23.10.15 Iasi

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In the last days of October, we had the occasion to visit some friends of ours located in Iasi, so we had three days of prospecting on the battlefields of their area. All the region is crossed by trenches, both in the open on the hills, and in the woods. The area hosted the first phase of what is known as ‘’The battle for Romania’’, a context where the Soviet troops after having forced the retreat of the Wehrmacht, targeted to break the defensive line of Iasi-Chisinau, destroying the remains of the South Army Group (formed by both German and Romanian troops). Considering that the intention of the Red Army was to invade Romania, the fights were very heavy.

On 18 April 1944 the Second Ukrainian Front breaks the German defense, entering the Romanian territory. Various defensive positions were made on the direction of the attack: on the Targu Frumos – Pascani line, and in the Tupilati and Halaucesti area. There were four known positions of defense: ‘’Dacia’’ starting from the N-W of Iasi, going through Letcani, Podu Ilioaei and Targu Frumos. Behind the ‘’Dacia’’ position there was ’’Traian’’, the second position covering the peaks at the S-W of Iasi. Two more, ‘’Decebal’’  and ‘’Stefan’’, were located in a more forward position, in order to block the enemy’s advancement in the pocket between the Prut and the Eastern Carpathians.

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We explored an area nearby the city of Iasi, not having any difficulties in spotting trenches, we started with high hopes and nice weather. We were forming in a group of nine buddies, so the results started to appear quickly, in the first twenty minutes or so. At first came out a nice heavy metal box, which turned out to be a spare parts set case for field radio of American production, and equipped by the Russians, found by Marius. The place was full of all kind of twisted metal parts, shrapnel, pieces of trucks and other undefined metal parts; all along the impression was of an area where a heavy shelling was deployed. The second nice item was half of a Luftwaffe cluster bomb AB70, found on Soviet positions. Here and there some 50mm shells, a German tube paste and tooth brush, some cans, one mess tin, but nothing uncommon. At some point i received a very low and strong signal, highlighting a big piece of iron very near the surface; i was able to pin the target with the bare hands, finding out it was a T34 track link.

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The next interesting piece was discovered by Cristian in a trench wall: a German M42 helmet having the trace of a headshot, but no human remains were spotted with it. A lot of other small pieces, rifle’s cleaning tool kits, half of a Romanian id-tag, around 20 empty 75mm Sherman tank shells (also used by the Soviets), a Panzerfaust tube and many mortar tails. Overall a great group experience, great places and lot of potential, for sure an area that we will check again.
Here’s a short video of the German helmet being dug.

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5 Comments

      1. Understand…’WW1-WW2 background’ could be a VERY large area…(!?); let’s say in open field area the trenches aren’t hard to spot, BUT…in a (heavy) forest area, how ? Even in open field area, how do u know THAT “trench” is not a “ex” (little) river, for example ? Ok, IF u have a metal detector your work could be much easier ;-), BUT…if not ? ;-(

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  1. You are commenting on a page related to metal detection, so you can imagine that we have MD and we use them 🙂 Otherwise, trenches can be also spotted without MD. They have some particularieties…starting with their lenght or position, until more specific arrangments. If you search online, you’ll find plenty of examples regarding that. Just one example: a trench’s wall would be clearly different from a river’s bed wall. A military trench has dedicated design, like zig-zag form or ”coturi”, meaning turning points at 90 degrees (used in order to slow the enemy advance into the trench, if captured). If you’re looking after trenches for some time, you’ll be able to spot them even if they are almost totally covered by soil, it’s something coming from field experience. Best of luck.

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