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> 1916 Romanian Southern Front, ... and the Battle from Turtucaia
Agarici
Posted: February 13, 2006 04:52 pm
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In spite of all the shortcomings of the Romanian military system from 1916 (already discussed up to the detail level on this forum), the turning point for the Romanian 1916 campaign could be without much controversy identified in the days of the battle from Turucaia. Many myths were created around this event, from those about the incompetence of some superior staff officers and the cowardly conduct of some commanders to the heroism of some units which fought to the last man and last cartridge and the bravery of some other officers from the field. Could we try to reconstitute what happened there and why was the battle lost?

Some of the causes mentioned are the lack of sufficient ammo for the Romanian troops (especially for the artillery), the precarious condition of the railway system in the area which prevented a quick redeployment of the troops and a fast movement of the supplies and reinforcements, the poor system of communications which allowed some commanders to panic and retreat at rumors that the enemy was infiltrated behind their defense lines (as it was the case, in the Southern part of the Dobrudjean front, with the evacuation of Balcic and Bazargic by the Romanian units), and the fact that the reinforcements were gradually introduced into the battle (the men being also exhausted after long marches), instead of creating a critical force which, entering in action in a decisive moment, could have equilibrated the balance. Could we say that a Romanian equivalent of the “Marne taxi-cabs episode" could have saved the situation?

I’m looking forward to see your opinions.

This post has been edited by Agarici on February 13, 2006 05:45 pm
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dragos03
Posted: February 13, 2006 06:05 pm
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A fascinating subject. I want to write an article about this battle soon, based on an excellent book that details all the phases of this battle.

In my opinion there are many causes for this defeat:
1. The incompetence of the commander of Turtucaia, Gen. Teodorescu. The plan for defense was a disaster. Teodorescu deployed his reserves piecemeal, in various sectors. This left him without reserves when the enemy broke the defensive ring.
Also, Teodorescu didn't have any control on the battle and didn't even attempt to coordinate the sectors. The counterattaks ordered by him were badly prepared, with minimal artillery support.
He was also a coward. He repeatedly reported the situation was critical even before the actual enemy attack had begun.

2. The incompetence of some of the sector commanders. Some forts were abandoned without being attacked, because the sector commanders were panicked by the situation in other areas.

3. The incompetence of other commanders on the Southern front. The relieving attack from Silistra was badly organised, a disaster. On the other hand, Russian General Zaioncikovski, the commander of the Russian-Romanian troops in Dobrogea, didn't obey the orders he received. Instead of advancing to Turtucaia, he tried to recapture Bazargic and valuable time was lost.

4. The inferiority of the Romanian artillery and the lack of shells. Some guns didn't fire a single shot during the whole battle. There was also no fire plan. While the Romanian artillery fired on various targets, the enemy heavy artillery was concentrated on the decisive sector, with decisive results.

5. The low quality of some of the troops defending the fortress. The militia batallions were completely useless in combat.

6. The low number of machineguns. Light guns (57mm) were used instead, with poor results.

7. Poor mobility of the Romanian artillery, which was towed by oxes, with local conductors. The conductors ran away at the start of the battle and the guns had to be abandoned when the enemy advanced.

8. Even if it was a "bridgehead", Turtucaia didn't have a bridge, which led to poor communications. It also affected the morale of the troops, knowing there was no way to retreat.
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Agarici
Posted: February 17, 2006 02:31 am
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In a previous post I was talking about some legends about that battle. One says that when the news about the fall of Turtucaia reached the Romanian army HQ, an older staff officer said: “It was just about the time… just about the time for a counter-offensive; those Bulgarians should learn that they cannot attack us and get away with it…” Among others, one of my former high-school History teachers mentioned this story.

Another legend was referring to the fact that some superior officers from the frontline did not at all give a good account of themselves. A friend of mine had a great-grandfather who was a colonel in Romanian army in WW1 and apparently fought at Turtucaia; “fought” is in fact a matter of speaking, because in his family’s “oral history” is retained the fact that he performed his mission without much honor, running away from the field…

This post has been edited by Agarici on February 17, 2006 04:27 pm
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petru
Posted: March 19, 2006 03:24 am
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In Turtucaia there were a number of units (militia) without any kind of combat value. Kiritescu mentions an incident involving them. A captain found a few soldiers at the bottom of a trench, scared to death. From time to time they were firing back vertically in the air because they were to scared to look outside. They were firing just to scare the Bulgarians.

Dragos covered pretty well the causes of the defeat.
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Carol I
Posted: March 19, 2006 11:08 am
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QUOTE (Agarici @ Feb 17 2006, 03:31 AM)
In a previous post I was talking about some legends about that battle. One says that when the news about the fall of Turtucaia reached the Romanian army HQ, an older staff officer said: “It was just about the time… just about the time for a counter-offensive; those Bulgarians should learn that they cannot attack us and get away with it…” Among others, one of my former high-school History teachers mentioned this story.

The event also appears in a short story by Gheorghe Brăescu: A căzut Turtucaia.
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Petre
Posted: April 19, 2012 08:46 am
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contras
Posted: April 19, 2012 09:22 pm
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I believe one of the best analysis about entire ww1 in Romania was made by general G. A. Dabija, Armata romana in razboiul mondial (1916-1918), 4 volumes with maps, interbelic edition.There are described very detailed all the battles and operations and analized very well.
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Petre
Posted: June 11, 2021 05:01 am
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Source : www.http://militera.lib.ru

A story with The Serbian Volonteer Division.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_uk0hWC3yD...iew?usp=sharing

This post has been edited by Petre on June 11, 2021 05:27 am
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