and poorly armed Hungarian units, which gave ground and evacuated Arad on September 21. It was on this day that SS-Obergruppenführer Artur Phleps, Commander-in-Chief of the Gruppe Siebenbürgen (Transylvania Group) lost his life nearby Arad, under uncertain circumstances, shortly after being captured by Soviet troops. Born in Transylvania in 1881, following a notable military career first in the Austro-Hungarian Army, then in the Royal Romanian Army, Phleps ended up volunteering in the Waffen-SS in 1941. Following the Romanian about-face, the gifted commander was ordered by Himmler back to his native land, to organize the region‘s defense against the Allied enemy. Less than a month later, he found his death as POW to the Soviets, not too far away from the place of his birth."


Gen. Dénes

This post has been edited by Dénes on March 21, 2006 03:14 am
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Florin
Posted: March 06, 2006 06:13 pm
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QUOTE (Dénes @ Mar 3 2006, 12:50 PM)
The battle for Arad was an independent action of the Hungarian army. The Germans were not involved in it in numbers. The city was hold by Hungarian forces for more than a week.
...........................on September 21.  It was on this day that SS-Obergruppenführer Artur Phleps, Commander-in-Chief of the Gruppe Siebenbürgen (Transylvania Group) lost his life nearby Arad, under uncertain circumstances, shortly after being captured by Soviet troops. Born in Transylvania in 1881, following a notable military career first in the Austro-Hungarian Army, then in the Royal Romanian Army, Phleps ended up volunteering in the Waffen-SS in 1941. Following the Romanian about-face, the gifted commander was ordered by Himmler back to his native land, to organize the region‘s defense against the Allied enemy. Less than a month later, he found his death as POW to the Soviets, not too far away from the place of his birth.
Gen. Dénes


Some of my bad sources were the studies written in the days of the Communist regime, when it seems that for the sake of the good relations between Romania and Hungary (both Communist in those days), some actions of the Hungarian Army were passed toward the Germans. Also, as I said, in the memory of some people living in those days the Germans remained as the main player around Arad. But these people are not historians, so you have priority.

Also, while you mentioned that the Germans were not present in big numbers, you mentioned that a notable SS commander was sent to that area. Maybe it was to mobilize the German ethnics for "the cause". The German ethnics, especially the young ones, who were in Hitlerjugend, did their best to support Germany. Most of them did that in uniforms, not in civilian clothing, and this again raise the question about your remark saying that the Germans were not present in numbers.

Regarding Arthur Phleps, I am not surprised at all that he died in custody of the Soviets, as POW. Almost all SS prisoners were killed by the Soviets, and this started from 1941. The luckiest ones got a fast bullet in head. The unluckiest ones were tormented for hours: tongue cut, eyes pierced etc.
First I learned about these things as child, from my grandfather, and later from books. To be fair, the Russian prisoners did not have quite a good treatment, especially in 1941 and 1942.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 06, 2006 07:33 pm
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Florin
Posted: March 06, 2006 06:44 pm
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QUOTE (Dénes @ Mar 3 2006, 12:50 PM)
........................... The Rumanian defenders put up a stiff fight, with the help of significant close air support (which the attackers totally lacked) ..................

Maybe the Hungarian planes were busy with some more important assignments.
My grandmother witnessed a low altitude Hungarian airplane spraying with machine gun bullets the civilians passing along a bridge, near Simeria.
I know I am malicious writing this, but I cannot refrain to don't mention it.
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Dénes
Posted: March 06, 2006 07:19 pm
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QUOTE (Florin @ Mar 7 2006, 12:44 AM)
My grandmother witnessed a low altitude Hungarian airplane spraying with machine gun bullets the civilians passing along a bridge, near Simeria.
I know I am malicious writing this, but I cannot refrain to don't mention it.

The question arises: how could your grandmother differentiate between a Hungarian and a German airplane flying overhead (both A.F. flew German a/c types)? :(

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Florin
Posted: March 06, 2006 07:32 pm
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QUOTE (Dénes @ Mar 6 2006, 02:19 PM)
QUOTE (Florin @ Mar 7 2006, 12:44 AM)
My grandmother witnessed a low altitude Hungarian airplane spraying with machine gun bullets the civilians passing along a bridge, near Simeria.
I know I am malicious writing this, but I cannot refrain to don't mention it.

The question arises: how could your grandmother differentiate between a Hungarian and a German airplane flying overhead (both A.F. flew German a/c types)? :(

Gen. Dénes

From the symbol painted on the wings - this would be scholastic answer. More realistic - she heard other eyewitnesses of the same event, and she trusted their say. If the eyewitness would be my grandfather, I would think the first option.

I think as child I asked your question, and if I remember right the answer was the second option.
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Florin
Posted: March 07, 2006 02:05 pm
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QUOTE (Dénes @ Mar 3 2006, 12:50 PM)
........ The Rumanian defenders put up a stiff fight, with the help of significant close air support (which the attackers totally lacked), considerably slowing the Hungarians’ advance along the Mureş .............

Why did that happen?
To leave
QUOTE
.....the 1st Armored Division, the 6th Replacement Division, the 1st Field Cavalry Replacement Brigade, the 20th and 31st Battalions, the 61st Pontoon Battalion, and the 7th Assault Gun Battalion....
without aerial support?
What was the problem, the gasoline or the number of planes able to take off?
I know 1944 was a hard year for every Axis country, but Romania also sustained continued attacks (sometimes daily, for weeks) since March 1944. Needless to add here, Romania lost many planes and pilots (some of them aces) due to the American daytime attacks.
However, elements of the Romanian aviation made their mark in the events following August 23, 1944. I understand that the Hungarian aviation had to cover a wide area, but this was also the case with the Romanian aviation. However, the Romanian planes involved themselves not only above Paulis, but also around Bucharest/Bucuresti and other areas.
From the airfields of Szeged, Hodmezovasarhely and Bekescsaba even a Stuka could be above Arad in less than a half of hour.
I think it would be very interesting if you would mention more about the readiness for fight of the Hungarian air force at August 23, 1944, and if you can mention how many planes were in Transylvania, and how many were in mainland, around Budapest etc. Also it would be interesting to learn how many planes positioned in Hungary were moved to Transylvania as a result of the events of August 23.

This post has been edited by Florin on March 26, 2011 03:04 am
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