Balkans Campaign (World War I)

The Balkans Campaign, or Balkan Theatre of World War I was fought between the Central Powers, represented by Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany and the Ottoman Empire on one side and the Allies, represented by France, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, and the United Kingdom (and later Romania and Greece, who sided with the Allied Powers) on the other side.

Overview[edit]
The prime cause of World War I was the hostility between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. Consequently, some of the earliest fighting took place between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. Serbia held out against Austria-Hungary for more than a year before it was conquered in late 1915.
Dalmatia was a strategic region during World War I that both Italy and Serbia intended to seize from Austria-Hungary. Italy entered the war in 1915 upon agreeing to the Treaty of London that guaranteed Italy a substantial portion of Dalmatia.

Allied diplomacy was able to bring Romania into the war in 1916 but this proved disastrous for the Romanians. Shortly after they joined the war, a combined German, Austrian and Bulgarian offensive conquered two-thirds of their country in a rapid campaign which ended in December 1916. However, the Romanian and Russian armies managed to stabilize the front and hold on to Moldavia.
In 1917, Greece entered the war on the Allied side, and in 1918, the multi-national Allied Army of the Orient, based in northern Greece, finally launched an offensive which drove Bulgaria to seek peace, recaptured Serbia and finally halted only at the border of Hungary in November 1918.

Serbian Campaign[edit]
The Serbian Army was successfully able to rebuff the larger Austro-Hungarian Army due to Russia's assisting invasion from the north. In 1915 the Austro-Hungarian Empire placed additional soldiers in the south front while succeeding to engage Bulgaria as an ally.

Shortly after the Serbian forces were attacked from both the north and east, forcing a retreat to Greece. Despite the loss, the retreat was successful and the Serbian Army remained operational in Greece with a newly established base.

Romanian Campaign[edit]
Romania before the war was an ally of Austria-Hungary but, like Italy, refused to join the war when it started. The Romanian government finally chose to side with the Allies in August 1916, the main reason for this was that they wanted the occupation and annexation of Transylvania, to the Kingdom of Romania.[5] The war started as a total disaster for Romania. Before the year was out, the Germans, Hungarians, Austrians, Bulgarians and Ottomans had conquered Wallachia and Dobruja – and captured more than half of its army as POWs.[citation needed]
In 1917, re-trained (mainly by a French expeditionary corps under the command of General Henri Berthelot) and re-supplied, the Romanian Army, together with a disintegrating Russian Army, were successful in containing the German advance into Moldavia.

In May 1918, after the German advance in Ukraine and Russia signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Romania, surrounded by the Central Powers forces, had no other choice but to sue for peace (see Treaty of Bucharest, 1918).
After the Vardar Offensive on the Macedonian Front knocked Bulgaria out of the war, Romania re-entered the war on November 10, 1918.

Italian Campaign[edit]
Italian soldiers in Vlorë, Albania during World War I. The tricolour flag of Italy bearing the Savoy royal shield is shown hanging alongside an Albanian flag from the balcony of the Italian prefecture headquarters.
Prior to direct intervention in World War I, Italy occupied the port of Vlorë in Albania in December 1914.[6] Upon entering the war, Italy spread its occupation to region of southern Albania beginning in the autumn 1916.[6] Italian forces in 1916 recruited Albanian irregulars to serve alongside them.[6] Italy with permission of the Allied command, occupied Northern Epirus on 23 August 1916, forcing the neutralist Greek Army to withdraw its occupation forces from there.[6]

In June 1917, Italy proclaimed central and southern Albania as a protectorate of Italy while Northern Albania was allocated to the states of Serbia and Montenegro.[6] By 31 October 1918, French and Italian forces expelled the Austro-Hungarian Army from Albania.[6]

Dalmatia was a strategic region during World War I that both Italy and Serbia intended to seize from Austria-Hungary. Italy joined the Triple Entente Allies in 1915 upon agreeing to the London Pact that guaranteed Italy the right to annex a large portion of Dalmatia in exchange for Italy's participation on the Allied side. From 5–6 November 1918, Italian forces were reported to have reached Lissa, Lagosta, Sebenico, and other localities on the Dalmatian coast.[7]

By the end of hostilities in November 1918, the Italian military had seized control of the entire portion of Dalmatia that had been guaranteed to Italy by the London Pact and by 17 November had seized Fiume as well.[8] In 1918, Admiral Enrico Millo declared himself Italy's Governor of Dalmatia.[8] Famous Italian nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio supported the seizure of Dalmatia, and proceeded to Zadar in an Italian warship in December 1918.[9]

Bulgarian Campaign[edit]
In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars Bulgarian opinion turned against Russia and the western powers, whom the Bulgarians felt had done nothing to help them. The government aligned Bulgaria with Germany and Austria-Hungary, even though this meant also becoming an ally of the Ottomans, Bulgaria's traditional enemy. But Bulgaria now had no claims against the Ottomans, whereas Serbia, Greece and Romania (allies of Britain and France) were all in possession of lands heavily populated by Bulgarians and thus perceived as Bulgarian.

Bulgaria, recuperating from the Balkan Wars, sat out the first year of World War I. When Germany promised to restore the boundaries of the Treaty of San Stefano, Bulgaria, which had the largest army in the Balkans, declared war on Serbia in October 1915. Britain, France and Italy then declared war on Bulgaria.

Although Bulgaria, in alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, won military victories against Serbia and Romania, occupying much of Southern Serbia (taking Nish, Serbia's war capital in November 5), advancing into Greek Macedonia, and taking Dobruja from the Romanians in September 1916, the war soon became unpopular with the majority of Bulgarian people, who suffered enormous economic hardship. The Russian Revolution of February 1917 had a significant effect in Bulgaria, spreading antiwar and anti-monarchist sentiment among the troops and in the cities.

In September 1918 the Serbs, British, French, Italians and Greeks broke through on the Macedonian front in the Vardar Offensive. While Bulgarian forces stopped them in Dojran and they didn't succeed to occupy Bulgarian lands, Tsar Ferdinand was forced to sue for peace.

In order to head off the revolutionaries, Ferdinand abdicated in favour of his son Boris III. The revolutionaries were suppressed and the army disbanded. Under the Treaty of Neuilly (November 1919), Bulgaria lost its Aegean coastline in favour of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers (transferred later by them to Greece) and nearly all of its Macedonian territory to the new state of Yugoslavia, and had to give Dobruja back to the Romanians (see also Dobruja, Western Outlands, Western Thrace).

Macedonian Front[edit]
In 1915 the Austrians gained military support from Germany and, with diplomacy, brought in Bulgaria as an ally. Serbian forces were attacked from both north and south and were forced to retreat. The retreat was skillfully carried out and the Serbian army remained operational, even though it was now based in Greece.
The front stabilised roughly around the Greek border, through the intervention of a Franco-British-Italian force which had landed in Salonica. The German generals had not let the Bulgarian army advance towards Salonika, because they hoped they could persuade the Greeks to join the Central powers.

In 1918, after a prolonged build-up, the Allies, under the energetic French General Franchet d'Esperey leading a combined French, Serbian, Greek and British army, attacked out of Greece. His initial victories convinced the Bulgarian government to sue for peace. He then attacked north and defeated the German and Austrian forces that tried to halt his offensive.
By October 1918 his army had recaptured all of Serbia and was preparing to invade Hungary proper. The offensive halted only because the Hungarian leadership offered to surrender in November 1918.

Results[edit]
The Russians had to pour extra divisions and supplies to keep the Romanian army from being utterly destroyed again by the Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian army.[citation needed]. According to John Keegan, the Russian Chief of Staff, General Alekseev, was very dismissive of the Romanian army and argued that they would drain, rather than add to the Russian reserves (John Keegan, World War I, pg 307). Alekseev was proven correct in his analysis[citation needed].
The French and British kept six divisions each on the Greek frontier from 1916 till the end of 1918. Originally, the French and British went to Greece to help Serbia, but with Serbia's conquest in the fall of 1915, their continued presence was pointless. For nearly three years, these divisions accomplished essentially nothing and only tied down half of the Bulgarian army, which wasn't going to go far from Bulgaria in any event[citation needed].

In fact, Keegan argues that "the installation of a violently nationalist and anti-Turkish government in Athens, led to Greek mobilization in the cause of the "Great Idea" - the recovery of the Greek empire in the east - which would complicate the Allied effort to resettle the peace of Europe for years after the war ended." (Keegan pg. 308).

Macedonian Front
The Macedonian Front of World War I, also known as the Salonica Front, was formed as a result of an attempt by the Allied Powers to aid Serbia, in the autumn of 1915, against the combined attack of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria. The expedition came too late and in insufficient force to prevent the fall of Serbia, and was complicated by the internal political crisis in Greece (the "National Schism"). Eventually, a stable front was established, running from the Albanian Adriaticcoast to the Struma River, pitting a multinational Allied force against the Bulgarian Army, which was at various times bolstered with smaller units from the other Central Powers. The Macedonian Front remained quite stable, despite local actions, until the great Allied offensive in September 1918, which resulted in the capitulation of Bulgaria and the liberation of Serbia.

Background[edit]
Following the asassination of the Crown Prince by a Bosnian Serb, Austria-Hungary had attacked Serbia in August 1914 but had failed to overcome Serbian resistance. After the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war on the side of the Central Powers (November 1914), the decisive factor in the Balkans became the attitude of Bulgaria. Bulgaria occupied a strategically important position on the Serbian flank and its intervention on either side of the belligerents would be decisive. Bulgaria and Serbia had fought each other twice in the previous thirty years: in the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885 and in the Second Balkan War of 1913. Bulgaria had suffered defeat in 1913 and the Bulgarian government and people generally felt that Serbia had stolen land which rightfully belonged to Bulgaria. While the Allies could only offer Bulgaria small territorial concessions from Serbia and neutral Greece, the Central Powers' promises appeared far more enticing, as they offered to cede most of the land which Bulgaria claimed. With the Allied defeats at the Battle of Gallipoli (April 1915 to January 1916) and the Russian defeat at Gorlice-Tarnów (May to September 1915) demonstrating the Central Powers' strength, King Ferdinand signed a treaty with Germany and on September 21, 1915 Bulgaria began mobilizing for war.[3]
Triple invasion and the fall of Serbia[edit]
After the victory of the Serbian army in the Battle of Kolubara in December 1914, the Serbian front saw a lull until the early autumn of 1915. Under the command of Field Marshal August von Mackensen, the Austro-Hungarian Balkan Army, the German 11th Army and river flotillas on the Danube and the Sava began an offensive on 6 October 1915, the largest offensive against Serbia. By September 1915, despite the extreme sacrifice of the Serbian army, the Austro-Hungarian Balkan Army, having crossed the rivers Sava and Drina and the German 11th Army after crossing the Danube, occupied Belgrade, Smederevo, Požarevac and Golubac, creating a wide bridgehead south of the Sava and Danube rivers, and forcing Serbian forces to withdraw to southern Serbia.[4]

On 15 October 1915, two Bulgarian armies attacked, overrunning Serbian units, penetrating into the valley of the South Morava river near Vranje up to 22 October 1915. The Bulgarian forces occupied Kumanovo, Štip, and Skopje, and prevented the withdrawal of the Serbian army to the Greek border and Thessaloniki (Salonika).[5]

For a year, the Allies (Britain and France) had repeatedly promised to send serious military forces to Serbia, while nothing had materialized. But with Bulgaria's mobilization to its south, the situation for Serbia became desperate. The developments finally forced the French and the British to decide upon sending a small expedition force of two divisions to help Serbia, but even these arrived too late in the Greek port of Thessaloniki (Salonica) to have any impact in the operations. The main reason for the delay was the lack of available Allied forces due to the critical situation in the Western Front. The Entente used Greek neutrality as an excuse, although they could have used the Albanian coast for a rapid deployment of reinforcements and equipment during the first 14 months of the war. (As the Serbian Marshal Putnik had suggested, the Montenegrin army gave adequate cover to the Albanian coast from the north — at a safe distance from any Bulgarian advance in the south in the event of a Bulgarian intervention.) The Entente also delayed due to protracted secret negotiations aiming at bringing Bulgaria into the Allied camp, which event would have alleviated Serbia's need for Franco-British help.[6]

In the event the lack of Allied support sealed the fate of the Serbian Army. Against Serbia the Central Powers marshalled the Bulgarian Army, a German Army, and an Austro-Hungarian Army, all under the command of Field Marshal Mackensen. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians began their attack on October 7 with a massive artillery barrage, followed by attacks across the rivers. Then, on the 11th, the Bulgarian Army attacked from two directions, one from the north of Bulgaria towards Niš, the other from the south towards Skopje (see map). The Bulgarian Army rapidly broke through the weaker Serbian forces which tried to block its advance. With the Bulgarian breakthrough, the Serbian position became hopeless; their main army in the north faced either encirclement and enforced surrender, or retreat.[7]

Marshal Putnik ordered a full Serbian retreat, southwards and westwards through Montenegro and into Albania. The Serbs faced great difficulties: terrible weather, poor roads and the need for the army to help the tens of thousands of civilians who retreated with them. Only c. 125,000 Serbiansoldiers reached the Adriatic coast and embarked on Italian transport ships that carried the army to Corfu and other Greek islands before it travelled on to Thessaloniki. Marshal Putnik had to be carried during the whole retreat; he died just over a year later in a French hospital.

The French and British divisions marched north from Thessaloniki in October 1915 under the joint command of French General Maurice Sarrail, and Irish General Bryan Mahon (Commander, British Salonika Force, 1915). However, the War Office in London was reluctant to advance too deep into Serbia. So the French divisions advanced on their own up the Vardar River. This advance gave some limited help to the retreating Serbian Army, as the Bulgarians had to concentrate larger forces on their southern flank to deal with the threat, which led to the Battle of Krivolak (October–November 1915).[8] By the end of November, General Sarrail had to retreat in the face of massive Bulgarian assaults on his positions. During his retreat, the British at Kosturino were also forced to retreat.

By December 12, all allied forces were back in Greece. The Germans ordered the Bulgarians not to cross the Greek borders, reluctant to risk a Greek entry into the war in response to a Bulgarian invasion in Macedonia. The Allies for their part took advantage of that, reinforcing and consolidating their positions behind the borders.[9]
Thus there resulted a clear, albeit incomplete victory for the Central Powers. As a consequence they opened the railway line from Berlin to Constantinople, allowing Germany to prop up its weaker partner, the Ottoman Empire. Despite the Central Powers' victory, the Allies managed to save a part of the Serbian Army, which although battered, seriously reduced and almost unarmed, escaped total destruction and after reorganizing resumed operations six months later. And most damagingly for the Central Powers, the Allies—using the moral excuse of saving the Serbian Army—managed to replace the impossible Serbian front with a viable one established in Macedonia (albeit by violating the territory of an officially neutral country); a front which would prove key to their final victory three years later.[10]

Establishment of the Macedonian Front[edit]
On January 5, 1916, the Austro-Hungarian Army attacked Serbia's ally Montenegro. The small Montenegrin army offered strong resistance in the Battle of Mojkovac, which greatly helped the withdrawal of the Serbian Army, but soon faced impossible odds and was compelled to surrender on January 25.[11] The Austro-Hungarians advanced down the coast of the Adriatic Sea into Italian-controlled Albania. By the end of the winter, the small Italian army in Albania had been forced out of nearly the whole country.[12] At this point, with the war in the Balkans almost lost, the British General Staff wanted to withdraw all British troops from Greece, but the French government protested strongly and the troops remained. The Allied armies entrenched around Thessaloniki, which became a huge fortified camp, earning themselves the mocking nickname "the Gardeners of Salonika".[10] The Serbian Army (now under the command of General Petar Bojović), after rest and refit on Corfu, was transported by the French to the Macedonian Front.[13]

In the meantime, the political situation in Greece was confused. Officially, Greece was neutral, but King Constantine I was pro-German, while Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizeloswas pro-Allied. Venizelos invited the Entente into Thessaloniki.[14]

With knowledge that Romania was about to join the Allied side, General Sarrail began preparations for an attack on the Bulgarian armies facing his forces.[15] The Germans, with excellent intelligence, made plans of their own for a "spoiling attack". The German offensive was launched on August 17, just three days before the French offensive was scheduled to start. In reality, this was a Bulgarian offensive, as the Austro-Hungarian Army was in Albania and only one German division was on the Greek border. The Bulgarians attacked on two fronts. In the east, they easily conquered all Greek territory east of the river Struma (see Struma Offensive), since the Greek Army was ordered not to resist by the pro-German King Constantine. In the west, the attack achieved early success thanks to surprise but the Allied forces held a defensive line after two weeks. Having halted the Bulgarian offensive, the Allies staged a counter-attack starting on September 12.[16] The terrain was rough and the Bulgarians were on the defensive but the Allied forces made steady gains. Slow advances by the Allies continued throughout October and on into November, even as the weather turned very cold and snow fell on the hills. The Germans sent two more divisions to help bolster the Bulgarian Army but by November 19 the French and Serbian Army captured Kaymakchalan, the highest peak of Nidže mountain, and compelled the Central powers to abandon Bitola to the Entente; c. 60,000 Bulgarians and Germans were killed or captured. The front moved about 25 miles (40 km).[17]

The unopposed Bulgarian advance into Greek-held eastern Macedonia precipitated a crisis in Greece. The royalist government ordered its troops in the area (the demobilized IV Corps) not to resist and to retreat to the port of Kavala for evacuation, but no naval vessels turned up to permit the evacuation to take place. Despite occasional local resistance from a few officers and their nucleus units, most of the troops, along with their commander, surrendered to a token German force and were interned for the remainder of the war at Görlitz, Germany. The surrender of territory recently won with difficulty in the Second Balkan War of 1913 was the last straw for many Venizelist army officers. With Allied assistance, they launched a coup which secured Thessaloniki and most of Greek Macedonia for Venizelos. From that point Greece had two governments: the "official" royal government at Athens, which maintained Greek neutrality, and the "revolutionary" Venizelist "Provisional Government of National Defence" at Thessaloniki. At the same time, the Italians had deployed more forces to Albania and these new troops managed to push the Austrian corps back through very hilly country south of Lake Ostrovo.[18]

1917[edit]

By spring 1917, General Sarrail's Allied Army of the Orient had been reinforced to 24 divisions, six French, six Serbian, seven British, one Italian, three Greek and two Russian brigades. An offensive was planned for late April but the initial attack failed with major losses and the offensive was called off on May 21.[19] The Venizelists and the Entente, wishing to exert more pressure on Athens, occupied Thessaly, which had been evacuated by the royalists and the Isthmus of Corinth, dividing the country. After an attempt to occupy Athens by force, that caused the reaction of the local royalist forces and ended in an fiasco in December (see Noemvriana), the Allies established a naval blockade around southern Greece which was still loyal to king Constantine, causing extreme hardship to the people in those areas. Six months later in June, the Venizelists presented an ultimatum, resulting in the exile of the Greek king (on June 14, his son Alexander became king) and the reunification of the country under Venizelos. The new government immediately declared war on the Central Powers and created a new Army.[20]

1918[edit]
Opposing forces in the middle of September[edit]
Central Powers[edit]
Order of battle: Army Group Scholtz (General of the Artillery Friedrich von Scholtz)

Army Commander Body Commander Divisions
11th German Army
Gen.d.Inf. Kuno von Steuben
LXI. Corps
Lt-Gen. Friedrich Fleck 1st, 6th & Mixed Bulgarian Division
LXII. Body
Lt-Gen. Karl Suren 302nd German Division, 4th, 2nd & 3rd Bulgarian Division
1st Bulgarian Army
Lt-Gen. Stefan Nerezov
5th, Mountain, 9th Bulgarian Infantry Divisions & 1/11 Infantry Brigade
Order of battle: Bulgarian High Command (Lieutenant General Georgi Todorov)

Army Commander Body Commander Divisions
2nd Bulgarian Army
Lt-Gen Ivan Lukov
11th, 7th & 8th Bulgarian Infantry Division
4th Bulgarian Army
Lt-Gen Stefan Toshev
10th Bulgarian Infantry division & 2nd Bulgarian Cavalry Division
Entente[edit]
Order of battle: Allied Armies of the East (General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey)

Army Commander Body Commander Division
French Army of the Orient General Paul Henrys
30th, 76th, 57th, 156th French Infantry Divisions, 35th Italian Infantry Division, 11th French Colonial Division, 3rd & 4th Greek Infantry Divisions
Serbian Army Field MarshalŽivojin Mišić
I Serbian Corps & One battalion Field Marshal Petar Bojović
Morava, Dunav & Drina Infantry Divisions, Cavalry Division, Prilep Battalion
II Serbian Corps & Two French Divisions Field Marshal Stepa
Šumadija, Yugoslav (renamed Vardar Division) & Timok Infantry Divisions, 122nd & 17th French Infantry Division
1st Group of Divisions General Philippe d'Anselm
16th French Colonial Division, Greek Archipelago Division & 27th British Infantry Division
British Salonika Army
General George Milne
XII Corps
Lt-Gen. Henry Wilson
22nd & 26th British Infantry Division, Greek Serres Division

XVI Corps
Lt-Gen. Charles James Briggs
28th British Infantry Division & Greek Crete Division

Greek Army Lt.-Gen. Panagiotis Danglis
I Greek Corps
Lt.-Gen. Leonidas Paraskevopoulos
1st, 2nd & 13th Greek Infantry Divisions
II Greek Corps
Lt.-Gen. Konstantinos Miliotis-Komninos
Xanthi & 14th Greek Infantry Divisions

9th Greek Infantry Division (training)

Military operations[edit]
On 30 May 1918, the Allies launched an offensive on the heavily fortified Skra salient, commencing the battle of Skra-di-Legen. The battle marked the first major Greek action on the Allied side in the war.[21] Utilizing the cover of heavy artillery a Franco-Hellenic force made a rapid push into the enemy trenches, conquering Skra and the surrounding system of fortifications. Greek casualties amounted to 434–440 killed in action, 154–164 missing in action and 1,974–2,220 wounded, France lost approximately 150 men killed or injured. A total of 1,782 soldiers of the Central Powers became prisoners of war, including a small number of German engineers and artillery specialists that served in Bulgarian units; considerable amounts of military equipment also fell into Entente hands. The plan for a Bulgarian counterattack against Skra remained unfulfilled as the Bulgarian soldiers refused to take part in the operation. Both the Greek and the French press used the opportunity to extol the efforts of the Greek army, favorably influencing the Greek mobilization.[22][23][24]

The fall of Skra prompted Bulgarian prime minister Vasil Radoslavov to resign on 21 June 1918. Aleksandar Malinov who assumed office immediately afterwards pursued secret negotiations with Britain, offering Bulgaria's exit from the war with the condition that Bulgaria fully retains eastern Macedonia. However, British prime minister David Lloyd George rejected the proposal, assuring the Greek ambassador in London Ioannis Gennadius, that Britain would not act against Greek interests.[25]
With the German spring offensive threatening France, Guillaumat was recalled to Paris and replaced by General Franchet d'Esperey. Although d'Esperey urged an attack on the Bulgarian Army, the French government refused to allow an offensive unless all the countries agreed. General Guillaumat, no longer needed in France, traveled from London to Rome, trying to win approval for an attack. Finally in September, agreement was reached and d'Esperey was allowed to launch his grand offensive.[26]

The Allied forces were now very large, despite the Russians being obliged to cease their participation due to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918. Not only did the Entente have the Greek army fully on their side (9 divisions strong), but they also had some 6,000 men from the Czechoslovak Legion, who had been evacuated from Russia and sailed around the world, ready to fight the Austro-Hungarians. The Bulgarians had also increased their army during 1917 and in total manpower, the two sides were roughly equal (291 Allied battalions vs. 300 Bulgarian battalions, plus ten German battalions). The Allies were certain of their impending victory, while the Bulgarians could see the war was lost. The Ottoman Empire was near collapse, the Austro-Hungarian government was in chaos and the German Army was beaten on the decisive Western Front. The Bulgarians were not willing to fight and die for a lost cause.[27]

The preparatory artillery bombardment of enemy positions for the Battle of Dobro Pole began on September 14. The following day, the French and Serbians attacked and captured their objective.[28] On September 18, the Greeks and the British attacked but were stopped with heavy losses by the Bulgarians in the Battle of Doiran.[29] The Franco-Serbian army continued advancing vigorously and next day, some Bulgarian units started surrendering positions without a fight and the Bulgarian command ordered a retreat.[30]

In the official British government history of the Macedonian campaign, Cyril Falls wrote a detailed analysis of the situation of the Bulgarian forces and the situation of the front. Although a breakthrough was achieved at Dobro Pole and the allied forces continued their advance, the Bulgarian army was not routed and managed an orderly retreat. By September 29 (a day before Bulgaria exited World War I), Skopje fell but a strong Bulgarian and German force had been ordered to try and retake it the next day; the number of Bulgarian prisoners-of-war in allied hands around that day was only 15,000.[31]
Another major factor contributed to the Bulgarian request for an armistice. A mass of retreating Bulgarian mutineers had converged on the railway centre of Radomir in Bulgaria, just 30 miles (48 km) from the capital city of Sofia. On September 27 leaders of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union took control of these troops and proclaimed the overthrow of the monarchy and a Bulgarian republic. About 4,000–5,000 rebellious troops threatened Sofia the next day. Under those chaotic circumstances a Bulgarian delegation arrived in Thessaloniki to ask for an armistice. On September 29, the Bulgarians were granted the Armistice of Thessaloniki by General d'Esperey, ending their war. The Macedonian front was brought to an end at noon on 30 September 1918 when the ceasefire came into effect. The Soldiers' Uprising was finally put down by October 2. Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria abdicated and went into exile on October 3.[32]

The British Army headed east towards the European side of the Ottoman Empire, while the French and Serbian forces continued north and liberated Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. The British Army neared Constantinople and with no serious Ottoman forces to stop it and the Ottoman government asked for an armistice (the Armistice of Mudros) on October 26; Enver Pashaand his partners had fled several days earlier to Berlin. With "Desperate Frankie" (as the British nicknamed d'Esperey) pushing ever forward, the Serbo-French Army re-captured Serbia and overran several weak German divisions that tried to block its advance near Niš. On November 3, Austria-Hungary was forced to sign an armistice on the Italian Front and the war there ended. On November 10, d'Esperey's army crossed the Danube river and was poised to enter the heartland of Hungary. At the request of the French general, Count Károlyi, leading the Hungarian government, came to Belgrade and signed another armistice, the Armistice of Belgrade.[33]
Memorials erected in the area include the Doiran Memorial to the dead of the British Salonika Army.

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