Fourth Army (Romania)

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Fourth Army
Armata a 4-a Română
Active August 1916 - June 1947
April 1980–2000[citation needed]
Country Romania
Branch Romanian Land Forces
Garrison/HQ Cluj-Napoca
Anniversaries 15th August
Engagements

World War II

Commanders
Notable
commanders
Marshal Constantin Prezan
General Mihail Lascăr
General Constantin Constantinescu-Claps
General Mihai Racovițǎ

The Fourth Army (Armata a 4-a Română) was a field army (a military formation) of the Romanian Land Forces active from the 19th century to the 1990s.

History[edit]

The Fourth Army fought in the Romanian Campaign of World War I, under the command of General Prezan. Units under its command took part in the Prunaru Charge and the Battle of Bucharest.

On 22 June 1941, according to research by Leo Niehorster, the 4th Army consisted of the 3rd Army Corps (Guards, 15th, and 35th Reserve Divisions), the 5th Army Corps (Border Division and 21st Division), the 11th Army Corps (two fortress brigades), and the 4th Army Cooperation Command.[1] It was under the command of Lieutenant General N. Ciuperca. In 1942, it fought on the Axis side as part of the German Army Group B. In July 1941 it took part in Operation Munchen, the recapturing of Bessarabia and the Northern Bukovina, which was annexed by the Soviet Union the year before.

By August 1941 during the Siege of Odessa, 4th Army had under command the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 11th Army Corps under its control, with a total of 17 infantry divisions, the 1st Armoured Division (Romania), three cavalry divisions, and a total of 38 artillery regiments.[2] On November 9, 1941, Constantin Constantinescu-Claps was appointed the commander of the Fourth Army, and became a Corps General on January 24, 1942. On February 10, 1943, he was relieved of his assignment and replaced by Constantin Sănătescu.

From late 1942 to early 1943, the Fourth Army was almost entirely destroyed during the Battle for Stalingrad. The Romanian Third Army suffered a similar fate. During April–May 1944 the Romanian forces led by General Mihai Racoviţǎ, together with elements of the German Eighth Army were responsible for defending Northern Romania during the Soviet First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, and took part in the Battles of Târgu Frumos.

In August 1944, the Red Army entered Romania after driving back Army Group South from the region. On August 23, Marshal Ion Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael I, and Romania declared war on Germany and Hungary some days later. The Soviets took control of the oilfields in the Ploiești area, and the Romanian Army was used to fight German forces on the Eastern Front.

The Fourth Army became one of the Romanian armies fighting for the Red Army on the Eastern Front. In its campaign from August 1944 to May 1945, the Romanian Army lost some 64,000 men killed. The Fourth Army took part in Soviet offensives, notably at Prague in May 1945, which happened to be the last offensive it took part in World War II.

The Fourth Army was involved in the Battle of Turda which lasted from 5 September-8 October 1944, in the area around Turda, present-day Romania. Troops from the Hungarian 2nd Army and the German 8th Army fought a defensive action against the Fourth Army and the Red Army. The battle was one of the largest fought in Transylvania during World War II.

In the Prague Offensive, the Fourth Army, together with the Romanian First Army and Polish Second Army, formed part of the Soviet 2nd Ukrainian Front. Marshal Ivan Koniev, the commander of the First Ukrainian Front, was the main Soviet commander in the area. Together with Marshal Georgy Zhukov's First Byelorussian Front, Koniev had launched the great attack on April 16 that resulted in the fall of Berlin and Soviet victory on the Eastern Front.

The offensive started on May 6, a few days before the end of the war. German resistance in the east was now limited to small pockets scattered across Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. The remnants of Army Group Center held the remaining German-controlled areas in the east. In the attack on Prague, German resistance was defeated in the city, and the Soviet, Romanian, and Polish forces entered the city on May 9. Czech partisans had been fighting the Germans there for a few days.

By May 11 and 12, all remaining German pockets of resistance in the east were defeated.

The army was active after the war until 1947. In 1945, the Fourth Army comprised two army corps:[3] 2nd Army Corps, at Bucharest, cu Divizia de Gardă și 1st "TUDOR VLADIMIRESCU" Volunteer Division, Regimentul 2 Artilerie Grea, Regimentul 2 Pionieri [2nd Pioneer Regiment?], Regimentul 4 Călărași, and corps units; 7th Army Corps, at Sibiu, cu 2nd Infantry Division, the 2nd "HOREA, CLOȘCA și CRIȘAN" Volunteer Division, Regimentul 1 Artilerie Grea, 7th Pioneer Regiment [Pionieri], Regimentul 1 Călărași, and corps uunits.

"From March 1945 to June 1947, the generals were in command Dăscălescu Nicolae Gheorghe Stavrescu Mihail Lascar, Grigore Vasiliu Rascanu and C. Nicolau. 4th Army Command was disbanded on 5 June 1947, under the Order M. St.M. nr. no. 40.500, and the units were redeployed. By Royal Decree 1346 of 28 June 1947, was born from 01.07.1947 3rd Military Region, based in Cluj." The 3rd Military Region became the 3rd Army on 30 April 1960, and the 4th Army on 5 April 1980.

In 1989 it was reported to consist of the 6th Tank Division (Targu Mureș), possibly named the Horia, Cloșca și Crișan Division, the 11th Mechanised Division (Oradea), and the 81st Mechanised Division (Dej),[4] as well as smaller units: the 1st Mountain Bde, 5th Mountain Bde, and 37th Tactical Missile Brigade.[5]

The 11th Mechanised Division reportedly consisted of the following units:[4]

  • 21st Mech. Rgt. -Oradea : with TR-77 tanks, TAB-71/-71M apc-s, TABC-79 recon vehicles, SU-76 sp guns, ZiS-3 76mm field guns, Md.1982 120mm mortars, ?? TAB-71AR with 82mm mortars, AG-9 rr-s, MR-4 quad 14,5mm aa hmg-s, DAC-443T and -665T trucks, TER-580 evacuation tank, TERA-71L recovery apc-s,
  • 23rd Mech. Rgt. -Beius -same
  • 19th Mech. Rgt. -Arad -same
  • 23rd Tank Rgt. -Oradea : with TR-77 tanks, BTR-50PK and PU apc-s, TABC-79 recon vehicles, TAB-71A R-1451 command apc, MR-2 quad 14,5mm aa hmg-s, DAC-443T and -665T trucks, TER-580 evacuation tanks, MTP/BTR-50P recovery apc-s,
  • 26th Artillery Regiment -Ineu : with M-30 122mm how., Md.1981 152mm how., APR-40 122mm mrls, SR-114 and DAC-444 trucks, TMA-83 arty tractors, TABC-79A-POMA and TAB-77A-PCOMA command vehicles,
  • 119th Recon Battalion -Oradea : with TABC-79 recon vehicles and DAC-444T trucks,

The 11th Mechanised Division became a brigade on 1 October 1994, and in 2002 became a motorised infantry brigade. It was disbanded in May 2005.

The Fourth Army was redesignated the 4th Territorial Army Corps in 2000 and subsequently the 4th Infantry Division (Romania) in 2008.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leo Niehorster, Army Group Antonescu, 22 June 1941, accessed June 2011
  2. ^ (Romanian) 165 Years of Existence of Romanian Artillery p.139
  3. ^ Pah, Daniliuc, DIVIZIA 4 INFANTERIE "GEMINA", PE COORDONATELE EVOLUȚIEI DE LA RĂZBOIUL ÎNTREGIRII NEAMULUI LA RĂZBOIUL ÎMPOTRIVA TERORISMULUI, accessed June 2011
  4. ^ a b http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?showtopic=530&st=45
  5. ^ (Romanian) 165 Years of Existence of Romanian Artillery p.222-223

Further reading[edit]

  • Colectiv, Armata a IV-a Transilvania la 80 de ani, Editura Dacia, Cluj-Napoca, 1996, p. 11.
  • Colectiv, Armata a 4-a "Transilvania" în cruciada eliberării Europei, vol.III, Editura Dacia, Cluj-Napoca, 1998, p. 16.

External links[edit]