Monday, May 11, 2015

German Decorations for Romanian Generals


22.11.1942 General de Divizie Mihai Lascar (6th Infantry Division)
08.12.1943 General de Brigada Corneliu Teodorini (6th Cavalry Division)
04.04.1944 General de Armata Petre Dumitrescu (3rd Army)

The other foreign Eichenlaubträger usually listed are General Munoz-Grandes, Admirals Yamamoto and Koga, Mannerheim and Degrelle. Rebane is mostly listed with the German recipients.

Here is some information on the three generals: 

General de armata Petre Dumitrescu was born in 1883. After serving as military attaché in several European capitals (Paris, Brussels) in the inter-war period he was assigned to the command of the 1st Army in 1940. On 25 March 1941, lt. general Petre Dumitrescu took over the 3rd Army, which he commanded practically during the entire anti-Soviet war with the exception of only one month (21 March 20 April 1943). During the 1941 campaign, his army reoccupied Northern Bukovina and then crossed the river Dniester when fighting was still going on in Bessarabia. It was subordinated to the 11th Army and advanced all the way to the Nogay Steppe, north of Crimea. There it took part in the Battle of the Azov Sea, which resulted in the destruction of two Soviet armies (9th and 18th ). He was the second Romanian who received the Ritterkreuz, the first one being Antonescu. Dumitrescu was also awarded the Mihai Viteazu Order 3rd class on 17 October 1941.

On 18 July 1942 he was promoted to the rank of general, thus becoming the most important Romanian commander after the marshal Antonescu (after gen. Iosif Iacobici resigned). In the autumn, his army was positioned north of Stalingrad, near the Don’s Bend, defending a line far too long for its possibilities. His reports about the Soviet build-up in front of his troops and his suggestions for the elimination of Soviet bridgeheads at Kletskaya were ignored by the German High Command. The result of the Soviet winter offensive is well known. In 1944, the 3rd Army was situated on the extreme south of the Eastern Front. The line was stabilized on the Dniester in spring when he also received the 2nd class of the Mihai Viteazu Order. He was also the only Romanian general, with the exception of Antonescu to have a German army (the 6th) under his command (Army Group Dumitrescu) and one of the three Romanian generals who received the Oak Leaves to their RK. The Soviet offensive began on 20 August and his troops were forced to pull back. After the armistice was announced he tried to get his army as further away from the Soviets and also to avoid any engagements. However, he was unable to, as the 3rd Army was surrounded. About 130,000 Romanian soldiers were taken prisoners (the figure includes troops from the 4th Army) after Romania had already quit the Axis and Romanian troops were fighting the Germans.

He retired and passed away in 1948 at home.

General de divizie Mahail Lascar was born on 8 November 1889, at Targu Jiu. He went to Infantry Officer School between 1908 and 1910. He finished with the rank of 2nd lieutenant. During the Second Blakan War he was a lieutenant and in 1916, when Romania joined WWI, he had the rank of captain. Promoted during the hard year of 1917 to major, he had to wait another 10 years to accede to the rank of lt. col. He became colonel 1934 and in 1939 he received the rank of brigadier general.

On 10 January he was appointed commander of the 1st Mountain Brigades, one of elite Romanian military formations, which was subordinated to the 3rd Army. He participated in the initial attack on the USSR, when his unit operated in Northern Bukovina. After crossing the river Dniester the unit advanced towards the Bug and then to the Dnieper. It was then involved in the Battle of the Azov Sea (‘the great vanatori de munte battle’, as they called it). After that he participated in the breakthrough into Crimea by fighting in the Salkovo Isthmus and then in the pursuit of retreating Soviet forces. In four days it marched 180 km and took 2,447 prisoners, until it reached the seaside at Sudak. For a short while, his unit conducted anti-partisan operations in the Yaila mountains, until it was moved to Sevastopol in November, where it took the Chapel hill together with the German 170th Infantry Division. Lascar won the Ritterkreuz and the admiration of von Manstein, who mentions him in his memoirs, but during the second assault on Sevastopol, when Lascar the CO of the 6th Division.

His direct CO, maj. gen. Gheorghe Avramescu (commander of the Mountain Corps), wrote in his file: He is full of energy and commitment, with a lot of initiative. Firm character and personality, self-confident. It proved to be a high quality general with a powerful grasp on his troops.
On 10 February 1942 he was relieved of command and returned home. But this was only for a short while, because a month later he was assigned to the command of the 6th Infantry Division, one of the best of the Romanian army, which in 1941 received training from German instructors. He was also promoted to maj. general. He went on to fight at Stalingrad, where the unit was surrounded. He took command of the units in the pocket (5th, 13th, 14th and 15th Infantry Division) and coordinated the defense. It is reported to have said to his subordinates: If one of you survives these battles, he must tell the story of our fights. I am a soldier and I remain at my post.

Without food, freezing, grossly outnumbered the troops under his command fought until they ran out of ammo or were killed. A report of 5 December 1942, of SSI (Special Intelligence Service) said that in the hardest moments of the battle, general Lascar showed a high sense of duty, by calmly coordinating the actions of the 6th ID and of the other units of whose command he had assumed. He was an example for the subordinates. When Golovsky was under attack, he was sitting in the Operation Bureau and when everything seemed lost he went together with his staff among the soldiers, even though he could have saved himself. He showed courage, dignity and patriotism.

According to some of his subordinates, during the night of 21/22 November, when the first Soviet delegates arrived to talk them into surrendering, he replied: We fight to the last man. We shall not surrender!

On 22 he decided that the 15th ID should try to brake through to the south west to friendly lines, towards Bol. Donchinka. In the same time the 6th ID was suppose to retreat towards Pasheany. He became more and more unsettled and told col. Cristea Stanescu that if the Russians come he would kill himself. His depressive state aggravated when the Soviets started to shell Golovsky at 1700 and at 2100 they attacked. At 1900 he reportedly went out to spot the Soviet artillery positions. Some say that he headed towards Isbusinsky, where the troops of brig. gen. Traian Stanescu were still holding out. He was captured by the Soviets. He had already received the Mihai Viteazu Order, 2nd class and the Oak Leaves to his Ritterkreuz, plus several citations, but in the evening of 22 November he was defeated.

He went to the Kranogor camp, then to Suzdal and Ivanov and finally to the special Camp no. 48, reserved for generals. On 12 April 1945 he was named commander of the second Soviet sponsored Romanian volunteer unit: Horia, Closca si Crisan Division, which he commanded until 12 September. He was then named commander of the 4th Army until 30 November 1946, when the new four star general became the Minister of Defense. He fell in disgrace and, from December 1947, he was appointed Inspector of the Armed forces, until 12 January 1950, when he retired.

He acted clearly in the favor of the Communists between 1945-47 when they were struggling to get the hold on all the instruments of power. However, he was not radical enough. In a report it was shown that he had shown too much sympathy for the Bourgeoisie and the King. Even though he openly supports the party, he secretly continues a campaign against our leaders. He mentions that the friendship with the SU is important, but so are the ties with the UN. He said to gen. Petrescu: What do the Russians want? To destroy the army? To destroy the schools? What do they want? Or In fact I am not the minister. Susaykov is. I just carry out his orders".

He was under investigation for war crimes, but wasn’t found guilty. He died on 24 July 1959, at Bucharest.

General de brigada Corneliu Teodorini was a very capable Romanian cavalry commander and the third general who received the Oak Leaves to his Ritterkreuz. He started the war as CO of the 8th Cavalry Brigade/Division, which participated in the battles in Northern Bukovina and then through the Ukraine. His unit took part in the breakthrough in Crimea and in the winter battles, as well as in the big Axis victory at Kerch in May 1942. That is when he was reassigned to the 6th Cavalry Division, just in time to participate in the offensive in the Caucasus. In 1943 the unit was in the Taman bridgehead and later retreated to Crimea. Teodorini got the Oak Leaves for the actions against the Eltingen bridgehead (there is a thread about the Eltigen bridgehead in this section look it up). In 1944 he took over the 8th Motorized Cavalry Divisions which saw action against the Axis forces in Transylvania.

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