Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kajmakcalan Battle – 12 - 30 September 1916

Kajmakcalan Battle was fought between Bulgarian and Serbian armies, on the peak Kajmakcalan (Nidze Mountain) at the Macedonian Front during the First World War.
Kajmakcalan Battle was fought between 12 and 30 September 1916, and is considered an extension of the Battle of Gornichevo (Monastir Offensive / Bitola Offensive).
Kajmakcalan Battle – 12 - 30 September 1916
Dead soldiers - Kajmakcalan Battle – 12 - 30 September 1916


Graves on Kajmakcalan - Kajmakcalan Battle – 12 - 30 September 1916
A strategic objective of the Entente armies at the beginning of operations was to conquer Kajmakcalan (Кајмакчалан), which dominates the entire region with its height and massiveness.
The armies of the Central Powers defended the mountains with two lines of trenches and wire obstacles. After fierce allied artillery bombardment on the night of September 17, 1916 they managed to break through the defense and conquer the first line of trenches.

The Peak Kajmakcalan - 360 photo sphere

Between 26 and 30 September summit Kajmakcalan been took over several times, until the Serbian army finally conquered it and kept it on 30 September. Human casualties were enormous on both sides, primarily due to man to man fight.
Despite the allied capture of the peak Kajmakcalan, Bulgarian-German forces managed to keep the side positions. Yet the capture of Kajmakcalan, had created favorable conditions for the Allied armies in further operations on Bitola battleground.

The Peak Kajmakcalan - 360 photo sphere

First Bulgarian Army units were forced to retreat on the hills near Crna River (Black River, Црна Река) and Serbian units fortified their positions on Kaimakcalan.
Bulgarian positions on Crna Reka
Bulgarian positions on Crna Reka
Bulgarian - German positions near Bitola were threatened. Spilled positions of the Bulgarian defense of Bitola were set by the bend of the river Crna (Black) and village Polog with the peak Chuka, which was turned into stronghold.
Panorama of region near villages Skochivir (center), Polog, the peaks Chuka and Crna River
Panorama of region near villages Skochivir (center), Polog, the peaks Chuka and Crna River
After fierce bombing, the Allies were able to conquer the Polog and the peaks Chuka.
On November 16, 1916 Serbian, French and Russian attacks continued, and the retreat of Bulgarian and German armies continued.

The Allies won the villages Kenali (Kremenica) and Bukri and elevation 1212.
The French armies, with some Italian and Russian units, made strong pressure on the Bulgarian and German armies on November 19, 1916, which were forced to leave Bitola and withdraw in the heights surrounding the town (Pelister mountain and the near village Snegovo (northwest of Bitola).
The decision to abandon the city of Bitola (Monastir then) without any serious fighting was a practical decision of the German command, since the city itself was very difficult to defend. However this was a great shock to their ally, the Bulgarian Army and a Great victory for the Allied armies.
The commander of the First Bulgarian Army General Bojadziev, was immediately replaced.
Since Bitola was in the hands of the French, Italian and Russian troops on November 19,  First Regiment of the Serbian army crossed the Black River and entered the city from the road near village Novaci.

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