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Modernization of the Bulgarian Army and the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising

The Ministry of War took measures to accelerate the scale-up and modernization of the Bulgarian Army. The construction of a mass army began, with divisional organization, with staffing system permitting training of the entire male population. High combat readiness was maintained; a wartime army matching those of the neighbours was build. In the early 1900s, the Bulgarian armed forces could rely in war on 300,000 well-trained soldiers and 1,400 officers. The Bulgarian Army was transformed into a European-type army, not match for the best of them only in terms of its size.

Remaining within the Ottoman Empire, the Bulgarian people in Macedonia and Eastern Thrace fought tirelessly for their liberation. In 1903, erupted the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising. 26,408 rebels fought life-or-death battles against 350,000 strong regular Turkish Army and bashi-bazouk [irregular troops]. After three months of resistance, the uprising was drown in blood.

In the preparation and the actual Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising of 1903, took part 48 officers from the army of the Principality of Bulgaria – one general, one colonel, one lieutenant colonel, four captains, 20 lieutenants, and 21 second lieutenants. The number of NCOs and privates, who together with the long-time members of the Internal [Macedonian-Edirne Revolutionary] Organization combat units [cheta] made up the backbone of the rebels’ army, was substantial. Dozens of Principality’s servicemen also assisted in the efforts but chose not to resign from service or leave the country’s territory.