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> Romanian Army During the Cold War
Posted: November 28, 2003 06:58 pm
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Inahurry said:

As for what happened in December 1989 and after, culminating with March 1990 and the (little known) army intervention at Tirgu Mures without explicit order from the political leaders, I think, like it or not, we’ll be forced to wait for more relaxed times to sort it out.

Can you (or anybody) please post a brief summary of what happened? I've heard something about those events, but this was a while ago and I only vaguely remember it.

I really am interested in finding out more about it (there's no irony or trick question here).

Thanks in advance.
Posted: November 28, 2003 07:52 pm
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I cannot say how it differed from the Red Army, because I am not familiar with its organization during the Cold War. But I can say a few words on the Romanian army in that period.

After the initial period of purges (of the royal army officers) and the copying of the Soviet model, from the late 50s and early 60s things started to change. The system of military regions adopted in 1947 was replaced by the recreation of the army commands. The NCO corps was also recreated, as were the NCO schools, which led to better trained and more capable NCOs. An air defense command was also formed in 1956, to better coordinate the available resources.

The Patriotic Guards comprised theoretically of every man (under 60) or woman (under 55), who had received some mandatory military training. The detachments were under the command of the Communist Party structures and were led by reserve officers and NCOs.
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Posted: November 29, 2003 02:53 am
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In my opinion the Romanian army of that era was well oversized. Most of the regular troops were used in agricultural work, and they were in general pretty low quality. Probably there were some military units better trained and on combat readiness. The Securitate units were much better equipped and trained. Probably some units like the paratroopers or the mountain troops which were considered a kind of elite had a better training. I think there were also some big mechanized units which had a number of tanks on combat readiness. A petty officer was telling me that there tanks used for training and the same number of tanks (there were 20 in that unit) sealed and ready for action anytime.

In terms of weaponry the main battle tank was the T-55 for a long time. At revolution there was a number of T-72 (I have heard of 30, but I don’t know the numbers). I don’t know whether TR-85 a drastically change of the T-55, equipped with a longer gun were available in any number in 1989. There were some good Romanian made helicopters, but there were no ground attack helicopters (like the American Cobra) as Soviet Union was reluctant to provide that kind of weapon to Romania. There were not too many offensive weapons in Romania. Today there is a program meant to update the Romanian helicopters and to give them some antitank capabilities, but this is not a new helicopter designed for the sole purpose of destroying tanks.
Posted: December 01, 2003 09:24 pm
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Thanks for all the imput on the paranoia question.
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Posted: December 04, 2003 11:58 pm
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Thanks for the replies - though I'm not sure I needed to know quite that much about Romanian ethnicography :)

Two posters mention tank units with 20 or 24 tanks. Standard Soviet tank battalions had 30 tanks since the 60's, before that 21 tanks. Does anyone know how many were supposed to be in aRomanian battalion?


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Posted: February 24, 2004 10:06 pm
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But was there a serious threat from Bulgaria & Hungary or was it just paranoia?

In my opinion it wasn't just paranoia. No actual armed conflicts started, but there was a tension, mostly with Hungary. What really prevented the real conflict was that the Soviets were pulling the strings in the area and they didn't want a conflict here.
At the Romanian Revolution it was a short period when Hungary could attack Romania, so in Transilvania county many units were kept in high allert till march '90. Fortunately the Hungarian leaders were wise enough to ignore the opinions of the Hungarian nationalists and other extremist fractions they had than.

You see, there are about 3 milion Hungarians in Romania, over 90% of them in Transilvania, where they make about 40% of the population. There are also more than half a milion Romanians in Hungary. You can imagine that such a population distribution does create some problems. But a very important thing to underline here is that the majority of the conflicts that happened throughout history between the 2 nations were started by external political interests or small groups of extremists that rised occasionally on one side or the other. The "historical dispute" between our 2 nations is more or less missunderstood history and propaganda.
Even now there are a few fools in both Romania and Hungary that live with this anachronic idea of nationalist conflict, but the large majority does not aprove their ideas. Maybe more than 99 of 100 ethnic Hungarians in Romania don't give a damn about those ideas and consider themselves Romanian citisen, being rather proud of that. The same is valid regarding Romanians living in Hungary. Of course, in any group of people there are some that can't live without blaming someone else for their lack of prosperity, but fortunately they have no significant influence.
Today the Romanian and the Hungarian peole try hard to create a better future for their children and the territorial dispute was left where it should be, in the dark history.

Im agree with you :cheers: .
What about the hungarian - romanian batallion ?

I read in at interview with gen Gusa who was the comander (legaly) of the romanian army in december 89 that in 89 the soviet troops from Hungary was changet their position in order to have a better offensive possitions against Romania. Also, in autumn of 89 was a few violations of romanian aerian space by some simulated aircrafts from south and west ... evidently preparations from the large scale simulated atacks from december ...
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Posted: October 14, 2004 09:44 am
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It is a pity that nobody has answered here the initial question: How was the Romanian Army being organized during the Cold War?

Posted: June 23, 2006 03:55 pm
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QUOTE (Geto-Dacul @ Nov 27 2003, 03:27 PM)
Yes, the Romanian Army was a strong one in the 60s and 70s, and even during the 80s. She was organized to be superior to both Hungary and Bulgaria together. The role of Romania was to be able to resist to a Hungarian-Bulgarian attack...

With the economic crisis of the 80s (which BTW affected the entire world, not just Romania), there were less founds for modernization. But the Romanian Army was still superior to its Hungarian and Bulgarian neighbours...

I just stumbled on some numbers that put Getu's opinion in doubt.

In 1981 Romania had 1,980 tanks, while Bulgaria had 2,060 and Hungary 1,230.
In 1987 Romania had only 1,430 tanks, Bulgaria 2,100 and Hungary 1,300.
Obviously Romanian panzer forces were not at all superior to Hungary and Bulgaria taken together.
Qualitatively, in the same period Romania added 50 new tanks to its armoured forces (probably T-72s?), while Bulgaria added 140, and Hungary 70.
Posted: June 24, 2006 04:45 pm
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To answer BobM's initial question:

I found some information about the Romanian army in "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Strategy, Tactics and Weapons of Russian Military Power" published in 1982 by Bonanza Books and edited by Ray Bonds.

In discussing the Warsaw Pact countries the author underlines the contrast between the "northern tier" (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany) and the "southern tier" (Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria). About Romania he states:

"Rumania has worked hard to loosen these ties (with the Soviet Union), refusing to remove Rumanian troops from tight national control and resisting all attempts at Soviet military integration, least of all having Soviet troops even on exercise on Rumanian territory. The Rumanian army, in urgent need of modern weapons, comprises two tank divisions and seven motor-rifle divisions, two Alpine brigades and an airborne brigade, with about 1,700 tanks: the airforce, which has a small amount of western equipment and is developing a joint Rumanian-Yugoslave fighter, amounts to about 430 aircraft. The Rumanian navy is a light costal defence force with six corvettes, minesweepers and fast patrol boats."

Posted: June 24, 2006 04:46 pm
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The author provides a rather comprehensive table of equipment in use by the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. One part of this table describes the “priority allotted to Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact armies for quality/ quantity of equipment supplied by the USSR. (The figures indicate total equipment to date, not during the year in question)”

1 Poland
2 Czech
3 Bulgaria
4 Hungary
5 Romania
6 E. Germany

1 Czech
2 Poland
3 Hungary
4 Bulgaria
5 E. Germany
6 Romania

1 Poland
2 Czech
3 Hungary
4 E. Germany
5 Bulgaria
6 Romania

1 Poland
2 E. Germany
3 Czech
4 Bulgaria
5 Hungary
6 Romania

He adds: “the low positions of Czechoslovakia and Hungary on the list reflect the large amount of equipment produced for these armies in Eastern European arms factories. In effect, of all East European armies, only Romania’s was not fully modernized by early 1976. The improvement in East German Army’s equipment was most marked of all the Warsaw Pact Armies.”

Posted: June 24, 2006 04:48 pm
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Total Armed Forces
167,000 MOD troops, 45,000 Border troops and Ministry of Interior troops, 700,000 Volunteer militia, 500,000 Reserves

Ground Forces
139,000 (16-months National Service Period)

Romania is the only Warsaw Pact country to have reduced its defence expenditure over the past 5 years, and her army is deficient in many items of modern equipment. There is little domestic production of AFVs. The BTR-60 has recently been produced under licence.
2 Tank Divs.; 8 Motor Rifle Divs.; 2 mountain regiments; 1 Airborne battalion (40 percent at full strength; 60 per cent at 50 to 30 per cent strength.)

Weapons Equipment
Tanks: T-55/ T-54, T-34 1,800
Battle Recce vehicles: BTR-40, PT-76, OT-65
APCs: BTR-50, 60, 152; OT-810, 62 300
Artillery: 76mm, 85mm, 100mm, 122mm, 130mm, 152mm guns;
85mm and 100mm obsolescent SP guns;
120mm mortars;
132mm Czech MBRL
Frog 4, Scud A SSM
57mm, 85mm, 100mm A-Tk guns;
Snapper and Sagger ATGW
ZSU 57-2 SPAA guns
37, 57 and 100 mm AA guns.

Frontal Aviation
12 Hound Helicopters; 180 FGA aircraft – MiG 15/17/19/21; 30 Transport aircraft (Il 14 and Il 18).”

Comparably Hungary and Bulgaria are listed as having similar number of tanks but these two have significantly more armored vehicles (2,200 – Hungary, 2000 – Bulgaria). The Romanian Air force appears to be somewhat larger, but similarly equipped.

Posted: June 26, 2006 07:54 am
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We have ZSU-57/2?

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Posted: June 26, 2006 08:14 am
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QUOTE (Iamandi @ Jun 26 2006, 07:54 AM)
We have ZSU-57/2?


Army Recon says we have. What numbers, don't know
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Posted: November 19, 2006 12:45 am
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Hi, guys
I'm new here, so want to appologise if I spoil your discussion with my question. I'm making a naval history sait. You may see it here - He is in bulgarian only for now, but he is orientated on the bulgarian users on the first place. Writing for our corvetes clss Poti I couldn't find all the numbers of soviet ships sold in Bulgaria. I know that Romania receive 3 ships of this class. Does anybody know the numbers of soviet ships sold to Romania. That will help me to specify nomber of bulgarian ships using Berejnoy's reference book for a small patrol and antisubmarine vessels.
About the Bulgarian threat to Romania from 50's to 80's I think it's more paranoia than reality. Bulgarian army were orientated from 1944 to 90's against Turkey and Greace. In Northen Bulgaria were not infantry or tank divisions. Thay were lokated in south Bulgaria. And all of the millitary exercises that are lead espetially in 80's are orientated in south.

This post has been edited by Odzava on November 19, 2006 12:46 am
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Posted: December 27, 2007 02:39 pm
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QUOTE (serban @ June 24, 2006 04:48 pm)

Total Armed Forces
167,000 MOD troops, 45,000 Border troops and Ministry of Interior troops, 700,000 Volunteer militia, 500,000 Reserves

Ground Forces
139,000 (16-months National Service Period)

[edited out]

2 Tank Divs.; 8 Motor Rifle Divs.; 2 mountain regiments; 1 Airborne battalion (40 percent at full strength; 60 per cent at 50 to 30 per cent strength.)
[edited out]



Sorry to ressurect a near-dead thread, but I'd like your feedback and corrections on what I've been able to dig up on the Romanian Army during the Cold War. I've got the outline of an order of battle at the time of the Revolution in 1989. If you could let me know of any errors, additions or other information (like what equipment types units had), that would be great. And if someone has pointers on where to find more complete information, I'd appreciate that too. So here goes what I've found so far:

Central Reporting ???:

30th Guards Rgt (Bucharest): 2 mech inf bns (TAB-77), 1 SF co

Brigada 2 Vanatori de Munte "Sarmizegetusa" (2nd Mtn Brigade) - Brasov 20th, 21st & 22nd Mountain Hunter Bns

Brigada 61 Vanatori de Munte (61st Mtn Brigade) - Miercurea Ciuc
Brigada 1 Vanatori de Munte (1st Mtn Brigade) - ???

Brigada 4 Vanatori de Munte (4th Mtn Brigade) (Curtea de Arges) 33rd VM Battalion

Brigăzii 3 Paraşutişti HQ for para rgts???
Regimentul 6 Parasutisti? - Câmpia Turzii?
Regimentul 56 Parasutisti - Caracal
Regimentul 60 Parashuti Rgt "Bãneasa-Otopeni" - Boteni
Regimentul 64 Parasutisti - Buzau

1st Army: HQ Bucharest

1st Border Guard Rgt (Brigazii 1 Graniceri) - Giugiu

Divizia 1 Mecanizată (Bucharest)
1st Mech Rgt
2nd Mech Rgt
3rd Mech Rgt?
20th Tank Rgt - Pantelimon: TR-580
333rd AA Bn

Divizia 57 Blindate (57th Armored Div) - Pitesti?
Regimentul 22 tancuri (Ploesti or Pitesti?)
Regimentul 7 Mecanizat - Prahova
96th Artillery Rgt??? - Pitesti????

2nd Army: HQ Buzua

32nd Operational-Tactical Missile Bde (Brigazii de Rachete Operativ-Tactice) (Tecuci): 8 SCUD-A
10th Engineer Bde (Braila?)
3rd Border Guard Bde (Brigazii 3 Graniceri) - Iasi
Brigăzii/Rgt 17 Artilerie (Barlad)
202nd Chemical Defense Bn (Batalionul 202 Protectie Antichimica) (Husi)

8th Artillery Cannon Brigade (Focsani):
1st Heavy Artillery Rgt: D-20 howitzers
15th Heavy Artillery Rgt

Diviziei 67 Mecanizate (Braila)
282nd Mech Rgt (Focsani)
267th Tank Rgt (Galati) - Bn strength???
Batalionul 528 Cercetare (528 Recon Bn) - Braila
3rd AA Misile Bn (Divizionului 3 Rachete Antiaeriene) - Brãila

Diviziei 10 Mecanizate "Ştefan cel Mare" (Iaşi)
Regimentul 33 mecanizat "Alexandru cel Bun" (Botoşani)
15th Mech Rgt "Razboieni"(Iasi)
Regimentului 38 mec (Piatra Neamt)

Diviziei 9 Mecanizată (Constanta)
34th Mech Rgt (Topraisar)
Regimentului 36 mecanizat "Vasile Lupu" - Harsova, Constanta county
Regimentul 10 Mecanizat - Slobozia
Regimentul 18 Tancuri (Basarabi) T-55/TR-85

3rd Army: HQ Craiova

49th Chemical Protection Bn (Batalionul 49 Protectie Antichimicã) (Pitesti)
9th Border Guard Brigade (Brigazii 9 Graniceri) - Timisoara

Diviziei 18 Mecanizate "Decebal" (Timisoara)
Regimentul 32 Mecanizat "Mircea" - Timisoara
Regimentul 90 Mechanizat - Lugoj
Regimentul 106 Mecanizat
Batalionului 169 Cercetare (169th Recon Bn)
34th AA Bn
Unidentified Rgt (Chisoda) - or is this the 32nd Rgt??

Diviziei 90 Mecanizată or is it Diviziei 19 Mecanizată "Ziridava" (Craiova)?
Regimentul 114 Mecanizat "Rahova" - Vanju Mare
Regimentului 26 Mecanizat “Rovine” - Craiova

4th Army: HQ Cluj-Napocal

37th Operational-Tactical Missile Bde (Ineu): 8 SCUD-A
Regimentul 50 Rachete Antiaeriene ,"Andrei Muresanu" - Clujol

Brigada 5 Vanatori de Munte (5th Mountain Brigade) - Alba Iulia
26th VM Bn (Brad)

69th Artillery Brigade (Şimleu Silvaniei)??
Regimentul 7 Artilerie
Regimentul 612 Artilerie Antitanc - 612th AT Rgt. (Baia Mare?)

Divizia 6 Tancuri "Horia,Cloşca şi Crişan" (Târgu Mureş)
Regimentul 2 Tancuri (Târgu Mureş)
Regimentul 6 Tancuri "Ion Buteanu"???
Regimentul 51 Tancuri??? - Turda???
Regimentul 227 Mecanizat - Someseni/Cluj

Diviziei 11 Mecanizate "Carei" (Oradea)
19th Mech Rgt (Arad)
U/I Tank Rgt (Oradea)
58th AA Bn (Oradea)??
119th Recon Battalion (Oradea)???

Divizia 81 Mecanizată (Dej)
Regimentului 315 Artilerie?
Unidentified Mech Rgt (Bistrita)
Batalionul 55 Rachete si Artilerie Antiaeriana (Dej)????

Units needing locations & HQs:

Regimentul 60
Regimentul 84 Grăniceri "Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfânt”
Batalionul de Infanterie Marina, Babadag, Tulcea

Special MP Unit 67 (Bucharest)
Batalionul 452 Constructii Locuinte (452nd Engineer Bn)
Infantry units: (some may be post-Cold War units)
Batalionului 2 Infanterie
Batalionului 3 Infanterie
Regimentul 4 Mecanizat
Batalionului 21 Infanterie
Batalionului 23 Infanterie
Batalionului/Rgt 29 Infanterie
Regimentul 31 Infanterie Mecanizata
Brigăzii/Rgt 33 Mecanizată
Brigăzii/Rgt 40 Mecanizate
Batalionului 42 Infanterie
Brigăzii/Rgt 85 Infanterie
Brigade/Rgt 95 Infanterie
Regimentul 148 "Mihai Viteazul" (may not exist)
Batalionului 151 Infanterie
156 Mech Rgt
Batalionului/Rgt 191 Infanterie - Arad??
Brigăzii/Rgt 230 Infanterie Moto
Batalionului 231 Infanterie
Batalionului/Rgt 256 Infanterie
Regimentul 301 Mecanizat

Tank units:

Regimentul 1 tancuri
Batalionului 1 Tancuri
Brigăzii/Rgt 5 Tancuri
Brigăzii/Rgt 7 Tancuri
Brigăzii/Rgt 63 Tancuri
Regimentul 68 Tancuri - bn strength
Batalionului 633 Tancuri - 3rd Bn, 63rd Tank Rgt???

Artillery Units:
Brigăzii/Rgt 1 Artilerie
Brigăzii/Rgt 13 Artilerie
Regimentul 17 Rachete Semenic (Reşiţa)
43 Arty Bde
295th Artillery Rgt - 122mm howitzers

Anti-tank units:
Brigăzii/Rgt 9 Artilerie Antitanc
Divizionului 12 Artilerie Antitanc
Brigăzii/Rgt 24 Artilerie Antitanc
Brigăzii/Rgt 29 Artilerie Antitanc
Brigăzii/Rgt 65 Artilerie Antitanc
Brigăzii/Rgt 79 Artilerie Antitanc
Regimentul 82 Artilierie Antitanc

Anti-aircraft units (some may be national air defense forces):
Brigăzii/Rgt 1 Rachete Antiaeriene Mixtă
4th AA Bde
5th AA Bde
6th AA Bde
Regimentul 12 Rachete Antiaeriene (Galati)
Brigăzii 14 Artilerie Antiaeriană
Regimentului 15 Rachete Antiaeriene
Regimentului 17 Rachete Antiaeriene
regiment 47 de artilerie antiaerianã
48th SAM Rgt
Regimentului 51 Rachete Antiaeriene
Regimentului 53 Rachete Antiaeriene
Regimentului 137 Artilerie Antiaeriană
Regimentului 164 Artilerie Antiaeriană
Divizionul 205 Artilerie Antiaerianã

Recon units:
Batalionului 185 Cercetare
Batalion 313 Cercetare
Batalion 317 Cercetare
Batalion 404 Cercetare
Batalionului 422 Cercetare

Engineer unit:
Regimentului 3 Geniu
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