Romanian Land Forces ( ) is the army of Romania, and part of
the overall Romanian Armed
Forces. Having completely overhauled their equipment,
today they are well-equipped, and one of the most important new
members of NATO.
Romanian Land Forces participated in World
War I, together with the Russian Empire forces in actions against the Central Powers and, despite initial setbacks,
won the decisive battles of Mărăşti and Mărăşeşti.
most of World War II (until August 23,
1944) Romanian forces supported the Axis powers, fighting against
Union on the Eastern Front.
August 1944 until the end of the war, Romania fought against
Germany under the control of the Soviet Union.
When the communists
seized power after the Second World
War, the army underwent reorganization and sovietization
Following the 1989
, due to shortage of funds, many units were disbanded
and much equipment was phased out. Likewise, Romanian military
capability declined because of a lack of fuel as well as training.
However, since the late 1990s, a number of positive changes have
come about and the level of combat readiness is growing greatly;
since 1996, the military budget
grown more than four times - rising from 636 million dollars
to 2.8 billion dollars in 2007. Conscription
has been abolished and
professionalisation of units is now taking place. The full
modernization of equipment ended at the end of 2007.
- The Land Forces represent the most important component of the
Romanian Armed Forces and they are destinated for execution of
various military actions, with terrestrial or aeromobile character,
in any zone or direction.
- The Land Forces must, independently or together with other
Romanian military branches, conduct operations and defensive or
offensive battles, for capture, or destruction of the invading enemy, being part of national, or
multinational military structures.
- A part of the units which compose the current operational
structure of the Land Forces, must be able to conduct military
operations outside the national
territory, together with the international military
attempt to create an independent Romanian army was made by Gheorghe Magheru during the 1848 Wallachian Revolution, and
it was based at Râureni (now part of Râmnicu
Vâlcea). However, Magheru rapidly ordered his troops
to disband when the Ottoman forces
swept into Bucharest to stop the revolution.
Romanian troops taking Grivica
The current Romanian Land Forces were formed in 1859, immediately
after the unification of Wallachia
, and were commanded by Alexandru Ioan Cuza
of Romania until his abdication in
1866. In 1877, at the request of Nikolai
Konstantinovich, Grand Duke of Russia
the Romanian army fused
with the Russian forces, and led by King Carol I
, fought in the Romanian War of Independence
participated in the Siege of Plevna and other major battles.
The Romanians won
the war, but suffered about 10,000 casualties. Until World War I,
the Romanian army didn't face any other serious actions.
World War I
27, 1916, Romania declared war
on Germany and Austria-Hungary, following the initial
success of the Brusilov Offensive
(a major Russian offensive against the armies of the Central Powers on the Eastern Front).
Romanian armies entered Transylvania
(then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), together with Russian
However, German forces under the command of General
Erich von Falkenhayn
the attack in November, 1916, and drove back the Romanians. The
Germans drove deep into Romania and conquered the south of the
, including Bucharest)
by the end of 1916. The Romanian forces, led by Marshal Constantin
, retreated into the north-east part of Romania (Moldavia
Romanian front during WWI
In July and August 1917, Prezan, aided by the future Marshal,
, successfully stopped the German invasion led by
Field Marshal August von Mackensen
. General Alexandru Averescu
led the Second Army in
the victories of the Battle of Mărăşti
to August 1, 1917) and the Battle of Mărăşeşti
(August 6 to September 8, 1917). As a result to the Russian Revolution
, Romania was
unable to continue the war on its own, and forced to sign the
Treaty of Bucharest with Germany. Later on, in 1919, Germany agrees
in the Treaty of Versailles
Article 259, to renounce to all the benefits provided by the Treaty
of Bucharest in 1918. After the successful offensive on the
Thessaloniki front which put Bulgaria out of the war, Romania
re-entered the war on November 10, 1918, a day before its end in
World War II
General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu took power in September 1940,
Romania signed the
Tripartite Pact with the Axis Powers and subsequently took part in
Operation Barbarossa in
1941. An expeditionary force composed of the
Third and Fourth Armies (the latter later
downsized to form the Fourth Army Corps) invaded the Soviet Union in Basarabia and southern Ukraine, alongside the German Wehrmacht. This enabled Romania to annex territory
immediately east of the Dnister. The Romanian Armies saw their first major
battles at Odessa and Sevastopol, and in 1942 advanced with other Axis forces deeper
into Soviet territory during Operation
greatest disaster for the Romanian expeditionary force on the
Eastern Front came at
where, during the Soviet counter-offensive of November 1942, the
thinly spread forces of the Third
Army (deployed north of Stalingrad) and of the Fourth Army (deployed south of
Stalingrad) were attacked by vastly superior Soviet forces and suffered combined losses of some 100,000
During April–May 1944 the Romanian forces led by General Mihai Racoviţǎ
, together with
elements of the German Eighth
were responsible for defending Northern Romania during the
, and took part in the Battles of Târgu Frumos
. In late
August 1944, the Red Army
entered eastern Romania
. On August 23,
1944, a coup
led by King Michael I of Romania
Antonescu and set up a pro-Soviet government. It has been estimated
that the royal coup shortened the war for Romania by six months.
Romania soon declared war on Nazi
, and the First
Fourth Armies were pressed into action. After the expelling of the
last Wehrmacht remnants from Romania, the Romanian Armies took part
in the Siege of Budapest
of May 1945.
The Soviet occupation of
led to a complete reorganization of the Romanian Army
under the supervision of the Red Army. At the onset, pro-German
elements were purged from the Romanian armed forces. In 1944–45, two
divisions were formed out of Romanian volunteers—ex-prisoners of
war, trained and indoctrinated in the Soviet Union during the war, but also of many Communist
One was the Tudor Vladimirescu First Volunteer
, under the command of Colonel Nicolae Cambrea
, and the other the Horia, Cloşca şi
, under the command of General Mihail Lascăr
(who later served as
from 1946 to 1947). These two units formed the nucleus
of the new Romanian Army under Soviet control. Once the Romanian Communist Party
charge, 30% of officers and noncommissioned officers (mostly
experienced soldiers, and a potential source of opposition to the
of the Army) were purged
from the military.
Structural graphic of a Romanian Motor
Rifle Division during the Cold War.
After the Romanian Communist
seized political power, the sovietization of the army
commenced, under the supervision of the new Minister of Defense
, Emil Bodnăraş
. This involved copying
the Soviet model of military and political organization, and
changing the military doctrine of combat and defense, also in the
context of Romania's integration in the strategic system of the
Soviets, at the beginning of the Cold
In the early 1950s the RLF reached a level of 12 rifle, one
mechanised, and one tank division. Between 1960 and 1964 the rifle
and mechanised divisions were converted to motor rifle divisions,
and reductions in strength began; force size dropped to six motor
rifle and two tank divisions by 1970. From 1970 to 1976, three more
motor rifle divisions were formed, but one was deactivated in 1977,
and the eight motor rifle and three tank division figure remained
that way for the rest of the Cold War.
During the 1980s, the land forces numbered 140,000 personnel, of
whom two thirds were conscripts, and the country was divided into
three major military regions: Cluj, Bacău, and Bucharest in the
west, east, and south, respectively. In wartime the land forces in
each military region would become an army
with their headquarters in Cluj-Napoca, Iaşi, and
Bucharest. The land forces consisted of eight motorized rifle
(infantry) divisions (1st, Bucharest, 2nd, Craiova, 9th, Constanta,
10th, Iasi, 11th, Oradea, 18th, Timisoara, and 81st, Tirgu Mures)
the 4th Tank Division at Bucharest and the 6th Tank Division at
either Dej or Tirgu Mures, four mountain infantry brigades, and
three airborne brigades. Motorized rifle divisions were organized
along the Soviet model with three motorized rifle regiments, one
tank regiment, and a full complement of 12,000 infantry soldiers.
The artillery, antitank, and air defense regiments of land forces
divisions provided specialized fire support that enabled motorized
rifle and tank regiments to maneuver. The air defense regiments
consisted of two anti-aircraft artillery battalions and one
surface-to-air missile (SAM) battalion, each composed of several
batteries. In late 1980s the artillery regiments of motorized rifle
and tank divisions included two artillery battalions, one multiple
rocket launcher battalion, and one surface-to-surface missile
battalions were divided into three or four batteries,
each equipped with one missile launcher. They operated thirty
FROG-3 and eighteen SCUD
missile launchers. The
FROG-3, a tactical missile first introduced in 1960, was being
replaced in other non-Soviet Warsaw Pact armies. Proven to be
fairly inaccurate in combat, FROG and SCUD missiles would be
ineffective weapons carrying conventional high-explosive warheads.
Tipped with nuclear or chemical warheads, however, they could be
devastating. According to one former Romanian official writing in
1988, Romania produced chemical agents that could be delivered by
During the early 1990s, some major units were disbanded and a lot
of equipment was phased out or scrapped due to a severe shortage of
funds. The whole land forces structure was reorganized from armies
into territorial corps, and from regiments
. In mid-1990s, the
situation of the land forces was critical: the military budget was
three times lower than in 1989 (636 million dollars), 50% of the
equipment was older than 30 years, and 60% of the armoured vehicles
and 85% of the missile units were non-operational. Due to lack of
fuel and training, the level of combat readiness and military
capability was extremely low (only about 30% of the entire land
forces were operational). However, after 1996 the government
took serious action; the
military budget was increased greatly, and modernization of
Troops during training
eight combat, four combat support and two logistic brigades comprised the military of Romania, while ten
combat, five combat support and two logistic brigades could be
further mobilized in case of crisis.
Patrol mission in Afghanistan
Many of these units
have been restructured, however, as part of the 2007 Force
Currently, about 75,000 military personnel and 15,000 civilians
comprise the armed forces, for a total of 90,000 men and women. Out
of these 75,000, about 45,800 are in the Land Forces.
The Romanian military is undergoing a three-stage restructuring. As
of 2007, the first short-term stage was completed (reorganization
of the command system, implementation of the voluntary military
service). The year 2015 marks the end of the second stage
(operational integration in NATO and EU), while 2025 is the date
when the long-term stage is to be completed (full technical
integration in NATO and EU). The stages aim at modernizing the structure
of the armed forces, reducing the personnel as well as acquiring
newer and improved technology that is compatible with NATO
Romania abolished compulsory military service on October 23, 2006.
This came about due to a 2003
which allowed the parliament to make
military service optional. The Romanian
Parliament voted to abolish conscription in October 2005, with
the vote formalising one of many military modernisation and reform
programmes that Romania agreed to when it joined NATO in March
The current Romanian Land Forces are organized into two Infantry
Divisions, the Bucharest Garrison
Honor Regiment, and a few independent supporting battalions as well
as a series of instruction centers. In peacetime
, the commander of the land forces is the
minister of defense
while in wartime
, the president
becomes the supreme commander
of the army.
The main two Romanian units are the 1st Infantry Division
and the 4th Infantry Division Gemina
Before June 2008, these units were known as the 1st Territorial
Army Corps and the 4th Territorial Army Corps and in turn they used
to be called the 1st Army
and 4th Army
the year 2000. However, due to restructuring, their
personnel have been reduced considerably in order to reach
compatibility with NATO
The current chief of the Romanian Land Forces Staff is Major General Dan
, succeeding Lieutenant
General Teodor Frunzeti
March 2009. The Land Forces official day is celebrated each year,
on April 23.
The current structure is as follows
General Headquarters -
- 1st Infantry Division
Dacica - HQ Bucharest
- 4th Infantry Division
Gemina - HQ Cluj-Napoca
- 81st Mechanized Operational
Brigade - headquartered at Bistriţa
- Two Mechanized Infantry battalions, one Infantry battalion, one
Tank battalion, one Mixed artillery battalion, one Air-Defense
battalion and one Logistics battalion.
- 15th Mechanized Territorial
Înalt" - headquartered at Iaşi
- Two Mechanized battalions, one tank battalion, one
Anti-aircraft battalion, one Artillery battalion and one Logistics
- 61st Mountain Troops
Territorial Brigade "Virgil Bădulescu" - HQ at
- Three Mountain Troops battalions, One Mixed Artillery battalion
and one Logistics battalion.
Mixed Artillery Regiment - headquartered at Şimleul Silvaniei
- two Artillery battalions, one Anti-tank artillery battalion, 1
logistic battalion, 1 data battalion.
Romanian Land Forces Structure
The Romanian Land Forces has completely overhauled its equipment in
the past few years replacing it with a more modern one.The TR-85 M1
main battle tank
and the MLI-84
"Jder" infantry fighting vehicle
comprises the most modern native made equipment of the Romanian
Land Forces. Also 43 ex-German Gepard
were commissioned in late-2004.
The Land Forces ordered about 100 US Army
; the first eight were delivered to the
2006. 31 Piranha III
variant) and 60 URO VAMTAC
high mobility vehicles were also
ordered and will be required for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan
Special Ops in a communications
The Romanian Land Forces contributes with three of the five
battalions of the
Romanian Armed Forces.
The most famous and well trained unit is the 1st Special Operations
(nicknamed "The Eagles"), which was legally created
in late 2005, after several batches of graduates had already been
selected. Members of the special forces battalion have benefitted
from courses abroad, such as the US Army Special Forces
course, the United States
Force Recon course, as well as other courses. The
Special Forces battalion became fully operational during 2007,
after a company had already been commissioned in early-2006.
The current Romanian reconnaissance
battalions (the 528th and the 317th) are considered special forces
units, and were formed in the 1960s during the communist regime
. After the revolution,
the recon battalions suffered from a lack of funds which resulted
in the disbandment of the 313th battalion. However, their equipment
was completely overhauled in the past few years and the combat
readiness and capabilities have regained full strength.
Rapid Intervention Squad
of the Romanian Ministry of
is an elite special
unit of the currently belonging to the Romanian Military Police
. It is a
special unit inside the military, formed of highly-skilled
individuals, a very large percentage of its members are champions
in martial arts
, athletic disciplines and so on . DIR
was, until December 2003, top secret.
The following troops are deployed abroad:
After the Revolution
firing ranges and training areas were closed and abandoned due to
lack of funds.Currently, the military schools and training units of
the Romanian Land Forces are directly subordinated to the central
headquarters. There are 3 military high schools (Câmpulung
Iulia and Breaza), one
military academy (Sibiu), one
officers school (Piteşti), 3 training schools (Sibiu, Piteşti, Buzău) and 9 training battalions.
past few years, lots of training exercises took place in Romania
with other Balkan or Allied
countries. Most of these exercises took place at
Babadag, which is one of the largest and most modern
training firing ranges and military
facilities in Europe, with a total surface area of 270 square
kilometres. It was announced on December 6, 2006 that
1,500 U.S. troops
stationed at Mihail Kogălniceanu, which in time will form Joint Task Force East, will be using
Babadag as a training base.
Ranks and insignia
The Romanian Land Forces distinguishes three career paths: officers
) and enlisted men
). The Marshal
be given only in wartime
by the President of Romania
; in fact, Romania
had only three marshals coming from the officers` rank in its
history: Ion Antonescu
, Alexandru Averescu
and Constantin Prezan
. Kings Ferdinand I
, Carol II
and Mihai I
held the rank of Marshal of Romania. King Carol
held simultaneous ranks as Russian Marshal and German
- România, cel mai important dintre viitorii
membri ai NATO ("Romania, the most important among the future
NATO members"), November 20, 2002.
- Past and future modernization stages of the
- Ministry of National
Defense, Strategia de transformare a Armatei României
("Strategy for the transformation of the Romanian Army").
- Romanian Land Forces Military Strategy, on the
official MoD site. Retrieved on June 28, 2007.
- Liviu Maior, 1848-1849. Români şi unguri în revoluţie
(Romanians and Hungarians in the revolution), Bucharest, Editura
- The telegram of Nikolai to Carol I (in Romanian): "Turcii
îngrãmãdind cele mai mari trupe la Plevna ne nimicesc. Rog sã faci
fuziune, demonstratiune si dacã-i posibil sã treci Dunãrea cu
armatã dupã cum doresti. Între Jiu si Corabia demonstratiunea
aceasta este absolut necesarã pentru înlesnirea miscãrilor
mele" ("The Turks massed together the greatest troop at
Pleven to lay us waste. I
ask you to make mergers, demonstrations and if it is possible cross
the Danube with the army as you wish. Between Jiu and Corabia, the demonstration is absolutely
necessary to facilitate my movements.)
- Vincent Esposito, Atlas of American Wars, Vol 2, text
for map 40
- John Keegan, World War I, pg. 308.
- World War I Documents, Articles 248-263.
Retrieved on February 28 2008.
- Constantiniu, Florin, O istorie sinceră a poporului
român ("An Honest History of the Romanian People"), Ed.
Univers Enciclopedic, Bucureşti, 1997, ISBN 973-9243-07-X.
- "Development of the Romanian Armed Forces after
World War II", from the Library of Congress Country
Studies and the CIA World Factbook.
Oroian, "«Umbrela protectoare» a consilierilor sovietici.
Armata Roşie în România (Prolonged and Defying Stationing of Soviet
Troops in Romania)", in Dosarele Istoriei, 12/2003, pp.
- Gordon L. Rottman, 'Warsaw Pact Ground Forces,' Osprey Elite
Series No.10, Osprey, London, 1987, p.45
- Library of Congress Country Studies - Romanian Land
- The U.S. Country Study, along with several other sources,
listed four airborne regiments for some time, but the IISS Military Balance 1991-92, p.82,
revealed that this long-held western belief was mistaken; new
official Romanian information available after the end of the
Cold War apparently
allowed the mistake to be corrected.
- A Romanian Parliament debate regarding the status
of the army in 1996. Retrieved on May 30, 2007.
- Adevărul, România, cel mai important dintre viitorii
membri ai NATO ("Romania, the most important among the future
NATO members"), November 20, 2002.
- Romania drops compulsory military service,
United Press International, 23 October 2006
- Ultima încorporare obligatorie, primele recrutări de
militari profesionişti ("The last conscription, the first
recruitment of military professionals"), Gazeta de
Vâlcea, October 23, 2006.
- Official Holidays of the Romanian Army on the Minister of
Defense official site. Retrieved in May 2007.
- Romanian Land Forces structure on the Official Site.
Retrieved in April 2007.
- Official site of the 1st Territorial Army
Corps. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
- Official Site
of 4th Territorial Army Corps. Retrieved on May 5, 2007.
- Romanian Military Press, February 15, 2006.
- New Romanian Gepard System. Retrieved in May
- "Romanian Army selection of the Piranha III".
Retrieved in May 2007.
- The Romanian Army acquires new armoured military
vehicles, Jurnalul Naţional, January 9,
- IISS Military Balance 2006.
- stiri.rol.ro România recunoaşte că are batalioane de forţe
speciale ("Romania admits it operates special forces
battalions"), August 1, 2006.
- mapn.ro Minister of Defense - briefing on Romanian DoD site,
March 3, 2005.
- Special forces participating at the National
Day Military parade, News, November 31, 2006. Retrieved on
February 27, 2008.
- Misiuni internaţionale, Romanian Land Forces
website. Retrieved on April 2 2007.
- Associated Press, Romanians Securing Vital Afghan Highway, March
- Ion Navalici, US Troops deployed in Romania, Realitatea
Românească, May 2, 2007.
- According to Law regarding the Status of Military Personnel
- Gordon L. Rottman, 'Warsaw Pact Ground Forces,' Osprey Elite
Series No.10, Osprey, London, 1987