Useful Notes: The Bite of Dracula
"'"Our Lightning attack came as a complete surprise to the Americans. Our attack was so quick that not one of the 100 (sic) American aircraft managed to fire a single shot at our aircraft parked on the ground. Everything happened between ground level and about 2,000 meters (6,550 ft), and was total confusion. I was excited and proud of my "mills", the IAR 80s, which, thanks to their extraordinary agility, remained victorious in the air. I saw their crazy dives, quick rolls, reverse turns and inverted flying, always with just brief burst of fire to save ammunition. It was an incredible sight, but also a drama for the Lightning pilots, who, at this low altitude, were inferior to the ever-present, nimble IAR 80s""This trope does not describe the actual bite. This is an article about the Romanian armed forces. Romanian military tradition traces to the Dacian times. They had a very Badass Army, being one of the few armies to change the Roman standard equipment, and that's a feat in itself.They were skilled in iron-working, and their signature weapon, the Falx, was suited to hacking off limbs or hooking Roman cuirasses. Later, during the Middle Ages, the Romanian armies evolved with the times. The main weapon was the sword, with other important weapons being the lance, bow and halberd, firearms when they appeared. The investment in firearms and trained mercenary forces during the later 16th century was the feat which transformed the economies of the Romanian princely states in less then pleasant ways when the cost became evident. The warriors wore mail, later partial or full plate. Some of the spectacular victories were at Rovine (1395), when Wallachian voivode Mircea the Elder defeated Bayezid, Vaslui (1475), when Stephen the Great of Moldavia defeated Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, and Călugăreni, when Michael the Brave and his army of mercenaries defeated the Ottomans, again (seeing a pattern forming here). Other neighbors with imperial aspirations that Romanians had to defend against included the Hungarians, defeated at the battle of Posada in 1330 by Basarab I, and the Poles defeated decisively at the battle of Cosmin forest in 1497 by Stephen the Great (he was a very busy voievod, ruled for 47 years and had at least a major battle per year. He built a monastery for every victory in his country and the amount of monasteries in Bucovina and North Moldavia should tell something about just how big a Badass Warrior Prince he was). An interesting case is the one of "The Night Attack" of Targoviste. Vlad III the Impaler (yes, THE Vlad Dracula) refused to pay the tax on non-Muslims imposed by Mehmed II and invaded Bulgaria and impaled 23.000 Turks.The Sultan was enraged and invaded Wallachia.Vlad refused to engage them in direct combat, instead applying the "scorched earth" tactic. On the 17th of June, 1462, he stopped with an army aprox. 90.000 strong overnight on the road to Targoviste, the then-capital of Wallachia.But Vlad attacked the Turkish camp with aprox. 30.000 men, in order to kill the Sultan. They got 3.000 losses, but killed thrice the amount. Vlad himself went to the Sultan's tent, but went to the Grand Vizier's instead, however he came very close to slaying the Sultan. Romania was forced to become a vassal of the Ottomans, and later of the Tsar. However, once it has been unified by Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, it affirmed its independence by participating in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, with its aid being crucial. In the first phase of the war, the Russians needed to pass through the Romanian territory. King Charles accepted on the condition that he, not the Tsar, was the commander of the allied forces.After curbstomping the Turks and some diplomatic troubles, Romania was fully independent, just in time for the Balkan Wars and WWI. During World War I, they had the trouble of fighting the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Bulgarian armies all at once, as the Allies were rather busy on the Western Front and unable to bail them out. The Romanian sued for peace in 1917, but when the Germans surrendered in 1918, the Romanians rebuilt their army and curbstomped the armies of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, ostensibly to prevent communism spreading to its border, but really to regain what it sees as Romanian territory. The IAR 80, the Romanian fighter plane that served in WWII, was at the time the fastest fighter plane in history. It was beaten (much) later by the Messerschmitt 109. It was comparable to the Hawker Hurricane and the Messerschmitt 109. The Crowning Moment of Awesome for the designesrs was that, unlike most planes of the time, which had the guns on the wings, the IAR 80 had it behind its propeller, a piece of mostly discarded World War I technology. In World War II, Romania was an Axis member. While many of the leaders joined the Axis for ideological reasons, they had reservations as: they were on the same side as Hungary, and they had to give up lands with a majority Hungarian population everything between them and the Hungarian border. Romania sent a field army to the Eastern Front and it was eventually destroyed by the Soviets. During the first phase of World War II, the Romanian armed forces achieved good results despite many hardships. The country's economy was never on a full war footing, not even comparable to Germany's (due to the loss of contact with traditional trade partners, it relied mostly on deliveries of oil and raw materials to Germany, in exchange for military technology and industrial machinery). A common misconception regarding the hardships of the Romanian troops on the Eastern Front is to lay the blame on poor equipment, to the exaggerated effect of portraying them as an army in rags. In practice, the efforts of the military government during 1940-1941 assured a satisfactory quantity of modern small arms and equipment, if the numbers or artillery and light tanks were still deficient. The real culprit was the logistical chain, hampered by poor rail transport, too few motor vehicles and much reliance on horse power for traction, and bureaucratic idiocy to boot. The strategy of the military government was based on on recovering territories lost to the Soviet Union (which had been achieved by late 1941 due to the German-led advance) and assisting Reich in invading Soviet territory, while simultaneously defending their own industry and oil by all means possible. By 1942, there was a strategic shift and number of troops sent to the Soviet front had been limited to a significant number of the best units (including the elite Mountain Corps) and there was heavy investment in defense of the major cities and industry against Allied bombing. Operation Tidal Wave on August 1, 1943 encountered ferocious defense and ended in a disaster for the Allied bomber fleet. Field Marshal Erich von Manstein thought the Romanian ordinary troopers were the best allies the Reich had (at the same time he was disdainful of officers and NCOs). Out of all Axis countries, Romania had the largest number of Knight's Cross holders. When the Soviets took over the country and turned Romania into a communist state, the army was reorganized into a Warsaw Pact style army. However, Nicolae Ceaucescu was wary of Soviet domination and tried to distance his country from the Soviet Union without leaving the Warsaw Pact, in a matter comparable to France and NATO; France remained part of NATO even if its military was now under full French command. At one point, Romania had a thriving arms industry, and even built ground attack planes in collaboration with Yugoslavia, jet trainers on it's own, tanks, AP Cs, IF Vs, naval vessels and the Romanian versions of the ubiquitous AK-47 and RPG. This industry remains, despite a recent preference for buying military equipment rather than making it. One achievement of that industry is the IFV/APC factory managing to design an modern APC/IFV modular family of vehicles from it's own funds (by taking a 15% hit to their salaries), showing that the Romanian designed and built vehicles could do the same as the Patria IFV they preferred, but much cheaper. The majority of the army sided with the protesters in the 1989 Revolution. Many in the army are angry they are overpoliticized and were mistrusted by Ceaucescu over his State Sec, the Securitate. Today, Romania is a NATO country and is trying to modernize according to NATO standards. Conscription was abolished in 2006.
—.Romanian WWII pilot Dan Visanty,commander of Group 6.