The First Balkan War: Hostilities (October-December 1912)

Figure 1.-- This photograph shows wounded Serbian soldiers being transferred to hospital in Belgrade from Bitola. I think this was after the Battle of Kumanovo, the most important of the War. A Serbian boy is looking on. He seems very well dressed and the weather must have been cold because he is wearing a thick padded coat and cap.

The resulting conflict was one of the most confusing and complicated series of wars and armistaces in European history. A reader in Belgrade writes, "There are serveral exhibitions here about the 1912 Balkan War. One exhibition is of postcards showing military scenes. 300 photographs of this war were taken. Solsiers liked to use these pictures to write home to their families. There is an open exhibition in the city pedestrian way about this War too. It was not a mechanised war. Infantry cavalry and horse drawn transport. Cars for general staff and a few trucks are shown. Images show machine guns and field artillary. Soldiers had rifles and are shown to be fully equipt with uniform and associated belongings. Trench warfare seems to have been planned as soldiers are shown in defensive trenches." The Alliances forces attacked Turkey in an effort to drive the Ottomons entirely out of the Balkans (October 1912). The objectives were Eastern Roumelia (Lower Thrace and Macedonia). This mean war accross a long border from the Albanian mountains to the Black Sea. The fighting was primarily conducted in Macedonia. The Balkan forces won several victories over the Ottoman Army. The most important was the Battle of Kumanovo (Battle of Kumanova / Кумановска битка) (October 23–24, October 1912). This was just a couple weeks after the outbreak pf the War. The Serbian Army won an important victory over the Ottoman army in Vardar Macedonia. After the battle, the Ottoman army abandoned much of Vardar Macedonia. They suffered heavy losses, not only battlefield losses, but many deseryions aw well. There were also heavy losses in war materiel that was difficult to replace. Much of the Ottoman modern weaponry and heavy arms had to be imported, often from Germany. The Balkan Coalition forces rapidly occupied most of Macedonia. The Ottomans were forced to request an armistice which was signed (December 4, 1912).


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Created: 8:10 PM 10/21/2012
Last updated: 4:06 AM 10/22/2012