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The Fog of War Lifts: 1912 Balkans War

 


The Balkans War of 1912 was for the region a time of rising nationalistic tension and power as the land once ruled by the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years went to war. In this time the dreams of a new golden age for the Turks, the Greeks, the Bulgars, Serbs, and other peoples were fought to be made manifest.

In November of 1912 Bulgarian forces under Radko Dimitriev sought to complete a series of glorious victories against the Ottomans. The Ottoman armies of the Balkans defeated they sought after their great prize: The City of Istanbul. The only thing standing in their way was the fortress at Catalca just 35 km away from the city of Istanbul and Bulgarian dreams. The place was the last chance for the Ottomans to turn back the Ottomans and force the chance of a armistice on the Bulgarians to give space for a Ottoman counter attack.
At first it seemed that a fog over the area would provide ‘cover’ for the Bulgarians to take the high ridges of Catalca from the Ottomans, but the fog was short lived and General Dimitriev called off a daylight attack for duelling artillery with the Ottoman’s. If the Bulgarians had attacked they would have been slaughtered by the Ottoman guns, their commander Mahmut Muhtar Pasa had learned well from Ottoman defeats and improved Ottoman defensive tactics. Alas the Bulgarians dug in for a siege and instead opted for a night attack and with their superior numbers broke through Ottoman lines at Illeri and swept into their defensive positions. Mahmut Pasa killed in the attack crushes the Ottoman’s already low spirits. Taking Catalca from the Ottomans, Dimitriev and the 2nd and 2rd Bulgarian armies secure the local railroad lines and head on Istanbul.

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#2

Old July 8th, 2012, 05:06 AM

General_Finley General_Finley is offline

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Bulgarian Constantinople… I want so badly!

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Old July 8th, 2012, 05:14 AM

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Originally Posted by General_Finley View Post

Bulgarian Constantinople… I want so badly!

The Russians…so very much do not want.

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Old July 8th, 2012, 05:23 AM

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The Russians…so very much do not want.

Damn the Russians! Tsargrad belongs to the Third Bulgarian Empire. It has been Bulgaria’s right since Symeon the great claimed it.

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Old July 8th, 2012, 06:03 AM

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Welp, certainly a lot of dying is going to come of that.

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#6

Old July 8th, 2012, 05:52 PM

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Anyone want to guess the arrangement of Great Powers on whose side they will be on following this?

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#7

Old July 8th, 2012, 06:04 PM

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A new timeline set during the Balkans Wars? I am definitely going to subscribe to this.

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Old July 8th, 2012, 06:33 PM

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Wouldn’t Russia attack Bulgaria if it tries to take Constantinople? Also, is there a pod in any other part of the war, like Serbia, Montenegro and Greece succeeding more?

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Old July 8th, 2012, 10:00 PM

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Wouldn’t Russia attack Bulgaria if it tries to take Constantinople? Also, is there a pod in any other part of the war, like Serbia, Montenegro and Greece succeeding more?

Thats true. Unless the British and Germans get them to back down…or if they don’t…well. You can guess what happens

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Old July 8th, 2012, 10:34 PM

General_Finley General_Finley is offline

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Thats true. Unless the British and Germans get them to back down…or if they don’t…well. You can guess what happens

A German, British, Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian alliance against a Russo, Franco, Italian alliance while Turkey cries in the corner as Bulgaria and Russia do battle for Constantinople.

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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:03 PM

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A German, British, Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian alliance against a Russo, Franco, Italian alliance while Turkey cries in the corner as Bulgaria and Russia do battle for Constantinople.

Why do i think Turkey will get steamrolled in this scenario?

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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:41 PM

General_Finley General_Finley is offline

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Why do i think Turkey will get steamrolled in this scenario?

because it will have no allies with both factions wanting to take the prize of Constantinople for themselves. Even if Russia is forced to back down and Bulgaria takes Constantinople the Ottomans are screwed. Turkey might be better off with a war for Constantinople because if their is an agreement for giving Bulgaria Constantinople then the Russians will want compensation, likely in the form of Armenia and this could lead to the partitioning of Turkey.

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Old July 8th, 2012, 11:54 PM

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The Young Turks of course would never allow that to happen…

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Old July 9th, 2012, 12:35 AM

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The Young Turks of course would never allow that to happen…

They can try, but the Balkans War vastly depleted the number of school-trained officers in the Turkish army and broke the Turkish reserve system. If the great powers decide to partition Turkey the Turks can fight on, but they will lose this fight. This isn’t like OTL where the great powers are exhausted from the Great War and unable to enforce the terms. If the great powers settle the matter peacefully and decide to partition the Turkish Empire, the Turks with lose.

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Old July 9th, 2012, 01:34 AM

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They can try, but the Balkans War vastly depleted the number of school-trained officers in the Turkish army and broke the Turkish reserve system. If the great powers decide to partition Turkey the Turks can fight on, but they will lose this fight. This isn’t like OTL where the great powers are exhausted from the Great War and unable to enforce the terms. If the great powers settle the matter peacefully and decide to partition the Turkish Empire, the Turks with lose.

Particularly with the Russians, English and French. And whoever else decides to join the winning powers. Didn’t Russia want to colonize the Northern part of Anatolia with Cossacks?

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Old July 9th, 2012, 01:42 AM

General_Finley General_Finley is offline

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Particularly with the Russians, English and French. And whoever else decides to join the winning powers. Didn’t Russia want to colonize the Northern part of Anatolia with Cossacks?

If the matter is settled without a war, I do wonder what the Germans will ask for/demand?

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Old July 9th, 2012, 01:48 AM

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If the matter is settled without a war, I do wonder what the Germans will ask for/demand?

What could they possibly want/need?

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Old July 9th, 2012, 01:55 AM

General_Finley General_Finley is offline

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What could they possibly want/need?

I’m not sure, but they have been funding the Berlin to Baghdad railway and they won’t be entirely happy to see Britain gain Iraq because Germany already has access and ownership of oil fields in Iraq.

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Old July 9th, 2012, 07:17 PM

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I see a number of problems. If the Bulgarians do get to Constantinople they still have to take it. While not the size of today’s city its a big one and neither the Turks nor the large Greek minority at the time will be welcoming of the Bulgarians. It could easily see the Bulgarian army destroyed in bitter urban conflict. Not to mention the probable international outrage over such a battle.
At the time Bulgaria was Russia’s main ally in the Balkans. It was after they did most of the fighting but Serbia and Greece got the bulk of the gains and then Russia didn’t support them in gaining more lands from their allies that led to the disastrous [for Bulgaria] 2nd Balkan war. As such would Russia have been that hostile if an ally/protectorate had successfully seized the city from the Turks?
Assorted powers would have been opposed to Bulgaria seizing the straits but Greece, probably backed by Serbia, would also be more than a little vocal about it. Expect them to have say in the exchange. This would also be the case if a more widespread war didn’t occur. Hence, if Bulgaria somehow took target of the city then, unless they got a lot of Russian support, don’t expect them to hold it for long.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 07:31 PM

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Guys
I see a number of problems. If the Bulgarians do get to Constantinople they still have to take it. While not the size of today’s city its a big one and neither the Turks nor the large Greek minority at the time will be welcoming of the Bulgarians. It could easily see the Bulgarian army destroyed in bitter urban conflict. Not to mention the probable international outrage over such a battle.
At the time Bulgaria was Russia’s main ally in the Balkans. It was after they did most of the fighting but Serbia and Greece got the bulk of the gains and then Russia didn’t support them in gaining more lands from their allies that led to the disastrous [for Bulgaria] 2nd Balkan war. As such would Russia have been that hostile if an ally/protectorate had successfully seized the city from the Turks?
Assorted powers would have been opposed to Bulgaria seizing the straits but Greece, probably backed by Serbia, would also be more than a little vocal about it. Expect them to have say in the exchange. This would also be the case if a more widespread war didn’t occur. Hence, if Bulgaria somehow took target of the city then, unless they got a lot of Russian support, don’t expect them to hold it for long.
Steve

I have the feeling the Bulgarians will take it, but won’t hold onto it for long. Probably thrown out by the Russians and English, or has to abandon it because of a potential war.

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#21

Old July 9th, 2012, 11:01 PM

King of Malta King of Malta is offline

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What Comes Next
With the Ottoman defenses broken at Catalca the events of the next few weeks would have one common factor shared by not only those involved in the current conflict, but by those who would soon be dragged into it as well. This common factor was a feeling of panic.
The defeat at Catalca ensured the loss of close to twenty thousand soldiers on part of the Ottoman Army as portions of the defending forces guarding way to Constantinople were surrounded and killed or captured by the bulk of Bulgarian forces lead by the Third Army. The most crippling blow of their loses was the capture or destruction of a large portion of their artillery cannons which had been neutralized by the Bulgarian night attack or destroyed in succeeding artillery bombardment. The cannons themselves represented a large portion of not only the Ottoman army’s modernization, but their defenses for Istanbul. The only guns not disrupted by the Bulgarian victory was those on the Ottoman naval ships, but throughout the conflict their prescence had hardly contributed to any military edge due to the Ottoman’s rusty navy. The battle was also unfortunate for the Ottomans because a great deal of their military staff had flocked to the battle sight to overlook the Bulgarians. Besides Mahmut Pasa casulties included many high and low ranking officers (which contributed to the sorry affair that was the Ottoman retreat) which included such notables as Mustafa Ismet.
Following the breakthrough Nazim Pasa the leader of Ottoman forces threw in support reserve corps at the Bulgarians while carefully reorganizing forces left over from the battle for a new defense. Repositioning guns still operational from the battle and even from Istanbul itself to stop the Bulgarians. In part this strategy worked as the resulting reorganized defenses halted the Bulgarians after three days of fighting, but at the same time it dashed any hope of armistance. With victory at Catalca the Bulgarians had advanced through the stoney, pastures of Gaziosmanpasa. To the world it seemed that Bulgaria was on the cusp of taking Istanbul. Especially to Serbian and Greek commanders who began to draw back from the Bulgarians slowly. Especially to several Ottoman military officers who stormed the Sultan’s palace on the day the Bulgarian advance was finally halted. Especially so to Russia as military forces that crossed into Bulgaria. Especially so to Great Britain and Germany as they decried Russia’s actions. Especially to Tsar Ferdinand who already was planning his triumphant walk into Constantinople.

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#22

Old July 9th, 2012, 11:04 PM

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Why do you taunt us by withholding the exciting part?

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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:10 PM

King of Malta King of Malta is offline

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So you can comment what comes next.

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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:11 PM

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So you can comment what comes next.

Well i can’t wait. Still evil for taunting us though. Although i do have doubts about Bulgarians actually taking Istanbul.

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#25

Old July 9th, 2012, 11:20 PM

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Well i can’t wait. Still evil for taunting us though. Although i do have doubts about Bulgarians actually taking Istanbul.

Well how about helping me with names for the allied coaltions about to form?

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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:34 PM

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Well how about helping me with names for the allied coaltions about to form?

That would depend on the alliances. It sounds like Bulgaria, Russia and [possibly France?] against just about everybody else. Britain might limit its involvement if it thought the continental powers will cancel each other out and Constantinople stays out of Russian hands. This presumes that the Russians are marching in support of Bulgaria, which is sounds like is the case. If so have they pressurised Romania into giving then access or being moved to Bulgaria by sea. Serbia and Greece are likely to stay neutral if they can stay out of the conflict and keep the gains they have made from the Ottomans. Austria will follow Germany’s lead, especially since they won’t want Russia getting too powerful. Italy could go either way or stay neutral. A lot for them might depend on which way Britain goes as sea power is important for Italy.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 11:48 PM

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That would depend on the alliances. It sounds like Bulgaria, Russia and [possibly France?] against just about everybody else. Britain might limit its involvement if it thought the continental powers will cancel each other out and Constantinople stays out of Russian hands. This presumes that the Russians are marching in support of Bulgaria, which is sounds like is the case. If so have they pressurised Romania into giving then access or being moved to Bulgaria by sea. Serbia and Greece are likely to stay neutral if they can stay out of the conflict and keep the gains they have made from the Ottomans. Austria will follow Germany’s lead, especially since they won’t want Russia getting too powerful. Italy could go either way or stay neutral. A lot for them might depend on which way Britain goes as sea power is important for Italy.
Steve

Oh no its quite the opposite for Russia.

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#28

Old July 10th, 2012, 12:00 AM

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That would depend on the alliances. It sounds like Bulgaria, Russia and [possibly France?] against just about everybody else. Britain might limit its involvement if it thought the continental powers will cancel each other out and Constantinople stays out of Russian hands. This presumes that the Russians are marching in support of Bulgaria, which is sounds like is the case. If so have they pressurised Romania into giving then access or being moved to Bulgaria by sea. Serbia and Greece are likely to stay neutral if they can stay out of the conflict and keep the gains they have made from the Ottomans. Austria will follow Germany’s lead, especially since they won’t want Russia getting too powerful. Italy could go either way or stay neutral. A lot for them might depend on which way Britain goes as sea power is important for Italy.
Steve

It seems more like Russia attacking Bulgaria, because only Russia alone will have Constantinople, especiall if they can help it.

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