Battle of Giannitsa

From Phantis
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Battle of Giannitsa was fought between Greece and Turkey on October 20, 1912, in the First Balkan War.

Greek forces, following the Battle of Sarantaporo, had been advancing north. They had expected to fight the forces of Ottoman Turkey at the Axios River (Vardar). Instead they met them at Giannitsa.

The Turks decided to defend Giannitsa because, for them, it was a holy city founded by Ghazi Evrenos Bey, the first Turkish conquistador of Europe. It was also fairly easily defensible for their 25,000 men. Against them were arrayed five Greek divisions.

The Greek forces bombarded the Turkish positions throughout October 19, 1912, attempting to advance in the plain towards the city defended by Turkish artillery. Finally, early on October 20, Evzone Lt. Col. Konstantinos Papadopoulos broke through the enemy lines to occupy the hill holding the city's cemetery. He quickly installed 4 artillery pieces and started bombarding the Turkish defensive positions below. The Turkish army was soon forced to retreat.

Crown Prince Constantine entered Giannitsa at 11:00AM the same day and was greeted with enthusiasm by the city's Greek community.

The battle of Giannitsa cost the Greek army 188 dead (10 officers) and 780 wounded. The precise number of Turkish dead is unknown though 3,000 were taken prisoner.

The battle of Giannitsa was of great significance as it opened the way for Thessaloniki to be liberated 6 days later.