Romanian Armed Forces
in the Second World War
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Organization and equipment
The Infantry
The Artillery
The Cavalry
The Mountain Troops
The Tanks
The Border-guards
The Pioneers
The Signal Troops
The Bridge Engineers
Air engineers
The Railroad Troops
The Romanian Royal Aeronautics
The Paratroopers
The AA artillery
The Romanian Royal Navy
The Marines
The Cavalry
Romanian cavalry marching to the front in Bessarabia. Note the swords
Romanian cavalry in action, probably in a propaganda photo
Romanian soldiers from a motorized cavalry recon unit lined up for lunch
Soldiers from the 2nd Rosiori Regiment in Hungary. One can observe the large variety of submachine-guns used by the Romanian cavalry at that date: MP 40, MP 41, PPSh-41, Orita, Beretta 38 A
Platoon of the 12th Rosiori Regiment during 1940. One of the soldiers is carrying a ZB-30 LMG
Cavalry regiment preparing for inspection on the front.
Men of the 9th <i>Rosiori</i> Regiment lined up for inspection somewhere in Russia.
Romanian cavalryman in desert

At the beginning of the war there were 26 cavalry regiments in the Romanian Army: 12 rosiori regiments, 13 calarasi regiments and the Horse Guard Regiment. The names were a 19th century tradition. The rosiori were the regular cavalry, the elite of the Romanian Army. The calarasi were the territorial cavalry. After WWI the differences between them disappeared and only the names remained.

The 12 rosiori regiments (1st � 12th) and 6 calarasi regiments (2nd, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 11th and 13th) formed 6 cavalry brigades (1st, 5th � 9th). The other 7 calarasi regiments were divided among the large units and formed their recon groups: each corps had a cavalry battalion and each division a cavalry squadron attached to it.

In 1941 started the process of motorization. The aim was to have one motorized regiment out of three per brigade. The lack of vehicles meant that only 3 brigades were partially motorized before the war began. These were the 5th, 6th and 8th Cavalry Brigades, which formed the Cavalry Corps that was subordinated to the 3rd Army during the 1941 campaign. A motorized brigade was made up from one motorized cavalry regiment, 2 cavalry regiments, one horse artillery regiment (2 battalions of 2 75 mm howitzer batteries each), one motorized 81.4 mm mortar squadron, one motorized AT and AA gun squadron, one motorized machine-gun squadron, one motorized pioneer squadron, one motorized communications squadron and one mechanized recon squadron (2 R-1 light tank platoons of 3 tanks each, one motorized cavalry platoon, one motorcycle platoon). Such a brigade had 204 ZB-30 LMGs, 24 ZB-53 HMGs, 20 13.2 mm Hotchkiss model 1931 AA MGs, 7 60 mm Stokes Brandt model 1935 mortars, 12 81.4 mm Brandt model 1927/31 mortars, 20 37 mm Bofors model 1936 AT guns, 16 75 mm Krupp model 1904 or 1912 field guns and 6 R-1 tanks. A second category was made up from the 1st, 7th and 9th Cavalry Brigades. These brigades were assigned to the 4th Army and took part in the battles for Odessa. The difference was that instead of a motorized cavalry regiment they had a normal one and that the mechanized recon squadron had only 4 tanks. Such a brigade had 192 ZB-30 LMGs, 16 ZB-53 HMGs, 16 13.2 mm Hotchkiss model 1931 AA MGs, one 60 mm Stokes Brandt model 1935 mortars, 12 81.4 mm Brandt model 1927/31 mortars, 14 37 mm Bofors model 1936 AT guns, 16 75 mm Krupp model 1904 or 1912 field guns and 4 R-1 tanks. As it can be easily noticed, the second category of cavalry units possessed less firepower than the first category.

A motorized cavalry regiment was formed from 2 cavalry battalions. The first one had two identical squadrons equipped with 24 light machine-guns and two 60 mm mortars. The second one also had two squadrons. One of the squadrons was identical with the others and the other one was the heavy weapons squadron, which had 8 machine-guns, 4 13.2 mm AA machine-guns and 6 37 mm AT guns. A regular cavalry regiment was made up from two battalions and each battalion from two squadrons. There were 3 squadrons that had 12 light machine-guns and one squadron which had 24.

In the winter of 1941/1942 there were some changes in the organization of the cavalry brigades. The general structure remained the same however. The cavalry squadrons of the motorized cavalry regiment received 4 60 mm mortars and the 37 mm AT guns of the heavy weapons squadron were replaced with captured Soviet 45 mm M32 AT guns. This gun became the standard AT gun for the cavalry until the end of the war. The cavalry regiment was modified and had an extra squadron in each battalion. This was the heavy weapons squadron equipped with 8 MGs, 4 81.4 mm mortars and 6 45 mm M32 AT guns. Also, each cavalry squadron was equipped with 4 MGs and 4 60 mm mortars. The number of artillery pieces of the horse artillery regiment doubled from 12 to 24 75 mm howitzers and each artillery battalion received 7 light machine-guns for protection in short range infantry fights. The motorized mortar squadron replaced the 12 81.4 mm mortars with 6 120 mm mortars. The AT and AA guns squadron was divided into the AT gun squadron equipped with 12 45 mm M32 pieces and the AA machine-gun squadron equipped 12 13.2 mm Hotchkiss pieces. The mechanized recon squadron received two 45 mm M32 AT guns.

Thus, after the reorganization, a motorized cavalry brigade had 197 ZB-30 LMGs, 76 ZB-53 HMGs, 18 13.2 mm Hotchkiss model 1931 AA MGs, 45 60 mm Stokes Brandt model 1935 mortars, 16 81.4 mm Brandt model 1927/31 mortars, 6 120 mm PM model 1938 mortars, 44 45 mm M32 AT guns, 24 75 mm Krupp model 1904 or 1912 field guns and 6 R-1 tanks. A regular cavalry brigade had 173 ZB-30 LMGs, 96 ZB-53 HMGs, 12 13.2 mm Hotchkiss model 1931 AA MGs, 49 60 mm Stokes Brandt model 1935 mortars, 24 81.4 mm Brandt model 1927/31 mortars, 6 120 mm PM model 1938 mortars, 50 45 mm M32 AT guns, 24 75 mm Krupp model 1904 or 1912 field guns and 4 R-1 tanks. The handicap between the normal and the motorized brigades disappeared. They had an almost equal firepower.

On 15 March 1942, the cavalry brigades changed their name to divisions, as well did the mountain brigades.

After the battle of Stalingrad, the 7th Cavalry Division was disbanded, because of it has sustained heavy losses and the remaining survivors were joined with the 1st Cavalry Division and formed the 1/7th Cavalry Division. On 31 July 1943 it was renamed the 1st Cavalry Division.

To strengthen the Cavalry Corps and the Mountain Corps, which were in Crimea and in the Caucasus in the spring of 1943, large quantities of modern German weapons were imported. They received 50 T-38 (CKD LT VZ 38) tanks, 20 150 mm Skoda howitzers, 84 75 mm Pak 98/37 AT guns, 120 50 mm Pak 38 AT guns, 64 100 mm Skoda howitzers, 4000 MP 41s, 440 MG 42s, 50 ZB-53s, 185 60 mm Stokes Brandt mortars and 50 81.4 mm Brandt mortars. This increased the combat potential of the two corps well above the one of the troops inside Romania.

On 28 October 1943 the Law for the organization of the Armed Forces was adopted. Two cavalry training divisions were formed: the 1st and 5th. The 1st, 5th and 8th Cavalry Divisions were going to be transformed first into motorized divisions and then into armored divisions. An armored cavalry division was made up from an armored cavalry regiment, a recon cavalry regiment, two motorized cavalry regiments, a motorized artillery regiment and communication, engineer and pioneer units. In total they were supposed to have 11,527 soldiers, 86 tanks and 22 self-propelled guns each.

The armored cavalry regiment consisted of the command squadron (6 tanks), the AT squadron (6 self-propelled guns and 6 75 mm AT guns), two tank battalions (28 tanks and 3 self-propelled guns each). It had 1,373 soldiers, 134 vehicles, 79 motorcycles, 62 tanks and 12 self-propelled guns.

The recon cavalry regiment was made up from a command squadron, a heavy weapons squadron (8 MGs, 4 AA MGs, 3 AT rifles and 6 81.4 mm mortars), an AT squadron (9 75 mm AT guns), a recon cavalry battalion (24 LMGs, 3 AT rifles, 2 flame throwers, 3 self-propelled guns and 13 tanks) and a motorized cavalry battalion (8 MGs, 6 AT rifles, 8 60 mm mortars and 6 75 mm AT guns). It had 1,966 men, 178 vehicles, 138 motorcycles, 13 tanks, 3 self-propelled guns.

The motorized cavalry regiment consisted of a command squadron, a heavy weapons squadron (8 MGs, 4 AA MGs, 3 AT rifles and 6 81.4 mm mortars), an AT squadron (9 75 mm AT guns) and 2 motorized cavalry battalions (8 81.4 mm mortars and 6 75 mm AT guns each).

Because the equipment and vehicles ha to be ordered in Germany and the necessities of the Wehrmacht received higher priority, the deliveries were not sufficient. Thus it was decided in 1944 that only the 8th Cavalry Division was going to be transformed into an armored cavalry division. The 1st and 5th Cavalry Divisions were only going to be motorized. They were supposed to have 4 motorized cavalry regiments, one motorized artillery regiment, one 120 mm mortar squadron, one 20 mm AA gun squadron, one 75 mm AT gun battalion, pioneers and a command squadron. The 6th and 9th Cavalry Divisions had the same organization, except for the fact that they were not motorized.

The Soviet offensive in Moldavia prevented the complete reorganization of these units. The 8th Cavalry Division was 56 tanks and one self-propelled gun short of its nominal strength and the 1st and 5th Cavalry Divisions were only partially motorized. The majority of the armored vehicles were used by the Wehrmacht in the fights in Moldavia on 20-23 August 1944. The 8th Armored Cavalry Division was renamed the 8th Motorized Cavalry Division.

According to the Armistice protocol, the two training divisions were disbanded, as were the 5th and 6th Cavalry Divisions in October 1944. The 9th Cavalry Division was also disbanded in 1945.

The cavalry units that fought in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were practically infantry units, because they lacked horses or trucks. At the end of the war the cavalry was, like the rest of the Romanian Army, in a very poor shape regarding the equipment and the supplies.

Scafes C., Serbanescu H., Scafes I., Andonie C., Danila I., Avram R. Armata romana 1941-1945, Editura R.A.I., 1996
User Comments Add Comment
sandu manafu  (7 December 2009)
O contributie la cunoasterea cavaleriei romane si a actiunilor              acesteia o constituie si urmatoarele lucrari:Un fiu al Olteniei-general de corp de armata Marin Manafu,un om,o epoca,un destin;Un secol de viata-general Victor Isaceanu;Destine in labirint; autor,dr.Alexandru Manafu-Targoviste .In curs de editare,lucrarea"Cavaleria romana-arta,credinta,spirit si traditie"

Ramf Dan  (2 November 2007)
Execelent site,daca ma puteti ajuta cu ceva,va rog.
    Bunicul meu,D-zeu sa-l odihneasca,a fost in divizia 3 munte,brigada de cavalerie ,intre anii 1943-1944.L-a chemat Ionas Ioan,nascut la 29.11.1920,sat Ernea,jud.Sibiu.Prizonier in Crimea la 10 mai 1944,venit acasa in nov.1945 din prizonierat.
    Cum pot afla mai multe,cat se poate de mult ,despre  compania lui,capitan,luptele duse ,exista pe net cineva care sa ma ajute?Multumesc anticipat!

Gary Exelby  (2 April 2007)
Excellent information. But one major omission:

There are no manpower totals of these units. A person wanting this information for developing wargames on the Battle of Stalingrad, for example, would need to know how many men were in the brigades/divisions, regiments and battalions.

Gary Exelby
Dexter, Missouri