Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe, Southeast Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties; the battles on the Eastern Front of the Second World War constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres; the Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70-85 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, the majority of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front.
The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations. The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United States and the United Kingdom both provided substantial material aid in the form of the Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union; the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front. In addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. Germany and the Soviet Union remained unsatisfied with the outcome of World War I. Soviet Russia had lost substantial territory in Eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where the Bolsheviks in Petrograd conceded to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and other areas, to the Central Powers.
Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies and these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 at Versailles, Soviet Russia was in the midst of a civil war and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government, so no Soviet Russian representation attended. Adolf Hitler had declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union on 11 August 1939 to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, League of Nations Commissioner, by saying: Everything I undertake is directed against the Russians. If the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and after their defeat turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine as happened in the last war; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Finland, Estonia and Lithuania would return to the Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. The Eastern Front was made possible by the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement in which the Soviet Union gave Germany the resources necessary to launch military operations in Eastern Europe. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Eastern Poland, and, as a result, Poland was partitioned among Germany, the Soviet Union and Lithuania. Soon after that, the Soviet Union demanded significant territorial concessions from Finland, after Finland rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing its eastern parts in Karelia. In June 1940 the Soviet Union illegally annexed the three Baltic states; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in the occupation both of the Baltics and of the north and northeastern regions of Romania, although Hitler, in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union, cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as having violated Germany's understanding of the Pact.
Moscow partitioned the annexed Romanian territory between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum: acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, in particular in Russia, he envisaged settling Germans there, as according to Nazi ideology the Germanic people constituted the "master race", while exterminating or deporting most of the existing inhabitants to Siberia and using the remainder as slave labour. Hitler as early as 1917 had referred to the Russians as inferior, believing that the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, in Hitler's opinion, incapable of ruling themselves but instead being ruled by Jewish masters; the Nazi leadership, saw the war against the Soviet Union as a struggle between the ideologies of Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism, ensuring territorial expansion for the Germanic Übermensch, who according to Nazi ideology were the Aryan Herrenvolk, at the expense of
Corps is a term used for several different kinds of organisation. Within military terminology a corps may be: an operational formation, sometimes known as a field corps, which consists of two or more divisions, such as the Corps d'armée known as I Corps of Napoleon's Grande Armée); these usages overlap. Corps may be a generic term for a non-military organization, such as the U. S. Peace Corps. In many armies, a corps is a battlefield formation composed of two or more divisions, commanded by a lieutenant general. During World War I and World War II, due to the large scale of combat, multiple corps were combined into armies which formed into army groups. In Western armies with numbered corps, the number is indicated in Roman numerals; the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was raised in 1914, consisting of Australian and New Zealand troops, who went on to fight at Gallipoli in 1915. In early 1916, the original corps was reorganised and two corps were raised: I ANZAC Corps and II ANZAC Corps. In the stages of World War I, the five infantry divisions of the First Australian Imperial Force —consisting of personnel who had volunteered for service overseas—were united as the Australian Corps, on the Western Front, under Lieutenant General Sir John Monash.
During World War II, the Australian I Corps was formed to co-ordinate three Second Australian Imperial Force units: the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions, as well as other Allied units on some occasions, in the North African campaign and Greek campaign. Following the commencement of the Pacific War, there was a phased withdrawal of I Corps to Australia, the transfer of its headquarters to the Brisbane area, to control Allied army units in Queensland and northern New South Wales. II Corps was formed, with Militia units, to defend south-eastern Australia, III Corps controlled land forces in Western Australia. Sub-corps formations controlled Allied land forces in the remainder of Australia. I Corps headquarters was assigned control of the New Guinea campaign. In early 1945, when I Corps was assigned the task of re-taking Borneo, II Corps took over in New Guinea. Canada first fielded a corps-sized formation in the First World War; the Canadian Corps consisted of four Canadian divisions. After the Armistice, the peacetime Canadian militia was nominally organized into corps and divisions but no full-time formations larger than a battalion were trained or exercised.
Early in the Second World War, Canada's contribution to the British-French forces fighting the Germans was limited to a single division. After the fall of France in June 1940, a second division moved to England, coming under command of a Canadian corps headquarters; this corps was renamed I Canadian Corps as a second corps headquarters was established in the UK, with the eventual formation of five Canadian divisions in England. I Canadian Corps fought in Italy, II Canadian Corps in NW Europe, the two were reunited in early 1945. After the formations were disbanded after VE Day, Canada has never subsequently organized a Corps headquarters. Royal Canadian Army Cadets: A Corps size in the RCAC is different everywhere, depending on the size, the Commanding Officer can be a Captain or Major; the National Revolutionary Army Corps was a type of military organization used by the Chinese Republic, exercised command over two to three NRA Divisions and a number of Independent Brigades or Regiments and supporting units.
The Chinese Republic had 133 Corps during the Second Sino-Japanese War. After losses in the early part of the war, under the 1938 reforms, the remaining scarce artillery and the other support formations were withdrawn from the Division and was held at Corps, or Army level or higher; the Corps became the basic tactical unit of the NRA having strength nearly equivalent to an allied Division. The French Army under Napoleon used corps-sized formations as the first formal combined-arms groupings of divisions with reasonably stable manning and equipment establishments. Napoleon first used the Corps d'armée in 1805; the use of the Corps d'armée was a military innovation that provided Napoleon with a significant battlefield advantage in the early phases of the Napoleonic Wars. The Corps was designed to be an independent military group containing cavalry and infantry, capable of defending against a numerically superior foe; this allowed Napoleon to mass the bulk of his forces to effect a penetration into a weak section of enemy lines without risking his own communications or flank.
This innovation stimulated other European powers to adopt similar military structures. The Corps has remained an echelon of French Army organization to the modern day; as fixed military formation in peace-time it was used in all European armies after Battle of Ulm in 1805. In Prussia it was introduced by Order of His Majesty from November 5, 1816, in order to strengthen the readiness to war; the paramilitary forces of Pakistan's two main western provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are the Frontier Corps founded in 1907 during British Rule as at least three various organizations before being combined together. They are charged with guarding the country's wes
Romanian Land Forces
The Romanian Land Forces is the army of Romania, the main component of the Romanian Armed Forces. In recent years, full professionalisation and a major equipment overhaul have transformed the nature of the Land Forces; the Romanian Land Forces was founded on 24 November 1859. It participated in World War I, together with the Russian Empire forces in actions against the Central Powers and, despite initial setbacks, won the decisive battles of Mărăşti and Mărăşeşti. During most of World War II Romanian forces supported the Axis powers, fighting against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. From August 1944 until the end of the war, Romania fought against Germany under the control of the Soviet Union; when the communists seized power after the Second World War, the army underwent reorganisation and sovietization. Following the Romanian Revolution, due to shortage of funds, many units were disbanded and much equipment was phased out. Romanian military capability declined because of a lack of fuel as well as training.
However, since the late 1990s, a number of positive changes have come about and the level of combat readiness is growing greatly. Conscription has been abolished and professionalisation has been completed; the Land Forces represent the most important component of the Romanian Armed Forces and they are destinated for execution of various military actions, with terrestrial or aeromobile character, in any zone or direction. The Land Forces must, independently or together with other Romanian military branches, conduct operations and defensive or offensive battles, for capture, or destruction of the invading enemy, being part of national, or multinational military structures. A part of the units which compose the current operational structure of the Land Forces, must be able to conduct military operations outside the national territory, together with the international military forces; the first attempt to create an independent Romanian army was made by Gheorghe Magheru during the 1848 Wallachian Revolution, it was based at Râureni.
However, Magheru ordered his troops to disband when the Ottoman forces swept into Bucharest to stop the revolution. The current Romanian Land Forces were formed in 1859 after the unification of Wallachia with Moldavia, were commanded by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Domnitor of Romania until his abdication in 1866. In 1877, at the request of Nikolai Konstantinovich, Grand Duke of Russia the Romanian army fused with the Russian forces, led by King Carol I, fought in what was to become the Romanian War of Independence, they participated in the Siege of several other battles. The Romanians suffered about 27,000 casualties; until World War I, the Romanian army did not face any other serious actions. The Romanian Army entered the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria, allowing Romania to annex Southern Dobruja. Although some 330,000 troops were mobilised, the Romanians met little resistance in Bulgaria and as such this is not considered a major conflict in Romanian history; this was due to historical claims on land and the area no longer belongs to Romania.
On July 6, 1916, Romania declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary, following the initial success of the Brusilov Offensive. The Romanian armies entered Transylvania, together with Russian forces. However, German forces under the command of General Erich von Falkenhayn stalled the attack in November, 1916, drove back the Romanians. At the same time, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman forces invaded southern Romania, forcing the country into a two-front war; the Central Powers drove deep into Romania and conquered the southern part of the country by the end of 1916. The Romanian forces, led by Marshal Constantin Prezan, retreated into the north-east part of Romania. In the summer of 1917 however, aided by the future Marshal, General Ion Antonescu defended the remaining unoccupied territories against German and Austro-Hungarian forces led by Field Marshal August von Mackensen. General Alexandru Averescu led the Second Army in the victories of the Battle of Mărăşti and the Battle of Mărăşeşti; as a result of the Russian Revolution, Romania was left isolated and unable to continue the war, was forced to sign the Treaty of Bucharest with the Central Powers.
On, in 1919, Germany agreed, in the Treaty of Versailles Article 259, to renounce all the benefits provided to it by the Treaty of Bucharest in 1918. After the successful offensive on the Thessaloniki front, which put Bulgaria out of the war, Romania re-entered the war on November 10, 1918, a day before its end in the West. After World War I, in December 1918, the National Assembly of Romanians of Transylvania and Hungary proclaimed a union with the Kingdom of Romania. On, in April 1919, the newly-established Hungarian Soviet Republic vowed to retake occupied territories by force, Hungarian troops attacked Romanian formations in Transylvania; the Romanian Army defeated the Hungarians and occupied Budapest in August 1919. After General Ion Antonescu took power in September 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact with the Axis Powers and subsequently took part in Operation Barbarossa in 1941. An expeditionary force invaded the Soviet Union in Bessarabia and southern Ukraine, alongside the Wehrmacht.
The expeditionary force,'Army Group Antonescu,' was co
Siege of Odessa (1941)
The Siege of Odessa, known to the Soviets as the Defence of Odessa, lasted from 8 August until 16 October 1941, during the early phase of Operation Barbarossa, the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. Odessa was a port on the Black Sea in the Ukrainian SSR. On 22 June 1941, the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union. In August, Odessa became elements of the German 11th Army. Due to the heavy resistance of the Soviet 9th Independent Army and the formed Separate Coastal Army, supported by the Black Sea Fleet, it took the Axis forces 73 days of siege and four assaults to take the city. Romanian forces suffered 93,000 casualties, against Red Army casualties estimated to be between 41,000 and 60,000. On 27 July 1941, Hitler sent a letter to General Ion Antonescu in which he recognised the Romanian administration of the territory between the Dniester and the Bug rivers; the Romanian Third Army had crossed the Dniester on 17 July. Lieutenant-general Nicolae Ciupercă's Fourth Army advanced over the river on 3 August, with the 5th Corps, comprising the 15th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Brigade, joined by the 1st Armored Division.
On 8 August, the Romanian General Staff issued the Operative Directive No. 31 instructing the 4th Army to occupy Odessa off the march. It was thought that the city garrison, outnumbered, would surrender quickly. Odessa was fortified by three defensive lines and, thanks to the presence of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not be surrounded; the first line was 80 km long and situated 25–30 km from the city. The second and main line of defense was about 30 km long; the third and last line of defense was organized inside the city itself. The forces that manned the fortifications were made up of the 25th and 95th Rifle Divisions, the 2nd Cavalry Division, the 421st Rifle Division, the 54th Rifle Regiment and an NKVD Regiment; the Red Army had 240 artillery pieces in the area. Air support was provided by the 69th Fighter Aviation Regiment, two seaplane squadrons and one bomber squadron. Other fighters joined the defenders, as did an Il-2 squadron; the defense of Odessa lasted 73 days from 5 August to 16 October 1941.
On 10 August, in the sector of the 3rd Corps, the bulk of the 7th Infantry Division reached Elssas, while the 1st Guard Division arrived on the alignment Strassburg – Petra Evdokievka. In the sector of the 5th Corps, the 1st Armored Division broke through Odessa's first line of defense; that evening, the Romanian division reached the second line of defense. The 1st Cavalry Brigade joined the 1st Armored Division. At the same time, the 10th Dorobanţi Regiment overran the Soviet forces at Lozovaya; the 4th Army closed the circle around Odessa, but the offensive was temporarily stopped by Antonescu on 13 August to strengthen the line west of the Hadjibey bank. The offensive resumed on 16 August, as Romanian troops attacked along the entire line, capturing Odessa's water reservoirs on 17 August; the Soviet forces put up a stubborn resistance, launching repeated counter-attacks and taking heavy casualties. The Royal Romanian Air Force supported the ground troops, disrupting Soviet naval traffic to and from Odessa, destroying an armored train on 20 August.
By 24 August, despite constant attacks, the Romanians were bogged down in front of the Soviets' main line of defense. The 4th Army had suffered 27,307 casualties, including 5,329 killed in action; the Soviets were weakened, thanks to the capture of Kubanka, Romanian heavy artillery now threatened the port of Odessa. Over the next three days, there was a lull in the fighting. On 28 August, the Romanians resumed their offensive, reinforced by a German assault battalion and ten heavy artillery battalions; the 4th, 11th and 1st Army Corps advanced towards Gnileakovo and Vakarzhany, only to be pushed back in some areas by a strong Soviet counterattack the following day. On 30 August the Romanians retook the initiative, but gained little ground. Hitler and the German High Command noted that'Antonescu using at Odessa the tactics of the First World War,' crudely depending upon infantry to make unsupported frontal attacks against Soviet trench line defenses; the Soviets temporarily were driven back by nightfall.
Soviet troops in Vakarzhany were encircled and continued to fight until 3 September, when combined German and Romanian infantry stormed the village. On 3 September, General Ciupercă submitted a memoir to by-now Marshal Antonescu, highlighting the poor condition of the front-line divisions, which were exhausted after nearly a month of continuous fighting, he proposed a reorganization of six divisions, which would be split into 2 corps and supported by 8 heavy artillery battalions. These units would attack in a single area to break through the Soviet line; the memoir however, was rejected by both Antonescu and Brigadier-General Alexandru Ioaniţiu, chief of the Romanian General Staff, who argued that an attack in a single direction would leave the rest of the Romanian line too exposed. Marshal Antonescu subsequently issued a new directive calling for attacks between Tatarka and Dalnik, Gniliavko and Dalnik, to be made by the 11th and 3rd Corps, respectively. Ioaniţiu forwarded a note to Major-General Arthur Hauffe, chief of the German military mission to Romania, informing him of the situation at Odessa and requesting assistance in the form of aircraft and several pioneer battalions.
Although the Royal Romanian Air Force enjoyed some success against the Soviets ground and air forces, it was ill-equipped for anti-shipping raids, the Sov
50th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Romania)
The 50th Anti-aircraft Missiles Regiment "Andrei Mureşianu" is an air defense regiment of the Romanian Land Forces. It is subordinated to the 4th Infantry Division and its headquarters are located in Floreşti; the regiment was part of the 6th Anti-aircraft Missiles Brigade, disbanded in 2006, during a reorganization of the Romanian Land Forces. The unit operates the SA-6 "KUB" and SA-8 "OSA-AKM" surface-to-air missile systems; the 50th Anti-aircraft Missiles Regiment at Cluj-Napoca includes the 3rd Air-defense Battalion "Potaissa" - Turda
Cluj-Napoca known as Cluj, is the fourth most populous city in Romania, the seat of Cluj County in the northwestern part of the country. Geographically, it is equidistant from Bucharest and Belgrade. Located in the Someșul Mic River valley, the city is considered the unofficial capital to the historical province of Transylvania. From 1790 to 1848 and from 1861 to 1867, it was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania; as of 2011, 324,576 inhabitants lived within the city limits, marking a slight increase from the figure recorded at the 2002 census. The Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area has a population of 411,379 people, while the population of the peri-urban area exceeds 420,000 residents; the new metropolitan government of Cluj-Napoca became operational in December 2008. According to a 2007 estimate provided by the County Population Register Service, the city hosts a visible population of students and other non-residents—an average of over 20,000 people each year during 2004–2007.
The city spreads out from St. Michael's Church in Unirii Square, built in the 14th century and named after the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Cluj-Napoca; the boundaries of the municipality contain an area of 179.52 square kilometres. Cluj-Napoca experienced a decade of decline during the 1990s, its international reputation suffering from the policies of its mayor at the time, Gheorghe Funar. Today, the city is one of the most important academic, cultural and business centres in Romania. Among other institutions, it hosts the country's largest university, Babeș-Bolyai University, with its botanical garden. Cluj-Napoca held the titles of European Youth Capital in 2015 and European City of Sport in 2018. On the site of the city was a pre-Roman settlement named Napoca. After the AD 106 Roman conquest of the area, the place was known as Municipium Aelium Hadrianum Napoca. Possible etymologies for Napoca or Napuca include the names of some Dacian tribes such as the Naparis or Napaei, the Greek term napos, meaning "timbered valley" or the Indo-European root *snā-p-, "to flow, to swim, damp".
The first written mention of the city's current name – as a Royal Borough – was in 1213 under the Medieval Latin name Castrum Clus. Despite the fact that Clus as a county name was recorded in the 1173 document Thomas comes Clusiensis, it is believed that the county's designation derives from the name of the castrum, which might have existed prior to its first mention in 1213, not vice versa. With respect to the name of this camp, it is accepted as a derivation from the Latin term clausa – clusa, meaning "closed place", "strait", "ravine". Similar senses are attributed to the Slavic term kluč, meaning "a key" and the German Klause – Kluse; the Latin and Slavic names have been attributed to the valley that narrows or closes between hills just to the west of Cluj-Mănăștur. An alternative hypothesis relates the name of the city to its first magistrate, Miklus – Miklós / Kolos; the Hungarian form Kolozsvár, first recorded in 1246 as Kulusuar, underwent various phonetic changes over the years. Its Saxon name Clusenburg/Clusenbvrg appeared in 1348.
The Romanian name of the city used to be spelled alternately as Cluj or Cluș, the latter being the case in Mihai Eminescu's Poesis. In 1974, the communist authorities added "-Napoca" to the city's name as a nationalist gesture, emphasising its pre-Roman roots; the full name is used outside of official contexts. In Yiddish it is known as קלאזין or קלויזענבורג; the nickname "treasure city" was acquired in the late 16th century, refers to the wealth amassed by residents, including in the precious metals trade. The phrase is kincses város in Hungarian, given in Romanian as orașul comoară; the Roman Empire conquered Dacia in AD 101 and 106, during the rule of Trajan, the Roman settlement Napoca, established thereafter, is first recorded on a milestone discovered in 1758 in the vicinity of the city. Trajan's successor Hadrian granted Napoca the status of municipium as municipium Aelium Hadrianum Napocenses. In the 2nd century AD, the city gained the status of a colonia as Colonia Aurelia Napoca. Napoca became thus the seat of a procurator.
The colonia was evacuated in 274 by the Romans. There are no references to urban settlement on the site for the better part of a millennium thereafter. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, two groups of buildings existed on the current site of the city: the wooden fortress at Cluj-Mănăștur and the civilian settlement developed around the current Piața Muzeului in the city centre. Although the precise date of the conquest of Transylvania by the Hungarians is not known, the earliest Hungarian artifacts found in the region are dated to the first half of the 10th century. In any case, after that time, the city became part of the Kingdom of Hungary. King Stephen I made the city the seat of the castle county of Kolozs, King Saint Ladislaus I of Hungary founded the abbey of Cluj-Mănăștur, destroyed during the Tatar invasions in 12
Constantin Prezan was a Romanian general during World War I and a Marshal of Romania afterward. Born in Butimanu, Dâmbovița County, Prezan graduated from the officers' infantry and cavalry school in Bucharest and the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr. Made a second lieutenant in 1880, he rose to captain in 1887. A military engineering specialist, he took part in the Second Balkan War. General Prezan commanded the 4th Army Corps in 1915-1916, became head of the Romanian Fourth Army during the Romanian Campaign in 1916. Prezan led the Romanian Armed Forces as it retreated into the northeastern part of Romania, in the Battle of Bucharest. In July and August 1917, by Chief of the General Staff stopped the German invasion led by Field Marshal August von Mackensen, he continued serving in this position until 1920. Documents found in military archives have brought to light Prezan's role in creating the Romanian National State. During the campaign of 1916, Prezan was rewarded with the Mihai Viteazu Order, Third Class for deeds of merit and devotion.
In the summer of 1917, when he commanded the General Army Quarters, Prezan was honoured with Mihai Viteazu Order, Second Class. During the Hungarian–Romanian War, Prezan led the Romanian Armed Forces in the battles of Bessarabia and Transylvania. King Ferdinand awarded his outstanding service with First Class. Prezan was promoted as Marshal of Romania in 1930. A major boulevard in Bucharest is named after him. Who's Who: Constantine Prezan