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eMedals-Serbia. A Medal for Loyalty to the Fatherland, (Albania Commemorative Medal), c.1915

Item: EU14704

Serbia. A Medal for Loyalty to the Fatherland, (Albania Commemorative Medal), c.1915

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Serbia. A Medal for Loyalty to the Fatherland, (Albania Commemorative Medal), c.1915

Serbia; Bronze, 32.5 mm (w) x 50 mm inclusive of its crown suspension, oxidation spot on the reverse, residue in the recessed areas from cleaning, light contact, better than very fine. 
 
Footnote: In November 1915, the Serbian Army, fighting on several fronts against the Austro-Hungarians, Germans, and the newly-invading Bulgarians took the decision to withdraw south through Albania rather than surrender, taking with them a large number of civilian refugees, and leaving behind guerrilla units, known as Chetniks, to fight asymmetric warfare against the larger occupation forces. An estimated 700,000 people took part in the retreat, with some estimated 385,000 Serbian soldiers involved. The first medevac (medical evacuation by air) operations in history took place at this time when the Serbian Air Force evacuated wounded men by air, over Albania, to Corfu. Hunger, exposure, treacherous mountain passes, typhus, and killings by Albanian tribal brigands claimed many victims during the three week, one hundred mile trek, and many paths were strewn with bodies during that winter. Some 500,000 people are estimated to have made it to safety, of which some 140,000 were military personnel. The survivors made it to Corfu, where they were fed and cared for, eventually to be re-equipped and re-armed for combat. The surrender and internment option that was rejected by the Serbian Army in late 1915 in favour of the retreat was a very costly one, not only to those participating but also the local Serbian populace who were left behind, who were at times subjected to a seemingly systematic brutality by the Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian occupation forces during the war, but being able to come back one day to fight for their land was deemed a more honourable and useful strategic choice. It's wasn't as if the Serbian Army was going to withdraw, sit back for the duration of the war, and never return to its home. Later in 1916, the reconstituted, though decimated Serbian Army would be on the Salonika Front and would eventually participate in the liberation of their own land. The medal was established in 1920 and awarded to all Serbian Army personnel who took part in the tactical retreat in the winter of 1915, with over 140,000 of these medals issued. 

 

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