- Normans in the Balkans
- Manolada 1316
- Kosovo 1389
- Castles on the Danube
- Late Medieval Bosnian Army
- Doboj 1415
- Wallachian and Moldovan troops of the Napoleonic wars
- Anchialos 917
- Slovenian Borderlands
- The Zadruga and the Military Border
- Cretan War in the Adriatic
- Salonika 1916
- Uskoks of Senj
- Siege of Klis 1537
- Eugene in the Balkans
- Moldavian Surprise 1711
- Austro-Turkish War 1737-9
- Invading Ottoman Turkey
- Siege of Ragusa 1814
- Russo-Turkish War 1806-12
- Serbian Uprising 1815
- Ali Pasha
- Ottoman Army 1826
- Aleksinac 1876
- Shipka Pass
- Slivnitsa 1885
- Romanian Army 1878
- Austrian forts 19thC
- Kumanovo 1912
- Catalca Lines
- Adrianople 1912-13
- Kajmakcalan 1916
- The other 1918 campaign
- Macedonia air war WW1
- War of the Stray Dog
- Royal Yugoslavian armed forces
- Blunder in the Mountains
- Romanian SS
- Gebirgsjager in the Balkans
- Knights Move 1944
- Vis during WW2
- HLI in the Adriatic
- Adriatic Cruel Seas
- Dalmatian Bridgehead
- Transnistrian War
- Ottoman Navy Napoleonic wars
- Medieval Balkans
- Balkan lockdown quiz >
- Ancient Greeks
- Pyrrhic army of Epirus
- Dacian wars
- Late Roman
- Comnenan Byzantine Army
- Serbian medieval
- Albanian medieval
- Wallachian medieval
- Bosnian Medieval
- Catalan Company
- Polish 17C
- Austrian Imperialist
- Austrian 18thC
- Russian Early 18thC
- Ottoman Napoleonic
- Greek Revolution
- 1848 Hungarian Revolution
- Russian Crimean war
- Romanian Army of 1877
- Ottoman 1877
- Russian 1877
- Balkan Wars 1912-13
- Macedonia WW1
- Greece WW2
- Italian Army WW2
- Gebirgsjager WW2
- Hungary WW2
- Turkey WW2
- Soviet Union WW2
- Bulgaria WW2
- Turkish Korean War Brigade
- Balkan Wars 1990s
Balkan Military History is devoted to the study of the military history of the Balkans.
It is aimed primarily at wargamers and others with an interest in the region and its fascinating history.
War of the Stray Dog
As obscure conflicts go, the Incident at Petrich, is right up there. We take a look at this Greek-Bulgarian border clash in 1925. One version of the incident claims a Greek soldier ran over the border chasing his dog (hence, it is sometimes referred to as the War of the Stray Dog), and the soldier was shot by Bulgarian sentries. The League of Nations intervened before the incident escalated further, although over 50 people died.
The Khotyn Campaign of 1621
This is a new book by Michal Paradowski on the Khotyn campaign 1621 fought between Poland and the Ottoman Empire. This isn't your usual set-piece battle, but it's closer to a siege in some ways. This is an excellent description of the campaign and warfare generally on this front. It is well illustrated with colour plates of the main troop types. Diaries give a personal view of the fighting alongside the strategic factors.
Ottoman Armies 1820-1914
This is the latest in the Osprey Men-at-Arms series by Gabriele Esposito. It fills a gap in the Osprey coverage of Ottoman armies, although specific conflicts in this time frame have been covered before.
Peerless among Princes: The Life and Times of Sultan Süleyman
This is Kaya Sahin's study of Sultan Süleyman, commonly described as The Magnificent in the West, or The Lawgiver in Türkiye. It covers the highs and lows of his reign in a balanced way, setting him in the broader context of the period. Well worth a read.
The Young Alexander
This book is Alex Rowson's examination of the early life of Alexander the Great, from his birth to the invasion of the Persian Empire. It covers his campaigns in the Balkans and Greece before the better known campaigns in the East. While this is not a quick read, it is well-written. It covers the latest archaeology and discusses conflicting sources without a heavy academic style.
Turkish 'North Star' Brigade in the Korean War
The latest in our Armies of the Balkans series covers the Turkish contingent that fought in the Korean War. This was the only external conflict Turkish troops fought in from the Turkish War of Independence in 1923 until the Cyprus conflict of 1974.
The Dacians and Getae at War
This is a new book in the Osprey Men at Arms series by Andrei Pogacias on the ancient Dacians and Getae. This isn't the first Osprey treatment of the Dacians. They did a series back in 1982 on Rome's enemies, and the Dacians were lumped in with the Germanic tribes. There has been a fair amount of archaeology and other academic work since then.
The Forgotten Front: Macedonian Campaign 1915-18
This is a new book by Jon Lewis on the Macedonian (often called the Salonica) Campaign of WW1. A rare comprehensive look at the campaign, albeit from an Entente Powers perspective. The importance of this campaign has been consistently ignored during and since the war's end. In Britain, the Salonica Campaign Society does a great job remembering those who fought there. This book rightly puts the campaign in its proper place. An excellent read as well.
The Sultan's Fleet
This new book by Christine Isom-Verhaaren covers the Ottoman navy from the Empire's beginning to the early 18th century. While the narrative is chronological, the focus is on senior seafarers. Some will be familiar to readers, like Kemal and Piri Reis or Hayreddin Barbarossa. However, others are less well known. This is the Editor's 500th book review on his blog!
This is a new book by Caroline Boggis-Rolfe covering the history of the lands around the Adriatic. There are no new insights, but if you want an introduction to what is a fascinating part of the world, this will do the job.
Fire and Stone
The authors of a new board game have come up with a really interesting game based on one of the classic sieges of the 17th century - Kara Mustafa's attempt on Vienna in 1683. This is an elegant game system that gives a decent game in a couple of hours once you have mastered the rules.
Blue Water War
This is Brian Walter's study of the maritime war in the Mediterranean 1940-45. The early naval battles, such as Cape Matapan and Taranto, are well-known and extensively written about. However, this book also covers the more minor actions, particularly those in the eastern Mediterranean and the Adriatic and the end of WW2.
Military History of Late Rome 395-425
The third volume in Ilkka Syvänne's epic military history of late Rome. This volume covers 395-425AD, which may only be 30 years, but it was a turbulent period. It starts with the permanent division of the Empire into eastern and western parts and ends with the demise of John the Usurper.
Churchill's Folly - Kos 1943
The Editor's recent visit to to the Greek Island of Kos looks at the 1943 campaign. Part of the Dodecanese campaign, which has been described as 'Churchill's folly'.
The Napoleonic Adriatic
A few books for anyone interested in the Adriatic during the Napoleonic Wars. First the memoirs of a Russian naval officer in the little known Russian fleet. Then a British officer in the 35th Foot, the main British regiment serving in the Adriatic. Finally a history of HMS Amphion, Sir William Hoste's frigate in the Royal Navy's Adriatic squadron. For a bit of background to the Ionian Islands of the period we have Jim Pott's history.
Prince Eugene of SavoyOur review of James Falkner's new book on one of the outstanding commanders of the 18th century. In Falkner's view, he is in the military genius category. The book includes chapters on both of Eugene's Balkan campaigns.
Yugoslav Armies 1941-45
This Osprey Men at Arms covers the Yugoslav armies of WW2, written by Nigel Thomas and Dušan Babac. The original material is on the Royal Yugoslav Army, which has been poorly covered. As usual, you get plenty of illustrations and fine colour plates by Johnny Shumate.
Defending the Çatalca Lines
The Çatalca Lines were the Ottoman final positions defending Istanbul during the Balkan Wars. This is a naturally strong defensive position along a ridgeline that goes from the lake of Terkos Gölü in the north to the lake of Büyük Çekmece Gölü on the Sea of Marmara in the south. Due to these natural obstacles, the defence line centred on the village of Hadimköy is only 25km long.
In two battles in 1912-13, the Ottomans defeated Bulgarian attacks on these lines and pushed them back some 20km. A rare victory in an otherwise disastrous war. In this feature article, we look at the battles, stage a tabletop refight, and look at what can be seen on the battlefield today.
Operation Allied Force
The air war over Serbia in 1999, Operation Allied Force, hasn't had the coverage of the earlier air and ground campaigns in the former Yugoslavia. This new book in the Helion Europe@War series by Bojan Dimitrijevic and Lt-Gen Jovica Draganic is an excellent introduction to the campaign, and lavishly illustrated.
Turkey Under Erdogan
A new book by Dimitar Bechev covers Turkey under its current President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It describes Turkey's transformation from electoral democracy to a competitive authoritarian regime, in the context of the long-term structural and institutional forces shaping Turkey's domestic politics and, by extension, foreign policy.
On the Borderlands of Great Empires - Transylvanian Armies 1541-1613
Florin Nicolae Ardelean's new book for Helion's Retinue to Regiment series on the armies of Transylvania 1541-1613. This is an Osprey style book, well illustrated, including colour plates.
Eagles in the Dust
This book is Adrian Coombs-Hoar's study of the Roman defeat to the Goths at Adrianople on 9 August AD 378.
Battle of Lissa 1866
This is a new book by Quintin Barry on the Austro-Hungarian naval victory against the Italians at Lissa (known as Vis today) in 1866.
Battle of Lissa 1866
This is a new book by Quintin Barry on the Austro-Hungarian naval victory against the Italians at Lissa (known as Vis today) in 1866. However, the book is really about how the Industrial Revolution changed naval warfare in the mid-nineteenth century, culminating in the Battle of Lissa.
This is Camil Muresanu's biography of the Hungarian warlord Janos Hunyadi. Very little has been written specifically about Hunyadi (in English at least), which is surprising given his central position in the story of resistance to the Ottomans in the 15th century.
Bohemond of Taranto
The Normans in the South is one of the great stories of history, including the Balkans. Georgios Theotokis has picked out one of the most interesting of the many characters in the story, Bohemond of Taranto.
The Ottomans: Khans, Caesar's and Caliphs
Marc David Baer's take on the Ottomans. This isn't a traditional narrative history. Instead, chronological chapters on rulers are followed by thematic ones addressing cultural issues, maritime power, attitudes to women, Jews and eunuchs in dynastic politics. It is also a retelling of the story with a focus on the links between East and West - part of the history of Europe.
Greek Revolution Exhibition
The University of Edinburgh's Leventis Exhibition, covers the links between Scotland and the revolution. Scots played a significant role in the Philhellene movement, and Edinburgh, in particular, had strong ties to classical Greece. It was known as 'The Athens of the North'.
The Komnene Dynasty
John Carr's study of Byzantium's struggle for survival 1057-1185. The Komnene dynasty lasted 128 turbulent years. The emperors were a mixed bag, and they all faced external challenges from the east and the west. And it wouldn't be Byzantine Empire without internal power struggles.
The Last Muslim Conquest
Gábor Ágoston’s new book on the Ottoman Empire and its wars in Europe. This is a narrative history of the Ottomans from their emergence to what he calls the wars of exhaustion against the Venetians and Habsburgs in the 18th century.
Naval war in the Adriatic
The Cretan War was fought between Venice and the Ottoman Empire for some 26 years in the 17th century between 1645 and 1671. There was also a more minor conflict along the Dalmatian coast on sea and land. Ottoman troops attacked Venetian towns on the coast from their bases in Bosnia and Albania, and the Venetians reciprocated. This feature article looks at the campaign in more detail.
The Great Cauldron
A history of Southeastern Europe (Balkans) by Marie-Janine Calic. This is a big (600 words plus notes etc.) history of the Balkans that takes a different approach to the traditional narrative history. Calic argues that the development of nation-states is less important than the relationships of exchange between people and ideas from across those boundaries and indeed further afield.
Sparta at War
This is Scott Rusch's book on the strategy, tactics and campaigns of the Spartan state from 550 to 362BC. This was the period when Sparta was the dominant military power in Greece. Its armies won ten major battles, defended Greece against the Persians, and defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404BC). Even when they lost their naval supremacy, they remained the strongest state on land.
When we think of Balkan borderlands, the Military border between the Habsburgs and Ottomans in modern-day Croatia (Militärgrenze) comes to mind. That was formally established in 1553. However, there was an earlier border area in modern-day Slovenia. In this feature article we examine the conflict in this early borderland.
Blenheim over the Balkans
This is the story of 211 Squadron RAF and its service in the Western Desert and Greece during WW2. The author served in the squadron and has researched the operational history and that of its opponents over a 25 year period.
The Balkans 1940-41 (1) and (2)
This Osprey Campaign book on the Italian invasion of Greece by Pier Paolo Battistelli may not have added much to our knowledge of the campaign, but he has written a very readable account, profusely illustrated with really clear maps. Volume 2 covers the Yugoslav and Greek campaigns.
Turkish War of Independence
This is an operational history of the Turkish War of Independence 1919-23 by Ed Erickson. It completes a trilogy of books he has written on the Ottoman and Turkish armies in the early twentieth century covering the Balkan Wars, WW1 and now the Turkish War of Independence, often called the Greek-Turkish War.
This is an excellent operational history of the war or arguably wars. Each campaign is put into context, followed by the preparations, and each phase of the campaign is broken down into readable chunks. Then, finally, a conclusion which outlines the outcomes and the key lessons. The reader is left with a clear understanding of the war. Highly recommended.
The Bulgarian Contract
This is the story, told by Graeme Sheppard, of how a clever piece of misinformation arguably brought an early end to WW1 and saved many lives.
The Last Ottoman Generation
This is Michael Provence's study of the post-Ottoman Middle East and the former Ottoman figures who helped shape it. This book takes a different approach from the many national histories of the modern Middle East states. It looks at the region from the perspectives of the post-Ottoman citizens, many of whom did not regard the new order as an improvement. Its frame of reference is not the birth of something new but the death of something old and evolving, arguably even modernising.
The Soviet Black Sea Fleet in WW2
We look at one of Churchill's wilder plans to send a Royal Navy fleet into the Black Sea. Churchill put a proposal to the War Cabinet in October 1939 to insert submarines into the Black Sea to interrupt Russian oil supplies to Germany. This was in addition to the better-known plans to bomb Russian oilfields in Baku, known as the Massigli Affair. In effect, this would have been a declaration of war against the Soviet Union as well as fighting Germany.
March on the Drina
Our review of a new board game covering the opening campaign of WW1 when Austro-Hungarian troops crossed the Drina River to invade Serbia. It then moves in four-monthly turns through the war in the Balkans until the final offensive in 1918, which knocked Bulgaria and then Austro-Hungary out of the war.
Turkish Army of WW2
Our 15mm wargame project has now expanded into 28mm and 10mm versions.
The Balkans in World War Two
This is Christopher Catherwood's examination of the dilemma Britain faced in relations with Turkey and some of the Balkan states from 1939–41. This is an academic history with a price tag that may deter the general reader. However, that doesn't mean it isn't readable.
Hitler and the Habsburgs
James Longo's study of Hitler's vendetta against the Austrian royals. Primarily a sympathetic history of the later Habsburg family, with the malign influence of Hitler thrown in. He knew how to hold a grudge!
This is a new book by Andrew Rawson outlining the conflicts in the Balkans during the twentieth century. An introductory primer to the main events.
Taranto and Naval Air Warfare in the Mediterranean 1940-45
This is a new book by David Hobbs looking at naval air warfare in the Mediterranean during WW2 - carriers and land bases. It is profusely illustrated with period photographs that are relevant to the text. It is an excellent read.
Russo-Turkish War 1768-1774
This is Brian Davies' study of Catherine the Great's war against the Ottoman Empire. This is a well-written study of the war using mostly Russian language sources.
The Galatians are one of the lesser-known peoples of the Balkans in the ancient period. This may be because they had no written history of their own when the focus was on the Greek and then Roman impact on the region. John Grainger has written a very readable new history of the Galatians which pulls together what is known about these fierce warriors.
Hitler's New Disorder
This is a new paperback edition of Stevan Pavlowitch's book on The Second World War in Yugoslavia. Often the subject of historical revisionism, particularly since the death of Tito, which makes the author's objective analysis very welcome.
God's Shadow: The Ottoman Sultan Who Shaped the Modern World
Alan Mikhail's new book about Selim 1, sometimes known as Selim the Grim or Selim the Resolute, the Ottoman Sultan from 1512 to 1520. He nearly tripled the size and population of the Ottoman Empire in his short rule, and so deserves greater attention.
This is the latest in the Osprey Men at Arms series by Gabriele Esposito covering the little known Italian-Turkish War 1911-12. This book has all the key elements we have come to expect from the MAA series. A potted history of the war, full orbats, and a chapter on the organisation of both armies. There are period photographs and excellent colour plates by Giuseppe Rava.
Operation Gertrud and WW2 Turkey
A Strategy & Tactics board game covering a German plan for the invasion of Turkey, 'Operation Gertrud'. And a new wargame project in 15mm - the Turkish army of WW2. For some reading around the period we have 'The Warrior Diplomats' by Metin Tamkoc, "Turkish Foreign Policy' by Edward Weisband, or a period spy thriller 'Sea of Spies'.
Tito's Underground Air Base
This is a new book by Bojan Dimitrijevic and Milan Micevski about the Yugoslav airbase at Bihac (Zeljava) between 1964 and 1992.
The Royal Hungarian Army in WW2
The latest addition to our armies of the Balkans section are the Hungarians who fought with the Axis in WW2.
Red Wind over the Balkans
This is a new study, by Kaloyan Matev, of the Soviet offensive south of the Danube between September and October 1944. The sister of the better-known offensive into Romania and Hungary to the north. Very detailed and very good.
Serbia Under the Swastika
Our review of this book by Alexander Prusin takes a rare English language look at the WW2 occupation of Serbia. Pretty harrowing in places, but well worth reading.
Leaders of the Medieval Balkans
A feature article on the great leaders of the medieval Balkans. A companion to the new Balkan Medieval army lists for the wargame rules To the Strongest!
Ottoman Navy of the Napoleonic Wars
Our latest feature article looks at the Ottoman Navy after it was destroyed by the Russians at Cesme in 1770, until 1815.
Rise of Empires - Ottoman
The Netflix series is worth a watch. A nice balance between drama and historical commentary with a haunting narration by Charles Dance. Now into a second season with the story of Vlad the Impaler.
How war changed Ottoman society
Interesting updated book on how the experience of the 1912-13 Balkan Wars reshaped Ottoman officials' understanding of modern warfare and informed decisions taken during the First World War. The Ottoman History Podcast interviews the author.
The Early Slavs
A detailed, but readable study of the early Slavs by Paul Barford. He covers the expansion of the South Slavs from the forest Steppes into the Balkans in the 6th century. Unlike other Steppe tribes this was a gradual incursion over a long period of time.
Bulgarian Air Force in WW2
Our review of a new book from Helion that studies the equipment and operations of the Bulgarian Air Force in the Second World War.
Normans in the Balkans
Our new feature article on the Norman campaigns in the Balkans. Plus a review of Paul Hill's book 'The Norman Commanders: Masters of Warfare 911-1135'. He argues that it was leadership, not technology, which underpinned their success.
Our latest feature article describes a World War Two plan to establish a Partisan bridgehead on the Dalmatian Coast in Operation Knockholt.
Austro-Hungarian forts to be destroyed in Montenegro development
The Yugoslav submarine tunnel, the hidden tunnel systems, the A-H coastal battery of Luštica, the guard house for Luštica with it’s spectacular view over the bay, everything is planned to disappear and to be turned into ugly hotel elements. Fabian Dittrich explains.
Serbian site reveals human migration history
A Neanderthal tooth discovered in the Pešturina cave is a small but exciting step towards reconstructing the complex prehistory of human migration and cultural contact in the Central Balkans.
Royal Yugoslav Armed Forces
We take a look at the armed forces of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia just prior to WW2. While it didn't last long following the German invasion of 1941, it might have had to fight at least twice in 1939. In conflicts that we're only narrowly avoided. We take a detailed look at one such possibility - the Salonika Campaign of 1940.
Bloody Big Balkan Battles
Our Editor's review of a book of scenarios for gaming the Balkan Wars 1912-13. It is designed for the rule set Bloody Big Battles, and they don't come much bigger than this conflict. Fourteen battles with maps and orbats for all the armies involved. Very good!
Adriatic Cruel Seas
Warlord Games have published a new game of coastal warfare in World War Two, Cruel Seas.
In this feature article we take a look at coastal warfare in the Adriatic during 1943 and 1944, which offers plenty of examples of this type of warfare. Then we build the Regia Marina.
World's oldest intact shipwreck found in the Black Sea
Archaeologists have found the shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years. The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface.
The Other 1918 Campaign
With all the focus on the Battle of Amiens and the hundred days to the armistice, we look at how campaigns in Balkans played an important part in ending WW1. In particular the Battle of Dobro Pole in September 1918.
Laskarina Bouboulina - Greek Rebel Admiral
Ciaran Conliffe tells the story of the female leader of the first naval force to declare for an independent Greece.
Battle of the Medak Pocket
A History Network podcast covers a little known skirmish between Canadian peacekeepers and Croatian forces in 1993.
A set of historic maps of the Hungarian monarchy, and the Western Balkans, became the most significant addition to the Old Art Collection in the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) last year. They can be viewed online here.
Wallachian and Moldovan troops of the Napoleonic wars
A guest post by Andrew Prockter outlines the armed forces of the Wallachian and Moldovan principalities during the Napoleonic wars.
Transnistrian War 1992
Our feature article discusses the Transnistrian War of 1992. The breakaway republic's conflict in Moldova and the Russian involvement.
The Zadruga in the Military Border
This feature article looks at the Zadruga households of the grenzer in the military border.
“Let no one be so mad as to believe that there is anything more pleasurable than history”
13thC Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates,
Books by our Editor - Dave Watson
A supplement to Chasing the Soft Underbelly for wargamers. On sale here.
The Balkan Quiz
If you think you know a bit about Balkan history - this is the quiz for you!
And now our Balkan Castles supplement
Plus - can you name these six historical Balkan women. Click for the YouTube explanation.
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2023 Balkan Anniversaries
Oct.1973 - Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul completed, connecting Europe and Asia for the first time in history.
July 1923 - Treaty of Lausanne.
Aug.1923 - Italy briefly occupies Corfu.
Oct 1923 - Turkey becomes a republic.
May 1423 - Ottomans break through the Hexamilion wall, and ravage the Peloponnese.
1223 - Mongol invasion of Russia & Ukraine
823 - Byzantine Emperor Michael II defeats the rebel Thomas the Slav in Thrace.
623 - Byzantine–Sassanid War: Emperor Heraclius invades Armenia.
323 - Emperor Constantine defeats the Goths and Sarmatians in Dacia.
223BC - Antigonus invades the Peloponnese and drives the Spartans out of Argos.
June 323BC - Alexander the Great dies.
Serbian stamps honour Scots WW1 heroines
Scottish women who volunteered in Serbia during World War One are being commemorated in a series of stamps. The British Embassy has teamed up with Serbia Post to celebrate the efforts of the Scottish heroines.
ANZAC memorials of Rayner Hoff
Manx-born sculptor Rayner Hoff is being celebrated with the launch of a new stamp collection from the Isle of Man Post Office. The collection of six stamps features the ANZAC war memorials in Sydney and Adelaide, Australia, where the local artist’s work is featured.
Valentine Baker's Heroic Stand at Tashkessen 1877
This is the story of Valentine Baker who commanded 3000 Ottoman troops in a classic rearguard action against 25,000 Russians during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. The editor's review gives this one highly recommended. Well written and researched - just an amazing story.
Ali Pasha - Lion of Ioannina
This new study of the fascinating 'Napoleon of the Balkans' is well written and beautifully illustrated.
Peter the Great Humbled
Our review of Nicholas Dorrell's study of the Russo-Turkish War of 1711. A concise narrative of this little known conflict, well illustrated including colour plates.
The Tsar had a lucky escape. In other circumstances Russian history could have been very different.
Our review of 'Flashpoint Trieste' by Christian Jennings is the story of a contested city at the end of World War Two that can reasonably be described as the first battle of the Cold War.
On Mastadon: as firstname.lastname@example.org.