The campaign in Salonika was fought between an allied coalition (France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia) under the general control of France, and a coalition of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany.
The background to the campaign is complex in terms of politics, involving a tangle of Balkan nations and ethnic groups, but stems from the outcome of the 1912-1913 wars in the Balkans. The British forces became involved largely as a result of David Lloyd George’s ambition to encourage all the Balkan countries to engage against Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria and thereby weaken Germany.
Location of theatre of war
The British Salonika Force included the following, along with army and corps troops units:
22nd Division (from November 1915 onwards)
26th Division (from November 1915 onwards)
60th (2/2nd London) Division (December 1916 to June 1917)
10th (Irish) Division (in theatre October 1915 to September 1917)
27th Division (from November 1915 onwards)
28th Division (from November 1915 onwards)
5 October 1915: the French 16th Division and the British 29th Infantry Brigade (10th (Irish) Division) are the first of the allied forces to land at Salonika.
Advance into and retreat from Serbia
7-8 December 1915: the Action of Kosturino (10th (Irish) Division)
8-13 December 1915: elements of 22nd Division involved in the retreat
Build-up and the entrenched camp (the “Birdcage”)
Advance from the “Birdcage”
During the rest of 1916 the force was engaged in a number of relatively small tactical engagements.
10-18 August 1916: the Battle of Horseshoe Hill (southwest of Doiran) [22nd, 26th]
13-14 September 1916: the Battle of Machukovo [22nd]
30 September – 2 October 1916: capture of the Karajakois [29th Infantry Brigade of 10th (Irish) Division and 26th and 27th Divisions]
3-4 October 1916: the capture of Jenikoi [30th Infantry Brigade of 10th (Irish) Division and 26th Division]
2 October 1916: the occupation of Mazirko [84th Infantry Brigade of 28th]
3-4 October 1916: the capture of Yenikoi [27th]
31 October 1916: the capture of Barakli Jum’a [28th]
17 November and 6-7 December 1916: the Battle of Tumbitza Farm [82nd Infantry Brigade of 27th Division]
Two major battles took place in the spring of 1917 without changing the position in any significant way.
24-25 April 1917: First Battle of Doiran [22nd, 26th, 60th Divisions]
8-9 May 1917: Second Battle of Doiran [22nd, 26th, 60th Divisions]
15 May 1917: the capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches (near Barakli Jum’a) [28th]
14 October 1917: the capture of Homondos [27th]
16 October 1917: the capture of Barakli and Kumli [28th]
The final break through
A very large scale co-ordnated allied offensive broke the enemy in the area west of Lake Doiran, advancing deep into Serbia, and brought Buglaria to an armistice.
1-2 September 1918: capture of the Roche Noir Salient [27th, under XII Corps]
18-19 September 1918: the Battle of Doiran [22nd, 26th, 27th, 28th]
22-30 September 1918: the pursuit to the Strumica Valley [26th, 27th, 28th]
Source of data: Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire.
Manpower in theatre at 1 November 1918
Other ranks: 153002
“Natives other than troops” (mainly local labour units) 24300
Killed: 146 officers and 2653 other ranks
Died of wounds: 76 officers and 1349 other ranks
Died of disease: 103 officers and 4110 other ranks
Wounded: 794 officers and 16214 other ranks
Missing/prisoners: 118 officers and 2556 other ranks
Totals: 1237 officers and 26882 other ranks.
Highly recommended as the best modern study of the campaign in Salonika: