25 March 1940 – 29 August 1944: 3rd Army
17 October 1941: Mihai Viteazul Order, 3rd class
18 July 1942: promoted to the rank of general
1 September 1942: Knight’s Cross
? ? 1942: Steaua Romaniei Order 1st class
? ? 1943: Coroana Romaniei Order Grand Cross class
19 February 1944: Mihai Viteazul Order, 2nd class
4 April 1944: Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross
General Petre Dumitrescu was born on 18 February 1882 in Dobridor, Dolj. In 1901 the young Dumitrescu started the courses at the Artillery and Engineers Officers School, which he graduated in 1903, receiving the rank of 2nd lieutenant. In 1906 he was promoted lieutenant and in 1911 captain. He was admitted in the Military Academy, which he finished in 1913. During WWI he had the rank of major (since 1916).
He then climbed the stairs of military hierarchy one by one: lieutenant colonel in 1920, brigadier general in 1930, major general in 1937. After serving as military attaché in several European capitals (Paris, Brussels) in the inter-war period he was assigned to the command of the 1st Army in 1940.
On 25 March 1941, lt. general Petre Dumitrescu took over the 3rd Army, which he commanded practically during the entire anti-Soviet war. During the 1941 campaign, his army reoccupied Northern Bukovina and then crossed the river Dniester when fighting was still going on in Bessarabia. It was subordinated to the 11th Army, securing its left flank during the advance to the river Bug and then to the Dnieper. In September it defeated the Soviet attempts to get on the eastern side of the river and behind the 11th Army. It then resumed its advanced and arrived in the Nogaiysk Steppe, north of Crimea. There it took part in the Battle of the Azov Sea, which resulted in the destruction of two Soviet armies (9th and 18th). Until 10 October 1941, the 3rd Army had advanced 1700 km, fighting four great battles and 42 engagements and causing the enemy casualties estimated at over 20,000 dead and 40,000 wounded. 15,565 POWs had been taken, without counting those given to the Germans, as well as 149 tanks, 128 artillery pieces, 277 machine-guns and 367 light machine-guns. The Romanian losses numbered 10,541 men (2,555 dead, 6,201 wounded and 1,785 missing). He was the second Romanian who received the Ritterkreuz, the first one belonging to marshal Antonescu. Dumitrescu was also awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class on 17 October 1941.
On 18 July 1942 he was promoted to the rank of general, thus becoming the most important Romanian commander after marshal Antonescu (after gen. Iosif Iacobici resigned). He took part in the summer offensive of 1942, securing the right flank of the German 17th Army. It advanced on the seaside and, by 15 September, it had captured the Taman Peninsula, creating a link with the Axis forces in Crimea, and Novorosiysk. The army command and a part of the units were moved to the sector north of Stalingrad, near the Don’s Bend. The Romanian units already in the area were subordinated to general Dumitrescu. He had in total 152,492 Romanians and 11,211 Germans under his command, but the line he was supposed to defend was far too long for the possibilities of the 3rd Army. His reports about the Soviet build-up in front of his troops and his repeated suggestions for the elimination of Soviet bridgeheads at Kletskaya were ignored by the German High Command. On 19 November 1942, the Soviet South-Western Front launched the winter offensive and smashed through the Romanian line, in spite of some stiff resistance in some points and of the army's reserves counterattacks. However, gen. Dumitrescu managed to form a line on the river Chir with the remaining forces and even take part in Operation Wintergewitter, which eventually failed.
In December 1943, the 3rd Army was situated on the extreme south of the Eastern Front, on the Dnieper. Then came the strategic retreat westwards, when it secured the seaside and in the spring of 1944 the front line was stabilized on the river Dniester. That is when he received the 2nd class of the Mihai Viteazul Order and the Oak Leaves to his Ritterkreuz. He was also the only Romanian general, with the exception of marshal Antonescu to have a German army (the 6th) under his command (Army Group Dumitrescu) and one of the three Romanian generals who received the Oak Leaves to their Knight's Cross. The 3rd Ukrainian Front began the offensive on 20 August and his troops were forced to pull back. After the armistice was announced he tried to get his army as further away from the Soviets and also to avoid any engagements. However, he wasn't successful, as a part of the 3rd Army was surrounded. About 130,000 Romanian soldiers were taken prisoners (the figure includes troops from the 4th Army) after Romania had already quit the Axis and Romanian troops were fighting the Germans. The army's remains arrived in the Ploiesti and Bucharest area, after several days of marching and fighting, during which they have captured 4,500 Germans.
He was retired three weeks after the 23 August 1944 events. On 15 May 1946 general Petre Dumitrescu was accused of war crimes and put on trial, but he was eventually acquitted, because of lack of solid evidence. He passed away on 15 January 1950, at home, in Bucharest.