Primary Documents - Sir George Milne's Order of the Day Addressed to Greek Forces, 20 September 1918

Sir George Milne 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 British regional commander Sir George Milne's Order of the Day addressed to Greek forces under his command, on 20 September 1918.

Click here to read d'Esperey's official report summarising the offensive.  Click here to read Milne's official report of the offensive.  Click here to read a statement issued by Colonel Frantzis, Greek Military Attaché in London, on 29 September 1918.  Click here to read d'Esperey's official telegram to Venizelos in praise of Greek troops.  Click here to read Venizelos' own statement issued to local Greek commanders.  Click here to read a further statement by Milne 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.

Sir George Milne's Order of the Day, 20 September 1918

On this the first occasion on which the Greek troops have fought by the side of the English, I wish to express to you my admiration for the way in which you have fulfilled the mission entrusted to you.

You have attacked with incomparable dash naturally strong positions rendered almost impregnable by a stubborn Army.

The result of your efforts is already visible in the retreat of the Bulgarian Army.  I thank you for your gallantry and tenacity, which are above all praise.

I am proud to have had you under my command.

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

A 'scorched earth policy' was the practice of deliberately destroying crops, food supplies and other facilities to prevent an invading enemy from using them.

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