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Battle of Cer
Part of the Serbian Campaign of the Balkans Theatre of the First World War
Map of Austrian invasion plans of Serbia, 1914.

A map depicting the initial Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, August 1914.
Date15–24 August 1914[a]
Cer Mountain and surrounding towns and villages in the northwestern portion of the Kingdom of Serbia
Result Serbian victory[4][5]
 Austria-Hungary  Serbia
Commanders and leaders
Austria-Hungary Oskar Potiorek
Austria-Hungary Eduard von Böhm-Ermolli
Austria-Hungary Liborius Ritter von Frank
Kingdom of Serbia Radomir Putnik
Kingdom of Serbia Stepa Stepanović
Kingdom of Serbia Pavle Jurišić Šturm
Units involved
2nd Army
5th Army
2nd Army
3rd Army
200,000 180,000
Casualties and losses
6,000–10,000 killed
30,000 wounded
4,500 captured
46 guns captured
30 machine guns captured
140 ammunition wagons captured
3,000–5,000 killed
15,000 wounded

The Battle of Cer[b] was a military campaign fought between Austria-Hungary and Serbia in August 1914 during the early stages of the Serbian Campaign of the First World War. It took place around Cer Mountain and several surrounding villages, as well as the town of Šabac.

The battle, part of the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia, began on the night of 15 August when elements of the Serbian 1st Combined Division encountered Austro-Hungarian outposts that had been established on the slopes of Cer Mountain earlier in the invasion. The clashes that followed escalated into a battle for control over several towns and villages near the mountain, especially Šabac. On 19 August, the morale of the Austro-Hungarians collapsed and thousands of soldiers retreated back into Austria-Hungary, many of them drowning in the Drina River as they fled in panic. On 24 August the Serbs re-entered Šabac, marking the end of the battle. Serbian casualties after nearly ten days of fighting were 3,000–5,000 killed and 15,000 wounded. Those of the Austro-Hungarians were significantly higher, with 6,000–10,000 soldiers killed, 30,000 wounded and 4,500 taken as prisoners of war. The Serb victory over the Austro-Hungarians marked the first Allied victory over the Central Powers in the First World War, and the first aerial dogfight of the war took place during the battle.

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  • ✪ Serbian Field Marshal Stepa Stepanovic I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?
  • ✪ 1914-06 Battle of Cer Mountain August 15th - 24th 1914
  • ✪ Serbia's Last Stand Against The Central Powers I THE GREAT WAR - Week 68
  • ✪ Epic History: World War One - 1914
  • ✪ The Rape of Belgium And The Battle of Tannenberg I THE GREAT WAR - Week 5


It had to be tough being a leader of large army during this war. Perhaps it had to be far tougher to be a leader of an army from a small nation trying to fight off one many times larger. If you can do that, you know you’re good, and one of the men who did was Stepa Stepanovic. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to a Great War bio special of Who did what in World War One? Today featuring Stepa Stepanovic. He was born in Serbian village of Kumodraz near Belgrade March 11, 1856, the 4th child of Ivan and Radojka Stepanovic. At this time Serbia was not an independent nation, but an autonomous province within the Ottoman Empire. The last Ottoman soldier would officially leave Serbia in 1867, but it would take the Congress of Berlin in 1878 to make Serbia its own nation. After elementary school, Stepa moved to Belgrade where he took classes and worked as a servant to wealthy families. At age 18 he joined the Belgrade Artillery Academy. One of the other 29 cadets was the future Field Marshall Zivojin Misic, who would also distinguish himself during the First World War. By 1876, Stepanovic was a lance sergeant, but his education was interrupted by the First Serbo-Turkish war that year. Serbia’s goal was to liberate all parts of the Balkans where Serbs lived under Ottoman rule. Stepa was sent to the front where he fought in a series of battles, making a name for himself as a soldier and becoming a sub-lieutenant. At the village of Nishor, it was Stepa who first entered the Ottoman trenches and for his bravery was awarded the St. Stanislav Third Class medal with Swords and ribbon. Throughout his career he would say that it was the medal of which he was most proud. After independence Stepa returned to Belgrade to finish his education. He graduated in 1880 and was given a company command. That same year he met Jelena, whom he would marry the following year and with whom he would have two daughters. He saw further action in the Serbo-Bulgarian war of 1885 and after that served in Kragujevac and Valjevo, becoming a Captain First Class by the end of the decade. Both he and his former classmate Misic took the exam for Staff Major-General in the spring of 1892. He successfully passed the exam and by 1901 was in Belgrade as a Headquarters Colonel and Professor of Military History. One thing to note about Serbia in the early 1900s, the Serbian political and military situation was constantly in flux with sabotages, assassinations, and conspiracies between various factions. During the May 1903 coup, King Alexander was killed and King Petar I Karadjordjevic from a rival dynasty took the throne. Stepanovic, however, was apolitical and uninterested in the internal conflicts, which may well have saved his career. He was, though, a very strict disciplinarian who tolerated not even the slightest disobedience. He also fought against the exploitation of soldiers by their superiors and all things that had no place in the army, for example officers sending enlisted men out to get them food or perform household chores. His belief there was so unpopular with fellow officers that they tried to secretly have Stepa arrested but he discovered their plot and had 31 of them arrested for conspiracy. In 1907 he was promoted to General and in 1908 became Serbian Minister of Defense. He began a program of general modernization and reorganization of the Serbian army, though he was initially skeptical of modern arms. Serbia purchased the bulk of its new equipment from France; there were very good relations between the two. Stepa was dismissed as Defense Minister in 1909, unofficially over public disagreements over any actions of war that should be taken against Austria-Hungary for annexing Bosnia. Stepanovic did not believe the time was right for opposing such a large nation; this was not a popular sentiment. He would again become Minister in 1911 and with his support Serbia concluded its alliance with Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece as they began the First Balkan War against the Ottoman Empire. Stepanovic was commander of the Second Combined Serbian Army, which was one Serbian and one Bulgarian division. There were problems with him consolidating his command, though, as his Bulgarian division refused to receive direct orders from him, but only through Bulgarian High Command. Still, though, it was his forces that broke the siege at Adrianople, and Stepanovic who was considered a hero. “Standing alone like a statue, General Stepanovic suddenly transferred himself to the trenches of his countrymen the peasants from 7th company... from time to time he clapped his hands and shouted «Bravo, my sons! Bravo, my heroes!»” Adrianople fell in late March 1913 and this was nearly the end of that war, but when Serbia and Greece divided Macedonian land between them that they had previously agreed to share with Bulgaria, it led to the Second Balkan War that summer. Stepanovic also saw action there, and after that weeks-long war ended his second army was demobilized. And then the following year Franz Ferdinand was assassinated and this war began. As the July Crisis came to a head, Serbian Army Chief of Staff Radomir Putnik was on a medical treatment holiday in Austria-Hungary, so it fell to Stepanovic for organizing the mobilization of the Serbian army. The main problems he faced were lack of ammunitions and terrible finances after the two Balkan wars. Still, he managed to mobilize 250,000 men in three armies and by August 10th they were in position to receive the first Austrian offensive. Putnik returned and Stepanovic took command of the Second Army. Opposing him was Austro-Hungarian Imperial General Oskar Potiorek, who had never seen a single day of battle and who thought defeating Serbia would be a “brief autumn stroll”. Potiorek crossed the Drina River the 12th but straight from the start the Austrians had big problems with the terrain and Serbian guerrilla fighters. Stepanovic saw the strategic importance of the mountain Cer and ordered a surprise night attack on the Austrians the 15th. The following battle was extremely bloody, and in appalling weather, but after a couple days, the Serbs broke the Austrians and by August 24th, there were no Austrian soldiers left on Serbian soil. The Battle of Cer was the first Allied victory of the war and Stepa Stepanovic was immediately promoted to Field Marshal. A second Austrian invasion attempt in September was unsuccessful, but by late October the Serbian army was exhausted and nearly out of artillery shells. The third Austrian invasion attempt began November 16th, the largest of the three. The three Serbian armies, including Stepanovic’s Second, retreated further and further into the country, and on December 1st, Belgrade fell. However, weapons and artillery shells finally began arriving from France through Greece and the counter attack began December 3rd. Austria-Hungary was stunned and the second and third armies re-took Belgrade the 15th and the Austrians were again forced to flee the country. But there was a high price to pay. Casualties were in the hundreds of thousands, not even including civilian victims of atrocities. Also, there was a typhus epidemic that would rage for months and prevent any military adventures in Serbia for most of a year. In October 1915, the Austro-German-Bulgarian combined offensive into Serbia proved too powerful to resist and the Second Army was broken at Nish. We’ve talked a lot in the regular episodes about the Serbian exodus through the Albanian mountains before finally regrouping on Korfu, so I won’t go into it here. Stepanovic, though, would figure in the Macedonian campaign until the fall of 1918, which again we’ll cover in regular Thursday episodes. By the end of the war Stepa Stepanovic was a huge national hero. He retired in 1920 and moved to the family home at Chachak. He was uncomfortable with fame, and he thought his pension was way too high. He gardened, played with his grandchildren, and took walks by the river, and Stepa Stepanovic died April 27th, 1929. His funeral was a huge event, with state, religious, and military honors. Yugoslav King Alexander was there in person, and Stepanovic was buried with the French Legion of Honor, the Greek Order of the Redeemer, the Russian Order of Holy George, the British Order of Bath, the Serbian Order of Karadjordje, and of course his old St. Stanislav medal from his youth. Stepa Stepanovic’s influence on Serbian society is enormous. You can see it today in all the streets, places, songs, schools, and more dedicated in his memory. He was a tough old bird all right, and his army was instrumental in winning the first Allied victory of the war. That he was still around fighting and commanding troops at the very end of the war is truly impressive, especially when you look at the High commands of the other warring nations and the fact that Serbia was overrun and occupied. Look him up to learn more; he’s a good read and there’s a lot that we don’t have time to cover. Today was just a brief look at Stepa Stepanovic, an often-overlooked leader who should not be quite so often overlooked. We want to thank Igor Lazarevic for helping us with the research for this episode. If you want to know more about the tensions between Serbia and Bulgaria, check our Bulgaria special right here. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. See you next time.



Relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia deteriorated in the aftermath of the May Overthrow in 1903. Almost immediately, the new Karađorđević government aligned itself with the Russian Empire and oriented its foreign policy away from its long time patron, the Habsburgs, and Austria-Hungary. In 1906, Austria-Hungary closed its border to Serbian agricultural exports in an episode known as the Pig War.[8] In 1908, Austria-Hungary formally annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina—a territory with a large Serb population that it had been granted by the Congress of Berlin in 1878.[9] The annexation prompted the Serbian public to call for war with Austria-Hungary. With no promise of Russian support in the event of war, the Serbian government decided against pursuing the matter militarily.[10] Count Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf boasted that it would take Austro-Hungary only three months to defeat Serbia should war erupt between the two nations.[11]

A male with a moustache wearing medals and a military uniform.
The Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia was commanded by General Oskar Potiorek, the Austro-Hungarian Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With Bosnia-Herzegovina firmly in Austro-Hungarian hands, Serbia and several other Balkan states turned to forcing the Ottoman Empire from southeastern Europe. The ensuing Balkan Wars, which lasted from 1912 until 1913, saw Serbia take possession of Kosovo and Macedonia.[10] On 28 June 1914, Bosnian Serb student Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo. The assassination precipitated the July Crisis, which led Austria-Hungary to issue an ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July on suspicion that the assassination had been planned in Belgrade.[12] The Austro-Hungarian government made the ultimatum intentionally unacceptable to Serbia, and it was indeed rejected.[13] The Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia on 28 July and that same day the Serbs destroyed all bridges on the Sava and Danube rivers in order to prevent the Austro-Hungarians from using them during any future invasion.[11] Belgrade was shelled the following day, marking the beginning of the First World War.[14]

Fighting in Eastern Europe began with the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia in early August 1914.[15] The number of Austro-Hungarian troops was far smaller than the 308,000-strong force intended when war was declared. This was because a large portion of the Austro-Hungarian 2nd Army had moved to the Russian Front, reducing the number of troops involved in the initial stages of the invasion to approximately 200,000. Forty percent of this force was composed of South Slavs living within Austro-Hungarian borders.[16] On the other hand, the Serbs could muster some 450,000 men to oppose the Austro-Hungarians upon full mobilization. The main elements to face the Austro-Hungarians were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Užice Armies, with a combined strength of approximately 180,000 men.[17] The Balkan Wars had only just concluded and Serbia was still recovering. Over 36,000 Serbian soldiers had been killed and 55,000 seriously wounded. Few recruits had been gained from the newly acquired territories, and the Serbian army had been stretched by the need to garrison them against Albanian insurgents and the threat of Bulgarian attack. To compound matters, the Serbian army was dangerously short of artillery, and had only just begun to replenish its ammunition stocks. Its supply problems also extended to more basic items. Many Serbian recruits reported for duty barefoot,[18] and many units lacked any uniform other than a standard issue greatcoat and a traditional Serbian cap known as a šajkača. Rifles were also in critically short supply. It was estimated that full mobilization would see some 50,000 Serbian soldiers with no equipment at all.[17] The Austro-Hungarians, on the other hand, possessed an abundance of modern rifles and had twice as many machine guns and field guns as the Serbs. They also had better stocks of munitions, as well as much better transport and industrial infrastructure behind them.[18] The Serbs had a slight advantage over the Austro-Hungarians: many of their soldiers were experienced veterans of the Balkan Wars and better trained than their Austro-Hungarian counterparts.[19] Serb soldiers were also highly motivated, which compensated in part for their lack of weaponry.[20]

Austro-Hungarian forces assigned to the invasion were placed under the command of General Oskar Potiorek, who had been responsible for the security detail of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.[21] Prior to the battle, Potiorek had predicted an easy victory over the Serbians, calling them "pig farmers."[22] The Serbian army was commanded by Crown Prince Alexander, with the Chief of the General Staff, Field Marshal Radomir Putnik, who had commanded Serb forces in the Balkan Wars, as his deputy and de facto military leader.[23] Generals Petar Bojović, Stepa Stepanović and Pavle Jurišić Šturm commanded the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Serbian Armies, respectively.[24]



Mobilized Austro-Hungarian troops sent across Sarajevo for Serbia.
Mobilized Austro-Hungarian troops sent across Sarajevo for Serbia.

From 29 July to 11 August, the Austro-Hungarian army launched a series of artillery attacks in northern and northwestern Serbia and subsequently managed to exploit the bombardments by constructing a system of pontoon bridges across the Sava and Drina rivers.[20] The Serbians knew that it was impossible for their forces to line the entirety of the Austro–Serbian border, which extended 340 miles (550 km). Putnik therefore ordered the Serbian army to fall back on a traditional line of defence as he grouped the bulk of his forces in Šumadija, from where they could rapidly move either north or west. Strong detachments were posted in the towns of Valjevo and Užice, and outposts were stationed at every important point on the frontier. At this stage, all the Serbian General Staff could do was wait until the Austro-Hungarian invasion plan materialized.[25]

Belgrade, Smederevo and Veliko Gradište continued to be subjected to more vigorous artillery bombardments, and a number of failed attempts to cross the Danube resulted in heavy Austro-Hungarian losses. The bulk of the Austro-Hungarian forces were stationed in Bosnia, and the Serbian General Staff were not misled by these feints on the Danube. Subsequently, the Austro-Hungarians attempted to cross the Drina at Ljubovija and the Sava at Šabac, and these attacks were seen as more significant. On 12 August, Austro-Hungarian troops entered Serbia through the town of Loznica, crossing the Drina. There, and in the village of Lešnica, the Austro-Hungarian 13th Army Corps made a crossing, while on the same day the Austro-Hungarian 4th Army Corps crossed the Sava to the north of Šabac, while other Austro-Hungarian troops crossed the Drina.[26] The town of Šabac was quickly taken.[20] By 14 August, over a front of about 100 miles (160 km), the Austro-Hungarians had crossed the rivers and converged on Valjevo.[26] The Austro-Hungarian 2nd and 5th Armies moved towards Belgrade, where they encountered the Serbian 1st, 2nd and 3rd Armies.[27] On 15 August, Putnik ordered his forces into counterattack.[3]


"The forward battalion had advanced during the night towards the Trojan peak, and when we made it to Parlog the shower began, followed by volcanic thunder and sheet lightning. Water was drenching us from all sides ... Suddenly another soldier, out of breath and excited, screamed:
"Major, sir, the Krauts!"
That's how the night-time clash between our Combined Division and the enemy's 21st Landwehr Division started and with it the battle of Cer Mountain."

Captain Ješa Topalović, of the Serbian army, recounting how his division encountered Austro-Hungarian forces on the slopes of Cer Mountain.[3]

Around 23:00 on 15 August, elements of the Serbian 1st Combined Division encountered outposts set up by the invading Austro-Hungarian army on the slopes of Cer Mountain and fighting erupted. The Austro-Hungarian positions were lightly held, and their defenders were driven back away from the mountain. By midnight, fierce clashes between the Austro-Hungarians and the Serbs were underway and chaos ensued in the darkness. By the morning of 16 August, the Serbians had seized the Divača Range and dislodged the Austro-Hungarians from their positions in the village of Borino Selo.[28] The Austro-Hungarians, who had suffered heavy casualties during the fighting, retreated in some disorder. As the day progressed, the Serbs drove the 21st Infantry Division off the slopes of Cer to prevent it from linking with the 2nd Army in Šabac.[29]

On 17 August, the Serbs attempted to retake Šabac, but their efforts failed. The 1st Combined Division attacked the villages of Trojan and Parlog before moving on towards the small town of Kosanin Grad. Elsewhere, the Austro-Hungarians succeeded in repulsing the Serbian 3rd Army, forcing it to manoeuvre one of its divisions to protect the approach to the town of Valjevo, which was threatened by the 42nd Mountain Division.[29]

In the early morning of 18 August, the Austro-Hungarians launched another attack, with the intention of pushing the 1st Šumadija Division off the Šabac bridgehead to allow the 5th Army to advance. However, the attack failed as the Serbs defeated the Austro-Hungarians at the Dobrava River, forcing their surviving soldiers to withdraw.[5] Elsewhere, the Serbian 2nd Army's counter-offensive continued along the Cer and Iverak, with the 1st Combined Division attacking the village of Rašulijača and coming under severe pressure at Kosanin Grad. The first Serbian assault was fought off, but a wave of further attacks followed throughout the night. In the early morning of 19 August, the Serbs finally defeated the Austro-Hungarians and seized the small town. The 1st Morava Division drove the 9th Infantry Division from its position and fought off the division's subsequent counterattack, inflicting heavy losses. The 4th Corps renewed its attack against the Šumadija Division, forcing the Serbs to withdraw having only sustained light casualties. Because the 4th Corps did not break the Serbs, the Austro-Hungarian division was unable to alter the direction of its advance towards Cer Mountain, since doing so would have put the Šumadija Division in a position to attack the 4th Corps from the rear. As a result, the 4th Corps was unable to join other Austro-Hungarian forces fighting at Cer.[5]

A valley, mountain and forests photographed from the side of a road.
Cer Mountain in northwestern Serbia. In 1914, the mountain was the site of the eponymous battle in which Austro-Hungarian forces were defeated by their numerically-inferior Serb opponents.

The Serbs retook Rašulijača at noon, and the 1st Combined Division exploited this to advance towards Lešnica. Meanwhile, the 1st Morava Division attacked Iverak and managed to drive the Austro-Hungarians back. The village of Velika Glava fell to the Serbs before mid-day, and by the late afternoon the Rajin Grob ridge had been retaken. At around this time, the Austro-Hungarians began retreating with increasing rapidity, their will and cohesion apparently shattered. The 3rd Army had similar success, routing the 36th Infantry Division and forcing it to retreat in considerable disorder. The Serbs then moved to pursue the fleeing Austro-Hungarians all along the front. By 20 August, Austro-Hungarian forces were fleeing across the Drina River, still being pursued by the Serbs back into Bosnia, with the entire 5th Army being forced across the Austro-Hungarian side of the river.[5] Many Austro-Hungarian soldiers drowned in the water as they fled in panic.[3] Serbian military reports announced that "the enemy is withdrawing in the greatest disorder." Putnik then notified King Peter in a telegram, saying "the main enemy has been defeated in Jadar and on Mount Cer, and our troops are in hot pursuit."[2] Upon their triumph at Cer Mountain, the Serbs sought to recapture the heavily fortified town of Šabac. Violent clashes occurred on 21 and 22 August, during which Serb forces fought their way to the western approaches of the town. By 23 August, the Serbs had encircled the town and that evening they brought up their siege artillery. On 24 August, Serbian forces entered Šabac and discovered that the Austro-Hungarians had decamped the previous night.[30] By 16:00, the Serbs reached the banks of the Sava River, bringing the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia to an end.[30]


Both sides suffered heavy casualties in the battles.[31] Estimates of the number of Austro-Hungarian casualties vary. Jordan states that the Austro-Hungarians suffered a total of 37,000 casualties in the battle, of whom 7,000 were fatalities.[5] Misha Glenny states that almost 30,000 Austro-Hungarian soldiers were wounded and 6,000–10,000 were killed.[31] Horne writes that the Austro-Hungarians had 8,000 soldiers killed and 30,000 wounded in the battle, compounded by the loss of 46 guns, 30 machine guns and 140 ammunition wagons.[30] Historian David Stevenson states that 4,500 Austro-Hungarian soldiers were taken prisoner.[16]

Estimates of the number of Serbian casualties also vary. Horne[30] and Jordan[5] both agree that approximately 3,000 Serbian soldiers were killed and 15,000 were wounded in the battle. Glenny counters that 3,000–5,000 Serb soldiers were killed in the battle.[31] Nevertheless, the number of fatalities suffered by both sides heralded the massive cost in human lives of the First World War. French journalist Henry Barby reported:

The area between Cer and the river Jadar where this tremendous battle took place was nothing but mass graves and putrefying flesh ... From the shadow of the woods emerged a stench so foul that it rendered the approach to the summit of Cer impossible. The number of corpses there was so enormous that the Second Army was constrained to abandon their burial due to a lack of time.[32]

Atrocities were committed by both the Austro-Hungarians and Serbs, although, according to author Lawrence Sondhaus, the majority were committed by the Austro-Hungarians.[33] The Austro-Hungarians charged Serb civilians with mutilating Austro-Hungarian soldiers,[34] while undisciplined Austro-Hungarian troops[7] summarily executed hundreds of Serb men and raped and murdered numerous women and children during the battle,[31] which Songhaus ascribes to their hatred towards Serbs for starting the war.[35] Many of those murdered by the Austro-Hungarians were the victims of fellow South Slavs (Croats and Bosnian Muslims) serving in the Austro-Hungarian army.[31] Serbian commanders noted that the Austro-Hungarians had committed numerous reprisal killings over the course of the battle.[36] General Pavle Jurišić Šturm recounted:

The Austrian army has committed frightful atrocities in our territories. A group of nineteen (men, women and children) has been found by the Krivajica tavern. They had been roped together and then horribly massacred. Such a group of fifteen people was found in Zavlaka. Small groups of slaughtered and disfigured people, mostly women and children, are to be found throughout the villages. One woman had belts of skin cut off and another had had her breasts cut off ... Another group of twelve women and children has been found who had been tied together and massacred. Peasants say such sights are to be seen everywhere.[37]


A large stone monument topped by an eagle.
Monument to Serbian soldiers killed in the battle

Although they succeeded in repelling the Austro-Hungarian attack, the Serbs used up much of their ammunition during the battle, needing 6.5 million cartridges and 35,000 shells to prevail.[16] The commander of the Serbian 2nd Army, General Stepa Stepanović, was promoted to the rank of field marshal (Serbian: војвода, vojvoda) for his successful command.[38] In contrast, Austro-Hungarian commander Oskar Potiorek was humiliated in defeat and determined to launch a second invasion of Serbia. In September, he was given permission to launch such an invasion provided that he "not risk anything that might lead to a further fiasco."[39] Defeat at Cer Mountain also affected the morale of the Austro-Hungarian troops.[2] The first aerial dogfight of the war occurred during the battle, when Serbian aviator Miodrag Tomić encountered an Austro-Hungarian plane while performing a reconnaissance mission over enemy positions. The Austro-Hungarian pilot fired at Tomić with his revolver. Tomić managed to escape, and, within several weeks, all Serbian and Austro-Hungarian planes were fitted with machine-guns.[31][40]

The battle was the first Allied victory over the Central Powers in the First World War.[4][31][41] Serbia's triumph on the battlefield drew worldwide attention to the country and won the Serbs sympathy from both neutral and Allied countries.[41] A number of foreigners flocked to Serbia in late 1914, offering financial, political, humanitarian and military aid. Articles in defence of Serbia became more frequent in the British press. Certain cultural circles in Italy advocated entering the war on the Allied side, citing Serbian and Montenegrin battlefield successes.[42]

The Serbian patriotic song March on the Drina was written by Serbian composer Stanislav Binički shortly after the battle to commemorate the victory. Binički dedicated the march to his favourite commander in the army, Colonel Stojanović, who was killed during the fighting.[43]

The Yugoslav torpedo boat T5 was renamed Cer in 1945, taking its name from the battle.

A Yugoslav war film also titled March on the Drina was released in 1964 and is loosely based on the battle.[44]


  1. ^ This range takes into account that the first clashes between Serb and Austro-Hungarian forces over Cer Mountain occurred on 15 August, and that the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia ended on 24 August. Sources present a differing range of dates during which the battle was fought. All historians and analysts agree that the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia began on 12 August. Neiberg indicates that the battle of Cer was fought from 16–23 August.[1] Mitrović contends that it was fought from 15–20 August,[2] while Glenny reports that the battle began on 15 August and lasted for three days before Austro-Hungarian lines collapsed.[3]
  2. ^ Serbian: Церска битка, Cerska bitka; German: Schlacht von Cer; Hungarian: Ceri csata. Also known as the Battle of the Jadar River[6][7] (Јадарска битка, Jadarska bitka; Schlacht von Jadar; Jadar csata).


  1. ^ Neiberg 2006, p. 55.
  2. ^ a b c Mitrović 2007, p. 69.
  3. ^ a b c d Glenny 2012, p. 315.
  4. ^ a b Pavlowitch 2002, p. 94.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Jordan 2008, p. 28.
  6. ^ Tucker & Roberts 2005, pp. 604–605.
  7. ^ a b Hickey 2002, p. 38.
  8. ^ Mulligan 2010, p. 64.
  9. ^ Fischer 2011, p. 8.
  10. ^ a b Bideleux & Jeffries 2007, p. 236.
  11. ^ a b Strachan 2001, p. 335.
  12. ^ Jordan 2008, p. 16.
  13. ^ Pavlowitch 2002, p. 93.
  14. ^ Jordan 2008, p. 17.
  15. ^ Palmer 2010, p. 93.
  16. ^ a b c Stevenson 2004, p. 60.
  17. ^ a b Jordan 2008, p. 20.
  18. ^ a b Stevenson 2004, p. 59.
  19. ^ Tucker & Roberts 2005, p. 605.
  20. ^ a b c Glenny 2012, p. 314.
  21. ^ Neiberg 2006, p. 54.
  22. ^ Griffiths 2003, p. 57.
  23. ^ Hall 2010, p. 28.
  24. ^ Jordan 2008, p. 21.
  25. ^ Horne 2005, pp. 4–5.
  26. ^ a b Horne 2005, p. 5.
  27. ^ Thomas 2001, p. 4.
  28. ^ Jordan 2008, p. 26.
  29. ^ a b Jordan 2008, p. 27.
  30. ^ a b c d Horne 2005, p. 7.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g Glenny 2012, p. 316.
  32. ^ Glenny 2012, pp. 315–316.
  33. ^ Sondhaus 2011, p. 81.
  34. ^ Horne & Kramer 2001, p. 79.
  35. ^ Sondhaus 2011, p. 82.
  36. ^ Mitrović 2007, pp. 73–74.
  37. ^ Mitrović 2007, p. 73.
  38. ^ Radan & Pavković 1997, p. 126.
  39. ^ Jordan 2008, p. 29.
  40. ^ Buttar 2014, p. 298.
  41. ^ a b Mitrović 2007, p. 104.
  42. ^ Mitrović 2007, p. 105.
  43. ^ Glas Javnosti & 3 March 2003.
  44. ^ B92 & 28 June 2011.




Further reading

  • Pavlowitch, Stevan K. (2001). Serbia: The History Behind the Name. London: C. Hurst & Company. ISBN 978-1-85065-477-3.

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