Battle of Cer summary
The Battle of Cer (Serbian: Церска битка, Cerska bitka), also known as the Battle of the Jadar River was fought from 15 August 1914 to 24 August 1914 around Cer mountain and several surrounding villages, as well as the town of Šabac during the early stages of the Serbian Campaign of the First World War. The triumph of the Serbians over their numerically superior Austro-Hungarian opponents was the first Allied victory over the Central Powers during the First World War.
- After some half harted attempts to cross the Danube the bulk of the Austro-Hungarian forces entered Serbia through the town of Loznican the east and Šabac in the North.
- The Austro-Hungarian forces converged on Valjevo. On the 15th of August, elements of the Serbian 1st Combined Division encountered Austro-Hungarian outposts on the slopes of the Cer mountain, and fighting erupted. The Austro-Hungarian positions were lightly held, and their defenders were driven back
- The Austro-Hungarians, who had suffered heavy casualties during the fighting, retreated in some disorder.
- On 17 August, the Serbs attempted to retake Šabac, but their efforts failed.
- The Austro-Hungarians succeeded in repulsing the Serbian Third Army, forcing it to manoeuvre one of its divisions to protect the approach to the town of Valjevo, which was threatened by the Austrian 42nd Mountain Division.
- In the early morning of the 18th of August, the Austro-Hungarians launched another attack, with the intention of pushing the Serbian 1st Šumadija Division off the Šabac bridgehead in order to allow the Austro-Hungarian Fifth Army to advance. However, the attack failed and the surviving Austro-Hungarian soldiers had to withdraw.
- The Serbian Second Army's continued along the Cer. The first Serbian assault was fought off, but a wave of further attacks followed throughout the night. In the early morning of 19 August, the Serbs finally crushed the Austro-Hungarian defences. The Austro-Hungarian 9th Infantry Division counterattacked but it was repulsed with heavy losses. The Austro-Hungarian Fourth Corps renewed its attack against the Šumadija Division, forcing the Serbs to withdraw having only sustained light casualties.
- The Serbs renews their attaks and the Austro-Hungarians began retreating with increasing rapidity, their will and cohesion was lost.
- The Serbs moved to purse the fleeing Austro-Hungarians all along the front. By 20 August, Austro-Hungarian forces were fleeing pursued by the Serbs back into Bosnia.
- Upon their triumpth at the Cer, the Serbs sought to recapture Šabac — which the Austro-Hungarians had heavily fortified. Violent clashes occurred on 21 and 22 August, during which the Serbian army fought its way to the western approaches of the town.
- By 23 August, the Serbs had the town encircled.
- On 24 August, the Serbians entered the town and discovered that Austro-Hungarian forces had decamped the previous night. This retreat brought the first Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia to an end.