Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    The tiny mountain kingdom of Montenegro was the smallest of all combatants in the Great War. The population of the Balkan country was placed at some 500,000, many times less than any of the other 1914 powers. It only gained full independence from Ottoman Turkey in 1910. The country did not keep a standing army and thus had no peacetime strength, the only professional soldiers being a small volunteer training cadre. The country, however, lived on a war footing, with each man carrying a personally acquired Gasser heavy revolver at all times by order of the king. The army was set to be mobilized within a period of 48 hours through the use of flag and lamp signals being sent from hill to hill. Every reserve Montenegrin soldier was given his weapons and equipment to keep with him at home and be prepared to report at a moments notice with his own change of clothes and short term supply of foodstuffs.

    The army was arguably the worst equipped army on the continent. It was perhaps the only army in Europe at the time that had no horse cavalry, due both to a shortage of horses and unsuitable terrain. The kingdom in 1914 had the very bad roads (almost impassible in many cases except in single file) in a region known for poor roads. There were only 26 miles of Railway in the entire country at the time. The army's rank and file were not issued uniforms, with men showing up on mobilization wearing a blend of civilian clothes accented with the occasional bandolier. Officers wore a uniform patterned on the tsarist Russian army of the time. Artillery, pulled by oxen was limited to about seventy pieces of a dozen different Italian and English makes dating to the 1850's. Montenegro was an ally of the Tsarist Russian Empire who donated most of the army's weapons. In 1902, 44,000 artillery short swords, 30,000 Berdan breech loading rifles, and 25,000 Smith & Wesson 44 caliber revolvers were given by the Russians to their Montenegrin allies. The fact that all of these weapons had been withdrawn by Imperial Russia as being obsolete was of little concern. A small shipment of more modern Mosin nagant bolt action rifles was sent just before the war.

Share This Page