The Conquest of Serbia, 1915

by Richard L. DiNardo


General August von Mackensen defeated every army he was asked to attack.

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Cover image for Invasion

April 2015


Pages 212
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  World History/Conflict

This extended study of one of the critical campaigns of World War I sheds light on vital strategic consequences for both sides.

Published during the centennial of the events it considers, this book provides a comprehensive examination of one of the most interesting and influential campaigns of World War I, a campaign that was the apex of mobile warfare at the time. By the late summer of 1915, the Russian threat to Austria-Hungary had been eliminated by the Central Powers. That allowed Erich von Falkenhayn, head of the German supreme command, to turn his attention to his next strategic target—the conquest of Serbia—which was imperative to opening a land route to the Ottoman Empire. Until that task was accomplished, matters on the all-important Western Front would have to wait.

This first major study of the invasion of Serbia covers events primarily from the viewpoint of the Central Powers, which played the most pivotal role in the campaign. The book considers the impact of factors as diverse as diplomacy, command, coalition warfare, mountain warfare, military technology, and the harsh environment in which the campaign was conducted. Readers will come away with an understanding of and appreciation for the importance of the Serbian campaign as it affected the outcome of the war and the ultimate destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


  • Examines the campaign from the perspective of the Central Powers, rather than from the Serbian point of view
  • Shows that the assault on Serbia was pivotal in that it led to the unraveling of the overall conflict for Germany
  • Features research conducted at the German federal military archives in Freiburg, the Bavarian military archives in Munich, the Austrian archives in Vienna, and the Baden-Württemberg archives in Stuttgart
  • Draws from official histories, regimental histories, memoirs, and first-person accounts
  • Marks the 100th anniversary of the 1915 campaign
Author Info

Richard L. DiNardo, PhD, professor of national security affairs at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA, has written extensively on a wide variety of topics in military history. He completed his bachelor's degree in history at Bernard Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY), and his doctorate in history at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center. Prior to his arrival at Quantico in 1998, he taught at St. Peter's College and also spent two years as visiting professor at the Air War College in Maxwell Air Force Base. DiNardo is the author or editor of six books, including Praeger's Breakthrough: The Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign, 1915, which won honorable mention in the Western Front Association's Tomlinson Book Prize for 2010. DiNardo's other published works include Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse and Mechanized Juggernaut or Military Anachronism? Horses and the German Army of World War II. He is also the author or editor of a number of articles on the American Civil War and coeditor of James Longstreet: The Man, the Soldier, the Controversy.



"Serbia 1915 is a mystery no more. In clinical Clausewitzean fashion, DiNardo has scrupulously dissected brutal combat in the most difficult terrain and weather imaginable. Great staff work, heavy artillery, and superior engineering troops deploying aircraft, railroads, and telephones to advantage assured that a minor power caught in a protracted war against military giants collapsed. This is a masterful battlefield history that must be read." —Holger H. Herwig, Professor of History and Canada Research Chair, University of Calgary

"Richard DiNardo reminds us that wars produce unintended consequences. Nowhere was this more true than in the Balkans in 1914. This book shines an important light on a little-known campaign from World War I that should be of far wider interest to students of modern warfare." —Michael S. Neiberg, author of Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of War in 1914

"The Central Powers’ overrunning of Serbia in 1915 was a proto-blitzkrieg. State of the art material, aircraft, heavy artillery, and bridging technology, employed by a command and staff system at peak effectiveness, overwhelmed a semi-modern army and offered a portent for the future of war. This model case study of a neglected campaign confirms DiNardo’s place among the Great War’s elite operational historians."—Dennis E. Showalter, Professor of History, Colorado College

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