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Operation München

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Operation München
Part of the Eastern Front of World War II
Bess7.JPG
Romanian cavalryman escorting Soviet prisoners
Date July 2 to July 26, 1941
Location Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina
Result Axis victory
Belligerents
Soviet Union Soviet Union Romania
Nazi Germany Germany
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union Ivan Tyulenev
Soviet Union P. G. Ponedelin
Soviet Union Yakov Cherevichenko
Soviet Union Filipp Oktyabrskiy
Ion Antonescu
Nicolae Ciupercă
Petre Dumitrescu
Horia Macellariu
Nazi Germany Eugen Ritter von Schobert
Units involved
Odessa Military District:
Soviet Union 9th Army
Soviet Union 12th Army
Soviet Union 18th Army
Army Group Antonescu:
3rd Army
4th Army
Nazi Germany 11th Army
Strength
Soviet Union 364,700 troops
700 tanks
1,750 aircraft
5 river monitors
22 armored motor gunboats
325,685 troops[1]
201 tanks
672 aircraft
1 monitor
6 river monitors
4+ armed boats
Nazi Germany 5 divisions, 420 aircraft
Casualties and losses
Total: 17,893
8,519 killed/missing, 9,374 wounded
255 aircraft[2]
2 river monitors damaged
7 armored motor gunboats sunk and 2 more damaged
Total: 21,738
4,112 killed, 12,120 wounded, 5,506 missing[3]
58 aircraft[4]


To be distinguished from the German documentary film LH 615 – Operation München about the 1972 hijacking of a Lufthansa airliner.

Operation München (Operaţiunea München) was the Romanian codename of a joint German-Romanian offensive during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, with the primary objective of recapturing Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, ceded by Romania to the Soviet Union a year before (Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina).[5] The Operation concluded successfully after 24 days of fighting. Axis formations involved included the Third Romanian Army, the Fourth Romanian Army, and the Wehrmacht Eleventh Army.[6] The invasion was followed by a genocide against the Jewish population of Bessarabia.[7]

The offensive started on 2 July, with Romanian forces striking North. On 5 July, Chernivtsi, the capital of Northern Bukovina, was seized by the 3rd and 23rd Vânători de Munte battalions. On 16 July, Chișinău, the Bessarabian capital, was seized after heavy fighting by Romanian forces spearheaded by the 1st Romanian Armored Division (Divizia 1 Blindată), equipped mainly with 126 R-2 light tanks. By 26 July, the entire region was under Romanian-German control. On 17 August, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were formally re-integrated into the Romanian State.[8]

Fighting in Southern Bessarabia[edit]

The combat operations in Southern Bessarabia were some of the most complex in the entire operation, involving artillery, warships, aviation, soldiers and marines from both sides. The Soviet Danube Flotilla consisted of 5 river monitors, 22 armed and armored motor gunboats and 7 minesweeping boats. The Romanian Danube Flotilla was spearheaded by 7 river monitors, but had significantly less armed small boats, at least four. Fighting in this sector of the front started days before the operation, with a first skirmish between Soviet and Romanian warships on 23 June, when the Soviet vessels attempted to break the Romanian naval blockade. During the night of 9-10 July, the Soviet warships took advantage of the reduced visibility and managed to sneak out of the blockade. On 26 June, in support of the sea-borne Raid on Constanța, Soviet armored motor gunboats landed troops at Chilia Veche and captured most of the Romanian 15th Marine Infantry Battalion, Romanian losses amounting to 468 troops. The remnants of the battalion, supported by one armed boat and two motorboats, managed to defend Stipoc Island against further Soviet attacks. Two Romanian armed boats engaged and repelled four of their Soviet counterparts on 27 June, two of the latter being damaged. On 13 July, near the mouth of the Danube, the Romanian monitor Mihail Kogălniceanu engaged and damaged a Soviet monitor. On 14 July, Mihail Kogălniceanu engaged and repelled the Soviet monitor Undarnyy, the latter being damaged. The Romanian 17th Marine Infantry Battalion managed to hold the Periprava sector all throughout the Operation and the preceding days, repelling numerous Soviet attacks. During this time, its artillery also sank six Soviet armored boats. On the night of 22-23 July, the battalion occupied Tatarbunary. Another Soviet armored motor gunboat was shelled and sunk at Isaccea by the riverine artillery of a Romanian marine detachment. Ultimately, the losses of the Soviet Danube Flotilla amounted to two river monitors damaged, seven armored motor gunboats boats sunk and two more damaged. On 18-19 July, the Flotilla withdrew from the Danube Delta. Thus, on 22 July, the Romanians occupied Reni, Izmail, Kiliya and Vylkove.[9][10][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Axworthy (1995), p. 45.
  2. ^ Axworthy (1995), p. 286
  3. ^ Axworthy (1995), p. 47.
  4. ^ Axworthy (1995), p. 286
  5. ^ Operation Barbarossa 1941: Army Group South - Page 41 Robert Kirchubel, Howard Gerrard - 2003 "Hitler finally felt chances of a Soviet ground attack were low enough that his far right flank could move out under Operation Munich. All Axis forces in Romania nominally fell under the command of dictator Ion Antonescu."
  6. ^ Germany and the Axis powers from coalition to collapse R. L. DiNardo - 2005 "It was not until early July, once the Soviet offensive was spent, that the Romanian Fourth Army was ready to go over to the offensive.101 Operation Munchen turned out to be a somewhat staggered affair. Schobert's German Eleventh Army "
  7. ^ Deutsche und Juden in Bessarabien, 1814-1941 Mariana Hausleitner - 2005 "... größte Katastrophe für die Juden Bessarabiens war die Rückeroberung Bessarabiens durch die rumänische Armee im Juli 1941."
  8. ^ Dutu A., Dobre F., Loghin L. Armata Romana in al doilea razboi mondial (1941-1945) - Dictionar Enciclopedic, Editura Enciclopedica, 1999
  9. ^ Jipa Rotaru, Ioan Damaschin, Glorie și dramă: Marina Regală Română, 1940-1945, Ion Cristoiu Publishing, 2000, pp. 52-59 and 87-88
  10. ^ Jonathan Trigg, Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front, History Press Limited, 2017 Chapter 3
  11. ^ Antony Preston, Warship 2001-2002, Conway Maritime Press, 2001, p. 72

Bibliography[edit]

  • Axworthy, Mark; Scafes, Cornel; Craciunoiu, Cristian (1995). Third Axis Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945. London: Arms & Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-267-7.