2nd lieutenant Grigore Dobos, 2nd Tank Regiment, Bratislava, Slovakia - Diary

2nd lieutenant Grigore Dobos was the commander of the traffic platoon of the 2nd Tank Regiment during the 1945 campaign.
The memories came in our possession through the grace on Mrs. Ruxandra Popescu, who also contributed substantially to identifying and correcting the names of the localities. The comments between [] belong both to her and to us. Thank you again for this great contribution.

25 March 1945

It's my 24th birthday. At 1400 hours we receive the order to leave Demandice for the front. Around midnight, the enemy artillery bombards us. A shell falls 30 m away from the car in which I was together with the regiment CO, the Soviet brigade CO and Captain Mauru.

The tanks start to cross the Hron, which isn't a very big. I sleep together with Lt. Ogescu in a trench, but we wake up because of the cold and we walk around the field. A Russian warms us with a mug of wine. We walk around until morning.

26 March 1945 (Monday)

The Regiment receives the order to attack the sector between the villages Dol-Besa and Dol Pial (Ung.). [Besa and Dolny Pial]
1st Battalion Major Cociu has the village Dol [Bolny Pial] as its first objective.
2nd Battalion has the village Besa as its first objective.

Losses: 1st Battalion: one NCO, 3 soldiers, 5 wounded.
2nd Battalion: Captain Rauta looses the regiment's finest officers:
1. 2nd Lt. Ioan Giorgi
2. 2nd Lt. Virgil Negrescu who was wounded (both legs fractured) and then evacuated to a field hospital where he died from severe hemorrhage, probably thinking at his loved ones.
3. 2nd Lt. Viorel Manceanu machine-gunned while piloting his tank through an AT ditch.
4. 2nd Lt. Gheorghe Rosescu's tank was hit while emerging from behind a ridge and he burned to death.
Another 4 soldiers died together with their commanders.

26 March 1945 was a hard day and the grief of loosing the best officers was on everybody's faces. We tried to control ourselves, but the tears kept on pouring. We started remembering the intimate moments and the lives of those that have fallen, but memories are futile when those in question are no more. They were buried in a cemetery in the Baica [Bajka] village. May God rest their souls!

I don't know how Victor Popescu-Gheboieni, my commander, and Alex Diculescu-Manga with whom Lt. Negoescu retreated from Bessarabia will react to the news of his death.

27 March 1945

We moved into Dol Pial [Dolny Pial] where we remain until in the afternoon. Then we advance in Tegla [Tehla] and Melek. During the night I slept together with Mircea Lazaroiu and Major Ghitescu in a hay stack. In the morning we are awoken by several shells falling in front of us.

28 March

We crossed a bridge at Martinova, where we remained until afternoon and then went to Gor Siles [Dolny Siles]. There we found wine. For the first time we eat well and drink enough.

29 March

We crossed the Nitra at Surami [Surany] and we stopped at Branci [Branc]. The 2nd Battalion attacked at Dol Pial [Dolny Pial]. The tank of 2nd Lt. Dumitrescu was hit by an AT shell and burned, but he amazingly escaped.

30 March

We went to Pania [Pana], where we found a lot of wine. We left the following day.

31 March

We went to the small forest near Mladigai [Mlady Haj] where we set up the command post. At noon, the regiment's CO, colonel Zatreanu, together with the 141st Soviet Rifle Division occupied the village Ireg with two S.P.V. [Sdkfz 251], without knowing that there were still Germans there. After a few minutes a powerful enemy artillery barrage fell over them, but colonel Zatreanu escaped unscratched.

1 April 1945

There was a lot of fighting for the conquest of the heights near Bratislava. The tanks of the 1st Battalion fought very well and the Germans were forced to pull out during the night. It is, I believe, unique in the history of tanks, this battle fought against an enemy who dominated the situation both strategically and topographically.

2 April 1945

We are heading towards Bratislava through Pania [Pana]. In the morning I drank too much and because i went in the colonel's car, I slept until we entered in Pania [Pana]. We remain for one day.

Around 2200 hours several night bombers came, dubbed by us "Mos Costica", and dropped several "eggs", but we escaped unscratched.

3 April 1945

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, fell. In the evening I was sent by the regiment's command in a reconnaissance mission of the city to verify if it was completely taken. I left in a S.P.V. [Sdkfz 251] around 1700 hours. At the entrance we encountered three barricades on the road and an AT ditch. There is smoke coming out of the neighborhoods. Everything is devastated. Everyone is looking for "trophies" inside the houses. I took several toothpastes from a pharmacy.

4 April 1945

We advanced towards the Morava to cross it on a boat bridge. The 1st Battalion tried to cross, but was bombarded by enemy aircraft.

5 April 1945

We crossed the Morava River. During the night I slept in a tunnel by the river.

6 April 1945

We spent the night in an Austrian village. Here we encountered on road around 20 dead partisans...Russians.

7 April 1945

We moved into position. Enemy aircraft harassed us during the day, trying without results to destroy our columns.

8 April 1945

At 0500 hours we were positioned at the edge of a forest near Hohenruppersdorf. The 1st Battalion is preparing for attack. At 0830 the artillery preparation commences. Guns are firing and the Katiushas are singing. The tanks reach the village's outskirts, where they are stopped by a violent enemy fire. They remained in defensive positions during the night.

9 April

Enemy counterattacks repulsed.

10 April

The enemy is amassing armored cars and tanks.

11 April

The Battalion begins the attack on Hohenruppersdorf. The enemy resistance is strong and counterattacks with tanks from all directions. Our tanks, although they had occupied the entire village had to retreat.

12 April

The enemy sought to push back the Battalion from its new positions, through successive counterattacks. The bravery of our crews prevails. 2nd Lt. Radu Constantinescu is a true hero through the way he escaped encirclement.

13 April

At daybreak, the tanks are received with AT fire from all over the place. The artillery starts to fire on the position. The enemy air force, more furious than ever, commences to bombard us. A very difficult day for everyone. The infantry panics and retreats in disarray. However, the tanks continue the fight on their own. The village is directly attacked by three of them, while the rest maneuver around it on the right flank. The strategy is successful and the village is taken. The enemy retreats towards Sric [Schrick]. The Battalion remained on the northwestern edge of Hohenruppersdorf for regrouping. Losses: 10 MIA, 5 damaged tanks taken by the enemy, 2nd Lt. Ivan Horia KIA, hit in the head by an AT shell. Several soldiers were wounded.

14 April

The Regiment, at the colonel's request, is pulled out for reorganization. Only one mixed company, made up of the remaining tanks and under the command of Cpt. Arcadie Duceac will remain on the front.

15-24 April

The Company was organized and grouped at Nexing. From there it moved to Mistelbach. I was attached as translator for this company.

In Mistelbach I found 30 Romanians, employees of the Romanian Railways, taken by the Germans during their retreat. I know most of them because they were from Adjud, where I grew up. I managed to find a truck to take them to Bratislava, because there is a railway there and they could find transport back home much easier from there.

25 April

The Company was strengthened by R 35 [Renault R-35] tanks (2 of them, commanded by 2nd Lt. Dumitrescu) and advanced to the Czechoslovak border to cross the Morava again.

26 April

During the night, around 0400 hours, we crossed the river and began the attack. All day long the tanks were pinned down by German Tigers [Pz. VI] and during the evening we lost a T.4 [Pz. IV].

27 April 1945

In the morning, around 1000 hours, a serious enemy counterattack repulsed the infantry and produced an indescribable panic. However, the tanks stood their ground and by noon the counterattack was repulsed. In the afternoon I was caught in an artillery barrage and escaped by fleeing with the motorcycle. No further action until the evening. The tanks received the order to prepare to renew the attack the following morning.

Brno was taken by the Russians yesterday, 26 April. The road we attack on is the one going to Brno.

28 April 1945

The Battalion remained in defensive positions. The enemy bombarded the village of Musov [Na Muslove] around 1500 hours, when I was in it. A bomb fell 50 m away from me and 8 m from a T.4 under repairs. There weren't any casualties, because the bomb fell on a house and exploded on the roof. Around 1500 I listened to Radio Bucharest. I found out that Mussolini was captured by partisans.

29-31 April 1945

We stayed in defensive positions around Hill 222. There were violent exchanges of artillery fire during the night.

1-3 May 1945

On 1 May we celebrated together with the Russians from the [27th Soviet Tank] Brigade. On 2 May I drank in our stable with Misu Dumitrescu who got very drunk. On 3 May an enemy counterattack produced a little panic, but was repulsed.

4-5 May 1945

Intense preparations for attack. Artillery and heavy weaponry are coming to our sector. The Katiushas have invaded the village. There are over 200 vehicles.

6 May 1945

The first day of Easter. I went to the Regiment and took 5 ABs [armored cars] back with me, as ordered by the Brigade.

Morning of 7 May 1945

At 0530 hours we were woken by a very powerful sound. The artillery and Katiusha preparation began. No matter how rich one's imagination is, one cannot imagine the chaos produced in those two hours. The most appropriate comparison would be: the shells were falling in our sector closer two each other and faster than raindrops would have fallen.

7 May 1945

In the forward artillery's observer I had a panoramic view of the battle. Several shells fell near me and Mircea.

Seven villages were taken that day. Our tanks, amazingly, escaped unscratched. Lt. Vladoianu received the baptism of fire during this day in which we couldn't see the sun from all the smoke.

8 May

The enemy is retreating in disarray. We are in a continuous pursuit. We advanced 70 km and arrived at Znaim [Znajmo]. During the night we slept very comfortable in the house of some Czechs.

9 May

At 0600 hours, my aid woke me up and told me: "Sir, the peace was signed". I went outside and my soldiers jumped me. They raised me up and kissed me. We celebrated like one would as if one escaped the worry and fear of the future.


We advanced pursuing towards Telci [Telc], because pockets of S.S. troops are still resisting in forests.


Communique by the General Staff:
West of the Morava the Romanian troops took 30 localities.
Moscow celebrated through cannon salvoes the historical meeting between the Russian, English and American troops.
The Reuters correspondents announce that the Russian army entered the center of Berlin. They are 200 m away from the Ministry of the Interior.
The Allies crossed the rivers Els [Ems] and Leda.
The Allies approach Munchen.
Three allied generals were taken prisoners.
Allied tanks reached the Swiss border.
Vicenza was occupied.
Himler [Himmler] announced the Allies that Hitler is dying.
Roberto Farinacci was executed.

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