25/11/1915 The embattled Serbs begin their retreat through Albania

Serbia has been invaded by Austria-Hungary, German and Bulgaria. The Serbian army has conducted a fighting retreat and now finds itself at bay in Kosovo, on the border with Albania. Bulgarian forces have cut them off from the Greek border, so there is no prospect of the Serbs retreating to the Allied-held port of Salonika.

Kosovo is the site of the 14th century Battle of Kosovo, at which a Serbian army fought the Turks until it was annihilated. The historical resonance makes Kosovo a good place for today’s Serbian army to stage a last stand against the nation’s invaders. But to do so would mean its elimination as a fighting force, possibly bringing an end to Serbia’s existence. Field Marshal Putnik, the Serbian commander, decides that the army must retreat to ensure the continuance of the Serbian nation.

But where can the army retreat to? With the road to Greece blocked there is only one option: the Serbs will have to retreat to the coast through the mountains of Albania. Albania is neutral in the war engulfing Europe, but the country is in a state of anarchy and unable to offer organised resistance to this violation of its sovereignty. Bandits and partisans might trouble the Serbs but Putnik is confident that his army will be able to push through. He orders the retreat through Albania to begin at once.

image sources:

map (On-line books about Macedonia)

Field Marshal Putnik

Retreating Serbs (Heroes of Serbia)

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