Battle of Mărășești
|Battle of Mărășești|
|Part of Romanian Campaign (World War I)|
Romanian troops at Mărășești in 1917
| Kingdom of Romania
| German Empire
|Commanders and leaders|
| Alexandru Averescu
| August von Mackensen
Karl von Wenninger (de) †
280 field guns
36 heavy guns
2 armored cars
1,135 machine guns
223 field guns
122 heavy guns and howitzers
|Casualties and losses|
|27,410 of all causes||47,000 of all causes|
The Romanians participated in a joint Russian-Romanian offensive on July 22 against the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army in the Mărăști area and on the lower part of the Siret river (the Battle of Mărăști). After some initial success (a 30 km-wide and 20 km-deep salient in the front of the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army), the attack had to be stopped due to the successful Central Powers counter-offensive in Galicia (see the Kerensky Offensive).
Before launching the attack, the battle was thought to be taken at Nămoloasa, both sides were counting at that moment about 1 million soldiers. Field Marshal August von Mackensen launched a counter-attack on August 6. Mackensen, displaying his usual skill, forced the Russians to retreat. It must be admitted that the Russian army was nearly useless by this point in the war. For the next month, the Germans, together with some Austrian units, fought a see-saw battle with the Romanian army. The fighting lasted until September 8, when both sides ran out of fresh units. The German attempt to crush the last Romanian army had failed, but the Romanians had not expanded their territory either. The motto of the Romanian Army during the battle was "Pe aici nu se trece" (English: "You shall not pass").
Romania lost over 27,000 men, including 610 officers, while Germany and Austria-Hungary lost over 47,000. Notably, the Romanian heroine Ecaterina Teodoroiu was killed at the end of this battle, on September 6, by machine-gun fire; two days later, Major General Karl von Wenninger (de) was killed by artillery fire near the village of Muncelu.
This was the last major battle on the Romanian front after much of Romania had been occupied by the forces of the Central Powers. It kept free the northeastern region of the country, but in May 1918, after the German advance in Ukraine and Russia signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Romania, surrounded by the Central Powers forces, had no other choice but to sue for peace (see Treaty of Bucharest, 1918).
- Cyril Falls, The Great War, p. 285
- Nițu, Victor. website: Worldwar2.ro: The battle of Mărășești