Slavchev’s lectures on the Odrin strongpoint



In his lectures lt.col. Stefan Slavchev started by saying that the Odrin strongpoint covered the Eastern Thrace from a Bulgarian attack coming from the Maritza and Tundzha valleys and could be used also as a starting point for a Turkish offensive against southern Bulgaria, being the communication junction towards Yambol and Haskovo.

To the question whether Odrin should be assaulted or simply masked, he answered that, according with the French current doctrine, a fortress should be assaulted if it blockaded an important way of communication, if it had at its disposal large means of defence or if its fall had a great impact on the enemy spirits. Otherwise the fortress should be only masked, if it was far from the theatre of the operations, or surrounded, if it was close to it. As for Odrin, he thought that general situation forced to assault the fortress.


After having exposed the theory of the attack against a strongpoint according with the French doctrine, he showed how to assault Odrin. He thought that the attack should be launched within twenty-five days after the beginning of the mobilization and that the Bulgarian Army should :

a)     surround the fortress firmly and rapidly, in order to destroy the advanced enemy units and prevent them from withdrawing to the fortress;

b)     accompany the attack with a bombardment, in order to destroy the town and the supplies stored in it;

c)     finish the attack within five days from its beginning;

d)     choose for the attack the sector Kajalik Tabia – Tas Tabia – Aivas Baba;

e)     accompany the main attack with subsidiary assaults.

Lt.col. Slavchev considered that to perform the main attack the Bulgarian artillery needed 206 fortress and 130 field guns, while the subsidiary assaults should be supported only by the field batteries of the diversionary force. The main assault should be launched by 40 infantry battalions, 12 field and 3 mountain quick firing batteries, 4 squadrons, 5 pioneer companies. Beside the forces assigned to the main attack and to the diversionary actions, the Bulgarian Army should form also a covering force of four infantry divisions deployed at Gebeler, Taja Kadjn, Emirli and Doudzharos.


Assuming that the war would begin on 1 June, lt.col. Slavchev suggest the following plan of the operations:

–    on 1st June the mobilization would be declared;

–    on 13 June the concentration of the siege army would finish, except for the siege park, the same day the railway troops would leave Yambol and Kizil Agach to build a field railway towards the frontier;

–    on 14 June the covering army (4 infantry divisions) would begin its advance on the directions Popovo – Gol. Dervent – Provadiya – Ortakchy and Harmanli – Mustafa Pasha – Pashakφy – Epcheli – Doudzharos;

–    on 14 June also the siege army (4 infantry divisions) would begin its advance on the directions Kizil Agach – Tatarkφj – frontier and Tarnovo Seymen – Dimitrikjoj – Kara Hadir – Duvandzha – Kemal;

–    on 18 June the siege army would occupy the line of attack in order to seize the advanced posts of the fortress and would fortify the area where the field artillery would be placed;

–    within 13 June the heavy artillery battalions would be mobilized at Shumen (13 batteries) and Sofia (9 batteries) and in four days they would be placed at 12 km from the girdle of the forts;

–    the attack front would be definitively chosen after a careful reconnaissance and the siege batteries would be deployed according with the task assigned to each of them;

–    on 26 June the artillery preparatory fire would begin, lasting till 4h 30’ PM, at the same time part of the infantry would launch a diversionary attack against the north-western sector, to locate the enemy fortress batteries and attract the fortress reserves in that sector;

–    later the main attack would begin, along with the secondary assaults, supported only by the field artillery.


Lt.col. Slavchev concluded his lectures saying that to attack Odrin successfully the Bulgarian Army lacked :

a)     200 km of field railway;

b)     3 – 150mm heavy howitzers batteries;

c)     26 – 120mm howitzers batteries;

d)     6 – 105mm long guns batteries with 500 rounds per gun;

e)     6,000 rounds for 150mm howitzers;

f)       84,000 rounds for 120mm howitzers;

g)     2000 incendiary shells for 150mm and 120mm howitzers;

h)     200 m of field bridge;

i)        7 searchlights;

j)       9 balloons.

The total cost of this materiel would be around 30,000,000 levas.