Živojin Mišic
Živojin Mišić OKS GCMG  was a Vojvoda (Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

) and the most successful Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n commander who participated in all Serbia's wars from 1876 to 1918.

Early years

Misic's grandfather was born in Struganik near Mionica
Mionica is a town and municipality located in the Kolubara District of Serbia. In 2011, the population of the town is 1,571, while population of the municipality is 14,263....

. His parents Radovan and Anđelija (born Damjanović - Koštunjić) had thirteen children, of which only two were girls - Todora and Živana.

Živojin was the youngest child, and when he was born, only eight of his brothers and sisters were still alive. When he turned 6 years, he became a shepherd. He finished primary school in Kragujevac
Kragujevac is the fourth largest city in Serbia, the main city of the Šumadija region and the administrative centre of Šumadija District. It is situated on the banks of the Lepenica River...

. In his memories, he mentions troubles he had with the city kids that teased him because of his peasant origin. In 1868, he started his gymnasium education in Kragujevac, where he finished 1st, 2nd, and 6th grade. He finished third and fourth grade in Belgrade. In the first five gymnasium grades he was not a particularly good student, but he finished 6th grade with much greater success. Because of that, he was admitted to the Military Academy in 1874, ranked 19th. On every holiday he visited his village, and often he worked on field with his brothers.

He participated with distinction in Serbo-Turkish wars of 1876. and 1878. with the rank of lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 JG of infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and in Serbo-Bulgarian War
Serbo-Bulgarian War
The Serbo-Bulgarian War was a war between Serbia and Bulgaria that erupted on 14 November 1885 and lasted until 28 November the same year. Final peace was signed on 19 February 1886 in Bucharest...

 of 1885. as full lieutenant - a company commander in the 5th infantry regiment of Drinska division.

Sometime after the assassination
May Overthrow
The May Overthrow was a 1903 coup d'état in which the Serbian King Alexander Obrenović and his wife, Queen Draga, were assassinated inside the Royal Palace in Belgrade on the night between 28 and 29 May 1903 by the Julian calendar...

 of king Aleksandar Obrenović
Aleksandar Obrenovic
  Not to be confused with Alexander I of Yugoslavia.Alexander I or Aleksandar Obrenović was king of Serbia from 1889 to 1903 when he and his wife, Queen Draga, were assassinated by a group of Army officers, led by Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević-Accession:In 1889 Alexander's father, King Milan,...

 he was forced to retire, supposedly through the influence of "Black Hand
Black Hand
Unification or Death , unofficially known as the Black Hand , was a secret military society formed by members of the Serbian army in the Kingdom of Serbia, which was founded on September 6, 1901. It was intent on uniting all of the territories containing significant Serb populations annexed by...

" as he was considered too close to the Obrenović dynasty
House of Obrenovic
The House of Obrenović was a Serbian dynasty that ruled Serbia from 1815 to 1842, and again from 1858 to 1903. They came to power through the leadership of their progenitor Miloš Obrenović in the Second Serbian uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which led to the formation of the Principality of...

, but was reactivated on personal insistence of the Chief of staff of High command of the Serbian army, General Radomir Putnik
Radomir Putnik
Radomir Putnik, also known as Vojvoda Putnik, OSS OCT OKS GCMG was a Serbian Field Marshal and Chief of General Staff in the Balkan Wars and World War I, and took part in all wars that Serbia waged from 1876 to 1917.-Biography:...

 who made him his aide.

Military career

After the battle of Kumanovo
Battle of Kumanovo
The Battle of Kumanovo or Battle of Kumanova on 23 – 24 October 1912 was a major battle of the First Balkan War. It was an important Serbian victory over the Ottoman army in Vardar Macedonia, shortly after the outbreak of the war...

 of the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913, pitted the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success...

, he was promoted to General. During the critical moments of Bulgarian surprise offensive at the Battle of Bregalnica
Battle of Bregalnica
The Battle of Bregalnica was fought between the Kingdom of Bulgaria army and the Kingdom of Serbia during the Second Balkan War. Serbian forces came out victorious....

 of the Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War
The Second Balkan War was a conflict which broke out when Bulgaria, dissatisfied with its share of the spoils of the First Balkan War, attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on 29 June 1913. Bulgaria had a prewar agreement about the division of region of Macedonia...

, when most of the staff suggested that the Serbian Army should withdraw to the second line of defence, Mišić (still Aide of Chief of Staff) strongly disagreed and persuaded Vojvoda Putnik to order the Army to repel the attack on the first line, thus contributing greatly to the Serbian victory at the battle. Prior to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, along with General Stepa Stepanović
Stepa Stepanovic
Stepa Stepanović OSS OCT GCMG was a field marshal of the Serbian Army who distinguished himself in Serbia's wars from 1876 to 1918.Stepa Stepanović was born in the village of Kumodraž outside of Belgrade on...

, he planned movements of the Serbian army, which eventually won a victory at the mountain of Cer
Cer (mountain)
Cer is a mountain in western Serbia, 30 kilometers from Šabac, 100 kilometers west of Belgrade. The highest peak is 689 m high.During World War I, the Battle of Cer was fought on Cer, in which Serbian forces defeated Austria-Hungary....

. At the height of Battle of Kolubara
Battle of Kolubara
The Battle of Kolubara was a major victory of Serbia over the invading Austro-Hungarian armies during World War I. The invaders were routed, and driven back across the Serbian border....

 Mišić was handed command over the Serbian First Army
Serbian First Army
The Serbian First Army was a Serbian field army that fought during World War I.-August 1914:*First Army - staff in the village Rača**I Timok Infantry Division - Smederevska Palanka...

, then in very difficult situation, to replace its wounded and sick commander General Petar Bojović
Petar Bojovic
Petar Bojović OKS GCMG was one of four Serbian vojvodas in Balkan Wars and World War I.-Early:Petar was born on July 16, 1858 in Miševići, Nova Varoš. He had distant ancestry from the Vasojevići....

. Largely through his personal effort and knowledge was that unit made battle-worthy again. He insisted on (then considered risky) deeper withdrawal of the whole Serbian army to gain time for some rest and improve supplies, which resulted in the abandonment of Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

. He made the kind of, in American football terminology, "shotgun
Shotgun formation
The shotgun formation is a formation used by the offensive team in American and Canadian football. This formation is used mainly for passing plays, although some teams use it as their base formation. In the shotgun, instead of the quarterback receiving the snap from center at the line of scrimmage,...

" formation. By shortened supply lines and most of his soldiers in dry and hot places (cold weather already started) for 3 days he refreshed his army and prepared it for offensive. His gamble, however, paid off as Austro-Hungarian
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 army overstretched its supply routes and was soundly beaten in the subsequent Serbian counteroffensive, which Mišić also initiated, and his army playing the decisive role. That was one of the greatest battles in the Serbian history and he was promoted to the rank of Vojvoda. As the Serbian Army settled in Kosovo
Malo Kosovo
Malo Kosovo/Llap Region is a small basin in northeastern Kosovo....

, in 1915, Mišić was eager to perform counteroffensive actions. This was denied by other army commanders at their meetings at Peć
Peć or Pejë is a city and municipality in north-western Kosovo and Metohija - Serbia, and the administrative centre of the homonymous district. Governor of city is Ali Berisha....

, and the withdrawal of Serbian forces over Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

 and Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 followed. At the Thessaloniki Front in 1916, he led the First Serbian Army, and was made Chief of staff of High command towards the end of the war, directing the Serbian Army operations in the breakthrough of Thessaloniki front in September 1918.


  • Order of the White Eagle (Serbia), II class;
  • Order of the White Eagle (Serbia) with swords, IV class;
  • Order of the Cross of Takovo
    Order of the Cross of Takovo
    The Order of the Cross of Takovo was instituted in 1865 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which had started in Takovo, Serbia....

    , II class;
  • Order of the Cross of Takovo
    Order of the Cross of Takovo
    The Order of the Cross of Takovo was instituted in 1865 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which had started in Takovo, Serbia....

    , III class;
  • Order of the Karađorđe's Star, I class;
  • Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, II class;
  • Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, III class;
  • Order of the Karađorđe's Star with Swords, IV class;
  • Medal of the Serbian Red Cross
    International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
    The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

  • Order of Prince Danilo I
    Order of Prince Danilo I
    The Order of Prince Danilo I of Montenegro was an order of the Principality, and later Kingdom, of Montenegro...

    , II class;
  • Legion of Honour, I class;
  • Legion of Honour, II class;
  • Croix de guerre 1914–1918 (France);
  • Order of the Bath
    Order of the Bath
    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

  • Order of St Michael and St George
    Order of St Michael and St George
    The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

    , I class;
  • The Balkan war
    Balkan Wars
    The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.By the early 20th century, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, the countries of the Balkan League, had achieved their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large parts of their ethnic...

     medal of the British Red Cross
    British Red Cross
    The British Red Cross Society is the United Kingdom branch of the worldwide impartial humanitarian organisation the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The society was formed in 1870, and is a registered charity with over 31,000 volunteers and 2,600 staff. At the heart of their work...

  • Order of the Redeemer
    Order of the Redeemer
    The Order of the Redeemer , also known as the Order of the Savior, is an order of Greece. The Order of the Redeemer is the oldest and highest decoration awarded by the modern Greek state.- History :...

    , I class;
  • Medal for Highly Meritorius Service of the American Red Cross
    American Red Cross
    The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

  • Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
    Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
    The Distinguished Service Medal is a military award of the United States Army that is presented to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the United States military, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great...

  • Order of the Crown
    Order of the Crown (Romania)
    The Order of the Crown is a chivalric order set up on 14 March 1881 by King Carol I of Romania to commemorate the establishment of the Kingdom of Romania...

    , II class;
  • Order of Saint Stanislaus, II class;
  • Order of St. George
    Order of St. George
    The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George (also known as Order of St. George the Triumphant, Russian: Военный орден Св...

    , IV class;
  • Order of the Medjidie, II class;
  • Order of the Crown of Italy
    Order of the Crown of Italy
    The Order of the Crown of Italy was founded as a national order in 1868 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, to commemorate the unification of Italy in 1861...

    , I class;
  • Croce di Guerra
    Croce di Guerra
    The Croce di Guerra al Valor Militare is an Italian decoration for military valour.- Past recipients :* Edouard Izac, Lieutenant, United States Navy* Douglas MacArthur, General, United States Army...



  • This article is originally based on a text which has been published on freesrpska.org. Note that some of the contents of the site might be propagandistic, wrong and/or biased.
  • Savo Skoko, "Vojvoda Stepa Stepanović", Belgrade 1985.
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