Today Serbia is celebrating the centenary of the Battle of Cer.
The Battle of Cer was the first victory of the Allies, which occurred after the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia in late July 1914, when Belgrade came under heavy artillery bombardment and the country was ravaged, houses burned, wells poisoned, unspeakable atrocities committed against civilians, young and old, women and children as well. The ailing King Peter, riddled with arthritis, walking with great difficulty and with a grieving heart, made his way to the troops on the frontline and to boost their morale addressed them with these words:
“Heroes, you have taken two oaths: one to me, your King, and one to your country. From the first I release you, from the second no man can release you. But if you decide to return to your homes and if we should be victorious, you shall not be made to suffer.” (p. 582 Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West, Canongate Classics 1993)
They all stayed and went on to prepare for a counter attack.
The Battle of Cer was won singlehandedly by the Serbian Army, led by General Stepa Stepanović, according to the plans of Vojvoda Radomir Putnik , a brilliant strategist, against a better equipped and larger enemy army. For this victory, General Stepanović was promoted to the rank of Vojvoda – Field Marshal. The battle lasted nearly ten days, from 15 August to 24 August.
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This is an excerpt from “My Dad, Volunteer in WWI”. At the time of the Battle of Cer, Bogdan Stojic, my father, was on military training in Osijek, Slavonia, getting ready to be sent to the front. – (To be continued)
Copyright © 2014 Irina Dimitric
Goodness, Irina. Your father was amazing.
Pam, in the next instalments you’ll be amazed at his foolishness and courage.
What a wonderful way to remember your dad. By highlighting the light and the courage that shine all throughout the darkness of war…Beautiful and touching tribute, dear Irina…
All my best wishes to you, Aquileana 😛
Thank you, Aquileana, for your kind words. Through my father’s story I’m paying a tribute to all the brave men and women who found themselves in the turmoil of a terrible war.
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Your story continues to fascinate me, Irina. I must admit to knowing nothing about King Peter, and little about the Battle of Cer. 🙂
Millie, I knew of King Peter of course, but I must confess I knew nothing about the Battle of Cer until I undertook to write about my father’s life. At school we learnt more about WWII and the Partisans than WWI.
There’s a lot to WW1 that I’d need to look up – so many different battles and events, and in so many different countries in Europe. It’s good to read about things I know little about. As I said, I didn’t know about the Battle of Cer. Really interesting, Irina. 🙂
Thank you for your interest, Millie. 🙂