Who's Who - Stepa Stepanovic

Stepa Stepanovic Stepa Stepanovic (1856-1929) was the commander of the Second Serbian army in World War I.  He is renowned for achieving the first Allied victory during the First World War.

Stepanovic was born on 28 February 1856.  He served during the wars against Turkey 1876-78, and against Bulgaria 1885.   During the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 he commanded Second Army.

When the First World War began Stepanovic mobilized and concentrated the Serbian army given that its Commander-in-Chief Radomir Putnik was (temporarily) detailed in Austria-Hungary.

As commander of Second Army Stepanovic defeated the Austrian Fifth Army in the Battle of Mount Cer which ran from 12-20 August 1914.  This was the first Allied victory of the war and after it Stepanovic was promoted to Field Marshal.

The next Austro-Hungarian attack was halted by General, later Field Marshal Zivojin Misic in the Battle of Kolubara.  In the renewed Austro-German and Bulgarian offensive in 1915, Stepanovic's Second army stunned the Bulgarians.  The Serbian First Army was also successful in the west, but the Third Army was unable to stop the advance of the German Eleventh army in the north, and there were not enough troops to prevent the Bulgarians from capturing Macedonia.

Serbian troops were therefore forced to withdraw through Albania.  In 1918, during the final Allied offence in Macedonia, Stepanovic's Second Army, reinforced with two French divisions, achieved a breakthrough on 17 September.  Shortly afterwards Bulgaria was defeated.

Stepa Stepanovic remained the commander of his army until 1919.  He died in 1929.

Article contributed by Jovan Vukovic

A Greyback was a British Army shirt.

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