|Marine Infantry Regiment
The first time Romanian Marines were mentioned (20 men) was in 1888, in the listing of the crew that brought home the Cruiser battleship ” Elizabeth” (at that time flagship of the Romanian navy) from the shipyards in Newcastle, where she had been built.
On January 24, 1917 the Landing Battalion of 720 men was formed, with shore personnel from the navy; it was going to be used for the defense of the Chilia Veche region. This unit, with four companies, appears listed in the Romanian Navy Forces in January 1917; it participated, in the beginning of 1918, together with ships of the Romanian Operations Fleet, in the occupation of the three ports in southern Bessarabia, Ismail, Chilia Nouă and Valcov. On January 21, 1918, carried by the monitor “Catargiu”, two platoons of the Marine Battalion landed on the Bessarabian shores and conquered, during the same day, Ismail. On January 25th 1918, two marines platoons landed in the port of New Chilia and were met with cheers by the city’s population. On February 2nd 1918, Romanian marine troops landed in Valcov, and during the next day, at the mouth of the Danube Delta channel Solomonov. Following these operations, many officers and seamen of the battalion were distinguished with medals and orders.
During the interwar period, the marine infantery undergoes a series of changes, being successively part of the Danube Division, the Black Sea Division, The Seashore Brigade, The Marine Infantry Battalion Tulcea, The Maritime Detachment Sulina.
The Marines were designated to represent the Navy at the celebration of the semicentenary of the Peles Castle in 1935. It was noted that the Marine Infantry Company greatly impressed King Charles II. and King Alexander of Yugoslavia, during the review.
The Decree 1527 of May 23rd 1941, the Marine Infantry Battalion was converted to Regiment and placed under the orders of the Commander of the Royal Navy.
The main operations of the Marine Corps in the Second World War were:
– On the night of June 26th 1941, simultanously with a naval raid on Constanta, the Soviets undertook a landing action at the Chilia old port, where soldiers from the 17th Marines Battalion had to face superior enemy forces. Subsequently, on September 6th 1941, the battalion was commended by Marshal Ion Antonescu, in front of the whole army, through the Order No.5, in which he mentioned the following: “The 17th Marines Battalion distinguished itself particularly during the actions of June 21st and July 23rd 1941, by keeping the enemy for 30 days from entering the Periprava sector, while holding an unfavorable position; it rejected numerous enemy assaults, it dashed repeatedly over the Chilia Danube arm, taking prisoners, and destroying, by precise fire, six destroyers and a tug-boat, and damaging two enemy monitors.”
– On the night of August 24th 1944, following the telephonic order no.2 from the Calarasi Garrison, the Marine Infantry Regiment captured Dalga and Lehliu train stations and a large fuel depot from the German Army, taking many prisoners. During the afternoon of August 25th, a battalion of Marines captured through battle a German column of over 2,000 men which was heading towards Bulgaria between Calarasi and Ciulniţa. They captured a general, five senior officers, 22 inferior officers, 191 NCOs and 1562 German soldiers.They also captured a large quantity of weapons, ammunition and several vehicles. All materials seized were sent to the garrison at Calarasi. Their losses numbered an fallen officer and a wounded soldier. The Battalion remained for 4 days under the orders of the Calarasi Garrison, disarming also other German columns trying to retreat, so that within 25th to 29th August 1944 5,000 Germans were disarmed.
– During the same period, other battalions of the Marine Infantry Regiment were deployed in the Old Chilia, in the Valcov and the Sulina sectors, in order to ensure the security of these areas.
– During the day of August 25th 1944, at Hârşova, the Marine Infantry Regiment and elements of the 9th Infantry Division have defeated the German resistance and captured large quantities of war material.
Towards the end of 1944, the Marines Regiment was renamed the Marine Infantry Battalion, then it was dismantled, in the ’50s, at the request of the Soviets.
> Campaign uniforms worn by Marines during World War I (1916-1919) consisted of the following:
– sailor cap, navy blue, with a beige linen cover in the summer, without ribbon and streamers at the back
– Tunic (summer) of beige canvas, without piping, with one row of buttons, straight collar. Did not have epaulettes and it had two bellowed breast pockets and rectangular flaps;
– Straight pants (summer) of beige canvas
– Tunic (winter) made out of navy blue cloth, without piping, with one row of buttons, straight collar. Did not have epaulettes and has featured two chest pockets with bellows and rectangular flaps;
– Straight pants (winter) navy blue cloth without piping;
– Greatcoat of navy blue cloth, without piping, with a row of four buttons, straight collar. It had two lateral pockets with rectangular flaps, a straight collar and rolled up cuffs. At the back, there were two vertical false pocket flaps, fixed with two metallic buttons, joined at the top by a martingale;
– Brown leather or canvas leggings;
– Black or natural leather ankle boots;
– Black or natural leather belt with buckle;
– Black or natural rectangular leather cartidge pouches, worn on a waistband, in front, sideways from the buckle. Austrian, Italian or Russian leather ammo pouches were also used;
– Bayonet with bayonet holster of black or natural leather, worn on the left hip;
– “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, were also be used;
– Romanian gas mask model (1916), French (M-2) or Russian (Zelinsky-Cumant);
Ceremonial uniform of the troop was the classic outfit, in navy blue cloth: sailor blouse without epaulettes, with a square „cracker-jack” flap at the back, black tie, white shirt with navy blue horizontal stripes and straight pants, worn over the boots.
Rank insignia and specialty marks were worn on shoulder patches on the left sleeve between the shoulder and elbow, on the navy blue cloth rectangles: one red V stripe pointing down for sailor first clas, two red stripes for corporal, three red stripes for sergeant.
The specialty mark for Marine infantrymen was embroidered in golden thread, on the same cloth shoulder patch, underneath the stripes, and consists of two crossed rifles with fixed bayonets, 50 mm long, placed on a crowned anchor, 40 mm long.
Officers wore the beige canvas tunic in summer, and the navy blue cloth tunic in winter, with one row of buttons, straight collar with slightly rounded corners, with epaulettes on the shoulders, 2 lateral bellowed pockets and 2 bellowed breast pockets, all with scalopped pocket flaps, white shirt with stand-up collar and black tie, breeches (beige canvas in the summer / navy blue in winter), with leather leggings, diagonal belt, leather revolver holster, binoculars, map case
Ceremonial officer uniforms consisted of a long navy blue jacket, with 2 rows of golden buttons, straight collar, 2 side pockets, straight pants.
Officer rank insignia were straight gold stripes worn around the cuffs, the uppermost with a round curl (“Nelson’s eye”).
> Marines uniforms – 1941-1945:
There were three models of uniforms worn by Marines during the Second World War (1941-1945), beyond the traditional navy outfits, navy blue colour, with which some Marines were equipped.
All of them were worn throughout the operations, because of the multiple changes made over a short span of time:
The first version:
Monitorul Oastei nr.4 / 15 mai 1940 – D.R.1225 / 06apr40 & Decizie a Comitetului Superior al Marinei din 15 mai 1943:
– khaki sailor cap fitted with a black rips band, with a guilt emroidery “Marina Regala” (Royal Navy), without streamers at the back
– kaki “Adrian” model Helmet or german M35 / M40;
– kaki sailor blouse without epaulettes, with a square „cracker-jack” flap at the back, white shirt with navy blue horizontal stripes, and straight pants, worn over the boots
Rank insignia and specialty marks were worn on shoulder patches on the left sleeve between the shoulder and elbow, on the navy blue cloth rectangles: one red V stripe pointing down for sailor first clas, two red stripes for corporal, 1 yellow stripe for sergeant.
Nr.3248 Royal Decree of 13 September (“Official Gazette” No.213 of September 23rd 1930, p.7918 – 7931): The specialty mark for Marine infantrymen was embroidered in red thread, on the same cloth shoulder patch, above the stripes, and consisted of two crossed rifles with fixed bayonets, 50 mm long.
Patent Insignia consisted of an embroidered crown, applied on the same rectangle of cloth above the rank and specialty mark.
The campaign outfit for officers of the Royal Navy: Dress No. 6 (Campaign) landing or ground troops of the Navy, for which color was khaki: hat or helmet, double breasted jacket, cloth trouser, short boots with leggings, soft collar shirt, dark brown gloves, black knotted tie, dark brown campaign belt, binoculars, revolver, navy blue greatcoat or black leather jacket.
Officer rank insignia were straight gold stripes worn around the cuffs, the uppermost with a round curl (“Nelson’s eye”).
The second version:
High Decree no. 289 / April 20, 1940 (modified aviation troop uniforms):
• gray-blue sailor cap;
• gray-blue “Adrian” model helmet or German M35 / M40;
• Tunic in gray-blue cloth or canvas, with epaulettes and with one row of hidden buttons. It had 2 breast pockets with rectangular flaps. The collar was straight;
• gray-blue canvas or cloth straight trousers;
• gray-blue cloth greatcoat, without piping, with a row of four buttons, straight collar. It had two lateral pockets with rectangular flaps, a straight collar and rolled up cuffs. At the back, there were two vertical false pocket flaps, fixed with two metallic buttons, joined at the top by a martingale;
The third version:
O.G 4232 from October 1, 1942 and Order no. 618 of November 22, 1943 (modified terrestrial troops uniforms)
- Khaki sailor cap fitted with a black rips band, with a guilt emroidery “Marina Regala” (Royal Navy), without streamers at the back
- Kaki “Adrian” model helmet or german M35 / M40;
- 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;
- Straight 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;
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, displayed on the shoulder boards of the tunic and greatcoat.
Officers wore blue collar patches, on which the crowned metal anchor was applied, and NCOs wore the metallic crowned anchors directly on the collar.
Common items for all types of uniform:
- Brown 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 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.