Balkan War: Greeks Drive Back Bulgarians
A CONVERSATION WITH KING CONSTANTINE OF GREECE
The Times, 10th July 1913
SALONIKA — I accompanied Prince Nicholas to the Greek Headquarters yesterday and returned to Salonika in the hospital train overnight.
The journey north showed to the full the shady side of warfare. Wagon loads of wounded Hellenes blocked the stations, ruined villages and smoking townships dotted the countryside, discarded impediments littered the roads, evacuated trenches broke the monotony of the smooth brown hills, while at Sarigol the fields were encumbered and the air was tainted by the yet unburied Bulgarian corpses.
I found the King and his staff newly encamped on the shores of Luke Doiran. There was little to suggest the bloody war now raging, as I sat at the waterside and gazed across to the mountains behind which I knew the Bulgarians were continuing their disordered flight with the Greek divisions at their heels. All around us were piled hundreds of tons of sugar, biscuits, flour, and ammunition abandoned at the station by the Bulgarians in the hurry to put a safe distance between themselves and their advancing enemy.
Just outside the station, drawn up in a line, were 12 captured field guns which bore further testimony to the precipitate flight of the adversary. Before us worked two companies of telegraphists heliographing orders to the Greek divisions pushing northward towards Strumnitza.
King Constantine, who received me when I arrived at Doiran, is proud of his army and full of admiration for the valour of the soldiers, who, he said, fought like lions.
He was obviously delighted to find himself opposed to such a. vaunted adversary. His Majesty said that the battle of Kukush was a tremendous effort, which completely smashed the Bulgarian army opposed to the Hellenes. The losses, unfortunately, were very heavy, but were more than compensated by the success obtained.
The outbreak of hostilities took him completely by surprise. He was sitting discussing the situation with M. Coromilas, the Foreign Minister, when M. Venezelos walked in with the news of the Bulgarian attacks. He left Salonika immediately.
At nightfall the view from Doiran was magnificent but awe-inspiring. Across the waters of the lake and on every hand blazing villages lit up the countryside. The Bulgarians in retreat fired all the Greek and Turkish townships. This so infuriated the Greek troops that they did not fail to retaliate on Bulgarian settlements.