Armies In The Balkans 1914-18 by Nigel Thomas, Dusan Babac, Darko Pavlovic

By Nigel Thomas, Dusan Babac, Darko Pavlovic

Fresh heritage may still remind us that it was once occasions within the Balkans which sparked off the nice struggle, with the assassination of the Austrian inheritor Prince Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, and the ensuing invasion of Serbia by way of Austro-Hungarian armies on 2 August 1914. however, the following four-year battle in that theatre is often overshadowed through the simultaneous campaigns at the Western entrance. For the 1st time this booklet deals a concise account of those advanced campaigns, the service provider, orders of conflict, and the uniforms and insignia of the armies concerned: Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, Serbian, Montenegrin, Albanian, British, French, Italian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek and Rumanian.

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Again the special navigation buoys were laid but soon the weather was too rough for the minor craft or to allow boarding ships to lie alongside the Mole. Keyes ordered the force to sail anyway in the hope that conditions might improve but was forced to again issue the recall, this time after only two hours, when the weather did not abate. There was now the prospect of trying to maintain both the force and surprise until the next window of possibly suitable conditions in May. Keyes’ thoughts on the initial cancellation show he was well aware of the difficulties of maintaining security for three weeks now that the force had been assembled and widely briefed.

The only operational drawback was that some personnel would need to wear gas masks while smoke was being produced. However the volume of smoke required for the raid needed 82 tons of acid and there was just one manufacturer in the United Kingdom. It could only provide the acid if it ceased production of the related product, saxin, a synthetic substitute for sugar used in the management of diabetes. Ultimately a War Cabinet decision was required to secure priority for the requirements of the raid.

Keyes was faced with the dilemma of whether to proceed. He later wrote: Vice-Admiral Keyes’ flagship for both raids, the destroyer HMS Warwick. Built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1917, this ship displaced approximately 1,500 tons, could achieve over 30 knots and had a crew of 135. Warwick was armed with four 4in guns and six torpedo tubes, as well as a minelaying capacity. Though badly damaged by a mine during the return from Ostend in May 1918, Warwick was successfully repaired and served into World War II.

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