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Battle of Mărăşeşti
Part of Romanian Campaign (World War I)
Romanian troops at Marasesti in 1917.jpg
Romanian troops at Mărăşeşti in 1917
Date August 6 to September 8, 1917
Location Vrancea, Eastern Romania
Result Strategic Romanian victory
Belligerents
Romania Romania  German Empire
 Austria-Hungary
Commanders
Romania Alexandru Averescu
Romania Eremia Grigorescu
German Empire August von Mackensen
German Empire Kurt von Wenniger  
Strength
218,000 245,000
Casualties and losses
27,410 of all causes 47,000 of all causes

The Battle of Mărăşeşti, Vrancea County, eastern Romania (August 6 to September 8, 1917) was a battle fought during World War I between Germany and Romania.

Contents

Premise

The Romanians participated in a joint Russian-Romanian offensive on July 22 against the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army in the Mărăşti area and on the lower part of the Siret river (the Battle of Mărăşti). 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). The Battle of Mărăşeşti was the largest military operation undertaken by the Romanian Army during World War I, was also the one of the most important operations carried out by allied troops during the war. It was a complex operation, defence and maintaining front line dotted with numerous offensive response from the Romanians. In the heart of Romania, this battle has a special place because of the heroism shown by Romanian soldiers and legends created around some of them, but mostly because of the legendary phrases “Do not pass over here!”. The plan included the German forces, led by General Mackensen, to attack in the area Namoloasa, where was intended to be executed the main attack over the Romanian armies. The Romanians planned to unleash an offensive on the front of Namoloasa, on the morning of 13/26 July 1917, against the Germans. Allies Romania, Russia, have not fought the war, their army being decomposed due to propagation of the Bolshevik ideas and left the theatre of operations. Neither the Germans have started military actions in Namoloasa, in conditions in which the Romanians fought very well in the battle of Marasti, where they obtained the victory. General von Mackensen, seeking to occupy as soon as possible Moldova, tried to pierce the Romanian front of Marasesti, by starting an attack. Being left by the Russians, Romanians faced German attack themselves and obtained the most important victory of 1917, after 14 days of fighting, because of the soldiers’ heroism and the prowess of General Constantin Cristescu and Eremia Grigorescu.

German counter-attack

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 Marshall 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[1]. The motto of the Romanian Army during the battle was "Pe aici nu se trece" (English: "You shall not pass"), probably inspired from the famous slogan of General Nivelle during the Battle of Verdun.

Romania lost over 27,000 men, including 610 officers, while Germany 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 Kurt von Wenniger was killed by artillery near the village of Muncelul.

Aftermath

This was the last major battle on the Romanian front. 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).

See also

The monument in the place of the battle

References

  1. ^ Cyril Falls, The Great War, p. 285

External links

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