A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 204

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THE EFFORT OF SERBIA


Serbia from Montenegro, who immediately after Austria’s declara- tion of war had thrown in her lot with her neighbour. On July 29, Austrian artillery began to bombard Belgrade from the opposite bank of the Danube, and there' was firing also from Austrian monitors on the Danube, while the Serbian government atonceleftthecapitalandretiredtoNish. TheSerbianarmy, commanded by the Crown Prince Alexander, with Marshal Put- nik as his chief of staff, took up a position on the hills behind the town of Valievo. During the first week in August five Austrian army corps made repeated efforts to cross the Danube and the Save. Tlie points of crossing were successfully disputed by the Serbian frontier guards, assisted by detached columns from the army of theDanube,andanadvanceguardofthewesternarmy. Inno case did the Austrian attempts meet with any measure of success, while a combined effort to ‘invade Serbia from the extreme east at Orsova resulted in a minor disaster for the Austrian arms— foretasteofwhatwastocome. Thethreebattalionsthatformed the Austrian advance guard lost touch with their own main body, and at the same time fell into a carefully prepared t’fap. Tliey suffered heavy losses. This marked success.produced a very wholesome effect upon the morale of the Serbians, who had resented the bombardment of their capital from across the Danube, to which Ihey had been unable to makg^an effective reply. They regained confidence, not only in their own powers, but in the ability of their generals. After this affair the Austrians showed activity on the river Drina, which formed the western frontier of Serbia, but were? quite unable to effect a crossing. On August ii, under cover of a very heavy combined rifle and artillery fire along the whole of the front from Losnitza on the Drina to Sliabatz on the Save, a reconnaissance in force was carried out in which the Austrian aircraft were particularly active, but still no crossing was effected. The Serbian forces within the triangle found themselves not only hopelessly outnumbered, but wdth both their flanks threat- ened should the Austrians succeed in crossing either of the rivers. It was therefore considered advisable to begin a partial retirement until the Serbian main army could be brought up to' strengthen thedefences. Thisretrogrademovementwasinpartaprecau- tionary measure, but was also conceived with the object of luring the Austrians across the rivers. On August 12 an Austrian

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