Various illustrations of firearms, artillery, and ammunition from an 1880s Austro-Hungarian military book.

A Description of the Battle at Lule Burgas, 1912

Bird’s eye sketch by G. Bron. Maps and text from Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett’s With the Turks in Thrace and Hermenegild Wagner’s With the Victorious Bulgarians.

But the sight which interested me the most was the attack on Lule Burgas. The Bulgarians now half-surrounded the town, and had advanced half-way down the hill, where they lay firing at the entrenched battalion of Turks in the town. The latter had inflicted very heavy losses on the invaders, who were quite devoid of any cover. But now the Bulgarian artillery had been brought up to the crest of the ridge, and commenced to shell the town and the Turkish entrenchments on the higher ground where we stood. Their fire was wonderfully accurate, but the Turks stood their ground well and refused to leave the town.

The whole of the battle front for twenty miles was clearly shown by the masses of bursting shrapnel shells. Never before have I seen such an artillery fire. For every battery the Turks seemed to have in action, the Bulgarians were able to produce half a dozen, and, whereas the Turkish fire was desultory and generally ill-directed, the Bulgarian shells burst in a never-ceasing storm on the Turkish positions with a maximum of effect. In fact, the enemy seemed to have so little respect for the Turkish batteries that they seldom directed their fire against them, but concentrated it on the infantry, who suffered enormous losses, and became sadly demoralised.

There seemed to be no escaping from these Bulgarian shells. Ismet and myself were kept continually on the move, for, whenever we took up a position from which to watch the fight, we were sure to be driven from it by the enemy’s fire, and what rendered the plight of ourselves and of the Turkish troops all the worse, was the impossibility of obtaining any cover on this bare plateau of grassy land or ploughed fields.