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> The infamous 'Tudor Vladimirescu' Division
Brotherhoodofthecross
Posted: February 20, 2004 01:56 pm
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Hi everyone and congratulations to the site owners for this wonderful initiative.

I wonder if anyone could have a go by presenting some interesting facts about the infamous "Tudor Vladimirescu" division since the information about this Romanian unit is quite scarce and hard to access for amateurs. I began to have a special interest about this unit after I found out that my wife's grandfather was a tank driver during WW2 and a member of this division (I do not know his rank though). Unfortunately he passed away several years ago but from what I managed to pick up from those who knew him it seems that he was quite an interesting character. With my wife's permission I would like to quote his name hoping that someone could come up with some information sources about his position in the Romanian army (and expecially TVD) during WW2.

So, his name was Hell Johann, (that's right he was German!), and lived in the western part of Romania (Banat). He came from a quite rich family who apparently owned several of the most significant buildings in Timisoara (including the present 'Court of Law' building?) as well as factories etc. But some reckon he was also 'the black sheep' of the family, the only one that rather went to drive his car than learn how to do business. I do not know the circumstances of his enrollment in the Romanian Army but I do know that he fought all the way 'til Stalingrad as a tank crew member. The interesting thing is that he preffered to be a member of the Romanian Army although he could had accepted to fight alongside his German mates. I also know that he received the Iron Cross from the Germans while fighting on the Eastern Front but again, I do not know the circumstances. Apparently after the fall of Stalingrad he was captured and treated as a prisoner of war until he accepted to be part of the Tudor Vladimirescu Division. I imagined it wasn't an easy decision for him since he was supposed to fight against the Germans. Here is where I would like to ask for your imput, more exactly if one of you could point out where could I find a list of those enrolled in this Division etc. He got to fight almost to the bitter end and again he was decorated, this time by the Russians. He used to tell stories about how he had to choose between staying in the devastated Germany and to return to Romania, where apparently the situation was more stable. He decided to come back in Romania where he married to an (ex-) Austrian Graffin and had some kids (including my mother-in-law). Eventually the commies learned about his (and his family members') origins and punished 'em all. He managed to bribe his way out to freedom, changed his name and became a truck driver while losing all his properties and several family members (who died in Baragan re-education camps). His wife was also punished and had to work as a labourer in a chemical factory and ended up having health problems which lead to a premature death.

Anyway, I found quite interesting (and ironic) the fact that a German fought against the Russians in the Romanian Army under the Wehrmacht and then against the Germans as a Romanian Army soldier, under the Red Army.

My wife remebers him as a very calm, reliable person, never violent, highly respected by all the members of his community. And a damn good truck driver too. She also told me how during the Romanian Revolution which started in Timisoara he wandered on the streets fearless and was seen by several terrified neighbours while explaining to some young fellows which are the vulnerable parts of a tank (parked nearby) and what they are supposed to do in order to render it useless.

So, any imput or comments about TVD will be highly appreciated.
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Victor
Posted: February 20, 2004 03:53 pm
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Welcome!
See here for a start:
http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19
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Victor
Posted: February 20, 2004 08:07 pm
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The Tudor Vladimirescu Division was formed from Romanian soldiers and officers in the Soviet POW camps in 1943. In March 1944, it was ready for action and on the last day of the month it was sent to the front, being subordinated to the 2nd Ukrainian Front of marshal R. I. Malinosky. On 23 April, the first units disembarked from the trains at Vapniarka, in Trans-Dnestra. The defeat in the battle of Targul Frumos, meant that the division was kept in reserve.

After the Iasi-Chisinau offensive began, on 21 August 1944, the TV Division was ordered to enter Iasi. The armistice avoided the tragic situation of a Romanian-Romanian confrontation. The first panduri entered Bucharest on 31 August, but did not remain there for long as it was sent on the front in Transylvania. It fought bravely south of Sfantu-Gheorghe, at Oradea, Debrecen, Matra Mountains, Javorina Mountains and on the river Hron. For its actions it received the honorary title of "Debrecen" from the Soviet command. In March it was sent back to Romania, where the new government imposed by the Soviets needed troops, which could be used top start reeducating the Royal Army. Many of the former members of the division returned to the front as part of the new ECP (Education, Culture, Propaganda) service – practically political officers.

On 15 August 1945, the TV Division and the other volunteer division, the Horia, Closca si Crisan Division, where incorporated into the Romanian Army. They became the basis on which the new People's Army was later built.

PS: We interviewed a former Romanian long reconnaissance observer (flew on Blenheims), who was shot down near Stalingrad. He later joined the TV Division and commanded a company of the AT battalion (and then the entire battalion) in the battles around Oradea and beyond. Maybe he knew your wife's grandfather.
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Brotherhoodofthecross
Posted: February 20, 2004 11:57 pm
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Much appreciated!!!

I just found out that there some photos (and other stuff) that belonged this guy with him and his (tank) mates. Unfortunately(?) they are kept very safe by some grumpy aunt in Germany. We live now in Aussie but intend to go to Germany sometime next year and hopefully I will lay may hands on some photos, decorations and other goodies. Who knows, maybe I will get to post them here...

I look forward to reading any info regarding my wifes grandpa.

Cheers.
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DevanG
Posted: February 26, 2004 04:04 pm
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from my knowledge the officers of the TV division later became the leading socialists of the socialist romania .. I suppose it would be pretty hard to obtain the names of the people in that division as there are sill today the ancestors of those people in power in romania ..
a good example is Petre Roman .. , he was even a prime-minister after the revolution ; his father , born , Grunberg i think , fought in Spain , married his mother and than emigratted in USSR where he joined the TV division ...

what I am trying to say is that u won't find this kind of information quite easily ...

good luck ...

ps : one of my grandfathers was an airman in an reconaissance plane , iar-39 , shot down by hungarians and spent 13 months in captiviy ...
my other grandfather was a IAR's mechanic ...
i talked to both of them , and they really had no respect for the high officers of those 2 divisions ; they were both persecuted for being during the war in the romanian army ....
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Victor
Posted: February 26, 2004 04:53 pm
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Vater Roman was chief political officer of the "Horia, Closca si Crisan" Division, not of the "Tudor Vladimirescu" Division.
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Dénes
Posted: February 26, 2004 07:33 pm
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Petre Roman's father, Valter Roman, was born in Oradea (Mare), as Neuländer.
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Dénes
Posted: February 26, 2004 07:36 pm
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QUOTE
one of my grandfathers was an airman in an reconaissance plane , iar-39 , shot down by hungarians and spent 13 months in captiviy ...

It would be highly interesting to learn of your grandfather's experience as an I.A.R. 39 airman. Also, details on his captivity would be interesting.
Was he shot down by Flak or fighters?
Would it be possible to share his name and unit with us?
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Victor
Posted: February 26, 2004 08:46 pm
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Yes, it would be, but it would be beter to do it in another topic. :D
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Dan Po
Posted: April 22, 2004 01:02 am
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IN all WW2 memories books writen by former romanian POW s in USSR those guys who joined to TV divission was hardly blamed.

Maybe in present we cannot understand those circumstances. We can say why they should be "infamous" - they fought against nazi etc ... and they fought well ...

But all of those soldiers was under a military swear and - as a moral obligation - they has to defend their military honor. It s sounds like great words but in thoise times this means more than now ...

They choose to join to the enemy for food, clothes and better life condition and they accept to fight even against romanian army - the TV division was deployed in Moldova and just the circumstance of 23 august 1944 made to preserve a sad situation ...

Basically they was just traitors ... or smart guys who choose the right direction if we think about the comunist era of eastern Europe.

Anyway wans t an easy task for russians to recruit enough officers for those red romanian divissions becouse most of them refuse to colaborate. The sovied was forced to accept a few poor officers and NCO s (see Mircea Haupt ... and I have serious doubs about the value of Nicolae Cambrea). Just after 23 august 1944 the quality of romanian officers who accept to fight in soviet sponsorized division become better .... (see Mihail Lascar comander of the divission "Horea Closca si Crisan").
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Victor
Posted: April 22, 2004 01:48 pm
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QUOTE
Just after 23 august 1944 the quality of romanian officers who accept to fight in soviet sponsorized division become better .... (see Mihail Lascar comander of the divission "Horea Closca si Crisan").


I think Lascar accepted the comannd before 23 August 1944. The division wasn't ready until 1945 though.
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Dan Po
Posted: April 23, 2004 05:39 am
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QUOTE

I think Lascar accepted the comannd before 23 August 1944. The division wasn't ready until 1945 though.


Lascar become the comander of Horea Closca si Crisan divission at 12 april 1944. Anyway, after 23 august 1944 - or maybe after the armistice convention from september 1944 some romanian POW officer think that USSR is not an enemy so they accept to fight for them.

Those POW officers - the majority was taken in autumn of 1942 but was another big "bulk" :cry: in august 1944 - had to choose between misery, famine, humiliations (we know the stalinist style) and to continue a military career ... even with a "season" in Red Army.
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Brotherhoodofthecross
Posted: April 28, 2004 01:04 pm
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QUOTE
IN all WW2 memories books writen by former romanian POW s in USSR those guys who joined to TV divission was hardly blamed.

Maybe in present we cannot understand those circumstances. We can say why they should be \"infamous\" - they fought against nazi etc ... and they fought well ...

But all of those soldiers was under a military swear and - as a moral obligation - they has to defend their military honor. It s sounds like great words but in thoise times this means more than now ...

They choose to join to the enemy for food, clothes and better life condition and they accept to fight even against romanian army - the TV division was deployed in Moldova and just the circumstance of 23 august 1944 made to preserve a sad situation ...

Basically they was just traitors ... or smart guys who choose the right direction if we think about the comunist era of eastern Europe.  



Those that fought in the TV Division were basically mercenaries. As far as I know most of them were recruited among those who survived Stalingrad.
Honor, patriotism and all that becomes somewhat distant for those that manage to survive the first battles. They learn how to fight, how to survive thus becoming experienced soldiers - mercenaries. Patriots die first, mercenaries survive the war.

The guy I was talking about didn't speak much about his war experience but occasionally, after a few drinks :wink: he use to say to the oters how he managed to escape a few times from russian encirclements by overruning surrounding units with his tank. His worse nightmare was the sound of the human bones crushed by his tank while trying to escape. And those were German, Romanian or Russian soldiers that were trying to escape as well but unfortunate enough to be in the area. And as far as I understand this is a quite common story amongst tank veterans.

One could call them traitors but I would rather call them survivors, mercenaries which fought for whoever offered more chances of survival. And after all... what does "battle-hardened" mean? Someone who becomes so insensitive to the ordinary values and for whom the only thing that counts is to make it through the war no matter what.
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dragos
Posted: April 28, 2004 01:25 pm
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QUOTE
The guy I was talking about didn't speak much about his war experience but occasionally, after a few drinks :wink: he use to say to the oters how he managed to escape a few times from russian encirclements by overruning surrounding units with his tank. His worse nightmare was the sound of the human bones crushed by his tank while trying to escape.


I doubt that the sound of broken bones could be heard through the roar of the tank engine and the overall noise in the movement, especially at high speed. Pheraps after several drinks, it is possible :wink:
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Curioso
Posted: April 29, 2004 08:29 am
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Greetings.
According to Mark Axworthy, this division was upgraded to armored status towards the end of the war.
At the same time, the remnants of the original Romanian armored units were gradually stripped of their vehicles, not by an explicit order but simply by not replacing/repairing their disabled/damaged armor.
Is all of this correct? If yes, can this be construed as a deliberate plan to concentrate all armor in a politically reliable unit only?
On a related note, was the second Soviet-organized Romanian infantry division (HC&C) later upgraded to motorized status?
Thank you in advance for any replies.
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