Serbian Advance Continues
October 21 1918, Paraćin–After a brief pause near Niš to regroup and allow the French to catch up, the Serbians continued their advance northward to liberate their country. By October 21, they had engaged German rearguards near Paraćin, on the Morava around sixty miles south of the Danube. Although the Germans put up a stubborn resistance, they were outnumbered and received little support from their Austrian allies, who just wanted to get their armies out of Serbia and behind the Danube, Sava, and Drina intact.
Further east, the first French forces had reached the Romanian border on the Danube via Bulgarian railways on the 19th. On the 22nd, the Allies sent a letter to the Romanian government, urging them to be ready to re-enter the war “about the middle of November,” in conjunction with an Allied push across the Danube. The Romanians had quietly been preparing for such an eventuality since the Bulgarian collapse, but were wary that entering too soon would just lead to an even swifter defeat by the Germans than in 1916.
To the south, the first British troops also reached the Turkish border near Adrianople, finding only a single Turkish battalion guarding the border crossing. The Turks, having realized the dire threat to Constantinople, dispatched Charles Townshend, the general captured after the siege of Kut in 1916, to send out the first peace feelers. Arriving at Mudros on the 20th, he suggested the Turks would accept terms that let them keep Syria and Mesopotamia, albeit with a great deal of autonomy. While the British quickly rejected these terms, they were completely fine with Townshend’s other stipulation, that the Turks wanted to negotiate solely with the British; after having been left out of the Bulgarian armistice, they were fine with shutting out the French from the negotiations with Turkey.
Today in 1917: First Americans Enter the Front Line
Today in 1916: Austrian PM Assassinated
Today in 1915: Italian Assaults Fail Everywhere Despite 34 Hour Barrage
Today in 1914: Vodka Permanently Banned in Russia
Sources include: Roger Ford, Eden to Armageddon; Alan Palmer, The Gardeners of Salonika; Glenn E. Torrey, The Romanian Battlefront in World War I.