Armies in the Balkans 1914–18 (Men-at-Arms) by Nigel Thomas, Dusan Babac, Darko Pavlovic

By Nigel Thomas, Dusan Babac, Darko Pavlovic

Contemporary background should still remind us that it used to be occasions within the Balkans which sparked off international warfare I (1914-1918), with the assassination of the Austrian inheritor Prince Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, and the resultant invasion of Serbia by means of Austro-Hungarian armies on 2 August 1914. however, the following four-year struggle in that theatre is usually overshadowed by means of the simultaneous campaigns at the Western entrance. For the 1st time this booklet deals a concise account of those complicated campaigns, the service provider, orders of conflict, and the uniforms and insignia of the armies concerned: Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, Serbian, Montenegrin, Albanian, British, French, Italian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek and Rumanian.

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Extra info for Armies in the Balkans 1914–18 (Men-at-Arms)

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Quinn’s and the other positions which formed the Anzac front line were conceived of as part of a siege, and their situation, manning and tactics were informed by Field Service Regulations. Not only were all under the command of layers of military authority (from subalterns up to Hamilton himself), but officers were constrained by what we would today call ‘doctrine’. The book discloses the reasoning behind many of the decisions taken by those officers, and therefore the orders and directions they gave their men.

This was the most disconcerting part of the ordeal. The Turks did not dash or run, they advanced at a slow jog-trot, calling out ‘Ul-lah! ’ slowly as they moved. These great, terrifying, slow-moving columns would move into the cones and sheets of bullets spat out by defending guns and there, after recoiling in confusion, they would stagger backwards. The great killer of these men would be machine-guns. Conventional machine-gun tactics placed the guns not at right angles to potential targets, but so they could fire along lines of attackers— ‘enfilade fire’, in military jargon.

It was a vision flawed in the execution rather than the conception; but badly flawed. In March an Anglo-French fleet was to have forced a passage through the Dardanelles, the strait separating Europe and Asia but linking the Black and Aegean Seas. The appearance of British and French battleships off Constantinople would, it was expected, force Turkey’s surrender. According to current military theory this was not unrealistic. The British theoretician Edward Hamley expressed the orthodoxy in The Operations of War: ‘the occupation of its chief city paralyses a civilised country’.

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