First Balkan War

The First Balkan War (Bulgarian: Балканска война; Greek: Αʹ Βαλκανικός πόλεμος; Serbian: Први балкански рат, Prvi Balkanski rat; Turkish: Birinci Balkan Savaşı) lasted from October 1912 to May 1913 and involved actions of the Balkan League (the Kingdoms of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro) against the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan states' combined armies overcame the initially numerically inferior (significantly superior by the end of the conflict) and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success.

First Balkan War
Part of the Balkan Wars

Clockwise from top right: Serbian forces entering the town of Mitrovica; Ottoman troops at the Battle of Kumanovo; the Greek king and the Bulgarian tsar in Thessaloniki; Bulgarian heavy artillery
Date8 October 1912 – 30 May 1913
(7 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)

Balkan League victory

Ottoman ruled territory in the Balkans is divided between Balkan states.
Balkan League:
Supported by:
Italian volunteers[1]
 Ottoman Empire
Supported by:
Commanders and leaders
  • Bulgaria:
    450,000+ men[2]
  • Serbia:
    230,000 men[3]
  • Greece:
    125,000 men[4]
  • Montenegro:
    44,500 men[5]
  • Total:
436,742 men initially (significantly more than the Balkan League by the end)[6]
Casualties and losses
  •  Bulgaria:[7]
    • 8,840 killed
    • 4,926 missing
    • 36,877 wounded
    • 10,995 dead of disease
  •  Greece:[8]
    • 2,373 killed in action or died of wounds
    • 9,295 wounded
    • 1,558 dead of disease or accidents (incl. 2nd Balkan war)
  •  Serbia:
    • 5,000 killed
    • 18,000 wounded[9]
    • 6,698 dead of disease
  •  Montenegro:[10][11]
    • 2,430 killed
    • 6,602 wounded
    • 406 dead of disease
At least 108,000 killed or wounded
 Ottoman Empire:[10]
  • 50,000 killed
  • 100,000 wounded
  • 115,000 captured
  • 75,000 dead of disease
340,000 killed, wounded or captured

The war was a comprehensive and unmitigated disaster for the Ottomans, who lost 83% of their European territories and 69% of their European population.[12] As a result of the war, the League captured and partitioned almost all of the Ottoman Empire's remaining territories in Europe. Ensuing events also led to the creation of an independent Albania, which angered the Serbs. Bulgaria, meanwhile, was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, and attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on 16 June 1913 which provoked the start of the Second Balkan War.