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History of Falkenhayn's Tower

 

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It was built in 1882 by the Transylvanian Carpathian Association of Tourists (Siebenburgischer Karpatenverein). It was used by this association for recreational use until World War I. With the preparations for the war, the Tower gained a great strategic importance, being occupied by the Austro-Hungarian army.

During the First World War, the Tower was of strategic military importance because it assured control over Sibiu that was in a dominant position. During the Battle of Sibiu in 1916, the Tower was used by the Romanian Army on one hand and the German and Austro-Hungarian Armies on the other hand. The control over this strategic objective has alternated since the beginning of September 1916.

On the night of 2/15 - 3/16 September, important fighting took place on the Gușterița – Cornățel – Caşolt sector controlled by the Romanian 42nd Infantry Regiment. After a violent artillery bombing with the help of reflectors, the German troops managed to temporarily conquer the hill of Bucata that dominates the Cașolț. After a bloody bayonet counterfeit of the troops of the 42nd Regiment, the attackers were rejected up to Roșia area. The losses significative by both sides: 2 officers and 72 dead soldiers in the 42nd Regiment, and German troops lost 5 officers and 150 dead soldiers.

The 48th Infantry Regiment takes over part of the sector defended by the 42nd Regiment and continues the battle. The attack of the Romanian troops, from the dawn of September 9, 1916, was a particularly violent one and made that the Infantry 48th Regiment, comprising 68 officers and 3600 soldiers, to have only 15 officers and approximately 800 soldiers capable of fighting at the evening call. The remaining 2853 soldiers and officers gave their blood tribute to defend their positions won a few days earlier.

At the end of September 9/22, the Romanian troops occupied the villages of Șelimbăr, Bungard, Cașolț, Roșia, Gușterița, Nucet, Cornățel, thus enlarging the control area around Sibiu, fixing it on the heights between the Hartibaci and Olt valleys and along Sibiu - Sighisoara narrow railroad. The Romanian control over the Gușterița hill shall be preserved until the beginning of the Battle of Sibiu.

On the morning of September 13/26, preparations to start the offensive of the army commanded by General Falkenhayn were completed. After a strong artillery training, the 39th Corps troops began offensive across the entire sector against the Romanian army. The position of the Gusteriţa hill, which dominates the surroundings of Sibiu, was attacked by the Austro-Hungarian Thyl brigade troops, supported by the German Hessian Regiment of the 76th Division. The position was defended on a bayonet by the 42nd Infantry Regiment battalion, which was eventually forced to withdraw. At the end of the first day of the Battle of Sibiu, the Gușterița hill was conquered by the army commanded by General Falkenhayn. From this moment up to the end of the First World War, the Tower of Gușterița Hill will be under the control of the German and Austro-Hungarian army.

After the end of the Great War, at the base of the Tower, the Saxon Society for Caring War Graves in Transylvania founded by Auguste Schnell in 1918 in Sibiu organized a cemetery of the heroes fallen in battle during the Battle of Sibiu in 1916. The Cemetery set up in the years 1919-1920 was cared for by the Saxon Society until the years 1942-1943.

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