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> The Composition of the Romanian Army, 18th - 19th Centuries
DaciaJC
Posted: May 25, 2009 06:09 pm
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Hello. I'm wondering about the period from about 1740 to the mid 1800s, to be exact.

In particular, what were considered to be the strengths of the Romanian army in that period? Heavy infantry (musketeers), light skirmishing infantry, heavy cavalry, etc? Sources/links are very welcome. Specific unit names and/or pictures would be great as well.

If anybody cares to know, I'm attempting to create a Romanian civilization for the game Age of Empires III, and so I need some information on what units were considered to be the best in the Romanian army in that period.

Mulţumesc! :D
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Victor
Posted: May 25, 2009 07:22 pm
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Hello and welcome to the forum.

The answer is complicated, because there wasn't a permanent army during that timespan until the late 1820s.

Basically, during the late 18th century and early 19th century, the backbone of the military were the panduri recruited from the the mountainous counties of Oltenia. Usually they were raised during the Russo-Turkish wars and fought on the Christian side, but in one of the wars there were panduri units on the Ottoman side as well IIRC.

There were some attempts to form a permanent army in between the wars, but the Sultan obviously opposed the idea.
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DaciaJC
Posted: May 25, 2009 09:24 pm
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Ah, I see. And in what capacity did the panduri fight? Infantry, cavalry, a mix, or whatever was needed? I would assume the first option, as they sound like militia/levies more than anything else, but I would certainly like to know more.

And once a standing army had been developed, was the organization adopted off another country's model, or did Romania follow its own path?
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Victor
Posted: May 26, 2009 06:11 am
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The panduri were a mix of infantry and cavalry, depending on their possibilities. However, they fought mostly as infantry, as far as I can tell. Armament consisted of pistols, musket and curved swords or knives. They weren't exactly levies, because they received a pay for their services and in time they turned into semi-professional soldiers.
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21 inf
Posted: May 26, 2009 11:08 am
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In Transylvania in that period were raised some units consisting almost if not exclusively from romanian ranks. In this way, in early 1700's after austrian conquering of Transylvania were raised the first romanian border units (grentz regiment). Information about this first romanian grenz regiments are scarce in romanian literature, I found by now only two short references.

In midle 1700's started the raising of wallachisches (romanian) grenz regiments in Transylvania, which was raised entirely from romanian ranks, including even some high ranking oficers. They fought in napoleonic wars.

In middle 1800's this wallachisches grenz regiments were still existing and fought on austrian/romanian side in 1848-1849 revolution in Transylvania. Also, in 1848-49 in Transylvania fought against hungarian regular army and hungarian militia the romanian legions (militia).
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DaciaJC
Posted: May 26, 2009 05:05 pm
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QUOTE (Victor @ May 26, 2009 06:11 am)
The panduri were a mix of infantry and cavalry, depending on their possibilities. However, they fought mostly as infantry, as far as I can tell. Armament consisted of pistols, musket and curved swords or knives. They weren't exactly levies, because they received a pay for their services and in time they turned into semi-professional soldiers.

Thank you very much, Victor. This is precisely the type of information I need.

21 inf: could you please list those two references (their sources)? You have very interesting information there, and I'd like to follow up on it.

Oh, and if it isn't too much trouble, could someone point me towards the date when a permanent Romanian army was created and its organization?

Thank you all!

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21 inf
Posted: May 26, 2009 06:34 pm
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Hi, DaciaJC! The first reference about early 1700's romanian grenz regiments is Dan Ghinea, ''Enciclopedia geografică a României'', Editura Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 2000. The second one I have to search after it, cos I dont remember from memory were I red it these weeks.
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Victor
Posted: May 26, 2009 07:37 pm
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The modern Romanian Army was created in 1830.

In Oltenia, in April, there were six infantry battalions made up mostly of former panduri. Each battalion was made up of 3 officers, 6 NCOs and 120 soldiers. There were also six cavalry squadrons, each with one officer, 2 NCOs and 20 soldiers. They were all battle hardened veterans. The rest up to 4000 men had to be recruited from the Eastern part of Wallachia, from more "docile" peasants.

In Moldavia, in October, the army consisted of two infantry battalions (43 officers and 1120 soldiers) and two cavalry squadrons (15 officers and 164 soldiers). The army had been organized at a slower pace and lacked the experienced soldiers and officers of the Wallachian army.

From 1830 on there has always been a standing Romanian military force.

Prior to 1830, in the late 18th century and early 19th, there have been several periods during which there was a permanent Wallachian army, but it was usually disbanded after several years for different reasons. A lot could be written on this subject.
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Victor
Posted: May 26, 2009 07:45 pm
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QUOTE (DaciaJC @ May 26, 2009 07:05 pm)
21 inf: could you please list those two references (their sources)? You have very interesting information there, and I'd like to follow up on it.
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DaciaJC
  Posted: May 26, 2009 07:47 pm
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Thank you 21 inf and Victor. I have essentially all of the information I need now; the rest I should be able to dig up on my own.

Thanks once more.
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soare
Posted: June 16, 2009 11:52 pm
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There may be some book you may consider. Here is the link for its introduction : http://www.frontpress.ro/?p=1678

The book is written by Anatol Lescu and is named "Romanii in armata imperiala rusa".
It covers 17-th century till mid 19-th century and brings a very well documented and surprising part of our history as well as the early begining of the modern russian imperial army.

Some extra data :
Editura Militara 2005,
Tipografia Semne '94,
ISBN 973-32-0695-4

Hope the internet preview would be helpful and captivating in order to get and read the book.

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Dénes
Posted: June 17, 2009 05:37 am
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QUOTE
...opt generali de origina romana: generalul-locotenent Ilie Duca, generalul-lt. Nicolae Cretov (Cretu), general-lt. Grigori Lisanevici, general-maior Andrei Efimovici, general-maior Gherasim Sostac , general-maior Daniil Suhan, general-maior Toma Nanii si general-maior Anastasie Iurcovschi.

Very interesting topic, indeed. However, I am wondering what qualifies them as Rumanians? I am asking this, becasue based on how their names sound the majority of them doesn't appear to be Rumanian.

Gen. Dénes

This post has been edited by Dénes on June 17, 2009 05:38 am
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Victor
Posted: June 17, 2009 07:43 am
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QUOTE (soare @ June 17, 2009 01:52 am)
There may be some book you may consider. Here is the link for its introduction : http://www.frontpress.ro/?p=1678

The book is written by Anatol Lescu and is named "Romanii in armata imperiala rusa".
It covers 17-th century till mid 19-th century and brings a very well documented and surprising part of our history as well as the early begining of the modern russian imperial army.

Some extra data :
Editura Militara 2005,
Tipografia Semne '94,
ISBN 973-32-0695-4

Hope the internet preview would be helpful and captivating in order to get and read the book.

The book is indeed interesting. I only read the beginning some while ago and left it on the "waiting list". However, these units weren't in any way linked with the Romanian army.
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soare
Posted: June 18, 2009 03:39 am
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@ Denes

The "doubt" about the non-romanian names can be easily removed if you read the book.
I'll give here :
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/1231/volohi1.jpg
and here
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/6194/volohi2.jpg
some examples. And to sum up all of this, i will present some reasons for those :
1. Then ( even now ), not everybody was cosmopolit and cult; for most of the people was easier to refer to foreigners with domestic names ( Ivan instead of Ion ) and so forth.
2. It's a fact the imigrants in a country try instictivly to blend in by aquiring or translating their names to local ones. This can be even more important if that person is acceeding the high society ( as generals ).
3. About that time ( maybe later, as can be read in the book ) the russians began a process of asimilation for the settlers ( westerners ) and other population they had.
A comomn and painfull example for us, romanians is also the magyarisation it took part wherever hungarian administration were at full force ( mostly Transylvanian provinces ).
4. The author did a very extensive research and the book has a plethora of footnotes regarding the archives ( mostly russian ones ). I'm sure he did his assumptions based on his work, not on his heart.

@ Victor
If you take into account the romanian catholic-converted border patrols of the austro-hungarian empire which 21inf mentioned , then please accept "my" moldo-walachian army of the russian empire.
They were not just some mercenaries for some reasons :
1. The units were made of in huge proportions by romanians.
2. In the first century of existence, the romanian was the language of their soldiers - neither were forced into learning russian ( as they had romanian officers ) nor they even knew the local language ( the first example i gave is quite explicit on this ).
3. In the second example I gave it's obvious they preserved even their customs : the privilege of the hat bearers is one dear to us, romanians and spins up till our ancestors, the geto-dacs.

Bottom line, i was impressed of what happend "on the other side" and how many of romanians were driven out by the economical and even religious hardships to Russia.

In my opinion, these coins
http://romaniancoins.ancients.info/sadagura.htm
also owns it's existance to romanian troopers in the imperial army.
Furthermore, in the Lescu's book we can find the unique interaction between panduri ( the restless militia ) and the romanians of the Imperial army.
I only hope i said enough to lure you into reading this book.

PS:Quite often i heard the president Putin had some romanian blood - this was such a hilarious news till reading this book deemd it plausible.
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Agarici
Posted: July 07, 2009 01:53 pm
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QUOTE (DaciaJC @ May 25, 2009 06:09 pm)
Hello. I'm wondering about the period from about 1740 to the mid 1800s, to be exact.

In particular, what were considered to be the strengths of the Romanian army in that period? Heavy infantry (musketeers), light skirmishing infantry, heavy cavalry, etc? Sources/links are very welcome. Specific unit names and/or pictures would be great as well.

If anybody cares to know, I'm attempting to create a Romanian civilization for the game Age of Empires III, and so I need some information on what units were considered to be the best in the Romanian army in that period.

Mulţumesc!  :D


In answer to your question, and as an addition to what other people said, a few more aspects; the main source is Istoria militara a poporului român (volume III), Bucureşti, Editura Militară, 1987. As you can see, the things are far more complex.

In the beginning of the XVIIIth century, the Wallachian and Moldavian armies switched from the feudal to the territorial basis (local and paid - or excepted from various public duties in exchange for their service). Few formations were “national” (in the sense of ramification at the entire teritory); also, some (even if composed by Romanians - Moldavians, Walachians) were of the mercenary type (non-local and paid). This diversification was in exchange accompanied by an uniformization of their military role - (light) infantry and cavalry - regardless their name and uniforms. Also the weapon types used were more or less uniform: white weapons (sabii, iatagane, hangere, pumnale - sabers, half-swords, daggers), usually of the Ottoman type, plus muskets (pusti, flinte) and pistols. The costumes were in majority oriental (probably excepting the mercenary units of Western inspiration), but with strong/visible national/local influence; they were functional, far from being uniform but having a set of common traits from the members of the respective corps. It is difficult to make accurate (and documented) detailed descriptions or to identify images with their appearance.

There were some common and some specific unit types in the two principalities. The common types tended to be puscaşii (darabanii, dorobanţii) - infantry musketeers/ fussilers inherited from the XVIIth century, puşcaşii tufeccii (a new subtype, better paied, depending directly on the princiar court), călăraşii (cavalry), vânătorii (the equivalent of the future chasseurs) - musket infantry princiary guards, part of them cavalry, dragonii (drăgani in Moldavia) - dragoons of western inspiration, trained to serve both on horse and on foot. The former category of mazili/mazâli (medium cavalry of noble descent) was transformed into a new light cavalry type responsible with guarding the supplies&army camps and securing the communications during the wars. Another common type was the plăieşi (called străjeri in Moldavia, until the half of the XVIII century) - territorial frontier-guards.

Some new special units have also appeared, including the Ottoman inspired satâri/satârgii (axe-armed prince personal bodyguards, from satâr = axe, Romanian term of Turkish origin) and fustaşi (pikemen, infantry lancers) guarding princiary court and family and the treasury; at least for the latter category, the use of their specific weapon war reserved for ceremonial duties. There were also baltagarii/baltagii (from baltag, small axe), units responsible for preparing, reparing and supervising the roads - a sort of forerunners of the future military engineers.

The corps specific for each principalty were in Moldavia panţârii (probably an inspiration and adaptation from the Polish armoured XVI-XVII century hussars), which were considered effective especially against the Tartars and until towards mid-XVIII centry were organized as armoured (long mail coat, metal helmet) cavalry and joimirii roşii (red joimiri, named after the colour of their bonet) - cavalry, former Moldavian mercenary in Poland. In Wallachia can be mentioned catanele/cătanele (infantry mercenary from Transylvania or Hungary, catana = soldier in Hungarian), haiducii predaţi (also called simply predaţi) in Oltenia (surendered haidoucs/outlaws).

While the above categories had mainly military/guard duties, there were also some corps having mostly (but not exclussively) police duties. These were slujitorii and seimenii (in both principalities), serving part of them on foot and part of them on horse (the horse Moldavian seimeni functioning also as fiscal police) and poteraşii in Wallachia.

Last but not least among the other corps, there were the (most visible and well known until today) arnăuţi, albanians and romanians prince mercenary guards. It worth mentioning that initially they did not have police duties, but towards the XIXth century some of them started to be delegated to boyars’ courts, monasteries and agii (agă = police officer). Entirely a cavalry corps in the beginning, increasing their effectives in time of war, toward the end of the XVIIIth century they served part on horse part as infantry.

Few final words about effectives and organization; during the entire period, the effectives were generally reduced, and increased in time of conflict, depending on the specific context. Each of the corps consisted in few/some/many (and at least one) steaguri/steag (banners), usually each commanded by a polcovnic (colonel, Russian influence). So, roughly, we could say that the steaguri were the equivalents of regiments.

As for the panduri, as far as I know they were NOT an organic part of Wallachian army until 1821. The corps itself was probably inherited from the period of Habsburgic occupation of Oltenia (first half of the XVIII century), being similar in name and tactics with the irregulars recruited by the Austrian empire from the Balkans (pandours). After the Austrian occupation, its members served in various wars as volunteers against the Turks in the Austrian or Russian armies.

NOTE: all of the above concern the period BEFORE 1821 (1830).

This post has been edited by Agarici on July 07, 2009 02:17 pm
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