The Man Who Single-Handedly Changed the Course of a War Without Lifting a Sword
A single brain is more powerful than the entire army
The year was 1912. The Balkans are in a state of war between two factions, the Ottoman Turks who ruled the land and those seeking independence (or support).
A combined army of Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Bulgaria marched out to fight the Ottoman Turks in separate columns. During the Battle of Kumanovo (23–24 October 1912) of the First Balkan War, the Serbian army came under extremely heavy attack from the rear by the Turks. The battle had started 50 km earlier than the Serbian troops expected as the better-prepared Ottomans surprised them.
Ahmed Ademovic was a trumpeter and part of the rear-guard of the Serbian army. The surprise attack by the Turks confused and demoralized Ahmed's unit.
The unit was now at the risk of being cut off from the main bulk of the Serbian army, and a defeat looked inevitable.
Ahmed Ademovic saw his comrades falling around him, but being a trumpeter, he had nothing to shoot back at the Turks. All he had was a trumpet and his wit.
What followed was a miracle. Ahmed did something so brilliant that 100 years later, military colleges still quote Ahmed's example.
Those were the time when there were no radios and walky-talkies. Instead, armies used sound instruments like trumpets and drums to communicate or broadcast messages to the masses.
Every sound had a meaning and a hidden agenda. There was a sound for declaration of war, to signal attack, to retreat, etc. Each army had its own set of sounds which was a well-kept secret to avoid the enemies from understanding the messages. But, since it was done in broad sunlight, the surprise used to never last long.
Ahmed Ademovic was of Muslim Roma and belonged to the Romani people of Serbian origin. A trumpeter, he was a musician who was an expert at his art.
Ahmed had heard the sound of retreat of the Ottoman army. While he had only heard it once, Ahmed was sharp enough to record the sound in his mind.
Seeing his unit panic, Ahmed braved a storm of bullets and bombs to sneak into the Ottoman side of the plain. He then sounded as loudly as he could the sound of retreat for the Turks. The Turkish (Ottoman) army was confused due to this sudden call and started to retreat. Many soldiers turned back while some continued the attack.
The Serbs were still caught flat on their heels. Ahmed charged back across the lines as fast as he could and signaled the sound of attack for the Serbian army.
Immediately, the momentum of the battle swung in favor of the Serbs. The counterattack of the Serbs completely routed the Turks, sending them into a panicky retreat.
The Serbs were able to concentrate their forces and their allies and ended up winning the war soon after.
Ahmed's cleverness made him one of the heroes of the battle won by the Serbians. His wit and quick thinking saved thousands of lives in his army. As a result, the military awarded him the highest military award Serbia could offer - the Karađorđe's Star military decoration.
He wore his decoration until his death in 1965 at the age of 92 years.
Ahmed died in 1965 at the age of 92.
- Ahmed's story shows us how the capability of one man can change the tide of an entire war.
- The story is also a great example of how one can achieve winning results with limited resources. We often give excuses about not having all the means. But, Ahmed ended up defeating a powerful enemy without picking up a sword. So, sharpen your brain; it's the biggest resource given to humans.
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