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THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS, 1914-1918
Balkan campaign began 'to deplete the ranks and sap the strength
of the army. Macedonia is the most malaria-ridden country of
Europe and the disease is of a virulent kind, 1 per cent. of hospital
admissions in 1916 proving fatal. The Struma valley held the
worst record, the sick rate of the loth Division rising to a hundred a
day, but the anopheles was by no means confined to the low-lying
country, and few escaped the sudden onset and debilitating effects
of the disease .
.H the height of the summer heats, and with its numbers thinned
with malaria and dysentery, the Salonika Force was called on for a
renewed effort against the Bulgarian defences. The Allies had at
last persuaded Rumania to enter the field and a military conven–
tion promised, among other things, a definite offensive
("offensive
afJirmee"
in the original) from Salonika, to help the concentration
of the Rumanian forces. The main effort was to be made by the
Serbians west of the Vardar, while the French and British were to
operate near the Vardar and Lake Doiran with a view to pinning
do"m the maximum number of Bulgarian troops and perhaps
obtaining a local success which would be the key to a general
advance. Rumania marched to her fate, and the Serbian advance
culminated in the capture of Monastir.
On the British front the 7th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire
Light Infantry captured Horseshoe
Hill
above Lake Doiran and the
12th Lancashire Fusiliers were to fight the fiercest action of their
career on the heights of the Piton des Mitrailleuses above the village
of Machukovo on the east bank of the Vardar.
MACHUKOVO
The action of
~Iachukovo
is the name given in the Official
History to the important operation carried out by the 65th Infantry
Brigade under Brigadier-General
L.
N.
Herbert on the night of
13th September against the Piton des Mitrailleuses and the Dorsale,
north of Machukovo.
The 22nd Divisional Artillery had begun wire-cutting on the
12th, and on the 13th an artillery preparation had been carried on
all
day, including further wire-cutting, fire on the enemy's works
by 4.5-incb and 6-inch howitzers, and counter-battery fire by the
LXI Heavy Group near Kalinova and French heavy artillery from
the other bank of the Vardar.
The 12th Lancashire Fusiliers and 14th King's (Liverpool)
Regiment moved out from the British wire at 7.30 p.m. and
assembled near the south-east corner of Machukovo.
The first two paragraphs of Lieutenant-Colonel Tweedie's
operation order were as follows :-
" INFORMATIOl\.
(a)
Latest information points to the 59th
Regiment of the IOIst German Division as
holding the hostile front.