Romanian Soldier


After two severe defeats before the Turks at Plevna, Grand Duke Nicholas, the brother of Tsar Alexander II, the Commander of the Russian Armies during the Russian-Romanian-Turkish War, sent the following ciphered telegram to the ruler Carol (the future King of Romania) on 19 July 1877: “The Turks... are crushing us. I request fusion, demonstration and, if possible, cross the Danube, as you wish.” General A. Cernat, the Romanian Minister of War, noted down in his memoirs the reaction of Grand Duke Nicholas when he had informed him of Prince Carol’s decision to cross the Danube: “Vous tombez comme la Providence...”

The British General V. Baker stated that: “It is obvious to any impartial military that without the help of the Romanian forces, the entire Russian army... would have inevitably been thrown back into the Danube.”

The contemporary Turkish historian T. Yilmaz admits that “without the Romanian army, the enemy (the Russians) would not have been able to win the victory at Plevna.”

In The War of 1877-1878, published by the Academy of Sciences in 1979, the Russian historian N. V. Vinogradov wrote that the “(Russian officers) spoke with deep admiration about the military virtues of their Romanian allies... The fortification works were admired by many Russian officers. The most flattering comments were made about the Romanian artillery.”

The Belgian periodical Le Bien Public wrote in February 1878: “They (the Romanians) bore the brunt of the siege of Plevna also on the final defeat of Osman Pasha, which was decisive for the result of the campaign.” The newspaper Daily News showed, in turn, that “it took, in one step, its place among the European armies. The consequences of this are greater for the country and for the Eastern matter than it would seem at first sight.”

And the Viennese periodical Neue Freie Presse cautioned: “a year ago the disregard for the Romanian army might have been forgiven, but today it is necessary and even desirable that the Romanian army should be put in the balance in military calculations.”

In a letter, Friedrich Engels wrote: “without the Romanians, the Russians would have been in a stalemate at Plevna


The British Prime Minister Lloyd George paid homage to the Romanian peasant one year after Romania entered World War I on the Entente’s side: “he has proved to mankind that he is the bravest soldier in the world when he is given the opportunity to demonstrate this bravery.” >br>
In a statement to the newspaper L Entente, which appeared in Petersburg, General Henri Berthelot said referring to the battles fought by the Romanian army in 1916-1917: “the Romanian people possess, to the highest degree, the essential qualities of a soldier, those which are the gist of elite armies: bravery, a sense of discipline, energy, in short, strong patriotism.”

The same general, a good connoisseur of the realities on the front of Moldova, cabled the Romanian General Eremia Grigorescu, writing, among other things: “The bravery of the Romanian officers and soldiers currently attract the admiration of all the allied armies and even their enemies bring them homage.”

The Romanian diplomat Raoul Bossy recalled that in a meeting held in Helsinki in 1934, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim had said to him: “About Romanian soldier, he has only words of praise for his bravery and power of endurance... he tells me... with particular friendship about General Averescu.” Mannerheim had directly known the Roman soldier during World War I, when he was a senior officer in the Russian army and commanded various Russian or Romanian-Russian units on the front of Moldavia.

This is what the British newspaper The Times wrote about the Romanian victories on 17 August 1917: “the Romanians fought with a heroism that was above all praise. The German soldiers were so violently attacked that they were discarding their weapons so they could run away faster, lest they should be taken prisoners. This defeat was the most important blow the Germans received in Eastern Europe.”

Aristide Briand remarked in the Chamber of Deputies from Paris, a few years later: “The memoirs of Ludendorff and the conclusions of the Inter-Allied General Staff reveal that Germany and its allies were forced mobilise 58 more divisions on the Eastern Front because of Romania’s entry into action. The victory from Mărăşeşti, where over 30 German-Austrian- Bulgarian-Turkish divisions were expended, saved the Eastern front until the winter of 1917, for a possible occupation of Moldavia and Bassarabia would have led to a much speedier collapse of the Russian army, before England could reach its maximum military effort and America could transport to France its troops, enormous amounts of food and ammunition, which decided Victory on the eastern front.”

On behalf of British Prime Minister Lloyd George, a ciphered telegram addressed to the Romanian Prime Minister Ionel Brătianu said: “the unsurpassed resistance of the Romanian army during last summer filled us with admiration.”

On 15 August 1917, immediately after the victory from Mărăşti and the Russians’ abandonment of the front in Galicia (the Russian disaster from Tarnopol) and Northern Bukovina and victories from Mărăşeşti and Oituz, when the anarchy inside the Russian army and hostility towards Romanians were becoming increasingly detrimental, the Commander of the Russian forces on the Romanian front, General Dimitri Scerbacev wrote: “I am full of admiration for the heroism of the Romanian troops and congratulate the command authority, the officers and the soldiers of all the units for the brilliant way in which they rejected the onslaught of the enemy.”

Monkewitz, Chief of the General Staff of the Fourth Russian Army wrote the following about the battles from the summer of 1917: “During the battle itself, the attitude of the units (Russian - our note) was downright criminal... only the inspiring patriotism of the Romanian troops saved the situation.”

General Kurt Ernst von Morgen noted, with a certain reserve, in his memoirs about the German offensive in Mărăşeşti led by Field Marshal August von Mackenzen, which was blocked by the Romanians: “The Romanian resistance was unbelievably fierce, as proved by the 61 counterattacks during the 14 days of fighting. The Romanians launched bayonet attacks and caused us very heavy losses.”

Field Marshal von Mackensen’s offensive was crushed by the Romanian soldiers at Mărăşti in July 1917, while the Russian “partners” touched by the “revolution” left their positions during the offensive. General Erich Ludendorff reluctantly admitted to this in his memories: “The Romanian army had strengthened with the support of France to such a degree that it seemed impossible to us to secure a strategic success... giving up the operation projected for Moldova was embarrassing for me.”

“Our soldiers were seized with an incredible fear of the Romanian regiments... because the Romanian troops, annoyed by the outrageous behaviour of their Russian comrades, often punished them without mercy. A deep hatred mixed with fear spread among our troops, which for the first time since the revolution, encountered an obstacle to their own excesses” - General Nicholas Monkevitz, Commander of the Fourth Russian Army.


After the liberation of the northern part of Moldova, Stephen the Great’s Higher Land, recently also called Bucovina, General Eugen von Schobert, Commander of the Eleventh German Army, expressed his “full gratitude” for the manner in which the Third Romanian Army had fought and congratulated the Romanian Command on 7 July 1941. When several German officers were asked who were the best soldiers of the Axis that did not belong to Germany: the Finns, the Croatians or the Hungarians, General Hans Speidel, a former Wehrmacht general and later Chief of NATO Staff said, “None of these. The Romanians. Give them some decent officers and they are the best soldiers you can have.”

The former Commander of Crete, General Heinrich Kreipe, who had led a division on the front of Kuban (south of Stalingrad, where he also wrote these lines, on the front - our note), where he had seen the Romanians in action, answered the question of a British officer about who were the best military allies of the Germans: “Ah, the Romanians, of course. They were fearless during attacks and if they had to defend a position, they were like guard dogs! Sometimes they would hold positions until their last breath.”

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