Jelisveta Mirkovichka walked quickly through the streets of Belgrade. Off in the distance, she could still hear the blasts as the Austrian Fort of Peterwardein fired intermittent shells into the city from across the river. The shells where falling far from her, all the way on the other side of the city, but still she hurried her steps.
Everyone on the streets where hurrying, everyone casting nervous glances into the sky.
Serbia was at War.
Since the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, a full month had passed. It was a month of trepidation and fear. Many had hoped that as the time passed, the Austria-Hungarian Empire was not in fact intending to go to war, they dared hope that the fear of Russian might would keep the Austrian Empire at bay. Though the rumors of Vienna seeking German support in the event of Russian militarism had trickled to Belgrade several weeks ago, after four weeks of silence from Austria, many had begun to hope that the danger was past.
Indeed, by the time the ultimatum had arrived from the Vienna, it had lost much of the fierce intensity and righteous anger that it attempted to express. Time had dulled the impact of those words.
And three days later, shells where falling on Belgrade.
Jelisveta climbed the eight steps to her family home. She slipped inside the door, latched it, and breathed a little sigh of relief.
"Sveta, is that you?" Called Aleksandar Mirkovitch, her husband. He stepped into the room still buttoning on his uniform shirt. At the sight of her a tense line in his face vanished.
"I heard the shelling start up again, I was concerned." Leaving off his clumsy buttons, he stepped up to her and swept her in his arms.
He was not normally a man who expressed his love easily, but he was leaving today, and they did not know when they would see each other again.
Aleksandar released his embrace upon her, yet still held her loosely around the waist, "Petar was here earlier." He said, speaking of a friend that worked as a clerk for one of General Bojovic's staff members. "He has had some news."
Jelisveta looked up anxiously into his face, but he smiled gently at her and said "We have got our orders; General Bojovic has been ordered to stay here. The third Corp has been ordered to defend Belgrade."
He gently let her go and resumed buttoning his uniform.
"At least, that is the current order. Petar said that command is unsure as to what policy to take; though the Austrians have declared war, they have not committed any troops along our borders. Sarajevo is apparently swarming with the Empire's troops, and Neu Satz has a two corp waiting there, but they seem to be content to wait. But Sarajevo is far enough away that Commander Bojovik feels that it may be worth an attempt to raid across the Drina to Zvornik to destroy its Depots."
"But Zvornik is not far enough away from Sarajevo!" Jelisveta exclaimed. "The Austrian army will be there as you cross the river!"
"The third corp wouldn't go, its too far for us to get there quickly. " Aleksandar said, hushing her. "That would be for Commander Stepanovic. But still, it is indeed a little close to Sarajevo. I think Bojovik feels that the Austrians Generals are being very cautious, and at the rate and enthusiasm they have conducted the war so far, they will not march into Zvornik before they close the other borders.."
"Bojovik is a fool." Jelisveta stated, she turned away and picked her husbands coat off the back of the chair and a brush from the table. "We should protect Serbian territory and not try to provoke any more attention then we must. Perhaps the Austrians will waste themselves against Russia."
Aleksandar took a seat next to his wife at the table as she brushed what scant dust and dirt there was off of his thick army coat. He leaned down and fished out his boots from under the table.
"I'm not sure Bojovik is a fool." He grunted as he finally swept up his boots. "But I think General Putnik has other plans. He is a brilliant commander, and he knows that the railway is key. Regardless of what happens, Belgrade is the key to Serbia. If it falls, then Serbia is done."
He stood up. "But of course, if an opening comes up to distract the Austrians and to gain more territory..."
Jelisveta nodded, she gave the coat one last brush and helped Aleksandar to put it on. "What about Bazias and across the Morava river?"
"Well, if they attack that way, we would always be able to cut their supply lines by attacking from Belgrade." He buttoned his coat. "In fact, it would be better that Bazias would remain in Austrian hands so that a Corp from Belgrade could flank any Austrian attempts to attack Serbia to the south."
He paused, he was all ready to go. "I expect all we will be doing for the next few weeks will be entrenching down by the river."
Jelisveta nodded, the time for words had passed. She had been married scarcely a year and already she would be alone again. It had been a year, but their love for each other had not lost its passion.
She thought of their time together in their little home, their tiny beautiful little baby they had had, who had died not even a week after she was born. She remembered how devastated they had been when she died. She thought of how desperate she would feel if she never saw Aleksandar again. Tears came to her eyes.
They embraced once more, slowly, clinging to each other.
Then it was time to go, a few final words of love, words of adoration, words that are to personal to express here. Then her husband went to war.
But through all that, it was still bearable, because the Serbian 4th Brigade, the Pesadijski Puk 'Stevan Nemanja' Brigade, 2nd Division, in the Serbian III Corp, under command of Petar Bojovic, was staying in Belgrade.
Early August, 1914.
The Serbian Front.[/CENTER]
The Germans have chosen the Kronprinz Plan, a balanced defense.
The Austrians have chosen the Prinz Plan, also a cautious, balanced defense.
I shall begin without much pre-amble, as I have already spent much time on this today.
I have ordered everything I could for the Serbians, 2 Infantry Divisions and 2 Militia.
The Prinz plan starts the Austrians with an army on Sarajevo, therefore we have no thoughts as to what could happen, mayhaps even a mountain crossing into Serbia. Although that would be unlikely. Regardless, it leaves everything open.
Therefore I am left with a little breathing room. But aside from shifting a few troops around, I have not done much. A raider cavalry squad has been dispatched into Southern Vojvodina to cut the railway lines there. But no other hostile actions have been taken.
The Polish Interior.[/CENTER]
As nearly all Russian units are still locked, there is not much to do.
I have dispatched Commander Samsonov to receive his commission in Wilna, and otherwise, I am moving troops towards Warsaw, one of the linchpins to the interior of Poland.
Due to lack of German troops evident on our borders, I am tempted to strike out towards the city of Thorn, but I know that would be a mistake. So I shall wait until we can secure our borders and the enemy makes his presence known.
The only hostile actions I shall take, is severing the railway lines using cavalry divisions.
The Prussian Front.[/CENTER]
On the Prussian border to the North, I have also sent Commander Rennenkampf to recieve his commission as well.
I make a brief foray into enemy territory, chiefly to serve as an advance line of defense as I build up my positions to in Kowno.
I have ordered a more Russian Generals and Printed funds.
All other borders are stagnate due to locked units.
"Mon centre céde, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j’attaque."
~ Ferdinand Foch, in the defensive actions to prevent a German breakthrough in 1914.