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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bolt Action - Ion Dumitru, Romanian Tank Ace

Welcome to Tanko Thursday, a semi-regular article exploring some of the lesser known legendary tankers from the minor nations with house rules for representing them in your own Bolt Action Tank War battles. This week we look at Ion Dumitru, Romanian Tank Ace.

Born in 1921, Ion Dumitru graduated from a Romanian Officer school in Buchreast in 1943. With the rank of second lieutenant he was assigned at his request to the 1st Tank Regiment that was rebuilding after the disasterous Battle of Stalingrad. In March 1944, his unit was transferred to the front in Moldavia to face the Russians.

They were held in reserve until the 20th of August, when they led a counter-attack into the flank of the Soviet tank columns that had broken the frontline. They engaged the Soviets near the village of Scobalteni and after a long firefight the Soviets disengaged. The Romanians had lost 20 tanks but knocked out 60 Russian tanks, including a few IS-2s. Lt. Dumitru is thought to have destroyed at least one tank with his Panzer IV.

During this battle, the Soviets managed to encircle the 1st Tank Regiment and reports came in about the destruction of the rest of the 1st Armoured Division they were a part of. The decision was made to try and break out of the encirclement in the cover of darkness but the unit got seperated. Dumitru found himself in command of 13 Panzer IVs and 3 Sdkfz 250s who had made it to the village of Stornesti where there was a company of motorised Romanian infantry.

They linked up with more of their unit at the village of Boghicea the next day where they repulsed a Soviet attack before moving to Bara and another gun battle with Soviet tanks. Three days later at Sabaoani, Dumitru's platoon along with a battery of German Pak38s held an anti-tank ditch against an attack of 22 Soviet tanks, destroying them all. The next day, they moved out of Sabaoani and then found out that Romania had signed an armistance with Russia.

With the beginning of Soviet and Romanian co-operation, the soldiers of 1st Tank Regiment were interned into POW camps. Dumitru managed to escape twice before joining the 2nd Tank Regiment and being sent to the front in Slovakia in March 1945. Ironically they were subordinated to the Soviet 27th Armour Brigade whom he had been fighting only 7 months before. They begun operations on the 26th of March where they destroyed 6 AT guns and captured a battery of German 150mm howitzers before being stopped by a platoon of German Tigers.

2 days later near the village of Mal-Chetin, Dumitru destroyed a German Panzer IV, a StuG III, 2 AT-guns, their tows and a Sdkfz 251 before the Germans retreated. On the 31st of March during a Soviet artillery barrage, Dumitru led his unit against a cut-off company of German Panzer IV, destroying 2 and damaging 2 more. That night they attacked a fortified village where Dumitru's platoon destroyed another 6 half-tracks. During the assault they came under fire from German artillery until Dumitru destroyed the church's bell tower and the observer inside.

On April the 5th, Dumitru in command of 7 Panzer IVs and 3 StuGs flanked a group of German tanks laying in ambush and destroyed 9 tanks and 3 half-tracks. Then on the 12th of April in defense of Hohenruppersdorf he destroyed another half-track and a Panzer IV, and captured two other Panzer IVs.

On April 13th, after heavy losses, Dumitru was given command of 1st Company of the 1st Battalion and ordered to attack the town of Shrick the following day. During the battle his unit was flanked by 3 German Panthers and his Panzer IV was hit. Dumitru was injuried and ended up losing a leg. He would see out the end of the war recovering before moving into an administration role after the war.

He had fought five days against the Soviets and 20 days against the Germans. During which the men under his command destroyed 39 tanks and 13 AFVs, of which at least six tanks and as many AFVs and anti-tank guns belonged to him. He received the highest Romanian wartime award: the Mihai Viteazu Order 3rd class with swords.

Ion Dumitru is presented here for use in his Panzer IV for friendly Tank War games.

Dumitru's Panzer IV
Cost: 332 points
Quality: Veteran
Weapons: One turret-mounted heavy anti-tank gun with co-axial MMG and forward facing hull-mounted MMG
Damage Value: 9+ (medium tank)
Special Rules:
Exceptional Leadership: After this unit executes a run order, choose a friendly unit within 6" that has an order die next to it. Return that order die to the bag.
Battle Commander: Dumitru's legendary command bonus is +2 instead of the normal +1.
Battle Awareness
Snap Shooter
Eye for Terrain

Let us know what you think about these and any other lesser known tank aces, over on the forums.


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