Serbian Uniforms of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Serbian Uniforms of World War 1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

We’ve talked a lot about Serbia during our
regular episodes. From the war’s beginnings and the repeated
failures of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to conquer Serbia, to its invasion at the hands
of the combined Central Powers, then to the exodus to Corfu where the remnants of the
Serbian army were reconstituted to carry on the fight. And today I’m not going to look at what
they did, but what they wore. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to a Great War
special episode about Serbian uniforms in the First World War. Well, it’s also about some of their uniforms
from before the war. See, even though Serbia was officially independent
after the 1878 Congress of Berlin, it had been fairly independent from the Ottoman Empire
in reality since the 1830s, with it’s own ruler, constitution, parliament, and army. And there was a real desire to equip that
army like a modern European one. And even to the end of the 19th century you
could see foreign influences at work on Serbian uniforms, depending on the current political
situation. At first the influence was strongly Russian,
and in fact the first uniforms were actually Russian ones, but with Serbian insignia. In the 1870s you could see French style Kepis
and German pickelhaube simultaneously. However, it was at the beginning of that decade,
in 1870, when the Regulation of Military Clothing came out and the standard uniforms of the
both the officers and the enlisted men became more practical and appropriate for the modern
battlefield. In 1896 a new pattern emerged which was quite
different from the Austrian inspired 1870 pattern. It was clearly influenced by Russian uniforms,
and was a ploy by King Alexander to get more Russian support after his father’s pro-Austrian
policies. The men still wore the shajkacha on their
heads but the officers wore the shapka peaked cap. A new kalpak – a fur busby – was introduced
for parade. The tunic was dark blue and single breasted. Trousers were grey-blue and the greatcoat
dark blue. Collars and shoulder straps were in the colors
of service. Now, this uniform was replaced in 1908 but
is still important for WW1 since Serbia couldn’t produce enough modern uniforms for everyone,
so the 1896 uniform was all over the battlefields of the Balkan Wars and this war. In fact, many reserve officers and 2nd Ban
troops – soldiers 32-37 years old – you’ll see wearing the “old blues” in pictures
from back then. The soldiers’ uniforms by now focused on
simplicity and functionality, but not so those of the officers. The 1900 pattern officers’ uniform introduced
the mundir, a double-breasted tunic with six buttons in each row. It differed in color depending on branch of
service, but eventually all regiments except cavalry wore black mundir. Cavalry wore light blue. Trousers were black except for the cavalry
and general staff who wore red with two black stripes. The 1908 olive green uniform pattern was a
field service pattern for all ranks, to be worn on all duty occasions. The officers’ tunic was made of wool and
single breasted with 8 hidden buttons and had two pockets on the chest and two down
the sides. The upturned velvet collar showed the color
of service. The summer tunic was the same cut but made
of linen or cotton and was white. The trousers and greatcoat were also the olive
green. The coat was waist less and double-breasted,
with six buttons down each side. There were two pockets with flaps on the sides
and the left one was cut through for the sabre. There was a long slit up the back for horseback
that could be buttoned. Boots were black and came up just below the
knee. The headgear was an olive green shajkacha. They had a leather belt with a holster for
a handgun and a leather sabre hanger, a sabre, map case, binoculars and a case for them,
and a canteen. The enlisted men had shajkacha, tunic, trousers,
greatcoat, and boots. The shajkacha was olive green wool with no
decoration. The flaps could be folded down in cold weather
and a piece of cloth could be easily attached to the back in the summer to protect the neck
from the sun. Tunic was olive green wool with seven hidden
black bone buttons. It had four pockets, the two chest pockets
with scalloped flaps. Earlier models had flaps on the lower pockets
that could be snapped shut, but eventually they had the same as the chest pockets. Collar patches were the color of service and
shoulder straps were of the same material as the tunic, with one large bone button and
the rank insignia on top. Soldiers that carried rifles had a roll on
the right shoulder strap to keep the rifle sling from slipping off. Sergeants had the color of service piping
on the shoulder straps. The trousers were olive green and were adjustable
for high or low boots. The Greatcoat was the same color, with the
collar turned down with service color patches. When not in use it could be rolled up like
a bandolier over the shoulder. Tall boots with soft legs were used by the
artillery and cavalry; the infantry got low black marching boots. There was, though, a chronic shortage of footwear,
so many soldiers were issued with opanci, traditional leather peasant shoes. They were cheap and easy to mass-produce and
since most of the infantry were peasants, they were used to them. The infantry carried a belt with ammo pouches,
two on the front holding 45 rounds each, and one on the back holding 60. They had a water bottle and an entrenching
tool, and a backpack was issued in smaller numbers, but most soldiers carried a plain
white bread bag on its own strap. However, these uniforms were what the Serbian
army used early in the war, before the retreat through the mountains of Albania and the regrouping
on Corfu. Most of their uniforms were lost or destroyed
during this time, and the new reconstituted Serbian army that fought the remainder of
the war in the Balkans was equipped mostly by the French and wore their uniforms. Many officers, though, kept their 1908 patterns
or had new ones made so they were often wearing totally different uniforms from their men. 150,000 French Adrian helmets were issued
and they bore the Serbian crest on the front, and the kit the soldiers carried was basically
French. Compared to the other nations, Serbian uniforms
and gear were durable, simple, and practical. The olive green blended in pretty well with
Serbian vegetation and the relatively low weight was a great plus in the hills. There were a couple of downsides, like the
ammo pouches were fairly bulky, but the real downside was that Serbia was not a wealthy
nation and, especially after the two Balkan wars, could not afford to dress and equip
all of its troops. So the First Ban, soldiers 21-31, had the
1908 uniforms, the 2nd Ban, as I said, also had a bunch of the old 1896 dark blue uniforms,
while the 3rd Ban, ages 18-21 and 38-50, usually only got the greatcoat and the shajkacha,
but sometimes wouldn’t even get that. They might only have civilian clothes, and
that gave Austro-Hungarian troops the excuse to shoot or hang them as guerrillas and not
regular soldiers. Much of the 3rd Ban also only had one ammo
pouch for their single shot rifles. Nevertheless, it must be said that combat
experience, resourcefulness, perseverance and just the plain old will to fight made
these Serbian peasants into some of the finer soldiers
of the war.


  1. Nick Bluhm says:

    I have a question

    I meet someone with a silver ww1 german ring, are there rare or important? What was there use?

    Thanks for whoever that answers.

  2. Daire Rush says:

    This is the episode that I finally caught up to the live releases. Just over a year!

  3. dr. Manhattan says:

    Where is Montenegro and the legendary Mojkovac Battle

  4. Dražen Aranđić says:

    Thanks so much Nigel. This is excellent episode.

  5. Homemadebeats says:

    Indy should do a ww1 fashion event

  6. nesa1126 says:

    There is an interesting story about Serbian military bread called tain.

  7. LukasSuperGamerDK says:

    I love your voice

  8. Mr.T5 Eddie says:

    Kosovo je serbia from turkey 12 year old

  9. Ashish Gupta says:

    Carry On

  10. PapaBear Paw says:

    Take care

  11. Ryan Wiles says:

    Minute 1:33 looks like a photo of a union regiment, could America have had an impact on Serbian uniforms?

  12. silvioevan11 says:

    Great episode. Years ago a friend of mlne went to BeIgrade during that famous Guca music festival. He was like: “Wow, so many beautiful glrls with that funny hat.” He was trying to say “the Šajkača”, of course.

  13. Bojan Milanovic says:


  14. Panzerkampfwagen V Ausf. G says:

    Hey Indy for out the trenches:
    Was there any Norwegian ships torpedoed and how many?

  15. Nick Stemberger says:

    Indy, love your show- extremely informative! Random question, but I understand the royal family (UK) changed their last name due to Anti-German sentiment. How did they come up with 'Windsor'? Keep up the good work!

  16. Carlton B says:

    I watched this video intently, as if there is going to be a test, or it might make a difference in the rest of my life, or like I might encounter a Serbian uniform, and the knowledge might save my life. I am pretty sure my intensity is wasted.

  17. thisissparta789789 says:

    Why couldn't Germany just not break the Russian non aggression pact and unleash the Beast also the Japanese really messed up with Pearl Harbor. What would have happened if Germany didn't attack Soviet Union and Japan didn't attack US. US might enter war since German Subs always hit allied ships and America was supplying

  18. Adam McAllister says:

    Best episode Indy's ever written is defiantly role of animals in the war

  19. Christen Himself says:

    I dont understand why this channel doesn't have 500-750K views on every video, you are well worth it.

  20. DanishYankee says:

    Hey The Great War I was wondering if you could do a special on Danish soldiers that fought in the War like Thomas Fasti Dinesen and Christian Celius Nicolaisen

  21. philip1201 says:

    Happy 50th Birthday, Indy!

  22. Johnnyc drums says:

    Men on the Western front must have been thinking, "Do we really care about Serbia"?

  23. YathytheCanuck says:

    Finally a Balkans video that doesn't have people arguing down in the comments…

  24. Garry Richardson says:

    Do american uniforms pls thanks

  25. Sindacco77 says:

    Brazilian uniform

  26. Derp McDerpson says:

    2:47 has an officer of the Galactic Empire in the back right.

  27. DimaTheJam says:

    "Serbian Crest" is "Kokarda"

  28. telsah1 says:

    Thank you for another great lesson. Always love to listen to this channel.

  29. Mistophoroi says:


  30. John Caliber says:

    Typical swarthy balkan people with asian level of infrastructure and shocking high ratio of illiteracy even in the 20th century.

  31. Hasib kurdish says:

    Hes wearing those clothes since 2014

  32. Бојни Војвода says:

    And,Serbian soldiers have patiees.

  33. Alexander Nachev says:

    Make a video about the Bulgarian uniforms please

  34. mikri maus says:

    Can u make Montenegrin episode ?

  35. Dapper Potato says:

    Im serbian

  36. MemZ SRB says:

    Don't mess with Serbs

  37. Julien says:

    Could Serbian soldiers change skins after grinding battlepacks?

  38. B H says:

    Please please please do US doughboy uniforms. Im working on an impression and love the information you provide

  39. Lúcio Dutra says:


  40. Agoraphobic News says:

    More like Šabaton

  41. Radovan Kovacevic says:

    1870. serbian army haved 380 pieces od artillery,u.s. haved only 130.

  42. Will Lennon says:

    Look at my head. I am a Serbian Prince

  43. Wedge 0020 says:

    Hey Indie and crew! I'd love to see a video on US uniforms

  44. That Asshole says:

    Indy I can beat you to the punch they wore clothes.

  45. sshauser1 says:

    Thank you very much for these episode. Ovo cu na srpskom pa prevedite: Najlepse vam hvala za komentar o srpskim vojnicima. Zaista su takvi bili.

  46. Stevan Stankovic says:

    Great video Indy.Greetings from Serbia 😎

  47. Kristyn Belleau says:


  48. World Eater says:

    why do Serbians look middle-eastern?

  49. FMPrussia says:

    Even Serbs wore Adidas in WW1

  50. Ivan Ivan says:

    Knowing that Serbian army was so bad equipped I am suprised that Austria didnt use gas weapon more frequently on them.

  51. KraljAlek says:

    For ancient history on Serbs & Slavs in the Balkans in general, see

  52. KraljAlek says:

    The footwear OPANAK is our trademark and yes I admit, our opanak looks hilarious 🙂

  53. 47Dreadlox says:

    Some of the finest people in our proud history – СОЛУНЦИ!

  54. VRisGood says:

    a Serb is the strongest when he is in his native clothes XD

  55. Nikos Panos says:

    Dear Indy, I feel most appreciative for the Search Results excellent job you and your channel have been doing!
    Ever grateful, I believe that I can provide all the necessary information and regulations, should you and your team decide to present a WW1 Greek Army Uniforms Special.

  56. Nemanja Gajic says:

    1:57 – Prince Djordje Karadjordjevic, the elder brother of King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, who was supposed to be king, but unofficially, was mentally unstable for the ruler!

  57. Milos Simic says:

    Great video, many thanks from Serbia.

  58. Julius Beer says:

    Please do Japanese uniforms of ww1

  59. Chetnik Countryball says:

    We beat the ottomans austrians and germans..and if we have to we will BEAT THEM AGAIN..and this time we wont have to beat them another time

  60. 死亡疤痕 says:

    I like Serbia. Novak Djokovic is from there. Niko Bellic too. They got a cool flag and I do think the west kind of screwed them over on Kosovo (at least give them serb majority areas of bosnia as compensation!)

  61. the commandon't says:

    Their beautiful blue uniforms from ww1 were carried over to the modern day royal guard with red accents as an homage to ww1, and they look stunning

  62. WoT2 Day says:

    Hahahah shaichaca I have one because I from Serbia!!

  63. WoT2 Day says:

    Hahhah ophanci

  64. Bash Bardhi says:

    Serbian military since its creation was nothing else but a russian tool used to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against the authentic albanian and hungarian populations . Slavic expansion in Europe was supported and financed by faschist russia and supported by then France.
    Those uniforms are uniforms of shame.

  65. Bash Bardhi says:

    The so called "military" that wore those uniforms was nothing else but a rag tag genocidial brainwashed non-europian dark force that committed horrible crimes on behalf of Russia, and with the blessing of france. Russia wanted to set up a ghetto in Europe and it did so with the blessing of France. And those are the uniforms who made it happen .

  66. Stefan Trajkovic says:

    3:15 Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is that you?

  67. Zunami says:

    can anyone tell me where to get the picture with the Serbian grenzers in the background???
    i'm serching for info on the 9th grenzinf. reg. for months now and these look like them

  68. Веселин Поповић says:

    Every Serbian solider had ration of "tain" special military bread . Some say this was the secret of soldiers great endurance.

  69. Karlo Jajalo says:

    Nice video!I love your ww1 setup!

  70. Miloš Obilić says:

    You say : "that gave austro hungarian troops the excuse to shoot or hang them as guerrillas and not regular soldiers" – why then austro hungarians especially croats in thet army was killing womens, olds and children in district of Machva 1914 and 1915 ?

  71. mail 2 says:

    Serbia diddnt had pasents

  72. Ducesweden says:

    You should make one about bulgarian uniforms aswell.

  73. Just Me says:

    I don't know why army stop wearing this uniforms….aaa yeaah… we don't have that same army..

  74. Rat Boi says:

    gavrillo princip shoots the arch duke
    4 years later
    league of nations: why would germany start the war

  75. WoT2 Day says:

    Zasto govore tako retardirano sajkaca nije mi jasno??

  76. the living meme says:


  77. Bash Bardhi says:

    This is a very laughable interesting story about
    " Russian uniforms with Serbian insignia" and "French helmets" . The true story is that these "heroic" peasant troops were nothing but regular Russian troops creating another slavic nation right in the heart of Europe , while europian powers were too busy fighting one another. The Russian and Serbian troops commited horrible crimes against the native Albanian and Hungarian populations just so they could create their "serbia". These "Serbian peasants troops " were nothing else but a genocidial dark anti-europian force in the service of faschist Russia . Their participation on the first world war had nothing to do with europian values but had everything to do with ethnic cleansing and expulsion of the native Albanian and Hungarian populations from what is known today as Serbia.

  78. Đorđe Asanović says:

    Thank you for taking care of every single fact in WWI, and about Serbia also because we really had a big role during that war. I really like your channel, so keep going! Greetings from Serbia!

  79. mladen83db says:

    Heheh sajkaaaca nigel you are the best hah 💪💗

  80. kokan mokan says:


  81. Tech BG says:

    Serbains enter in Bulgaria without declaring war but bulgarians which are fighting with Romania , Russia , England , France , Ottoman empire , Montenegro , Greece , Macedonia – win and serbians

  82. Michael says:

    Thank you! Indy, you are great!

  83. Duk Dux says:

    Serbs remove hamburgers

  84. Martin Martinov says:

    Добре дошли в Сливница и Драгоман…"брача срби"!

  85. MinjaGaming says:


  86. mandrin vuthaj says:

    This Serbian army committed atrocities unheard and unseen against Albanian civil population in the north of Albania from 1910 to 1913. Sadly Serbians have no regrets.

  87. Краљевина СрбијаKindom of Serbia says:

    I still have shajkacha from my grand grand father! But with no simbols! He was soldier of first Serbian army in command of general Stepa Stepanovic!

  88. Stefan Nikolic says:

    Great information! Thank you!

  89. Clayton Sharp knight of Crown sam says:

    Last dying breathe

  90. sToLe ツ says:

    Where is The first little officer Momcilo Gavric?

  91. luc dom says:

    Entente allies: exist
    France: shut up and take my adrian !

  92. Senoir Montique says:

    anyone notice the Kuhkri Knife next to him.

  93. Немања Чукић says:


  94. BLITZ Mapper says:

    Opanci and shajkacha ade saying different but its okay because you are not from Serbia and our words are hard for saying to someone who is not from here

  95. Suza Ic says:

    These men were great heroes. Thank you so much for this video, from a Serbian 🙏🏻🤗

  96. Orgon Solo says:

    Sajkace is my favourite hat!

  97. Aleksandar Popov says:

    Finest soldiers of the Great war!Indeed that's true!

  98. Dobrosav Milutinovic says:

    Respect for your work!

  99. X X X Muzika says:

    Anglosaksonci seru pa seru…
    Smrdljivci, koliko ste poubijali po svijetu ljudi. Genocid nad genocidom.

  100. Lorenzo Villafana says:

    a great army

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