Historical overview

The Counter-Torpedo Squadron/Destroyer Squadron

The Counter-Torpedo Squadron was established by Royal High Decree no. 2256 bis of 15.05.1920, under the command of Captain Pantazzi I.Vasile.
The unit was made up of the anti-torpedo boats Mărăşti and Mărăşeşti, which had been ordered in 1914 on Pattison Shipyard of Naples, Italy, but which, on account of World War I were used by the Italian navy in combat against the Austro-Hungarian fleet under the name of Sparviero (Mărăşti) and Nibbio (Mărăşeşti). On July 1, 1920 these two ships came to Constanţa and were classified as Aquila Class destroyers, a subordinate of the Sea Division.
On April 1, 1927 the unit changes its name to Destroyer Squadron. In conformity with the Order nr. 35 of the Navy Staff, starting September 7, 1930, the unit shall also regroup the destroyers King Ferdinand and Regina Maria, ordered in 1926 on the Italian shipyards CTT &Pattison and built between 1927 – 1930.
On July 1, 1931, under command of Captain Schmidt S. Victor, the Destroyer Squadron turns into the Destroyer Unit, and on April 1, 1933 it is again renamed as Destroyer Squadron.

During World War II the Destroyer Squadron was known as the ace of the Royal Navy bearing the hull marks of the ace of spades for King Ferdinand, the ace of hearts for Queen Mary, the ace of diamonds for Mărăşeşti – and the ace of clubs for Mărăşti.
The missions of these ships were mainly to defend the Romanian littoral coast, ensuring protection of troops and supplies transportation, protection of minelayers operating on the coast and in the northern part of the Black Sea Theater of operations.
On December 1, 1941, the destroyer Queen Mary hit an enemy submarine in Şabla area, the destroyers Queen Mary and Mărăşeşti participated on June 26, 1941 in the sea battle from Tuzla against the Soviet cruisers Moskow and Harkov, succeeding in sinking the former and taking down the latter, and on December 1941 the destroyer King Ferdinand sank and enemy submarine in Burgas area.
The Destroyer Squadron greatly contributed to the most important naval operation from the Black Sea – the eviction of the Romanian troops from Crimea during April 5– May 1944. The action was carried out according to a twofold strategy: convoying ships and taking troops aboard. The missions of the Destroyer Squadron during June 22, 1941 – August 23, 1944 may be summed up as follows: 71 missions, 1840 hours underway, 22.771 Mm transited.

The events of August 23, 1944 find the Destroyer Squadron in Constanţa Harbor. On August 25, 1944 after the second ultimatum given to the German troops, the Commander of the German force, Vice-admiral Brinkmann orders troop retreat from Constanţa, without laying any waste.
On August 29, the Commandant of the Naval Forces and the Dobrudjan territory, the Rear-Admiral Macellariu Horia receives an ultimatum from the Commandant of the Soviet naval Forces in the Black Sea, Admiral Oktiabriski. The first request of the ultimatum note wrote as follows: „The entire Romanian auxiliary and war fleet shall be moved to Sulina and handed in to the Soviet Navy Staff”. After deliberations with the Navy Staff and the General Staff, the Rear-Admiral Macellariu communicates the decision made by the military authorities not to surrender.
On August 30, 1944 the first Soviet naval units enter Constanta. On September 5, armed soviet soldiers sneak onboard navy ships and unship the Romanian crews, officers and petty officers are stationed in the Maritime Railway Station building.
The Commandant of the Destroyer Squadron Commander Dumbravă Alexandru committed suicide and the officer on duty Lt. Tudor Nicolae was wounded with bayonet. This incident occurred on board NMS Regina Maria. The four destroyers, together with other ships of the Royal Navy, having a Soviet crew, leave Constanţa harbor on October 12, 1944, joining the Soviet Fleet dislocated in the harbors by the Black Sea. On October 4, 1945, by Circular Order nr. 6255 of the Minister Secretary of State for the Navy –Admiral Petre Bărbuneanu – it is communicated to the Navy personnel that: „The Soviet Government has agreed upon handing over to the Romanian government as war capture the following ships: 2 destroyers (Mărăşti and Mărăşeşti), 2 gunboats, 2 torpedo boats, 1 submarine, 6 fast patrol boats, 3 guard patrol boats, 2 hydrographic ships. These ships shall form the nucleus of our war navy-to-be.” The solemn restitution of the Romanian ships by the USSR took place in Galaţi, on October 12, 1945. The ships Mărăşti and Mărăşeşti made up the Destroyer Squadron within the Sea Division. The destroyers were put on dry-dock for overhauling just like the other ships returned by the Soviet government.
On May 11, 1951, by Order of the General Staff nr. 00316 a new organization of navy staffs, units and divisions was set. Thus, the destroyer Squadron was initially made up of two ships, and as of June 1951, when the Soviet government returned one part of the ship taken over on September 5, 1944, and the type R destroyers– Regele Ferdinand and Regina Maria joined the squadron.
In 1952, due to the new organizational structure of the navy, the 418 Destroyer Squadron was established being made up of the 4 ships going by the tactical name of tactic D11 - Mărăşti, D12 - Mărăşeşti, D21 – Regele Ferdinand, D22 – Regina Maria, dislocated in Constanţa harbor.
The activity on board the destroyers was carried out normally up to April 1961 when the operation of cutting up ships of the Romanian navy set off.

Commanders of the Destroyer Squadrons:

Current Number Rank Name and First name Date of appointment Date appointed to another position Remarks
1. Cpt Pantazzi I. Vasile 01.07.1920 15.04.1921 Anti-Torpedo Squadron
2. Cpt Passerar N. Urban 1.04.1927 1.04.1929 Destroyer Division
3. Cpt Roşca I. Eugeniu 19.05.1929 1.04.1931 Destroyer Division
4. Cpt Schmidt S. Victor 1.04.1931 1.07.1931 Destroyer Division
4. Cpt Schmidt S. Victor 1.07.1931 4.05.1932 Destroyer Squadron
5. Cpt Koslinsky Em. Gheorghe 1.04.1933 1.04.1935 Destroyer Squadron
6. Cpt Eisenbeisser I.Camilo 1.04.1934 1.10.1936 Armed Ships Division
7. Cpt Dumitrescu Şt. Gheorghe 1.10.1937 1.11.1938 Destroyer Squadron
8. Cpt Pantelli Gh. Gheorghe 1.04.1939 1.04.1941 Destroyer Squadron
9. Cpt Roman G. I. August 1.04.1941 29.12.1941 Destroyer Squadron
10. Cpt Măcellariu N. Horia 20.01.1942 12.04.1943 Destroyer Squadron
11. Cpt Bardescu A. Nicolae 1.04.1943 1.04.1944 Destroyer Squadron
12. Cpt Cristescu I. Nicolae 1.04.1944 8.04.1944 Destroyer Squadron
13. Cdor Reţeanu D. Eugeniu 1.10.1945 27.10.1945 Destroyer Squadron
14. Cdor Lungu C. Corneliu 26.10.1945 10.11.1945 Destroyer Squadron
15. Cdor Budescu R. Radu 10.11.1945 2.11.1946 Armed Ships Division
16. Cdor Sandu T. Constantin 26.05.1947 25.08.1947 Cdt. Ship Overhauling Division
17. Cdor Agarici Gr. Dumitru 1.09.1947 6.02.1948 Maritime Ships Division
18. Lt Milu Nicolae 1952 1953 Destroyer Division

Flotila 56 Fregate
The 56 Frigate Flotilla is a large tactical unit subordinate to the Fleet Staff and is made up of a Flotilla Staff (brigade level) having the following subordinate forces:
• King Ferdinand Frigate
• Queen Maria Frigate
• Mărăşeşti Frigate
• Constanta School-ship for Logistic Support
• The Helicopter Squadron

The 56 Frigate Flotilla was established in conformity with the Order of the Minister of Defense nr. M.S.28 of 20.02.2006, the Provision of the Chief of General Staff nr. B5/S/451 of 27.02.2006 the Provision of the Chief of Navy Staff nr. A/S 1278 of 04.04.2006 regarding the operational status of the 56 Frigate Flotilla Staff as of May 1, 2006.
This decision pertained to the following main objectives:
• increasing the interoperability degree both with national land and air forces and with the allied forces;
• the unitary management of frigates that joined the Romanian Naval Forces.

Commanders of the 56 Frigate Flotilla
The one who was in charge of the difficult task to coordinate the establishment of this elite unit was Captain Ph.D. Aurel POPA. During May 1, 2006 – December 1, 2006 he successfully manage to integrate the two frigates coming from Great Britain into the Romanian naval Forces system, next to Mărăşeşti Frigate and Constanta School-ship for Frigate Logistic Support.

From December 2006 the leading position of The 56 Frigate Flotilla was assumed by Captain Alexandru MÎRŞU; under his command the highest degree of frigates interoperability with similar NATO structures was attained, according to appropriate NATO standards. Similarly, the Helicopter squadron became an integrant part of the Flotilla and the joint flight missions on Tuzla helidrome were successfully carried out.

Starting February 26, 2009 Captain Ph.D. Sorin LEARSCHI assumed command, the very one who brought the two type 22 frigates to the country and was in command of the ship participating in NATO operation (art.5) Active Endeavour.

In conformity with the Documentary Note issued by the Army History Directorate nr. A 3471 of July 15, 2010, the 56 Frigate Flotilla is acknowledged as a tradition bearer for the Counter-Torpedo/ Destroyer squadron within the Sea Division between 1920 – 1961, established on 15.05.1920 (Unit Day).