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The First Balkan War was fought between Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro (known as the Balkan League) and the Ottoman Empire. Montenegro opened hostilities by declaring war on Turkey on Oct. 8, 1912, and the other members of the league followed suit 10 days later.

The Balkan League was soon victorious. In Thrace, the Bulgarians defeated the main Ottoman forces, advancing to the outskirts of Istanbul and laying siege to Edirne. In Macedonia, the Serbian army defeated the Turks at Kumanovo that enabled it to join forces with the Montenegrins and enter Skopje. Meanwhile, the Greeks occupied Salonika and advanced on IoŠnnina. In Albania, the Montenegrins besieged ShkodŽr, and the Serbs entered DurrŽs. 

The Turkish collapse was so complete that all parties were willing to conclude an armistice by December. A peace conference started in London, but after a coup d'ťtat by the Young Turks in Constantinople in January 1913, the war resumed. The League's success continued when IoŠnnina fell to the Greeks and Edirne to the Bulgarians. Under a peace treaty signed in London on May 30, 1913, the Ottoman Empire lost almost all of its remaining European territory, including all of Macedonia and Albania. Albanian independence was insisted upon by the European powers, and Macedonia was to be divided among the Balkan allies.

The wargame figures below are mostly from the range of 15mm Balkan war figures produced by the late Spiros Koumoussis, sadly no longer available. The Serbian army is also available from Eureka Miniatures.

Serbian infantry

Serbian Cavalry

Serbian Artillery

Bulgarian Infantry

Bulgarian cavalry

Bulgarian Artillery

Greek Infantry

Greek Artillery

Turkish Infantry

Turkish Artillery

Further Reading

Carey, Joyce                 

 Memoir of the Bobotes                                                 

 Joseph 1965

Cassavetti, D.J              

 Hellas and the Balkan Wars                                         

 Unwin 1914

Dakin, Douglas  

 The Greek Struggle in Macedonia 1897-1913    

 Thessaloniki 1993

Erickson, E                    

 Defeat in Detail                                                  

 Praeger 2003

Fox, Frank                    

 The Balkan Peninsula                                                  

 A&C Black 1915

Fraser, John                  

 Pictures from the Balkans                                           

 Cassell 1912

Gibbs, Philip                  

 Adventures of War with Cross & Crescent                 


Hall, Richard                 

 The Balkan Wars 1912-13                                            

 Routledge 2000

Howell, P                      

 Campaign in Thrace 1912                                              

 London 1913

Martins, A.J                  

 The First Balkan War 1912-13                                    

 Norwich 1994

Martins, A.J                  

 The First Balkan War at Sea 1912-13                         

 Norwich 1997

Sowards, S                   

 Austriaís Policy of Macedonian Reform                         

 Columbia 1989

Thaden, E.C                  

 Russia and the Balkan Alliance of 1912                      

 Penn. 1965

Treadway, J                  

 Falcon & the Eagle: Montenegro & Austria Hungary 1908-14  

 Purdue 1983

Vachkov, A                   

 Balkan War 1912-1913                                                

 Angela 2005


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Last modified: 01/23/12