- 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
- Salonika 1916
- Uskoks of Senj
- Siege of Klis 1537
- Eugene in the Balkans
- Moldavian Surprise 1711
- Austro-Turkish War 1737-9
- Invading Ottoman Turkey
- 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
- Kajmakcalan 1916
- The other 1918 campaign
- Macedonia air war WW1
- 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
- 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
- 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.
This is the new home of Balkan Military History. We have been going for 22 years and it was time for a major rebuild. The old site is still there as an archive while we construct this new resource. You can also follow us on Twitter 'Balkan History' @Balkan_Dave
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.
The Balkan Lockdown Quiz
So you think you know a bit about Balkan military history? Test yourself and friends with our lockdown quiz. It is in PowerPoint format so very suitable for a quiz on Zoom using the 'share screen' function.
'Commando Crusade' is the wartime memoir of Major-General Thomas Churchill. he commanded British forces on the Adriatic island of Vis during 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.
Midnight at the Pera Palace
The Pera Palace Hotel in the modern Beyoglu district of Istanbul is the rather loose link in Charles King's story of Istanbul between the two world wars.
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 new Netflix series is worth a watch. A nice balance between drama and histroical commentary with a haunting narration by Charles Dance.
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 Trieste Crisis 1953
Many people will be familiar with the race for Trieste at the end of the Second World War. However, this new book by Bojan Dimitrijevic covers the later crisis, when Yugoslav and Italian troops faced up to each on the border around the disputed city.
Croatia: A Nation Forged in War
This is the third edition of Marcus Tanner's history of Croatia. This is a very readable general history from a journalist who was an eyewitness to the events leading up to the break up of Yugoslavia.
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.
Hellenistic armies and battlefields
Two new books from Pen and Sword will be useful reading for anyone interested in Greek history. Armies of the Hellenistic States 323BC to AD30 primarily covers the successor states. It is lavishly illustrated with reenactors in period dress. The other is Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece, an essential read if visiting the battlefields.
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.
Death on the Don
Our review of this book by Jonathan Trigg, which chronicles the destruction of Germany's allies on the Eastern Front during WW2. With the exception of Italy's contribution, this is mostly the story of Hitler's Balkan allies; Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and the puppet Croatian state.
For God and Kaiser
Our review of Richard Bassett's book on the Imperial Austrian Army, from the Thirty Years War to the end of WW1. If you want to understand the big picture of the Imperial Austrian armies, you could do no better than this book.
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.
The Habsburgs' Wings 1914
This book is the story of the early years of the Austro-Hungarian air force by the Polish historian Andrej Olejko. This is an impressive piece of research and is extensively illustrated with period photographs.
Hitler's Strategy 1940-41: The Balkan Clue
The conventional view is that Hitler regarded the Balkans simply as a distraction from his plans to invade the Soviet Union. In this book, Martin van Creveld suggests a different interpretation. He argues that Hitler was determined on using the Mediterranean as an indirect way of damaging Britain when his invasion plans came to nothing. It was only when he decided to attack the Soviet Union that his focus changed, and even then, the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece did not cause any delay to Operation Barbarossa.
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.
A World on Fire
The Editor's review of James Heneage's novel of the Greek Revolution. While the author stretches the historical facts a little, the broad canvas of 1824-26 is all there. He tells a good story around the international events that led to the liberation of at least part of Greece from Ottoman rule.
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 Raven King
We review the story of the Hungarian King, Matthias Corvinus and the fate of his lost library by Marcus Tanner. History and books, what's not to like!
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.
Paul of Yugoslavia - Britain's Maligned Friend
Our review of a sympathetic biography of Prince Paul Karageorgevic, who was the Regent of Yugoslavia for a fateful seven years before the coup d'etat of March 1941 and the subsequent Axis invasion.
The Splintered Empires
Our review of Prit Buttar's 'The Splintered Empires'. This is a history of the Eastern Front between 1917 and 1921. This is a really complex story, very well told, with plenty of detail for the military historian. There are also decent maps, something often missing in other studies.
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.
The Serbian Army of the Great War
Our review of Dusan Babac's book on the Serbian army 1914-18. Profusively illustrated study of the army, with a good overview of the main campaigns. The definitive book on the subject.
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.
The Balkan Lockdown Quiz
If you think you know a bit about Balkan history - this is the quiz for you!
And now our Balkan Castles supplement
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2021 Balkan Anniversaries
Greek-Turkish War battles:
Inonu - Jan and March 1921
Kutahaya - July 1921
Sakarya - August 1921
March 1821 - Greek War of Independence
Sept 1621 - Battle of Chocim. Poland v Ottomans
June 1521 - Siege of Belgrade
1321 - Byzantine civil war
1121 - Emperor John II recovers southwestern Anatolia from the Seljuk Turks
March 421 - Venice founded
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.