Photos Romanian Communist (RPR & RSR) Era Military Pictures in my collection.

Connaught Ranger

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A view of some of the Romanian Communist military pictures in my collection.

First a little history in 1944 the Romanian's went over to the Soviet side and were under Soviet occupation
well into the mid-1950's, this ultimately had a big influence on the uniforms and equipment of the military.
The first period is known as the RPR - Republica Populară Română circa 1947-mid 64, then came the RSR - Republica Socialistă România.
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The first picture shows a member of the TVD with his wife or girlfriend, I believe it was taken during the war.

The Tudor Vladimirescu Division (full name: Romanian 1st Volunteer Infantry Division 'Tudor Vladimirescu - Debrecen') was a Soviet-organized division of Romanians that fought against Germany and Hungary during the final year of World War II.
Named after Tudor Vladimirescu, the leader of the Wallachian uprising of 1821, the division was formed from Romanian prisoners of war in October 1943, under the command of Brigadier General Nicolae Cambrea. Although termed 'volunteers', the bulk of the men likely volunteered in order to escape a desperate existence in Soviet POW camps. The Tudor Vladimirescu Division was organized and equipped like a Soviet rifle (infantry) division.

The division marched into Bucharest on August 29, 1944, ostensibly as liberators, but the city had in fact already been liberated by units of the Romanian Army when Romania left the Axis Powers and attacked German troops stationed in the country. The division, still under Soviet control, saw real combat during the final months of the war in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, playing a key role in the Soviet seizure of Debrecen, Hungary, in October 1944. Combat losses were heavy; by March 1945 the strength of the division had sunk to 4,436 men.

In March 1945 the division was pulled out of the front lines, but remained under the operational control of the 2nd Ukrainian Front until August 15, 1945.

Relentlessly politicised by their communist leaders, the Tudor Vladimirescu Division became a politically reliable military formation of the Romanian communists. Along with another Romanian communist unit, the Horia, Cloşca şi Crişan Division, and backed by tens of thousands of Red Army troops, the Tudor Vladimirescu Division played a key role in imposing communist rule in Romania after the war. The two communist divisions were integrated into the Romanian Army on August 22, 1945. The Tudor Vladimirescu Division was converted into an armored division by 1947 while the regular Romanian army was reduced to four divisions with no tanks, thus providing the Romanian communists the trump cards of mobility and firepower had a conflict with anti-communist elements in the Romanian Army taken place.

The Division was converted into the 1st Armored Division in 1947, then 5 Tank Corps, after 47 Tank Corps, and finally take the name of 37 Mechanised Division, which became in 1957 a Mechanised Division.

In the 1950s Soviet officers were employed as advisers. Order sub-units (battalions, companies) was matched by political officers. After 1956-1957 the youth division officers were assigned to three years in military school or other schools in Sibiu.

The next group of pictures, many with the same soldier in them clearly shows the Soviet influence with regards uniforms.
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The beret wearing troops are members of the "Mountain Hunters" locally called Vanatori de Munte, or VM's for short, they are Mountain troops along with the large floppy beret are also their traditional white socks and mountain boots, although as can be seen in the pictures they also sported the long leather boots as well.
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Family Portrait, at first I thought a Soviet soldier, stationed in Romania, due to the Red Star hammer and sickle insignia in the side-cap, but , closer examination of the insignia on the right chest revels he is in fact a Romanian soldier in the very early R.P.R. period.

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Young Military Officer Cadet, the Metal `E`on the shoulder boards probably indicates his status as ´elev` or pupil grade. the dark buttons carry a 5 pointed star with letters R.P.R. in a circle.

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Young Military Officer Cadet dated to 1951

Possibly at Alba-Iulia Military Officer School.

Metal `E`on the shoulder boards probably indicates his status as ´elev` or pupil grade.

Insignia on the Epaulettes - pick, shovel flaming grenade = indicates he belongs to a Pioneer or `Geniu` (military Engineers) unit.

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Two images of the same man wearing the same medals but in different order.

Second picture the order is correct - left to right :-
"Liberation from the Fascist Yoke Medal - Medalia "Eliberarea de sub jugul fascist"
Established in 1949 under the RPR era.
RPR Medal of Labor, - "Medalia Muncii," (established in 1949) Interestingly this is the very first version with a large ribbon ring.
USSR/Soviet Union - Medal of Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941-45 Medal.

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Shoulder board insignia indicates he is with a Transport Mechanic's Unit.
Officer Academy badge on his right breast, brass buttons with a 5 pointed star with the initial's "RPR"

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Romania RPR Communist Period written to the rear - 10. 11. 1952 ora 11:45 "George" a rare color picture from that period, Airforce possibly a Radio Communication / Transmission Unit.
 
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this thread it will be only for the pic"s from your collection?
a very good article , with just one little mistake (maybe a typo):
"Insignia on the Epaulettes (pick, shovel flaming grenade= indicates he belongs to a Pioneer or `Geinu` (military Engineers) unit"
Pioneer =Geniu
 
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this thread it will be only for the pic"s from your collection?
a very good article , with just one little mistake (maybe a typo):
"Insignia on the Epaulettes (pick, shovel flaming grenade= indicates he belongs to a Pioneer or `Geinu` (military Engineers) unit"
Pioneer =Geniu
Hi adicontakt,
thanks for your comment I was trying to explain he belongs to a Pioneer unit and give the Romanian title as well, also not all militaries use the title "Pioneer," for example in the Defence Forces of Ireland they are referred to as "Corp of Engineers" or "Engineers."

For the moment I would like to keep the thread for my pictures, (I dont have hundreds by the way only what I have found at the Collectors Fairs in Romania or from Friends.
 
i know what are you trying to say , but the word is spell(write) wrong , is not Geinu it is Geniu
"For the moment I would like to keep the thread for my pictures, "
good to know , i am not trying to post photos from communist era until you finishied
i will follow this thread
keepit comming
 
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Comments with my pictures are drawn from information on the back of some of the pictures and from local knowledge
picked up while living here in Transylvania, if any errors are spotted please let me know, never was afraid to learn.
Perhaps a decent translation of the postcards might be given by a fellow member from Romania, while I get by with the spoken word, no
idea with regards the written language.
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RPR period dated to May 1958, interestingly the Officer model shoulder boards sported by the lady bear no rank or insignia,
possibly connected to the Securitate -
The Securitate (pronounced [sekuriˈtate], Romanian for Security) was the popular term for the Departamentul Securității Statului (Department of State Security), the secret police agency of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Previously, before the communist regime, Romanian secret police was called Siguranța Statului. It was founded on 30 August 1948, with help from the Soviet NKVD, while Romania was practically under the Red Army's occupation. Following the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1989, the DSS lived on until 1991, when Parliament approved a law reorganizing the DSS into various subdivisions.

The Securitate was, in proportion to Romania's population, one of the largest secret police forces in the Eastern bloc. The first budget of the Securitate in 1948 stipulated a number of 4,641 positions, of which 3,549 were filled by February 1949: 64% were workers, 4% peasants, 28% clerks, 2% persons of unspecified origin, and 2% intellectuals. By 1951, the Securitate's staff had increased fivefold, while in January 1956, the Securitate had 25,468 employees. At its height, the Securitate employed some 11,000 agents and had a half-million informers for a country with a population of 22 million by 1985. Under Ceaușescu, the Securitate was one of the most brutal secret police forces in the world, responsible for the arrests, torture and deaths of thousands of people.
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Late R.P.R. Period, showing a fine selection of winter clothing,
the man on the right is possibly from a Mountain Troop unit judging by the boots and white socks.
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N.C.O. Junior grade, Transition Period, R.P.R. Star in the hat, but R.S.R. Coat of Arms on the buckle on the belt, Black buttons on an light Olive Green Overcoat.
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RPR Tank Crew.

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RPR Naval Crewman.

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RPR dressed for winter, must be waiting on the glove issue seeing the hands are buried in the pockets :p

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One of the many propaganda postcards from the RPR period.
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Romanian RPR Communist era "FeldPost."
 
Now for some of the RSR 1964 - 1989 period pictures in my collection.
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Two pictures and associated crops showing whats going on at the parade, location is the Transylvanian town of Medias in front of the post office.
I know because I have been there to visit relatives of my wife.

The men wearing berets and acting as Honor-Guard are not in this case members of the military "Mountain Hunters" but members of the Gărzile Patriotice -
The Patriotic Guards were formed in 1968, after the 21 August Bucharest speech through which General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party and President of the State Council Nicolae Ceaușescu condemned the crushing of the Prague Spring by Soviet forces. Ceaușescu appealed to anti-Soviet sentiments within the general population to ask for resistance against the perceived threat of a similar Soviet invasion against Romania itself. The nationalist themes he used had their immediate effect in rallying large portions of the public, who began organizing and arming themselves under the direction of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR). Early weaponry included many German WW2 weapons, small arms light and heavy machine guns as well as Romanian and Soviet WW2 era small arms. Eventually they were armed with a special version of the Romanian AK-47 that had no automatic selection, so as to conserve ammunition.

Although the threat was over by the end of the year, the Patriotic Guards remained a feature of the republic's communist structure. They became a permanent addition to the regular military, and compulsory training was introduced for young men and women. For university students, this meant that hours of the curriculum were reserved for shooting drills and other training courses; soon, they were doubled by additional requirements for work in the fields (that was also asked from high school and middle school students, as well as their teachers).

No longer backed by enthusiasm as they had been in the early 1970s, the Patriotic Guards nonetheless were the basic line of defence against projected invasions. The threat posed by the latter seemed to increase as the regime plunged into isolation, especially after it lost the support of the Western Bloc in the early 1980s. From that point on, the Patriotic Guards were to become part of the State's apparatus of repression against its own people.

The Patriotic Guards was an all inclusive public security organization, its functions included normal civil policing and fire-fighting, and a very large "People's Militia" force. During wartime it would provide rear area security, augment the ground forces, and operate as guerrillas if their areas were overrun by invaders.

The Patriotic Guards were staffed by about 700,000 citizens in 1989, both men and women. In keeping with the doctrine of "War of the Entire People", the Patriotic Guards were a combined territorial defence or national guard and civil defence organization, which was established immediately after the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Patriotic Guards worked closely with the Ministry of National Defence but were directly subordinated to the PCR and its youth organization. Relying more on ordinary citizens than on the professional military, the Patriotic Guards served as a potential counterweight to or check on the power and influence of the regular armed forces.

In 1989 the Patriotic Guards were organized into company- and platoon-sized units in almost every județ, municipality, town, village, and industrial or agricultural enterprise. Under the command of the first secretary of the local PCR apparatus, they conducted basic and refresher training in small-arms handling, demolition, mortar and grenade-launcher firing, and small-unit tactics. In wartime they had responsibility for local antiaircraft defence, providing early warning of air attack, defending population centers and important elements of national infrastructure, and conducting civil engineering work as needed to reestablish essential military production after an attack. They would reconnoiter and attack enemy flanks and rear areas, combat airborne units and special forces penetrating deep into Romania, and mount resistance operations against occupying forces. In keeping with their guerrilla image, the Patriotic Guards wore plain uniforms with no insignia or badges of rank.

During the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, Ceaușescu attempted to use them against protesters, notably in Timișoara. However, the pace of events and the breadth of hostility to his regime outstripped this plan. As the Revolution progressed, many Patriotic Guard members (who like most other Romanians were fed up with Ceauşescu's failed economic policies and suffering from declining living standards) actually joined the protesters. To no small extent, the people who were meant to be armed in case of the disturbances were in fact the ones causing them.


The Patriotic Guards were staffed by about 700,000 citizens in 1989, both men and women. In keeping with the doctrine of "War of the Entire People", the Patriotic Guards were a combined territorial defence or national guard and civil defence organization, which was established immediately after the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Patriotic Guards worked closely with the Ministry of National Defence but were directly subordinated to the PCR and its youth organization. Relying more on ordinary citizens than on the professional military, the Patriotic Guards served as a potential counterweight to or check on the power and influence of the regular armed forces.

In 1989 the Patriotic Guards were organized into company- and platoon-sized units in almost every județ, municipality, town, village, and industrial or agricultural enterprise. Under the command of the first secretary of the local PCR apparatus, they conducted basic and refresher training in small-arms handling, demolition, mortar and grenade-launcher firing, and small-unit tactics. In wartime they had responsibility for local antiaircraft defence, providing early warning of air attack, defending population centers and important elements of national infrastructure, and conducting civil engineering work as needed to reestablish essential military production after an attack. They would reconnoitre and attack enemy flanks and rear areas, combat airborne units and special forces penetrating deep into Romania, and mount resistance operations against occupying forces. In keeping with their guerrilla image, the Patriotic Guards wore plain uniforms with no insignia or badges of rank.

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another G.P. group notice the hand-grenades causally deposited on the table.

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Romanian Communist RSR Period (dated to 1984,) Factory Red Cross Workers, they wore a blue outfit, a member of the G.P. can be seen to the right of the picture.
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Typical Communist era political rally, children dressed as Organizaţia Pionierilor founded on April 30, 1949.
Most students joined the organization while in the second grade and remained pioneers throughout eighth grade, therefore, in practice, the normal age range extended from seven to fifteen, or nearly fifteen.

The organisation's responsibilities paralleled those of the Union of Communist Youth (UTC) and involved political (preparing children to become party members) and propagandistic training. Until 1966 the Pioneers functioned as an integral part of the UTC, but thereafter it was under the direct control of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. 70 percent of the 9-14 age group, or approximately 1.3 million young people, belonged to the Pioneers in 1981. The organization published Cutezătorii.

The Pioneers ran a variety of summer camps and other activities, also having a number of recreation centres around Romania. For instance, Cotroceni Palace became the Pioneers' Palace on June 1, 1950.

Members wore a small triangular red scarf (with the triangle over their backs), with a red-gold-blue strip outside border (red-gold-blue were, and still are, the colours of the Romanian national flag). Both ends of the scarf were passed through a narrow ring of clear plastic. They also had pioneer uniforms that they wore on certain days instead of their regular school uniforms. When in school uniform, students had to wear their pioneer scarves.

Individual awards could be bestowed on members; these included stripes, along with the titles "Pionier de frunte" ("Leading Pioneer"), "Cutezătorul" ("The Brave One"), "Pionier fruntaş în muncă patriotică" ("Leading Pioneer in Patriotic Work") and "Meritul pionieresc" ("Pioneer Merit"), as well as insignia based on the type of activity. Collective awards came in the form of diploma-like scrolls: "Unitate fruntaşă" ("Leading Unit"), "Detaşament fruntaş" ("Leading Detachment") and "Grupă fruntaşă" ("Leading Group"). These were commonly awarded at the school's annual year-end ceremony.

My good lady wife was a member.

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Another political rally of interest the man with hat sporting a medal. either a WW2 vet, time served military vet 10/15 year service medal or Medal of work.

Regular Military -

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Jim Carey & Brad Pitt (NOT!)

"Jim" is a soldier of a Communications Unit according to the insignia on his epaulettes and the Grade 2 badge on the breast.

The other badge is a "MILITAR DE FRUNTE" badge.

Side cap with the Enlisted men's brass insignia.

Note to the black buttons sporting the R.S.R. period Coat of Arms.

Also note the white linen sew-in collar liner on the jacket.

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Black & White photo of a group of Romanian military officers standing in front of a helicopter, licence built copy of the French Aérospatiale Alouette III flanked left and right by the pilot and co-pilot.

The 3 officers in parade dress are officers from a Mountain Hunter Unit (note) the white boot socks and square topped boots which fit skis and also used in mountain climbing. The senior rank there being a 2 star General, (large ribbon bar on breast.)

The man in the side cap may be a senior N.C.O. with Sam Browne belt.

To the rear a driver or mechanic appears to be climbing into the engine compartment of his ARO 4X4 "Jeep."


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"Mr and Mrs Happy," the old boy, a 1 star General had service in WW2 and has just been awarded his
"30th Anniversary of the Romanian Armed Forces" Medal
/ Medalia "A XXX-a aniversare a Zilei Armatei Republicii Socialiste România"
Established in 1974. (Medal picture from my collection.)
 
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Left - Pavel my late Father-in -Law may he + Rest-In-Peace + dressed as a member of the G.P., based in the Kalashnikov Factory in Cugir.
Right - his daughter (who I married in 2003,) as a Young Pioneer Leader.
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RSR era Infantry Lt.
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RSR era female military personnel, woman with the field cap more than likely full-time the others conscripts.

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RSR era military officers, possibly the men in civil attire are retired or reserve, the women Administration staff.

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Left - Romanian Communist Military Officer armed with a CSSR - Czech Model 23 or Model 25 9mm Sub-machine gun.
Right - checking his scores.


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RSR era bunch of conscripts, normally service to the state was 18 months.
Always nice to find pictures with actual names.
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On the rear of the picture the following info:
PLUTONUL 2. COMPANIA I
CERGETARE APARE CIVILA
Cap. PALEA COSTEL.
Sold. CHIRILA MIHAI, SCURTU PAVEL, CAZACU MARIN.

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Family group celebrating a birthday, picture taken in Petrosani, Hunedoara County.
 
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This thread is awesome @Connaught Ranger! Thanks for putting in the time to compile and share the back-story.

Makes me want to go to the range with my Romanian AKs! I have 3 that were born in the Cugir Arms Factory with the earliest one from the 60's. Who knows, could've been held by one of the folks in your pictures.
 
this is in german language ,some german ethnics remained in romania after ww2

Translation:

Please reply! Please reply! ...

Dear friend, 18. VI. 63
Would like to let you know that I got your card today. The card arrived on 30 May, but you had made a mistake with the address, and so I got it after 18 days. Instead of B you had written an F. In other news, I'm well which I'm hoping is also the case with you. On 29th it will be St. Peter and Paul's Day, so the crown will be <unintelligible>. Otherwise the military business is going fine, waiting for an answer from Weidenfelder (?). Don't know anything new from home. Maria ... from my lane has got a child by Lorenz Baier. Now I'm going to finish my few lines. All the best regards from your friend Hans (?) Kohl

I'd like to venture home, home where the alpine roses flourish. [folk song lyrics]
 
RSR era "Mountain Hunters" pictures
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1 horse power mobile Radio Communications vehicle :p
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Inspection of Mountain Hunter Artillery Unit.
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Mountain Hunter section on Military Exercise.
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Military Skiing competition more than likely in the Predeal-Brasov era,
I believe the man in the flat cap to be the first communist leader of Romania from 1947 to 1965, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej.
There is also a tradition of children connected to the Romanian Military when from the war of 1877 Independence era, when military units often adopted the sons of fallen comrades or orphans they found on the field of battle, its possible this young skier is a child of a soldier in a military unit or the unit mascot.
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RSR era Sailor, either based on the Black Sea or along the Danube.
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RSR era Sailor specifically identified by his cap-tally as being Border Navy.

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RSR Camo clad border Guard unit along the Southern border with a member of the G.P., the rifle appears to be Ww2 vintage and probably belongs to the G.P. member, from what I have learned the use of camo clothing was only among specialised Romanian Communist units, snipers, etc.. the one-piece camo suits were produced in the U.S.S.R.

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RSR era Infantry officer with medal bar.
Possibly - left to right -
1. Order of Military Merit - 3rd Class for 15 yrs. service. / Ordinul "Meritul Militar" Established in 1954 by the RPR era and carried over into the RSR era.
2. Unknown for the moment.
3. Medal of Labor / Medalia Muncii. Established in 1949 by the RPR era and carried over into the RSR era.
4. Unknown for the moment.
5. Medal of Military Merit - Gold (1 class) for 10 yrs. service / Medalia "Meritul Militar." Established in 1954 by the RPR era and carried over into the RSR era.
6. Medal of Military Merit - Silver (II Class) for 5 yrs. service / Medalia "Meritul Militar." Established in 1954.by the RPR era and carried over into the RSR era.
7. "20th Anniversary of the Romanian Armed Forces" Medal. / Medalia "A XX-a aniversare a zilei Forţelor Armate ale Republicii Socialiste România. Established in 1964.

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Romanian Communist RSR (Republica Socialistă România,) 1964-89 period Communications troop (Signalman) Horia Varabean, his unit indicated by the small insignia on the epaulettes. Summer dress light green-kahki shirt other ranks side cap adorned with other ranks insignia.
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RSR era Border Security soldiers, the man on the left sports his Tech Grade (3) badge for Radio Communications. The soldier on the right wears a "MILITAR DE FRUNTE" insignia.
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RSR era Border troop, on his right Breast the "MILITAR DE FRUNTE" insignia.

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Not a military officer but a "Brigader" in the State Mining organisation, located in Petrosani, on his right breast the
Order of Labor - IIIrd Class / Ordinul Muncii, Established by the RPR era in 1948 and carried over to the RSR era.
The man had known previous military service so the medals under the left lapel could be - Medal of Military Merit - Silver (II Class) for 5 yrs. service / Medalia "Meritul Militar" Established in 1954 by the RPR era and carried over into the RSR era and the Medal of Labor / Medalia Muncii. Established in 1949 by the RPR era and carried over into the RSR era.
 
Most if not all the following have a connection to one man - Dima Mihail Mihail-Serghiu they had been removed from an album and were offered at a Collector's Fair a couple of years ago, I took them as a group.
His military units are refereed to on the rear of the official pictures :-

U.M. - 01265 Dej.

- of. cu active, de cadre 01932



















Last picture has "26. 11. 94 CRAIOVA" written on the rear, the preceding parade pictures might be in the same location, but at different times of the year.
















some double exposures, appear to be in a cornfield, either on exercise or harvesting corn, which was one of the jobs military members found themselves doing.
 
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I remember my father and others throwing cigarettes packs from passing trains to the soldiers doing harvesting during late summer days. Some sort of camaraderie to those doing hard manual labor for most of their 1-2 years conscription. Most men those days were conscripted and knew how hard it was to get basic necessities like that.
 
more pictures from the Dima Mihail Mihail-Serghiu series :-







Romanian ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun

The 2K12 "Kub" (Russian: 2К12 "Куб"; English: cube) (NATO reporting name: SA-6 "Gainful") mobile surface-to-air missile system is a Soviet low to medium-level air defence system designed to protect ground forces from air attack. "2К12" is the GRAU designation of the system.




Back row, left to right Numbers 1,3, and 5 are Soviet Military Officers.


Romanian BTR-60 eight wheeled armoured car.




 
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