Primary Documents - Franchet d'Esperey's Telegram to Eleutherios Venizelos on the Vardar Offensive, September 1918

Louis Franchet d'Esperey As the Allies increased pressure upon German forces on the Western Front, so German troops were hastily transferred from assisting Bulgaria, leaving Bulgarian forces severely weakened and increasingly demoralised.

The moment was consequently considered ripe for a major Allied offensive against Bulgarian forces, newly aided by a Greek force donated by pro-Allied Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos.  The Allied forces in the region were led by French General Franchet d'Esperey; he determined to launch the Vardar Offensive on 15 September 1918.

Allied success was immediate and impressive; within little over a week Bulgaria solicited for a ceasefire and on 29 September 1918 Bulgaria signed an armistice, thereby exiting from the war.  In consequence of Bulgaria's military defeat King Ferdinand shortly afterwards abdicated.

Reproduced below is the text of d'Esperey's official telegram to Venizelos in praise of Greek troops.

Click here to read d'Esperey's official report summarising the offensive.  Click here to read British regional commander Sir George Milne's account.  Click here to read a statement issued by Colonel Frantzis, Greek Military Attaché in London, on 29 September 1918.  Click here to read Venizelos' own statement issued to local Greek commanders.  Click here and here to read Milne's statements similarly lauding Greek efforts.  Click here to read a statement issued by the Bulgarian government requesting a ceasefire.  Click here to read the terms of the Bulgarian armistice.  Click here to read the text of Tsar Ferdinand's abdication statement.

Franchet d'Esperey's Official Telegram to Eleutherios Venizelos, September 1918

At the moment when the success of the offensive operations which have been begun on the Macedonian front is being affirmed, I desire to express to you my entire satisfaction at the brilliant conduct of the Greek units which are taking part in the battle.

In particular, the Seres division, attacking west of Lake Doiran in very difficult country, has just covered itself with fresh glory, taking possession of extremely strong positions, which were bitterly defended, and capturing a large number of prisoners.  Certain of these units have still further added to the renown which they had already won in the attack on the Skra di Legen.

Among the units which have recently arrived the 35th infantry regiment has just asserted its worth by storming, in cooperation with French units, the important Preslap massif and the village of Zborsko.  All the Greek units moreover are competing with one another in endurance and dash, and I am persuaded that they will soon win fresh laurels.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

An Amiens Hut was a temporary structure of canvas on a frame used at British base camps.

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