Targul Frumos 1

 

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The first battle of Targul Frumos - early April 1944

Overture

As already mentioned and shown in the Maps on the previous page, the Soviets pushed into Romania in two directions: First, from the East over the Dnestr and second, further west, the pushed outhwards from Dnestr bridgeheads near Jampol and via Botosani. In this second direction, there were two central striking directions: Through the Prut valley just north-east of Iasi and along the major road "W3" leading from Botosani via Targul Frumos southwards into the Romanian heartland.

8th of April
The 7th and 8th Romanian Infantry Divisions withdrew slowly from Botosani to the West, also from Harlau to Belcesti, Erbiceni and Targul Frumos (T-F). This village is occupied by the Russian 35th Guards Rifle Corps (GRC), while ca. 600 of its cavalrists are approaching it from the North. Ca. 1.000 red infantrists march from Harlau towards T-F; these troops occupy Facuti during the night.


German view on the situation around Targul Frumos and Iasi, 8.04.44

9th of April
In the morning, vanguards ofthe 35th GRC reach as far as 6km SE of Targul Frumos, in T-F still is a German protection group. Twelve Panzers from 24.Panzerdivision, backed up by Panzergrenadiere, attack Letcani from the West, but cannot overcome the tough defense including strong PaK.  Elements of the 2nd Tank Army are tied by parts of 24.PD and thus cannot move to T-F to support the southwards push there.
In the afternoon, 60 Soviet cars and hundreds of troops march SE from T-F. Munteni and Belcesti are taken by the Russians, as is Zahorna. The 7th Rumanian Infantry Division retreats there on a broad front. West of T-F, Soviet cavalry attacks the Rumanian 1. Guards Division.
In the evening, first elements of Pz.G.D. "GD" arrive in Iasi. Rumanian troops and one armed Reccon vehicle from 24.PD defend Podul Iolaei. Ca. 1.500 Russian soldiers with horsecars approach T-F from the N. 50 to 60 soviet tanks are observed near Epureni.
During the night, a mixed Rumanian-German grouping is attacked near Helestieni without result.

10th of April
Soviet Recconaissance reaches 10km SW and SW of T-F.
At noon, a german pincer-attack versus T-F begins: Stu.Gesch.Abtl.335 with 18 StuG and 200 Rumanian infantrists moves in from Strunga, while "GD" pushes from N of Podul-Iolaei. The attack is backed up by the 4th Rumanian Army as flank protection in the South of the valley, where the main combat line (HKL) "Strunga-Line" is established. Its task is also to destroy Russians who have advanced South of the main road Iasi T-F.
In the early afternoon, the push from the South has closed to T-F up to 3km, while GD stormed a small dwelling N of Podul-Iolaei and later takes Erbiceni.
At evening, GD's tank head reaches ca. 10km W of T-F. During the whole day, I. German Fliegerkorps and I. Romanian Air Corps heavily support the German counterattack.
From 22:00 up to 2:50, heavy fighting in T-F brings the city back in Axis hands.


German Panthers of Panzergrenadierdivision "Gro▀deutschland" on the move in Bessarabia, April 1944 [Bundesarchiv]

11th of April
At 3:30, Stu.Gesch.Abtl.335, now with 20 assault guns, attacks to the North.
In the morning, Soviet troops South of the road Iasi T-F retreat northwards. These troops block the road W of Podul-Iolaei. Tiger tanks are sent there and clear the situation until noon, while Rumanian infantry follows the russian retreat for the whole day up to the road.
In the afternoon, around Iasi two Soviet attacks with 6 and 10 tanks each (from Stanca and towards Ungheni) are repelled by 23.PD.
Until evening, "GD" reaches the railway line between Erbiceni and Belcestia and occupies the heights N of T-F. A lot of booty including 22 anti-tank guns is taken [page 1032, KTB 8.Armee]

 


German view on the situation around Targul Frumos and Iasi, 12.04.44

12th of April
Until the morning, "GD" takes ca. 100 POW from three Soviet regiments who tried to break through to the North. "GD" also pushes westwards from T-F with support by the 1. Romanian Guards Division.
The Prut-bridge between Iasi and Ungeni is destroyed by a soviet air attack.
In Harlau, a fuel depot of th Red Army explodes after an Axis air attack with a "200m high darting flame" at 3:30.
In the afternoon, the Soviet 16th Tank Corps (70 tanks) attacks 24.PzD (15 tanks, 30 StuG) North of Erbiceni and Letcani and reaches the main road.

13th of April
With another attack, the Soviet 16th Tank Corps takes Erbiceni and adjacent areas in the morning, only to be pushed out again and loosing 9 tanks in the fightings, one of which is captured in usable condition by the Germans.
In Bals between Harlau and T-F, a Soviet courier plane with important post and a staff officer is captured by elements of "G-D".
Until the evening, "GD" widens its "bridgehead T-F" up to ca. 6km E of Ruginoasa.
Altogether, the Axis troops take ca. 1.000 POW's during these days.

Air War

Involved in the Air war were the Romanian I. Korpus Aeriane Lupta and parts of Luftflotte 4's I. Fliegerkorps who fought against the 5th VA (Air Army). For daily details on the air actions please refer to page Bessarabia 1.

 
5 VA
German FK I & Romanian 1st 
Fighter units 4.IAK, La5, Balti*
7.IAK, P-39, Jampol*
St, I./JG52, Bf109G, Zilistea / Iasi**
2., 4. Grupul Vanatoare, IAR81C, Tecuci
7., 9. Grupul Vanatoare, Bf109G, Tecuci
Ground Attack units 1GShAK, IL2, ? IV./SG9, Hs129, Roman / Iasi**
St., I., III.,10.(Pz.)/SG2, Ju87D/G, Husi
St., I., II./SG10, Fw190F, Leipzig/ Tiraspol/ Iasi

8. Grupul Asalt, Hs129, Tecuci
3. Grupul Asalt Picaj, Ju87D
Bombers units 1GBAK, Pe-2, A-20, ? I./KG4, He111H, Focsani
5. Grupul Bombardement, Ju88, ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table: Opposing Air units during the first battle of Targul Frumos (9th of April 1944)
* = only data of one division or regiment per Corps known
** = Iasi was only used as "Absprunghafen" (temporary base during combat days), as it was subjected to soviet artillery

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Last update 03.03.11