3/11/1915 Serbia on the rack

Things are not going well for Serbia. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans invading from the north have been joined by a Bulgarian invasion force from the east. The combined onslaught is too much for the Serbian armed forces. They retreat to Kosovo in the south of the country. Much of the country’s civilian population is in flight, fearing the vengeance of the Austro-Hungarians. Famine and pestilence stalk the land. The end of Serbia appears to be nigh.

The Serbians are in desperate need of assistance from their allies but the help forthcoming from Britain and France is a derisory. A small British and French force landed in the northern Greek port of Salonika. The Allies had hoped that by doing so they could bring Greece into the war on their side and lead the Greek army to Serbia’s aid. Eleftherios Venizelos, the Greek prime minister, was supportive of this endeavour but King Constantine is determined that his country remain neutral. The Greek authorities have made no attempt to dislodge the British and French from Salonika but there is no prospect of their army marching with the Allies to the aid of Serbia.

Despite the uncertain Greek political situation, General Sarrail has sent his French force north from Salonika into Serbian Macedonia. His force is too small to materially effect the outcome of the fighting there but he hopes to secure a corridor for the Serbians to retreat to Salonika. However, even this modest goal is starting to look like it might be over-ambitious. The French find themselves fighting the Bulgarians near Krivolak. If Sarrail expected the Bulgarians to be an easy enemy to fight he is now disabused of that notion. His force finds itself battling more for its own survival than to keep lines of communication open to the Serbians further north.

image sources:

Austro-Hungarian troops carrying out executions (The History Place)

Maurice Sarrail (Wikipedia)

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