On September 13, 1918, at dawn, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in the Balkans, French General Franchet d’Espérey, ordered the final offensive for the breakthrough of the Thessaloniki front. Serbian Army which led the offensive on the ground played the key role in a counter-offensive breakthrough studied even today at countless military academies throughout the world, as a shining example of a glorious victory.
At 5:30 a.m. the Serbian troops began an unstoppable surge from the Greek border back in to Serbia, to free their motherland, pushing the Austrians, Germans and Bulgarians out of their country. In 12 days they advanced 800 miles on foot, forcing the French general to telegraph his counterpart in the Serbian Army, General Stepanovic: “General, please ask the Serbian infantry to slow down, the French cavalry cannot keep up the pace!”
The command issued by General Zivojin Misic to the Serbian Army at the dawn of the battle was brief and clear:
“Boldly press forward, without rest, to the utter limits of the human and horse strength. To death, just don’t stop! With the unwavering faith and hope: Heroes, forward! to the fatherland!”
On September 13 1918, the state which was at the brink of complete destruction in the fall of 1915 — occupied by the most powerful empires, left without the army, government and king — rose up from the ashes and amazed the world with its courage and willingness to sacrifice for freedom.