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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

That of General Kuroki being the First



Immediately after the landing of the army corps under General Oku and the capture of Dalny in the sequel of the battle of Kinchou, the Japanese began to pour troops into Dalny, and soon they had there three divisions under the command of General (afterwards Count) Nogi. This force was henceforth known as the Third Army, that of General Kuroki being the First, and that under General Oku, the Second. The next operation was to land another army at Takushan, which lies on the south coast of Manchuria, between Pitszewo and the estuary of the Yalu. This army was under the command of General (afterwards Count) Nozu, and its purpose was to fill the gap between the First Army and the Second. Nozu's corps thus became the Fourth Army. In fact, the Japanese repeated, in every respect, the plan of campaign pursued by them ten years previously in the war with China.

There was one ultimate difference, however. In the latter war, the force which captured Port Arthur was subsequently carried oversea to the Shantung province, where it assaulted and took the great Chinese naval port at Weihaiwei. But the army sent against Port Arthur, in 1904, was intended to march up the Liaotung peninsula after the capture of the fortress, so, as to fall into line with the other three armies and to manoeuvre on their left flank during the general advance northward. Thus considered, the plan of campaign suggests that General Nogi

and his three divisions were expected to capture Port Arthur without much delay, and indeed their early operations against the fortress were conducted on that hypothesis. But, as a matter of fact, in spite of heroic efforts and unlimited bravery on the Japanese side, Port Arthur, with its garrison of thirty thousand men, its splendid fortifications, and its powerful artillery, backed by the indomitable resolution and stubborn resistance of Russian soldiers, did not fall until the last day of 1904, and Nogi's army was unable to take part in the great field-battles which marked the advance of the three other Japanese armies from the seacoast to the capital of Manchuria.

Step by step, however, though at heavy sacrifice of life, the Japanese fought their way through the outer lines of the Russian defences, and the end of July saw the besiegers in such a position that they were able to mount guns partly commanding the anchorage within the port. An intolerable situation being thus created for the Russian squadron, it determined to put to sea, and on August 10th this was attempted. Without entering into details of the fight that ensued, it will suffice to state briefly that the result of the sortie was to deprive the Russian squadron of the services of one battle-ship, three cruisers, and five torpedo craft, leaving to Rear-Admiral Prince Ukhtonsky, who commanded the vessels in Port Arthur, only five battle-ships, two cruisers (of which one was injured), and three destroyers. On August 18th, a gunboat; on August 23d, another battle-ship, and on August 24th another destroyer were sunk or disabled by striking Japanese mines, and it may be said briefly that the Russian squadron thenceforth ceased to be a menace to the Japanese, and that only the land forces had to be counted with.


By the close of June the three Japanese armies under Generals Kuroki, Nozu, and Oku were fully deployed and ready to advance in unison. The task before them was to clear the Russians from the littoral of the Korean Sea and force them through the mountains of Manchuria into the valley of the Liao River. In these operations the Japanese acted uniformly on the offensive, whereas the Russians occupied positions carefully chosen and strictly fortified, where they stood always on the defensive. Five heavy engagements, beginning with Fenshuiling on the 26th of June and ending with Yangtzuling on July 31st, were fought in these circumstances, and in every instance the Japanese emerged victorious. From the commencement of the land campaign until the end of July the invading army's casualties were 12,000, while the Russian losses, exclusive of those at Port Arthur, aggregated 28,000 killed and wounded, and 113 light siege-and field-guns, together with eighteen machine-guns, captured.

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