ww1 - 67822 - 15.03.2012 : Zeljko Tomic Sokolac - (1)
The battle of Cer and 'March on river Drina'
The battle of Cer was one of the greatest battles of WW1. The brilliant tactics of the Serbian generals became a part of many military books and it is still studied in many military schools around the world.
When the war started, commander of Balkan Army feldzeigmeister Oscar von Potiorek decided to make offensive with only two Armies:
The 2nd Army on the North was suppose to perform demonstative attacks to tide main Serbian forces until 18. august, when it will be transported to Russian front.
On the orther side, Serbian High command (Marshal Radomir Putnik-the head; General Zivojin Misic-the assistant) made defensive plan with making counter attack when it become possible. They expected that Austro-Hungarians will attack from north along Morava or Kolubara valley. For that reason, they made this plan:
Austro-Hungarian offensive 12th-16th august
Austro-Hungarian Army become offensive by plan, but advancing was very slow. Serbian III Army with only two divisions was very tough. On south west Serbian Uzice Army made a little offensive on Visegrad (Вишеград) with Montenegrian Sandzak Army.
When the Serbian High command realised that main offensive is from the west, so they sent the 2nd Army with its Moravian (Моравска) I call division and Combined division on mountain Cer to hit the left flank of Austro-Hungarian forces which had advanced along Jadar valley and with its Sumadinian (Шумадијска) I call division to retake Sabac. Cavalry division will be the connetction between those two groups. But Moravian First call division and Combined division, which formed Cer group in their attempt to hit the flank of forces in Jadar valley were advancing straight to the head of those Austro-Hungarian forces who had advanced along Lesnica (9. and 21. landwehr division) valley.
The Cer battle (16th-20th august) Combined division was suprised when it came to the head of Austro-Hungarian 21. landwehr division. The first shooting was in the night 15/16th august near village Tekeris (Текериш). Moravian First call division (prvopozivci) was on the south of Combined division and fought against the head of the 9. division. Austro-Hungarian forces in Jadar valley advanced to village Zavlaka and conquered town Krupanj (Крупањ). In one moment Moravian I call division was forced to pull back. Combined division crushed 21. landwehr division and took the ridges Trojan and Kosanin grad on the top of the Cer mountain. So, it hitted the left flank of 9. division, and after that Cer group hitted the left flank of Austro-Hungarian forces in Jadar. The rest of the II Army retook Sabac and provice Macva (Мачва).
The Austro-Hungarians was retreating in disorder. This was a total victory of a small, but brave Serbian Army. Commander of II Army, Stepa Stepanovic (Степа Степановић) became a marshal (Војвода). Casaulties were hard for Serbia who was not recovered from Balkan wars: 4785 dead or missing and 11215 wounded.
Austro-Hungarians had 25000 killed and wounded and 4500 captured.
After the battle, composer Stanislav Binički (Станислав Бинички) made composition "March on Drina" (Марш на Дрину) Some call this "The Serbian Marseillese" later was added the text, and it is today the most popular patriotic song in Serbia. Text (translated) to English:
go on all of you heroes,
Go on and don't regret your lifes
Let Cer see the front,
let Cer hear the battle
and river Drina glory,
courage and heroic hand
of father and son!
Drina, you cold water,
Remeber, tell when they were falling,
Remember brave front,
which is full of fire,
force, power Banned the foreigner
from our dear river!
Sing, sing, Drina,
tell the generations,
how We were fighting brave,
Front was singing,
the battle was fought
near cold water
The blood was floating,
blood was spilled on Drina
because of freedom!
Memorial complex in village Tekeris (Текериш):
On the memorial stone is written: "Your deeds are immortal!"
In 1963. a movie "March on Drina" was made about the Cer battle.
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