A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 208

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THE EFFORT OF SERBIA


In September, 1914, the Austrians made a second attempt to invade Serbia. The battle usually known as the battle of the Drina began with the Austrians crossing the Drina on September 8 and 9. Under great pressure the Serbians yielded ground, and pnSeptemberiitheAustriansagainheldShabatz. TheSerbians had been reinforced, however, and after a preliminary repulse they drove the Austrians back towards the Drina. After an exhausting struggle both sides settled down to trench warfare, but the second Austrian invasion of Serbia had definitely failed. In the meantime Serbian and Montenegrin forces made several raids into Bosnia, but the threat of a third Austrian invasion induced them to withdraw their forces from Bosnia to concentrate against a new attack. For the third attack the Austrians had collected a force of 300,000underGeneralPotiorek. Itwasnecessary,fornotonly had Serbia escaped the punishment which Austria had resolved to inflict upon ‘her, but also her continued defiance of her power- ful neighbour was leading other Balkan states to doubt the final triumphoftheCentralPowers. ThereasonswhichmadeAustria anxious to crush Serbia, made Great Britain and Frarfce anxious that Serbia should not be overwhelmed. All that the Western PowerscoulddotohelpSerbiatheydid. Suppliesofeverysort were shipped to the Mediterranean and sent up to Niwsh. But the Serbian army had been fighting hard since the beginning of the war. In spite of all the Western Powers could do to help her, shewasstiUshortofmunitions. Winterwas.comingonandthe trenches on the frontier became full of water, and Serbia's thin line, outstretched far beyond its strength, could not resist the pressure of the new forces brought against it. Under these circumstances General Putnik was compelled to orderhistroopstoretreattothemountains. Theretreatwasnot carried out in good order. The Serbian infantryman was one of the finest in Europe, but he had been put to an ordeal much beyond his strength. Owing to the overwhelming power of the Austrian artillery and the incessant charges of the Austrian infantry in the last weeks of the trench warfare, the Serbian soldiers had had to fight day and night without sleeping. The Austrians attacked furiously all along the frontier from Orsova to Visegrad. The Serb would have died where he stood, but: when he was ordered to leave bis lines and make a long march back to the mountains he completely lost heart,

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