10 Facts About the Battle That Turned the Tide of World War I
10 Facts About the Battle That Turned the Tide of World War I

10 Facts About the Battle That Turned the Tide of World War I

Stephanie Schoppert - February 22, 2017

10 Facts About the Battle That Turned the Tide of World War I
Louis Félix Marie François Franchet d’Espèrey a French General known as “Desperate Frankie”. Museedesetoiles.fr

“Desperate Frankie” Led The Charge to Finally Liberate Serbia

Louis Franchet d’Esperey was a French General who was career military man. He was the son of a cavalry officer and was educated at Saint-Cyr. After graduating he was assigned to a regiment of Algerian Tiralilleurs. He served in French Indochina, China, and Morocco. In 1913 he was made commander of I Corps.

In the first year of the war, Franchet d’Esperey proved himself as corps commander during the Battle of Charleroi. He was also able to rally his I Corps to a successful attack at the Battle of the Guise. His skill as commander of I Corps earned him the position of Commander of the Fifth Army. He found that the best way to rally his men to perform was to act the tyrannical leader, despite the fact that he was actually a rather kind man. He would threaten to shoot any man who did not do his duty.

In March 1916, he as promoted yet again to be in command of the Eastern Army Group. By January 1917, he was put in command of the Northern Army Group. But his luck seemed to have run out as he was soundly defeated by the German at the Battle of Chemin des Dames in Mary 1918.

His defeat had him removed from the Western front and sent to command the Allied Army of the Orient at Salonika. In September 1918, he was in command of a very large army that consisted of allies from Greece, France, Serbia, Britain, and Italy. It was during his time as commander of the Allied Army of the Orient that he was given the name “Desperate Frankie” but British soldiers who were not quite able to say his name properly. Whether or not Franchet d’Esperery really was desperate for a win after his defeat against the Germans, he did succeed in collapsing the Southern Front and making it all the way to Hungary.

10 Facts About the Battle That Turned the Tide of World War I
Newspaper Headline Following German Surrender. Revisionworld.com

The Germans Could no Longer Keep up the Fight

When the Bulgarians fell to the Serbian army, Kaiser Wilhelm was furious. He sent a telegram to Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria that said “Disgraceful, 62,000 Serbs decided the war.” It is unclear whether or not Kaiser Wilhelm really knew the likely outcome of a Bulgarian surrender or if he was simply expressing his anger at the Tsar’s failure.

But after the Battle of Dobro Polje, the British Forces headed East toward the Ottoman Empire. They headed toward Constantinople and the Ottoman government had no forces to stop them and decided to surrender on October 26.

The French and Serbian forces continued moving throughout Serbia to free the country. The German 11th Army without the support of the Bulgarian army were completely on their own and had no choice but to surrender to the Allied forces. Austria signed their own armistice on November 3 due to the overthrow of the Hapsburg monarchy. They continued on and the forces under General d’Esperey crossed the Danube river and were ready to enter Hungary. General d’Esperery requested an armistice which the Hungarian government willingly signed.

Germany was now completely alone in the war effort, and with the Allies strong enough to continue fighting, the Kaiser knew that there was no longer any chance for victory. The armistice was signed at 5 a.m. on November 11, 1918, but the ceasefire did not come into effect until hours later. So on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” the war officially ended. Up until the last moments, fighting continued as Generals tried to capture more land before the end of the war.

10 Facts About the Battle That Turned the Tide of World War I
A Look Down Rue du Drobropol. Book-a-flat.com

There is a Street In Paris Named After the Battle

Despite the initial French reluctance to mount an offensive on the Southern Front for most of the war, there is no denying the impact the battle had on the outcome of World War I.

To remember the importance of the battle, not only the French soldiers who fought in the war but the battle that ended the Southern Front of World War I, there is a street named after the battle in Paris. Rue du Dobropol is in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. The street was named and opened in 1928.

Rue du Dobropol is not the only street that takes its name from the outcome of the battle. There are several streets throughout France that are named after Louis Franchet d’Esperey in cities such as Dijon, Reimes, Versailles, Lorient, and Saint-Etienne.

But it is not only France that has chosen to commemorate Louis Franchet d’Esperery and the Battle of Dobro Polje. In Serbia, the city of Belgrade has a boulevard that takes its name from the famous French commander and the role he played in liberating the country during World War I. Greece also has a street that is named after Louis Franchet d’Esperey, in Salonika.