not part of the Alpenkorps, the Infanterie Regiment 187 was a veteran of the
fighting in the Vogesen before being rushed to Romania
to help in the mountain warfare at the Vulkan Pass,
Fogaras, the Roter Turm Pass. During the fighting the II. Batl. was attached to
the Bavarian Jäger Regiment 1.
September 21st the II. Btln. of the I.R. 187 was enjoying a well-earned rest in
the village of Livazeny. That morning they had cleaned
their weapons and kit and the orders for the afternoon were "rest and
protest arose when new orders arrived to assemble on the road with assault
packs. “Assault packs”, always a phrase that got the heart beating! The men
milled around trying to guess what the day had in store for them. In the
meantime the four company commanders were receiving their orders, the II. Btln.
was to join the Gruppe Paulus for an assault on the Vulkan pass.
Paulus was commander of the Bavarian Jäger Regiment 1, one of the units of the
Left: A Death/Commemoration Card to a member of the 1st Bavarian Jäger Regiment killed in Romania.
hard two hour road march the battalion swung to the left and crossed a field to
reach the edge of the forest that ran up the side of the valley. A 20 minute
break was called in which the men stared at the forest with a sinking feeling. Due
to the freezing cold they were soon happy to move off but they began to curse
as they entered the forest. Climbing up the steep mountain side, the air hung
heavily with the smell of rotting humus which was kept in by the heavy forest
covering just as any moonlight was kept out. Physically and mentally it was
heavy going, lungs bursting, stomach muscles aching the men advanced on hands
and feet, clambering over fallen trees, rocks and bushes, unable to see their
hands in front of their faces.
past midnight when they arrived at the HQ of the Reserve Jäger Bataillon 10. The
infantrymen collapsed into heaps, a six and a half hour climb behind them. As
if their arrival was a signal, the heavens opened up and the Battalion was
caught in a downpour which the men weathered, laying in the mud wrapped
miserably in their greatcoats and groundsheets.
the order to assemble came and the men set off for another forced march, this
time high above the forest line on a mountain pass that ran about 100m below
the peak. Partially dizzy with the height, the men were able to look down on
the road they had marched along the day before, from the path it looked like a
thin cotton thread snaking through the valley below.
am a rest behind a ridge was called and the officers went forward to receive
orders. The heights around the Vulkan pass were to be cleared of enemy
soldiers, the II./I.R. 187 was to help the 2. and 3. Komp. of the Bayr.
Jägerbtln. 1. to capture heights 1692 and 1691.
Above: An Iron Cross 2nd Class award document for Unteroffizier der Landwehr Hinrich Mohr, 7th Company Infanterie Regiment 187. The document was signed by Generalleutnant Edwin
and Austrian artillery had already opened a weak barrage on the enemy
positions. Ammunition being hard to transport in the mountains the artillery
had to ration its shots. The men of the 187 I.R. were almost eager for combat
as it meant an end to the exhausting march. As the last shot fell the order to
attack was given, the men rushing over the peak with a loud
surprised Rumanians looked in horror at the approaching Germans, a second
"Hurrah!!" and a scattering of shots.... by the time the Germans
reached the lines the Rumanian soldiers had abandoned their positions and were
making for the forest. The Germans followed, taking a number of defensive lines
that had been abandoned in the hasty retreat.
reaching Height 1672 the assault force ran into difficulty. As they approached
they were greeted by well-coordinated machine gun fire and the first serious
losses took place. Artillery support was not possible and the Rumanian
positions were well prepared. The Germans returned fire, standing, then
kneeling and finally on their bellies hugging the earth. One by one the German
dead and wounded began to pile up, the screams of pain and the calls for water
or a medic began to work on the nerves of the soldiers.
machine gun tried to move into position but the gunner was hit in the forehead,
another took his place and fell dead as well. Advancing was out of the
question, Jäger and Infantryman lay in mixed companies under a hail of fire. The
shooting did not abate until the sun went down, only then were the men able to
move, their legs as heavy as lead and their minds numbed. First priority was
the wounded, much too many for the Medics to handle on their own. Everyone lent
a hand to get them back out of the line. Midnight had arrived before the men
were able to prepare their positions, digging in with spade, bayonet and bare
hands in the rocky ground.
am the Romanians opened fire sending the Germans diving for cover. The troops
lay clutching their rifles, peering into the darkness wondering if an attack
was in the making. Soon the firing died down and the II. Btln. continued their
couple of days were quieter, the strength of both sides diminished by their
losses and for the ll. Btln. by the fact that the two companies of the Bayr. Jägerbtln
1. had been withdrawn. The men of the 187th had to extend their lines to link
up with the Bayerische Jägerbataillon Nr. 2. on their flank and they now fell
under the command of the Gruppe Bauernschmidt (Commander of the Jägerbtln. 2.).
Above: A Militärpass entry for a member of the I.R. 187, a portion of the Regiment fought in the Fogaras Area, this is entered in Pencil.
the isolated mountain peak the men lay in their shallow foxholes, waiting for
the counter attack that was sure to come. At 05.30 on the morning of the
September 25 the enemy artillery opened up on the German lines to be followed
by an infantry attack at 08:15. The massed infantry assault was thrown back by
the men of the II. Btln. helped by fire from their flank where the Bayr. Jägerbtln.
2. was dug in. The Romanians launched 3 attacks that day, all which were beaten
back, leaving many men in front of the German foxholes. The attacks were
suicidal; many of the Romanians were killed before they had made it out of
their own positions. After the last attack the Germans settled down for another
night of random shooting, the Rumanians were left to prepare for an attack the
orders arrived... the Gruppe Bauernschmidt was to abandon its positions that
night. Masked by the darkness the companies left their foxholes, a rearguard
was left behind to keep up the random fire on the enemy positions and to follow
once the main force had gotten clear. The next morning the Romanians assaulted
the empty foxholes after an artillery barrage. The ll. Btln. was at that moment
far away regrouping at Height 934 having taken, defended and abandoned their
positions at a very heavy cost.
For further information on the fighting in the Roter Turm Pass please click HERE