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This has all been translated from my forum posts in Russian and from war game Reddit which is where it was originally posted and then moved to other forums and back here.

I dont care if you cant read it well

Overview: Romanian Socialist Republic’s Army is quite different from other NSWP armies and although have a lot of common equipment, there are important differences in some approaches.


Because of Ceausescu's obsession to produce everything in country and lack of trust from Soviets to sell better weaponry, Romanian Army was obliged to develop its own models and inspire even from Western army or collaborate with China. Economically it was bad and Ceausescu simply couldn't grasp the economics of the fact that you can't produce 100% of everything in country without bankrupting yourself.


Remember that TR-580 production started in 1977, it didn't matter that the T-72 was superior, as long as Rumnia could produce a tank - any tank - in country. Sure, later TR-85 was better and some Chinese and Western help was used but was still a medium tank rather than an MBT.


So, there was less money for acquisition from abroad, resulting in the acquisition of small numbers of advanced weaponry, and even those few were not top of the line. The T-72s Romanian Army got were the early T-72 Ural1, MiG-23s were MF version when others in the Warsaw Pact were buying MLs. Very few AT-4/5 were acquired because Rumania produced the antiquated Maliutka which was eventually upgraded with Western help. Upgraded local variants were not bad but not top of the line of course.


They stubbornedly pursued the license production of the useless RS-2US/A-90 and AA-2 R-3S/A-91 air to air missiles of 1950 and 1960 vintage MiG-21s - the backbone of the air force - while WP neighbours equipped theirs with R-13M, R-60 and R-3R. Some studies were made to design better missiles and local copies were constantly improved but in the end it was older equipment. And examples could go on. Later, these missiles were upgraded so somehow the gap was closed.


After 1990 Romania was bankrupt, and only little money was available for upgrades in the 90's but some of those upgrades proved very successful as MIG-21, still in service, with DASH helmet and Israeli avionics. There were not enough T-72s to upgrade, and not enough money to build TR-125s which was a fine tank for its time. Just like it was the case with the MiG-21 versus MiG-29 upgrade, former was dropped due to low number of planes and because maintenance should have been made in Russia. Many products were presented only at first military exposition after 1989 events which took place in 1999. But this is because at that time was the first public exhibition and were researched even from early 80s; it was a huge secrecy developed by weapons producers which was the norm during Ceausescu’s regime. Many others were dropped in late 80s/early 90s due to lack of finance and very few info are still available. Western helos were available (licensed SA-330, Alouette) and some very interesting protos (IAR – 317, probably only dedicated attack helo designed at that time by a WP country except USSR); also, collaboration of Romania with China in military research could give a deck with a selection of Soviet style tanks (T-55 with upgrades, basic T-72) and Romanian tanks with Chinese modern FCS, stabilizer and other stuff (TR-85M, TR-125).

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In the eighties recruits fired with a MG42 at Patriotic guards exercises. There were also plenty of MG34's. Beside the VZ24 and Kar 98, they used the Czech Samopal 24 SMG in 7,56x25 mm (TT) caliber (previously used by recon units).

The communist regime was pretty militarized, at least in theory, for the revoulution had to be defended by all. You know, “lupta intregului popor pentru apararea patriei” (the fight of the entire people for defending the homeland) was part of the military doctrine The target practice was part of the PTAP program (“pregatirea tineretului pentru apararea patriei” - preparing the youth for the homeland defence). It was compressed air and light but still a gun.


A factory, usually, had a battalion of Patriotic Guards I am sure if it was formed exclusively from Romanian Communist Party members. This battalion had (generally), 1 headquarter, 2 or more companies of riflemen /riflewomen, 1 battery of mortars/ AA mg's, 1 platoon of MG's, 1 platoon medics (women), 1 platoon radio/telegraph, In some places, they had companies or platoons of mountain riflemen or sappers. Also, one of their main activities was to assist Border Guards (Graniceri). Following a presidential decree from 1981, their main mission was to assist and fill the ranks of Border Guards in case of a war and to form with Border guards some militia/light infantry units. Romanian planners acknowledged that main army units won’t be able to hold back HATO for long in case of an invasion so they took necessary measures to assure that partisans-like units will be assembled; beside these Patriotic Guards-Border Guards units, there two networks, R and S, formed by former conscripts from specialized units (Para, Recon, Mountain); In case of a foreign invasion, these networks would have been activated and they were directed to various hidden small depots to be armed and continue war as small groups of partisans/urban guerilla in occupied territory.





Vânători de munte (Mountain hunters) – Shock light infantry: The Mountain Hunters are one of the oldest types of units in the Romanian military. This is an "infantry with special abilities" branch and it is dedicated to mountain warfare. Mountain infantry, mountain artillery, also mountain armour, anti-aircraft, medical, NBC, sapper and commando types of units can be found in the Mountain Hunters Brigades. The Mountain Hunters are locally called Vanatori de Munte, or VM's for short. The VM's thrive in rough environment, they move stealthy thru mountainous terrain and are well trained, both physically as well as psychologically. A VM can operate completely alone behind enemy lines, however teamwork and unit cohesion are two notions that are well-known and cared for in this branch. The Mountain Hunters usually have a climber license.

The exceptions are made of troops which form the anti-aircraft and light artillery personnel incorporated into the branch. I am thinking to be something like Nordlandsjagaere but more stealth than an usual infantry unit and better speed. They can also of course can be airborne; two important helo regiments were placed near VM’s big units HQ; One brigade of VM can be a good round force and would have MLVM APCs or TAB APC, recon infantry with TABC-79 or TABC-79 recon vehicle, MLVMs with 120 mm mortars, MANPADS and ATGMs groups in support so would have AT, AA, and arty capability and a good infantry force. VMs were organized in Brigades/Battalions system.

Something like the man on the left would be typical


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TR-125 and late TR-85 models might be a decent heavy due to better protection, enhanced FCS, autoloader for TR-125 and manuevrability than the poorer quality T-72s of Romanain pocession or T-55/T-62. A wide selection of medium tanks is available and TR-85 late versions were quite capable as medium tanks. Locally built BASTION development started in 1971 and was widely used by T-55AM variants or Romanian 100m gun tanks.



Romania ordered in 1969 and imported 850 T-55A and K (command version of the A) between 1970-1977 from the USSR. In 80s Romania acquired from the USSR the license to upgrade to AM standard. The upgrade was done on most of T-55 tanks but it is unknown how many upgrade examples were contracted, and how many were done.
These T-55s were upgraded to AM standard have the horseshoe armor (Brezhnev's eyebrows) and the smoke grenades launcher. What is different between them is the FCS. Some have the Volna FCS and a Soviet laser rangefinder, some others had the Kladivo FCS from Czechoslovakia (as tanks from the now disbanded regiment at Botosani). Finally some had the Romanian made Ciclop FCS with a wind sensor (which was also present on TR-85 and consisted of a cross-wind sensor and a locally manufactured copy of the Chinese Yangzhou laser rangefinder); Ciclop M was added later and was made with Western and Chinese help. Bastion missiles also locally produced.
So three variants of T-55 can be used: T55AM (with Volna FCS) T-55AM Kladiovo FCS (upgraded) T-55 AMC (Ciclop)
TR-77 – 580
Heavily modified local copy of T-55 with better frontal armor and added weight was compensated by engine made with some W.German support and Chinese technology for better stabilizers so in game would be something between Chinese tanks and Russians ones of the same tier. 6 wheels instead of 5 compared with T-55; No Bastion ammo (to my knowledge) as opposed with upgraded T-55. Basic infantry tank.
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Licence-built Romanian T-55A. This helps to see the differences with the TR-77.



TR-77 early version.



TR-77 MBT of serie, with the large side skirt model


Camouflaged TR-77 in the 1980s.
Late TR-77 with the elongated turret model adopted by the TR-85M1.

Reconstruction of an Iraqi TR-580 in operational markings, Iran-Iraq war. This is purely conjectural as no photos or evidence of this tank in Iraqi service has been confirmed.

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TR-85 series: developed from 1978 to 1985  TR-85 is a bigger tank and better tank than run of the mill T-55, not only a copy and weights 54 tons, has a better engine and generally a better mobility, speed, range and protections than TR-77-580 or T-55. Chinese expertise was used for making this tank and Ciclop FCS have a wind sensor a locally manufactured copy of the Chinese Yangzhou laser rangefinder, also Chinese copied stabilizers. Rifled 100mm gun was locally produced. According with a tank regiment commander, TR-85 was vastly superior to T-55AMV so expected that TR-85M1A would be an even better medium.



TR-85M1A - 1989 – early prototype made before TR-85M1 Bison (1996), elongated back turret for ammo storage and new FCS, Ciclop-M with Western/Chinese technology.


Overall these tanks would be better than T-55/T62 and would be more resembling with Chinese tanks of 80s – 90s ; Also has quite interesting turret protection, 320 mm+ 20 mm additional plate armor. Better protected turret is a common trait of TR-85 and TR-125 prototype over regulars T-55. Frontal chassis armor was 200 mm.


TR-85M1 Bison - 1996



I am not sure how reliable this source is but from what I’ve seen of tank is moving excellent, you can’t notice any difference with a Western MBT except that it is a medium tank and lacks the punch with only 100 mm gun. But with recent APSDF it’s a decent machine.


TR-125 (1987) – prototype – 10 produced and tested; development dropped due to lack of funds :(

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Same school of design as TR-85, better protected turret and chassis than T-72 ural (and only that Rumaniaboos), not a simple copy of this tank. Also access to Chinese technology so better stabilizers and FCS. Better frontal and turret armor which lead to bigger weight than tank of T-72 ural.


It is worth noting that, on this tank were mounted the most modern equipment which were experimentation or assimilation in the manufacturing industry: 125 mm cannon caliber, stabilizer on cannon 2E 25 m, computer ballistic, new projector-type l-2, warning against laser illumination for launching rocket-buoyant smoke and heat traps, etc.

The TR-125 tank was a redesigned T-72 Soviet main battle tank which had a number of significant differences from the original vehicle that entered production as far back as 1971-72.


Number 125 in the designation stands for the 125 mm A555 smoothbore tank gun. TR-125 boosted extra armor, modified suspensions and a more powerful diesel engine. The T-72 weighs 41 tons whereas the TR-125 weighed 48 tons, due to increased armor protection over the frontal arc, which is also a feature of more recent T-72s. The TR-125 had seven road wheels of a different design - wheels, unlike the T-72 and most tanks based on it, which have six, and a new one-piece skirt. The TR-125 was powered by a more powerful 880 hp 8VSA3 diesel engine, based on the US Teledyne AVDS, which gives a better power-to-weight ratio. Armament of the TR-125 is identical to the Soviet T-72 and eight forward-firing smoke grenade dischargers are mounted on the left side of the turret. It used an DShK machine gun for anti-aircraft purposes and coaxial 7,62 mm machine gun.

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Parasutisti (Paratroopers) – Elite airborne unit: One of the many conditions imposed to Romania after WW2 was to completely disband its Paratroopers, Marines, Vanatori de Munte (Mountain Hunters) or Cavalry units. First three specialists type of formations (Paratroopers, Mountain Hunters and Marines) were re-established again after 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Recon units were kind of considered as cavalry. Faced with such a severe and non-negociable condition, the Romanians desperately tried to hold on to their airborne/mountain/marines/cavalry formations, regardless of their designation. As such, the Romanian military created its "special troops" formations or reconnaissance battalions who were in fact light infantry formations able to fight on their own and not only dedicated to reconnaissance.


Securitate (Shock security troops): Securitate units were meant to protect important objectives from riots or even enemy parachute insertions after looking at Soviet invasions from Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan where airborne forces were widely used. The Directorate for Security Troops acted as a 20,000-strong paramilitary force for the government, equipped with artillery and armored personnel carriers. The security troops selected new recruits from the same annual pool of conscripts that the armed services used. The security troops were directly responsible through the Minister of the Interior to PCR General Secretary Ceausescu. They guarded important installations including PCR (Romanian Communist Party) county and central office buildings and radio and television stations. The Ceausescu regime presumably could call the security troops into action as a private army to defend itself against a military coup d'état or other domestic challenges and to suppress anti regime riots, demonstrations, or strikes. Conscripts were selected from sportsmen.





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MR 2 (made until 1977) or MR-4 on DAC444 – 1965 – 1977 – twin or quad ZPTU 14,5 mm, it was common practice to put in on the back platform of a DAC 444 truck for better mobility. May be in the VHC tab too. These AA HMG were widely spread within every type of army unit, a very common type of weapon present at battalion level.


A436 - 2x30 mm AA – towed gun

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Good selections of infantry as armed recon and armed vehicles were quite rare except TAB developments that had 14.5 mm machine gun; However, recon units were very common and each Division use to had its own battalion (even Engineers’ Brigade had one dedicated recon unit); Recon infantry was considered some sort of elite unit and best soldiers were selected there; On top of their main mission Romanian recon infantry should be able to perform also fighting mission which would consist in destroying certain objectives behind enemy lines such as bridged, ammo depots or HQs; All in all, Romania had 10 Scouting battalions in the late 80s and early 90s, plus two armored Scouting battalions (on APCs, different from dedicated recon APCs). Added to this, some Regiments, Brigades or Battalions have their own Recon COY. On top of that, Border troops (Graniceri) were able to help and scout enemy columns while harassing them when possible; Usually Romanian reconnaissance was able to also create diversion behind enemy lines and strike targets like HQs, arty etc. At an Elite unit would be 404th Reconnaisance-Diversion Paratroopers Battalion (Cercetasi – Parasutisti) which was attached to 60th Paratrooper regiment.



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As recon vehicles/helosIAR317 Airfox actually flew in one combat mission in 1989 Revolution and it wasn't recognized by Romanian army soldiers who opened fire; it was hit with machine gun bullets but went back home without too much damage, even hit it was able to fly immediately. Also is was allegedly capable of carrying CA-94M (AA IR missiles) and it is said that its plan surfaces were designed to give him some stealth capability. So this helo real wartime missions were recon and patrol. It was ready to be built in 1984 (first flight in 1983) but Ceausescu halted it. Another Heli capable to take down other helos would be IAR-330 SOCAT prototype with R-60s




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Graniceri (Border guards) – Regular scout. Border guards are especially interesting as they were trained to harass enemy formations who would go over the border; I'd add to them PSL sniper, it was used in every group. They were far from reserve troops, it was a priority in later years to also guard the frontier against citizens who wanted to flee over the border so their training was good and they were usually good shooters. Their main mission was to delay enemy advance and than retreat and regroup with Romanian army main units or Patriotic Guards. Trough a presidential Decree from 1981, Patriotic Guards were meant to help and merge with Border Guards units to participate to military operations as a basic infantry unit.



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Cercetasi (Scouts) and Cercetasi Parasutisti (Scout Paratrooper) – As outlined above, Scouts were important in Romanian army; since Soviets imposed a disband of main specialists units (Mountain hunters, Para, Cavalry, Marines), these units were even before 1968 the main special force of Romanian Army and later many of the officers from newly established specialized infantry units were taken from Scouts.




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Missions were special recon, direct action, unconventional warfare, combat search and rescue, counter terror and so on. Basically small groups behind enemy lines tasked with important and risky missions: airborne pathfinders, recons, combat divers, some of the mountain warfare troops. Security forces trained to hunt down specops troops are special forces/shock too.


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IAR-317 "Airfox"


Light attack helicopter prototype built in Romania by IAR. Based on IAR-316B with new stepped two-seat armoured cockpit and external weapons points.
Technical data for IAR-317
Crew: 2, engine: 1 x Turbomeca "Artouste" IIB rated at 640kW, main rotor diameter: 11.02m, fuselage length: 12.64m, height: 3.00m, take-off weight: 2200kg, cruising speed: 190km/h, hovering ceiling, OGE: 1520m, range: 525km, armament: 2 x 7.62mm machine-guns, 4 anti-tank missiles
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