On October 7th of 1915 a Major named Dragutin Gavrilović addressed his troops. The battalion and small group of volunteers was ragged and battered, having fought for hours against the German and Austro-Hungarian troops in the defense of Belgrade. Shot to hell by artillery, ground down by the Austro-Hungarian reinforcements, they’d fought back close and hard. Putting flowers from a local flower shop on their uniforms and guns, they were preparing for a last stand,
On the day of the decisive battle, they received the Communion in the Ružica church (Little Rose church) in the Kalemegdan Fortress, and then they scattered around Dorćol and the Danube quay, readily waiting for the enemy. They sang to chase away the fear of certain death to which they were led by the speech of their commanding officer Major Gavrilović, who wanted to inspire them and lift their spirits before the upcoming battle.
“Soldiers, exactly at three o’clock, the enemy is to be crushed by your fierce charge, destroyed by your grenades and bayonets. The honor of Belgrade, our capital, must not be stained.
Soldiers! Heroes! The supreme command has erased our regiment from its records. Our regiment has been sacrificed for the honor of Belgrade and the motherland. Therefore, you no longer need to worry about your lives: they no longer exist. So, forward to glory! For King and country! Long live the King, Long live Belgrade!”
Quickly overcome and with Gavrilović injured, they fought so valiantly that General Mackensen wrote: “We fought against an army that we have heard about only in fairy tales, who defended themselves with virtually unprecedented courage. The moment we conquered Serbia hurt us more than her allies.”
He also erected a monument in honor of his heroic enemies, the city’s defenders.
I really didn’t like it the first time I listened, but it’s grown on me, and I really like it now. It’s still not up there with my favorite songs on this album – in large part because it’s overall so awesome – or my favorite songs by Sabaton, but it’s confident, driving, and hangs together in lyric and style, and well worth the listen. Given my high opinion of their oeuvre, barely missing that bar is nothing to be ashamed of. The grinding, relentless driving feel well echoes the feel of facing an unending, oncoming onslaught of shells and men.