Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents


Ground Forces

In 1989 the ground forces numbered 140,000 men, of whom twothirds were conscripted soldiers. The country was divided into Cluj, Bacau, and Bucharest military regions in the west, east, and south, respectively (see fig. 7). In wartime the ground forces in each military region would become an army corps with their headquarters in Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, and Bucharest. The ground forces consisted of eight motorized rifle (infantry) divisions, two tank divisions, four mountain infantry brigades, and four airborne regiments. Motorized rifle divisions were organized along the Soviet model with three motorized rifle regiments, one tank regiment, and a full complement of 12,000 infantry soldiers (see fig. 8). They were mechanized to a considerable extent, operating more than 3,000 BTR-50, BTR-60, TAB-72, and TAB-77 armored personnel carriers and more than 400 BRDM-1, BRDM-2, and TAB-C armored reconnaissance vehicles. Tank divisions had three tank regiments, one motorized rifle regiment, and 10,000 men. Tank divisions operated more than 800 T-54 and T-55, 350 M-77, and 30 T72 tanks.

The artillery, antitank, and air defense regiments of ground forces divisions provided specialized fire support that enabled motorized rifle and tank regiments to maneuver. In 1989 the artillery regiments of motorized rifle and tank divisions included two artillery battalions, one multiple rocket launcher battalion, and one surface-to-surface missile battalion. Romania's artillery units operated nearly 1,000 Soviet-designed towed artillery pieces with calibers ranging from 76 to 152 millimeters, approximately 175 SU-100 self-propelled assault guns, and more than 325 multiple rocket launchers, including the 122mm truck-mounted BM-21 and 130mm M-51. Surface-to-surface missile battalions were divided into three or four batteries, each equipped with one missile launcher. They operated thirty FROG-3 and eighteen SCUD missile launchers. The FROG-3, a tactical missile first introduced in 1960, was being replaced in other non-Soviet Warsaw Pact armies. Proven to be fairly inaccurate in combat, FROG and SCUD missiles would be ineffective weapons carrying conventional high-explosive warheads. Tipped with nuclear or chemical warheads, however, they could be devastating. According to one former Romanian official writing in 1988, Romania produced chemical agents that could be delivered by battlefield missiles.

Antitank regiments were equipped with Soviet-made 73mm, 76mm, and 82mm recoilless rifles, 57mm antitank guns, and AT-1/SNAPPER and AT-3/SAGGER antitank guided missiles (ATGM). Whereas the AT1 /SNAPPER was primarily a shoulder-fired weapon, more advanced AT3 /SAGGER ATGMs were mounted on BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicles.

Air defense regiments provided motorized rifle and tank divisions with mobile protection against enemy air attack. They consisted of two antiaircraft artillery battalions and one surfaceto -air missile (SAM) battalion, each composed of several batteries. Air defense regiments were equipped with medium-range SA-6 SAM launcher vehicles, shoulder-fired short-range SA-7 missiles, and more than 500 30mm, 37mm, 57mm, 85mm, and 100mm antiaircraft guns. Romania's mountain infantry and airborne units are noteworthy. Approximately 30 percent of the country's terrain is mountainous; therefore, these units can be employed to great effect. Transported by helicopters, which Romania began manufacturing in the mid-1970s, the mountain units are highly mobile.

Data as of July 1989