General Louis Franchet d'Esperey drove forward the Salonika campaign after becoming commander of Allied forces in June 1918. He's pictured landing in the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, in February 1919 (Photo © IWM Q 13947)

100 Years Ago - Last Push against Bulgaria from Salonika

Posted on on 14 September 2018
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Allied troops began their final advance on the Macedonian Front, on 15 September 1918. Two weeks later, Bulgaria became the first of the Central Powers to agree an armistice.

Starting with a modest landing at the port of Salonika (present-day Thessaloniki) in October 1915, the Allied presence in Northern Greece grew into a multi-national force numbering 600,000 men. 

The initial deployment failed to save Serbia from invasion by the armies of the Central Powers.

Three years of intermittent offensives along the borders of Albania, Serbia and Bulgaria followed. The campaign was reinvigorated in the summer of 1918, with the appointment of a new Allied commander, the French general, Louis Franchet d'Esperey.

In September, French and Serbian troops broke through the Bulgarian lines west of the Vardar river. Under pressure also from British and Greek attacks to the east - at Doiran - Bulgaria was forced to withdraw from the entire front.

The ceasefire was signed on September 29, just as Allied offensives on the Western Front breached the German Army's crucial Hindenburg Line.

The story of the 'forgotten' 1915-1918 campaign is told in Salonika, a film released online by the UK-based charity, Away from the Western Front. It's written and presented by Alan Wakefield,  Head of First World War and Early 20th Century Conflict at the Imperial War Museum - IWM.  See also The Salonika Campaign Society.

Images courtesy of Imperial War Museums, © IWM (Q 13947)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team