Romanian Armed Forces
in the Second World War
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Marshal Ion Antonescu
General Gheorghe Avramescu
General Petre Dumitrescu
General Gheorghe Mihail
Lt. general Nicolae Ciuperca
Lt. general Nicolae Dascalescu
Lt. general Corneliu Dragalina
Lt. general Nicolae Macici
Lt. general Mihail Racovita
Lt. general Nicolae Sova
Maj. general Radu Băldescu
Maj. general Ioan Dumitrache
Maj. general Mihail Lascar
Maj. general Leonard Mociulschi
Maj. general Ioan Sion
Brig. general Radu Korne
General of Air Squad Aviator Gheorghe I. Jienescu
Lt. general Mihail Racovita
lt. general Mihail Racovita

10 January 1941 – 1 January 1943: Cavalry Corps

17 October 1941: Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class

? ? 1941: Iron Cross 2nd and 1st classes

18 July 1942: promoted to the rank of lt. general

20 March – 1 November 1943: Bucharest Military Command

? ? 1943: Steaua Romaniei Order 1st class

1 November 1943 – 23 January 1944: Mechanized Corps

25 January – 23 August 1944: 4th Army

7 July 1944: Knight’s Cross

24 August – 5 November 1944: Minister of Defense

Mihail Racovita was born on 7 March 1889 in Bucharest. In 1906 he was admitted in the Cavalry Officer School. After one year he was sent in Germany, to the Military School in Hanover, where he remained for two years, graduating in 1909. 2nd lieutenant Racovita returned to Germany the following year, in 1910, to the Riding School in Pandeborn, which he finished in 1911. The same year he was promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant and in 1916 to captain. In 1917 he was again promoted, like in fact the majority of the Romanian active officers.

After the war, major Mihail Racovita was admitted into the Military Academy, which he graduated in 1921. In 1923 he became lieutenant colonel and in 1928 colonel. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in 1936. Four years later he became major general.

In 1941 he was appointed commander of the Cavalry Corps, position which he held during the first 2 years of war, in which his corps advanced from Romania to the eastern coast of the Black Sea, in the Caucasus. Initially his corps was subordinated to the 11th German Army, participated in the reoccupation of Chisinau, the capital of Bessarabia. After that it was subordinated to the 3rd Romanian Army. It broke through the fortified Stalin line and advanced to the river Bug and then to the Dnepr, on the left flank of the 11th Army. In September it crossed the river and took up position north of Crimea. At the end of the month was engaged in the great battle north of the Azov Sea, which resulted in the destruction of the 9th and 18th Soviet Armies. He received the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class on 17 October 1941 for the way he forced the river Dniester and followed the retreating Soviet forces, taking 12,783 prisoners and capturing 450 vehicles and 70 tanks.

In 1942 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general (on 18 July) and led the Romanian Cavalry Corps in the summer offensive in the Caucasus, on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, where it advanced to the Taman Peninsula and it took part in the capture of Anapa and Norovosiysk. On 1st January 1943 he was replaced. General Racovita then became the commander of the Bucharest garrison, until 1st November, when he was reassigned to the Mechanized Corps. He took over the 4th Army on 25 January 1944 and led it in the defensive battles in Moldavia in spring and summer of 1944, repulsing several Soviet attacks. He was the last Romanian officer who received the Ritterkreuz.

There is a theory about a supposed conspiracy to open the front line for the Soviet troops on 20 August, involving him and several other Romanian generals. He is considered to be the mastermind of the operation. However, this hasn’t actually been proved.

During the Operation Jassy-Kishinev he was away on leave in Bucharest. Thus on 24 August 1944, he was appointed Minister of Defense. He remained in this position until 5 November, when he was named General Inspector of the Cavalry. Then, between 20 May 1945 and 20 May 1946 he was the commander of the General Army Inspectorate No. 3. He was promoted to the rank of general and given the command of the 1st Army until 30 June 1947. On 1 September that year he was retired. In June 1950 he was arrested and imprisoned at Sighet, where he died on 28 June 1954.

Author: Victor Nitu
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