After the proclamation of Bulgaria’s Independence in 1908 the national union of the Bulgarian people becomes not only objectively necessary, but also becomes an important factor for its political, economic and cultural development. On February 29th , 1912 are laid the foundations of the Balkan Alliance with conclusion of a treaty between Bulgaria and Serbia, and later on – between Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro. Most numerous and strong in the Alliance Forces is Bulgarian Army. It mobilizes 600 000 men, 370 000 of which immediately take part in the war. Serbia participates in the war with 190 000 men, Greece – with 120 000 men, and Montenegro – with 30 000 men.
Bulgarian people is eager to fight for liberating its brothers in Macedonia and Thrace. Thousands of reservists and volunteers overcrowd the recruiting stations. From the thousands of volunteering refugees are formed Macedonian-Odrin Volunteer Units, comprising 14 670 men, who are closely involved in the war.
On October 5th, 1912 starts the offensive of the allies against the Turkish army. Bulgarian Army, which campaignes at the Thracian front , the main war-theater, achieves a significant success. The Supreme High Command directs to Odrin (Eng. – today Edirne in Turkey) 2nd army commanded by General Nikola Ivanov; 1st army under command of General Vasil Kutinchev is directed to the section of Odrin and Lozengrad, and 3rd army under command of General Radko Dimitriev, which stays invisible for the Turkish Command – to Lozengrad, across the right flank of 250 000 Eastern Turkish Army of Abdullah Pasha.
In the first strategic operation of the Bulgarian Army – the encounter battle of Lozengrad, in the cruel fights over Seliolu, Gechkenli, Eskipolos, Petra and Erikler,1st and 2nd Bulgarian armies gain complete victory. Rapid in deployment and vehemence of their actions, they end their attacks with powerful “bayonet blow”. On October 11th , 1912 the fortress of Lozengrad is captured. Disorganized, the Eastern Turkish Army retreats southwards in panic.
In Lyuleburgas-Bunarhisar Operation, carried out within October 14th – 19th, 1912, for the first time in the practice of European armies is created operative formation, larger than army – a front. The operation is carried out by 1st and 3rd Bulgarian armies, comprising totally 160 360 men, 360 guns and 160 machine-guns. In the bloody combats the Bulgarian soldiers, showing mass heroism and high spirit, irresistibly defeat the Turkish army, which starts retreating disorderly. Bulgarian losses are - 20 147 casualties, wounded and missing.
Second (2nd) army tightens the ring round Odrin (now Edirne in Turkey). Under the blows of Rhodope and Kardzhali Detachments, Macedonia-Odrin Volunteer Units included, the enemy retreats southwards. The Bulgarian troops reach the Eagean Sea coast. On November 14th,1912 near Merhamla village, the Kardzhali Detachment, together with the Mixed Calvary Brigade, forces the Turkish Corps of Yaver Pasha to surrender. Captured are 9 646 soldiers and officers. At the western war theater 7th Rila infantry division, as part of 2nd Allied Army, advances successfully along Struma River valley, aiming to capture Solun (today Thessaloniki in Greece).
October 16th , 1912 happens to be the “baptism of fire” day of the Bulgarian military aviation. Lieutenant Radul Milkov as a pilot , and Lieutenant Prodan Tarakchiev as an observer, for the first time fly by a biplane “Albatross”, taking off from “Mustafa Pasha” airfield (modern Svilengrad), using aircraft as a combat instrument.
The Bulgarian Navy also carries out successful military actions. On November 8th, 1912, the Bulgarian torpedo carriers “Letiashti”, ”Smeli”, “Strogi” and “Drazki”, under command of Commander II rank Dimitar Dobrev, implements decisive night torpedo attack against the Turkish cruiser “Hamidiye”. The torpedo, launched by “Drazki”, under command of midshipman Georgi Kupov, hits the head of the Turkish cruiser and pulls it out of action.
At the end of January 1913, renewing the combat actions after the first armistice, the newly established 4th Bulgarian Army successfully repulses the offensive of the Turkish Galipoli Army at Bulair. The Turkish landing troops near Sharkyoy, are forced to withdraw and board back on their ships. The attempt of the enemy to take offensive at Chataldja also failed. The plan of the Turkish Command to turn the war over also ended with failure.
The western military specialists consider Odrin Fortress (now Edirne) as one of the strongest in Europe, which could be captured only after long months of siege. It consists of front line, major defensive line (called fortress belt) and second defensive line. For its defense Commandant Mehmed Shukri Pasha has at disposal a garrison of 59 600 men, 524 guns, more than 130 000 shells, 12 million cartridges , 1 tied balloon and 10 searchlights for observing the position. Narrow- gauge railroad line connects all the defensive sectors and enables maneuvering of the spare troops. The Bulgarian Army prepares to capture the fortress by night storm in two days. In the preparation of the troops for the attack, besides the Commander of 2nd Bulgarian army, Lieutenant- General Nikola Ivanov, proved himself its main organizer, the Chief of the Eastern sector Major - General Georgi Vazov.
The Odrin (nowadays Edirne) operation is a top achievement in Bulgarian and world military art. It begins on March 11th , 1913 and continued forty- eight hours. In the first twenty-four-hour period, the 2nd army captures the front Turkish position , and in the second day and night it brakes through the major fort line. On March 13th , after irresistible bayonet attack and mass artillery fire, the strongest Turkish fortress in Eastern Thrace is captured. The fortress Commandant Mehmed Sukri Pasha is taken prisoner of war, together with the whole garrison. He says: “…there isn’t such a fortress that could withstand to your army.” The victory is won at the cost of 16 304 casualties, wounded and missing Bulgarian soldiers.
On May 17th, 1913 is signed the Peace Treaty of London. The slogan “ Balkans - to the Balkan countries” is accomplished. Liberated are the Pirin Mountain region, Rhodope area and the region of Strandzha. Bulgaria suffers the greatest losses - over 85 000 men; Serbia - 31 000 men; Montenegro - 16 000 men and Greece – 5 000 men.
In the Second Balkan War of 1913 (Balkan Interallied War 1913) that followed, the politicians and diplomats naively lose what was paid with the blood of tens of thousands Bulgarian patriots. The Bulgarian Army is forced to wage war against the former allies - Serbia , Greece and Montenegro, who disregard the previous treaties and agreements. Up from the North, pretending for territorial compensations, Romanian troops advance, and Turkish Army, unpunished, penetrates into South-Eastern Bulgaria.
In the early July of 1913, in the defensive battle over Kalimantsi village, 4th Army brakes the offensive of Serbian, Montenegrin and Greek troops and they turn to defense. The opportunity of successful counter-offensive and encirclement of the Greek Army, which penetrated into Kresna defile region, forced Serbia and Greece to agree on armistice.
The peace treaty is signed on July 28th , 1913 in Bucharest. On the battlefields for a month only die 33 000 Bulgarians, and 60 000 men are wounded. The country is plundered and parcelled out.