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> The Charge of Prunaru
Victor
Posted: January 16, 2011 10:09 am
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Following Mackensen's crossing of the Danube at Zimnicea, on 26 November 1916, forward elements of the German 217th Division occupied the village Prunaru on the road between Alexandria and Bucharest, thus cutting the retreat route of the Romanian Zimnicea Detachment, which was in Alexandria and Draganesti-Vlasca.

The Detachment consisted of the 43rd Mixed Brigade (a collection of the remains of four militia battalions and of the 20th Infantry Regiment and three artillery battalions equipped with 87mm pieces from the 1880s) of the 18th Infantry Division and the 2nd RosioriRegiment.

General Referendaru, the CO of the 18th Infantry Division, decided to retake Prunaru. The attack was to be carried out in the morning of 28 November by the 43rd Brigade, protected on its left flank by the 2nd Rosiori Regiment (on the right wing there are marshlands/small lakes). It lacked the 4th squadron, which was detached to another sector. The fog was very thick so the troops followed blindly the main road with all its twists and turns, which was as well crowded with refugees. Around 7:00 the 43rd Brigade was already engaged in combat with the Germans in Prunaru, while the cavalry was positioned Northwest of the village, in waiting. The village was taken and lost three times, but the infantry was starting to retreat passing by rosiori. Col. Naumescu held a short council with his officers and then decided to attack in support of the infantry. The three squadrons lined up for the charge, with the 1st Squadron in the center, commanded by col. Naumescu.

It was a text book charge, starting walking, then trotting and finally galloping. The Germans that were following the retreating Romanian infantry were surprised in the open field by the rosiori appearing from the mist and were cut down or trampled. But when the regiment reached the village, the entrenched Germans opened fire from protected positions. The main road was barricaded with tree trunks and stopped the attack cold. Only few horsemen managed to bypass it and crossed the village. Those that survived the onslaught dismounted and continued the fighting on foot besides some elements of the 20th Infantry Regiment that were still in the village.

Around 11:00 the fog lifted and the heavy German artillery was put in position. Its fire was very effective and the Romanian troops started to retreat northward towards Letca Veche at 14:00. The survivors eventually reached Rusii lui Asan from where they were directed to Jilava for recovery.

Out of the 14 officers and 360 soldiers of the 2nd Rosiori Regiment that charged only 2 officers and 50-60 men remained. Colonel Naumescu was gravely wounded and died later in a hospital in Sofia. After the war, the regiment received the honorary name Prunaru.
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Victor
Posted: January 16, 2011 10:17 am
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Victor
Posted: January 16, 2011 10:17 am
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Petre
Posted: January 20, 2011 08:05 pm
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My grandfather, Lt. Munteanu Petru, fought at Prunaru as mobilized cavalry officier. His name is on the memorial stone...
In that morning, on his horse, he fell wounded. The german MGs placed in some attics, "solved" the fight. He stayed in the hospital of Giurgiu as POW, then, till the end of the war, he remained at the germans in the same area, serving in administrative jobs for some farms.
I am still searching his Notebook, but I remember some notes :
... bad decision with Naomescu's charge... a german commander told him latter, that for such a mistake, the punishment had to be the execution (!)... the romanian grain stocks, caught in Muntenia, allowed to Germany to fight for more two years (?) ...

This post has been edited by Petre on January 20, 2011 08:05 pm
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Dénes
Posted: January 20, 2011 08:34 pm
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QUOTE (Petre @ January 21, 2011 02:05 am)
I am still searching his Notebook, but I remember some notes :
... bad decision with Naomescu's charge... a german commander told him latter, that for such a mistake, the punishment had to be the execution...

These notes usually don't make it in history books...

Gen. Dénes
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DanMk
Posted: January 21, 2011 07:33 am
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An heroic charge, but it should have stopped before the village. They should have expected that the germans would have defensive positions. But they're still heroes nonetheless
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dragos
Posted: January 23, 2011 04:31 am
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As a side note, in Western Europe, the end of cavalry charges was the French-Prussian war of 1870. Neither French not Germans used cavalry in charges against static positions in WW1 as the Eastern countries did.
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DanMk
Posted: January 23, 2011 07:50 am
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QUOTE (dragos @ January 23, 2011 04:31 am)
As a side note, in Western Europe, the end of cavalry charges was the French-Prussian war of 1870. Neither French not Germans used cavalry in charges against static positions in WW1 as the Eastern countries did.

The Soviets used cavalry charges up until world war 2, usually to clear minefields. But then again, manpower was never an issues for the Russians. I also read somewhere, but I cannot confirm this, that Polish cavalry troops used to charge German tanks at the start of world war 2, believing that they were made from cardboard :blink:. Again, I cannot confirm the source, so it may be just fake stories made by propaganda so...
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Victor
Posted: January 23, 2011 01:37 pm
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QUOTE (DanMk @ January 23, 2011 09:50 am)
The Soviets used cavalry charges up until world war 2, usually to clear minefields. But then again, manpower was never an issues for the Russians. I also read somewhere, but I cannot confirm this, that Polish cavalry troops used to charge German tanks at the start of world war 2, believing that they were made from cardboard :blink:. Again, I cannot confirm the source, so it may be just fake stories made by propaganda so...

Both are myths. Soviets did not use cavalry charges to clear minefields and Polish cavalry did not charge German tanks.
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DanMk
Posted: January 23, 2011 03:11 pm
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QUOTE (Victor @ January 23, 2011 01:37 pm)
QUOTE (DanMk @ January 23, 2011 09:50 am)
The Soviets used cavalry charges up until world war 2, usually to clear minefields. But then again, manpower was never an issues for the Russians. I also read somewhere, but I cannot confirm this, that Polish cavalry troops used to charge German tanks at the start of world war 2, believing that they were made from cardboard  :blink:. Again, I cannot confirm the source, so it may be just fake stories made by propaganda so...

Both are myths. Soviets did not use cavalry charges to clear minefields and Polish cavalry did not charge German tanks.

I suspected as much. There are a lot of stories about world war 2 and a lot of them are made up, so it's hard to keep tabs on what's true or not. Thanks for the info though :).
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Agarici
Posted: January 23, 2011 10:48 pm
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OFF-TOPIC:

The myths of the Polish campaign and the explanations behind them are briefly but comprehensively summarized on Wikipedia, using competent sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Campaign#Misconceptions

The particular myth of the Polish cavalry charging advancing German tanks was the result of a combination between the German war propaganda and an ill-fated account of some Italian war correspondent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_at_Krojanty

Actually (and perhaps paradoxically), most of the Polish cavalry charges, when they happened in 1939 (and they did happen, not against tanks but against German non-armoured units on the move) represented rather successful counterattacks and/or delaying actions.

This post has been edited by Agarici on January 24, 2011 12:05 am
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Petre
Posted: January 29, 2011 06:36 am
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Petre
Posted: January 31, 2011 01:35 pm
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From a book of Gen.Lt.Emilian Ionescu – “Pe Neajlov, intr-o toamna rece”
QUOTE
…Relatarea m-a cutremurat. Din 327 soldati au ramas 84, din 14 ofiteri mai raspund doar 5. In cele ce mi se povesteau reveneau mereu un nume si o expresie : Naumescu si “sarja”. Col. Naumescu era Cdt.regimentului, dar ce legatura poate avea el cu sarja de cavalerie ? E o manevra de acum depasita, cum sa sarjezi cu escadroanele regimentului, cum sa-ti expui in linie aceste tinte mari, colosal de mari, fie ele si in galop, prin fata mitralierelor ?…
O imagine exacta nu mi-am putut face imediat. Abia dupa razboi, coreland istorisirea cu cateva articole din presa, dar mai ales cu jurnalele de operatii si doc. de razboi la care am avut acces in calitate de profesor de istorie militara, mi-am dat seama ca episodul ar fi trebuit evitat, dar daca el totusi s-a produs, ostasii romani, in special cavaleristii, s-au luptat vitejeste…
…La 09.15, Cdt.R, care primise intre timp ordin sa execute un atac de cavalerie asupra trupelor dusmane, cheama la el toti ofiterii. Era bolnav, racit grav, cu febra. Se comunica ordinul superiorilor sai.
- Vom sarja, dragii mei, cu tot regimentul. E modul cel mai drag de manevra si de lupta al cavaleristilor din totdeauna, desi astazi e ste si cel mai periculos. Am incredere in voi, in repeziciunea si curajul vostru, al tuturor ostasilor din subordine. Misiunea principala : deschiderea comunicatiei  spre Bucuresti. Dispozitiv : toate escadroanele in linie. Obiectiv : pozitiile de infanterie ale inamicului la 500 m NE liziera Prunaru. Ma voi gasi in fruntea regimentului, in fata Esc.2. semnalul de atac il vor da trompetii dinapoia mea. Fiecare Esc. sa impinga inainte cate o patrula comandata de un ofiter. Directia : inainte. Vom fi sprijiniti de doua baterii de artilerie…
Ordinul odata primit, regimentul se desfasoara pe escadroane. Ofiterii inaintea plutoanelor, sabiile afara, lancile in cumpanire in pozitia de atac. Galop spre locul celei mai crancene inclestari. Un semnal si regimentul se desfasoara in linie de coloana de plutoane, la intervale mari, ia trapul, se aud chemari de goarna si in iures navalnic, strigand ura, cavaleristii se reped in sarja… Dar iata ca un teren desfundat, plin de sfecla, asuns pana atunci de ceata, incepe sa stajeneasca sarja cavaleristilor. Inamicul isi revine din surprindere si deschide focul. Necrutatoare salve de mitraliera secera cai si calareti, tragatorii bavarezi se intrec cu furie in doborarea cavaleristilor barladeni…
Parerile specialistilor militari de dupa razboi au fost impartite; multi au afirmat ca Det.Zimnicea (alcatuit in mare parte din rezervisti) ar fi putut ajunge la Letca Veche fara lupta. Dar eu personal, care am fost martor in acea zi eroismului acestui detasament, cred ca comandantii lui nu aveau informatii suficiente despre inamic, nu stiau ce adancime are dispozitivul german si cum era orientat, sau pe ce drum sa se angajeze pentru a nu fi ambuscat de dusman…

From an other book of Gen.Lt.Emilian Ionescu – “In uniforma, pentru totdeauna”, A story for the young King Mihai I, on road to Oltenia, when they left Bucuresti, Aug.23-rd.
QUOTE
…Regimentul de rosiori comandat de Col.Naumescu a primit ordin sa asigure stanga atacului infanteriei. Unitatea s-a desfasurat in linie de escadroane in stanga soselei. Pe masura ce se apropiau, cavaleristii auzeau tot mai clar uralele infanteristilor. Se ducea, deci, lupta corp-la-corp. colonelul Naumescu le-aspus subordonatilor cavor sarja cu toate trei escadroanele, apoi si-a luat locul infata formatiei. Trompetii au inceput sa sune atacul. Din piepturile celor 350 de militari a izbucnit un “ura” puternic, apoi calaretii s-au intins pe gatul cailor, cu sabiile si lancile gata sa loveasca. In apropiere de liziera satului, mai bine de 16 mitraliere dusmane I-au intampinat cu foc necrutator…. Cu toate acestea, o forta infinit superioara mitralierelor ii mana pe cavaleristi inainte. Rand pe rand, in fruntea formatiei au trecut subofiterii, gradatii regimentului… Aproape 200 rosiori au ramas pe campul de lupta. Sarja insangerata sfarsise tragic…

And some memories from one notebook (1950) of my grandfather :
QUOTE
Acum eram atasati D.18, comandata de Gen. Referendaru. In seara aceia am ramas pana tarziu pe camp, ca sa protejam Divizia sa-si aranjeze avantposturile, pentru noapte. La Vitanesti, sat Cocosul, am petrecut noaptea in sant, motaind de somn si tinand calul de darlogi. Spre ziua ne-am retras in Draganesti, iar cand a inceput sa se lumineze, escadronul meu (al 2-lea) (comandant Cpt. Vasilescu zis Pusca), primeste ordin ca are rolul de escadron de descoperire si sa plecam spre Prunaru, ocupat de nemti in ajun. Cand am trecut pe langa Col. Emanoil Popp, il salut si imi spune “Cu bine Munteanu”. In apropiere de Prunaru ne primeste din sat cu o salva de mitraliere. S-a facut cerul rosu si era o burnita rece de toamna. Am trecut alaturi pe camp, asteptand restul regimentului (2 esc.), caci esc.4 Cpt. Mitrea, nu ne ajunsese, fiind trimis in alta directie, la Spantov(?).
A venit din urma si D.18, care a intrat in lupta. La un moment se aude comanda “Sa vina cavaleria”. Atunci noi stateam in expectativa, luand diferite pozitii, pentru ca ne ajungeau gloantele de mitraliera. Am pornit la atac, pe un singur rand, cu intervale rare, contra mitralierelor, in mars. Mars asupra satului Prunaru, intesat de trupe germane, asezate in ajun. Rezultatul acestei sarje afost distrugerea R.2 R. Au murit aproape 3 escadroane, mai ramasesera vre-o 40 soldati si 4 ofiteri, care eram la flancul stang si am putut fugi spre stanga. Col. Naumescu prizonier, Mr. Gheorghiu prizonier, eu ranit si prizonier, Lt. Budac mort si morti de care nu-mi mai amintesc. Dupa incetarea luptei am iesit din adapostul unde eram (burta calului) si m-am tarat langa un gard, unde am mai vazut soldati romani. Mi-am pansat rana si sprijinit de doi soldati am intrat in sat si m-am instalat la cancelaria scolii. Acolo am gasit un ofter din R.8 Buzau, ranit si el…A doua zi au venit sanitarii germani…
La 10 Mai 1918 am plecat…, fiind repatriat in Moldova.
…Col. Gh. Naumescu… cazut prizonier, dus apoi in Bulgaria, unde a si murit. Osemintele au fost aduse mai tarziu la Barlad si ingropate in cimitir. I s-a dat garda de onoare, post mortem. In fiecare an Regimentul facea parastas pentru cei cazuti in razboi. Eram invitat regulat, se facea serviciu religios, se striga apelul si un ofiter raspundea : “mort pentru patrie”, “mort pe campul de onoare (?)”. Urma o masa cu toti ofiterii, se servea coliva, trupa avea masa speciala…Mai tarziu…Regimentul a plecat si nu s-a mai facut parastas. In fata regimentului exista un monument, pe care scrie numele celor cazuti…


This post has been edited by Petre on January 31, 2011 01:37 pm
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Victor
Posted: February 01, 2011 07:20 pm
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Thank you Petre for posting your grandfather's recollections.
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cainele_franctiror
Posted: February 17, 2011 07:46 pm
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This could be interesting. The former Defense Minister Ion Coman (1976-1980) is from Prunaru. He told me once that his father's parents died that day.
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