Connections of IMRO with Bulgarian military intelligence (1912 - 1918)


Volunteers from The Inner Macedonian-Adrianople 
Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in the Bulgarian Army
Liberation Organizations of the Macedonian Bulgarians, Special Services of the Bulgarian Army and Wars for National Unification (1912 – 1918) 

Assoc. Prof. Nikolay Prodanov, PhD  

...Bulgaria's military intelligence during First World War was guided by the Intelligence Section (IS) of the Army Headquarters (AH), which was quite small and formed on a territorial principle.

His most important operational authorities are Bulgarian military attachés abroad. Directly subordinated to the IS-AH are some other distinct intelligence units – the station in Thessaloniki, Special Intelligence Bureau at the War Department, created at the end of the war intelligence offices in Svilengrad and Tulcha (Tulcea).

Existing peacetime intelligence bodies to the inspection staffs and divisional areas during the war was deployed in the intelligence sections to the staffs of the various armies (with 2–3 officers) and intelligence structures to the divisional headquarters (initially 1, then with 2 officers).

The main instrument of tactical intelligence was the so called partisan bands. It should be noted mostly the Partisan band of Eleventh Infantry Macedonian Division. The personnel of this formation were composed of rebels and chieftains of the IMARO. 

The unit is a direct successor of partisan formations of the Macedonian-Adrianople volunteers in the Balkan wars. On August 22, 1915 with an order by Military Office No 421 the partisan band was formed that consists of headquarters, stations for the collection of information, partisan company and partisan squads. 

The most important headquarters structure of Partisan band was the intelligence section, which kept record of partisan squads, collected and processed information on the enemy and through the headquarters of the division forwarded it to the headquarters of the II Army and the Acting Army Headquarters. There were ten points of information collection, each having chief and six couriers. Separate partisan company was formed later that had 3 officers and 290 sergeant major, sergeants and soldiers. Partisan squads included commander – senior sergeant, four compartments which commanders were junior non- commissioned officers, 30 soldiers, five couriers and scouts. The main part of the personnel of the squads was Macedonian Bulgarians with long experience in IMARO...

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