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> The Charge of Robanesti
Victor
Posted: January 15, 2011 11:07 am
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On 7/20 November 1916, the 2nd Rosiori Brigade (4th and 9th Regiments) was in Caracal. It received the mission to cover the left wing of the 1/17th Infantry Division that was retreating from Craiova to Slatina. Thus they advanced on the road from Caracal to Pielesti (which is just East of Craiova on the main road to Slatina). The brigade ran into serious opposition near the Parsani Forest and Robanesti, where two battalions of the 11th Bavarian Division were entrenched. The 4th Rosiori Regiment dismounted and attempted in vain to dislodge the Germans. The 9th tried to outflank the right wing of the enemy without success because of the German battery at the edge of the Parsani Forest.

Thus col. Calinescu ordered the 3rd Squadron to charge the battery. The squadron commanded by cpt. Filitti consisted of 110 sabres. Lt. Mora and lt. Rosca also joined the squadron for the charge.

The rosiori line with the lances up started to march, then trotted and finally in gallop. The German artillerymen quickly retreated behind the infantry as the cavalry approached with the lances forward. A machine-gun camouflaged in a hay stack and an infantry company in two lines, one kneeling and the other standing, by the main road, opened fire on the rosiori. More than 30 men were killed and many more were wounded, including cpt. Filitti. The charge was broken off and the 2nd Brigade started to retreat towards Bals.

The monument at Robanesti.
(IMG:http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/3123/robanesti1.jpg)
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Victor
Posted: January 15, 2011 11:45 am
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The plaque mentioning the charge led by cpt. Filitti:
(IMG:http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/745/robanesti2.jpg)

The list of the rosiori that died in the charge (from the 3rd Squadron of the 9th Regiment):
(IMG:http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/9392/robanesti3.jpg)

The list of the men from the 4th Rosiori Regiment that died in the fighting with the Bavarian infantry prior to the charge:
(IMG:http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/92/robanesti4.jpg)

(IMG:http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/4739/robanesti5.jpg)
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21 inf
Posted: January 15, 2011 01:06 pm
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In this charge was killed also a veteran of 1877 Romanian Independence War?
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Victor
Posted: January 15, 2011 01:44 pm
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Yes. He was a volunteer. According to Kiritescu he did not draw the sword, not wanting to commit any great sin so late in his life. Anyway he wouldn't even have gotten the chance to.
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21 inf
Posted: January 15, 2011 02:24 pm
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Yes, I also read that he charged waving his hat. I think they knew that they charge a line of enemy machineguns and that they have zero chances to survive, their mission was only to buy time for the rest of the troops. A grim aftermath (at least i read in a source about it) is that romanian soldiers who died on that charge were stripped of their clothes and boots by romanian peasants from the near-by area.
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dragos
Posted: January 15, 2011 06:49 pm
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QUOTE (21 inf @ January 15, 2011 04:24 pm)
I think they knew that they charge a line of enemy machineguns and that they have zero chances to survive, their mission was only to buy time for the rest of the troops.

The bigger picture is not clear to me, but the description makes me question the competency of Col. Calinescu (commander of 9th Regiment?)

Charging mounted a battery protected by an infantry company is sheer stupidity. Victor's description makes me think they were somehow unaware of the enemy strength.

Also the result of this charge is not clear to me. It seems the battery remained intact, just put out of action for a short period of time. Did this achieved anything?
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21 inf
Posted: January 15, 2011 07:56 pm
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I can't tell if they knew exactly what they atacked, but I think they knew that they have a strong enemy position in their front. As far as I know, they were aware that they will die, they just tried to keep busy the enemy as long as they can, in order not to let them catch from behind the retreating romanian bulk.

I know about a similar somehow mission from 1917 from moldavian front, when the unit of colonel Rasoviceanu had to charge the enemy line of trenches in order to prevent their movement toward a neighbouring gap made by the germans in the romanian lines. When ordered to atack, colonel Rasoviceanu protested, telling to his superiors that the atack will be 100% suicide. He was ordered again to atack, because it was needed to buy time for romanian reinforcements to arive to the gap in order to close it. The unit of colonel Rasoviceanu atacked, suffering around 500 casualties, dead and wounded. After the battle, colonel Rasoviceanu wandered on the field mourning his soldiers and asking them to forgive him cos he killed them.

A similar case might be the case of captain Ignat, comanding a machinegun subunit, ordered to buy time in his position from cota 100-and-some from Marasesti, until reinforcement arived were they were needed. All men from this machinegun unit died, including captain Ignat.
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contras
Posted: January 15, 2011 08:14 pm
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QUOTE
A similar case might be the case of captain Ignat, comanding a machinegun subunit, ordered to buy time in his position from cota 100-and-some from Marasesti, until reinforcement arived were they were needed. All men from this machinegun unit died, including captain Ignat.


At captain Ignat case, is a different story, cos he defending his position, not charghing a better entrenched enemy. He stayed and fight until last man, to let the reinforcements arrived and mantain his position. Otherwise, his resistance was important, the reinforcements arrived on time, but too late to save Ignat and his men. They find captain Ignat dead over his machine-gun, all his men dead, and many enemies killed around them.
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dragos
Posted: January 15, 2011 09:09 pm
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QUOTE (21 inf @ January 15, 2011 09:56 pm)
I can't tell if they knew exactly what they atacked, but I think they knew that they have a strong enemy position in their front. As far as I know, they were aware that they will die, they just tried to keep busy the enemy as long as they can, in order not to let them catch from behind the retreating romanian bulk.

Charging mounted the battery was not going to buy time unless they intended to destroy that battery. If that goal was not achieved, the action probably cost more lives than it has saved.
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21 inf
Posted: January 15, 2011 10:38 pm
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The idea of all cases is the same, buying time, but in diferent ways: Ignat buyed time defending a position, Rasoviceanu by keeping busy some enemies and at Robanesti the intention could have been mostly the same, keep busy the pursuing enemy, but not the artilery battery, as it is known that the artilery does never chase the routed enemy. The simple disorganisation of the pursuing enemy force and not necesarilly the destruction of it, could buy some precious minutes in some cases. Time is the most precious resource in war and it is not regenerable.

Maybe the intended objective of Robanesti charge was to keep busy the enemy infantry. The deflection of the initial direction of charge, due to that enemy batery, might be a sign that the atackers didnt knew about it from the begining. It is not imposible that the atackers were ordered to directly atack the enemy artilery, they obeyed orders against any odds and change direction during atack when they couldnt stay in the fire. It wouldnt be the first case when a troop is pushed forward against any odds of survival.

Also, another scenario could be as well the stupidity of the higher ranking officers, which was quite often seen in wars and the ww1 for romanians doesnt make an exception.
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dragos
Posted: January 15, 2011 10:56 pm
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Best I could find is this
http://www.gds.ro/Comunitate/2007-11-19/Sa...de+la+Robanesti

It appears the artillery was harassing the retreating Romanian troops, and the charge targeted the battery only.
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Agarici
Posted: January 15, 2011 11:46 pm
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Even more impressive in terms of numbers involved and losses was the cavalry charge at Prunaru (see the photo). Col. Naumescu, the regiment CO, rode and was killed in front of his men.

A decent account of it can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunaru_Charge Even if it is Wikipedia, the sources and the story are OK.

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Victor
Posted: January 16, 2011 08:41 am
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QUOTE (Agarici @ January 16, 2011 01:46 am)
A decent account of it can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunaru_Charge Even if it is Wikipedia, the sources and the story are OK.

A cavalry regiment did not have 5,000 men.
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21 inf
Posted: January 16, 2011 10:44 am
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A romanian infantry regiment had in ww1 around 3.200-3.800 men. How much men had a romanian cavalry regiment in ww1?
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dragos
Posted: January 16, 2011 10:51 am
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This would probably be the best resource on the subject

(IMG:http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/6201/robanesti.jpg)
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