Battle of Monastir

The Battle of Monastir[6] took place near the town of Bitola, Macedonia[7] (then known as Monastir) during the First Balkan War, from 16 to 19 November 1912. As an ongoing part of the Balkan Wars, the Ottoman Vardar Army retreated from the defeat at Kumanovo and regrouped around Bitola. The Serbian 1st Army, marching for Bitola, encountered heavy Ottoman artillery fire and had to wait for its own artillery to arrive. On 18 November, following the destruction of the Ottoman artillery by Serbian artillery, the Serbian right flank pushed through the Vardar Army. The Serbs then entered Bitola on 19 November. With the conquest of Bitola the Serbs controlled southwestern Macedonia, including the symbolically important town of Ohrid.[8]

Battle of Monastir
Part of First Balkan War
Bitolska bitka 16-19. XI 1912.svg
Map of the battle
Date16–19 November 1912
Result Serbian victory[1]
 Kingdom of Serbia  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Serbia Petar Bojović Zeki Pasha
Fethi Pasha 
Djavid Pasha
Kara Said Pasha
108,544[2] 38,350[3]
Casualties and losses
539 killed
2121 wounded[4]
3,000 killed and wounded
5,600 captured
5,000 deserted[5]


Serbian military cemetery in Bitola.

After the battle of Monastir, the five-century-long Ottoman rule of Macedonia was over. The Serbian 1st Army continued fighting in the First Balkan War. At this point some Serbs wanted the 1st Army to continue its advance down the valley of the Vardar to Thessaloniki. Vojvoda Putnik refused. The threat of war with Austria-Hungary loomed over the issue of a Serbian presence on the Adriatic. In addition, with the Bulgarians and Greeks already in Thessaloniki, the appearance of Serbian forces there would only muddle an already complicated situation.[8]


  1. ^ Macedonia: warlords and rebels in the Balkans – Page 29 by John Phillips
  2. ^ Hall, Richard C., The Balkan Wars, 1912–1913, (Routledge, 2000), 51.
  3. ^ Hall, 51.
  4. ^ Hall, 52.
  5. ^ Jowett 2011, p. 6.
  6. ^ Dupuy, R. Ernest, and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, 4th Ed.,(HarperCollins Publishers, 1993), 1016.
  7. ^ Hall, 50–51.
  8. ^ a b Hall, 45–68.


  • Jowett, Philip (2011). Armies of the Balkan Wars 1912–13: The Priming Charge for the Great War. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78096-528-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)