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Click here to view this topic in its original format Forum > Ancient, Medieval and Modern History > "Totenkopf" secui/szekely units

Posted by: Iamandi May 11, 2005 06:51 am

Anyone could post some explanations about this? My data are poor. I know they were fighting as counter-revolutionary units, and were formed only with "secui". I read some years ago, but i forget in what book, but if i remember right were memories of Toma Avramut about Avram Iancu, but i don't bet about accuracy of this remember.


Posted by: Dénes May 11, 2005 08:58 pm
QUOTE (Iamandi @ May 11 2005, 12:51 PM)
I know they were fighting as counter-revolutionary units, and were formed only with "secui".

What do you mean by "counter-revolutionary units"? The seklers (székelyek in Hungarian, secui in Rumanian) were usually part of the Hungarian revolutionary army...

Gen. Dénes

Posted by: Iamandi May 12, 2005 05:39 am
A big part of my books are at my mom's house, so in few days i will re-read. My memory is very good some times, but is not perfect. From the same book, and the same chapter, i remember well parts of text but not so much about what i ask - with hope to learn more, if someone had more info.
Denes, you are right. They were fighters in revolutionary army, but this units maybe were part of imperial army. Or, maybe were voluntary units with a precise scope, if we give attention to this "Totenkopf" horrible name.


Posted by: Kepi September 30, 2005 01:44 pm
Szeckel units during the 1848-49 revolution in Transylvania, were represented mainly be the two frontier (Grenz) regiments raised by the Empress Maria Tereza, along with two Wallachian (Romanian) units, in 1762, to defend the eastern borders of the Austrian Empire against Ottoman attacks. The 1st Szeckel Frontier Infantry Regiment ( „1. Szekler Grenzinfanterieregiment”) had the headquarters in Miercurea Ciuc (“Tsik-Szereda”), and the 2nd Szeckel Frontier Infantry Regiment ( „2. Szekler Grenzinfanterieregiment”) had the headquarters in Târgul Secuiesc (“Kézdi-Vásárhely”).
Szeckel and Romanian frontier regiments fought during the wars with the Ottoman Empire, at the end of XVIIIth Century and during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

In 1848, when Hungarian revolution has started, Szeckel frontier regiments fought on the Hungarian revolutionary army side, against the Austrian imperial troops. Romanian frontier regiments, maintained a kind of neutrality but supported in fact the Austrians. After the Hungarian revolution was defeated in 1849 by a Austro-Russian coalition, all Transylvanian frontier regiments were disbanded, in 1851, in fact transformed into KuK line infantry units. The 1st Szeckel regiment became the 5th KuK Line Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Szeckel Regiment became the 6th KuK Line Infantry Regiment.

It’s important to note that from 1883 the Colonel in Chief of this unit became King Carol I of Romania, and from 1903 on the head of the officers list was also named Prince Ferdinand of Romania. Of course, in 1916, when the war started between Romania and Austria-Hungary, Ferdinand name was banished from the 6th KuK Infantry Regiment list.

I also want to mention that today, there are Szeckel infantry and cavalry (hussars) XIXth Century reeancting groups in Transylvania who participate at all major festivities of the Hungarian communities. They also participate at Napoleonic reenacting shows in Gyor, Austerlitz, Marengo, Leipzig, etc, where these units fought in 1797-1813.

What about the Romanian reenactment units of the same period?

Posted by: Dan Po November 20, 2005 12:05 pm
As an interesting fact, in 1914, the garrison of "Infanterieregiment Carl I. König von Rumänien Nr.6" was Budapest.

Posted by: Dénes November 20, 2005 03:04 pm
It's a little known and little publicised fact that the Rumanian Kingdom was an ally of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy up to the moment of Rumania's declaration of war in August 1916.

Gen. Dénes

Posted by: sid guttridge November 21, 2005 07:36 am
Hi Denes,

Under what treaty?



Posted by: sid guttridge November 21, 2005 07:45 am
Hi Dan Po,

This was a not uncommon occurrence. King George V of Britain was colonel of a German Hannoverian infantry regiment at the outbreak of WWI, because his ancestors had been hereditary Electors of Hanover until the late 1830s. Similarly, the German Kaiser was a colonel of a British regiment because he was the oldest grandson of Britain's Queen Victoria. (Indeed, he was the most attentive of all her grandchildren at her death bed).



Posted by: Dan Po November 21, 2005 09:12 am
QUOTE (sid guttridge @ Nov 21 2005, 10:36 AM)
Hi Denes,

Under what treaty?



It was a threaty signed in 1883 only by King Carol I. The romanian Parliament wasn t informed about this.

later edit:

here you can find more informations:

Romania was the 4th member of the intially triple alliance smile.gif.

Posted by: Kosmo December 19, 2005 09:43 am
QUOTE (Iamandi @ May 11 2005, 06:51 AM)
Anyone could post some explanations about this? My data are poor. I know they were fighting as counter-revolutionary units, and were formed only with "secui". I read some years ago, but i forget in what book, but if i remember right were memories of Toma Avramut about Avram Iancu, but i don't bet about accuracy of this remember.


Are you refering to "Stramosii"? A poor prolecultist propaganda book by ?Radu Tudoran.

Posted by: 21 inf April 28, 2007 06:29 pm
There are some info about a "Totenkopf" unit in 1848/1849 civil war in Transilvania.

It was a german infantry company who fought on hungarian side. Those germans have a skull printed on their helmets, that's why "motzii" called them also "totenkopf", but in romanian, of course.

This german "totenkopf" company was wiped out by "motzi" in the fightings who took place between 6-19 may 1849.
Hungarian major Emeric Hatvanyi, with a 6.000 soldiers strong force, entered town Abrud in Tzara Motzilor in early may 1849, during a cease fire, broking the armistice that way.
He captured the romanian prefect (equivalent of colonel) Ioan Butean and Petru Dobra, killing them both, first by hanging, the last by torture.
Motzii atacked Abrud to recapture it and routed Hatvanyi forces out of the town.
They chased hungarian troops and met them again at Gura Cornii and after that at Bucium Cerbu. Here at Bucium Cerbu the german "totenkopf" company was wiped out by motzi from Legio Auraria et Salina, leaded by prefect Simion Balint (who was formerly orthodox priest);Major Hatvanyi lost only in that place 1.700 dead soldiers, from a total of 5.000 which he lost in the period between 6-19 may 1849.

N.B.: motzii were organised as ancient roman legions, wearing roman names as: Prima Blasiana (prefect "colonel" Ioan Axente Sever), Secunda Gemina (prefect Avram Iancu), Ulpia Traiana (prefect Solomon from Hateg), Auraria et Salina (prefect Simion Balint) and so on. A legion was equivalent to a regiment. They were subdivided in battalions, named "tribunate", which had "tribuni" on comand; tribunatele were also subdivided in "centurio" (100 men formations comanded by centurions); 1 centurio was built from 10 "decurio" (10 men strong formations comanded by decurions).
Army of motzi was rasied from peaseant living on the mountains, they was not regular troops; there were poorly armed with captured rifles and homemade cannons made from wood.

Posted by: Dénes April 28, 2007 08:09 pm
And what is your source for these claims?

Gen. Dénes

Posted by: 21 inf April 28, 2007 08:29 pm
If one is in doubt about autenticity of those info, the sources are article by Remus Campean and Florian Dudas - Avram Iancu in traditia poporului; the list may continue on the edge of the same info. Other works cite the same info.

Posted by: 21 inf April 28, 2007 09:23 pm
After the fightings in Abrud, it is said that Hatvanyi was heard saying "Let the hell to fight with the priests" ("Sa se mai bata dracu' cu popii") - alusion to prefect Simion Balint, who was orthodox priest.


My grand-grand-grand-grand-grandfather (5 generations ago) was decurion on Avram Iancu's Secunda Gemina Legio.
Legio Secunda Gemina was raised from villages around Vidra de Sus, today Avram Iancu, jud. Alba.
My ancestor originated from Vidra de Sus, crangul "La Tarna".
He survived the civil war.

Posted by: 21 inf April 28, 2007 09:25 pm
Oh, forget 2 mention the sources!
They are the same as above.

Posted by: Iamandi April 29, 2007 03:31 pm
Well, so it is true... I completelly forgot about this topic, and now i read Kpsmo's post, above. No, is not Radu Tudoran the writer. Was a book writed by Radu Theodoru who cited that source - the momoryes of Toma Avramut. Anyway... is such an easy think to name all those books from pre '89 just propaganda... But Kosmo, all things disliked by ones are just propaganda of the other ones. tongue.gif Just wait and see... laugh.gif


Posted by: 21 inf May 01, 2007 05:28 pm
More details about Totenkopf units at

Posted by: aidan zea August 27, 2012 12:21 pm
There were several Totenkopf companies in combat against romanian revolutionaries in 1849 battles:
- 3rd Company /German Legion Totenkopf was part of the brigade led by Major Csutak who fought in mid february and march 1849 against the Romanian revolutionaries;
- 5th and 6th Companies joined the 3rd Company in may 1849 in Brad region and took part in the campaign conducted by Major Hatvani in the Apuseni Mountains;
- from the soldiers of these 3 companies about 3/4 were killed or missing in the defeat of Major Hatvany campaign;
- 4th and 7th Companies arrived in mid may 1849 in Huedin for participation in the fighting in the mountains against the Romanian revolutionaries, but their faith is unknown as sources are missing.

Posted by: 21 inf August 27, 2012 03:14 pm
Hungarian troops around Huedin were led by Vasvari Pal. I found no mention about a german company between his units. The only mention is about the hungarian national guards he led, but this doesnt mean the german legion was not present.

The german company which participated at 1st Abrud battle under the leading of major Hatvani managed to withdraw at Brad with a part of it's men, without being mentioned how many were lost in this battle. Major Hatvani intended to leave this company behind (without telling them about the retreat) to cover his retreat. The german company found out about the retreat and pulled back with the bulk of hungarian troops.

The german company which participated at 2nd battle from Abrud was practically wiped out, only 6 men survived, wounded, and were captured by romanians. Detained at Câmpeni under the supervision of Avram Iancu's men, they survived the next period and were put to freedom later.

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