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> 25. The Commands Relations and Structures
Posted: January 27, 2004 12:26 pm
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by Alesandru Dutu

The Romanian-Germany military structures during the Second World War, including the period of the liberation campaign in, Bessarabia and in the northern part of Bukovina, were determined by the general background established at state level, by which Germany secured from the very beginning its preponderance, Hitler imposing step by step, discreetly and skilfuly, his own point of view as regards the decisions of a strategical importance.

As an example, in the matter of exercisitig the function of the Supreme Command on the Romanian front, the stenograph of the meeting he had with General Ion Antonescu at Munich, on June 12, 1941, mentions that the Fuhrer explained the Romanian state leader that "his intention was to leave him appear in front of the Rornanian people as the supreme commander in that space", and "a liaison Headquarters, led by General Schobert (commander of the 11th German Army) would look after respecting the general operational guidance". A few days later, on June 18, Hitler informed Ion Antonescu of his decision to irrevocably reduce "the threat that the attitude of Russia" meant for Europe. To that purpose he concentrated "into a single, firm hand" the leadership of that operation. Informing him he would look after "respecting -to the utmost extent the independence and prestige of the leading per-sonalities of our allies in firont of their people and armed forces", Hitler further asked Ion Antonescu to allow him to send the Romanian General "from time to time" those of his wishes concerning the Romanian Army, whose execution had to be "considered as absolutely necessary", in the interest of the unitary progress of the 11th German Army. In case that the decision were "esential", they had to be diffused under the signature of General Ion Antonescu. Hitler pledged himself in writing that the liaison between the Romanian and German Headquarters would be realised at a superior level by the inclusion of the Chief of Naval Mission, General Fleisher Carl, and the liaison officers belonging to the 4th Air Flotilla into Ion Antonescu's Staff, whose working General Staff was to be constituted by the "11th Army Supreme Command". In reality, General Schobert subordinated on June 20, 1941 all the formations belonging to the 3rd Romanian Army (the Mountain Corps with the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Mixed - Mountain Brigades and the 7th Infantry Division, the Cavalry Corps with the 5th and 8th Cavalry Brigades, the IV Army Corps with the 6th Cavalry Brigade, the 8th and 14th Infantry Division and the 6th Infantry Division), which, thus, lost their operational functions. On July 3, the 3rd Army had been given back some of those forces, and it was directly subordinated to General Ion Antonescu. In a short time, the 11th Army also subordinated the 13th Infantry and 1st Armoured Divisions, which had been at the Romanian General Headquarters' disposal, so that, in the beginning of July, the 11th German Army had at its own disposal 6 Romanian Infantry Divi-sions, 3 Romanian Cavalry Brigades, 3 Romanian Mixed Mountain Brigades and one Romanian Armoured Division, while the 4th Romanian Army, the only one remained under the direct command of General Ion Antonescu, had at its disposal only 6 Divisions (the 11th, 15th, 21st and 35th Infantry, 1st Guard and 1st Border Guard).

The promise that the deputy of the Chief of the Romanian General Headquarters was going to be sent to work at the Command of the 11th German Army was not put in practice. Of all the promises made by Fuhrer, there were only constituted German liaison detachments around the Romanian Commands, but not the reverse too. The German Military Mission worked as a connecting organism between General Ion Antonescu and the Romanian General Staff, on the one hand, and between the High German Command and General Eugen von Schobert on the other hand.

By his way of imposing the structure and the development of the Romanian-German command relations, Httler, as a matter of fact, provided General Eugen von Schobert with prerogatives much higher than those required by his position of Army Commander, subordinated to General Ion Antonescu. If we add, besides this, the fact that the 11th German Army got its main mission from the "South" Armies Group, it can be said that General von Schobert was subordi-nated, at least in the German conception, to Fieldmarshall von Rundstedt.

This situation was officialized on the 21st of July, 1941, when, under the command of same General von Schobert the "Northern Front" was constituted (of the 11th German Army, the 3rd Romanian Army, the IV Army Corps Command and the 6th, 8th, 13th and 14th Romanian Divisions) and subordinated to the "South" Armies Group.

The "Southern Front", with the Division Group "General Mattenkloth" (the 5th, 15th Romanian Infantry Divisions and the 1st Romanian Armoured Division) and the 4th Army, with the III and V Army Corps remained under the direct order of the Romanian Chief Headquarters. Actually, the new command structure marked the end of the existence of "General Antonescu" Armies Group.

With respect to the command relations, one might say that, during the period of the war, they were normal, comradely.

Archives keep numerous documents where the Romanian and German commanders mutually evoked the combat cooperation and the content of the military relations. After liberating Cernauti, General Eugen von Schobert expressed his "thoroughly gratitude" towards the 3rd Romanian Army and congratulated, on the 7th of July, 1941, the Command for their success. The same eulogies were addressed to the 1st Armoured Division, on the 16th of July, 1941, after the liberation of Kishinev by General Kortzfleisch, the commander of the LIV German Army Corps.

Distinguished words of appreciation concerning the Romanian troups' behaviour were expressed by Generals Hauffe, Salmuth, Wittke and so on. General Petre Dumitrescu, in his turn, recognising the German forces' contribution for liberating Bessarabia and North of Bukovina, said: "Without them, we could not succeed in reunifying our nation".
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