Complete your overview of the World War II Romania’s participation – the Eastern Front
The modern world is still living with the consequences of World War II, the bloodiest conflict in history, involving every major world power. At the end more than 60 million people had lost their lives and most of Europe and large parts of Asia were ruined. The Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of August 1939 squeezed Romania between the territorial ambitions of Germany and the Soviet Union. After losing its most important allies, France and the United Kingdom and one third of the territory – Bessarabia, Northern Bucovina and Northern Transylvania in 1940, Romania decided to enter the war. Mistake or a choice of honor… history would decide… But the truth is that Romania and its army played an important role in the war and no one could have a complete picture of the Eastern front in Europe without the battles fought by Romanian soldiers. The tour program is customized for all former comrades in arms, their families, friends and history enthusiasts alike. It explores different historical sites on Romanian territory and possibly the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine connected with this momentous time. We will visit a wide range of museums and memorials and also tour the battlefields where you can pay homage to the tombs of fallen war-heroes. Join us on this truly nostalgic journey back in time and you will have a unique opportunity to get an insight over our history with veterans who were there.
Bucharest – Iasi. Transfer by bus to Iasi (if you don’t come directly to Iasi), a 5- hour trip. On the way we might stop at the most important monument for fallen heroes in WW I at Marasesti and have a discussion about Romania in WW I. Accommodation in Iasi at a 4* hotel. Welcome cocktail and briefing on the trip schedule in the evening. Special dinner in a monastery, followed by a cultural surprise.
The battle for Bessarabia – Operation „München”. Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to Moldova’s History Museum in Iasi, where a military historian or a retired officer – maybe a former war veteran will be invited to present the strategic concept of the offensive campaign in the East, from the Romanian point of view. On June 22, 1941, Romania’s third and fourth armies, a total of thirty divisions, joined Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union. On 2 July Romania’s army went over the Prut starting the offensive campaign against the Soviet army. We will travel to and after that along the border with the Republic of Moldova, where the main offensive. of Army Group South led by field-marshal Gerd von Rundstedt took place. Stops across Sculeni and Tziganca, where bridgeheads were created over the Prut river during the first days of the offensive against the Soviet forces. Battlefield analysis. We will cross the border with the Republic of Moldova and visit the Romanian memorial cemetery in Tziganca. After that we continue our drive to Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova. Special dinner with wine tasting in Milestii Mici, the biggest wine-cellar in the world. Accommodation in 4* hotel.
Chisinau – on the Dniester River – Odessa. For this day we will „jump” three years through the WW II history to visualize the Russian offensive in the summer of 1944 – Iasi-Kishinev Operation. Having penetrated northern Bucovina at the end of 1943, the Red Army launched the operation mentioned before in mid-August 1944 by sending eight armies with more than 1 million men across the Prut river along two convergent axes from Iasi and Kishinev in Bassarabia to drive through the Focsani Gap to capture Ploiesti oil fields and Bucharest. We will visit battle fields and cemeteries along the Dniester river. Arrival in Odessa late evening. Accommodation to a 4* hotel. Dinner.
Odessa – Galati. After breakfast we will visit the outskirts of Odessa to see the remains of the former defense lines. Battlefield analysis. We shall visit several cemeteries like the one in Bilaefca (1.104), or Dalnic (365), and Libenthal (1.254), and the nice city of Odessa, as well. The Romanian third and fourth armies fought in Odessa and Sevastopol, but became bogged down with a German army group in front of Stalingrad in October 1942. During this tour we will visit one of those battlefields – Odessa. The city had a heavily fortified position, and thanks to the superiority of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, could not actually be completely surrounded. It took the Romanian army three months of siege and four attempts to take the city due to the strong defense system organized on three lines with trenches, AT ditches, pillboxes etc., and to the heavy resistance of the Red Army forces. After lunch we depart for Galati, where we will arrive late in the evening. Accommodation in 4* hotel in Galati, on the Danube shore.
Galati – Bucharest. Breakfast at the hotel. On the way to Bucharest we will visit the remains of the fortified bunkers and other defense works along Focsani- Namoloasa – Galati fortified line, one of the strongest in that period. Arrival in Bucharest around noon. Accommodation in a 4* hotel. In the afternoon, we will visit the National Defense University, where the German Military Mission headquarters was located during the war. Here a military historian will present the facts regarding the events on 23rd of August 1944, when Romania exited the war along Germany, joining the Allies. Late on, if the time allows, we will visit the Cemetery of Honor – “Pro Patria”. During the evening a walking tour of the old town and dinner at a traditional cuisine restaurant.
Bucharest defense system during the war. After breakfast we will visit the National Military Museum, where a retired officer – maybe a former war veteran could be invited to present the strategic concept of the offensive campaign against the Axis, after 23rd of August 1944, from the Romanian point of view. Following this visit, we will spend a few moments at the National Memorial of Heroes and the Grave of the Unknown Soldier in King Carol’s Park. After lunch we will visit the remains of the fortified works around Bucharest, situated at the outskirts of the city and the Popesti-Leordeni Airfield (one of the most important airfields during the war). Possible meeting with a former Romanian airman, veteran of WW II. By the way, have you known that speaking about size, the Romanian Royal Air Forces (RRAF) were on the third place as size in the Axis forces and later on, the fourth place in the Allied forces? Yet its operational history has been covered for decades in almost impenetrable secrecy, unavailable to researchers and historians abroad. Evening transfer to Ploiesti. Dinner and accommodation at a 4* hotel in Ploiesti.
Visit to Ploiesti oilfield and refineries area. Ploiesti city is situated in the middle of an oilfield, 60 km North of Bucharest, and was subjected to heavy and repeated allied bombardment raids during the war. The most known – Operation “Tidal Wave”, one of the deadliest missions of the war, is even today studied in military universities in the USA. Military analysis. Due to the tough aerial defenses organized by Romanians and Germans in the area (including massive Flak, fighters, balloons, flak train, artificial fog generators etc.) it took over 20 air raids and fierce air-battles before Ploiesti and the Romanian oil production which supplied 35 percent of the oil used by Germany, were turned into ruins. Only on this operation, from 176 B-24s bombers that flew into Romania seventy-three airplanes were lost and 500 airmen were killed or injured. Lunch in Ploiesti. Afternoon drive through the Prahova Valey. On the way, we will visit Peles Castle in Sinaia – former summer residence of the King’s family in Romania. In the evening, arrival in Brasov. Accommodation at a 5* hotel. Special dinner with classical music.
Battles for liberating Transylvania. After breakfast we leave Brasov and drive to the Mures River, where the frontier with Hungary was established in 1940, as a result of the Vienna Dictate. Stop at Oarba de Mures, the place where one of the fiercest battles against German and Hungarian forces took place, between 05.09 – 10.10.1944. Battlefield analysis. Visit at the WW II Memorial Complex. Beside the military cemetery and the commemorative monument, the complex also consists of more than 111 artworks dedicated to the memory of the fallen heroes, made by Romanian contemporary sculptors during a series of summer art workshops. Lunch in Targu Mures. In the afternoon we continue the travel to Cluj. Accommodation in a 4* hotel in Cluj.
The battles between Somes Gate and the frontier with Hungary. After breakfast we leave for Cluj to follow the Romanian troops over the Somes Gates – a strategic area for the offensive to the Western Plains and over the Tisza River. On the way,we will stop at Sarmas and Simleu Silvaniei to visit a Jewish memorial cemetery and the Northern Transylvania Holocaust Memorial Museum. Stop at Carei, the last Romanian city to be liberated on the 25th of October, 1944. Visit at the War Memorial in Carei. Final briefing on the offensive campaign concept after the liberation of the Romanian territory. We continue our journey over the border and stay over the night in Debrecen. Accommodation in Debrecen, Hungary.
Romanian participation in military operations in Hungary – Debrecen – Tisza River – Budapest. After breakfast we start our last day of the tour driving to Budapest. Stop at Debrecen, another bloody clash of the WW II and the place of the last German important offensive on the Eastern front. Battlefield analysis of operation which liberated the city. After that, we will continue the drive westward and stop at Szolnok on the Tisza River bank to visit the place of the last German defense line before the red army siege Budapest. Battlefield analysis of the operation which took the river. Arrival in Budapest. Accommodation in a 4* Hotel. Visit at National Military Museum Briefing on the Budapest operation. The Battle of Budapest, one of the bloodiest sieges of the World War II, started on 29 December 1944 when Budapest was first encircled by the Soviet forces. Romanian divisions successfully participated in this operation as part of Rodion Malinovsky’s 2nd Ukrainian Front, even though the Russian military history does not mention too much of that. The siege ended when the city was unconditionally surrendered on 13 February 1945. During the evening, we will enjoy the farewell party in a special restaurant or on a cruise on the Danube River.
Back home. Going back home from Budapest airport.
• Double/twin room: Eur
• Single supplement: Eur
• Accomodation in 3-4* hotels
• Meals according to the program
• Professional English-speaking guide services
• Entrance fees
• Printed info about the sites visited
• Luxury coach transport’ services with A/C
1. This program can be changed upon request.
2. For further information please contact: Cultural Romtour, firstname.lastname@example.org
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