After the joint Austro-German and Bulgarian victory over Serbia in 1915, the Serbian forces retreated to Albania aiming to make their escape to the Adriatic. Their retreat was covered by their Montenegrin allies, who remained to defend their own territory, and a Franco-British relief force. Accordingly, the Serbians were not pursued into Albania, but still incurred massive losses; the weather conditions were atrocious in the coastal mountains, and the retreating soldiers had virtually no supplies and were accompanied by many civilian refugees. Depleted by hunger, disease and marauding Albanian tribesmen, around 155,000 soldiers and civilians managed to reach the coast, where French and British ships ferried them to Corfu and the Greek islands, Brindisi and Bizerte in Tunisia, completing the evacuation in February, 1916. Many of those rescued were so shattered by the exodus that they died within weeks of reaching safety; Marshal Putnik, the Serbian Chief of Staff, died within the year.
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