24th-27th of January 2008. The

24th-27th of January 2008. The
line

A mixed Romanian group of members of the Mountain Chasseurs Group – bat.1 Mountain Troops „King Carol II.” and of the 6th Dorobantzes Regiment „Michael the Brave” Group have participated 24-27jan2008 in the operation „Don Tour”, in Hungary, wearing WWII uniforms, in order to commemorate the battle of the bend of the DON, that had taken place in the winter 1942-1943. The Romanian participants organized, together with their Hungarian comrades, a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument placed in the center of the Romanian Heroe’s Cemetery in Budapest. The ensuing cross-country route, covered by foot in full battle gear, in difficult terrain covered with ice and deep mud, totalling 50km, included: Nagykata – Jaszbereny – Puszta-Monostur – Jaszfenyszaru. Out of 65 men at the start, only 18 made it to the finish by foot, including Romanians. Sleeping quarters were campaign-style, on the floor in crammed space, always in different locations, with reveille at 05.30. This meant, daily, rapid packing/unpacking in perfect order. The Romanian participants impressed by their good organization, punctuality and efficiency. Lunch, taken in the open, consisted in field rations, distributed in the morning and carried individually.  During the march there were several tactical operations, including air attacks”, „partisan ambushes” and „railway sabotage”.  In appreciation of the Romanian’s professionalism, they were given the opportunity to attack by themselves a „partisan” stronghold. Impressive military ceremonies took place at the Heroe’s Monument in each town on the route. Romanians were given the privilege to fire by themselves the honor volley on 2 separate occasions. At Puszta-Monostur Romanians were given, by the Huszars, the opportunity of horse-back riding. Impressed by the efforts of the Romanians, an Italian colonel of the Reserve requested permission to replenish the Romanian ranks for the last 5km, at a moment when the Romanian group was depleted by exhaustion and foot wounds inflicted by their own boots.

During the final ceremony all speakers mentioned the good performance of the Romanian group. Thus they were awarded 2 Iron Crosses 2nd cl., 3 Wounded badges, 1 paratrooper’s badge of St.Ladiszlau’s Division and 5 badges of the Hungarian Reservists. The Romanians awarded the Mountain Troop’s badge.

This has been the most difficult mission of the Romanian reenacting groups,  whose participants earned the respect of the Italian observers and of the Magyar comrades, who had always been an example in terms of tradition and professionalism. The initial cold politeness has melted into sincere friendship between comrades.