During the WWI recruitment of Muslim population (Albanians and Bosniaks) into the Serbian Army was undertaken as early as in December 1914 and January 1915. Their military training was carried out in Niš.  In October 1915 they were enrolled into the so-called Mohammedan batallions which were part of military units that were defending Belgrade agains combined Austro-Hungarian and German offensive.  Oktobra 1915. oni su bili svrstani u “Muhamedanske bataljone” koji su se nalazili u okviru formacija koje su branile Beograd. There are records of the participation and courage of Albanians in the street fights. Serbian officer Vasa Eškićević heard about them and left the following testimony:

“How fierce the fighting near Belgrade was can be seen from the fact that the Srem detachment lost two thirds of its men, and only four of the two hundred gendarmes survived! The battles were especially bloody between the Sava Bridge towards Topovske šupe and Slavija. A whole battalion of Germans advanced, firing from a standing position, and when they approached Topovske šupe, Serbian komitas and a company of Arnaut soldiers came at them like lynxes with bombs and bayonets on their rifles, and in less than 10-15 minutes the ground was covered with enemy corpses. Our Arnauts, although recruits, demonstrated marvelous heroism with the komitas.”

Source: Vasa Eškićević, Iz mog ratnog dnevnika (1914-1919), priredio Slobodan Bjelica, Novi Sad: Prometej; Muzej Vojvodine, 2018.

Image courtesy of aleksandarmiletic | MALI VELIKI LJUDI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.