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Posted by: 21 inf November 04, 2012 08:08 am
In the town of Salonta are some tens of soviet soldiers in the town's cemetery. They died in ww2. Anybody has some info about the fight occured in Salonta, when this soviet soldiers were killed? Or it was a military hospital in the area and soldiers died in hospital rather than in battle?

Posted by: ANDREAS November 04, 2012 04:49 pm
From what I know in the last days of september and early october 1944 there have been heavy fightings in the area, equally difficult as the one for Oradea city, german forces supporting in battle the hungarian forces against soviet and romanian forces. I don't know exactly what forces were deployed there but I am sure that both german and hungarian forces were present and fight in the city area! On our side the 3rd Mountain Division and on the soviet side the 78th Rifle and the Tudor Vladimirescu Divisions fight in this area, from what I have found!

Posted by: 21 inf November 05, 2012 10:39 am
Thanks for the answer!

Posted by: Florin November 07, 2012 01:58 am
In September - early October, keeping the Soviets and the Romanians at bay in that area (Timisoara - Arad - Salonta) was much more important than just forbidding the access to Hungary.
The defenders (the Axis) had to allow time for all troops located in Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and East Yugoslavia to withdraw and join the rest. If the Axis frontline would collapse earlier than October, all these German troops would have remained trapped.

Posted by: ANDREAS November 07, 2012 07:08 pm
Florin, even if I agree with your statement I also say that, in my opinion the Salonta-Oradea-Debrecen operations are "a different story" than the operations in Banat, Voievodina and southern Hungary of the 3rd Ukrainean Front. Indeed they follow the same objectives respectively stopping the deep penetration of the soviet forces in the Hungarian Plaines but more important than that was to prevent the encirclement of the german-hungarian group of forces from Northern Transylvania and Southcarpathian region threaten by the soviet attack towards Debrecen.

Posted by: aidan zea November 10, 2012 10:55 am
In the Oradea - Salonta area between 29 september - 6 october 1944 battle groups of 2 armored divisions (the 23th german and the 1st hungarian) were involved in the fight against the soviet-romanian divisions, so that the losses incurred were high especially on soviet-romanian side! While the Germans were involved especially in Oradea and in the area south of the city, with episodic involvement in Salonta battle, Hungarian troops were involved heavily in Salonta city area and in the battles happened there.

Posted by: Agarici November 10, 2012 03:33 pm
It would be interesting to have some more detailed informations about the forces involved, their strenhgt and their actions in the field...

Posted by: aidan zea November 17, 2012 12:35 am
On 30 september 1944 receiving the mission to exploit their success after the release of Oradea city of soviet and romanian forces, an armored detachment of the 23. Panzer Division is moving south west on the road to Salonta, with 17 Panther tanks of the 23 PR (Tank Regiment) leading the way, along with armored halftracks of the PAA 23 (divisional Armored Reconnaissance Battalion) and followed by PGR 126 (Armored Grenadier Regiment) and PJA 128 (Tank Hunter Battalion). Despite a tenacious resistance put up by the "Tudor Vladimirescu" Infantry Division at Gepiu, she was badly hit, withdrawing its troops in disarray. In this battle 2 Panther tanks were damaged, and had to be withdrawn from combat. Losing a large number of men and equipment the "TV" Division was no longer organized a resistance at Inand but she was retreating its forces south of the canal (collector canal of the Cris) after blowing up the bridge linking the road to Salonta, in 31 september. The canal proved indeed an inpregnable tank obstacle so the german battle group stopped. An armored reconnaissance patrol of the PAA 23 found an intact bridge over the canal some 5 km north and secured it. In order not to reveal his intentions, the PGR 126 and PJA 128 concentrate his units on the roadway north of the blown bridge while the armored units rolled to Inand and than over the intact bridge found, advancing toward Madaras from the west. Even if Romanian troops responded immediately, sending troops and antitank guns in the endangered area, they were caught and badly hit by the german artillery (I. and III.Abt./PAR 128) but still put up heavy resistance. 11 antitank guns and 2 trucks were destroyed and some 250 romanian soldiers were killed or captured. The village was taken and then cleared by the following german infantry. Because Madaras village was captured by the germans before all troops from the main road could be retrated, some of them retreated on the field, heading to Salonta from the east. The western edge of Salonta was reached by the germans at dusk, after further attacks. From the south west, from the Sarkad area, elements of the hungarian 1st Armored Division have advanced rapidly towards Salonta, entering the city and penetrating through the centre. The "Tudor Vladimirescu" Infantry Division concentrated its forces in the fight against this new enemy (the hungarian armored division), but was soon overwhelmed so he prepared to withdraw eastward. But here they found themselves completely surprised by the german tanks and armored halftracks (who bypassed the city by the north in order to encircle the ennemy forces fighting in the town) so they retrated in panic to the south. Seven 76mm guns and 122mm howitzers were captured and 80 prisoners were taken. With the onset of darkness the main forces of the romanian division was able to get away to the south however. Because of the darkness the german armored detachment was moved back at Cefa where he rest and resupply, being prepared for new operations the next day.

Posted by: Dénes November 17, 2012 07:43 am
This is a great description of the battle. Thanks.

Gen. Dénes

Posted by: aidan zea November 17, 2012 09:36 am
Thank you Denes! I'm glad if what I posted is of interest.
As Salonta city was later defended by Hungarian forces against soviet-romanian attacks and the german 23. Panzer Division was displaced in another area, I can't describe the battles which took place later when the city fell in hand of soviet-romanian forces! My source is a book describing the battles fought by the 23. Panzer Division in WW2.

Posted by: aidan zea November 17, 2012 10:02 am
A brief off topic remark, that I bring for understanding the value of german troops (23. Panzer Division) who fought there: beyond the great experience gained in heavy fighting with the soviet forces on the Eastern Front, particullary in Ukraine, Moldova and Poland in 1943-1944, she was one of three panzer divisions on the eastern front that received a large number (over 200 tanks) of Panther tanks. Actually the 23 Panzer Division received over 300 Panther tanks from august 1943 to august 1944, which was the largest number of Panther tanks received by a Wehrmacht Panzer Division at the time (from all fronts)! In conclusion this Panzer Division was in autumn 1944 a formidable enemy, from which you could expect (if you were his enemy) to have "unpleasant experiences". So the failures in front of this unit are not shameful but perfectly explicable taking into account the above!

Posted by: Agarici November 18, 2012 11:20 am
aidan zea, thank you for your effort and for sharing the information!

Posted by: Taz1 November 19, 2012 01:38 pm
An interesting thing is the fact that 23 panzer division had a important number of captured russian armor t-34, SU-85.

Posted by: aidan zea November 19, 2012 07:03 pm
Thank you Taz1, it is true that the division used captured soviet T-34-76 md.1943 tanks and SU-85 md. 1943 self-propelled guns. These vehicles were used by the 2 Kp./Pz.Jg.Abt. 128. For instance in 30 may 1944 this company had 5 T-34-76 md.1943 tanks and 2 SU-85 md.1943 self-propelled guns, while in early august she had 7 T-34-76 md.1943 tanks and 3 SU-85 md.1943 self-propelled guns, with the new vehicles captured probably in Poland where the division was deployed and fight at that time!

Posted by: _Vik November 20, 2012 05:49 pm
This site,,has memoir of radioman258 regiment 78 Rifle Division.Boris Semov tells about conquest Salonta...."New order.We and romanian unit must force Carpathian Mts and take a town Salonta in deep rear of the enemy.Our troop crosses mountain creek on edge of a wood and Salonta stands before us.Reconnaissance showed that in range 5 km.the enemy didnt see.We must go 10-15 km.Enemy didnt resist almost.Our unit came in town in the evening.Garrison didnt resist much and capitulated.From the windows hanged white flags everywhere.Salonta was little,clean town,junction. After midnight shooting began.Bullets flew from windows of the lofts and basement ,some tanks creeped out from darkness.Command decided to leave Salonta ,only one battalion and one gun leaved to defence junction.Our troop went away in order.We lost 2-3 men and one gun.Our unit came back in town in the morning.We didnt to leave junction to enemy.Our regiment was some days in surrounding.We repulsed some attack.Afterwards tank unit came to help us.By that time main forces freed the roade to Oradea.My regiment participated in liberation of Oradea too." I shortened much text.This book has name in russian "Воспоминания фронтового радиста"Сёмов Борис Митрофанович.

Posted by: aidan zea November 20, 2012 09:38 pm
Thank you Vik, very interesting link!
But it is difficult to say how much of the text is some kind of "impressions of a journey" and how much is war! I do not know to what extent the soviet 78 Rifle Division was involved or not in heavy fightings for this city so I cant have an impression about the text! But it is interesting and useful to know this memories of a soldier involved in this battle!

Posted by: ANDREAS November 22, 2012 11:08 pm
Some of the 23 Panzer Division tanks withdrawn in Hungary, after the heavy battles in Romania (Turda and Oradea areas). There are Panther tanks model A, produced until early summer 1944. As many other Wehrmacht divisions in mid 1944 the 23 Panzer Division had two tank battalions of which one was based on Panther tanks. One such battalion should have 76 Panther tanks, but it is impossible to imagine that such a number could be achieved in summer-autumn 1944! I would think that something between 30 to 50% of this number would be possible for the 23. Panzer Division in early autumn 1944.

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