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Military history of Serbia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The military history of Serbia spans over 1200 years on the Balkan peninsula during the various forms of the Serbian state and Serbian army.

History of the Serbian army

Medieval Serbian army

The Serbian army during this period was primarily consisted of light cavalry and infantry force armed with spear, javelin or bows. With the increasing wealth from mining, mercenary knights were recruited to complement noble cavalry armed with bow and lance. This enabled the Serbs to fight effectively outwith their mountain strongholds. The core of the army consisted of noble cavalry (vlastela) armed with lance and bow in the Byzantine style in early medieval time. These were increasingly supplemented by western style knights. Mostly Germans in Dušan's reign. Dušan's military tactics consisted of wedge shaped heavy cavalry attacks with horse archers on the flanks. Many foreign mercenaries were in the Serbian army, mostly Germans as cavalry and Spaniards as infantry. He also had personal mercenary guards, mainly German knights. A knight named Palman was the commander of this unit and was the leader of all German mercenaries. Light horses were provided by Hungarian and Cuman mercenaries. Later in the period Serbian lance armed Hussars took over this role. The infantry still included lightly armed javelin troops although the bow and crossbow became the most important infantry weapon in the 14th century. A western style charge by the armoured cavalry and knights was the main tactic with the infantry used to follow up. In the Battle of Velbazhd in 1330, Dušan was also successful against Louis' vassals: he defeated the armies of the Croatian ban and the forces of Hungarian voivodes. Bulgaria became a Serbian vassal in 1331, a situation that lasted until 1365.[1]

The Serbs expanded their state to the south conquering most of Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly from the Byzantine Empire which was in the midst of a disastrous civil war. Without major field battles, the Serbian tactic was based on seizing towns by siege.

In 1346 Stephen Dušan was proclaimed Emperor.

Hoswever, his empire began to fall apart after his death in 1355 due to rivalry among the nobility and the lack of consolidation of the newly conquered territories. In 1371 a Serbian army led by Vukašin advanced on Adrianople only to be surprised in a dawn attack by an inferior Ottoman force commanded by Lala Şahin.

The Serbian leaders were killed and Serbian lands were grabbed by various independent nobles as well as the Ottomans. A decade later, Serbs defeated Ottomans in Battle of Pločnik in 1386. As the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 is generally considered as temporarily the end of the medieval Serbian state until 1402. Despotovina, the successor of the Serbian Empire and the state of Prince Lazar survived for 70 more years, experiencing a cultural and political renaissance in the first half of the 15th century before it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1459. Ragusan historian Mavro Orbin recorded that prince Lazar used cannons as early as 1373 in his war against Nikola Altamanovich in northern Serbia.[2] The state was led by despot Stefan Lazarević and his successors from the Branković dynasty. Despot Stefan has armed his knights with light firearms (musket "Fitiljača"),also with spears, swords, daggers, maces, bow and arrows, crossbows, shields, armours, halberd and cannons. He also introduced Europe style knight tournaments. Even then, Serbian state continued to last in the Hungarian exile until the mid 16th century and the autonomous Serbian principality fell only in 1540.

Military tradition


Day of the Serbian Armed Forces

The Day of the Serbian Armed Forces was elected to be 23 April. On that day, on Palm Sunday, in Takovo in 1815, prominent elders met and reached a decision to start the Second Serbian Uprising for the liberation of Serbia from the Turkish authorities.

The Second Serbian uprising resulted in a positive starting point in the long run. Initially it was a military operation of the Serbian history, but in the later period ensued political and diplomatic activities, which led to the Serbia being freed from supreme Turkish authorities and the Second Serbian Uprising in some ways is the foundation for the creation of the Serbian government and Serbian armed forces. As a product, and independence was followed by the creation of the standing army and the establishment of the Guard which consisted of 76 men who were selected "in stature and reputation of" from finest families in Serbia.

Since the creation of a standing army, the first "conscripts" and later "soldats", went unnoticed by the Porte, the National Assembly made the name "Soldat" official. This is when first recruits were introduced, who remained in the army for ten years, bearing in mind that their service period was not determined. A standing army was living in the barracks and receiving salary. They received uniforms." These first Serbian regular army formations were modeled after the Austrian army, which confirms that both at that time the experience of foreign armies were invaluable in creating our army.

Second Serbian Uprising was precisely the combination of events led by faith in the liberation of Serbia using existing military assets and military organization, which led to the final liberation and recognition of modern Serbia as a state with full international legality and recognized by the powers at Berlin congress in 1878.[3]


See also

Part of a series on the
History of Serbia
Official arms of Serbia
Flag of Serbia.svg
 Serbia portal



  • Momir Jović, Kosta Radić. Srpske zemlje i vladari (1955), str. 68 – 80.
  • Pavle Vasić, Uniforme srpske vojske 1808–1918, Prosveta, Beograd, 1980.
  • Ćorović, Vladimir (1921). Istorija Srba [History of the Serbs] (in Serbian). pp. 201–215. ISBN 978-86-13-00641-1.
  • Znamenite bitke i bojevi srpske i crnogorske vojske: Srpska vojska u velikim bitkama na Ceru, Drini i Kolubari. Pravoslavna reč. 1998. ISBN 978-86-335-0038-8.
  • Branko Pavićević; Petar Opačić; Borislav Ratković; Mitar Rurišić (1998). Znamenite bitke i bojevi srpske i crnogorske vojske: od Careva Laza 1712. do Dobropoljske Bitke 1918. Pravoslavna reč. ISBN 978-86-335-0038-8.
  • Petar Tomac (1959). Vojna istorija. Vojnoizdavački zavod JNA "Vojno delo,".

External links

This page was last edited on 9 October 2020, at 15:46
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