Talk:Vardar Offensive

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Discrepancy in figures[edit]

The figures given in the article, cited from Richard Hall, are considerably different than the ones presented in the official history of the Greek Army, which in turn gives as source the equivalent French official history ("Les Armées Francaises dans la Grande Guerre 1914-1918"). For the Central Powers numbers given are as follows:

Bulgarians: 356,000 in Macedonia; 12,000 in Thrace; 50,000 interior ("National Guard" according to text) [ie total: 418,000]
Germans: 24,000 in Macedonia
Austrians: 40,000 in Albania
Total: 482,000 men

Undoubtedly, these numbers were only estimates by the French, and Bulgarian and German sources (which perhaps Hall may have used) should give a more correct picture. However the complete omission of the Austrians in Hall's reference and the existing table, particularly since the Albanians and Italians are included, creates a mismatch in the figures, which presumably do not correspond to the same area of the battlefront.

More than that, the figures quoted from Hall for the Allied Powers are also in significant discrepancy with the ones found in the aformentioned official source: [the Greek reference is as such: "Les Armées Francaises dans la Grande Guerre 1914-1918", Volume VIII, Part 3, pages 69-71]

French: 187,700 in front; 37,500 in the rear [ie total: 225,200]
Serbs: 94,200 in front; 23,100 in the rear [ie total: 117,300]
British: 117,600 in front; 19,200 in the rear [ie total: 136,800]
Greeks: 104,500 in front; 25,000 in the rear [ie total: 129,500]
Italians: 36,300 in front; 8,400 in the rear [ie total: 44,700]
Albanians: 2,300
Total: 655,800 men, 1,068 mountain and field artillery pieces, 472 heavy artillery pieces

It must be noted that these figures refer to the situation as of end June/July 1918. In August, and in preparation of the offensive, the Allied forces -particualry the French and Serb, rearranged their positions. There is however no mention of either reinforcements arriving or forces leaving the theater. If anything, only the Greek army had additional uncommitted forces (mostly under training -according to the Greek official source 183,256 men and 337 guns was the strength of the Greek army in Septemebr 1918).
--Xristar (talk) 09:50, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Figures differ greatly from one source to another. However the Albanians and Italians in Albania are usually not considered part of the Macedonian Front because they were subordinated to their respective high commands and not to the Bulgarian/German CINC or General d'Esperey. Also if the data you have posted is correct it would seem that your source includes the Austrians in Albania but omits the c. 100,000 Italians located in Albania.--Avidius (talk) 10:17, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
You're correct. The Italians had two separate forces: the independent XVI Corps around the port of Vlore in Albania, and the 35th Infantry Division east of Bitola, under French command. In February 1918, the 35th Division is mentioned to have had 43,336 men (3 brigades with 18 battalions). So yes, the Italian figure of 44,700 in July 1918 apparently refers only to the 35th division. Things however are complex, because it seems that about one third of the front inside Albania was covered by the French forces (57th French infantry division & "Korce Group") facing part of the Austrian 19th Corps (which covered most of the Albanian front).--Xristar (talk) 11:05, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
The Bulgarian front in Albania extended up to the river Shkumbin. According to the sources I've researched the line between that river and Lake Prespa was occupied by the Bulgarian Mixed division which was opposite to the French 57th divisions during most of 1918 including at the start of the offensive. For example look at the map here [1] it is number 14 "Схема 14. Сражение в Македонии 15–29 сентября 1918 г. (стр. 94)". It is possible that when the Bulgarians on this part of the front began retreating the french 57th Division had to extend its front further to face the Austrians in Albania.--Avidius (talk) 12:05, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
The area under control of the French extended deep into Albania, west of Skumbin river, to river Osum. The French were fighting against the Austrians in Albania already before the September offensive. The Greek history is not specific of the composition, but the "Korce sector" west of the 57th Division was a French unit, although including Italian units. The Russian map which identifies the units west of the 57th division as Italian is apparently wrong.--Xristar (talk) 12:53, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
The French division was split in two parts it would seem one against the Austrian and one against the Bulgarians. Still the forces involved were by no means significant in numbers and don't really change the overall figures for the Macedonian Front.--Avidius (talk) 15:19, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
There were two French division-sized formations in Albania: the 56th infantry division and the "Korce Sector", which also included Italian units. The total Allied strength for the Spring 1918 offensive from lake Prespa to river Osum was 22 battalions. I don't have precise information, but from the maps of the offensive included in the Greek history book I calculate/guess about 10 French infantry battalions were committed west of the river Shkubin against the Austrians. Indeed, it is not a significant force. --Xristar (talk) 15:32, 12 April 2011 (UTC)