Under The Devil's Eye - The British Military Experience in Macedonia 1915-1918.

product code 763

category Books -> General Military

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By Alan Wakefield & Simon MoodyDean Marks. Hardback, 264 pages. Illustrated in black and white, and with maps. Published byPen & Sword, 2011.

The British Salonika Force landed in Greece in October 1915, to deter Bulgaria from joining the Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, in attacking Serbia. The campaign was, from the British perspective, always destined to be a ‘side show’. Britain had no political, commercial or strategic interests in the region beyond prosecuting the First World War to a favourable conclusion, but the demands of coalition warfare made a continued Anglo-French presence necessary. From mid-1917, however, the War Office plundered the British Salonika Force’s manpower to support offensives in Palestine and on the Western Front. Men who had joined up to fight the Kaiser’s Army after its invasion of Belgium found themselves facing Bulgarians in a remote corner of Europe. The public at large either forgot about the campaign or joined in its denigration. ‘The Devil’s Eye’ was the soldiers’ name for the infamous Bulgarian observation post overlooking the British line at Doiran. The troops who fought in the Balkans, and especially the British contingent, became a forgotten army. Along with Gallipoli and campaigns in Italy and Palestine, Salonika is a ‘missing link’ in the British war effort of the First World War.

Two battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment, the 2nd and 9th, fought in this campaign.