Radko Dimitriev
Radko Dimitriev (born on 24 September 1859 in Gradets; died on 18 October 1918 near Pyatigorsk
Pyatigorsk is a city in Stavropol Krai on the Podkumok River, about from Mineralnye Vody. Since January 19, 2010 it has been the administrative center of the North Caucasian Federal District of Russia...

) was a Bulgarian
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 General, Head of the General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

 of the Bulgarian Army from 1 January 1904 to 28 March 1907.


He was born in the village of Gradets (Sliven Province
Sliven Province
Sliven Province is a province in southeastern Bulgaria, named after its administrative and industrial centre - the city of Sliven. It embraces a territory of 3,544.1 km² that is divided into 4 municipalities, with a total population, as of December 2009, of 204,887...

) and was raised by his grandmother in Kotel
Kotel may refer to:Bulgaria:* Kotel, Bulgaria, a town in Bulgaria* Kotel Pass, a mountain pass in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria...

. He later studied in the Aprilov Gymnasium in Gabrovo
Gabrovo is a city in central northern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Gabrovo Province. It is situated at the foot of the central Balkan Mountains, in the valley of the Yantra River, and is known as an international capital of humour and satire , as well as noted for its Bulgarian National...

 and participated in the organization of the April Uprising
April Uprising
The April Uprising was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria as an autonomous nation in 1878...


During the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) he was a translator in the 2nd Guards Division of the Russian Army
Imperial Russian Army
The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 to the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1850s, the Russian army consisted of around 938,731 regular soldiers and 245,850 irregulars . Until the time of military reform of Dmitry Milyutin in...

. In 1879 he graduated the Military School in Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

; in 1881 Dimitriev was promoted to a Lieutenant and in 1884 he became Captain after graduating the Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 Academy. When only a captain he was one of the pro-Russian officers involved in the plot to kidnap Prince Alexander of Battenberg and force his abdication in 1886, for which he was exiled by Prime Minister Stefan Stambolov
Stefan Stambolov
Stefan Nikolov Stambolov was a Bulgarian politician, who served as Prime Minister and regent. He is considered one of the most important and popular "Founders of Modern Bulgaria", and is sometimes referred to as "the Bulgarian Bismarck".- Early years :Stambolov was born in Veliko Tarnovo...

. He then served for ten years in the Russian army, and only returned to Bulgaria after the fall of Stambulov.

During the 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...

 (1885) Dimitriev was one of the commanders of the Western Corps and participated in the successful battle of Pirot
Pirot is a town and municipality located in south-eastern Serbia. According to 2011 census, the town has a total population of 38,432, while the population of the municipality is 57,911...

. After the war he took part in an unsuccessful coup d'etat; emigrated to Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 and became a member of the club of the Emigrant Officers. Later he emigrated to Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and served in the Russian Army.

He returned to Bulgaria in 1898 and became a second in command in the 5th Danube Infantry Division. On 18 May 1900 he was promoted a Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 and was the Head of the General Staff of the Bulgarian Army from 1904 to 1907. On 2 August 1912 Radko Dimitriev was promoted a Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....


During 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...

 (1912–1913) he was in command of the 3rd Army which decisively defeated the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 at Lozengrad
Battle of Kirk Kilisse
The Battle of Kirk Kilisse or Battle of Kirkkilise or Battle of Lozengrad was part of the First Balkan War between the armies of Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. It took place on 24 October 1912, when the Bulgarian army defeated an Ottoman army in Eastern Thrace.The initial clashes were around...

 and Lule Burgas in Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...


During 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...

 in 1913 he replaced general Mihail Savov
Mihail Savov
Mihail Savov was a Bulgarian general, twice Minister of Defence , second in command of the Bulgarian army during the Balkan Wars....

 as deputy commander-in-chief.Later that year after the end of the war he was sent as a Minister Plenipotentiary to Saint Petersburg, Russia.

First World War

During the First World War (1914–1918) he served in the Russian Army as a commander of a corps. At the beginning of spring 1915, Radko-Dmitriev commanded the 3rd Army
3rd Army (Russian Empire)
The Russian Third Army was a World War I Russian field army that fought on the Eastern theatre of war.Field management was established in July 1914 at the headquarters of the Kiev Military District. The unit was disbanded in the beginning of 1918...

 in Galicia
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria was a crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria–Hungary from 1772 to 1918 .This historical region in eastern Central Europe is currently divided between Poland and Ukraine...

 facing the Austrians along the line of Gorlice-Tarnów. His role was to hold the line while the Russian 11th and 12th armies in Bukovina
Bukovina is a historical region on the northern slopes of the northeastern Carpathian Mountains and the adjoining plains.-Name:The name Bukovina came into official use in 1775 with the region's annexation from the Principality of Moldavia to the possessions of the Habsburg Monarchy, which became...

 renewed the offensive through the Carpathians towards Hungary. In April 1915 despite knowing that German troops had replaced those of Austro-Hungary in the area of Gorlice
Gorlice is a city and an urban municipality in south eastern Poland with around 29,500 inhabitants . It is situated south east of Kraków and south of Tarnów between Jasło and Nowy Sącz in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship , previously in Nowy Sącz Voivodeship...

, Radko Dmitriev had made no preparations to counter a German offensive or fortify his positions. The trenches in his sector were crude and in many places there was no second line of defence. In the breakthrough area of Gorlice 5½ Russian divisions (60,000) of poorly trained conscripts faced the 10 German divisions of the 11th army under Mackensen
August von Mackensen
Anton Ludwig August von Mackensen , born August Mackensen, was a German soldier and field marshal. He commanded with success during the First World War and became one of the German Empire's most prominent military leaders. After the Armistice, Mackensen was interned for a year...

 with 700 guns including many of heavy caliber, while the Russians had only 140 light field guns. The concentrated bombardment which opened the Gorlice–Tarnów offensive on 2 May 1915 tore the front open, but initially General Alexeev at Stavka
Stavka was the term used to refer to a command element of the armed forces from the time of the Kievan Rus′, more formally during the history of Imperial Russia as administrative staff and General Headquarters during late 19th Century Imperial Russian armed forces and those of the Soviet Union...

 refused to take the offensive seriously: Stavka remained convinced that main German attack would come in the north, and were focused on their own offensive in the south. A Russian counter attack was ordered by Stavka and took place at Dokra Pass on 7 May 1915 but this became a senseless massacre. Consequently much of the 3rd Army was either cut off or destroyed by the time Stavka allowed Radko-Dmitriev to order a retreat on 10 May 1915, and only 40000 out of an army of 200,000 reached the River San. Radko-Dmitriev claimed correctly that his army had been “bled white” but was removed from command 2 June 1915 and replaced by General Lesh.

Sir Bernard Pares
Bernard Pares
Sir Bernard Pares KBE was an English historian and academic known for his work on Russia.-Early Life:Pares was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in Classics taking a third...

 who met Radko Dmitriev several times when he was covering the war on the Eastern Front, and knew him well, described him thus:

"General Radko Dmitriev is a short and sturdily built man with quick brown eyes and a profile reminiscent of Napoleon. He talks quickly and shortly, sometimes drums on the table with his fingers, and now and then makes a rapid dash for the matches. The daily visit of the Chief of the Staff is short, because, as the General says on his return, simple business is done quickly. Every piece of his incisive conversation holds together as part of a single and clear view of the whole military position, of which the watchword is 'Forward'."

After a spell in the Caucasus out of favour, he was reappointed in late 1916 to command the 12th army on the Riga front, but in summer 1917 Alexeyev dismissed his commander-in-chief at the front, Ruszky, and the army commander Radko-Dmitriev, for weakness and indulgence to the soldiers' committees that had sprung up everywhere after the February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 in 1917. Radko-Dimitriev resigned and went with family to the resort town of Pyatigorsk
Pyatigorsk is a city in Stavropol Krai on the Podkumok River, about from Mineralnye Vody. Since January 19, 2010 it has been the administrative center of the North Caucasian Federal District of Russia...

 in Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

. There on 18 October 1918 he was shot down by communist soldiers together with 100 generals and officers.
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