Kosovo Offensive (1915)

For the other Battles of Kosovo, see Battle of Kosovo (disambiguation)
Kosovo Offensive
Part of Serbian Campaign (World War I)
Date10 November 1915 - 4 December 1915
LocationKosovo,  Serbia

Decisive Central Powers victory

 German Empire
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Bulgaria Nikola Zhekov
Kingdom of Bulgaria Konstantin Zhostov
Kingdom of Bulgaria Kliment Boyadzhiev
Kingdom of Bulgaria Georgi Todorov
German Empire August von Mackensen
German Empire Max von Gallwitz
Austria-Hungary Hermann Kövess von Kövessháza
Kingdom of Serbia Radomir Putnik
Kingdom of Serbia Živojin Mišić
Kingdom of Serbia Stepa Stepanovic
Kingdom of Serbia Pavle Jurišić Šturm
Kingdom of Bulgaria First Army;
Kingdom of Bulgaria Northern Operations Group of Second Army
German Empire Eleventh Army
Austria-Hungary Third Army :156,000 men (79,000 combatants, 372 guns and 220 machine guns)[1]
150,000 combatants[2]
Casualties and losses
Light 30,000 killed and wounded, 199 guns lost

The Kosovo Offensive Operation (Bulgarian: Косовска настъпателна операция; Serbian: Косовска битка), the third major battle in history to have been fought there, occurred between 10 November 1915 and 4 December 1915. Serbian defeat in this battle led to the costly Serbian retreat through Albania.

Battle and Serbian defeat

The battle began with the forcing of the South Morava by the Bulgarian 1st Army and ended with the total defeat of the Serbian army. The main blow was made by the 1st Army at the direction Niš-Pristina. For 2 days, the Serbian army seized Prokuplje, where they mounted a short-lived resistance.

The greatly outnumbered Serbian army retreated, then made a futile stand near the city of Gjilan. The Serbs then tried a desperate counter-attack towards Vranje and Kumanovo to join the Anglo-French troops but were again defeated. The 6th and 9th Infantry Divisions of 1st Army easily took Pristina on 24 November. Then the whole of the Bulgarian army advanced, supported from the north by parts of 11th German Army and the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army. The battle ended on 4 December when Debar was captured. The Serbs lost 30,000 soldiers, 199 guns, 150 cars and vast quantity of other military equipment. The Serbian army subsequently retreated into Albania, eventually being transported to the Greek island of Corfu.


  1. Българската армия в Световната война, vol. V (1946), pg. 143. The strength listed is as of 2 of November 1915.
  2. Българската армия в Световната война, vol. V (1946), pg. 242. This figure is estimated by the Austro-Hungarian General Staff.


  • Атанас Пейчев и колектив, 1300 години на стража, Военно издателство, София 1984.
  • Министерство на войната, Щаб на войската (1946). Българската армия в Световната война 1915 - 1918, Vol. V. Косовската операция. Печатница на щаба навойската, София. 

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