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The Battle of Mojkovac (Serbian: Бој на Мојковцу, Boj na Mojkovcu) was a famous World War I battle fought between 6 January and 7 January 1916 near Mojkovac, Montenegro, between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Montenegro. It ended with a Montenegrin victory.
In winter of 1915, the Army of Montenegro had been fighting Austro-Hungary for three months, resisting the invasion of their territory. The Montenegrin Army was weakened by the harsh weather and lack of supplies. On 5 January 1916, they received a command to protect the retreat of the Serbian army to Corfu via Albania.
The fighting culminated on 6 January 1916, when a small army of less than 6,500 Montenegrin soldiers took a stand against the Austro-Hungarian advance in the village of Mojkovac, in Northern Montenegro. The initial plans of the battle was to cover the Serbian army retreat to Albania by delaying the Austro-Hungaian offensive towards Serbian positions, by halting much of their advancing army. Initially during the battle, the Montenegrin army intrenched themselves around the village of Mojkovac. Austro-Hungarian forces attacked the army's positions early that day along with heavy artillery bombardment on Mojkovac itself. By noon, the Austro-Hungarian attack was repulsed, suffering heavy casualties. Fighting resumed from then on, until the Austro-Hungarian forces left the battlefield, leaving more than 2,000 of their soldiers dead. By the end of the day, Montenegrin forces were able to push back multiple attacks made by Austro-Hungarian forces, taking back control of Mojkovac and it's surroundings.
On 7 January, Austro-Hungarian launched a second attack on Montenegrin positions. The attack evidently failed, inflicting heavy losses on both sides. Despite having a much stronger, larger, and more well equipment army, Austro-Hungarian forces abandoned their positions in Mojkovac on the 7th and preformed a retreat.
Austria-Hungary had taken massive losses with more than 20,000 of their soldiers killed, wounded, or missing, and still weren't able to defeat the Montenegrin resistance. On the other hand, although victorious, Montenegro losses were equivalent to half of their army's strength. The Austro-Hungarian armies in Montenegro were driven out, abandoning their positions, halting their advance for ten straight days. The Serbian Army managed to escape to neighboring Albania avoiding destruction by Austro-Hungarian forces, with the Montenegrin victory in Mojkovac.
The fighting culminated on 6 and 7 January 1916 (on Orthodox Christmas; also known as 'Bloody Christmas'). Led by Serdar (Count) Janko Vukotić with Krsto Zrnov Popović as second in command, the Montenegrin army inflicted heavy casualties on the Austro-Hungarian forces and temporarily halted their advancement. There is considerable disagreement about the actual conduct of the battle, but the Montenegrins did defeat a numerically superior foe. The battle was intended to give the Serbian Army enough time reach the Albanian mountains in their retreat to Corfu, but in fact most of the Serbian troops had already crossed the mountains and reached the coast and were battling their way south between Scutari (Shkodër) and Durazzo (Durrës).
The Montenegrin army continued to hold the Berane-Andrijevica-Mojkovac-Tara River line until withdrawing on 18 January. The Austrians then continued pushing their offensive south. Some historians indicate that at the time of the battle King Nicholas was already in surrender negotiations and that several units had already surrendered, but others hold that King Nicholas did not agree to negotiate until 12 January. However, by 25 January the entire army of Montenegro had laid down its weapons.
- Djilas, Milovan (1958) Land Without Justice Harcourt, Brace, New York, page 161, OCLC 2004937
- Vucinich, Louis Andrew (1974) God and the Villagers: A story of Montenegro Buffalo State College Foundation, Buffalo, New York, pages 313-314, OCLC 1194937
- Roberts, Elizabeth (2005) Realm of the Black Mountain: A History of Montenegro Cornell University Press, Ithica, New York, page 311, ISBN 978-0-8014-4601-6
- Djilas (1958) page 162
- Mitrović, Andrej (2007) Serbia's great war, 1914-1918 Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana, page 155, ISBN 978-1-55753-476-7
- Vucinich (1974) page 70
- Pavlovic, Srdja (2008) Balkan Anschluss: the annexation of Montenegro and the creation of the common South Slavic state Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana, page 77, ISBN 978-1-55753-465-1
- Cyril Falls, The Great War, p. 140
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