Romanian Military History Forum - Part of Romanian Army in the Second World War Website



  Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

> 22. The Battle of Tiganca Bridgehead
dragos
Posted: January 07, 2004 07:36 pm
Quote Post


Admin
Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 2397
Member No.: 2
Joined: February 11, 2003



by Alexandru Dutu

The most difficult fights during the liberation campaign in Bessarabia took place at the bridgehead situated east of Falciu, in the area Tiganca, Stoenesti, Cania. These fights were carried by the 1st Guard Division and the 21st Infantry Division, belonging to the V Army Corps, which has been given the mission to ensure the right flank of the battle-front as well as the offensive of the 4th Army main forces towards Kishinev.

The operations for forcing the crossing over of Prut river began on July 4, 1941, at Barzica Mare and through the river curl known as "La Plopi", after a few incursions and reconnaissances performed by subunits of the 1st Guard Division, led by General Nicolae Sova. Although the action was vigorously carried out, it only resulted in the achievement of a small-sized bridgehead, because of the stiff resistance put up by the Soviet forces, the difficulties raised by the marshy, flooded terrain, and moreover because of our troops' failure in achieving the surprise (the attack was launched at noon, providing the enemy with great possibilities of observation) and owing to the fact that the Soviet artillery effectuated permanent and precise firing against the forcing sector.

In spite of the abnegation evinced by the 1st Guard Division battalions, their further advancement was hindered by the intense firing performed by the enemy from the west slope of Epureni hill and from the immediate neighbourhood of Stoenesti and Tiganca villages. In these circumstances, the commander of the V Army Corps decided, on July 5, to send to action the 21st Infantry Division, under the leadership of General Nicolae Dascalescu. The fight order mentioned: "Conquered territory will not be yielded up by any means; any soldier who falls back under the enemy fire will be straightaway shot down; the officers hesitating in pushing their units forward or retreating them-selves without an order will be immediately arrested and sent to the Martial Court". The exacting demands and the severity of this order were determined by the overwhelming importance of the action area as well as by the serious danger represented by enemy's eventual penetration west of the Prut river. From that area the enemy would have had the possibility to endanger the rear of the 4th Army main forces, strongly involved in the Cornesti massif.

After being successively misplaced to the bridgehead, at the left flank of the 1st Guard Division, the 21st Infantry Division took action at the bridgehead, in Stoenesti-Epureni area. All the successes scored as a result of the brave fight and sacrifice were however obtained at the expense of heavy losses. For example, 24th Inf.Reg., diminished - during only two fighting days (July 6 and 7) - its combative strength with 50% at the 1st Battalion, with 25% at the 2nd Battalion and with 76% cent at the Reconnaissance Company. This situation determined its replacement by the 11th Foot Soldiers Regiment, which, in its turn, had also lost 50% from its officers and 40% of its soldiers.

The documents of the age have written down the extraordinary dramatic character of the fights, our soldiers' bravery and sense of sacrifice evinced in the Epureni area as well as at Stoenesti, Leca or Tiganca, either during attack actions or while suppressing the mainfold counterattacks performed by the enemy with the help of infantry troop accompanied by tanks and supported by artillery and air force. In the days of the battles carried out in the above mentioned area, up to July 16 - when the resistance put up by the enemy diminished as a result of the defeats suffere in the Cornesti massif as well a because of the loss of Kishinev - th 21st Inf. and the 1st Guard Divisions lost more than 1,700 men.

Aside from the strong resistance put up by the Soviet armed forces, the mai reason that forced the two brave Romanian divisions to fight for more than ten days and to register heavy losses at small-sized bridgehead was the failure in achieving the neutralization of th adverse artillery by the artillery and air force. Thus these had been almost permanently firing on the Romaniar troops' tactical positions, inflicting heavy human losses.

In spite of all this, the battlles Tiganca, Stoenesti, Epureni and Cania pointed out the vigour and boldness evinced by our military men during the fight, their heroism and power of sacriice, their determination to drive away the enemies from the forefathers' territory, taking no account of the required sacrifices.
PMUsers WebsiteYahoo
Top
Florin
Posted: January 18, 2004 02:49 pm
Quote Post


General de corp de armata
*

Group: Members
Posts: 1874
Member No.: 17
Joined: June 22, 2003



[quote].... on July 5..... The fight order mentioned: "Conquered territory will not be yielded up by any means; any soldier who falls back under the enemy fire will be straightaway shot down; the officers hesitating in pushing their units forward or retreating them-selves without an order will be immediately arrested and sent to the Martial Court".[/quote]

Wow!... I thought such kind of orders were issued only in the Red Army and in the German Army. I am wondering if the British soldiers or the American soldiers faced such orders on their fronts... I guess not, considering the disappointing behaviour of the British at Singapore, Tobruk etc.

[quote]Aside from the strong resistance put up by the Soviet armed forces, the main reason that forced the two brave Romanian divisions to fight for more than ten days and to register heavy losses at small-sized bridgehead was the failure in achieving the neutralization of the adverse artillery by the artillery and air force. Thus these had been almost permanently firing on the Romanian troops' tactical positions, inflicting heavy human losses.[/quote]

I was wandering what our aviation was doing from the start of this article.
The IAR-80 was able to carry small bombs (actually up to 250 kg), and IAR-80 was able of diving. I do not check right now on this site, but I think we also had available in that moment the IAR-81.

Did we have any German piloted Stukas available on airfields in Moldavia?
Or they were all busy in the north? I think you know that at the north of Bucovina, in an area belonging today to the westernmost area of Ukraine (in the easternmost part of former Poland), the Germans faced the first big tank battle on the Eastern Front.
That was before the end of June. For at least 3 days they fought day and night, continuously. The Germans faced for the first time heavy tanks as KV-1.
If it wouldn't be the German bombers (the Stukas and the twin-engines), that battle could develop the first real problem for Germany on the Russian front.
So, again, I am surprised that the diving abilities of IAR-80 and IAR-81 were not used around this bridge head.
PM
Top
Victor
Posted: January 18, 2004 08:33 pm
Quote Post


Admin
Group Icon

Group: Admin
Posts: 4349
Member No.: 3
Joined: February 11, 2003



The IAR-80 and IAR-80A, in serviceat that time, were not able to carry and deliver bombs.
The first IAR-81s entered service in October 1941 and only saw a couple of missions before the fall of Odessa.
PMEmail PosterUsers Website
Top
johnny_bi
Posted: January 19, 2004 01:58 am
Quote Post


Sergent major
*

Group: Members
Posts: 214
Member No.: 6
Joined: June 18, 2003



There was no good coordination between infantry attack, artillery and aviation (both recon and bombers in order to neutralize the Soviet artillery)? How could we explain the failure of the neutralizing the Soviet artillery: lack of trainning for Romanian gunmen, the lack of coordination, etc ?

Was this a sign of the fact that the Romanian Army was not quite so prepared for such a war that proved the effectiveness of some new concepts?
What were the lessons of these fights for the Romanian Army ?
PM
Top
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

Topic Options Reply to this topicStart new topicStart Poll

 






[ Script Execution time: 0.0177 ]   [ 14 queries used ]   [ GZIP Enabled ]