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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 9 February 2014

WW1 and the Battle of Cer Mountain

Other than Bannockburn, the other major anniversary this year is the start of World War 1 and that is clearly of Balkan interest.

The spark that started the war was of course the assignation of the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. It has become a fashionable during this anniversary to debate who is to blame for the war. I would argue that this is pointless as the causes are multiple and complex and can’t be placed at the door of one country or incident. Having said that, Serbia clearly has some responsibility given their involvement in the assignation, so Serbian government plans to erect a statue to Princip in Belgrade is at best in bad taste. The incident that led to the death of more than 10 million soldiers is nothing to celebrate and I doubt if many of their families will see the 'injustice' in Princip not having a monument.

While the Austro-Hungarian priority ought to have been defeating the Russians, they split their forces and invaded Serbia. The bombardment of Belgrade is fairly well known, but the main Austrian forces were in Bosnia and invaded from the West crossing the Sava and Drina rivers. The decisive battle was around Cer Mountain where a numerically inferior Serbian army routed the Austrians. Often just a footnote in histories of WW1, Max Hastings covers this campaign well in his new book ‘Catastrophe’. 

I have the armies in 15mm, based for Great War Spearhead rules and these allow big battles to be fought. I have also been experimenting with Bolt Action and the picture below shows a small scale action with four sections of Austrian infantry supported by cavalry and artillery attacking Serbian positions. These rules worked well, and I will experiment further with 28mm figures.

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