14/10/1915 Bulgaria joins the war against Serbia

Things are not going well for Serbia. The German and Austro-Hungarian forces invading from the north are proving unstoppable. Belgrade has fallen and counter-attacks have failed to dislodge the invaders. This invasion is commanded by Germany’s Mackensen and it does not look like there will be a repeat of the mistakes that allowed the Serbs to repel three Austro-Hungarian invasions last year.

Now things get worse for Serbia. Bulgarian forces launch an invasion of the country form the east. The Bulgarians are looking to pay back Serbia for its perceived treachery in the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913. They have also been promised significant territorial gains at Serbia’s expense by Austria-Hungary and Germany.

The Serbs are now desperately outnumbered and being assailed from two sides. If help is not forthcoming there is every likelihood that they will be overwhelmed. They have a treaty of alliance with Greece, obliging that country to come to their aid in the event of war with Bulgaria. Unfortunately Greece is in the grips of political paralysis, with Prime Minister Venizelos favouring intervention and King Constantine wanting to remain neutral. Until Venizelos can prevail over the King there will be no support from Greece; this is unlikely to happen any time soon, as Constantine has now sacked his prime minister and appointed a more pliant replacement.

There is a small British and French force in Salonika, the northern Greek port. They had been secretly invited in by Venizelos but now with his sacking the Salonika force finds itself in an awkward position. Nevertheless, the French under General Maurice Sarrail move north. Sarrail knows his force is too small to materially affect the outcome of the war in Serbia but he hopes to at least secure the Serbs’ line of retreat to Salonika.

image sources:

Bulgaria stabs Serbia in the back while Greece looks on (Hellenic Communication Service)

map (The Robinson Library)

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