Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

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CNE503
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Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by CNE503 » 14 May 2021 09:16

Hello,

These fights were some of the heaviest between Romanian and Soviet units during the Bessarabian campaign in July 1941.
After the crossing of the Pruth river by Romanian Corpul 5 Armata's Divizia 1 Garda on July 2nd, 1941 in Falciu/Bogdanesti/Tiganca area, the battle raged for ten days when this division was joined by Divizia 21 Infanterie. Soviet counterstrikes were launched relentless against them while they tried to extend their small hold on the eastern bank of the Pruth.

At the end of the battle, Corpul 5 Armata had suffered around 8 700 losses (KIA, WIA, MIA), respectively 2 473 for the Divizia 1 Garda and 6 222 for the Divizia 21 Infanterie (one-third of its theoretical strength!).
Does anyone know what were the Soviet units involved and the losses suffered by Red Army during these fights?
For now, I identified:
- 95th Rifle Division;
- 150th Rifle Division;
- 2nd Cavalry Corps (especially 9th Cavalry Division);
- 218th Motorized Rifle Division;
- 14th Rifle Corps (25th and 51st Rifle Divisions).

Thank you!
Regards,
CNE503
"Sicut Aquila" / "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre" / "par l'exemple, le coeur et la raison" / "Labor Omnia Vincit"

Art
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by Art » 16 May 2021 17:34

When the war started the sector was held by the 2 Cavalry Corps with 9 Cavalry Division in the first line and 5 Cavalry Division in reserve. By the end of June it was replaced by the 150 Rifle Division. Further on the 150 RD received reinforcements from 14 Rifle Corps (25 and 51 Rifle Division), which was not attacked. Circa 11-12 July the sector was taken over by the 51 Rifle Division, and 150 RD moved to the sector on its right owing to a threat from a flank. By the moment units were so intermingled that the 51 RD in the Tiganca sector controlled organic elements from three divisions (25, 51, 150), namely 23, 263, 348 and 469 Rifle Regiments which were close to one full-strength division.
It's hard to say anything certain about losses. The South Front reported 3700 men killed and wounded in the entire 9 Army on 22.6-12.7.41, which was definitely a understatement. By all probability accurate information about casualties on that moment was lacking. Since the actions were described as bitter fighting, losses must be considerable.

CNE503
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by CNE503 » 16 May 2021 17:51

Art,

Thank you very much.
I read several Romanian reports about tanks. What about 2nd Cavalry Corps units involved in the battle?
And concerning the 95th Rifle Division, have you some information about where it was deployed?

Thank you again.
CNE503
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Art
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by Art » 17 May 2021 12:01

2nd Cavalry Corps was relieved by the 150 Divisions on circa 1.7.41 and wasn't employed in the sector thereafter, as far as I can see. Until 1 July there were tanks belonging to the 2nd Calvary Corps (each tank division had an organic tank regiment).
95 Rifle Division was on the right of the sector of 2 Cavalry Corps/later 150 Division, its left border was near Leova.

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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by CNE503 » 17 May 2021 12:54

Art,

Copy that.
For the tanks, the Romanians reported Soviet tanks used against their bridgehead after July 2nd, as late as July 13th. Maybe tanks belonging to the rifle divisions there (for instance 150th Rifle Division had as organic tank battalion the 442nd), don't you think?

Indeed, 2nd Cavalry Corps launched a counterattack against LIV. Armeekorps, while covering the right flank of XXX. that attacked Balti, around July 8th-9th. It couldn't be at two different places, even if it might have left near Kischinev some elements to support the 14th Rifle Corps.

CNE503
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Jeff Leach
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by Jeff Leach » 21 May 2021 15:35

The 2nd Cavalry Corps was NW of Kishinev on 6th July and moving north and northwest. The cavalry divisions had at most about a company worth of operational tanks at any one time.

All the mechanized forces of South Front were far to the north. The nearest were 100 - 150 km north.

I would look for tankettes in the reconnaissance battalions of the 25, 51, and 150 Rifle Division. I had a similar question once - reports of Soviet tanks where there should not of been any and it turned out they were tankettes from a rifle division reconnaissance battalion.

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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by CNE503 » 22 May 2021 08:33

Hello Jeff,

You made a point. But:
1) some Rifle Divisions did have a tank battalion. 150th Rifle Division had a 442nd Tank Battalion, for instance. What about this type of unit?
2) what was a Soviet tankette at this time? T-27?

Regards,
CNE503
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Jeff Leach
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by Jeff Leach » 22 May 2021 13:04

1.) can't find any information about a 442 TkBn with the 150 RfD. It is possible that it was there pre-war but got absorbed into one of the nearby mech corps when they were formed. Below is the Operation Report of the division for 06.07.41 you can see there is no mention of the battalion.

2.) I think the tankettes would be T-37 or T-38s, there is equipment listing for the front at its formation online somewhere but unfortunately, I don't remember where it was(it was Art that pointed it out to me).
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by Art » 22 May 2021 13:24

CNE503 wrote:
22 May 2021 08:33
1) some Rifle Divisions did have a tank battalion. 150th Rifle Division had a 442nd Tank Battalion, for instance.
That was during the Soviet-Finnish War. Most tank battalions organic to rifle divisions were disbanded thereafter, in particular, because their ineffectiveness was demonstrated in SWF.
In the summer of 1941 an organic reconnaissance battalion of the rifle division included a tank company with 16 T-37/38/40 light swimming tanks. In principle, there were also Komsomolets-type semi-armored tractors which could be taken for tanks. Finally, some tanks could be parceled out from the 2 Cavalry Corps or 18 Mechanized Corps to serve as a local tank reserve. Such things happened here and there in the summer of 1941. Because these detached tank elements didn't report to their parent formations and sometimes simply disappeared, it can be difficult to trace their fate and actions. At least the Drig's book in section about the 18 Mech. Corps doesn't mention any actions of the corps' elements in this sector.

CNE503
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Re: Falciu/Tiganca bridgehead fights, July 6th-15th, 1941

Post by CNE503 » 22 May 2021 14:10

That totally answers my question, no tank except maybe some light amphibious obsolete models (T-37, T-38 or T-40) from a divisional recon tank coy, thank you to both of you.
CNE503
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