I'm reading "Last Night of Love, First night of War" by Camil Petrescu. In the book, the author says that when the Germans fought against Romanians in front of Szászház village, before the fight, the German forces displayed their troops somehow like this:

Since the Romanian troops where at "300-400 meters" from some hill(being under the rule that outposts can't shoot unless being shot at), it is described by the author that the German troops displayed some kind of parade on the hill in front of the enemy troops.

First, one man would show up(from over the hill I think), look at the Romanian troops, "go down the hill like 30 steps" then going again on the other side of the hill. Then two would come and do the same, then 4, and so on to a number somewhere around 300 when I understand they stopped doing the moving thing and at some point after they engaged in the battle with bombshells.

It's not a history book(so maybe this information is wrong), but in the footer of the page there's an author's note saying he never understood why the whole "parade" thing happened. And gives the details in the title in case someone could explain it to him.

I did some research but I couldn't seem to find the explanation to this(I also do not know much history though indeed). Does anyone know anything about this?

  • 1
    That may be talking about the Battle of Transylvania, although I've never heard of that particular incident. What is the title of the book? Sep 9, 2017 at 20:32
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    "Last Night of Love, First night of War" by Camil Petrescu (Author) @sempaiscuba
    – Alexander
    Sep 10, 2017 at 9:10
  • It's not a quote I'm talking about, but the event. And I gave all the information found in the book, also mentioning the author's note in the page's footer. I also don't think the book's name is of use to anyone, as I've looked for information about that event in the book's original language(Romanian) too and still couldn't seem to find anything. Should it be of use to you, you'll find it above this comment. @MarkC.Wallace
    – Alexander
    Sep 10, 2017 at 9:20
  • Although the Battle of Transylvania included German troops, my first inclination was that the "Germans" in the referenced story were local Saxons defending their villages from the invaders, perhaps as part of the militia or as reservists. Szászház = Sachsenhausen = Săsăuș (commune Chirpăr)
    – bgwiehle
    Sep 10, 2017 at 23:37
  • the question title should be "Could have the Germans troops performed...etc".
    – user8690
    Nov 13, 2018 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


Obviously the best we can do is to make an educated guess, but I think the answer is the rules of engagement you cite:

outposts can't shoot unless being shot at

The Germans wanted to engage, but their rules of engagement would not permit them to fire first. They needed to provoke the Romanians into firing the first shot. They sent forth a series of feints - one man, then several men, marching towards the Romanian position in the hopes that a Romanian soldier would fire back.

Alternatively it could simply have been the Germans demonstrating their bravery and their contempt for the opponent - like the Musketeers dining in the open on the seige of La Rochelle.

  • Indeed your answer is logical(assuming the Germans had the same rule as well), though I was wondering if someone had read something written from the perspective of the German troops(perhaps a German author), that mentions the battle.
    – Alexander
    Sep 10, 2017 at 18:41

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