Radomir Putnik Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1847 - 1917 *** Full Name: Radomir Putnik *** Occupation: Serbian Field Marshall and Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Army *** Date of Birth: Radomir Putnik was born on January 24th 1847 *** Place of Birth: Radomir Putnik was born in Kragujevac, Principality of Serbia *** Family background: His father was Dimitrije Putnik. During 1690 the family fled Kosovo at the time of the Great Serb Migration to escape the Ottoman rule *** Early life and childhood: Radomir Putnik grew up in Kragujevac in Serbia *** Education: Radomir Putnik began his education at the school his father taught in at Kragujevac, he later attended the Artillery School in Belgrade ***
Radomir Putnik Fact 1: Radomir Putnik was born on January 24th 1847 a period in history when mighty empires collapsed, science innovations were numerous and the beginning of industrial revolution.
Radomir Putnik Fact 2: He took part in the in the battle between the Serbians and the Ottomans between 1876 and 1877.
Radomir Putnik Fact 3: Between 1877 and 1878 Radomir Putnik was given a command and under his leadership he took Gracanica and Gnjilane away from the Ottomans at Kosovo.
Radomir Putnik Fact 4: Radomir Putnik would become a professor in the Military Academy, a position he held for nine years between 1886 and 1895.
Radomir Putnik Fact 5: During 1880 he would be appointed as Deputy Chief of the General Staff, although he would end up alienating King Milan I because he refused to allow the King’s protégé to simply pass an examination.
Radomir Putnik Fact 6: During the reign of King Milan I and his successor Alexander I, Radomir Putnik would find himself held back from advancing his military career due to conflict and political intrigue.
Radomir Putnik Fact 7: During 1895 the King demanded he retire from his military career under the suspicion that his sympathies lie with Nikola Pasic of the Radical party.
Radomir Putnik Fact 8: In 1903 a military coup d’état took place and ousted Alexander I Obrenovic. Under the new king, Peter I Karadjordjevic, Radomir Putnik was reinstated and promoted to general and given the appointment of Chief of the General Staff.
Radomir Putnik Fact 9: In this new position Radomir Putnik was able to oversee a complete update of the Serbian military, he started by retiring the old officers and promoted younger officers together with updating war strategies and plans.
Radomir Putnik Fact 10: In 1904, 1906-1908 and 1912 he was appointed Minister of War.Radomir Putnik Fact 19: It was not to be and Serbia came under attack and was overwhelmed. The Serbian army was order by Putnik to retreat to Kosovo with a further retreat to Kragujevac. Desperate to keep his tired troops together he ordered a withdrawal towards Albania and waiting allied ships.
Radomir Putnik Fact 11: Although more often than not they clashed, he appointed General Zivojin Misic as his deputy as he held him in very high regard and the respected each other enormously.
Radomir Putnik Fact 12: Radomir Putnik he would become the first officer to ever be given the rank of Field Marshal, the highest rank in the Serbian Army.
Radomir Putnik Fact 13: During the first Balkan War against the Ottomans in 1912 he led many successful campaigns.
Radomir Putnik Fact 14: He would also lead the Serbian army to success against the Bulgarians at the Battle of Bregalnica in 1913.
Radomir Putnik Fact 15: As war was declared by the Austro-Hungarians he found himself in Budapest and was very chivalrously given safe conduct back to Serbia, which from the Austro-Hungarian side proved to be self-defeating.
Radomir Putnik Fact 16: Upon his return to Serbia Radomir Putnik was unwell and an old man, he requested that the King allow him to resign. The King refused siting that he may not physically be able to do battle anymore he was still able to given orders and planning strategies.
Radomir Putnik Fact 17: Radomir Putnik did this and successfully saw of the threat of the Austro-Hungarian invasion.
Radomir Putnik Fact 18: The next big threat was coming in the autumn of 1915 when the German and Bulgarians joined forces with the Austro-Hungarians. Radomir Putnik warned the Serbian government of the impending attack but his request to send troops in to Bulgaria on a preemptive strike was rejected. The government was acting on the wishes of the Allies, who were holding out hope that isolating the Bulgarians from the Triple Alliance would see the matter settle down.
Radomir Putnik Fact 20: All this time his health was declining, his troops were suffering from starvation and sickness, but they would make it to the allied ships and taken to safety.
Radomir Putnik Fact 21: By the time Radomir Putnik reached the safety of the allied ships he was totally exhausted and suffering bouts of influenza, pneumonia and bronchitis.
Radomir Putnik Fact 22: Radomir Putnik would find himself dismissed together with the whole of the General Staff in January of 1916. He learned of his dismissal via an army cashier giving him his final salary without the supplement of the Chief of General Staff.
Radomir Putnik Fact 23: Deeply resentful, Radomir Putnik made his way to Nice, in France where he was given a villa to call his home and was shown much respect by the French authorities.
Radomir Putnik Fact 24: On May 17th 1917 Radomir Putnik died of lung emphysema. He would never see his homeland again. In 1926 he would finally be laid to rest in Belgrade’s New Cemetery in the chapel. His epitaph read “Grateful Homeland to Radomir Putnik”.
List of Awards presented to Radomir Putnik:
*** Order of the Star of Karageorge *** Order of St. Sava *** Order of Saint Stanislaus *** Order of Military Merit *** Order of Saint Michael and Saint George ***
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