|2nd Guard Rifles Battalion “Queen Elisabeth”
The 2nd Rifle Battalion (Venatori) was created on 11/23 February 1866 and has received its colours on 14 October 1874.
On July 1st (August 31st) 1860, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza created, by the Order nr.63, the 1st Rifle Battalion (Venatori), the first fighting unit of the modern Romanian army recorded as performing ceremonial duties in the Capital and guard duty at the Rulers’ Palace and, later, Ministry of War. The training of the troops was coordinated directly by the General Headquarter. After the dethronement of Cuza, 3 additional identical Venatori battalions were created by the Ruling Counsel that had immediately taken over the reins of the country. The 2nd Venatori Battalion inherited the traditions and ceremonial tasks of the initial 1st Venatori Battalion.
Prince, later King, Carol I. kept using the 2nd Venatori Battalion, named „Queen Elisabeth”, for ceremonial duties and as Palace guards. This duties were temporarily assigned also to other units, such as 6th Dorobanti Regiment „Michael the Brave” or 4th Rosiori (Cavalry) Regiment „Queen Mary”. Some of the State guests for whom the 2nd Venatori Battalion „Queen Elisabeth” built the guard of honour were: Archduke Rudolf, King Oscar of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Nassau, Arhduke Karl-Ludwig, the Prince of Wales, the Prince of Wied, the Prince of Naples, Emperor Franz-Joseph, King Alexander 1st of Serbia, Prince Leopold, Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Grand Duke Mihailovici of Russia.
The 2nd Venatori Battalion „Queen Elisabeth” has brought a glorious contribution to the campaign across the Danube, during the War for the Independence of Romania 1877-1878. It has launched to assaults on the redoubt Grivita 1 on the same day, 30 AUG `77, led by Major Candiano-Popescu; 5 officers and 231 troops fell that day. Eventually they took the redoubt Grivita and captured the Regimental flag of the defending Ottoman unit.
Fifteen men of the 2nd Venatori Battalion „Queen Elisabeth” were awarded the highest order, Star of Romania: sold.Badea Ctin, sold.Balcasi Ioan, cpt.Cocos Marin, slt.Constantinescu Iordan, slt.Georgescu Filip, mr.Giosan Grigore, cpt.Gussi Pavel, med.Iliescu Polihronie, cpt.Maican Atanasie, sold.Matache Stefan, sold.Nenu Stanciu , cap.Nica Vasile, sold.Stefan Ghita, sold.Stefan Toader, slt.Tocilescu Alexandru. Four men were awarded the Russian order „St.George”: sold.Grigore Ioan, sold.Tiganusi George, sold.Vasilescu Ioan, sold.Zigomasiu George
The unit’s flag was awarded the Grand Cross of the Romanian Star, by the Royal Decree 1 400/01 July 1878, and the Cross „Danube Crossing” on October 8th 1878. On July 13th 1886, Queen Elisabeth added to the Regimental Flag a permanent wreath with the embroidered inscription: „Laurels for the fallen, roses for the living”
King Carol II. created the Guard Regiments, status to which he promoted some of the most famous units of the Romanian Army (King’s Decree 1946 / 6 June 1931). Guard units not only maintained their operational character, they had to be elite units, a model for the entire Romanian Army. However, they were also assigned by the Royal Military Household to ceremonial and Royal Domains and Palaces guard duties. One of the few Guard units was the 2nd Venatori Battalion „Queen Elisabeth”, that had a glorious path through all of Romania’s wars, till it’s disbandment by the communist regime in 1947.
Distinctive characteristics (elements)
– Patrons: Saint Emperors Consantine and Helena (May 21st)
– cipher of Queen Elisabeth on epaulettes – Royal Decree nr.3222 / 26IX1914
– ceremonial badge, with silver cipher of Queen Elisabeth
– regimental 7 years badge: Michael the Brave cross, bearing the cipher of Queen Elisabeth, laid on a crowned shield
> Uniform of a Venator (Rifleman) 1877:
The uniforms worn during the Independence War of 1877-1878 had been introduced in 1860, when this elite unit was created. They were composed of the following items:
- Dark coloured (black) felt hat, with a round calotte surrounded by a black leather band, with a medium sized brim edged with black leather. In front, the black leather band was adorned by Prince Carol’s cipher in metal. The right hand side of the brim was turned upwards and clasped to the calotte by a tricolour metal cockade, bearing the unit’s number in white metal. The cockade kept in place also a panache made of black rooster’s tailfeathers (ceremonial uniform), or a dark green wool pompon (campaign uniform). In summer the hat was protected by a white linen cover and, in winter, by a black oilskin one. Officers had circular gold lace braid stripes on the black leather band;
- In barracks or in campaign, an alternative to the hat was a dark-blue peaked cap with dark-green piping and, in front, a dark-green cloth hunter’s horn;
- Officers wore also a kepi made in grey cloth, with a dark-green bottom band, piped dark-green. It had in front a dark-green wool braid over a tricolour cockade, with Prince Carol’s cipher below. The kepi had a black square visor, dark-green false chinstrap and was adorned on the top by a dark-green wool pompon. In summer the kepi was protected by a white linen cover with a long nape flap and, in winter, by a black oilskin one;
- Tunic made in brown cloth, with dark green piping, double breasted, with two rows of 7 visible brass buttons each. The collar, cuffs and shoulder boards were in dark green cloth and the piping of the same colour. On the rear, the tunic had two false pocket flaps, fastened with 3 brass buttons each. The collar was decorated with dark green cloth hunter’s horn and the shoulder boards were bearing the number of the unit, “2”, in dark green cloth;
- Breeches in gray cloth with dark green piping;
- Black leather jack boots;
- Greatcoat in gray cloth, double breasted, with two rows of 4 brass buttons each, turned off collar and cuffs. Dark green cloth collar patches and shoulder boards, piping of the same colour. On the shoulder boards were bearing the number of the regiment, in dark green cloth.
- Black leather waist belt; 2 cartridge pouch made in black leather (one in front, one in the back); Bayonet scabbard (holster), made in black leather, carried on the left hip;
- Bread bag, made in drab canvas, carried, diagonally, over the left shoulder; metal water bottle, carried with a diagonal leather strap over the right shoulder;
- Backpack made in black waterproof canvas linen, of rectangular shape, with black leather shoulder straps.
- Rank insignia were lace braid stripes, above the cuffs, made in yellow cotton (1 for “Fruntas”, 2 for “Caporal”) or gold lace (1 for “Sergent”, 2 for “Sergent-major”, 3 for “Sergent-adjutant”).
> Uniform of a Vanator (Rifleman) 1916:
Uniforms worn by the Romanian mountain troops during WW1 were similar to those worn by the infantry, that had been introduced in 1912 and modified in 1916. They were composed of the following items:
- Grey field cap “Capela” with dark green piping;
- “Adrian” helmet with the cipher of King Ferdinand I;
- It had 4 rectangular pocket flaps, 2 on the breast and 2 on the hips. The collar was rolled off, piped dark green, adorned with dark green pointed collar patches. Shoulder boards in grey cloth, piped dark green, adorned by the regimental number, in dark green cloth.
- Breeches in grey cloth with dark green piping;
- Greatcoat was in grey cloth, doublebreasted, with two rows of visible 4 black metallic buttons. It had 2 side pockets with rectangular flaps. The collar and cuffs were rolled off. The collar was piped dark green, with dark green pointed collar patches and the shoulder boards were piped dark green, adorned by the regimental number, in dark green cloth. At the rear, the greatcoat had two vertical false pocket flaps, piped dark green, with two metallic buttons, and a rear-belt piped dark green;
- Puttees in grey cloth or leggings in black or natural leather;
- Laced boots in black or natural leather;
- Black or natural leather waist-belt, fastened with a buckle or plain belt plate;
- Two cartridge pouches, made in black or natural leather, fixed on the waist-belt, framing the belt plate;
- “Linemann” shovel spade holster, made in black or natural leather, carried on the left hip, below the bayonet holster, fastening with its lower strap the bayonet scabbard;
- Bread bag in drab canvas, with a lateral outer pocket for the canteen, carried diagonally, on the left hip;
- Canteen, made in enameled metal, carried in the bread-bag’s outer pocket. Optionally, other WW1 canteens of German, Russian or Austro-Hungarian origin, could also be used;
- Romanian gas mask (M.1916), French (M-2), or Russian (Zelinsky-Cumant);
The rank insignia consisted of lace braid stripes, made in yellow cotton (1 large for “Fruntas”, 2 large for “Caporal”) or gold lace (1 large for “Sergent”, 1 large and 1 narrow for “Sergent-major”, 2 large for “Plutonier”, 2 large and 1 narrow for “Plutonier-major”, 3 large for “Plutonier-adjutant”), edged dark green, displayed on the shoulder boards of the tunic and greatcoat.
> Uniform of a Vanator (Rifleman) 1941:
Uniforms worn by the Romanian mountain troops during WW2 have been introduced in 1939. They were composed of the following items:
- Field cap “Capela” made in kaki cloth;
- The unit’s insignia – Queen Elisabeth’s monogram, in metal, was worn on the epaulettes
- Dutch style steel helmet, “Adrian” helmet or German WW2 helmet;
- Tunic in kaki cloth, with a single breasted fly-front. It had 2 breast pockets with rectangular flaps. The collar was rolled off and had shoulder boards made in kaki cloth;
- Breeches or trousers in kaki cloth;
- Greatcoat was in kaki cloth, fastened by two rows of 4 kaki metallic buttons. It had rectangular flaps on the inclined side pockets. The collar and cuffs were rolled off;
- Puttees in kaki cloth, worn with breeches (for infantrymen);
- Kaki canvas field jacket with double covering of shoulders, with 2 rectangular breast pockets and 2 slant side pockets
- Leggings in black leather, fastened with three side straps and buckles, worn with trousers (for infantrymen );
- Laced boots in black or natural leather, with kaki cloth puttees or leather leggings;
- Natural leather waist-belt, fastened with a belt plate plain or adorned by a crown;
- Natural or black leather Y suspenders;
- Natural leather square cartridge pouches, fixed on the waist-belt, framing the belt plate. Optionally Austro-Hungarian WW1 ammo pouches were issued;
- Bayonet scabbard holster, made in natural leather, carried on the left hip;
- “Linemann” spade holster, made in natural leather, carried on the left hip, beneath the bayonet holster, fastening the bayonet scabbard with its lower strap;
- Bread bag in kaki canvas, carried diagonally, on the right hip;
- Romanian rectangular mess tin, made in enameled metal, fastened by a strap on the outside flap of the bread bag, or German mess tin;
- Romanian, German or Russian canteen, suspended on the waist belt;
- Romanian gas mask (M.1932 or 1939B), carried in a kaki bag, diagonally, on the left hip, or a German WW2 model;
- Knapsack made in kaki waterproof canvas, of rectangular shape, with natural or grey leather slings. the Dutch helmet was carried on its flap, fastened with 2 leather straps.
The rank insignia consisted of lace braid stripes, made in yellow cotton (1 large for “Fruntas”, 2 large for “Caporal”) or gold lace (1 large for “Sergent”, 1 large and 1 narrow for “Sergent-major”, 2 large for “Plutonier”, 2 large and 1 narrow for “Plutonier-major”, 3 large for “Plutonier-adjutant”), edged blue (for infantry) and black (for artillery), displayed on the shoulder boards of the tunic and greatcoat.