free ebooks

A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Kuropatkin would have under his command twelve army corps


Nothing

then remained for the Russians except to sink the ships, and this they did, so that Russia lost a squadron which, all told, represented an outlay of over thirty millions sterling--$150,000,000. In a telegram despatched to his own Government on January 1st, General Stossel said: "Great Sovereign, forgive! We have done all that was humanly possible. Judge us; but be merciful. Eleven months have exhausted our strength. A quarter only of the defenders, and one-half of them invalids, occupy twenty-seven versts of fortifications without supports and without intervals for even the briefest repose. The men are reduced to shadows!" On the previous day Stossel had written to General Nogi, declaring that further resistance would merely entail useless loss of life considering the conditions within the fortress. The total number of prisoners who surrendered at the fall of the fortress was 878 officers and 23,491 men, and the captured material included 546 guns; 35,252 rifles; 60 torpedoes; 30,000 kilograms of powder; 82,670 rounds of gun-ammunition; two and a quarter million rounds of small-arm ammunition; a number of wagons; 1,920 horses; four battle-ships; two cruisers; fourteen gunboats and torpedo-craft; ten steamers; thirty-three steam launches, and various other vessels. These figures are worthy of study, as one of General Stossel's alleged reasons for surrendering was scarcity of ammunition.

MISHCHENKO'S RAID

The

capture of Port Arthur meant something more than the fall of a fortress which had been counted impregnable and which had dominated the strategical situation for fully seven months. It meant, also, that General Nogi's army would now be free to join their comrades beyond the Liao River, and that Kuropatkin would find his opponents' strength increased by four divisions. It became, therefore, important to ascertain how soon this transfer was likely to be effected, and, if possible, to interrupt it by tearing up the railway. Accordingly, on January 8th, General Mishchenko's division of Cossacks, Caucasians, and Dragoons, mustering six thousand sabres, with six batteries of light artillery, crossed the Hun River and marched south on a five-mile front. Throughout the war the Cossacks, of whom a very large force was with the Russian army, had hitherto failed to demonstrate their usefulness, and this raid in force was regarded with much curiosity. It accomplished very little. Its leading squadrons penetrated as far south as Old Niuchwang, and five hundred metres of the railway north of Haicheng were destroyed, a bridge also being blown up. But this damage was speedily restored, and as for the reconnoitring results of the raid, they seem to have been very trifling.

THE BATTLE OF MUKDEN

After the battle of Heikautai, which cost the Russians twenty thousand casualties and exposed the troops to terrible hardships, Kuropatkin's army did not number more than 260,000 effectives. On the other hand, he could rely upon a constant stream of re-enforcements from Europe, as the efficiency of the railway service had been enormously increased by the genius and energy of Prince Khilkoff, Russian minister of Ways and Communications. In fact, when all the forces under orders for Manchuria had reached their destination, Kuropatkin would have under his command twelve army corps, six rifle-brigades, and nine divisions of mounted troops, a total of something like half a million men. Evidently the Japanese would not have acted wisely in patiently awaiting the coming of these troops. Moreover, since the break-up of winter would soon render temporarily impossible all operations in the field, to have deferred any forward movement beyond the month of March would have merely facilitated the massing of Russian re-enforcements in the lines on the Shaho, where the enemy had taken up his position after his defeat at Heikautai. These considerations induced Marshal Oyama to deliver an attack with his whole force during the second half of February, and there resulted a conflict which, under the name of the "battle of Mukden," will go down in the pages of history as the greatest fight on record.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us