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Second Balkan War
Part of the Balkan Wars
Balkan troubles1
The Great Powers under the terror of explosion in Balkans. Except for the United Kingdom and Italy, no Great Power's throne would survive the results of the next Balkan crisis of 1914, which ignited World War I.
Date 29 June 1913 – 10 August 1913
Location Balkan Peninsula
Result The defeat of Bulgaria and the Treaty of Bucharest, 1913
Belligerents
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Kingdom of Bulgaria State Flag of Serbia (1882-1918).svg Kingdom of Serbia
Flag of Romania.svg Kingdom of Romania
Greece Greece
Flag of Montenegro (1905–1918).svg Kingdom of Montenegro
Ottoman flag.svg Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Bulgaria Ferdinand I
Kingdom of Bulgaria Mihail Savov
Kingdom of Bulgaria Vasil Kutinchev
Kingdom of Bulgaria Nikola Ivanov
Kingdom of Bulgaria Radko Dimitriev
Kingdom of Bulgaria Stiliyan Kovachev
Kingdom of Bulgaria Stefan Toshev
Kingdom of Serbia Petar I of Serbia
Kingdom of Serbia Radomir Putnik
Kingdom of Serbia Stepa Stepanović
Kingdom of Serbia Petar Bojović
Romania Carol I of Romania
Romania Crown Prince Ferdinand
Romania Alexandru Averescu
Greece Constantine I
Greece Viktor Dousmanis
Greece Pavlos Kountouriotis
Ottoman Empire Mehmed V
Ottoman EmpireEnver Pasha
Ottoman Empire Ahmet Izzet Pasha
Kingdom of Montenegro Nicholas I of Montenegro
Kingdom of Montenegro Danilo, Crown Prince of Montenegro
Kingdom of Montenegro Janko Vukotić
Strength
Kingdom of Bulgaria 500,221–576,878 Kingdom of Serbia 348,000[1]
Romania 330,000[1]
Greece 148,000
Kingdom of Montenegro 12,802[1]
Ottoman Empire 255,000[2]
Total: 1,093,802
Casualties and losses
Kingdom of BulgariaBulgaria:[3]
7,583 killed
9,694 missing
42,911 wounded
3,049 deceased
140 artillery pieces captured or destroyed

Total:
65,927 dead or wounded
Kingdom of SerbiaSerbia:
9,000 killed
36,000 wounded
5,000 dead of disease[4]
GreeceGreece:
5,851 killed in action
23,847 wounded in action
188 missing in action[5]
Kingdom of MontenegroMontenegro:
240 killed
961 wounded[4]
RomaniaRomania:
negligible combat casualties
6,000 dead of disease[6]
Ottoman EmpireOttoman Empire:
negligible combat casualties
4,000 dead of disease[7]

Total:
~76,000 combat casualties
~91,000 total losses


The Second Balkan War was a conflict which broke out when Bulgaria, dissatisfied with its share of the spoils of the First Balkan War, attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on 16 (O.S.)/29 June 1913. Serbian and Greek armies repulsed the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked, entering Bulgaria. With Bulgaria also having previously engaged in territorial disputes with Romania, this war provoked Romanian intervention against Bulgaria. The Ottoman Empire also took advantage of the situation to regain some lost territories from the previous war. When Romanian troops approached the capital Sofia, Bulgaria asked for an armistice, resulting in the Treaty of Bucharest, in which Bulgaria had to cede portions of its First Balkan War gains to Serbia, Greece, Romania and the Ottomans.

The war caused a break-up of the Russo-Bulgarian alliance, leaving Serbia as the only ally of Russia in this critical region. For this reason Serbia had Russia's full support. This, and Serbia's successes in the First and Second Balkan Wars, fueled both Serbian ambitions over Austro-Hungarian ruled territories and Austro-Hungarian fears of Serbian ambitions. Extremists connected to the Serbian government ignited the July crisis of 1914, and Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia, hoping to repeat the success it had achieved used this technique in the past. This move precipitated the First World War.

First Balkan WarEdit

During the First Balkan War, the Balkan League (Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece) succeeded in driving out the Ottoman Empire from its European provinces (Albania, Macedonia, Sandžak and Thrace), leaving the Ottomans with only the Çatalca and Gallipoli peninsulas. The Treaty of London, signed on 30 May 1913, which ended the war, acknowledged the Balkan states' gains west of the Midia-Enos line that was the boundary line between the Ottoman Empire and the allies drawn from Midia (Kıyıköy) to Enos (Enez), on an uti possidetis basis, and created an independent Albania.

However, the relations between the victorious Balkan allies quickly soured over the division of the spoils, especially Macedonia. During the prewar negotiations that had resulted in the establishment of the Balkan League, Serbia and Bulgaria signed a secret agreement on 13 March 1912 which determined their future boundaries, in effect sharing northern Macedonia between them. In case of a postwar disagreement, the area to the north of the Kriva Palanka–Ohrid line (with both cities going to the Bulgarians), had been assigned as a "disputed zone" under Russian arbitration and the area to the south of this line had been agreed to become part of Bulgaria. In the event, during the war, the Serbs succeeded in capturing an area far south of the agreed border, down to the Bitola–Gevgelija line (both in Serbian hands). At the same time, the Greeks were able to advance north, occupying Thessaloniki shortly before the Bulgarians arrived, and establishing a common border with Serbia.

Ligne de Partage d'après la carte annexée au Traité d'Alliance

The Serbian-Bulgarian pre-war division of Macedonia, including the contested area

When Bulgaria called upon Serbia to honor their prewar agreement over northern Macedonia, the Serbs, displeased at being forced by the Great Powers to evacuate Albania, adamantly refused to give up any more territory. Soon thereafter, minor clashes broke out along the borders of the occupation zones with the Bulgarians against the Serbs and the Greeks. Responding to the perceived Bulgarian threat, Serbia started negotiations with Greece, which also had reasons to be concerned about Bulgarian intentions.

Occupied territories in the Balkans, end of April 1913

The territorial gains of the Balkan states after the First Balkan War and the line of expansion according to the prewar secret agreement between Serbia and Bulgaria

On 19 May/1 June 1913, two days after the Treaty of London was signed and just 28 days before the Bulgarian attack, a secret Serbian-Greek defensive alliance was signed, confirming the current demarcation line between the two occupation zones as their mutual border and concluding an alliance in case of an attack from Bulgaria or Austria-Hungary. With this agreement, Serbia succeeded in making Greece a part of its dispute over northern Macedonia, since Greece had guaranteed Serbia's current (and disputed) occupation zone in Macedonia.[8] In an attempt to halt the Serbo-Greek rapprochement, Bulgarian Prime Minister Geshov signed a protocol with Greece on 21 May agreeing on a permanent demarcation between their respective forces, effectively accepting Greek control over southern Macedonia. However, his later dismissal put an end to the diplomatic targeting of Serbia.

Another point of friction was Bulgaria's refusal to cede the fortress of Silistra to Romania. When Romania after the (First Balkan) war demanded its cession, Bulgaria's foreign minister offered instead some minor border changes, which excluded Silistra, and assurances for the rights of the Kutzovlachs in Macedonia. Romania threatened to occupy Bulgarian territory by force, but a Russian proposal for arbitration prevented hostilities. In the resulting Protocol of St. Petersburg of 8 May 1913, Bulgaria agreed to give Silistra. The resulting agreement was a compromise between the Romanian unsubstantiated demands for Dobrudzha and the Bulgarian refusal to accept any cession of its territory. However the fact that Russia failed to protect the territorial integrity of Bulgaria made the Bulgarians uncertain of the reliability of the expected Russian arbitration of the dispute with Serbia.[1] The Bulgarian behavior had also a long termed consequence over the Russo-Bulgarian relations as together with the uncompromising Bulgarian position tο review the prewar agreement with Serbia during a second Russian initiative for arbitration between them, finally led Russia to cancel its alliance with Bulgaria. Both acts made conflict with Romania and Serbia inevitable.

Bulgarian plans for warEdit

Ferdinand of Bulgaria

Ferdinand I of Bulgaria

In 1912 Bulgaria's national aspiration, as this had been expressed through Tsar Ferdinand and the military leadership around him, exceeded the provisions of what was considered in 1878 as maximalistic, Treaty of San Stefano, since it included both Eastern and Western Thrace and all Macedonia with Thessaloniki, Edirne and Constantinople.[9] Early evidence of the lack of realistic thinking in Bulgarian leadership[10] was that although Russia had sent clear warnings expressed for the first time in 5 November 1912 (well before the first battle of Çatalca) that if the Bulgarian Army occupied Constantinople they would attack it, they continued and tried to take the city.

Although the Bulgarian Army succeeded in capturing Edirne, Tsar Ferdinand's ambition in crowning himself an Emperor in Constantinople proved also unrealistic when the Bulgarian Army failed to capture the city in the battle of Çatalca. Even worse, the effort in capturing Thrace and Constantinople ultimately caused the loss of the major part of Macedonia including Thessaloniki and that could not be easily accepted, leading the Bulgarian military leadership around Tsar Ferdinand to decide upon a war against its former allies. However, with the Ottomans unwilling to definitely accept the loss of Thrace in the east, and an enraged Romania (on the north), the decision to open a war against both Greece (to the south) and Serbia (to the west), was a rather adventurous one, since in May the Ottoman Empire had urgently requested a German mission to reorganize the Ottoman army. By mid-June Bulgaria became aware of the agreement between Serbia and Greece in case of a Bulgarian attack. In 27 June Montenegro announced that it would side with Serbia in the event of a Serbian-Bulgarian war. On 5 February Romania settled her differences over Transylvania with Austro-Hungary signing a military alliance and on 28 June officially warned Bulgaria that it would not remain neutral in a new Balkan war.[8]

Peter I Karadjordjevic of Serbia

Peter I of Serbia

As skirmishing continued in Macedonia, mainly between Serbian and Bulgarian troops, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia tried to stop the upcoming conflict, since Russia didn't wish to lose either of its Slavic allies in the Balkans. On 8 June, he sent an identical personal message to the Kings of Bulgaria and Serbia, offering to act as arbitrator according to the provisions of the 1912 Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. Serbia was asking for a revision of the original treaty, since it had already lost north Albania due to the Great Powers' decision to establish the state of Albania, an area that had been recognized as a Serbian territory of expansion under the prewar Serbo-Bulgarian treaty, in exchange for the Bulgarian territory of expansion in northern Macedonia. The Bulgarian reply to the Russian invitation contained so many conditions that it amounted to an ultimatum, leading Russian diplomats to realize the Bulgarians had already decided to go to a war with Serbia. That caused Russia to cancel the arbitration initiative and to angrily repudiate its alliance with Bulgaria (see Russo-Bulgarian treaty of alliance of 1902). Bulgaria was shattering the Balkan league, Russia's best defense against Austria-Hungarian expansionism, a structure that had cost Russia so much blood, money and diplomatic capital during the last 35 years.[11] Russia's Foreign Minister Sazonov's exact words to Bulgaria's new Prime Minister Danev were "Do not expect anything from us, and forget the existence of any of our agreements from 1902 until present."[1] Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was already angry with Bulgaria because of the later's denial to honor its recently signed agreement with Romania over Silistra succeeded only after Russian arbitration. Then Serbia and Greece proposed that each of the three countries reduce its army by one fourth, as a first step to facilitate a peaceful solution, but Bulgaria rejected it.

Carol I of Romania - Foto02

Carol I of Romania

Bulgaria was already on the track to war, since a new cabinet had been formed in Bulgaria where the pacifist M. Geshov was replaced by the hardliner and head of a russophil party Dr. Danev as premier. There is some evidence[which?] that to overcome Tsar Ferdinand's reservations over a new war against Serbia and Greece, certain personalities in Sofia threatened to overthrow him. In any case on 16 June, the Bulgarian high command, under the direct control of Tsar Ferdinand and without notifying the government,[citation needed] ordered Bulgarian troops to start a surprise attack simultaneously against both the Serbian and Greek positions, without declaring war and to dismiss any orders contradicting the attack order. The next day the government put pressure on the General Staff to order the army to cease hostilities which caused confusion and loss of initiative and failed to remedy the state of undeclared war. In response to the government pressure Tsar Ferdinand dismissed General Savov and replaced him with General Dimitriev as Commander-in-chief.

King Nikola of Montenegro

Nicholas I of Montenegro

Bulgaria's intention was to defeat Serbs and Greeks and to occupy areas as large as possible before the Great Powers interfered to stop the hostilities. In order to provide the necessary superiority in arms, the entire Bulgarian army was committed to these operations. No provisions were made in case of a (officially declared) Romanian intervention or an Ottoman counterattack, strangely assuming that Russia would assure that no attack would come from those directions,[12] even though on 9 June Russia had angrily repudiated its Bulgarian alliance and shifted its diplomacy towards Romania (Russia already had named Romania's King Carol an honorary Russian Field Marshal, as a clear warning in shifting its policy towards Sofia in December 1912).[8] The plan was for a concentrated attack against the Serbian army across the Vardar plain to neutralize it and to capture north Macedonia, together with a less concentrated one against the Greek Army near Thessaloniki, which had approximately half the size of the Serbian in order to capture the city and south Macedonia. The Bulgarian high command was not sure whether their forces were enough to defeat the Greek Army, but they thought them enough for defending the south front as a worst case scenario, until the arrival of additional forces after defeating the Serbian Army to the north.

Opposing forcesEdit

According to the Military Law of 1903[citation needed], the armed forces of Bulgaria were divided in two categories: the Active Army and the National Militia. The core of the Armed forces consisted of nine infantry and one cavalry division. The Bulgarian Army had a unique organization among the armies of Europe, since each infantry division had three brigades of two regiments, composed of four battalions of six heavy companies of 250 men each, plus an independent battalion, two large artillery regiments and one cavalry regiment, giving a grand total of 25 very heavy infantry battalions and 16 cavalry companies per division,[13] which was more than the equivalent of two nine-battalion divisions, the standard divisional structure in most contemporary armies, as was also the case with the Greek and Serbian armies in 1913. Consequently although the Bulgarian Army had a total of 599,878 men[12][14] mobilized in the beginning of the First Balkan War, there were only 9 organizational divisions, giving a divisional strength closer to an Army Corps than to a Division. Tactical necessities during and after the First Balkan War modified this original structure: a new 10th division was formed using two brigades from the 1st and 6th divisions, and an additional three independent brigades were formed from new recruits. Nevertheless, the heavy structure generally remained. By contrast, the Greek Army of Macedonia had also 9 Divisions but the total number of men under arms was only 118,000. Another decisive factor affecting the real strength of the divisions between the opposing armies was the distribution of artillery. The nine division-strong Greek Army had a total of 176 guns and the ten division-strong Serbian Army, 230. The Bulgarians had 1,116, a ratio of 6:1 against the Greeks and 5:1 against the Serbian Army.

There is a dispute over the strength of the Bulgarian Army during the Second Balkan War. At the outbreak of the First Balkan War, Bulgaria mobilized a total of 599,878 men (366,209 in the Active Army; 53,927 in the supplementing units; 53,983 in the National Militia; 94,526 from the 1912 and 1913 levies; 14,204 volunteers; 14,424 in the border guards). The non-recoverable casualties during the First Balkan War were 33,000 men (14,000 killed and 19,000 died of disease). To replace these casualties Bulgaria conscripted 60,000 men between the two wars, mainly from the newly occupied areas, using 21,000 of them to form the Seres, Drama and Odrin independent brigades. It is known that there were no demobilized men. According to the Bulgarian command the Army had 7,693 officers and 492,528 soldiers in its ranks on the 16th of June (including the above mentioned three brigades).[15] This gives a difference of 99,657 men in strength between the two wars. In comparison, subtracting the actual number of casualties including wounded and adding the newly conscripted men produces a total of no less than 576,878 men. The army was experiencing shortages of war materials and had only 378,998 rifles at its disposal.

The 1st and 3rd armies (under generals Vasil Kutinchev and Radko Dimitriev respectively) were deployed along the old Serbian-Bulgarian borders, with the 5th Army under general Stefan Toshev around Kyustendil, and the 4th Army under general Stiliyan Kovachev in the Kočani-Radoviš area. The 2nd Army under general Nikola Ivanov was detailed against the Greek army.

The army of the Kingdom of Serbia accounted for 348,000 men (out of which 252,000 were combatants)[1] divided into three armies with ten divisions. Its main force was deployed on the Macedonian front along the Vardar river and near Skopje. Its nominal commander-in-chief was King Peter I, with Radomir Putnik as his chief of staff and effective field commander.

By early June, the army of the Kingdom of Greece had a grand total of some 142,000[citation needed] armed men with nine infantry divisions and one cavalry brigade. The bulk of the army with eight divisions and a cavalry brigade (117,861 men)[citation needed] was gathered in Macedonia, positioned in an arc north, northeastern of Thessalonica while one division and independent units (24,416 men)[citation needed] were left in Epirus. With the outbreak of hostilities, the 8th division (stationed in Epirus) was transferred to the front, and with the arrival of new recruits, the army's strength in the Macedonian theater increased eventually to some 145,000 men with 176 guns.[citation needed] King Constantine I assumed command of the Greek forces, with Lt. General Viktor Dousmanis as his chief of staff.

The Kingdom of Montenegro sent one division of 12,000 men under General Janko Vukotić to the Serbian-Macedonian front.

The Kingdom of Romania mobilized over 330,000 men, allocated in five corps. Some 80,000 of them were assembled to occupy the Southern Dobrudja, while an army of 250,000 was assembled to carry the main offensive into Bulgaria.[1]

The Ottoman Empire entered the war with an army of 255,000 men.

Outbreak of the warEdit

2nd-balkan-war-bulgarian-plan

Initial Bulgarian plan of operations

The main Bulgarian attack was planned against the Serbs with their 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Armies, while the 2nd Army was tasked with an attack towards Greek positions around Thessaloniki. However in the crucial opening days of the war only the 4th Army and 2nd Army were ordered to advance. This allowed the Serbs to concentrate their forces against the attacking Bulgarians and hold their advance. The Bulgarians were outnumbered on the Greek front and the low-level fighting soon turned into Greek attack all along the line on 19 June. The Bulgarian forces were forced to withdraw from their positions north of Thessaloniki (except the isolated battalion stationed in the city itself which was quickly overrun) to defensive positions between Kilkis and Struma river. The plan to quickly destroy the Serbian army in central Macedonia by concentrated attack turned out to be unrealistic and the Bulgarian Army started to retreat even before Romanian intervention and the Greek advance necessitated disengagement of forces in order to defend Sofia.

Battle of Kilkis-LachanasEdit

File:Konstantine Venizelos 1913.jpg

The Bulgarian 2nd Army in southern Macedonia commanded by General Ivanov held a line from Dojran Lake south east to Kilkis, Lachanas, Serres and then across the Pangaion Hills to the Aegean Sea. The army had been in place since May, and was considered a veteran force, having fought at the siege of Adrianople in the First Balkan War. General Ivanov, possibly to avoid any responsibility for his crushing defeat, claimed after the war that his Army consisted of only 36,000 men and that many of his units were understrength, but a detailed analysis of his units contradicted him. Ivanov's 2nd Army consisted of the 3rd Division minus one brigade with four regiments of four battalions (total 16 battalions plus the divisional artillery), the I/X brigade with the 16th and 25th regiments (total of eight battalions plus artillery), the Drama Brigade with the 69th, 75th and 7th regiments (total of 12 battalions), the Serres Brigade with 67th and 68th regiments (total of 8 battalions), the 11th Division with the 55th, 56th and 57th regiments (total of 12 battalions plus the divisional artillery), the 5th border battalion, the 10th independent battalion and the 10th Cavalry Regiment of seven mounted and seven infantry companies. A total of 232 companies in 58 infantry battalions, a cavalry regiment (14 companies) with 175 artillery guns. That gives a total between 80,000 (official Bulgarian source) and 108,000 (official Greek source according to the official Bulgarian history of the war before 1932).[16] All modern historians agreed that Ivanov underestimated the number of his soldiers but the Greek army still had a numerical superiority.[1] The Greek Headquarters also estimated the numbers of their opponents from 80,000 to 105,000 men.[17]

The Greek army, commanded by King Constantine I, had eight divisions and a cavalry brigade (117,861 men) with 176 artillery guns[18] in a line extending from the Gulf of Orphano to the Djevjeli area. Since the Greek headquarters did not know where the Bulgarian attack would take place, the Bulgarian Army would have temporary local superiority in the area chosen for the attack.

On 26 June the Bulgarian Army received orders to destroy the opposing Greek forces and to advance towards Thessaloniki. The Greeks stopped them and by 29 June an order for general counterattack was issued. At Kilkis the Bulgarians had constructed strong defenses, including captured Ottoman guns which dominated the plain below. The Greek 4th, 2nd and 5th divisions attacked across the plain in rushes supported by artillery. Greeks suffered heavy casualties but by the following day had carried the trenches. On the Bulgarian left, the Greek 7th Division had captured Serres and the 1st and 6th divisions Lachanas. The defeat of the 2nd Army by the Greeks was the most serious military disaster suffered by the Bulgarians in the 2nd Balkan war. Bulgarian sources are giving a total of 6,971 casualties. To these Greeks captured more than 6,000 prisoners and more than 130 artillery pieces, suffering 8,700 casualties.[19] On 28 June, the retreating Bulgarian army and irregulars burned down the major city of Serres (a predominantly Greek town surrounded by a largely Bulgarian hinterland), and the towns of Nigrita, Doxato and Demir Hisar,[20] ostensibly as a retaliation for the burning of the Bulgarian town of Kilkis by the Greeks, which had taken place after the named battle, as well as the destruction of many Bulgarian villages in the region.[21] On the Bulgarian right Evzones captured Gevgelija and the heights of Matsikovo. As a consequence, the Bulgarian line of retreat through Doiran was threatened and Ivanov's army began a desperate retreat which at times threatened to become a rout. Reinforcements in the form of the 14th Division came too late and joined the retreat towards Strumica and the Bulgarian border. The Greeks captured Doirani on 5 July but were unable to cut off the Bulgarian retreat through Struma Pass. On 11 July the Greeks came in contact with the Serbs and then pushed on up the Struma River. Meanwhile, the Greek forces with the support of their navy landed in Kavala and then penetrated inland to western Thrace. On 19 July the Greeks captured Nevrokop, and on 25 July, in another amphibious operation entered Dedeağaç, so cutting off the Bulgarians completely from the Aegean sea.[22]

Battles of Bregalnica and KalimanciEdit

Serbian soldiers in Kratovo, 7 June 1913

Serbian soldiers during the Second Balkan War

The 4th Bulgarian Army held the most important position for the conquest of Serbian Macedonia.[23] The fighting began on 29–30 June 1913, between the 4th Bulgarian Army and the 1st and 3rd Serbian armies, first along the Zletovska and then after a Bulgarian retreat, along the Bregalnica.[23] Internal confusions led to heavy Bulgarian losses in 1–3 July.[23] The Serbs captured the whole 7th Division of the 4th Bulgarian Army, without any fight.[23] By 8 July, the Bulgarian Army had been severely defeated.[24]

On the north the Bulgarians started to advance towards the Serbian border town of Pirot and forced Serbian Command to send reinforcements to the 2nd Army defending Pirot and Niš.[when?] This enabled Bulgarians to stop the Serbian offensive in Macedonia at Kalimanci on 18 July.

On 13 July 1913, General Mihail Savov assumed control of the 4th and 5th Bulgarian armies.[25] The Bulgarians dug into strong positions around the village of Kalimantsi, at the Bregalnica river in the northeastern Macedonia region.[25] On 18 July, the Serbian 3rd army attacked, closing in on Bulgarian positions.[25] The Bulgarians held firm, the artillery was very successful in breaking up the Serb attacks.[25] If the Serbs had broken through the Bulgarian defences, they might have doomed the 2nd Bulgarian Army and driven out the Bulgarians entirely out of Macedonia.[25] The defensive victory, along with the successes to the north of the 1st and 3rd armies, protected western Bulgaria from a Serbian invasion.[26] Although this boosted the Bulgarians, the situation was critical in the south, with the Greek Army.[26]

Battle of Kresna and armisticeEdit

Greeks in Bulgaria

Greek troops advancing in the Kresna Gorge

The Serbian front had become static. King Constantine, seeing that the Bulgarian Army at his front had already been defeated, ordered the Greek Army to march further into Bulgarian territory and take the capital city of Sofia. Constantine wanted a decisive victory despite objections by Eleftherios Venizelos, who realized that Serbs, having won their territorial objectives, now wanted to stay passive and move the weight of the rest of the war to the Greeks. In the pass of Kresna (Battle of Kresna Gorge), the Greeks were ambushed by the Bulgarian 2nd and 4th Army army which had newly arrived from the Serbian front and had taken defensive positions there. By 8 July, the Greek army was outnumbered by the now counterattacking Bulgarian armies, and the Bulgarian General Staff, attempting to encircle the Greeks in a Cannae-type battle was applying pressure on their flanks.[19] However, after bitter fighting the Greek side managed to break through the Kresna pass and captured Simitli, at 13 July,[27] while at the night of 14–15 July the Bulgarian forces were pushed north to Gorna Dzhumaya (Blagoevgrad), 76 km south of Sofia.[28] Meanwhile, the Greek forces continued their march inland into western Thrace, on 13 July, they entered Xanthi and the next day Komotini.[28] At 15 July, the Bulgarian army, under heavy pressure, was forced to abandon Gorna Dzhumaya.[29]

The Greek army was exhausted and faced logistical difficulties but resisted strenuously and launched local counter-attacks. By 17 July, Bulgarian Armies reduced their attack activity having to repulse Greek counterattacks on both sides. On the eastern flank, the Greek army launched an counterattack towards Mehomia through the Predela pass. The offensive was stopped by the Bulgarian army on the eastern side of the pass and fighting ground to a stalemate. On the western flank, an offensive was launched against Tsarevo Selo with the objection of reaching the Serbian lines. This failed and the Bulgarian army continued advancing, especially in the south.[citation needed] However, after a three days fighting at the sectors of Pehchevo and Mahomia, the Greek forces retained their positions.[30]

By then, news came that the Romanians were about to capture Sofia, having reached Vrazhdebna, just seven miles from the capital. Romania had entered the war due to a dispute over Southern Dobruja. King Constantine realized that his army was exhausted and could not continue hostilities, and took the proposal of Venizelos to accept Bulgaria's request for armistice, delivered through Romania. Both sides had suffered heavy casualties. A general armistice was signed on 18/31 July 1913, ending the most bloodshed battle of the Second Balkan War.

When the Romanian army closed in on Sofia, Bulgaria asked Russia to arbitrate. The Ottoman forces that invaded Eastern Thrace (12 July) without meeting Bulgarian resistance were already in Edirne being unwilling to stop their advance. To help Bulgaria repulse the rapid Ottoman advance in Thrace, Russia threatened to attack the Ottoman Empire through the Caucasus, and send its Black Sea Fleet to Constantinople; this caused Britain to intervene.

Battles of the Second Balkan War
Name Defending Commander Attacking Commander Date Victor
Kilkis-Lachanas Bulgaria Nikola Ivanov Greece Constantine I 19–21 June 1913 (O.S.) Greece
Doiran Bulgaria Nikola Ivanov Greece Constantine I 22–23 June 1913 (O.S.) Greece
Bregalnica Serbia Radomir Putnik Bulgaria 17–25 June 1913 (O.S.) Serbia
Demir Hisar Bulgaria Greece Constantine I 27 June 1913 (O.S.) Greece
Kalimanci Bulgaria Serbia 15–18 July 1913 (O.S.) Bulgaria
Kresna Gorge Bulgaria Mihail Savov
Nikola Ivanov
Greece Constantine I 8–18 July 1913 (O.S.) Stalemate (Truce)[19]
Vidin Bulgaria Serbia 14–18 July 1913 (O.S.) Stalemate (Truce)

Peace treaty and aftermathEdit

Balkans at 1913

Map showing the final territorial gains of the Balkan countries after the Balkan Wars

The territorial spoils were divided in the Treaty of Bucharest and the Treaty of Constantinople. Bulgaria lost most of the territories gained in the First Balkan War, including the southern Dobrudja (to Romania), most of Macedonia, and Eastern Thrace (to the Ottomans). With the strong diplomatic support of Russia it succeeded in retaining Western Thrace, its Aegean outlet, with the port of Dedeagach (Alexandroupolis), and part of Macedonia. Bulgaria thus enlarged its territory by 16 percent compared to what it was before the First Balkan War, and increased its population from 4.3 to 4.7 million people. Romania enlarged her territory by 5 percent and Montenegro by 62 percent.[31] Greece increased her population from 2.7 to 4.4 million and her territory by 68 percent. Serbia almost doubled her territory enlarging her population from 2.9 to 4.5 million.[32] The treaties forced the Greek Army to evacuate the Western Thrace and Pirin Macedonia, which it had occupied during operations. The retreat from the areas that had to be ceded to Bulgaria, together with the loss of Northern Epirus to Albania, was not well received in Greece; from the areas occupied during the war, Greece succeeded in retaining only the territories of Serres and Kavala after diplomatic support from Germany. Serbia made additional gains in northern Macedonia and having fulfilled its aspirations to the south, turned its attention to the north where its rivalry with Austro-Hungary over Bosnia-Herzegovina led the two countries to war a year later igniting the First World War. Italy used the excuse of the Balkan wars to keep the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean which it had occupied during the Turko-Italian war of 1911 over Libya, despite the agreement that ended that war in 1912.

To the strong insistence of Austria-Hungary and Italy, both hoping to control for themselves the state and thus the Otranto Straits in Adriatic, Albania acquired officially its independence according to the terms of the Treaty of London. With the delineation of the exact boundaries of the new state under the Protocol of Florence (17 December 1913), the Serbs lost their outlet to the Adriatic and the Greeks the region of Northern Epirus (Southern Albania). This was highly unpopular with the local Greek population, who, after a revolt, managed to acquire local autonomy under the terms of the Protocol of Corfu.[33]

After its defeat, Bulgaria turned into a revanchist local power looking for a second opportunity to fulfill its national aspirations, which ensured its voluntarily participation in the First World War on the side of the Central Powers, since its Balkan enemies (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Romania) were pro-Entente (see articles on the Serbian Campaign and the Macedonian Front of World War I). The resulting enormous sacrifices during World War I and renewed defeat caused Bulgaria a national trauma and new territorial losses.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Hall (2000), p. 117.
  2. Edward J. Erickson, Defeat in Detail, The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912–1913, Westport, Praeger, 2003, p. 323.
  3. http://www.bulgarianartillery.it/Bulgarian%20Artillery%201/T_OOB/Troops%20losses_1912-13.htm
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hall (2000), p. 135.
  5. "Calculation" (in Greek) (PDF). Hellenic Army General Staff. p. 12. http://www.army.gr/files/File/STRATIOTIKH%20EPITHEORHSH/NOE%20DEK%202009/2009-6-6-5392.pdf. Retrieved 14 January 2010. .
  6. Hall (2000), p. 118.
  7. Hall (2000), p. 119.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Balkan crises". Texas.net. http://cnparm.home.texas.net/Wars/BalkanCrises/BalkanCrises02.htm. .
  9. Penchev, Boyko (2007). Tsarigrade/Istanbul and the Spatial Construction of Bulgarian National Identity in the Nineteenth Century. CAS Sofia Working Paper Series. Central and Eastern European Online Library. pp. 1–18. http://www.ceeol.com./. 
  10. The rise of nationality in Balkans, RW Senton-Watson, p. 235.
  11. Crampton, Richard (1987). A short history of modern Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-521-27323-7. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hall (2000), p. 108
  13. Erickson (2003), p. 68.
  14. "The war between Bulgaria and Turkey 1912–1913". Ministry of War. 1937. p. 566. .
  15. "The war between Bulgaria and Balkan Countries". Ministry of War. 1932. p. 158. .
  16. "The Greek Army during the Balkan Wars". Ministry of Army. 1932. p. 97. .
  17. Hall (2000), p. 112.
  18. "The Greek Army during the Balkan Wars". Ministry of Army. 1932. p. 116. .
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Hall (2000), p. 113.
  20. Price, Crawfurd (1914). The Balkan cockpit. T. Werner Laurie LTD, p. 347
  21. Targeting civilians in war; Alexander B. Downes; 2008; [http://books.google.bg/books?id=TWEEW8SBvEAC&lpg=PT30&dq=%22second%20balkan%20war%22%20greeks%20massacres&pg=PT30#v=onepage&q=%22second%20balkan%20war%22%20greeks%20massacres&f=false p.35
  22. Hall (2000), p. 115.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Hall, p. 110
  24. Hall, p. 111
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Hall, p. 120
  26. 26.0 26.1 Hall, p. 121
  27. Gedeon, Dimitrios (1998). A concise history of the Balkan Wars, 1912–1913 (1.udg. ed.). Athens: Hellenic Army General Staff. pp. 259. ISBN 978-960-7897-07-7. http://books.google.gr/books?ei=69YhT_fsE4G2hAeLoqDSBA&hl=el&id=ci9pAAAAMAAJ&dq=simitli+1913&q=%22Elements+of+Divisions+I+and+V+pursued+the+Bulgarians+and+at+1530%2C+victorious%2C+entered+Simitli.+%22#search_anchor. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Gedeon, Dimitrios (1998). A concise history of the Balkan Wars, 1912–1913 (1.udg. ed.). Athens: Hellenic Army General Staff. pp. 260. ISBN 978-960-7897-07-7. http://books.google.gr/books?ei=0XkiT9a9GMfE4gSrhJHvBw&hl=el&id=n4-RAAAAIAAJ&dq=%22Finally+they+forced+the+Bulgarians+to+abandon+Summit+1378+on+the+night%22+Dzhumaya&q=%22Finally+they+forced+the+Bulgarians+to+abandon+Summit+1378+on+the+night+of+14-15+July+and+withdraw+towards+Dzhumaya.+On+the+same+day+in+western+Thrace%2C+Division+VIII%2C+unopposed%2C+liberated+the+city+of+Komotene.+%22#search_anchor. 
  29. Price, Crawfurd (1914). The Balkan cockpit. T. Werner Laurie LTD, p. 336
  30. Gedeon, Dimitrios (1998). A concise history of the Balkan Wars, 1912–1913 (1.udg. ed.). Athens: Hellenic Army General Staff. pp. 261. ISBN 978-960-7897-07-7. http://books.google.gr/books?ei=_3IiT8fcKure4QTH6L2jCA&hl=el&id=n4-RAAAAIAAJ&dq=%22was+confronted%2C+the+Bulgarian+attack+was+succesfully+repelled%3B+after+a+tough%2C+three-day+struggle+the+Greek+forces+were+once+again+masters+of+the+battlefield.%22&q=%22Thanks%2C+however%2C+to+the+courage+and+decisiveness+with+which+it+was+confronted%2C+the+Bulgarian+attack+was+successfully+repelled%3B+after+a+tough%2C+three-day+struggle+the+Greek+forces+were+once+again+masters+of+the+battlefield.%22#search_anchor. 
  31. "Turkey in the First World War – Balkan Wars". Turkeyswar.com. http://www.turkeyswar.com/prelude/balkanwars3.htm. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  32. Grenville, John. The major international treaties of the twentieth century. Taylor & Francis. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-415-14125-3. 
  33. Stickney, Edith Pierpont (1926). Southern Albania or Northern Epirus in European International Affairs, 1912–1923. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-6171-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=n4ymAAAAIAAJ. 

Further readingEdit

  • Erickson, Edward J.; Bush, Brighton C. (2003). Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912–1913. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-97888-5. 
  • Gerolymatos, André (2002). The Balkan wars: conquest, revolution, and retribution from the Ottoman era to the twentieth century and beyond. Basic Books. ISBN 0465027326. OCLC 49323460. 
  • Hall, Richard C. (2000). The Balkan Wars, 1912–1913: Prelude to the First World War. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22946-4. 
  • Schurman, Jacob Gould (2004). The Balkan Wars 1912 to 1913. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4191-5345-5. 

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