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Remembered Today:

Gardenerbill

100 Years ago this week in the Balkans

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JulianR

I noted today that the Daily Telegraph had reproduced one of its articles from 100 years ago and that it dealt with the repatriation of British POW from Bulgaria.  Unfortunately, I then cleared out and it has gone in the recycle bin outside.

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Gardenerbill

31st October 1918 as units of 26th and 22nd divisions were arriving in Dadeagatch the Turks signed an armistice.

1st November 1918 the victorious Serbian army marched into Belgrade.

3rd November the Austro-Hungarians sign an armistice.

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Gardenerbill

General Franchet D’Esperay’s next plan was to advance across the Danube on Budapest and ultimately Dresden, however at a meeting of the Supreme War Council the high command agreed that the advance into Germany should come from the Italians, French and British on the Italian front, not in the Balkans.

 

Also, in Franchet D’Esperay’s plans was an advance on the German garrison in Roumania using the Army of the Danube (Serbians, French and British) co-ordinated with the reconstituted Roumanian army.

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Gardenerbill

The 11th November seems like a fitting day to make the final post on this topic. With the BSF spread far and wide; the 26th Division had become part of the army of occupation in Bulgaria, 28th Division would form part of the army of occupation in Turkey, the 22nd Division would return to Salonika for demobilisation.  The 27th Division would become part of the Army of the Black Sea, with a composite brigade of the 27th Division joining the White Russians against the Bolsheviks in South Russia.

 

The final word is from a quote in Wakefield and Moody’s ‘Under the Devil’s Eye’:

 

‘ Gnr G.J. Davidge (99 Brigade RFA) for example, was on the weary trek back from Dadeagatch on 11 November: “passing through Demir Beyli, we were hailed by a tired dispatch rider who propped his Douglas against a tree and walked across to tell us the war was over, It was near the end of the day’s march and if we only half believed the news, it was official anyway by the time we had finished bedding the horses down for the night. I don’t remember a single cheer, or handshake, and the next day saw us on the road again.”’

Edited by Gardenerbill

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keithmroberts

Thank you for this great series of posts.

 

Keith

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pete-c
On ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 10:24, Gardenerbill said:

The 11th November seems like a fitting day to make the final post on this topic.

 

Mark,

Congratulations on a 'tour de force'.  I'm sure that Keith and I cannot be the only ones on the Forum that have benefitted from your skill and knowledge about this area of conflict during the Great War.   I for one now have a far greater understanding of the campaign as a whole. 

 

Peter.

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Gardenerbill

Keith and Pete,

I enjoyed doing it, and learned a great deal myself. Although I had notes on most of the main events of the Salonika campaign, I had to do quite a bit of reading (mostly the Official history) to fill a lot of the gaps. Not sure what I am going to do next, I have some research to write up but nothing new to start. 

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Pasanax

100 years ago - today - in the Balkans! The bloodshed continues on this day!

 

From the recent past:

 

29.10.1918. - Croatian Parlament declares it formally ends all relations to Austria-Hungary! After 400 years the Habsburgs and the Hungarians don't rule over Croatia anymore!

                    - A new state is created! State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs! South Slavic peoples of the ex-Empire are now united in one state!

 

9.11.1918.  - Convention in Geneva between the leaders of newly formed Slavic State and the Kingdom of Serbia ends!

                   - It is concluded that the aspirations of South Slavic peoples must be fulfilled by creating a big South Slavic state, now when Habsburgs are gone!

                   - The newly formed Slavic state and the Serbian Kingdom must unite, and they will be EQUALLY treated under the Serbian Dynasty!

 

1.12.1918. - The Unification is declared! All of the South Slavic people are now united Serbian Dynasty and a NEW new state is created - Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Yugo = South)

 

TODAY 5.12.1918. - Croatian veterans who fought for the Empire do not approve this! They fought against the Serbian Dynasty, considered them a mortal enemy, for 4 years and now  they are being governed by them! Members of the 25th and the legendary 53rd regiment march with large numbers in protest to the city square in Zagreb! They claim that the Croatian people never voted for this, it was decided by the pro-yugoslav politicians! Some of them march with weapons! The chief of police hears of this event and sets up machineguns and armed men on the main square! The police opens fire on the protestors, they fire back! A firefight ensues, but the veterans are on the open ground and they are quickly silenced. 13 people are dead, 17 wounded. There is blood everywhere, people are moving to the square to see whats going in. Soon the cavalry and infantry of the new regime moves in and clears it.

 

The soldiers who rebelled say with their own words what happened:

 

''We peacefully marched in the direction of Jelačić square with a huge crowd of patriotic citizens. Our intention was to declare a free Croatian Republic! With that, on the way there was a big hustle against the Serbs, people were crying: Down with the Serbian Dynasty! Down with king Peter! Down with Serbian militarism! ''

 

An eyewitness account is given from a well known Croatian politician dr. Ivan Pernar (later will be assassinated in the Serbian Parlament), he was watching the event from his window:

 

''Around three o'clock I heard a cry from the the side of Ilica Street ''Long live Republic!'' There were at least 600 armed soldiers coming this way, with two machine guns. From the Popović's house (house number 4 on the square) they wanted to shoot on those people. Seeing that, the marching soldiers raised their guns with white flags on them crying: ''We will not fire! You do the same, and hand over the machineguns!'' In an instant the machine gun from house number 4 was given. Seeing that, they started singing ''Our beautiful Homeland'' (today it is Croatia's Anthem). Soldiers then continued to house number 6, so they give up their machine gun also. At that time i heard cries again - republicans were saying they will not fire if the monarchists don't fire. I don't know what was happening in house number 6, I just heard a shot. Then some 6 or 8 soldiers ran our of the house, and then some 15 of them ran back into the house. What was going inside, I don't know, but I heard gunshots after a few moments. Gunfire started at the entrance of house number 6, and soldiers started rushing one over another and I saw one remain laying down in front of the house. Now they started to fire the machineguns., and first one to fire was the republican one from the First Croatian Savings Bank, and second one from house number 6 on the square, third one from Fellers house, fourth one next to the lamp left of the Jelačić Monument, and fifth one was stationed behind the monument, laying on its belly - those guys covered, hiding from the led. One or two were killed. There was gunfire from Fellers house and from the side of Marija Valerija Street (where the armed members of ''Serbian Hawk'' were). Thats how the rest of the soldiers were gunned down. When the shots stopped, one kid stood up, he was wounded in his right arm. From the bunch that was next to the monument he was the only one alive. When the carriage came for the dead, he stood up - he was a sargent, all bloody from head to toe. He asked where can he wash himself and where is the doctor. Blood soaked the granite floor of Ban Jelačić Square and the surrounding sidewalk. It was horrible. People were coming from curiosity, and heartlessly stepped on the blood...''

 

Men who were killed: Slavko Šćukanec, Sentmartoni, Miroslav Svoboda, Viktor Kolombar, Miloš Mrše, Mato Gašparović, Mijo Staničer, Stjepan Jureša, Josip Lupinski, Ferdo Veršec, Nikola Ivša, Dragutin Kostelac, Andro Martinko i Antun Tašner-Juričić. A small memorial slab was placed in 2003. on the spot. They are remembered as the December Victims.

Edited by Pasanax

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Gardenerbill

Sadly the bloodshed in the Balkans never really stopped, even today there is only a fragile peace in the region.

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