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Romania - Navy History - Communist Years

Romania - NavyAfter the Second World War, in the early postwar years, Romania was deprived of its merchant fleet and to a large extent of its fluvial fleet, because of the abusive takeover of the Romanian vessels by the fleet of the Soviet Union. Moreover, Romania was controlled by the newly established joint venture SOVROMTRANSPORT and also deprived of any significant income. After signing the Armistice Convention, Romania was allowed to keep 32 tugs, 332 lighters and two sea-going ships and on September 11, 1945, following the signing the Convention on the Retrocession of the Romanian naval and merchant ships, the Soviet government returned 18 warships and 23 merchant ships. Thus, on October 12, 1945, a first batch of ships, consisting of destroyers Marasesti and Marasti, gunboats Ghiculescu and Stihi, torpedo boats Zborul and Zmeul and the submarine Delfinul reached the country.

On May 27, 1946, the training ship "Mircea" was returned and the second and last batch of ships consisting of the submarine Rechinul, destroyers Regina Maria and Regele Ferdinand and five Danube monitor ships reached the country on June 21 and 24, 1951. The gunboat Dumitrescu, the minelayer Admiral Murgescu, the submarine depot ship Constanta, the auxiliary cruiser Dacia, the submarine Marsuinul, the minesweepers Maican, Basarab, Motru, Constanta, the merchant ship Cheile Bicazului, the passenger ship Basarabia, four Italian mini-submarines (which in 1943 were given to the Royal Navy by the Italian Navy) and other ships were not retroceded to the Romanian Navy.

Once in possession of the monitor ships, the Danube Flotilla was established. It changed its name to the River Brigade in 1959. Similarly, as a result of the 1948-1949 organizational changes, the sea-going ship squadron turned into an independent unit, which until May 1951 operated under the name of the Naval Forces Headquarters.

As of 1955, the squadrons including sea-going naval ships and the Maritime Defense Units were subordinated to the Naval Forces Headquarters. In the same period, the construction of new types of military ships began in the Romanian shipyards, such as base minesweepers built in Galati and Braila until 1954, roadstead minesweepers built in Galati or fluvial minesweeper patrol boats built in Oltenita, between 1956-1959. At the same time, some torpedo boats, submarine hunters and missile carrier boats were purchased from U.S.S.R. In 1962, the 42 Maritime Division was founded, continuing the traditions of the Sea Division, a large unit that had practically not longer existed since the end of World War II. In 1960-1961, as a result of decommissioning destroyers, submarines, etc. the 42nd Maritime Division was made up of minesweepers, minelayers, special purpose ships, coastal artillery units, support units etc.

In the late 70s and early 80s, some sea-going naval ships were built in the Romanian shipyards: the escort ships Midia and Constanta (in the Braila shipyard), the light cruiser Muntenia, which was later turned into a frigate, the former destroyer Marasesti or the Eustatiu Sebastian class frigates (in the Mangalia shipyard), which were later classified as corvettes.

In 1989 the Romanian Navy had more than 7,500 sailors, organized into a Black Sea Fleet, the Danube Squadron, and the shore-based Coastal Defense. It had the mission of defending the country's coastlines against enemy naval bombardments and amphibious assaults, or at least blunting them. All sailors were trained to use infantry weapons and tactics to fight in a land war, in the likely event that the Romanian Navy would be neutralized in a surface engagement with a more powerful naval force. Its major naval bases and shipyards were the Black Sea ports of Mangalia and Constanta. It also made use of Danube River anchorages at Braila, Giurgiu, Sulina, Galati, and Tulcea. The Romanian naval order-of- battle included several minor surface combatants and larger numbers of fast-attack craft and patrol boats. Beginning in the early 1980s, Romania placed greater resources into its naval construction program and built new patrol boats, frigates, and even destroyers using Chinese and Soviet designs. This increased production may have been intended to increase Romania's export sales. In 1986 Romania took delivery of a Soviet Kilo-class diesel submarine, and it was speculated that additional units could be received in subsequent years.

In 1985 Romania commissioned its first large surface unit, a 6,000-ton guided missile destroyer, the Muntenia, built in the Mangalia shipyard. The Muntenia was based on the design of the 1960s-era Soviet Kashin-class destroyers. Its weapons were almost exclusively of Soviet manufacture. Muntenia had four dual SS-N-2C/STYX antiship missile launchers and one dual SA-N-4 surface-to-air missile launcher. It was equipped with 100mm guns, two torpedo tubes, and a helicopter deck that could shelter two IAR-316B Alouette III antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. In 1989 a second unit of the same type as the Muntenia was under construction. Between 1983 and 1985, Romania built three 1,900-ton Tetal-class frigates using the 1970s-era Soviet Koni-class as a model. Equipped with a dual 76mm gun, antiaircraft guns, four torpedo tubes, and two ASW rocket launchers, these frigates could be used as submarine chasers or maritime escorts. A fourth Tetal unit was under construction in 1989. For logistical support, the navy operated two 3,500-ton Croitor-class combatant tenders. Modeled on the Soviet Don-class, they had four dual SA-N-5 surfaceto -air missile launchers, one dual 57mm gun, antiaircraft guns, and a helicopter deck. These ships also went to sea in the early 1980s.

In 1989 the Romanian Navy operated the following ships: three 400-ton Poti-class ASW corvettes armed with two twin 57mm gun turrets, four torpedo tubes, and two ASW rocket launchers (obtained from the Soviet Union in 1970); three 300-ton Kronshtadt-class ASW corvettes equipped with various guns and depth charges (received from the Soviet Union in 1956); six Osa I-class fast attack craft (missile) carrying four SS-N-2A/STYX antiship missile launchers and antiaircraft guns (transferred from the Soviet Union in the 1960s); twenty-two 40-ton Huchuan-class hydrofoil fast attack craft (torpedo) armed with two torpedo tubes and antiaircraft guns (the first three units were delivered from China in 1973); twelve 200- ton Romanian-built Epitrop-class fast attack craft, which mounted four torpedo tubes and antiaircraft guns on an Osa-class hull; twenty-five Shanghai II-class fast attack craft (gun) (received from China beginning in 1977); two 1,500-ton Cosar-class minelayers armed with 57mm guns (built in Romania during the early 1980s); and four modernized Democratia-class coastal minesweepers (built in the 1950s in the German Democratic Republic--East Germany).

Coastal Defense was the shore-based component of defense against attack from the Black Sea. Headquartered at Constanta, the 2,000-man Coastal Defense regiment operated in several sectors along Romania's 245-kilometer coastline and was organized into ten artillery batteries with 130mm, 150mm, and 152mm guns, three antiship missile batteries with SSC-2B/SAMLET launchers, and eight batteries of antiaircraft artillery.

The Danube Squadron included eighteen 85-ton VB-class riverine patrol boats, armed with 85mm main guns, 81mm mortars, and antiaircraft guns, eight 40-ton VG-class boats, and twenty-five VDclass inshore minesweeping boats. It also operated several units of the 400-ton Brutar-class armored boat, equipped with a BM-21 multiple rocket launcher and a 100mm gun mounted in a tank turret. The Danube Squadron's mission was to defeat hostile ground forces attempting to ford the Danube River and to ensure the river's availability as a line of communication.



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