source : ‘the romanian army in 1944’ by Wayne Turner
The soviet attack on the 4th army began on 20 august with holding attacks along the front of 1st, 5th and german 57th corps. The romanian 20th infantry division held its positions, while the Guard, 4th and 6th infantry divisions suffered localised penetrations that were quickly retaken with counterattacks during the day. A secondary attack by the soviet 7th Guards army fell on the romanian 1st infantry division and german 46 infanteriedivision who held steady, but by evening events on the right of the 1st infantry division threatened the flank as the 6th and 4th corps were pushed back.
The main soviet assault hit the 6th and 4th corps after a 1 1/2 hour preparatory bombardment, with the initial weight of the attack and artillery falling on the positions of the romanian 5th infantry division. They were hit by the soviet 27th army, which was heavily equipped with tanks and assault guns.
The romanians were smashed and their positions quickly overrun. By 12.30 hours the 27th Army had taken the village of Podul Iloaiei and had crossed the Bahlui river. On the 5th infantry division’s right the soviet 52nd army had also punched through the romanian 7th infantry division and broken the front of the german 76 infanteriedivision between the two romanian formations and forced them to retire. The destruction for the 5th motorised cavalry division on the 7th infantry division’s right forced it to withdraw to Tomesti to avoid being out flanked. The romanian 11th infantry division, part of the german 4th corps to the right of the romanian 4th corps, fought well holding off attacks before also being forced to withdraw by its threatened left flank when the german 79 infanteriedivision withdrew.
Trench lines along the heights above the Bahlui river had been prepared over the summer and a secondary defensive position was setup. The romanian 18th mountain and 3rd infantry divisions were moved forward to occupy these positions, with the gap between them being taken by the retreating german 76 infanteriedivision. In reserve behind them was a small detachment of german assault guns. Unexpectedly the soviets had released the 6th Guards tank army early to begin the breakthrough and the 18th mountain division ran into this massive armoured formation as it pushed through the breach made by the 27th army at Podul Iloaiei. The 18th mountain division fought stubbornly in the wooded hills behind the Bahlui river.