18/9/1916 Things start to go badly wrong for the Romanians

Romania’s leaders joined the war on the Allies’ side in the expectation of an easy victory that would allow them to establish a Greater Romania on both sides of the Carpathians. To accomplish this, Romanian armies pushed across the border into Transylvania. Austria-Hungary was already being pressed by Brusilov’s offensive in Galicia and the Italians on the Isonzo, so Romania’s invasion would be the coup de grâce that knocked it out of the war.

Or so they thought, but the Romanians have miscalculated. By the time they launched their invasion of Transylvania, the Austro-Hungarians had weathered the storm of the Brusilov Offensive: German reinforcements had staved off the threat of collapse, while on the Isonzo the Italians are showing no great likelihood of achieving a strategic victory.

Now the Romanians find their plans increasingly going awry. Germany’s Mackensen leads a combined Bulgarian and German force that has invaded Romania from the south and is threatening the vital port of Constanza. Meanwhile in Romania the Austro-Hungarians have received German reinforcements. Falkenhayn commands here. Anxious to restore his reputation, he is keen to administer a drubbing to the Romanians. Today his men launch their first major counter-attack.

The Romanians are obliged to halt offensive operations in Transylvania and assume a defensive posture. Their decision to join the war has now engulfed them in a battle for national survival.

image source (Wikipedia)

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