WWI – Battle Of Dobro Pole (Tranches and Bunkers)
Starting from a previously arranged gathering place in Bitola, our licensed mountain guide with a 4×4 jeep will take on an 10-12 hour adventure to one of the most significant sites from the First World War on the Macedonian front where the most important and decisive battle had been played.
The road leading to Dobro Pole is a mountainous road in extremely poor condition and is only available by terrain vehicle. It is bad and unmarked terrain and is recommended to be visited accompanied by a licensed mountain guide. Because location Dobro Pole is on the Macedonian – Greek border, it is necessary to obtain a visiting license from the local authorities in Macedonia, which we will provide it.
An interesting fact which speaks of the importance of the Battle of Dobro Pole is the fact that in the center of Paris, today there is a street named Dobro Pole (Rue du Dobropol).
About The Battle Of Dobro Pоle
Dobro Pole is WW I location in Municipality of Novaci-region of Mariovo on the Macedonian – Greek border.
With the relocation of most German units on the Western Front in the spring 1918, the position of the Central Powers on the Macedonian front was further deteriorated.
The morale among the starving Bulgarian army was at exceptionally low level and more soldiers deserted on the other side, some of them leaving behind a letter, saying: “Empty backpacks do not defend borders”.
In this situation the command of the Entente saw a great opportunity to put additional pressure on the Germans, who were already withdrawing on the Western Front, through a strong offensive on the Macedonian Front. The main attack was planned on the locality called Dobro Pole (Dobro Polje, Добро Поле – literate translation – Good Field).
Dobro Pole is locality between the peaks Sokol (Сокол – Falcon) and Veternik (Ветерник – Windy place) of Nidze Mountain and many allied generals believed that the attack on this location would be a suicide, since as an open field it is easily defended. On the other hand, the siege of this place would mean a total collapse of the entire Bulgarian defence; therefore, the Allies were willing to take the risk.
The attack began on 14th September, 1918 with artillery bombardment of several positions. Infantry attacks followed on September 15th at 5:30 pm. According to the testimony of the local population which remained in small number in the nearby villages – “The earth was burning from the heavy bombardment.”
On the side of the Allied forces in the front row were the 122nd French Infantry Division, the 17th French Infantry Colonial Division and the Serbian Shumadiska Division, and in the second row were two Serbian divisions – Timochka and Yugoslav.
Bulgarians had endured the heavy bombing, so the fight had to be won by the infantry. Serbian armies slowly penetrated the steep slopes and the more they approached, the more frequent the Bulgarian counter attacks were. Using flamethrowers the Bulgarian machine-gun nests were destroyed and after eight hours of battle, the Bulgarian line was breached. In two days since the beginning of the attack, defence positions of the Bulgarians and Germans in this area were drilled 25 km wide and 10 km in depth. The commander of the 11th German Army ordered the withdrawal of German and Bulgarian units from the line near the village Polchishte. Ten days after the Dobro Pole battle the Allied forces were in Gradsko (Градско) which was then a communications centre of the Central forces and thus the communication between the German command and the Bulgarian army on the frontline was terminated.
On 29th September, the Allies entered in Skopje and were already on the state borders of Bulgaria. Afraid of the possibility to be occupied by the Allies, a Bulgarian delegation on 29th September, 1918, in Thessaloniki, signed a truce with which military operations between Bulgaria and the Allies stopped on September 30th, 1918. Although the terms of the armistice were very difficult for Bulgaria, their delegation signed the truce. With the signing of the armistice, all hostilities in the region on the Macedonian front ceased. On the other hand, the Serbian Army continued fighting with the German and Austro-Hungarian armies in the liberation of Serbia. The defeat that the German and Austro-Hungarian army suffered first caused the collapse of Austria-Hungary, which on November 4th, 1918 signed a capitulation, which, on the other hand, lead to the disintegration of the dualistic state and the Hapsburg monarchy. Failures on the Western Front, the events in the Balkans and the internal crisis and unrest forced Germany to sign an armistice with the Allies, on November 11th, 1918 and by doing this, it admitted its defeat.