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Posted by: dragos February 18, 2007 04:38 pm
by Brigadier general (r.) Gheorghe Ionita

On the night of August 23/24, 1944, the 14th Heavy Artillery Battalion was marching on Roman-Adjud road, reaching not far from Bacau. The last given orders were to withdraw our unit on a position behind the fortified alignment Focsani - Namoloasa - Braila. I was riding in front of the 1st section's pairs of horses; I was then in rank of Junior Lieutenant.

It was a gorgeous serene summer night. A legion of trembling stars seemed to hang in the sky. The moon's sickle, with its yellow-like light, was slowly sliding towards west, giving a new sense of charm and mistery to the neighbouring nature. But there was no time for dreams. The Soviet offensive's hurricane was coming from behind.

Before the daybreak we were passing through Bacau and we were hurrying up to leave the city and to increase the distance between us and this important crossroads point. Instantly, I felt j the smell of some fresh, hot-baked bread. We were just passing nearby a bakery. Soldier Miluta Agrigoroaie, who has been sent to explore the neighbourhoods, rapidly disappeared, entering the low-lighted building, and in a few minutes he was coming back with some hot loaves of bread. He whispered, secretly: "Sir, the bakers were talking about the peace concluded with Russians and that we'll fight from now on against Germans".

It was a sensational and incredible news. "Yet, I thought, it could be just a rumour?" I've had to check it immediately. In the shortest time, the news was confirmed. The people we met in our way gave us new details about the official statement broadcasted one evening before. So, my soldier correctly heard bakers' words and he understood very well the situation.

When we reached south of Bacau we stopped for a while in a forest nearby the road. In that moment the joy bursted out. Everyone was asking something, everyone was laughing and crying. The soldiers were convinced that peace was to come tomorrow. None had the time to listen to the voices of the wood, the leaves which rustled, the birds which sang their songs.

At dawn we left the forest and continued our march on the pitch ribbon of the road. As I was swinging in my saddle in the slow rhythm of my horse's steps and the heavy cannons' wheels were making their rattling noise, I was thinking about what was to come next. I was hoping that when the darkness would lay upon, the gloomy thoughts which surrounded me will go away.

Suddenly, somewhere, into the depth of my soul, an insistent question entered, bringing new worries. What will happen with us, with our country? What was going to be Soviets' attitude? How shall we manage to detach ourselves from the German troops, which were marching on the same roads with our units? The answers were to come later, but they were accompanied by other bewilderments. Only one thing remained certain; we were to fight from now on against our former allies, together with our yesterday enemies. Was it good? Was it right?

Of course, we, the warriors from the front, couldn't see then the image of the whole stage of the international and internal political events. As many people in Romania, we didn't know too much about the complexity of the factors involved in this reverse of facts. None of us knew about the negotiations carried out for Romania's taking out of Germany's alliance; neither did we know about the bargain between Soviet Union and democratical Western Great Powers, concerning our country's fate. For us, only one commandment remained clear: that we must continue to fight for our forefather's land, for its defence, for its integrity, even if we should have given our blood and our life.

The orders were that we had to jump over the Carpathian Mountains chain and to liberate the north-western part of Transylvania, occupied by Horthy's troops. Not a single Romanian soldier was in doubt about the legitimacy of such an action. Transylvania was - still is, and ever it will be - our country's heart. We were thinking about Transylvania, we were yearning for Transylvania even in the moments when we were fighting far away from our home, on foreign lands, in the East.

Thus, from emotion through reason and from here up to the high sense of the soldier's duty. This is the essence of the feelings and thoughts which had troubled our souls and hearts in those past days of August, in 1944.

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