The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War

By Richard C. Hall | Go to book overview

5

THREE SIEGES

After the denunciation of the armistice on 30 January 1913, five locations became combat zones. Fighting had continued at Janina, Scutari, and elsewhere in Albania throughout the armistice. Adrianople, the Bulgarian-Ottoman fronts at Chataldzha and at Gallipoli also became active. Their victory at Chataldzha in November 1912 and the Young Turk coup in January 1913 to some extent reinvigorated the Ottoman forces. The Bulgarians had exhausted themselves with their efforts in the autumn of 1912 and had yet to recover their offensive spirit. Likewise the Montenegrins had debilitated their meager resources in their futile efforts at Scutari. The Greeks, still besieging Janina, had yet to experience any major fighting. The Serbs, after the fighting at Kumanovo, had virtually cleared Macedonia and Kosovo of Ottoman troops. Their soldiers now were prepared to assist their allies at Adrianople and Scutari.


Bulair (Gallipoli)

The Young Turks had seized power in order to continue the war and to save Adrianople. The new Ottoman Foreign Minister Noradounghian Effendi boasted, “If Adrianople continues to resist, we shall fight to relieve her. If Adrianople falls, we shall fight to retake her.” 1 Enver Bey, who held a subordinate military position as the chief of staff with the rank of colonel in the 10th Corps but exercised primary power in the new regime, immediately decided upon bold action. On 7 February, the Ottomans began an audacious effort at Gallipoli and at Sharkoi on the Sea of Marmara to relieve pressure on Adrianople. This operation was intended as the first step toward the relief of that beleaguered garrison. Fourteen months later Enver, now a pasha, would lead the Ottoman Empire into the First World War on the side of the Central Powers.

Confronting the Ottomans was the newly organized 4th Bulgarian Army, commanded by General Stiliyan Kovachev. This army included the 7th Rilski Division, two divisions recruited in the recently occupied areas of the Rodopes and Thrace, and the Macedonian-Thracian Volunteers. It had

-80-

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The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Balkan War Origins 1
  • 2 - The First Balkan War 22
  • 3 - First Balkan War 45
  • 4 - The Armistice 69
  • 5 - Three Sieges 80
  • 6 - The Interbellum 97
  • 7 - Interallied War 107
  • 8 - Consequences and Conclusions 130
  • Notes 144
  • Works Cited 158
  • Index 168
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