TimelineMapsSearch QuotationsSearch Images

Follow us through the World War I centennial and beyond at Follow wwitoday on Twitter

Bulgarian machine-gunners laying out ammunition belts on the Salonica Front.

Bulgarian machine-gunners laying out ammunition belts on the Salonica Front.

Image text

Other views: Larger, Larger

Friday, September 20, 1918

"Todorov, it is interesting to note, had no experience of the Doiran front. . . . Nerezov, on the other hand, had spent two years building up the defenses of Doiran . . .

A Bulgarian writer describes how the First Army, in the clear moonlight, was preparing to meet renewed British attacks and even, perhaps, to go over to the offensive. Now, before dawn on September 20, the operational order for a retreat went out from Nerezov's headquarters at Dedeli: the First Army must fall back to cover the withdrawal of the 3rd Division on its right. In a stunned silence the divisional commanders returned to their advanced positions. It had been a bitter blow for them, but they felt there was one small crumb of consolation: they, at any rate, were not retreating under pressure from their adversaries."

Quotation Context

On September 15, 1918 French General Franchet d'Esperey, commander of Allied forces — French, Italian, Greek, Serbian, and British — on the Balkan Front, opened a successful offensive through the mountains between Greece and Serbia. The British, with Greek support, held the sector around Lake Doiran to the east of the initial advance and opened their phase of the offensive on September 18 against Bulgarians who had held and strengthened their position for two years. The British offensive, like their previous assaults at Lake Doiran, was failing when the Bulgarians retreated. General Georgi Todorov, who had replaced the ailing Nicola Zhekov as Commander-in-Chief of the Bulgarian Army ten days earlier, agreed with the Germans that the Allies' supply problems would only increase as they advanced, and that the best action was an orderly retreat. General Stefan Nerezov was commander of the Bulgarian First Army holding the Lake Doiran sector.


The Gardeners of Salonika by Alan Palmer, pp. 214–215, copyright © 1965 by A. W. Palmer, publisher: Simon and Schuster, publication date: 1965


1918-09-20, 1918, September, Todorov, Georgi Todorov, Stefan Nerezov, Nerezov, Lake Doiran, Doiran, Battle of Dobro Pole, Bulgarian machine gun crew