Romanian Armed Forces
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Organization and equipment
The Infantry
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The Romanian Royal Aeronautics
The Paratroopers
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The Romanian Royal Navy
The Marines
The Paratroopers
Romanian paratroopers near a Potez 56 transport airplane
Paratroopers at the burial of the fighter ace cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu on 19 August 1944. Note the German model 1938 helmets
Romanian paratroopers at the 10 May parade, passing in front of King Mihai I
Romanian soldiers wearing the paratrooper badge
Group of Romanian paratroopers during the spring of 1944

The first initiative to form a paratrooper unit belonged to the Air and Navy Ministry in September 1940. The following year, general Alexandru Ioanitiu, the Chief of the General Staff, proposed again the formation of such a unit. Thus, on 10 June 1941 the first Romanian paratrooper company was created. All the recruits were volunteers, under 28 years old and had to speak at least one of the following languages: Russian, Hungarian, Bulgarian or Polish. The company received the number 8 in continuity of the seven balloon barrage companies.

The second company (the 9th) was formed in 1942 and the third one (the 10th), a heavy weapons company, in 1943. These units received the numbers 8, 9 and 10. Together they formed the 4th Paratrooper Battalion (because it was counted after the three balloon barrage battalions).

They had ZB 24 rifles and ZB 30 light machine-guns, as well as 7.65 mm Mauser model 1932 submachine-guns. The parachutes (Irvin) were made in Romania, under license from Irving Air Chute Ltd. In 1943 they received more modern equipment, imported from Germany: model 1938 helmets and MP 40 submachine-guns, which became the main paratrooper weapon. The two rifle companies (8th and 9th) had an identical structure: 3 rifle platoons, one machine-gun platoon (7.92 mm ZB model 1937 machine-guns), one mortar platoon (60 mm Brandt/Voina model 1939) and one pioneer platoon, equipped with Pignone model 1937 flame-throwers. There was also a recon platoon mounted on Zudapp KS 600 motorcycles. The heavy weapons company was equipped with 81.4 mm Brandt/Voina model 1939 mortars and 47 mm Böhler AT guns, as well as with the regular rifle company equipment.

The men were supposed to be transported by the 105th and 107th Transport Squadron (Ju 52) and the heavy equipment by the 109th Transport Squadron (DFS 230 gliders towed by IAR 39s).

In October 1943 there were only 215 completely trained troops. However, Marshal Antonescu gave the order to transform the battalion into a regiment that would have had 2,877 soldiers.

On 23 August 1944, only the 4th Battalion was operational with 861 battle-ready soldiers and it took part in the fights at Baneasa and Otopeni, coming face to face with elite German airborne units.

In February 1945, the paratrooper arm was disbanded at the request of the Allies Commission, more exactly of the Soviet Union. However, it was reinstated in November 1940.

Author: Victor Nitu
Serbanescu H., Scafes C., Scafes I. Primul battalion roman de parasutisti, TOP GUN Special, February 1999 issue

Otu P. Imbratisarea anacondei – Politica militara a Romaniei in perioada 1 septembrie 1939 – 22 iunie 1941, Editura Militara, 2006

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