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Title: My Experiences at Nan Shan and Port Arthur with the Fifth East Siberian Rifles
Author: Tret'iakov, Nikolaĭ Aleksandrovich
Language: English
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Translated by Lieutenant A. C. Alford, R.A.

Edited by Captain F. Nolan Baker, R.A.

With Maps and Illustrations

Hugh Rees, Ltd.
119 Pall Mall, S.W.
All Rights Reserved

Printed and Bound by
Hazell, Watson and Viney, Ld.,
London and Aylesbury.


In 1909 there appeared in the Russian military journal, “Voenny
Sbornik,” twelve articles from the pen of a distinguished Russian

The writer—Lieutenant-General (then Colonel) Tretyakov—as commander of
the Western Section of the Defences had taken a prominent and gallant
part in the historic struggle for the possession of Port Arthur.

His narrative—of which this work is a translation—placed before his
countrymen, in simple and intimate language, his experiences at Nan
Shan and within the beleaguered fortress. The impression created
throughout Russia was deep and immediate.

No more touching and direct appeal to judge its beaten heroes
sympathetically and fairly has ever been made to a nation. Six thousand
miles from the Fatherland the author’s regiment, the 5th Siberian
Rifles—and many another—fought to the death for God and the Czar. This
plain tale is a fitting record of their soldierly devotion. As such we
offer it to English readers, assured that every page must bring home
the conviction that here we have the actual history of the fighting
line—as perhaps nothing else in our language gives it.

We follow the fortunes of the General’s own unit, we live with his
men amidst the bloodstained wreck of their trenches on 203 Metre Hill,
losing all thought of the general conduct of the attack and defence
of the fortress—in a word, we are transported from the dry bones of
military history to the living realities of the battlefield.

To the soldier these annals afford example after example, deeply
interesting and instructive, of military cause and effect. In theory a
specialist’s business, here we see laid bare the foundation on which
stands scientific siege warfare. The infantry soldier’s readiness to
die makes possible the rôle of the gunner and the sapper—his blood
cements their work.

From the historical point of view these pages exemplify the rare
incident of a writer of the beaten side giving to the world an
opportunity of comparing his account with that of the victor—not
years after the strife, but while the sword is yet barely sheathed.
The student of war will doubtless fully appreciate the value of such
contemporary history.

In Semenov’s “Rasplata” we have a bitter lament for “what might have
been.” The psychological contrast is now before us—a commander who
rarely criticizes, but, instead, shows us every one cheerfully doing
his best to make bricks without straw.

In him the British soldier will recognize a brother-in-arms, whose
unassuming character and cheerful self-restraint in the midst of
adversity must appeal to his national instincts.

This is perhaps hardly the place to enter upon a critical discussion of
the strategy and tactics of the conflict, but we cannot refrain from
reminding the reader that in this great siege we beheld the remarkable
spectacle of an army sacrificing itself to secure for its fleet the
command of the sea. No more eloquent testimony to the value to an
island power of that command has ever been presented.

In conclusion, we add a short biographical sketch of the author, and we
take this opportunity to acknowledge with gratitude his most kind and
invaluable assistance in the translation and illustration of the work.

             *       *       *       *       *

Lieutenant-General Nikolai Alexandrovitch Tretyakov was born in the
Simbirsky Government in 1856. Educated in Moscow, he passed through
the Constantine Military School and the Engineer Academy before being
gazetted in 1875 to the 6th Sapper Battalion as Second-Lieutenant.

On the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War he accompanied this battalion
to the front, and, volunteering to serve in the 4th Battalion before
Plevna, took part in that famous siege, and was the first to enter the
Turkish stronghold by the Grivitsa road, which he did at the head of
a company of sappers. He was rewarded for his services with the 3rd
Class of the Order of Stanislav and the 3rd Class of the Order of Anne,
together with the rank of Staff-Captain.

At the conclusion of the war Staff-Captain Tretyakov passed through
the Nicholas Engineer Academy, and was then appointed to the command
of a company in a sapper battalion stationed at Kiev. Retaining this
post for eight years, he attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in
1893, and in the same year was sent to the Far East at the head of an
East Siberian Engineer battalion. During the Boxer Rising he helped
to fortify the Nan Shan position, and was present at the capture of
the Ta-ku Forts, afterwards joining in the advance on Pekin. General
Lineivitch marked his appreciation of the good work done in this
campaign by Lieutenant-Colonel Tretyakov by recommending him for “the
gold sword.” This honour was followed by appointment to the command of
the 5th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, and for the next two years he was
engaged in protecting the railway from Pekin against the attacks of the
Hunhutzes, and was again decorated, this time with the 3rd Class of the
Order of Vladimir.

On the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War the Czar conferred upon
him the much-coveted “George Cross,” the 1st Class of the Order
of Stanislav, the 1st Class of the Order of Anne, and the rank of
Major-General. On his return to Russia he commanded the 3rd Sapper
Brigade at Kiev until, on promotion to the rank of Lieutenant-General,
he became Inspector-General of Engineers in the Kiev District.

                                                            F. N. B.

NOTE.—The notes and explanations throughout this work are by the
Translator or Editor.


                                            _July 16th, 1909_.

  _Dear Sir_,

    _I have been rather long in answering your letter, as it was
forwarded to me here from Kiev_.

  _I hasten to inform you that, not only have I no objection to your
translating my articles into English, but I am very glad of it, as it
is to the interest of the Russian Garrison that all the circumstances
of the defence of Port Arthur should be fully stated; and I take this
opportunity of thanking you beforehand for undertaking the task_.

                            _I remain_,
                  _Your most obedient servant_,
                                                _N. TRETYAKOV_.


                              CHAPTER I

  Arrival of the 5th Regiment at Chin-chou—Rumours of war—Declaration
  of war—Restoring the fortifications on the Nan Shan position—Watching
  for the Japanese—First signs of the enemy—A reconnaissance in force
  —Fighting to the north of Chin-chou, May 16

  Pages 1–31

                              CHAPTER II

  Further account of the actions at Chang-chia-tun and Shih-san-li-tai
  —Preliminary skirmishes round Chin-chou—The battle of Nan Shan,
  May 26, 1904

  Pages 32–61

                              CHAPTER III

  Night alarm during the march to Nan-kuan-ling—Disappearance
  of the baggage train—Continuation of the retreat towards
  Port Arthur—Occupation and fortification of the “Position
  of the Passes”—Japanese attacks on the position on July 26,
  27, and 28—Capture of Yu-pi-la-tzu and Lao-tso Shan—General
  retirement to new positions, July 29

  Pages 62–84

                              CHAPTER IV

  Retreat from Feng-huang Shan, July 30—Fortifying 174 Metre Hill
  —Capture of Kan-ta Shan—Attacks on the advanced hills, August 13,
  14, and 15—Retreat to Namako Yama and Division Hills—Losses

  Pages 85–111

                              CHAPTER V

  The fighting round 174 Metre Hill—Capture of 174 Metre Hill and
  evacuation of Connecting Ridge—Fortifying 203 Metre Hill—Defence
  and capture of Extinct Volcano

  Pages 112–146

                              CHAPTER VI

  Continuing the work of fortifying the various hills—End of the first
  general assault, August 22 and 23—Attacks on Namako Yama from August
  24 to September 19

  Pages 147–170

                              CHAPTER VII

  Continuation of the struggle for Namako Yama, and abandonment
  of the hill, September 20—The first attacks on 203 Metre Hill,
  September, 19–22

  Pages 171–194

                              CHAPTER VIII

  Making good damages, and strengthening and supplementing the
  works on the various hills

  Pages 195–211

                              CHAPTER IX

  Fortifying 203 Metre Hill—Situation at the beginning of
  November—Mining operations

  Pages 212–229

                              CHAPTER X

  Events on 203 Metre Hill from November 23 to 30

  Pages 230–252

                              CHAPTER XI

  The fighting on December 1—Reconnoitring at night—The “ideal
  officer”—The attacks on 203 Metre Hill on December 4—Events on
  Akasaka Yama from November 27 to December 4

  Pages 253–278

                              CHAPTER XII

  The author severely wounded—Final assault and capture of 203 Metre
  Hill on December 5—The hospitals—Death of General Kondratenko,
  December 15—Retreat from Interval Hill, December 25—Evacuation of
  Fort Erh-lung and part of the Chinese Wall, December 28—Japanese
  attack on the Chinese Wall, December 30—Destruction of Fort Sung-shu,
  December 31—Capture of Wang-tai, December 31—Surrender of the
  fortress, January 2, 1905

  Pages 279–301


  Pages 302–304


  Pages 305–312

                        LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  LIEUT.-GENERAL TRETYAKOV                             _Frontispiece_

                                                          FACING PAGE
  GUN-PITS                                                          8

  LIEUT.-COL. BIELOZOR                                             25

  LIEUT.-COL. SAIFOOLIN                                            34


  MAJOR STEMPNEVSKI (SEN.)                                         43


  NEIGHBOURHOOD OF YU-PI-LA-TZU                                    70

  TRIPLE PEAK AND YU-PI-LA-TZU                                     73

  VIEW FROM SADDLE BETWEEN 203 METRE HILL, ETC.                    91

    203 METRE HILL                                                116


    ETC.                                                          146

  DR. TROITSKI                                                    152

  FATHER SLOUNIN                                                  158



  JAPANESE BODIES ON THE TOP OF 203 METRE HILL                    193



  GROUP OF OFFICERS AT DINNER, ETC.                               227





    NOVEMBER 28                                                   268



  KUROPATKIN’S LUNETTE                                            290

  KUROPATKIN’S LUNETTE                                            292

  GUN IN KUROPATKIN’S LUNETTE                                     294

  SHELL BURSTING IN KUROPATKIN’S LUNETTE                          296

                         PLATES OF TRENCHES

   I.—TRENCHES MARKED A. AND B.                                   175

  II.—TRENCHES MARKED C. AND D.                                   199


  1. NAN SHAN POSITION                                             60

  2. KUAN-TUNG PENINSULA                                           84

  3. PORT ARTHUR                                                  230

  4. WESTERN DEFENCES OF PORT ARTHUR                              252

  5. DEFENCES OF 203 METRE HILL                                   278

  6. COUNTRY AROUND PORT ARTHUR                      _At end of book_

                           MY EXPERIENCES


                      NAN SHAN AND PORT ARTHUR

                              CHAPTER I

Arrival of the 5th Regiment at Chin-chou—Rumours of war—Declaration
  of war—Restoring the fortifications on the Nan Shan position—Watching
  for the Japanese—First signs of the enemy—A reconnaissance in
  force—Fighting to the north of Chin-chou, May 16.

The Staff of the 5th East Siberian Rifles, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
Companies, arrived at Chin-chou on April 1, 1903. The regiment, for the
past three years, had been stationed at various points on the Yellow
Sea, engaged in guarding from the attacks of the Hunhutzes the railways
rebuilt by our railway battalion in conjunction with the 1st East
Siberian Sappers, the unit which I commanded during the Boxer campaign.

The regiment began to settle down at Chin-chou and to transfer its
baggage there from Novokievsk, after which, the men having first been
housed, some large buildings were run up for the accommodation of
the horses and transport vehicles, both of which were in a splendid
condition, notwithstanding the wear and tear of the campaign just gone
through. Our two-wheeled carts were all in good repair; the horses I
had bought from the Germans at Tientsin, when they offered for sale a
magnificent lot of animals, brought at enormous cost from Austria and
America, and, though costing us only about 80 roubles[1] per head,
one could not speak too highly of them. I handed over our former
small horses to our mounted scout detachment,[2] which, owing to some
misunderstanding, was without any. Thus, the best-equipped unit of
all our forces in China, we spent the whole of the summer of 1903 at

Throughout that summer we were worried by the Hunhutzes, and not only
were the scouts constantly engaged in encounters with these brigands,
but we were also obliged to send out strong detachments, as the
police and scouts combined proved insufficient to deal with them. The
authorities at home knew very little about all this, since the local
commanders refrained from sending in reports about the Hunhutze bands.
Seeing that the police could not cope with them, I personally took all
measures in my power against them; but when I spoke to the commandant
about taking further steps, saying that I could not understand why he
did not call in the help of the regular troops, the answer was always
the same: “My dear Colonel, the authorities think that we do nothing
at all, or else suspect us of pusillanimity; there has already been
some unpleasantness about it, and the civil governor has flatly refused
to make any report to the Viceroy.” So the people had to pay more and
more tribute per head, and the Hunhutzes threatened our military posts
as well as those of the Chinese police. In the end we had regular
pitched battles with them, and the scouts and various regiments in the
Kuan-tung Peninsula, as well as the 5th Regiment, lost a considerable
number in killed and wounded.

“What’s their little game?” we asked.

“Ah!” said some; “the Chinese say that there are Japanese among them.”

“But what are the Japanese after?”

“They say they are going to fight _us_. Our people from Shanghai tell
us that the Japanese officers speak to ours about nothing but politics:
‘You,’ they say, ‘must take Persia under your protection; but we will
have Korea, which we have tried to obtain for centuries.’”

At the end of the summer we received orders to prepare quarters for all
the companies of our regiment (except the 6th, which was at Pi-tzu-wo),
and in August they all arrived. From the first moment of the
concentration of the regiment it became clear to us that relations with
Japan had become strained, and that a rupture might be expected. Soon
after we heard it rumoured that the 3rd Battalion was going to join us,
and then we heard that they were forming a 7th Rifle Division in Port
Arthur. The officers spoke of war, but as, according to those who ought
to know, the Japanese could only put 300,000 men into the field, we
all felt quite confident. However, when it became known that General
Kashtalinski’s division was going to the Yalu, we did not feel quite
the same assurance, since it would be very difficult to defend Port
Arthur with only two divisions. French officers, we heard, were greatly
surprised that we did not think seriously of war when we really were
on the very eve of it. It must be admitted that, while contemplating
the peaceful aspect of Port Arthur, we did indeed forget that we were
living on the edge of a volcano.

The awakening came on the night of February 8–9, when I was roused up
and given a telegram from General Glinski, on opening which I rubbed my
eyes as I read:

“The Japanese fleet is fifty miles from the coast and making for Port
Arthur. Be on the alert.”

“Well,” I thought to myself, “there is nothing to fear; our fleet will
soon make an end of theirs.”

I do not know why, but we always believed in the invulnerability of our
fleet, more especially since we heard that the Admiralty had refused
to buy from Argentina the two splendid armoured cruisers _Nisshin_ and
_Kasuga_, saying that we were strong enough without them. (This may be
a misconception, but I am speaking of what we heard at the time.)

Having sent for the commander of the 1st Scout Detachment, I told him
to proceed to Kerr Bay and the Ta-ku Shan Peninsula, to keep a look-out
on the shore. I then lay down, and was just dozing of! when they called
me again. Another telegram from General Glinski; it only contained
three words: “War declared. Glinski.” This did not worry me very much.
“Let them come first and destroy our fleet, and then they can land in
Southern Korea,” I thought to myself.

However, I sent the detachment, and with it ten mounted scouts to
act as orderlies. Early in the morning I went out on to the Nan Shan
position, where, as I had expected, all the trenches and batteries were
in a ruined condition, and in the winter, when the ground was as hard
as rock, it would be extremely difficult to restore the fortifications.
Returning from the position, I met an officer coming out of Port
Arthur, who told me that three of our battleships had been blown up
suddenly by Japanese destroyers.[3]

This news was a great shock to me. A landing was now possible, not
only in Southern Korea, but even in our rear, and it was absolutely
essential to hurry on with the strengthening of the position. But now
we had nothing whatever to work with, and so I had to collect all the
tools available in the town, which, thanks to the help of Captain
Preegorovski, a very smart and energetic officer, was done remarkably
quickly. I told off working parties, who set to work to restore the
advanced trenches, but the frozen earth would not yield, and the
shovels only served for throwing up the lumps of soil loosened by the

Our first recruits and reservists arrived on February 16, and had all
to be thoroughly drilled. According to our mobilization plans all the
companies of the regiment, except the 1st,[4] should be at the disposal
of the officer commanding, and orders were given accordingly, and the
5th and 6th Companies immediately called in, the latter having all this
time been engaged with the Hunhutzes. The town of Chin-chou became so
crowded that I quartered about half the companies in barracks behind
the Nan Shan position, and had the regimental baggage transferred to
Port Arthur, where I had hired a private house for its storage, the
authorities having refused to give us Government buildings.

Some mounted scouts were sent out to watch the shore under the command
of Major Pavlovski, commandant of the Gandzalinski district, and a
section of rifles was also allotted to him under Acting Ensign[5]
Shiskin of the reserve, as he had complained that the Hunhutzes had
become so daring as to be threatening his quarters. We ourselves
watched Kerr Bay and the bays adjoining by establishing posts and a
chain of mounted scouts, the practice of hunting up the Hunhutzes being

Now began a period of activity such as I had never before experienced
in the whole of my service. We fortified the positions, brought up
stores, instructed the recruits and reservists, of whom more than half
the regiment was now composed, and, lastly, kept a look-out for the
enemy, for which latter duty two hundred men were required daily. All
this made the situation of the regiment a very difficult one, the
more so, as the enemy was free to effect a landing between Chin-chou
and Port Arthur, and cut us off from the fortress. For these reasons I
considered our situation not only difficult, but dangerous.

The 3rd Battalion arrived on April 2. They were a fine lot of men.
I quartered them in the town, and disposed the old companies in the
villages situated in front of the position.

Major[6] Schwartz, an engineer officer, was attached to us to help us
with the fortifications, and had brought money with him for the hire
of workmen. From this time, too, we began practising manœuvring on
the position while yet the enemy gave us a short respite, which we
endeavoured to make the most of.

Sixty versts[7] from Port Arthur, on the isthmus joining the southern
part of Kuan-tung to the mainland beyond, and occupying half the
breadth of the isthmus, is some high ground cut up lengthwise and
crossways by a number of deep ravines, which mark the well-known Nan
Shan position.

In the last China campaign,[8] there being a danger of Chinese troops
moving on Port Arthur from the north, this position was turned into a
vast series of fortified batteries by Colonel—now General—Kholodovski,
and when the sapper battalion, of which I was in command at that
time, came up to the position to complete its fortification, all the
commanding points were found to be crowned by batteries, armed with
heavy guns. We set to work at the time to build trenches for the
infantry, a work already partially done on the right flank, whereupon
we built two redoubts in front of the batteries in advanced positions,
and one central one near Battery No. 13.

All these fortifications, now almost completely in ruins, had to form
part of our present line of defence. I was put in command, and Schwartz
and myself set to work to restore the forts. I was told that the 5th
Regiment would have to defend the position against the Japanese, and
I recognized at once that we had not sufficient men. Having carefully
calculated the minimum numbers required to hold these works, I arrived
at the conclusion that for a more or less successful defence it was
necessary to have at least three regiments. (The peninsula was 3 versts
across,[9] with 2 versts of shallow water on either flank, increasing
to 8 versts at low tide.)

[Illustration: GUN-PITS.

p. 8]

In front of the position, and 2 versts from it, stood Chin-chou, a
town surrounded by an old Chinese wall, 3-1/2 versts in length, and
proof against field-artillery fire. It would be extremely difficult to
storm the wall in face of artillery fire from the main position, and
as also it gave good cover from the enemy’s rifle and gun fire, it was
decided to occupy the town as an advanced post. It did, in fact,
cover the front of the position, and it would be a difficult matter to
attack the heights beyond without having first taken it. The state of
affairs became, however, more complicated, as at least two companies
were necessary for the defence of the town, thus leaving us only nine
companies for the main position.

We were ordered to defend ourselves to the last drop of blood. When I
told General Fock of the difficulty of defending the position with one
regiment, which was not even up to full strength, he replied: “Do you
know, if I were in your place, I should say to my commanding officer:
‘Leave me only two companies, and I shall know better how to die with
_them_, than with a whole regiment.’” From this I concluded that,
instead of a successful defence, he had some other object in view, the
nature of which I could not then fathom.

It was, in fact, impossible to defend this position successfully. The
enemy’s fleet could make an appearance on both flanks and at the rear.
Our opponent, moreover, had vastly superior numbers, and his batteries
eventually spread out in a circle which commanded the crowded mass of
our guns on the Nan Shan heights, while the absence of a sufficient
number of bomb-proofs and cover for reserves completed the difficulties
of the position of the defenders. We built field bakeries, and dug
wells on the position, and, as the possibility of a landing in our
rear was realized, we were ordered to fortify the rear as well as the
front, which is really saying that the position assumed the nature of a

I had indicated the position lying immediately to the south of the Nan
Shan position as being an incomparably better one. On it we could have
met the enemy, while he was in the act of filing across the isthmus, on
a broad front and with a numerous and well-placed artillery, our flanks
on this position being protected from any action on the part of the
enemy’s fleet. General Kholodovski’s idea, however, prevailed, perhaps
because the work needed to carry it out was almost completed (they
did not realize that to restore the fortifications and to build new
ones was practically one and the same thing). Be this as it may, the
constant talk about the Nan Shan position had made it so popular, that
for many its very name became a “mascot.” The view and field of fire
from it were certainly splendid, and I took good care to see that the
defenders should feel that the position could be successfully held, and
satisfied myself that they felt confident of their capability to do so.

Continuing incessantly to fortify the position, the 5th Regiment
watched the shore 30 versts to the north by mounted and infantry Scout
detachments, sometimes employing the regular companies on this service.
We received orders every day by wire to be on the alert and to watch
for a landing, and I did everything possible to prevent being taken
by surprise. Half of the mounted detachment I sent to Pi-tzu-wo, the
most likely point for a landing, and all the mounted scouts of the 14th
Regiment were sent to the same locality to watch the coast. A section
of a company, under an officer, and ten mounted scouts were sent to
Godzarlin[10] to watch Terminal Point. In Kerr Bay and Deep Bay was
Lieutenant Vaseeliev with the 1st Infantry Scout Detachment, and ten
mounted scouts, and on a headland in Sulivan Bay a post of twenty-five
sharp-shooters and six mounted scouts, while the shores of Chin-chou
Bay were guarded by the men occupying the town. From Godzarlin up to
the position I had distributed a flying post of the 2nd half of the
Mounted Scouts, ten of whom I kept with me for orderly duties.

At this time the regiment was disposed as follows: in the town
of Chin-chou, the 10th Company under Major Goosov, the 3rd Scout
Detachment under Captain Koudriavtsev, and a mixed force of sixty men
under Lieutenant Golenko, an officer who had distinguished himself
against the Hunhutzes. The 3rd Company occupied the village of
Lu-chia-tun, in front of the centre of the position, while the 2nd
Company was in the village of Ma-chia-tun, in front of the right flank,
and the 6th Company in the village of Ssu-chia-tun, behind the left
flank, the remainder being quartered behind the centre of the position.
Major Schwartz, with about a dozen men, was quartered in some shelters
in the centre of the position. All the regimental and officers’ baggage
was stored near the position and in Port Arthur. Lieutenant-Colonel
Eremeiev, who had voluntarily joined the regiment from the reserve, and
whom I had personally known at the Academy and the Engineer College, I
appointed commandant of the town.

As soon as the men of the regiment had settled down in their various
quarters, work on the position was pushed forward with feverish haste.
Every day thousands of Chinese[11] and soldiers worked at it; they
brought up building material, constructed obstacles, dug wells, and the
soldiers concurrently underwent musketry and field training; and all
this at a time when we expected a landing every moment either in front
or in rear. As the regiment might have to withstand a regular siege,
we set to work to make splinter-proofs for storing food, supplies,
and small-arm ammunition, though the means at our disposal were very
limited. We had in hand no more than 60,000 roubles, and so we only
made two splinter-proofs, neither of them remarkably long or broad, and
began the construction of four wells without, however, much hope of
finding water. The cold weather hampered us sadly. The soil was frozen
hard, and our shovels and picks, of which we only had a limited supply,
kept on breaking. The companies occupying the town, too, worked hard at
putting it also into a state of defence. It was proposed to strengthen
the existing caponiers and the corners of the town wall, and to build
bomb-proofs for the protection of the reserves against splinters.

The enemy was evidently waiting for something, and we felt more secure
every day. We improvised an entertainment hall from one of the barrack
rooms, decorated it as well as we could, and put a gramophone in it;
hence our dinners and suppers went off in right merry style. We used to
get a lot of people coming out to see the position, and gladly received
them, as we got news from them of what was going on in the outside
world. Of course, one could not be sure that the information was
exactly correct, but, such as it was, it generally emanated from the
staff. The majority of our informants held the opinion that we should
never see a shot fired, and that the whole action of the war would
be limited to sea fighting and the occupation of the southern part
of Korea by the Japanese, as the latter could never raise more than
300,000 men, and, when our battleships had been repaired, we should
smash up their fleet and they would have to make terms. No one doubted
that our fleet _would_ destroy the Japanese navy, because our naval
commanders were more active than the Japanese, our sailors infinitely
better at gunnery, and, finally, our ships’ armour was very much
stronger, as it was “annealed.”[12] Our naval experts told us all this.
No attention whatever was paid to the fact that the Japanese had five
first-class battleships while we had only two,[13] and that torpedo
craft, of which the Japanese possessed a hundred, had not yet proved
their full power of independent action. Our informants did not say
how they had come by their knowledge, but they always laid particular
stress on the bravery of our sailors.

“Never mind if you do see drunken sailors on shore, nor how rudely
officers may answer to any remark addressed to them—on shore; on their
ships they cultivate an iron discipline.”

If any one stated that the Japanese fleet was considerably stronger
than ours, our tellers of fairy tales would contemptuously answer,
especially if the individual was a naval man: “A lot you know! Why do
you think the Government refused to buy the _Nisshin_ and _Kasuga_ from
Argentina? Because we are strong enough without them; otherwise they
would not have refused such a purchase.” And we listeners, satisfied
with such arguments, were quickly laughing and joking and telling
stories. I always sat at the head of the table, and it was a pleasure
to me to listen to the stories and watch the happy faces of those round
me, many of whom felt no forebodings then of the destiny awaiting them.

While fortifying the position we made some experiments on the effect of
rifle fire directed against targets sheltered by loopholed parapets,
as compared with that against targets in the open. It always happened
that at a range of 200 yards the effect was considerably greater
against loopholed targets, while at longer ranges the latter suffered
most. Since, in addition, we ran the risk of hostile shrapnel, we also
experimented with this type of fire, and found that 20 rounds at a
range of 1 verst put out of action half the defenders of the earth-work,
when they stood in the open on the glacis. It was therefore decided to
make loopholes everywhere and to provide the detachments with plank
overhead cover, which, with General Fock’s approval, was carried out on
the succeeding days.

Senior officers frequently visited the position. General Kondratenko
came out before we started working, and said that we must occupy
the town as strongly as possible. Generals Fock and Nadyein were
frequently with us, sometimes staying two or three days. General Fock
talked a great deal with the officers, giving his opinion on the way
of defending the position and ground in front of it. He thought of
meeting the enemy in front of the position, near the villages lying to
the north of Mount Sampson, and we often went out reconnoitring with
him, and thoroughly studied the ground, but though he insisted on the
necessity of fortifying it, we had no means of doing so. The general,
it seems, had not told off the regiments of his own division to any
work. Only the 5th Regiment continued working, and the nearer the
time of our meeting with the enemy approached, the further advanced
and stronger became our field works. Judging from what I heard from
superior officers, it was _not_ intended to defend the Nan Shan
position stubbornly; hence they would not let us have enough money for
its fortification, and they sent up no artillery. But the closer our
meeting with the enemy impended, the more I became convinced that the
position _would_ be stubbornly defended.

From certain remarks of General Fock it seemed as if it was not
necessary to make a stubborn defence. The general, for instance, once
said to me: “You know that less heroism is required to defend this
position than to retreat from it. Those who do not understand the true
position of affairs are beginning to call General Fock a traitor!”

Indeed, it was impossible not to fear a landing of the Japanese in rear
of the position simultaneously with a landing at Pi-tzu-wo, and this
was so obvious that the position was ordered to be fortified in rear.
The regiment was in a bad way, and I felt downhearted at not being able
to carry out many of General Fock’s suggestions as to the fortification
of the position and the means of defending it.

Attaching great importance to the grazing effect of shell, General Fock
insisted that the defensive line should be continued right down to the
foot of the Nan Shan Hills. Without making a single exception, without
taking into consideration that the slopes of the hills were long and
gentle, and served as a most difficult obstacle to an attacker, and
also completely losing sight of the fact that by carrying our trenches
down to the foot of the hills we exposed our companies to fire from
the opposite hills, and thus assisted the attackers, he stuck to his
point and insisted on our extending our line to a total frontage of
8 versts. In speaking of them, he called our top tier of trenches
“swallows’ nests,” and always added: “You, of course, are glad to put
your regiment right up under the sky!” I at once pointed out to the
general that he had completely ignored the fact that the heights formed
a natural and difficult obstacle to pass, that every inequality in the
ground below (of which there were many) gave the enemy cover from our
fire, and that shot bursting on graze would not have any effect; that
we had only one regiment with which to defend the position, and that
we ought to make our dispositions with due regard to this unpleasant
circumstance. Upon this, General Fock lost his temper, exclaiming that
only traitors placed their men under the artillery fire of the enemy,
and that the intervals between men in trenches should be 20 paces, or
certainly not less than 10 paces, and then there would be no swallows’
nests for them to occupy. I answered that if we should place our
unseasoned troops, the majority of whom were recruits and reservists,
at 20-paces interval, each one would feel himself isolated and thrown
out before an advancing foe without any support, and it might prove
that in the moment of need he would be without the moral support of his
commander. At the same time I did not lose the opportunity of saying
that we had but eleven companies in the regiment, and that if they were
spread out over a frontage of 8 versts I should have a very weak line
of defence, liable to be broken through at the slightest pressure, and
if I were to keep only one company in reserve, which was absolutely
indispensable, I should then have a large gap in the line absolutely
unoccupied; was a stubborn defence possible under these circumstances?
Of course, I understood that General Fock, by throwing his firing line
well forward, wished to lessen their losses from the enemy’s rifle and
shrapnel fire. Granted, this was important, and was quite feasible at
the beginning of the battle. If I had had only a few reserves with
which to strengthen threatened points, I should have had nothing to
urge against the 20-paces interval even. But there were no reserves
told off for the 5th Regiment, although General Nadyein told me that I
should be supported, and that the 15th Regiment would be posted near
Ta-fang-shen[14]; but when I asked him, “Then, when they are needed,
I can use them?” he said: “You want to command a whole division then,
do you?” On the whole, therefore, the plan of action at Nan Shan was
not very plain to me. One thing was at length clear—I had it from
General Kondratenko—that we must defend the position to our last drop
of blood, and to this end I prepared both officers and men. We began
to make field kitchens in the trenches; we brought up provisions to
the position and put them in bomb-proofs, cleared the ground for
bivouacking in places covered from the enemy’s fire, and built shelters
for the men in the trenches themselves and in the fortifications.

The enemy made no sign, the weather was splendid, and we peacefully
continued our work of constructing cover from shrapnel fire and of
preparing obstacles.

From the end of February the enemy’s ships constantly appeared in Deep
and Kerr Bays; luckily we had already set up a telephone there and
connected it with the Naval Observing Station, of which the gallant
and enterprising Naval Lieutenant Ditchmann held charge. There was a
certain amount of firing from the Japanese ships and an attempt to
land from one of their gunboats, but our men drove them off. In view
of this, the scouts under Lieutenant Kragelski were reinforced by the
addition of some mounted scouts under Lieutenant Sietchko, and on
March 7 Major Stempnevski (jun.), with the 7th Company, was sent to
Kerr Bay. Two mountain guns, under Lieutenant Naoomov, were sent with
the 7th Company. This detachment was formed from the 5th Regiment; the
horses were taken from the transport, the guns we had brought with us
from China, and the drivers were our own men, but the officers and gun
detachments were sent out from Port Arthur.

General Nadyein wished to acquaint himself personally with the position
of affairs in the two bays, and on March 23 I accompanied him to Kerr
Bay. While still some way off, we saw three large Japanese ships and
five destroyers. On arriving we found the 7th Company and our two guns
on the position. They were so disposed as to be able to sweep the
entrance to Kerr Bay and to oppose the enemy’s advance if he effected a
landing on the end of the Ta-ku Shan Peninsula, where we had two weak
advanced posts. The Japanese shells pitched as far up as the ravine
behind which the company had taken cover, and the Japanese gunners
fired even on single individuals if they exposed themselves for a

We were told that our artillery (two small 32-mm. guns forming the
section under the command of Naoomov) had done some excellent practice
on the enemy’s destroyers, which had consequently retreated from the
bay. General Nadyein came to the conclusion that the enemy intended to
land in the bay, and gave me some orders in case this should prove to
be the case. It was 12 versts from the bay to the position, and 24 to
the end of the Ta-ku Shan Peninsula. In the event of a landing, I was
to support the 7th Company and the scout detachments with a battalion.
If, however, they had wished to force a landing in considerable
strength, the whole of the 5th Regiment would not have been able to
prevent it. To oppose a landing is a very difficult business, and
here the rugged coast added considerably to the difficulties of the
defender. The bays cut right into the coast-line, and the hills made
intercommunication exceedingly difficult. Having enticed the defenders
to some point off the shore by a small feint landing, or by threatening
a landing in force, the attacker could, in a quarter of an hour, make
a sudden rush from another point, where he could then land without
any opposition on the part of the regiment defending the shore. For
this reason we did not hope to prevent a landing, but thought that the
defence of the position would considerably delay the enemy’s advance on
Port Arthur.

More than all I feared a landing in Dalny Bay, which was eminently
suited for such an enterprise. Such a landing would divide the strength
of the garrison, and would free the enemy from the necessity of an
attack on the Nan Shan position. Under cover of the great guns of the
fleet a landing was possible at all places where the depth of water was
sufficient for the large ships to come in close enough for effective
gun fire.

Having inspected the bay and the detachment, we, accompanied by shots
from large naval guns, returned to the position untouched. On the
following day the 7th Company and scout detachments beat back a small
attempt at a landing, for which the officers were recommended for high
orders, which, however, they never received. Lieutenant Ditchmann sank
one of the enemy’s ships; I myself went to Kerr Bay and saw two masts
projecting from the sea.

About this time, _i.e._ March 24, the Nan Shan position was armed with
artillery, and we awaited the enemy with light hearts, thinking that
our artillery, consisting of 56-mm. and 6-in. short guns, were superior
to the enemy’s field pieces. When, however, we continued to complain
that one regiment was insufficient for defending the whole position,
our commanders reassured us by saying that the enemy would not attack
the position from all sides at once, but would choose one special point
for the assault. I did not ask for explanations, as this view appeared
to be sound enough. About April 2 General Smirnov came out, and, in a
fearful rain-storm, inspected the whole position; he seemed surprised
that the position was fortified to the south as well. I explained to
him that we anticipated an attack from the rear, as the enemy could
land behind Dalny. Having told me that I must construct a large redoubt
behind the position, in order to cover a retreat, the general went to

On the night of May 4 one of our scouts came up with a report from
Major Pavlovski that a Japanese squadron had appeared north of Terminal
Point,[15] and was landing an army. On the morning of the 5th, it was
reported that a Japanese fleet of thirty-nine transports,[16] covered
by three large warships, one of which flew the Admiral’s flag, was
landing troops near the mouth of the Ta-scha River, and in a bay to
the north; about a battalion was said to have already landed. We
immediately reported this to higher authority, whereupon the regiment
occupied its positions and did not leave them day or night.

Captain Andreievski was ordered to watch the movements of the enemy
closely, and from this time forth to the end of the siege our mounted
corps were in touch with the Japanese. A large force, with cavalry and
guns, had been disembarked, and soon after we received a telegram to
the effect that a landing had also taken place near Pi-tzu-wo.

On the night of May 5 three wounded men of the Mounted Scout
Detachment, two of the 14th Regiment, and one of ours, were brought
in. The enemy had sent out his magnificently mounted cavalry from
the eastern to the western shore towards the railway. It was said
that a battalion, to which had been added a mounted scout detachment,
with which we never obtained touch, had detrained at Shih-san-li-tai
station, having come from General Kuropatkin’s army.

General Fock decided to make a reconnaissance in force, as nobody
knew the exact strength of the troops which had landed. The enemy’s
cavalry, in very considerable numbers, strengthened by infantry and
Hunhutzes,[17] completely screened from us the landing points and the
early movements of the Japanese. It was reported that they were moving
towards Shih-san-li-tai, and that their landing place had been strongly

Towards evening on May 8 all the regiments of the division, except
the 15th which was with Stessel in Port Arthur, and I with my two
battalions, moved out along the road leading towards the place of
the landing, and all had to pass the night in positions detailed to
them along that road. Having reached their allotted destinations,
the regiments received further orders to continue their night march,
the object of which was, apparently, to sweep the stretch of country
to the south-east of Shih-san-li-tai station (this operation was
termed “Manœuvre” in the order). The enemy, in unknown strength, was
somewhere between Chang-chia-tun and Shih-san-li-tai. Up to the time
our regiments had occupied their positions, our scouts had reported
nothing trustworthy about the enemy, and I expected to meet them every
minute. The 5th Regiment, like all the others probably, was ordered:
“At 1 a.m. to move from its bivouacs and be at dawn at height No.
so-and-so.” I did not know what to do; all our maps had the names of
the villages defaced, the contours were scarcely marked, none of the
heights of the various hills were given, and how to find, at night, a
certain unknown height No. so-and-so, which might be a good 10 versts
from where we were, was too much for me. I must add, too, that we had
no guides with us; no amount of money could buy them. So I repaired
to General Fock with my doubts. The staff had already settled down to
sleep, and fatigue and the certainty of the forthcoming battle had
made them all very irritable. Be it said, however, to the honour of
the staff, they realized fully the difficulties of the night march,
and an order was sent out immediately, postponing the time of the
advance until 3 a.m., when they knew that the dawn would just begin
to break, forgetting, however, that the dawn comes very quickly, and
that it is quite dark till just before the sun actually rises. It was
decided that the chief of the staff would himself guide the leading
column. Returning to my staff, I gave the necessary orders, and tried
to get some sleep, but I could not, as one alarming thought followed
upon another. Should we succeed in reaching height No. so-and-so? What
if the enemy suddenly fell upon our rear from Chang-chia-tun, or our
flank from Shih-san-li-tai, or the surrounding country (all was quite
possible)? It was doubtful if we could make good our retreat to our
positions at Nan Shan, the more so, as the road from Chang-chia-tun to
Chin-chou had been left absolutely unprotected by us. These thoughts
were justifiable in view of the fact that the enemy had landed from
forty transports north of Terminal Point, under our very noses, and,
supposing there was a battalion in each, that meant forty battalions to
our eleven or twelve.

At 2 a.m. I got up. Every one was sound asleep. Reaching the men’s
bivouacs, I saw them served out with a pound of meat and a large
quantity of bread; they had no tea, as orders had been given that fires
were not to be lighted, and from this it was clear that General Fock
expected a brush with the enemy. About 3 a.m. the battalions stood to
arms, but, as it happened, there was some delay, and the chief of the
staff did not turn up until 5 o’clock, when we at last made a start.

               BATTLE OF NAN SHAN.

p. 25]

I was put in command of a detachment consisting of the two battalions of
the 5th Regiment and a battery under Lieutenant-Colonel Romanovski.
We started off well enough, but the trouble was that the horse of the
chief of the staff was a particularly good one, and the column fell
considerably behind him; the country was very intersected and covered
by a regular network of roads, and very bad ones at that. The chief
of the staff, leading the way with his map, forgot to leave guides at
the cross-roads, the result being that the column stopped when it came
to a cross-road, not knowing which direction to take. We lost a lot
of time owing to these halts, but we nevertheless preserved the right
direction. (I do not mention the order of march, as that was as usual:
skirmishers, advanced guard with mounted scouts, and main body.)

To the north and north-west was our screen of scouts, and as they
constantly showed themselves on the skyline we kept wondering:
“Are not these the enemy’s scouts?” Two hours had already passed
since we started, and we had gone down into a wide valley, when
Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor, commanding the 2nd Battalion, came up to
me and drew my attention to the peculiar movements of our artillery.
Instead of following us, it had moved off to a height lying on the
left flank of our line of march; behind it was a chain of skirmishers
from the rear of our column, and behind this line compact companies.
Not understanding its doings, I galloped up to the battery, and in the
midst of the moving columns, unaccompanied by his staff, I saw General
Fock. I had hardly got up to him, when he shouted to me: “What kind
of a company commander have you got? See how he lets that battery get
in front of him; he is a perfect fool! Such officers are a curse to
us!” I answered that I would overtake the company at once, but I wished
to know what was happening, as the battery under my command was going
off somewhere, and I had not been informed of it. “That is its right
position,” answered the general, pointing to the hill the artillery
were making for. “Then we are going to stop there?” “No,” replied
General Fock; “we are going on farther under cover of this battery.”

I then saw that, far ahead of the battery, our dense columns were
advancing, apparently attacking some one. The regiment advancing on
the left of my column had sent out a line of skirmishers to the flank
on one side of our advance, and I learnt that they had noticed a
hostile column in a hollow on our left flank. It turned out that this
was a company of that regiment which had advanced on Shih-san-li-tai
from the south, and occupied the position covering Chin-chou from the
Shih-san-li-tai side.

“Form a reserve for the attackers, and with one company occupy the hill
towards which the head of your column is moving,” ordered General Fock.
I galloped off to comply with this order.

This advance went on for an hour. We occupied a succession of
positions, but it was very noticeable that our men did not take full
advantage of the ground, but rather tried not to lose touch with each
other. It was all right when the officers were actually keeping them
together, but what would happen when they were not there to do so? Our
men are not accustomed to act on their own initiative, and a long
skirmishing line does not permit of the officers directing their men by
voice and example. It was lucky that we were the defenders and not the

While occupied with these thoughts, I heard the “assembly” sounded
by our buglers; our men remained where they were, but the commanders
hurried off to the general, who had called them by this signal. The
enemy had not been encountered; he was at Chang-chia-tun, or perhaps
to the north of Shih-san-li-tai. The operation had been thought out in
great detail by the general. For me it was remarkable in that we had
manœuvred under the enemy’s very nose, while contemptuously leaving him
also in the rear. After a short halt we returned to the position with
the men singing loudly.[18]

After this expedition we received an order which brought home to me the
exactness with which General Fock gauged the situation. His directions
were clear and fully conformed to the real state of affairs. Here are
some characteristic paragraphs of the order: “God save us from those
commanders who wait for orders in the heat of battle: they won’t get
any given them, so let them get that idea out of their heads.” Or: “I
ask all company and battalion commanders, as soon as they meet the
enemy, to raise their heads, open their eyes, and keep their ears shut.
Believe me, your eyes are everything: your ears won’t help you much,
though, unfortunately, this is not a generally accepted idea. Even
an old captain of twenty-two years’ service will, during manœuvres,
begin to prick up his ears like a hare so as to catch some order from
his commander; but his commander is dead, or is himself engaged with
something else.” These golden rules are worthy of a place in every
book on tactics, and in all regulations on the general direction of an

Immediately after our return our scouts brought us news that the enemy
was near Shih-san-li-tai station in small numbers, and massed on the
shores of the bay, a little to the south of Chang-chia-tun. This was
about May 11, and from this time onward our scouts had daily skirmishes
with the enemy.

General Fock remained true to his decision to meet the enemy in front
of the Nan Shan position. We only roughly knew the enemy’s strength,
so he decided to carry out another reconnaissance in force, and
again moved his forces forward to the villages of Chang-chia-tun
and Shih-san-li-tai, and thus blocked the line of the enemy’s
advance southward along the Pu-lan-tien and Nan Shan road. All the
regiments of the 4th Rifle Division, except the 15th, were employed;
our eight companies were in the advanced guard; the 3rd and 4th at
Shih-san-li-tai, and the 6th and 8th, and the 3rd Scout Detachment
at Chang-chia-tun, our 3rd Battalion being placed in the interval
between these two detachments. The positions to be occupied by us
were well studied beforehand. The companies moved out and took up
their positions. On the night of May 15, and the morning of the 16th,
other troops with guns moved off, two batteries were placed near the
railway bridge on the road to Pi-tzu-wo, and one (Romanovski’s) with
the regimental half-battery under Second-Lieutenant Sadykov on the
hills above Shih-san-li-tai. After our battalions had occupied their
positions an order came from General Fock that our 3rd Battalion,
under the command of Colonel Dounin, was to return to the position.
In order not to give the enemy a chance of working round behind us,
I was ordered to move the 7th Company and the scout detachment with
Lieutenant Naoomov’s two guns through the space between the shore of
Kerr Bay and Mount Sampson to the old Chinese fortifications, and to
form half the 9th Company as a reserve to the 7th, but I myself was
left on the position with three companies.

At daybreak on May 16 I went to Battery No. 13,[19] and had an
excellent view of the engagement[20] and the movements of our troops.
Our companies and guns were already in position on the left flank. The
other regiments were moving round towards the foot of Mount Sampson in
a south-westerly direction, and the head of the column had just reached
the hill, when heavy rifle fire broke out, and Lieutenant-Colonel
Romanovski’s and the bullock battery on the left began to speak. In
five minutes the fire of these batteries had become awful, and thick
smoke completely hid them from my view (this smoke was caused by
bursting Japanese shells). After half an hour, when the tail of our
main column had passed Mount Sampson, the batteries on the right flank
opened fire. Firing continued for an hour from both flanks, and we
followed the course of the fight most intently. I was very much afraid
that the enemy would try to get round our rear, but the 7th Company was
silent, and its commander reported that no movement was noticeable in
his front. The fire on the left flank began to slacken, and carts and
stretchers were seen moving from that direction. Half an hour later I
noticed Romanovski’s battery on the road from Shih-san-li-tai, followed
by our bullock battery, both moving towards us at a walk. An orderly
from the left flank came up and reported that we were retreating, but
he had not seen the Japanese infantry, having only observed that the
Japanese had swept our battery with shells, thereby silencing it and
compelling it to retreat behind the hill. At the same moment that the
batteries on the left flank moved, I saw that the reserves had occupied
a shoulder of Mount Sampson facing the village of Shih-san-li-tai.
Dense lines of skirmishers quietly lay on the crest of this ridge,
allowing the guns, and subsequently the skirmishers of our left flank,
to pass through them. From this I concluded that the enemy was pressing
our right and that General Fock thought that we could not hold our
ground, and had, therefore, strengthened his left flank, which had, so
far, not been assailed by the Japanese. After another hour had passed,
our retreating lines came into view from behind Mount Sampson, and the
guns near the railway bridge opened a terrific fire. The rifle and gun
fire behind Mount Sampson continued, now weaker, now stronger, till
at last the lines of reserves, passing through the left flank, quickly
collected and began to retreat on our position. I expected to see the
Japanese in pursuit, but none appeared. At last the batteries on the
right flank retired and our companies followed in their wake, but still
the Japanese did not pursue. It was now that I saw a picture of a truly
wonderful retreat, in which our men marched in column as at manœuvres.
The left flank had already reached our position, when General Nadyein
came in wounded in the hand, and Lieutenant-Colonel Romanovski with a
wound in the leg. The situation naturally gave rise to a good deal of
questioning and surmise. It appears that Second-Lieutenant Sadykov, who
commanded our bullock battery, had himself gone to the assistance of
Lieutenant-Colonel Romanovski and commanded his half-battery to the end
of the engagement.


[1] Somewhat less than £8 at the rate of exchange of 9·5 roubles to the
pound sterling.

[2] The term “scout detachment” is used in all official accounts, and
will be used throughout this work, to denote a detachment, either
mounted or on foot, composed of volunteers (“okhotnik”) and attached to
various regiments. All Russian volunteers were thus organized.

[3] Accounts received on the Nan Shan position were probably greatly
exaggerated, as something of the nature of a panic ensued upon the
first Japanese torpedo attack (see Official History, Part III., pp. 10
_et seq._). Two battleships and one cruiser were injured in this attack.

[4] This company formed part of the Legation Guard at Pekin.

[5] An “Acting Ensign” is a senior non-commissioned officer who has
done his service with the colours, and ranks next to an Ensign in the
Reserve, and, like him, wears officer’s uniform.

[6] Though the rank of Major does not exist in the Russian Army, it is
used in this translation to denote the Captain Commanding a Battery,
Company, or Squadron, in contradistinction to Captain, which term
must be understood as applying to a Russian Staff Captain, a rank
corresponding to the rank of Second-Captain formerly existing in the
British Royal Artillery.

[7] Sixty versts is roughly forty miles, one verst being equal to 1,166

[8] This refers to the Boxer rising (see Official History, Part II., p.

[9] This seems to be underestimated, as the Official History gives
4,400 yards as the breadth of the position. The author evidently means
that at low water the _whole_ breadth of the peninsula was 8 versts,
which agrees with other accounts.

[10] On the Pi-tzu-wo road, but not shown on map.

[11] Official accounts state that as many as 5,000 Chinese coolies were

[12] As a fact the armour of the Japanese ships built in England was as
good as any of its date, all of it being hardened in accordance with
modern processes.

[13] General Tretyakov was evidently still under the impression that
three Russian battleships had been _blown up_. The Russians had in
reality four first-class battleships still unharmed—_Petropavlovsk_,
_Pobieda_, _Poltava_, and _Peresviet_.

[14] The 13th, 14th, and 15th Regiments were actually posted in rear of
the 5th during the battle, but did little to support it.

[15] See Note 3 at end of book.

[16] See Official History, Part II., p. 11. This news must have come
from some of Colonel Rantsov’s cossacks.

[17] It seems unlikely that any of these marauding bands were assisting
the Japanese. It must be remembered that the Russians had no good word
for the Japanese at this time.

[18] The Russian soldiers invariably sing on the march, when the band
is not playing.

[19] Battery No. 13 is situated in rear of the centre of the Nan Shan

[20] In our Official History (Part II.) this action is briefly
described as an engagement with General Nadyein’s rearguard, but it
is evident that two separate reconnaissances were made on May 8 and
16 respectively, and that no rearguard was left as indicated in that

                              CHAPTER II

Further account of the actions at Chang-chia-tun and
  Shih-san-li-tai—Preliminary skirmishes round Chin-chou
  —The battle of Nan Shan, May 26, 1904.

Our regiments went on to Ta-fang-shen, while the enemy’s troops found
themselves facing the Nan Shan position, all ready and prepared to
meet them with a hail of shell and bullets. However, they did not show
themselves as yet, and everything retained its usual aspect. On the
night of May 17 it was reported at the advanced posts that the enemy
had occupied the pass near the railway bridge and was forcing back our
advanced detachments with small bodies of infantry, a cross fire being
kept up all that night. Next, a report came in from the left flank to
the effect that the enemy was pressing the outpost line on that side;
in proof of which a few wounded were brought in. It thus became evident
that the Japanese were drawing closer round the Nan Shan position.
Reports received in the morning made it clear that the Japanese had
occupied all the heights lying in front of the Nan Shan position and
were engaged in fortifying themselves on them. We could not, however,
see any definite signs of them, as they were careful not to venture out
from the shelter of the hills in front, save that towards midday we
were able to locate earth-works on the hill near Shih-san-li-tai about
7 versts from our position. On closer examination we discerned certain
works somewhat nearer, which were without doubt infantry trenches, and
on which our long-range guns immediately opened fire. Our shells did
not reach the more distant line, but at once succeeded in stopping work
on the nearer trenches. Fire on the enemy’s works was kept up, off and
on, all that day.

In view of the fact that one regiment was insufficient to defend the
whole position, as well as the ground lying to the front of it, I asked
General Fock to send me two infantry scout detachments from the 13th
and 14th Regiments. My request being granted, the outpost line, on
the following night, consisted of four infantry detachments and one
mounted. All this night a cross fire was kept up with the Japanese
posts, which pressed our men so hard that I had to strengthen the line
on the right flank by a half-company (supplied by No. 2 Company). Our
outpost line ran as follows: from the shores of Chin-chou Bay to the
town wall of Chin-chou, with patrols out to some distance in advance of
the wall, from the town to Nan Shan railway station, and from there to
Hand Bay. During the night the Japanese drove us out of the old Chinese
fortifications beyond Kerr Bay, inflicting some losses—a few killed and
many wounded. Our opponents threw out such a strong screen that our
men were not able to penetrate it at any point so as to see what they
were doing behind, and, as we were thus left in complete ignorance as
to their numbers and dispositions, I had to be guided by the knowledge
gained at the time of the action of Chang-chia-tun, which information
I cannot do better than give in the words of Lieutenant-Colonel
Saifoolin, who commanded a portion of our right flank, and from whom I
had the following story of the engagement:

               5TH REGIMENT.

p. 34]

“Our companies were disposed in the following order: I, with the 8th
Company, occupied a hill near a ruined tower on the left side of
the nullah along which runs the road to Godzarlin; the 6th Company
occupied the crest on the right side of this nullah; and the 3rd Scout
Detachment, under Captain Koudriavtsev, occupied a hill on the extreme
right flank of the line and somewhat in front of the 6th Company.
The mounted scouts were sent out in front as skirmishers. Hardly had
day broken, when our scouts reported that the enemy was moving in
considerable force along the road from Godzarlin and nearer; following
hard upon this report there came in view, in front of out right flank,
dense Japanese lines, with their left flank resting on Mount Sampson,
and firing commenced at once at very long range. The enemy did not
hurry in his advance, but developed such a terrific rifle fire that
a great number of our men were placed _hors de combat_. Not having
any companies in reserve, I sent for help to a battalion of the 14th
Regiment, which was formed up in our rear, and one company of this
battalion (commanded by Suvorov), posted by itself behind our right
flank, started to move up to us, but halted and commenced firing
without joining our line. This continued for an hour, during which
time the enemy’s troops advanced without check until they were 400
paces, or less, from our scouts and the 6th Company; their strength
being about fifteen companies. Meanwhile about forty Japanese companies
were turning our left flank. Our losses in the 6th Company and among
the scouts were already considerable. In the former the commander was
wounded and the sergeant-major and thirty men were killed; while of the
latter about one-half were _hors de combat_, including the commander.
Not seeing any sign of reinforcements, we sent to ask what was to be
done. At this time the enemy began to turn our right flank also. No
one came to our assistance, our companies were melting away, and the
enemy was continuing to advance. I gave the order to retire, and, under
a terrific fire, we got back almost to the railway bridge, where our
artillery covered us, opening such a deadly fire on the enemy’s lines
that they came to a standstill and then took cover in the folds of the
ground. The order was then given for a general retreat, whereupon we
retired behind the town and ultimately to the main position.”

At Shih-san-li-tai, on the left flank, a fearful artillery fight took
place with rather disastrous results for us. In Romanovski’s battery
all the officers were put out of action, and he himself was wounded, as
were also nearly all the men of the gun detachments, so that there was
no one to bring up ammunition, and volunteers from the 3rd Company had
to be called for. Things reached such a pass that Romanovski himself
loaded a gun; the adjutant of the brigade, who had been sent off with
an order, was killed by a shell. But the enemy not being strong in
infantry on that flank, did not press an advance, so that our losses in
the 12th Company were only four men, and in the 3rd but a few more.[21]

There seems to have been some misunderstanding about this retreat. The
following day I went to the divisional headquarters with my report,
and, while there, General Fock sent for General Nadyein, who commanded
the detachment engaged at Shih-san-li-tai.[22]

“Why did you retire?” said General Fock, turning to him.

“On your order, your Excellency,” replied General Nadyein.

“What order? I never gave any order.”

General Nadyein thereupon produced a note, signed by Lieutenant-Colonel
Romanovski, in which it was clearly stated that General Fock had
himself ordered the retreat. Lieutenant-Colonel Romanovski, having been
sent for, stated that General Fock had actually ordered him to write
the note. General Fock was quite at a loss to understand this, but gave
orders that for the future, on important occasions, only orders signed
by him in person were to be obeyed.


p. 36]

On May 21 General Stessel came out to the position. He was apparently
very dissatisfied with the result of the late engagement, and when he
heard that Major Gomsiakov, the commander of the 6th Company, had been
left wounded on the field of battle, his displeasure knew no bounds;
he addressed the 6th Company in severe terms, removed the next senior
officer, Captain Sichev, from the command of the company, and said that
he was not to be recommended for any reward.

As a matter of fact, neither the company nor the officer was at all
deserving of this rebuke. Major Gomsiakov had been taken away in a
Chinese cart, and subsequently a horse had been procured for him on
which to ride to the dressing station. Being, however, unable to mount,
an ambulance wagon was sent for, but meanwhile he sent back the men
who had brought him, saying that they were needed in the firing line,
and he awaited the arrival of the wagon with a soldier of the Medical
Corps. About this time the retreat commenced, and Major Gomsiakov gave
his sword to the man and told him to go away, saying: “You can’t help
me, and if you remain they will kill you, and perhaps they want you in
your company.” Major Gomsiakov was taken prisoner by the Japanese, and
died from his wounds.

The engagements at Shih-san-li-tai and Chang-chia-tun cost us about 100
men in killed and wounded.

Having inspected the position, General Stessel went on to Chin-chou,
which was already being attacked by the enemy from the northern side.
When we rode into the gates bullets had begun to whistle along the
streets, but the general, having gone as far as the old Chinese temple,
turned back and reached the position again without hurt.

Our men slept in the trenches and batteries, the outpost line
consisting of a screen of scouts and a line of sentries detailed from
the companies occupying the trenches. I dreaded a night attack, which
might very well be successful owing to our lack of defenders, and I was
the more afraid because the enemy did not hurry himself, but seemed
to be minutely studying the defences. We thus had to be keenly on the

Early in the morning of May 22 we heard heavy rifle fire opening
under the walls of the town.[23] We could not see the enemy from the
position, but the town commandant informed me by telephone that the
Japanese were preparing for an assault. I had no fear of the town being
taken, since we had 400 men there and had filled sixty sand-bags with
powder ready to explode when the enemy got close to the walls. Besides
this, at the request of the commandant, I had reinforced the garrison
with half the 9th Company under its commander, Major Sokolov. Though
it would be impracticable to take the town without a heavy artillery
preparation, it would be quite feasible to pass round it and proceed
to attack the adjoining position from the right flank. So we quietly
followed the course of the action and watched for targets for our
artillery, but none appeared. The first attack on the town was beaten
back easily, but the enemy effected a lodgment on the north-western
side, where he was completely covered by the town wall from fire from
the direction of the position. From this time the rattle of rifle fire
round the town did not cease. As an advanced point of the position the
town certainly began to fulfil its intended rôle in the operations.

It is a great pity that we did not take steps with a view to the
stubborn defence of the Nan Shan position. Even assuming that such
determined defence was risky, as the enemy’s troops could effect a
landing to the south of the position, and so cut us off from Port
Arthur, they would, on the other hand, have had to run considerable
risk themselves in landing under our very eyes. They had, indeed,
already thrown considerable forces against us from the north, and it
would, perhaps, have been difficult for them to have sent another force
(about two divisions) against the Port Arthur garrison. Therefore, I
say with the greatest assurance that, had we decided to defend the
Nan Shan position stubbornly and had armed our batteries with heavy
guns, supplementing our guns of position with, say, a brigade of
field artillery, we should have held the enemy before Nan Shan for a
long time and perhaps have compelled him to have recourse to sapping
operations. During the time thus gained, the garrison of the fortress
would have been enabled to put its works into a better state of defence
than that in which they actually were left in consequence of lack of

The enemy made constant assaults on the town, but always without
success.[24] Once the Japanese sappers brought up a huge charge of
gun-cotton to the gates, but our marksmen killed those who tried
to place it, and brought the charge into the town. Continuing his
operations, the enemy placed a battery on the slopes of the hills
overlooking the town, and fortified the heights near Shih-san-li-tai.
The care displayed in doing this surprised us. We tried to impede the
work by fire, but the range was far too great for our guns.

On the evening of May 22, a 6-inch Schneider-Canet gun was brought on
to the position, and I decided to place it in the central redoubt,
where it would command the bays on both flanks. Starting at once to get
it into its allotted position, a whole company worked day and night on
the 23rd and 24th mounting the gun, and on the 25th it was just ready
to be placed on its carriage, when a heavy bombardment commenced and
greatly hindered the work.

From the time of our retreat from the positions at Shih-san-li-tai and
Chang-chia-tun to the Nan Shan position we hardly had a moment’s peace;
constant small night affairs in the outpost line, and the nightly
expectation of a big attack, compelled us to have half our men on the
alert. I never once undressed, or took off my boots; messages kept on
coming in, and hardly gave me a chance of closing my eyes. Such was the
strain that we were quite worn out.

On the morning of the 25th the enemy began a terrific bombardment.
We were all at our posts, and replied with heavy artillery fire,
suffering, however, little damage during this bombardment; none of our
guns were touched, though it was impossible to work at mounting our big
gun of position. We had several hit, including Boochatski, commanding
the 11th Company, who was severely wounded.

I must mention an incident with a kite. Why it was brought on to the
position, I do not know, as we could observe the movements of the
enemy perfectly from the top of our hill, and without incurring the
risk of being dashed to the ground. The party who brought it, with Mr.
Kourelov, a very brave man, decided to fly it at the very height of
the bombardment. The kite reached a great altitude, and, of course,
immediately attracted the attention of the Japanese, with the result
that a hail of shrapnel burst over the heads of the daring detachment,
and, to avoid unnecessary losses, I ordered them to bring the kite
down. Thank God! neither a man of the detachment nor Mr. Kourelov was

                     THE BATTLE OF NAN SHAN[25]

I spent the night of the 25th–26th with my adjutant and orderly officer
on Battery No. 13 in a bomb-proof, which was placed high up, but
nevertheless capable of protecting us from the enemy’s field-artillery
fire. Everything was quiet in the evening, but at about midnight
the enemy began to move; our outposts reported that they heard guns
moving, and our posts on the right flank were driven back by advancing
infantry. The weather was shocking—it was pouring with rain and there
was thunder in the air. Foreseeing that the enemy would make an attack
on our right flank and, if successful, would surround the town, and
not wishing to make him a present of the four hundred men in it, who
were indispensable to me on the position, I sent an order to the
commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel Yermeiev, not to allow himself to be
surrounded, but to retreat from the town on to the position while the
southern gates were free, and to man the trenches on our left flank.
The enemy attacked the town about 3 a.m., but, being unsuccessful,
began to surround it, when the commandant passed out through the south
gate and fought his way back to the position. One section, which
was late in getting through the gate, jumped down from the wall, a
height of 9 feet, and effected its retreat. But in the darkness the
men did not reach the positions to which they had been assigned, and,
instead of the whole of the 10th Company, only two sections, under
Second-Lieutenant Merkoulev, reached the point they had been ordered to
defend. The remaining half-company,[26] under Major Goosov, and half of
No. 9 Company, under Major Sokolov, occupied the empty trenches near
Redoubt No. 8. Some of the 3rd Scout Detachment occupied the lower tier
of trenches of this redoubt, but the majority of them got to their
proper positions on the left flank.

Our dispositions were as follows: the 2nd Company held the extreme
right flank from No. 2 Redoubt; the 2nd Scout Detachment was near
the railway and in Redoubt No. 1; the corner beyond was unoccupied;
the 12th Company was near the quarry, and the 3rd farther on in the
trenches; behind them the 8th and 4th Companies and the 1st Scout
Detachment, and the 6th Company in Redoubt No. 8; farther behind the
ravine were the 5th, 7th, and half the 10th Companies; and towards
the shores of Chin-chou Bay two Scout Detachments of the 13th and
14th Regiments were in trenches. Near No. 15 Battery were the 3rd
Company 14th Regiment, and a section of our 7th Company; the ground
between the scout detachments and No. 15 Battery was absolutely
undefended. Four machine guns under Second-Lieutenant Lobyrev were at
the disposal of the 7th Company on the cliffs near the shore, and four
naval machine guns, under Midshipman Shimanski, were placed behind
our 1st Scout Detachment. The forts inside the position, which could
have been fought individually, and so have increased the obstinacy
of the defence, were without defenders: the central redoubt, Battery
No. 13, and many trenches were absolutely unoccupied for want of
men. I had in the reserve the 11th Company 5th Regiment, and two
companies of the 13th Regiment, while I had detached the following
officers to command sections of the position: right flank up to No.
1 Battery, Major Stempnevski; the centre—12th, 3rd, 8th, and 4th
Companies;—Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor; left flank—6th Company, 1st
Scout Detachment, 5th and 7th Companies, and the whole of the left
flank—Lieutenant-Colonel Saifoolin. The artillery consisted of guns
placed in fifteen batteries, as on Map I.; No. 1 Battery being armed
with eight 8·7-cm. field guns.

               5TH REGIMENT.

p. 43]

From daybreak on the 26th the enemy began to bombard the position; and
shells flew thick and fast, more especially on No. 13. When it was
light enough, I looked at the enemy through my glasses. His batteries
extended in an unbroken line from Chin-chou Bay to Hand Bay, and
some batteries—apparently of heavy guns—stood on the slopes of the
hills behind the town. The enemy did not husband his ammunition. Four
gunboats, and perhaps destroyers with them, came close inshore in
Chin-chou Bay, and two large ships lay near the entrance to the bay in
the rear of our position. These ships fired very heavy shell. There was
no sign yet of the enemy’s infantry, but the gun fire was so terrific
as to compel us to retire into our bomb-proofs. Near by stood a bucket
of water; being afraid of its being blown to bits, I ordered it to be
placed under cover, and one of the men had just reached it, when a
shrapnel burst close to him, and the water poured out over the floor,
Bombardier Ptooski being wounded in the head, and I myself getting
a scratch on my leg. As the shelter was filled with smoke, we found
some difficulty in breathing in it, and the majority of us therefore
went out into the redoubt. From there I saw the lines of the enemy’s
skirmishers round our right flank; our 4th and 8th Companies had opened
fire, but the lines nevertheless advanced slowly on us, leaving on
the ground behind them small black dots. Our fire was apparently very
effective; we had not measured all our ranges in vain. At eight o’clock
a large ship appeared in the bay on our own right flank; “Well,” I
thought, “the 2nd Company will be able to reach her.” Imagine my joy
when I saw that she was firing on the enemy and I recognized our
_Bobr_, though, unfortunately, she did not keep up firing for long, but
put out to sea again. It was about 9 a.m. when the enemy’s skirmishing
line was seen near Nan Shan station and behind the mounds close to the
nearest villages, right in front of all the companies from the 2nd to
the 8th. The rifle fire resolved itself into one continual rattle and
roar. An orderly from Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor came to me with a
report, in which he had written as follows:

“The enemy is in front of us and is attacking, but do you know that
there are 700 yards of trenches near us absolutely unoccupied? We must
have help.”

I myself saw that the Japanese were directing their attack on our
8th Company. The line had come to a standstill before all the other
companies, so I sent half of the 11th Company to the threatened point.
At this time I had three companies in reserve, the 11th of my own
regiment, and two companies of the 13th. The enemy’s companies got up
to the wire entanglements in front of the 8th and 4th Companies, but,
finding their advance barred, they retired in disorder, taking cover
in the folds of the ground and thence opening a tremendous fire. I was
now certain that we had nothing to fear from the Japanese infantry.
Just then another orderly arrived from Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor,
asking for immediate reinforcements, but, having already sent him half
the 11th Company, I felt sure that that was sufficient. At this moment
the enemy’s skirmishing line in front of the 2nd Company occupied the
southern extremities of a small village, and as this place afforded
excellent cover, I saw that there was a danger of the enemy collecting
considerable forces behind it and overwhelming the 2nd Company, the
more so, as it was only 400 paces from the village to the position. On
seeing, however, that such an attack would be taken in flank by the
fire of the 2nd Company, I felt somewhat easier. The enemy’s infantry
was now spread out round the whole position in a semicircle, like his
artillery, and the crackle of rifle fire was absolutely incessant.
Besides this, we saw that the troops composing his right flank had
gone down into the water in the Bay of Chin-chou and were effecting
a turning movement through the water; but this advance was checked
after the lapse of a few moments by our gun and rifle fire (at very
long ranges, however). In all probability the men of this column were
nearly all killed, as no movement could be detected among the Japanese
bodies lying in the water—all were still.[27] The enemy’s skirmishers
kept closing in and then again retiring; but meanwhile our men, after
beating back the infantry attack, suffered severely from artillery
fire. I received word that Lieutenant-Colonel Radetski had been killed.

About eleven o’clock the commander of the 6th Company reported to me
that his advanced trench was completely wrecked by artillery fire
from the sea and from the front, and that it was impossible to obtain
any cover in it. This was grave news. I noticed considerable movement
among the enemy’s troops before our left flank, and a mass of men began
to move from the centre to the left flank. The troops of the enemy’s
right flank, which had been sitting in the water of Chin-chou Bay for
some time, began to move forward. To defend this (left) flank I had:
the 7th Company, half of the 10th Company, the larger half of the 3rd
Scout Detachment of our regiment (the remainder had retreated into
the trenches near No. 8 Redoubt), two Scout Detachments of the 13th
and 14th Regiments, under the command of Lieutenants Bandaletov and
Roosoi, and near No. 15 Battery the 3rd Company of the 14th Regiment,
under Captain Ushakov, with one section of the 7th Company. We had
sufficient men to beat back an attack, but the losses of the 5th
Company had caused me some anxiety. In order, therefore, to reinforce
the 5th Company, I sent the remaining half of the 11th Company into
the trenches to the left of No. 8 Redoubt, so as to enfilade the
troops of the enemy attacking the 5th Company, and earlier still I
had sent Captain Rotaiski’s company into a so-called deep trench near
by. These measures were sufficient to prevent the enemy from breaking
through at the point held by the 5th Company. I built great hopes on
our four machine guns, posted behind the 7th Company’s left flank (see
page 43). They constituted a tremendous power, practically equalling
a whole company, and they were, moreover, cleverly concealed in some
small pits. I immediately sent in a report. (I had forwarded reports of
everything that had taken place on the field and also the reports of
the different commanders.)

About twelve o’clock the enemy’s rifle fire suddenly ceased, and his
artillery also grew silent. Taking advantage of this, I went down
to the road from No. 13 Battery to meet two gunners coming from the
position. We noticed General Fock and his adjutant on the road. Major
Visoki reported that the gunners had suffered severely, and that the
ammunition supply was exhausted. As they had no rifles, I sent them
away from the position, and thus, from twelve o’clock, we were left
without artillery. Just before this sudden temporary cessation of fire
I had already noticed from the hill how our artillery fire was dying
down and how cruelly the enemy’s shells blew our gunners to pieces;
indeed, the helplessness of our guns became apparent as soon as the
enemy’s cannonade commenced.

It is impossible to imagine what such a fire is like. An unceasing
stream of shells burst over each battery and over No. 13 Battery, where
it was only possible to sit right up against the earth-work, now and
then venturing to glance over it to observe what was going on. When
the fire had become positively fiendish we took cover in the upper
bomb-proof, a relic of the Chinese war. It gave us sufficient cover
from small shell, and it was possible to write there, send reports, and
receive reports from orderlies, but the fire from the ships made us
fear for our safety. A single shell would have been sufficient to bury
us all under the ruins of our shelter. All the ravines were literally
pitted with shell splinters. Our unfortunate artillery was so occupied
in its struggle with the enemy’s guns that it paid no attention to
the ships threatening the fortifications on our left flank. However,
this was not surprising, as the batteries did not themselves feel the
fire of the enemy’s ships. From their front guns roared also, so from
a feeling of self-preservation they returned that fire at first as
energetically as they could. The order I had sent to No. 4 Battery to
direct its fire on the enemy’s ships had evidently not got through to
the battery commander. Our fire began to slacken, and finally ceased,
owing to losses and, in many batteries, for want of ammunition. In
No. 9 Battery every man was killed but one, and he continued to fire
by himself from each gun in rotation. He loaded the guns in turn and
fired them until a shell put an end to this hero. In spite of all my
efforts I have been unable to learn his name. “Peace to your ashes,
unknown hero, the pride and glory of your regiment!”[28]

The greater number of our guns was unharmed, though two pieces in the
centre of the position were dismounted, as were also all the guns of
No. 15 Battery, against which the enemy’s ships were firing.

A deathlike stillness now reigned along the whole position for an hour.
Going down to the lower line of trenches, I tried to get to General
Fock, who had been seen, as I have said, on the road to No. 10 Battery,
but he had gone off somewhere, and I did not see him again; possibly he
went along the ravines to Ta-fang-shen station.

Soldiers of the 5th Company who had fallen to the rear said that it
had gone badly with that company, and that it had vacated the advanced
trench and occupied No. 9 Redoubt and the ravines near it. The men
in all the other trenches and forts gallantly stuck to their posts.
After an hour of silence, firing began again, rifles cracked, and guns
roared. I went to my observing station. The enemy literally swept us
with a hail of shrapnel. One shell burst right over the heads of two
of my orderlies standing behind me, killing one outright and wounding
the other in the head. A short time after, our small-arm ammunition
magazine near No. 10 Battery caught fire.

Soon after there were some distressing signs of disorder on the left
flank (the section defended by the 5th Company)—men were retiring
and going back, without stopping, to the rear of the position; but
I received no report from the commander of the 5th Company. I then
noticed that the enemy’s fire was concentrated on the 5th and 7th
Companies. Though I had foreseen an attack on these points I was
not afraid that the enemy would break through there, as Rotaiski’s
company and Redoubt No. 8, with its trenches, made it impracticable.
Nevertheless, I felt the need of a larger reserve, and I reported
to General Fock that I should have no men with which to renew the
battle if the enemy should beat us back out of our advanced positions.
I earnestly asked for reinforcements; but General Fock, guided, I
suppose, by the general supposition that reinforcements are always
asked for before they are needed, and thinking, perhaps, that I was
making mountains out of molehills, did not pay any attention to my
request, or else did not wish to satisfy it, and our position became
critical. Our scouts on the left flank, as also the 5th and 7th
Companies, were demoralized, especially the 5th.

Captain Lubeemov’s company of the 13th Regiment, which was with me in
the reserve, had disappeared somewhere, so that Captain Teemoshenko,
who was sent by me to take it to the place where I had decided it
should go (on the left flank, in the interval between our 7th Company
and Captain Ushakov’s company, near No. 15), could not find it, and
came back. Thus I now had not a single company under my hand.[29]
Afterwards it became known that Lubeemov’s company had received by
an orderly an order purporting to come from me, and had taken up a
position near our 5th and 7th Companies on the left flank. It had
failed to reach its _correct_ position (see last page), as no one was
there to direct it. I do not, however, blame Captain Lubeemov; he had
obeyed his orders, but went to the right, instead of the left, flank of
Captain Ushakov. Captain Teemoshenko should have pointed out the right
place, but he failed to find the company. Where Captain Lubeemov was
wrong, was in altering his position without my orders.

Shortly after, about four o’clock, an officer came up and reported
that the 6th and 7th Companies of the 14th Regiment were coming to my
assistance. I received a note from General Fock, in which he ordered
me to use these companies only to cover a retreat, and not to employ
them in the trenches. Then I understood that General Fock was not going
to help me to hold the position, which he might have done without much
difficulty, since I only required one additional battalion in reserve.

Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor now sent to ask for reinforcements.
Although I could see no attack on his side, in view of the urgency of
the request, and so as to be quite safe on our right flank (where an
adjoining village was strongly held by the Japanese, and the railway
embankment could screen large numbers of the enemy), I decided to send
half a company of the 14th Regiment under Captain Kousmin, an excellent
officer, well known to me.

About six o’clock bullets began to whistle over our heads in No. 13,
and, my trumpeter being wounded, I took him myself into the bomb-proof
to be attended to. On the left flank men in yellow jackets[30]
were moving about in groups, and five minutes had not passed before
Second-Lieutenant Sadykov came into the shelter and reported that the
left flank was retreating. I rushed out and saw that the yellow-coats
were streaming up, and shrapnel bursting over the 7th and 5th
Companies, while a heavy cross fire was being kept up. The Japanese
skirmishers had lain down in their places and there was no warning of
their sudden advance. Seeing that our scouts were retreating, and that
all the others might retreat with them, I, not having any orders to
retreat from the position, galloped off to the reserve and ordered the
one-and-a-half companies of the 14th Regiment, sent by General Fock, to
move against the Japanese appearing near Work No. 10. As we rode down,
we came into a hot fire from the neighbouring hills.

I thought that I could arrest the retreat and deliver a counter-attack
from behind the reserve, and then, having taken No. 10 Battery,
re-organize the left flank.

At the subsequent court-martial General Fock declared that I could not
have ordered the reserve to meet the Japanese; but he was mistaken,
being misled by Captain Rotaiski, who, giving evidence, declared that
he saw the Japanese pursuing me and saw me escape from them through
the window of a shed. I never got through any window, but I mounted
my horse and galloped off to stop those retreating. The Japanese then
fired on me from the hills above the shed. It was not I, but a Japanese
officer, who jumped through the window, and was overtaken by four men
from the reserve and killed in the shed, as a proof of which his sword
was presented to the commander of the 14th Regiment.

The order to attack _was_ given by me, for the commander of the
reserve rushed up to me and asked: “What are we to do?” “Attack,” I
answered, and pointed out to him whom to attack and where. After that I
galloped after the retreating soldiers and made myself hoarse shouting
“Stop, stop, my men!” But they in their turn shouted out to me: “Your
Excellency, we have been ordered to retreat.” I could not imagine who
had given this order. As, however, at this moment the Japanese saw
us retreating from behind the Nan Shan hills, and opened a terrific
shrapnel fire, it was absolutely impossible to stop the men. A shrapnel
bullet struck my mare’s ear and wellnigh maddened her. I managed to
rally my men in a position in rear, chosen earlier by me, about a
verst from the Nan Shan hills, and when they had halted, I looked back
towards the hills and saw two bodies of men running down into the
valley; they were probably the 5th and 7th Companies.

No. 13 was in the hands of the Japanese, who were to be seen on the
heights above, firing down on the retreating men, who quickly hid
themselves in the deep ravines. I now occupied the above-mentioned
position in rear, brought up a battalion of the 14th Regiment, and
lengthened the line as far as Ta-fang-shen station. I found the
battalion in question in a ravine behind the position. Of the rest of
the 14th Regiment I saw no signs; probably they were somewhere in rear
under cover. The commander of our scouts came in to me here with our

Awaiting on this spot the enemy’s attack, we heard heavy firing on the
right of the Nan Shan position, and the enemy’s guns ranged on us and
on the right flank. Our companies on that flank passed across towards
Ta-fang-shen, and I ordered them to concentrate 1 verst in rear of
Ta-fang-shen on the road. For some reason the Japanese decided not
to attack us. It was already quite dark when I went to the burning
station of Ta-fang-shen to see to the dispositions of our troops
there. Suddenly there was a terrific explosion, and I was covered
with fragments of burning planks, beams, and hot bricks. How I and my
comrades escaped death passes my understanding. The station was blown
up at the instance of General Fock’s staff—probably by his orders. One
officer—Major Saliarski—and twenty men were killed by this senseless

Night had set in, when the 14th and 5th Regiments received the order
to retire, and I, leaving some mounted patrols to watch the enemy’s
movements, went with the Mounted Scouts to Nan-kuan-ling. While moving
along the road, I met our 7th Company and saw the whole of the 4th
Division encamped in the wide valley. There I found the companies
of the 5th Regiment which had retreated, and ordered them to report
their losses. Very many of our comrades did not answer the roll-call,
the first return showing a loss in killed and wounded of 75 officers
and 1,500 men. It was awful to see the thinned ranks of my gallant
regiment; my heart bled for my officers, who had brought up the rear
in the retreat, but the spirit of those left seemed to be as fine as
ever. I feel bound to pay tribute to our comrades who fell in the
battle and mention some of their heroic deeds.

Lieutenant Kragelski refused to retreat, and bade each one of his men
farewell as they passed him. Captain Makoveiev, commanding the 8th
Company, had declared that he would never retreat, and he was true to
his word, for he remained in the trenches, and was killed only when
he had expended all the cartridges in his revolver. Major Sokolov,
commanding the 9th Company, also refused to retreat, and sabred several
Japanese before being bayoneted to death.

The whole of the left flank attributed the retirement to the receipt
of an order, and consequently I set to work to sift the matter to
the bottom. About six o’clock General Fock sent an officer with the
order to retire. Though he did not come to me personally, this officer
probably sent an orderly—who failed to reach me—and himself went to the
left flank and conveyed the order to retire to the scout detachments
of the 13th and 14th Regiments. This order reached the commander of
the 7th Company through Second-Lieutenant Merkoulev, besides which the
former saw the orderly on a black horse shouting and waving his sword
towards the rear, and only then ordered his company to retire. The fact
that this order to retreat was given, was confirmed by all the officers
and men, and also by Ensign Kaminar (5th Regiment).

I placed the letter sent to me by Lieutenant Sadykov relating to
this point before the commission which assembled to investigate
General Stessel’s conduct. It was there shown that Second-Lieutenant
Moosalevski was present and heard General Fock give the order to
retreat to my orderly officer, Lieutenant Glieb-Koshanski, who
galloped back with the orderly on the black horse to see the general’s
order carried out. When I stopped the retreating scouts, Lieutenant
Glieb-Koshanski and his orderly galloped as far as the Nan Shan hills,
and the latter reached No. 10 Battery by a ravine when the Japanese
were already in the position (this hero never returned). Our 7th
Company and Captain Rotaiski’s company were still at their posts, and
began to retire only after the receipt of the order.

When those who had been in Port Arthur were assembled in St. Petersburg
from all over the Empire to give evidence at General Stessel’s
trial, I only gave details of the Nan Shan fight in answering the
questions put to me. The conclusion arrived at was this: the scout
detachments of the 14th Regiment, shaken by the hasty retirement of
those of the 13th Regiment at that moment, began to abandon their
trenches about four o’clock, the time when I saw them retreating in a
body. Lieutenant Roosoi had only ten men left in the trench, but the
other companies—_i.e._, the 7th and 5th of our regiment, and Captain
Rotaiski’s company—remained on the position. Lieutenant Glieb-Koshanski
and the orderly galloped up with a report to General Fock just as I
was leaving No. 13 and had mounted my horse, and it was thus quite
possible for the orderly on the black horse to have really galloped
up to the position and given the order to retire before I had stopped
the retreating scouts. Anyway, it was proved conclusively that the
Japanese appeared in No. 10 Battery, and the other inner works of the
position before the 7th and 5th Companies began their retreat.

And it was in this way. When the Scout Detachment of the 13th Regiment,
under Second-Lieutenant Bandaletov, and part of the Scouts of the 14th
Regiment began to retire (in consequence of the flanking fire from the
gunboats, and _not_ because of the rifle fire of the Japanese, whose
skirmishers did not come closer than 600 yards), the enemy, taking
advantage of natural cover, pursued them and, passing along the ravines
and watercourses, occupied the trenches we had vacated, together with
No. 10 Battery and farther points. As, however, the Japanese were
not in great numbers, they could not break through the centre, the
5th Company being in the deep ravine, the 6th in No. 8 Redoubt, and
Rotaiski’s company in a deep valley. These companies could not have let
the Japanese pass, and I repeat that the Japanese lines were in full
view from where I was and did not move until the scouts appeared in our

From accounts given by officers, this is what happened on the right
flank. After the attack on the 8th and 4th Companies had failed, the
enemy kept up a furious gun and rifle fire, but did not approach
our trenches. This continued until the retreat of the 5th and 7th
Companies had actually begun. When the retreat of the left flank was
noticed from No. 8 Redoubt, and the Japanese began to sweep our right
flank from No. 5, Major Goosov assembled all the officers there for
a consultation as to what should be done. After some hesitation it
was decided to retreat; and word of that decision was sent to other
companies. However, the 4th and 8th Companies, remembering the order
that there would be no retreat, refused to act on the decision. Our
gallant Colonel Bielozor was in command, the company commanders
being Captain Shastin of the 4th Company, and Captain Makoveiev of
the 8th. On the retirement of the 6th Company from No. 8 Redoubt,
the 3rd, 4th, 8th, and part of the 12th Companies, found themselves
in a hopeless position. There were Japanese in their rear, Japanese
machine guns on No. 5, and a large body of Japanese in front, ready
to attack, which they soon did. Seeing their comrades on the heights,
where our batteries had been, and also in No. 8 Redoubt, the enemy in
front advanced to the attack, but our gallant companies momentarily
stopped their desperate rush by a volley, which covered the ground
with hundreds of the enemy’s killed and wounded. Then, facing round
on the enemy who was attacking their rear, they compelled him to take
cover behind the hills. The Japanese on the hill signalled with white
handkerchiefs to the companies to surrender, but they only received
volleys in reply. Taking advantage of the indecisive action of the
Japanese in their rear, Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor decided to try
and extricate his men from this unequal fight, and gave the order to
retire. Under a heavy fire the men moved along the trenches to the rear
of the position, suffering severely from the marksmen on the hills.
In some places the men had to come up out of the trenches, which were
filled with dead and dying, but eventually the companies succeeded
in reaching No. 1 Battery. From that point, too, Lieutenant-Colonel
Bielozor and Captain Shastin saw some Japanese columns trying to cut
off our companies retreating from the centre of the position.

The enemy was advancing from the shores of Hand Bay. Our brave officers
at once thought of covering our men by preventing this turning
movement, in spite of the enemy posted on the hills, and to this end
they collected their men, stopped them, and opened volley fire on the
Japanese. The latter retaliated, and in their turn poured in a hot
fire from rifles and machine guns. This fearful struggle continued for
some time until not a single one of our men was left alive. They all
fell in this unequal fight, defending themselves finally not only with
their bayonets, but even with their fists. Lieutenant-Colonel Bielozor
lost consciousness from loss of blood, and fell; while Captain Shastin
also fell, dangerously wounded in the chest. Both were picked up by
the Japanese Red-Cross men, and saved, thanks to a Japanese officer,
who gave orders that they were not to be killed.[31] Our right flank
retreated simultaneously with our left at the moment when the Japanese
began to enfilade them from the hills.

Having received the order to follow the regiment to Nan-kuan-ling,
I bivouacked with the 4th Rifle Division, leaving my mounted scout
detachment there. This was at 10 or 11 p.m.

On my way I learnt from certain artillery officers that General
Nadyein had, at the critical moment, sent me two battalions (if only
they had reached me!), but that General Fock had ordered them to
return. At the court-martial this fact was not proved.

If, however, General Fock had decided to attack the left flank of the
enemy, where they were already running out of shell and were engaged
with our companies, with even his two regiments, and had brought up the
whole of his artillery against this flank, the enemy would, without
doubt, have been checked and the victory might have been on our side.

It is said that at the court-martial General Fock stated that he wished
to attack. What a pity that this wish came too late!

One must watch for the first sign of wavering in the soldier in
order to be able to judge the proper moment for throwing in the
reserves, instead of keeping them miles behind the firing line, as
seems necessary according to General Fock’s principle—“Keep back your
reserves as long as you possibly can, as they are always asked for
and sent up too early.” That is all right as far as it goes, but at
the same time reserves must be used exactly at the right moment. I
understand the meaning of this principle, but in order not to be misled
in adopting it, it is essential to follow the course of the action very


Map No. 1.

Enlarged from a Russian Map. London: Hugh Rees, Ltd.

_Reproduced at Stanford’s Geogl. Estabt., London._]

It was stated at the court-martial that the whole of Lieutenant-Colonel
Golitsinski’s battalion of the 14th Regiment was sent to the position,
by General Nadyein, but never reached it, occupying instead the
trenches made by me beyond Ta-fang-shen on the seashore, in case the
enemy tried to make a turning movement through the water of Hand
Bay. This was more than a verst from the position, in rear of its
right flank. What they wanted a battalion there for, I really do not
understand. I know nothing about this strange manœuvre, and I never saw
the battalion, but it would have played a great part if I had had it
with me in the centre.

There cannot be two commanders in one part of a field of battle, and we
had three—General Fock, General Nadyein, and myself.


[21] In Part II. of the Official History (p. 43, par. 2) the estimated
losses were 150 officers and men killed and wounded. For the Russian
estimate, see following page.

[22] The Official History gives General Nadyein as the commander during
the battle, but General Fock himself conducted the action, General
Nadyein being in command of the left flank.

[23] The attack on Chin-chou here mentioned as taking place on May 22
is not given in any of the official accounts, the first mentioned being
that of May 25, which is _also_ described here. These two may, however,
be one and the same, owing to confusion of dates.

[24] See Official History (Part II., p. 20).

[25] See Map I.

[26] A footnote in the Official History states that half the 10th
Company was cut off by the Japanese, but evidently this was not so.

[27] See Note No. 4 at end of book.

[28] Usual form of address to the dead.

[29] It is not stated what happened to the other company of the 13th
Regiment, which was in reserve. A reference to the Official History
will show that only one company out of these two is mentioned there

[30] At this stage the Japanese were clothed in khaki.

[31] General Tretyakov appears to have been under the impression that
the Japanese were giving no quarter.

                             CHAPTER III

Night alarm during the march to Nan-kuan-ling—Disappearance
  of the baggage train—Continuation of the retreat towards Port
  Arthur—Occupation and fortification of the “Position of the
  Passes”—Japanese attacks on the position on July 26, 27, and
  28—Capture of Yu-pi-la-tzu and Lao-tso Shan—General retirement
  to new positions, July 29.

I had hardly gone two versts from the bivouac, when we heard firing
behind us. A moment afterwards a vague noise reached us, soon
distinctly recognized as the rumbling of a baggage wagon. In another
minute it had rattled past us at full speed. Behind it galloped a field
battery scattering or destroying all that came in its way, and after
the battery came a hurtling mass of wagons, mounted men, riderless
horses, and unarmed men, and, to make matters worse, somebody raised
the alarming cry of “Japanese cavalry! Japanese cavalry!”

The din and confusion were awful, and from the bivouacs behind us shots
and volleys were heard. Together with the other officers near me I
rushed to the rear of the column to restore order. I also ordered our
band to strike up a march, and, thank God, its martial strains restored
confidence among the fugitives—the noise ceased, and the men became
quite calm and collected.

The band played all the way to Nan-kuan-ling,[32] and we were saved
further panics in consequence.

Having been shown where to bivouac, I sent to the baggage train for
bread, tea, and sugar, but alas! the baggage was not to be found. What
was to be done? Our men had had neither food nor drink all day. Tents
and great-coats had been left on the field of battle, so that the men
had nothing but their rifles and cartridges with them. We started to
hunt for food.

I sent, of course, to the railway station. We saw through the window
that all the rooms were packed with officers of every regiment, and the
staff of the 4th Division was there too. Having forced my way into the
buffet, I approached Lieutenant-Colonel Dmetrevski, the chief of staff
of the 4th Division, who, in answer to my question, “Where has our
baggage train been sent?” told me that it had been sent straight into
Port Arthur by General Fock’s order, and he could not say where it was
now. The commanders of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Regiments were there
too. I asked the first of these for 200 poods[33] of bread, a quantity
of which I saw loaded up on some wagons standing close at hand. In an
hour we had unloaded them and distributed the bread, each man getting
about 4 lb. I had a piece about that weight, as had also all the other
officers; of meat, there was absolutely none to be had.

All available articles of food in the buffet had been eaten before our
arrival, but I succeeded in getting some salt wherewith to flavour my

Having slept for three hours on the bare ground, we got up to resume
our march. No one molested us during the night; the morning broke cold
and foggy.

According to the “order of march” we should have been at the head of
the column, but some regiment forestalled us, and we had to wait nearly
an hour before making a start.

At about midday we reached a pass in the hills, well lined with
trenches, and, after making a short halt in the pass itself, we pushed
on, marching at a good pace.

At the instance of General Fock the mountain road had been repaired
at an earlier date, and now did us sterling service, but, hard as we
went, we did not overtake our baggage, and the whole of that day we had
nothing but the bread procured at Nan-kuan-ling from the 14th Regiment.
We spent the night in a picturesque defile, and perforce lay down to
sleep on empty stomachs.

On May 28 we overtook an enormous train of baggage from Dalny,[34]
accompanied by the male inhabitants of the town, with their women,
children, and household goods. As the horses in the wagons were
wretchedly small, the train had to come to a standstill, blocking the
road from end to end.

We went round by a narrow side road, and in the evening reached the
great Shipinsin Pass,[35] where at last we overtook our baggage.

Now in high spirits, we bivouacked, cooked our suppers, ate them
ravenously, and slept the sleep of the just.

On the following day, May 29, we began to ascend the pass, which,
thanks to our excellent horses, our baggage train speedily traversed,
and although at midnight we lost our way, owing to bad maps, we
eventually reached the outskirts of Port Arthur and halted at the
village of Pa-li-chuang, where we had been ordered to rest for three

General Stessel visited the regiment the following day. The companies
quickly formed up near the bivouacs, and the general rode round them
all and thanked them for their splendid behaviour. The men felt
tremendously encouraged, many of them having laboured under the dire
impression that we had committed a crime by surrendering Nan Shan to
the enemy.

General Stessel called to the front all those wounded who had remained
in the ranks, in order to address them, and to bestow praise and
rewards in the shape of the Cross of St. George. There were, however,
so many of them (more than 300) that the general thought it was
impossible to get so many crosses; he therefore ordered the doctor to
inspect them and separate the badly from the slightly wounded. There
were sixty of the former category, and they were given St. George’s
crosses accordingly. These were the sole recipients of rewards for the
Nan Shan battle, those slightly wounded receiving nothing for their
bravery—and the number of such was great.

I have already mentioned the fact that our men came away with only
their rifles, most of the tents and great-coats having been left on the
field of battle. It was fortunate that just before the battle we had
transported the bulk of our stores into Port Arthur, where they had
been deposited in Captain Preegorovski’s house, which had been hired
for the purpose. We brought all we wanted out of Port Arthur without
delay, and distributed the necessaries among the men. At the same time
we drove out with us a large herd of cattle, amounting to about 200

I forgot to mention that our ordinary military anxieties on the Nan
Shan position had been augmented by the worry due to an order to
collect all the cattle belonging to the inhabitants and to drive them
to the rear of the position. Some officials, supplied with money, were
sent out for this purpose, but as they could not effect their object
without the assistance of the regiment, the whole burden of the work
fell upon us.

Unfortunately, the order was given when the enemy was already in touch
with us, but we managed to collect about 1,000 head and drove them to
the rear of the army, almost into Port Arthur.

After three days’ rest we moved into Port Arthur and stopped in a
village near Serotka Hill,[36] forming the reserve of the 4th Division,
which took up the position Shuang-tai-kou, Yu-pi-la-tzu, Chien Shan,
and Lao-tso Shan.[37]

               CHIEN SHAN.

p. 66]

The 4th Division had been reinforced by a detachment of mixed companies
of the 7th Division, under the command of Colonel Semenov, and it was
this detachment that occupied Lao-tso Shan. I do not know exactly what
they had done amiss, but I remember it was commonly said that the mixed
companies were not to be depended upon, which is not to be wondered at,
seeing that they had no stiffening of seasoned troops. The commanders
of the companies did not know their own men, nor had the men any
knowledge of their commanders. No one felt responsible for the actions
of the different units. This organization was considered a huge mistake
on General Kondratenko’s part; but, however that may be, the position
in question was held by us from the time of its occupation, on May 31,
till July 28, in spite of the fact that it had not previously been

During this time the 5th Regiment was divided into two parts, and I was
put in command of the left flank of the defence, and began to fortify
the position on 174 Metre Hill and the country in front of it, as also
the western side of Feng-huang Shan[38] from the Great Mandarin road to
Eight Ships’ Bay. Stationed along the shore of the latter was Captain
Sakatski’s detachment, and two other detachments were on the banks of
Louisa Bay, both under my command, the former having with it four small
naval guns under Midshipman Doudkin.

Our 6th and 7th Companies occupied and fortified Feng-huang Shan from
the Great Mandarin road up to Major Sakatski’s detachment. Our three
scout detachments occupied and fortified the 174 Metre and Headquarter
Hills, and also Height 426.[39] The 3rd and 9th Companies occupied 174
Metre Hill, while the 2nd and 4th held 203 Metre Hill. They all worked
hard at their fortifications under the supervision of their officers,
in accordance with orders given by me.

174 Metre Hill had to be fortified as strongly as possible, as, having
once captured that, the enemy could sweep our extremely weak western
front, occupy the valley stretching in the direction of the New Town,
and command the latter and the bay.

The other companies of the regiment were quartered in various positions
near. At times when the advanced regiments behind Feng-huang Shan were
threatened, the 5th Regiment served as the reserve for the different
sections of the advanced line.

Our work advanced slowly, because we had very few tools.

Besides fortifying the position, I had to build shelters for the
reserves and stores for small-arm ammunition in the fortress itself.

I detailed two companies of the 7th Division for this work, utilizing
all the material we could find in the town. Having no sapper officer
with me, I had personally to supervise everywhere—on the advanced
positions as well as in the town. It was a great help that the officers
of the 5th Regiment were, thanks to constant practice, excellent

We could only obtain tools with great difficulty and from various
sources. Most of them we got from Colonel Grigorenko, commanding the
Engineers in the fortress, and from the railway authorities.

The number of men given me to carry out the work which I had been
ordered to do was insufficient, so I asked if I could employ the whole
of my regiment. I received permission early in June, and moved the
regimental staff to Division Hill, where we made ourselves very snug,
pitching a huge marquee and getting our field kitchen into working

Generals Kondratenko, Smirnov, and Stessel came out to us fairly
frequently. Our work progressed rapidly, as we had got over the tool
difficulty, but we had very few barrows, etc., for transporting the

A stubborn defence having been determined upon, it was necessary to
construct a great number of splinter-proofs as well as shelters for
ourselves and our kitchens; and for this we needed an abundant supply
of beams and planks.

Besides this activity we had constantly to send detachments to the
advanced positions held by the regiments of the 4th Division.

Other regiments continually borrowed the tools I had collected, but did
not return them.

I frequently went on long personal reconnoitring tours, during which
I made myself acquainted with the advanced positions and their

It seems that General Fock expected that the Japanese would most
probably attack our position across the flat stretch of country
between the hills and the sea. In any case, he paid most attention to
fortifying this particular part of the position. To me, however, it was
very clear how difficult it would be to attack a fortified position
across the open under effective gun and rifle fire. Not even taking
into account the Japanese love of hill-fighting, it was obvious that
the hills were by far the best point of attack, and these General Fock
wished to have defended only by the scout detachments.

Here the defenders were deprived of their strongest weapon, viz.
distant, and even close, rifle and artillery fire. As to the
assailants, numerical superiority and the power of initiative gave
the Japanese tremendous advantage in the hills, the more so, as our
position was very much extended, covering about 8 versts for five
regiments of three battalions each (about 10,000 men). The Japanese
guns could, moreover, demolish our trenches, whereas our artillery
could not find any targets.

When I inspected the position at the beginning of July, I noticed that
the position at Shuang-tai-kou (between the hills and the sea) was
splendidly fortified (the trenches were deep, with a magnificent field
of fire), but the hills were left entirely without fortifications.

I rode down into Yu-pi-la-tzu, where there were two scout
detachments-of what regiment, I do not remember. There were no trenches
and, above all, no cover from gun fire. This was a great mistake,
as the whole of the enemy’s artillery fire might be directed on
Yu-pi-la-tzu, and our men driven out of it, after which the Japanese
could occupy the hill without loss.

Having ascended the hill, a magnificent panorama met the eye. The whole
country as far as Dalny and the bay beyond lay before one as the lines
on the palm of the hand, and in the daytime every single movement of
the enemy could be noted.


p. 70]

Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill was a very important point. If we lost it, we should
have to retreat to the Shipinsin Pass.[40] But the enemy did not hurry
matters. Having come within long-range rifle fire from the hills (as
was to have been expected, he paid no attention to the low-lying
ground), he dug trenches and set to work to lay his plans with
deliberation. From the moment of his first coming into touch with
us, at the beginning of May, till July 26, he pressed our right flank,
and compelled us to change our position, and on the 26th commenced his
attack on the entire hill section.

The 5th Regiment was moved up to act in support. Some time before
this our 3rd Battalion had been sent to the right flank to Lao-tso
Shan, where we lost two excellent officers, Captain Koudriavtsev and
Lieutenant Popov.

The 3rd Battalion had to bear the brunt of the retreat from Lao-tso
Shan, since, as had been expected, the mixed companies on the right
flank did not distinguish themselves when it came to fighting.

On July 20 my 2nd Battalion was directed to go to 11th Verst
station[41] to the headquarters of the 4th Division, and there it went
accordingly, under the command of Major Stempnevski (jun.).

When the enemy began his decisive attack on the 26th, I was moved up
with the 1st Battalion, which was then commanded by Major Stempnevski
(sen.), a splendid all-round officer. I arrived with my battalion
in the morning and found all our commanders with the divisional
staff—Generals Stessel, Fock, and Kondratenko. The battle was raging
along the whole line.

As all the positions were divided into sections, and each section had
its commander, I was free to become a spectator of all that was going
on. We went by train to 11th Verst, and had only just got down out
of the carriages, when the 1st Scout Detachment, under Lieutenant
Kostoushko, was ordered to move on Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill, where the
defenders had been decimated by the ceaseless artillery fire.

The 1st Battalion was then moved to the Shipinsin Pass, where, judging
by the artillery fire, a determined attack was in preparation, and only
our 7th and 8th Companies were left with the regimental staff.

General Fock directed the whole defence.

The fighting of July 26 and 27 did not cost us very dearly, except for
severe wounds received by Lieutenant Kostoushko (a wound in the chest,
and a number of other wounds in the left shoulder and side). This
officer had thrown himself, with a part of his scouts, on the enemy,
who had already seized some of our trenches on Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill. This
was on the night of July 27–28.

Towards evening on the 26th, General Stessel had sent a telegram to the
town saying that all the attacks of the Japanese had been unsuccessful
that day.

On the 27th the battle was again renewed along the whole line. Lao-tso
Shan was swept by the fire of very heavy guns—probably 6-inch, judging
from the size of the shell bursts. It was very difficult for our
artillery to cope with these guns, as they were not only very far off,
but also well concealed.

Having nothing to do, I went to my 1st Battalion, which was drawn up as
a reserve on the declivity of the Shipinsin Pass. Scarcely any shells
burst near us; they all went “over,” shattering the rocky sides of a
ravine lying behind.

Our battery on the pass itself was literally swept with Japanese shell,
and there was a continuous roar of musketry fire, under which our men
were, however, perfectly calm, and even joked about the bad shooting of
the Japanese gunners. Though this went on all day, the defence stood
firm the whole time.


p. 73]

However, things went badly for us on Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill. The Japanese
crawled up its abnormally steep sides on to the hill-top itself.
All shelter had been destroyed by artillery fire, and a corner
of a casemate had fallen in and crushed the officer commanding,
Lieutenant-Colonel Goosakov, whose loss every one felt keenly. (It is
opportune to mention here that he was the only staff officer who helped
me to organize the defence of the rearward position which covered our
retreat from Nan Shan.) At this period of the conflict the defenders
concentrated behind stones and ruined trenches, with the enemy only a
few paces from them.

The staff officers shouted out that Yu-pi-la-tzu had to be abandoned,
as its further defence would only cause us enormous losses, because the
trenches no longer gave cover from the effects of Shimose and shrapnel.
Since, however, the majority were against giving up this important
hill, which was such an excellent observation point, the commanders
decided to rebuild the trenches during the night and continue the

At four o’clock in the afternoon our 8th Company was sent to
Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill with as many tools as could be found, to reconstruct
the old, and make new, trenches. Captain Sakarov, late commandant of
Dalny, who built the railway and port there, was put in command.
(After leaving Dalny, this excellent officer decided to leave
the Port Arthur Fortress Sapper Company, which was commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Jerebtsov.) The Japanese met with practically no
success on this day, and we held on to all our positions.

Very early on the morning of the 28th, being awakened by a terrific
cannonade, I got up and went to headquarters, where I found all the
staff officers already up. In order the better to watch the course of
the action, General Stessel, with some of his staff, had gone to the
top of the nearest hill, and thither I repaired also. General Fock
remained with the telephones, keeping all his staff with him (he had
new adjutants; the old ones, Captain Kvitkin and, subsequently, Captain
Yarsevitch, had rejoined their units).

On reaching the top of the hill, a magnificent panorama of the hill
country lay before us. The crest nearest us, which was occupied by
our troops, was completely wreathed with puffs of white smoke. In
some places the smoke spread over an enormous extent and curled high
up into the air. It lay thickest over Lao-tso Shan, for the heaviest
types of shell were constantly bursting there, and the sky was dotted
with little round white clouds from bursting shrapnel. At the same time
the attentive and well-trained ear could distinguish the ceaseless
far-distant roll of rifle fire, due to the rattle of musketry along the
line occupied by us.

Our 1st Battalion had not yet come into action, but was to be seen as a
black spot near a zigzag in the road leading to the Shipinsin Pass.

We stayed about a quarter of an hour on the hill, and then went down
to the telephones (one can follow an action better from near the
telephones, even though they are placed lower down, as in this case).
It is a pity that they did not think of putting them in a place where
it was possible to see the battle with one’s own eyes as well as hear
reports, as, for example, on the top of the hill we had just left.

General Fock met us below, and at once gave General Stessel full
details of all that had taken place. Our men had stood firm everywhere,
except on Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill, where things were going badly with us.
It was a physical impossibility to hold on there, in spite of the new
trenches, on account of the artillery fire concentrated on the hill.
Hence it was decided to abandon Yu-pi-la-tzu, and orders were sent
there accordingly.

When this decision had been arrived at, General Fock said, in his
short, sharp way of speaking: “Well, it is impossible to hold on to
Yu-pi-la-tzu. It would entail too heavy losses. Even if the companies
there left it of their own accord, it would be nothing serious; but to
give up Lao-tso Shan, that would be a disgrace, almost amounting to
treachery.” He had only just said this, when news came that Lao-tso
Shan had been evacuated by the troops holding it. “Now we shall have
to make a general retreat,” said General Fock, and he gave orders to
retire and to take up a new position with the right flank at Ta-ku
Shan—the centre near 11th Verst, and the left on Feng-huang Shan.

In order to give the line cohesion, my left flank (Captain Sakatski’s
detachment) was put at the disposal of the officer commanding the 15th
Regiment. I had to occupy without delay the spur of 174 Metre Hill, as
well as that hill itself and 203 Metre Hill, and also Division Hill
and the crest of Pan-lung Shan lying in front of it. The 5th Regiment
thus filled up the gap between Forts Yi-tzu Shan and Ta-yang-kou North,
which had long ago been prepared by us. The staff, with General Stessel
at its head, collected in the building occupied by the staff of the 4th
Division (a station at 11th Verst) and quietly waited there until the
regiments had taken up their allotted positions.

Notwithstanding the statements of certain war-correspondents, I saw no
signs of any panic or disorder during this retirement. Every one was
perfectly calm, and the army withdrew to its new positions correctly
and without any confusion.

Suddenly there appeared in the valley to our right a Red-Cross train
full of wounded, a sight which always impresses one; there was a long
stream of wagons, accompanied by bearer-company men, doctors, and those
of the wounded who were able to walk. Behind this train appeared a
reserve column. At that depressing moment I remembered how our band had
put new spirit into us during the night alarm near the Nan-kuan-ling
Hills, and felt a desire to repeat the experiment.

So, having obtained permission from General Stessel, I sent for the
band, which was bivouacked near the railway station, and soon the
strains of a stirring march crashed out over those hills, dark with
death and blood. The retreating army formed into columns, and, picking
up the step by the band, swung past General Stessel. This march-past
continued for nearly an hour under the very eyes of the enemy. Our
splendid 3rd Battalion was the last to go past, bearing with it the
body of Captain Kvitkin, General Fock’s former A.D.C. The 5th Regiment
had lost altogether 2 officers and 60 men. They had borne the whole
brunt of the Japanese final attacks, and had covered the retreat of
the other regiments, presenting an impregnable front throughout every

It is obvious from the foregoing details that the retreat from Lao-tso
Shan was made in perfect order.

The following is a description of the action of our companies on
Lao-tso Shan:

The positions occupied[42] by the regiment were as follows:

The detachment of Colonel Dounin, commanding the 3rd Battalion 5th
Regiment, consisting of the 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th, and 12th Companies,
and the 2nd and 3rd Scout Detachments of the 5th Regiment and the 1st
Company of the 27th, was posted before the battle on Lao-tso Shan, and
occupied the section from the valley (near the small hill occupied by
the 11th Company of the 27th Regiment) to a spur 3/4 verst from the
village of Vodymin[43] and touching the foot of Chien Shan.

The various companies occupied the following sections:

1. The 9th Company and 3rd Scout Detachment 5th Regiment, on the right
flank in the valley.

2. Next to these the 2nd Scout Detachment, to the left of the valley
and covering Lieutenant Naoomov’s battery.

3. Farther to the left, the 12th Company 5th Regiment.

4. On the extreme left flank, near Vodymin, the 11th Company 5th
Regiment and, as a reserve, the 1st Company 27th Regiment.

5. The 5th and 6th Companies 5th Regiment formed the general reserve.

On the morning of the 26th the Japanese opened a heavy gun fire on our
positions, followed by a vigorous attack, but they obtained no hold
anywhere that day, as our men held on to their positions and beat them
back at every point.

On the 27th the Japanese repeated their attacks, but had no more
success than on the preceding day, whereupon they proceeded to make a
night attack.

Some companies to the right of Colonel Dounin retreated without firing
a shot, and so hurriedly, that they failed to inform the companies on
either side of them.

The Japanese rushed into the gap thus created, and, working round to
the rear, began to pour a flanking fire into the other companies,
who were ignorant of what had happened, and had remained in their
positions. Taken by surprise, these companies lost their heads in turn
and retreated, also without informing their neighbours. In this manner
the gap grew rapidly until it extended to Colonel Dounin’s troops, when
the following became the position of affairs:

The 9th Company and 3rd Scout Detachment of the 5th Regiment occupied
the valley, being in touch on the right with the 11th Company 27th
Regiment. The 3rd Scout Detachment formed the outpost line, with the
9th in reserve behind it.

About three o’clock[44] on the morning of the 28th the piquet on the
right, which was keeping touch with the 11th Company, reported that a
retreat was in progress on that side.

Captain Koudriavtsev, commanding the 9th Company, sent an orderly to
the hill occupied by the 11th Company to find out what was going on
there. The orderly returned immediately and reported that the 11th
Company had gone, that a small body of Japanese was occupying the
hill, and that reinforcements were coming up to them. At first Captain
Koudriavtsev did not believe this, and wanted to send a more reliable
man, but just at that moment shots rang out from the hill in the
direction of the 9th Company and 3rd Scout Detachment, and Captain
Koudriavtsev’s doubts were dispelled. He consulted with Lieutenant
Choulkov, commanding the 3rd Scout Detachment, and they came to the
conclusion that it would be unreasonable to try and hold the position
and defend the valley with the Japanese on the hill above. They
therefore determined to go up with the 9th Company before daybreak,
while there were not many Japanese on the hill, retake it, and, having
got possession of it, re-establish communication with the troops on the
right, and thus fill in the gap that had been left in the line. Arrived
at this decision, Captain Koudriavtsev arranged with Lieutenant
Choulkov that they should support each other, and if either had to
retreat, he would immediately inform the other, and, in order to avoid
misunderstandings, written messages only were to be accepted. Captain
Koudriavtsev then told Lieutenant Choulkov to remain in his present
position with the 3rd Scout Detachment and await his orders, while he
himself, with half the 9th Company, started to make the attack, the
other half of the 9th Company being left meanwhile under Acting Ensign
Shishkin with orders to follow him as a reserve.

In spite of the terrible fire with which the Japanese met the attackers
Captain Koudriavtsev with his half-company reached the trenches, and
with a wild “hurrah” rushed in with the bayonet. The blow fell partly
on the Japanese flank. A hand-to-hand fight ensued. Unfortunately,
Captain Koudriavtsev was killed, and Sergeant-Major Evlanov wounded
as he was mounting the hill; many of the men also were placed _hors
de combat_, and the remainder, not feeling themselves strong enough
to overpower the enemy, began to retreat, carrying with them the body
of their dead captain. In the darkness our men did not retreat back
along the line of their advance, nor towards the 3rd Scout Detachment
and the reserve, but in the direction in which the other companies had
retreated previously. The reserve half of the 9th Company, not knowing
what had happened, but guessing from the direction of the firing and
the noise of moving men that the 1st half-company had retired, and
being met, moreover, by a heavy rifle fire themselves, began to
retreat in the same direction. Acting Ensign Shishkin, unfortunately,
did not think of telling Lieutenant Choulkov what had happened, and the
latter awaited word from Captain Koudriavtsev, as had been arranged. In
this way twenty minutes or half an hour passed. Then, as day broke, the
Japanese fire from the hill became still heavier and more vicious.

Lieutenant Choulkov learnt of the failure of the 9th Company from some
of the rank and file who had got left behind in the retreat, and who
stumbled upon the 3rd Scout Detachment in the darkness. Fully alive to
the danger of being surrounded, he ordered the outposts to come in,
and sent word of the position of affairs to a company extended to his
left. Fearing for the fate of the machine guns, which were behind him,
Lieutenant Choulkov sent one section to them as escort, but the guns
were gone. As soon as the outpost line had come in, Lieutenant Choulkov
began to retreat with his command in a compact body, and soon joined
up with the reserve, behind which Colonel Dounin concentrated the
retreating troops and brought them into a state of order.

The reserve was in the valley, and, hearing of the retreat of the
companies to his right, Colonel Dounin ordered what reserves he had
to occupy a neighbouring hill on the right, in order to hold up the
enemy’s advance while he formed a new defensive line from the village
of Vodymin across Riji Hill,[45] through Lieutenant Naoomov’s battery
of 57-mm. guns, and farther on to some unnamed hills. Thanks to Colonel
Dounin’s dispositions, and to the courage of the officers of the
detachment, they succeeded in forming the new defensive line at the
point mentioned, and in cooling the ardour of the Japanese in their
fiery advance.

A short time afterwards the order to retreat was received from General

While Colonel Dounin was giving the necessary orders, another order
came in from General Fock to retire on Height No. 86.[46]

Colonel Dounin retreated in splendid order, in some cases personally
conducting the skirmishing line, and, covering one company with
another, occupied the positions ordered by General Fock—namely,
Height No. 86, next a position near the village of Hou-chia-tun, then
Saidjashalin,[47] and finally 11th Verst. Having covered the retreat of
parts of the 13th, 14th, and other regiments, the companies themselves
passed behind Feng-huang Shan.

The whole of the force, and especially the officers, acted in a manner
worthy of the highest praise. In holding back the victorious Japanese,
all the companies displayed remarkable bravery; for instance, the 11th
Company of the 5th Regiment with the 1st Company of the 27th Regiment
held Vodymin for two-and-a-half hours, though surrounded on three
sides. Nevertheless, they broke their way through, taking with them a
machine gun that had been left on the road and three wounded men of
the 26th Regiment. The 6th Company, which held back the Japanese with
rapid fire in order to allow its comrades to get away, continued to
hold its ground under a heavy cross-fire from rifles and guns, and,
amongst others, lost its gallant commander, Lieutenant Popov, who set
an example of unparalleled bravery to the whole of his company.

After the evacuation of Lao-tso Shan the army took up the new positions
assigned to it, and we remained near the station (11th Verst—the
headquarters of the 4th Division) and prepared to cook our breakfasts.

But suddenly a bullet whistled past, followed by another, and this
reminded us that no one was covering our rear. The staff got into
some confusion, wagons were hastily horsed, and two companies (I do
not remember which regiment they belonged to) were ordered to move in
the direction of the enemy and hold him back. These companies quickly
occupied a height close by, covering the staff from the enemy, and the
firing became general. The whistling of bullets became more frequent,
and the horsing of the wagons of the staff was hurried on. We saw that
it was useless to try to breakfast in such an unpleasant place, and the
staff, with fifty Cossacks and accompanied by General Stessel, began
to move into the fortress, stopping every now and then to see what was
going on in front. I rode off to 174 Metre Hill, and on the way climbed
a fairly high eminence to see what was happening in rear. I found our
own battery there placed in some well-constructed trenches, and the
guns directing their fire on the station at 11th Verst. Everything
was soon put in order, and nothing further happened to prevent our
men occupying their new positions, on which could already be seen the
rising smoke of the field kitchens.

Towards the evening of July 29 the 5th Regiment had settled down in
its new positions, had supper, and turned in for the night, except the
outposts, whom I had sent out far in front in the direction of the
enemy. (I always did this, even when our own troops were in front of
us, as on this occasion.) I placed my staff on Division Hill, and built
an office, and a mess-room for the officers.

The situation was a very picturesque one. In front were the ridges of
Division Hill, with two neighbouring eminences, all crowned with our
trenches, to the left wooded slopes, and towards Fort Yi-tzu Shan a
small but glistening stream, with banks covered with slender, waving
grasses. (See Map IV.)


Map No. 2.

London: Hugh Rees, Ltd.

_Stanford’s Geogl. Estabt., London._]


[32] See Maps II. and VI.

[33] 1 pood = 38 lb.

[34] The inhabitants of Dalny received the news of the battle of Nan
Shan on the evening of the 26th, and were ordered to proceed to Port
Arthur at eleven that night (see Official History, Part III., p. 12).

[35] That between Triple Peak and An-tzu Ling (see Map VI.).

[36] Better known as Orphan Hill; shown on British official maps as
Kan-ta Shan, that being its Chinese name.

[37] Called by the Russians the Green Hills.

[38] Known by the Russians as the Wolf Hills.

[39] The Russian name is Bokovi (Side) Hill.

[40] Near Lieh-shu-fang.

[41] As its name implies, the station 11 versts from Port Arthur.

[42] Our Official History states that only three companies of the 5th
Regiment were allotted to this section, but adds later that the 5th and
6th Companies were brought up and absorbed in the fighting line. They
are here given as being in reserve.

[43] A village 1-1/2 miles north-east of Hou-chia-tun.

[44] Ta-po Shan had actually been captured by the Japanese the previous
evening about ten o’clock, two counter-attacks afterwards failing.

[45] Not to be confused with a hill of the same name on the Western
Front of the Port Arthur defences.

[46] Probably a hill between Vodymin and Hou-chia-tun.

[47] A village midway between Vodymin and 11th Verst station.

                              CHAPTER IV

Retreat from Feng-huang Shan, July 30—Fortifying 174 Metre
  Hill—Capture of Kan-ta Shan—Attacks on the advanced hills,
  August 13, 14, and 15—Retreat to Namako Yama and Division

Early on the morning of July 31, I learnt that our men on Feng-huang
Shan had hurriedly retreated into the fortress without offering any
serious resistance to the enemy. This was extremely unwelcome news, for
now we should have to come into direct touch with the enemy round the
fortress itself.

Major Saratski’s force had to occupy the crest of Pan-lung Shan from
Headquarter Hill to the redoubts of the 26th Regiment near Fort Yi-tzu
Shan. As this detachment proved insufficient for the defence of this
section, I sent up our 11th and 12th Companies, with some volunteers
from our non-combatant company under Sergeant-Major Bashchenko.[48] I
posted Midshipman Doudkin’s four small naval guns there, and disposed
the remainder of the regiment as follows: on 203 Metre Hill the 2nd
and 4th Companies, on 174 Metre Hill the 5th and 9th Companies, and
on Height 426 the 2nd Scout Detachment, with the 3rd Detachment in an
advanced position; on Division Hill the two Q.F. batteries of Colonels
Petrov and Romanovski (which had arrived from Kiev) were posted with
our 5th, 6th, and 7th Companies; on Headquarter Hill the 1st Scout
Detachment. The remaining companies were in reserve.

Since, however, the line occupied exceeded 6 versts in length, we had
all too few men for such a wide extent of front.

I now return to our retreat from Feng-huang Shan.

The hill and the position near 11th Verst, like that on Ta-ku Shan, had
been very weakly fortified by us. I was well acquainted with the works
on Feng-huang Shan and those in continuation towards the right flank,
having gained this knowledge during, and before, the fighting on the
“Position of the Passes.”

These fortifications consisted of deep trenches with hardly any
parapet, placed at the very foot of the hills which lay behind them,
in accordance with General Fock’s system. Right close up to the
trenches grew high _kao-liang_,[49] which completely blocked the
field of view from the trenches, and, like the plan of the trenches
themselves, the positions selected for them afforded an example of
the blind application of a principle[50] in itself sound enough. The
man responsible for the defence of the right flank of Feng-huang Shan
unhappily failed to apply this principle correctly.

In his anxiety to adhere to the principle of a flat trajectory he
entirely lost sight of the fact that every small mound, if only two
or three feet high, presents an impenetrable barrier to a low-flying
bullet. He also quite forgot that the slope of the hill of itself
affords an obstacle difficult to surmount; and he, moreover, ignored
the difficulties of an eventual retreat from the trenches up the side
of the hill, sometimes a very steep one, as was the case at Feng-huang

So the trenches on the right flank of Feng-huang Shan were placed at
the foot of its northern side. In front of them grew _kao-liang_ to the
height of 5 feet. The regiments occupying this position were disposed
throughout the trenches in question.

One of the officers of the 13th Regiment described what happened thus:

“Having retreated from the Shipinsin Pass, the regiment occupied
part of the trenches on Feng-huang Shan, and began to cut down the
_kao-liang_, but only had time to destroy a belt of about 50 yards
of it in front of the trenches. They had supper and spent the night
comparatively quietly. Very early in the morning there was a stir among
the _kao-liang_, and before the men had time to seize their rifles,
the Japanese were 20 paces from the trenches. Our troops, spread out
over a wide front, were unable to withstand the rush of the Japanese
columns and retreated up the hill and beyond. There were no trenches on
the top of the hill. Seeing the retreat of the troops in the centre and
the Japanese in possession of their trenches, the other regiments also
began to retire on thus finding their flanks exposed. Thanks to our
artillery, the Japanese were prevented from advancing any farther and
stopped behind the hills which they had occupied. Only Ta-ku Shan and
Hsiao-ku Shan[51] were left in our hands.”

Another officer of the 13th Regiment gave the following description of
the fight:

“After the battle round Lao-tso Shan our men had to occupy another
position, of which the left flank was Feng-huang Shan. The 13th
Regiment occupied the section from the Great Mandarin road to 11th
Verst on the railway. We had the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and
8th Companies in the first line, and the 9th, 11th, and 12th in the
reserve, the 10th Company forming the artillery escort. The whole of
the 14th Regiment was in reserve behind the 13th. The position occupied
by us was fortified according to General Fock’s system, _i.e._ the
trenches were dug at the very foot of the hill, so that they afforded
but a very poor field of fire, and the Japanese could take advantage
of cover behind every clump or mound on the ground in front. Besides
this, in front of the trenches was _kao-liang_ of such a height that
the whole of the foreground was completely hidden from our men sitting
in the trenches. We did all we could to destroy this vile stuff, but we
had no time to cut it down for more than 50 paces from the trenches,
and in some places to even a less extent.

“Colonel Prince Machabeli, commanding the left, considering that his
reserve was too weak, decided to strengthen it by one company, and
despatched accordingly the following order to the firing line: ‘Send
back one of the companies from the position to the reserve.’[52]
Captain R—— received this order. On either side of him was Major
G——, commanding the 2nd Company, and Lieutenant L——, commanding the
3rd Company. Captain R—— decided that he would join the reserve.
Unfortunately, Lieutenant L—— came to the same conclusion, so they both
went back to the reserve. It is not known what Major G—— decided to do,
but he also disappeared somewhere.

“The Japanese saw these companies going away, and, springing up to the
attack, hurled themselves into the gap without firing a shot, the high
_kao-liang_ allowing them to come right up to our trenches unobserved.
Having gained this unoccupied point, they worked round to the flank,
and even the rear, of the other companies, and poured in a murderous
fire. The 4th Company hurriedly evacuated its position, but the 1st and
5th held on for some time. At last, the 1st Company having lost 101 men
and the 5th 105, they began to retire, and, following them, all the
other companies climbed up the hill under a hail of bullets from the
Japanese now occupying our trenches. There were no trenches at the top
of the hill, so our men went on into the town. Colonel Machabeli was
held responsible, and was removed from the command of the regiment in

This gallant field officer was afterwards killed on the West Pan-lung
Redoubt under the following circumstances. The Japanese attacked the
redoubt and took the front glacis. Our men were lodged in the rear.
Colonel Machabeli stopped those who were retreating and, having
inspired them with a fiery speech, rushed forward, calling on his men
to follow him. Another moment and the Japanese were driven out of the

After this exploit Colonel Machabeli went back to the rear face of the
redoubt, and had only just sat down to get his breath, when one of the
men ran up and reported that the Japanese had again captured the front
glacis. Once again Colonel Machabeli collected his men round him and
threw himself on the Japanese, but just as he was jumping across the
inner ditch a bullet struck him. Our men hesitated, wavered, and then
evacuated the whole redoubt, which remained from that time, together
with the body of the gallant colonel, in the hands of the Japanese.

             *       *       *       *       *

After the capture of Feng-huang Shan the Japanese took a rest, being
contented with reconnaissance work only; while, in the meantime, we
strengthened our positions, built kitchens, and made communication
trenches between the fortifications.

The companies bivouacked in places screened from the enemy’s view.
Luckily we had a good deal of rain, which gave us water in abundance.
The soldiers dug out ponds near their bivouacs, and not only washed
their clothes, but even indulged in the luxury of bathing.

Our scout detachments fared worst of all in this respect, for they were
far out in front, and had no water.

We were much delayed in our work by the rocky nature of the soil and
the want of tools, especially picks, good axes, and shovels, of which
implements we needed a very large number. There was a sufficient
quantity of wood in the town, but we required an enormous amount of it
on the position itself.


p. 91]

We had to make provision for dug-outs at the rate of 50 per cent.
for each company for the winter, besides kitchens and baths for the
battalions, and shelters for the officers. Supplies of wood were
brought up on our baggage animals to all points on the position, but
there was scarcely a sufficiency for all the needs of the companies.
We worked day and night for a long time, dividing our men into three
reliefs; nevertheless, our trenches were far from being completed.

Besides the enormous amount of spade work we had to do, we were
handicapped by having to furnish a very strong outpost line.

We had no fortifications on 174 Metre Hill capable of resisting a
direct attack, and a night attack might always be crowned with success,
so that our men did not get much sleep. I very much feared night
attacks, and so determined to strengthen our trenches by building
redoubts. We had, however, as already stated, but few tools and little
time, and there was so much work to be done, that it was absolutely
impossible to prepare for every contingency.

The enemy was at close quarters and could attack at any moment. We had
thus to watch his every movement, the more so, as we had no definite
line of obstacles barring the way to the fortress, and even a slight
advantage gained at night might give the enemy an open road into the
New Town and, perhaps, even farther. For this reason I felt extremely

Throughout the siege a third of the regiment was always on the alert.

This would not have been necessary if we had had a better line of
defences and obstacles, or at least twice as many forts as we actually
did have. There would have been no moral and physical wastage, and
scurvy would not have hampered the defence of Port Arthur.

Although our own primary object was the fortification of 174 Metre
Hill, we could not do very much work on the positions during our stay
in Port Arthur, being constantly sent to the reserves stationed at
Ying-cheng-tzu,[53] or to the right flank, or to the centre near the

We began to work seriously at the fortifications only from the moment
of the general retreat into Port Arthur, but even then we were sadly
handicapped by the want of tools. It was lucky that the enemy did not
worry us much, but turned his attention mainly to the right and centre.

The first shell fell into the town on Sunday, August 7.

On the 8th, the Japanese captured Ta-ku Shan and Hsiao-ku Shan. A
number of the assaults were beaten back by the troops holding the
hills, who fought day and night several days running. But there is a
limit to human strength. On the third night the Japanese captured the
hills, finding most of the defenders asleep. I was told this afterwards
by men who had taken part in the defence.[54]

After the capture of Ta-ku Shan we noticed (from the observing
stations we had organized) signs of a Japanese concentration near
Louisa Bay. With a view to obtaining better observations, I was ordered
to occupy Kan-ta Shan with a section under an officer. A ring trench
had been made on this hill (I do not know who constructed it), but
_kao-liang_ surrounded the hill, and its defence was therefore a very
difficult matter, as it was possible to get close up to the top under
cover of the millet. Besides this, Kan-ta Shan was nearer to the enemy
than to us, and was, moreover, in front of Colonel Semenov’s section,
and not mine. Steeling my heart, however, I sent a section there under
Acting Ensign Shishkin. This section could easily be cut off and
destroyed, for which reason I posted at night a strong piquet behind
Kan-ta Shan for its support. From the moment we occupied this hill we
had nightly skirmishes with the Japanese.

The enemy began to press us on all sides until, on August 10, they
captured Kan-ta Shan by a night attack, but abandoned it in the day,
when we again took possession—only for a day, however, for the Japanese
recaptured the hill on the following night, and this time fortified
themselves strongly on it.

             *       *       *       *       *

However much we longed to see our fleet cruising on the flanks of the
enemy’s line of investment, our desire remained unsatisfied, for the
ships did not dare to leave the harbour,[55] the enemy’s fleet being
vastly superior, both in the number of ships, and in their quality.

We now had the pleasure of seeing five large Japanese battleships
appearing every day on the horizon before Port Arthur.

On August 11, 12, and 13 we saw considerable signs of movement on the
enemy’s part in the direction of our left flank. Trains of baggage and
bodies of troops were on the move. They carried out their manœuvre very
cleverly, making full use of all the cover afforded by the unevenness
of the ground. However, they showed themselves occasionally to our
observers posted on the hills, and at night our sentries, who were
posted far out in front, could plainly detect the sounds of moving
wagons and marching men.

It was evident that the enemy was preparing to attack 174 Metre Hill.
In view of this contingency we were reinforced by two companies of
young sailors under the command of two of our officers, Lieutenants
Afanaisev and Siedelnitski.

In order to prevent the enemy from breaking through between Height 426
and Headquarter Hill, I ordered the sailors to make a trench connecting
Height 426 with the fortifications on Headquarter Hill.

Two companies of the 14th Reserve Battalion were sent up to strengthen
our reserve. I placed Major Ivanov in command of the firing line. The
reserve was posted near the bivouacs of the regimental staff of the 5th
Regiment, behind Division Hill.

In view of the fact that Peredovaya (Advanced) Hill[56] was very
far in front, and held only as an observation post by the 3rd Scout
Detachment, this detachment had orders, in case of a very determined
attack, or a turning of its flanks, to retire to Headquarter Hill,
where a position had been prepared for it.

I was very much afraid that the Japanese would take advantage of their
superiority in numbers, make a night attack, and capture our weak
trenches, the more so, as we had prepared practically no obstacles,
not having had time to do so. We had only succeeded in putting up
wire entanglements across the front of the trenches on Height 426 and
Headquarter Hill.

We had been supplied with some star-rockets for use at night, and
batteries for these had been stationed on Division, 203 Metre, and 174
Metre Hills.

Events turned out as I had expected. On the night of August 13–14 (I
do not remember at what time exactly) a mounted orderly reported that
large bodies of the enemy were moving up the road to Headquarter Hill,
and a few minutes afterwards I heard heavy firing near Advanced Hill.

I got up and went with my orderlies to Division Hill, to the reserve,
finding every one at his post.

A report was now brought in that all our scout detachments had been
driven back on to 174 Metre Hill and had occupied a line extending from
that hill in the direction of Pigeon Bay.

A terrific fire broke out and spread along the whole front. Our
star-rockets hissed, speeding high into the air, and their brilliant
light showed the whole ground in front.

Another orderly galloped up with a report from the commander of the
1st Scout Detachment to the effect that the 3rd Scout Detachment had
evacuated Advanced Hill and joined him, and that in conjunction, thanks
to the star-rockets, they had beaten back the Japanese, who had fallen
foul of the wire entanglement on the right flank of Headquarter Hill.
The enemy’s losses had been very heavy.

I at once sent a report of what had occurred to Colonel Irman,[57] but
he himself came up to Division Hill shortly afterwards.

Rain began to fall and soaked us to the skin. At daybreak the firing
somewhat slackened, but shortly afterwards the enemy’s artillery
re-opened, causing heavy losses to our companies.

Rifle and gun fire continued all day from both sides. The enemy swept
174 Metre and Division Hills with his guns, while our own artillery
in turn swept the plains below, as the enemy offered no good target

Having suffered considerably from our rifle fire, the enemy lay low
and did not attempt to make a general assault. A Japanese column had
worked round our left flank and essayed to attack Height 426, but the
hostile troops were held up by the wire entanglements and were entirely
annihilated by our 2nd Scout Detachment, which had been strengthened by
two sections of the 3rd Company from 174 Metre Hill.

We suffered severely from the enemy’s artillery fire.

Thus passed the whole of that day (August 14). The two batteries of
Colonel Petrov and Colonel Romanovski, posted on Division Hill, sought
in vain for targets, but the enemy kept under cover with remarkable

There were constant alarms during the following night, and firing
continued without ceasing. The enemy again attacked our trenches, but
retreated after losing heavily. In order to be ready to beat back a
night attack, we had moved the reserve nearer to the firing line.
Knowing every inch of the ground, at about 10 p.m. I started off with
Colonel Irman and two companies towards Headquarter Hill. There was
fairly heavy firing in front of us.

We went on full of assurance, but in the darkness we lost the road. We
took our bearings by the features of well-known hills, yet these same
hills seemed now to be quite different from those we knew so well by
day, and the sound of shots rang out from all sides more loudly the
farther we advanced.

Now we must have reached Headquarter Hill—but no! it was not there. The
firing was soon heard, not only in front and from the flanks, but also
far in rear. We found ourselves in a very unpleasant position. “Do you
think we have gone beyond our firing line?” I said to Colonel Irman.
He answered that he had not the faintest idea where he was. Then I
proposed that we should halt and send out scouts.

What if we were taken for Japanese by our own people and met by a
volley! That would be awkward indeed. So we halted and had a good look
round, but the place was absolutely unfamiliar. Still, firing was
going on all around. It was the most stupid position I have ever been
in. “Let us turn back, Vladimir Nicholaievitch,” I said to Colonel
Irman; “we shall certainly reach some place that we can recognize, and
then we shall be all right.”

Colonel Irman agreed, and we turned “right-about.” Some time passed,
and at last we made out the silhouette of Namako Yama, and once more
breathed freely.

We decided to leave the reserve behind the slopes of 174 Metre Hill,
where the men lay down under arms on a ploughed field. Major Ivanov
came up to us, and we gave the reserve into his charge, we ourselves
starting off for Division Hill to try to get a little sleep.

It had only just begun to grow light, when I was inundated with reports
from the hills attacked, the Japanese having continued their various
attacks all night. They had come up to the wire entanglements, but,
failing everywhere to get through, they slipped away again in the
darkness. Our star-rockets did sterling service throughout.

The dawn had not fully broken before the enemy’s artillery thundered
forth. I came out of the dug-out of the commander of the 6th Company,
and began to observe over the top of the breastwork. Our three hills
were wreathed in smoke from the enemy’s high-explosive and shrapnel
shells, and looked like veritable volcanoes in eruption. Though our men
had sufficient cover from shrapnel, the high-explosive shells, filled
with Shimose, caused fearful havoc.

A stream of wounded, on foot and in stretchers, was moving along the
road from the hills. It was evident that the enemy was determined to
drive us off Advanced Hill, and our position was a serious one. I
consequently sent a report to that effect.

A message came in from Headquarter Hill asking for reinforcements, and,
pending the arrival of the reserves, I sent one section of the 6th
Company out of the trenches. General Kondratenko saw that here was no
child’s play, and sent us two additional companies—the 2nd (Rotaiski’s)
and the 3rd (Levitski’s) of the 13th Regiment.

It was a difficult thing to hold on to Advanced Hill, as it had been
the last to be fortified. The depth of the trenches was normal, but
their finish left much to be desired. We had made shrapnel-proof
head-cover, but had had no time to trace traverses or make cover for
the reserves, so that our men suffered severely from the enemy’s shell
fire, which was very heavy.

Before seven o’clock on the morning of August 15 all three hills
had sent in requests for reinforcements, in compliance with which I
immediately sent forward the two companies of the 13th Regiment, as
I saw companies of other regiments coming to our assistance. General
Kondratenko arrived on the scene at about 8 a.m. Having explained how
matters stood, I drew his attention to the dangerous position of our
present observation post. Bullets were whistling around us from all

At this time Colonel Petrov’s and Colonel Romanovski’s batteries,
stationed on Division Hill, prepared to open fire, although they had
little hope of success, as the enemy’s batteries were not visible and
his infantry was attacking from points which were only within reach
of the batteries far away behind Fort Yi-tzu Shan. The consequence
was that our men had to fight the Japanese infantry under a murderous
artillery fire without the support of their own guns.

The situation was an impossible one, as it had been at Nan Shan.

About 11 a.m. Colonel Irman rode up. Reinforcements arrived also. The
enemy’s gun fire was so terrific at this time, that I wondered how
our men could continue to make any defence. But they were putting
up a gallant fight, for we could see how they dashed out of their
trenches, now to the right, now to the left, how the reserves posted
in rear of the hills reinforced the men in the trenches, and how they
again charged out of the trenches and then retired behind their scanty
cover. The majority of our officers were wounded and officers of other
units took command, but, judging from the enormous losses of the 5th
Regiment, one could not help feeling that there were but few left in
the trenches at all.

Major Ivanov had used all his reserves, and sent in asking for more.
Reports were received from every quarter stating that the trenches
had been absolutely wrecked by the enemy’s shells, and that it was
impossible to hold on under such artillery fire. The fire was indeed
terrific, and General Kondratenko felt inclined to order a retreat;
but I sent up two more companies to the left flank, one of them (a
company of the Reserve Battalion) to the reserve behind the left flank,
as the enemy was devoting his main energy towards that side. And now,
at midday, it seemed as if the Japanese had concentrated the whole
of their artillery, not only to utterly destroy the defenders, but to
level the very hills themselves.

Our guns were still inactive, being unable to locate the positions
of the enemy’s batteries. As I have mentioned before, however, two
batteries standing near us were preparing to open fire. This drew the
enemy’s attention, and he began to pour a stream of shell upon us as
well as bullets. One of them burst close to Major Schiller, and killed
him outright, and also wounded Colonel Petrov, the battery commander.
The former was struck by a large splinter in the left breast and the
latter in the left eye (he died the following day in hospital).

A little before this we saw unmistakable signs of a speedy retirement.

In order not to be taken at a disadvantage, I had arranged for a second
line of defence (174 Metre Hill, Namako Yama, and Division Hill).
When I had done this, and inspected our trenches with Captain Sichev,
commanding the 6th Company, I noticed that the enemy’s rifle fire was
especially directed on our trenches on Division Hill. We had not long
to wait for confirmation of this fact (if it were needed), for Captain
Sichev was wounded in the leg—luckily, not seriously, as the bullet did
not touch the bone.

Having completed my round, I returned to General Kondratenko, and saw
that our men were streaming away from Headquarter Hill, like powder
spilling out of a barrel, and shortly afterwards from Height 426 also.
An exclamation of annoyance escaped the general. “See! surely it is
easier for them there than it is on Height 426. What are they running
for? They _must_ be stopped!” Colonel Irman, who was standing near,
took the general’s words as an order and hurried off to carry it out,
taking Captain Iolshin of the general staff with him.[58]

“And you, Nicholai Alexandrovitch,” said General Kondratenko, turning
to me, “take a company, and attack their left flank when they come
down the hill in pursuit.” There was a company waiting not far behind
us, and I should very soon have carried out the order given me, but
I had scarcely gone half a verst with the company, when a mounted
orderly galloped up and gave me an order to return immediately to
General Kondratenko and hand over the command to Lieutenant-Colonel
Naoomenko, who was close to me at the time. When I again reached
Division Hill, I saw our army in full retreat from the three advanced
hills. On the crest of the hills that had been occupied by us (Height
426, Headquarter Hill, and Advanced Hill) appeared lines of the enemy’s
skirmishers. Our men retreated without haste, returning the enemy’s
fire, but strewing the ground they were passing over with bodies.
Three mounted men were seen galloping along the retreating line; they
were Colonel Irman, Captain Iolshin, and Colonel Zoobov, the latter
commanding the 4th Reserve Battalion. But their efforts were in vain
and the retreat continued without check.

When Colonel Irman returned, he reported that he had been unable to
stop the retreating line, and the only men who paid any attention to
him were a few scouts of the 5th Regiment and the 1st Company of the
reserve battalion under Lieutenant Sadykov, whom he recommended for a
St. George’s Cross.

I consider it my duty to state here that Major Ivanov acted in the most
heroic manner during the battle. When the 6th Company refused to go up
Headquarter Hill to the help of their comrades, Major Ivanov said to
the men: “If you don’t come with me I shall lie down here to be shot”;
and, running out on to an open space that was swept by bullets, he
lay down on the ground. Then the commander of the company rushed up
with his men, lifted him up, and said that the company would follow
him wherever he liked to lead them. However, on reaching the hill,
they found that it had been evacuated and was now strongly held by the
Japanese. Major Ivanov then took the company back to Division Hill.

General Kondratenko ordered me to stop the retreat and to form a
reserve for our subsequent defensive line, and I set out to do my best.
When the Japanese appeared on Height 426 and Headquarter Hill, our
artillery swept these heights with shrapnel, and cleared the summits of
yellow-peaked caps in a moment.

This was timely relief, as the Japanese began to bring a flanking
fire to bear from the trenches on Headquarter Hill on the lines at
Pan-lung Shan, and our 11th Company suffered severely from this fire.
Things were already going badly at Pan-lung Shan, and it was of vital
importance to know what was to be done next. To decide this, General
Kondratenko summoned all the commanders to come to Division Hill. I
also went there the moment I had formed my reserves and posted them in
a safe place.

Colonel Irman, Colonel Zoobov, and others were already there. The noise
of battle had become less, and for the moment the Japanese showed no
signs of advancing any farther.

Our artillery ceased firing, as its targets had disappeared over the
top of the hills and taken cover in the _kao-liang_. This was about 2

Before undertaking anything further it was decided to make an
inspection of the positions behind us on Pan-lung Shan, which
General Kondratenko ordered Colonel Naoomenko and myself to do. We
immediately went to Pan-lung Shan, from which our 11th Company, under
Second-Lieutenant Lobyrev, had already retreated. I asked: “Who ordered
you to retreat?” and he answered: “Major Katishev [commanding the 11th
Company; he had been wounded in the arm and had been taken to the field
hospital]. He told us to retreat, as it was impossible to remain in the
trenches, for Headquarter Hill was in the hands of the Japanese.” On
hearing this, I said: “You are never to retreat without orders from a
senior commander. Go back again!”

Second-Lieutenant Lobyrev, a quiet, brave fellow, answered: “It is all
the same to us—we will go back”; then, turning quickly to his men, he
shouted out: “Company, about turn, to the old position—march!” and the
company turned round and reoccupied its trenches.

Having made an inspection of these trenches, we came to the conclusion
that it was, indeed, impossible to remain in them, as their left flank
rested on Headquarter Hill and there was hardly any cover from fire
from that side.

We informed General Kondratenko of the result of our inspection, and he
decided to evacuate Pan-lung Shan entirely as far as the redoubts on
the right flank of Division Hill. This was done at about 7 p.m.

Between Pan-lung Shan and Division Hill there was a position favourable
for defence, and I had already had some work done on it and commenced
the construction of a large lunette. We should have occupied this
position with the companies which retreated from Pan-lung Shan, but as
we had no tools for completing the works we had to abandon the idea of
holding it, and all the companies were taken from Pan-lung Shan and
placed in reserve behind Division Hill and Namako Yama. The three scout
detachments were posted between 203 Metre Hill and Fort Ta-yang-kou
North, where they could get some rest.

I will now give a detailed account of the fighting on each of the hills


About 10 p.m. on August 13 the outposts were driven back by the enemy
on to their supports. The 1st Scout Detachment was surrounded, but
fought its way through at the point of the bayonet, bringing along two
badly wounded men and two Japanese rifles.

At eleven o’clock the Japanese attacked Advanced Hill, which was
held by one section (the 3rd) of the 3rd Infantry Scout Detachment,
consisting of 36 men. Favoured by darkness, the enemy completely
surrounded the hill on all sides. The non-commissioned officer in
charge, Nazarov, seeing that there was no escape, attacked the enemy,
and at this moment a star-rocket burst, and by its light the men on
Headquarter Hill saw the Japanese, and at once poured a hail of bullets
into them, thus enabling Nazarov to fight his way back to Headquarter

Having taken Advanced Hill, the Japanese climbed up Headquarter Hill,
but were beaten back with heavy losses. Half an hour later they raised
the cry of “Banzai!” and again stormed our trenches from the right
flank, but in doing so they fell foul of the wire entanglements and
were nearly all wiped out.

About 2 a.m. the enemy repeated the attack in great force; but only
a few reached the trenches, where they were bayoneted by our men. In
this attack the darkness greatly assisted the enemy, as the supply of
rockets being exhausted, no more could be sent up.

Towards morning on August 14, covered by fog and rain, the enemy
tried to overwhelm our scouts, but without success. In this attack
Acting Ensign Zakrejevski was wounded, the sergeant-major of the 1st
Detachment killed, and several scouts wounded.

I must mention a very fine piece of work on the part of Corporal
Vagin of the 3rd Scout Detachment. Entirely on his own initiative, he
occupied with his section a hill that had been left unfortified, and
by enfilade fire afforded great relief from pressure on Headquarter
Hill and Height 426, whilst at the same time beating back the Japanese
attacking his own party.

All the non-commissioned officers acted like true heroes, and one of
them, Lance-Corporal Khaidoulin (a Tartar) of the 1st Scout Detachment,
seeing that the men of his section had expended all their ammunition
during the third attack, jumped up out of the trench and shouted out,
“Let us die, lads, for the Czar and our Faith!” and prepared for a
bayonet charge. Just at that moment ammunition was brought up, and the
Japanese were driven off by rifle fire.

In the morning it was seen that the Japanese had captured Advanced
Hill, Kan-ta Shan, and a small hill in front of the 12th Company at
Pan-lung Shan, from which they opened rifle fire, but the Baranovski
guns on Height 426 drove them under cover.

On account of sickness (dysentery) Lieutenant Choulkov had been sent to
hospital, and Acting Ensign Elechevski was sent to take his place.

On the night of August 14 the supply of ammunition began to run short
and firing was stopped. Thinking that we had abandoned the trenches,
the enemy tried to capture them. He was met at the very edge of the
trenches by some volleys which almost annihilated him, only one
officer and five men, who had hidden behind some stones, being left.
At daybreak Sergeant Zmoushko, noticing that the men behind the stones
were not dead, began to watch, and as soon as the officer showed his
head, he shot him. Seeing their officer killed, the soldiers ran back,
but were all shot down.

The ground in front of the trenches was strewn with the bodies of
the Japanese. In the morning (August 15) the men of the 1st Scout
Detachment left the trenches in order to clean their rifles, which had
become choked from continual firing, and their place was being taken
by a company of the 4th Reserve Battalion; at this moment, however,
the trenches were swept by such a terrible fire that the new arrivals
gave way and began to retreat. The men of the Scout Detachment rushed
up towards the trenches, but, being unable to stem the retreat, they
themselves retired behind the slopes of the hills lying in rear, and
thence (when Headquarter Hill had been occupied by the Japanese) to
Division Hill.

Colonel Irman galloped up to the retreating men and compelled them to
turn back; but the Japanese opened such a deadly fire from the machine
guns and rifles, that again they turned their backs. At this time our
field artillery swept the captured hills with shrapnel, upon which the
Japanese took cover, and ceased firing on the retreating columns.

I consider it my duty here to mention the names of two of our heroes.
When our men were stopped by Colonel Irman, they suffered such heavy
losses that they again began to retreat, except two men of the 5th
Regiment, Corporal Trusov and Private Molchanov, who got right into the
Japanese trenches; but finding that they were only two, while the enemy
filled the trench, they beat a retreat—not, however, before Molchanov
had killed a Japanese officer. They were both wounded slightly on their
way back, but nevertheless remained in the ranks.

                 ON BOKOVY HILL (SIDE HILL)[60]

At 10 p.m. on August 13, the sentries on Height 426 reported that
four columns, each two companies strong, were advancing on the hill.
Second-Lieutenant Andreiev immediately sent some sentries out to the
wire entanglement to give him warning when the enemy had descended the
opposite slope and reached the wires.

At eleven o’clock the sentries reported that the Japanese were close at
hand. Volley firing was immediately opened, and Midshipman Doudkin’s
small guns also commenced firing, upon which the Japanese, after
suffering considerable losses, retreated behind the hill.

At midnight they again attacked the hill, but were again repulsed, and
up to 5 a.m. they attacked seven times without any success whatever.

They left piles of bodies in front of and amongst the wire

During the third attack it was seen that a column of two companies had
got through the wire on the right flank. A section of the 2nd Scout
Detachment was immediately sent against them under the command of
Lance-Corporal Noskov, and this section, together with the Baranovski
guns, posted on that flank, and two sections of the 9th Company sent
from 174 Metre Hill, put them to flight.

When day broke, 432 Japanese bodies were counted round the wire

By 7 a.m. half the trenches had been destroyed by the enemy’s
artillery, so that one section had to be withdrawn and posted on the
opposite slope of the hill.

At 9.30 a.m. the Japanese broke through the wire entanglements and got
half-way up the hill, but they were met by fire from the trenches—from
the left flank by volleys from the section of the 2nd Infantry Scout
Detachment, and from the right by volleys from the sailors under the
command of Lieutenant Afanaisev; and, not being able to make any
headway, they retired. At 11 a.m. Second-Lieutenant Andreiev was
wounded, and the command devolved on Lance-Corporal Kobrintsev. Captain
Rotaiski was sent to reinforce, but he did not occupy the trenches,
remaining instead behind their left flank.

During the day the enemy began to increase his efforts against Height
426, and in consequence the reserve was sent for, but did not arrive,
though two companies of the 4th Reserve Battalion were supposed to have
been sent up.

About midday, when the 1st and 2nd sections of the 1st Detachment
were annihilated by artillery fire, a half-company of the reserve
battalion, under a second-lieutenant of the 27th Regiment, arrived and
occupied the right trench, and in the night another half-company, with
a sergeant-major, was sent up with orders to occupy the saddle between
Headquarter Hill and a small hill to the left of it. Firing went on the
whole day, and on the night of August 14–15 the enemy made two attacks,
but only succeeded in one case in getting up to the wire entanglement,
where more than two-thirds of the attacking party were lost.

The hill was captured at midday on August 15. We retreated from the
advanced positions, but were in consequence considerably stronger on
Division Hill, Namako Yama, and 174 Metre Hill, on account of the
reserves concentrated there.

In view of the anticipated attack on these hills, we had to work hard
on them, the more so, as Namako Yama was very weakly fortified. The
trenches were small and unfinished, and the ground solid rock.

If only these trenches had been prepared beforehand, it would have
been quite a different matter. How many lives would have been saved,
and how many attacks beaten back! It is always necessary in a fortress
to prepare defensive positions in peace time, and this can be done
conveniently as part of the training of the troops in garrison.

The fighting on Headquarter Hill cost us somewhat dearly. The Scout
Detachments of the 5th Regiment lost more than half their strength—160
men and one officer (Second-Lieutenant Andreiev); the two naval
companies suffered a loss of 30 men each; the remainder, represented
by companies of the 13th Regiment and of the 4th Reserve Battalion,
were reduced by quite 15 per cent. of their strength. The 11th and
12th Companies at Pan-lung Shan did not have many losses, but three
officers were placed _hors de combat_—Major Katishev being wounded, and
Second-Lieutenant Merkoulev and Ensign Moukin killed.


[48] See footnote, page 232.

[49] Millet.

[50] “The flatter the trajectory, the better.”

[51] These two forts were on the _Eastern Front_. The author probably
refers to these here as being the only two points in _advance_ of the
main defensive line now left in Russian hands.

[52] A forceful example of the consequences of a badly worded order.

[53] Situated at the extreme left flank of the “Position of the Passes.”

[54] This plea of utter prostration from constant fighting seems to
be a poor excuse for the capture of the forts by the Japanese. The
resistance was, in reality, _most_ stubborn.

[55] It may be noticed that General Tretyakov makes no mention of the
disastrous sortie made by the Russian fleet on August 10.

[56] The Russian name for a knoll at the northern end of Headquarter
Hill. Subsequent reference will be by the name of Advanced Hill.

[57] General Tretyakov’s immediate superior.

[58] Our Official History (Part III.) states that Headquarter Hill was
captured on the 13th, and Height 426 (Bokovy) on the 15th. From this
account it is evident that the former also was not occupied until the

[59] The Russian name for Headquarter Hill.

[60] The Russian name for Height 426.

                              CHAPTER V

The fighting round 174 Metre Hill—Capture of 174 Metre Hill and
  evacuation of Connecting Ridge—Fortifying 203 Metre Hill—Defence
  and capture of Extinct Volcano.

We had to work absolutely under the enemy’s very nose, mostly at night,
although we took the opportunity of working in the daytime whenever the
enemy’s fire slackened a little.

It was a good thing that the 5th Regiment had learnt something about
trench-making, so that the officers, and even the non-commissioned
officers, knew exactly how to go to work without any instruction from
sapper specialists, of whom we did not possess a single man.

General Kondratenko did not propose recapturing the advanced hills, as
they were not exceptionally important positions, and it would have cost
us dearly to hold on to them.

After August 15, things were fairly quiet on our side, but bullets,
and even shell, rather frequently passed over the quarters of the
regimental staff. We had, therefore, to move them farther back, to a
small river running along the road from the town towards 203 Metre
Hill, and as a large mess tent would have been visible from a great
distance, we decided not to pitch one.

The Japanese had not got off lightly in their attacks on the advanced
hills, and their losses must have been reckoned in thousands. They
lost particularly heavily in storming Height 426, where they stumbled
blindly upon the wire entanglements and made repeated attacks. There
were piles of dead heaped up round these entanglements. The fact must
be noted that we were driven out of these positions by gun fire, and
not by the Japanese infantry.

Events here made it clear to every one what preponderance in artillery
really means. The side that silences the enemy’s guns can capture his
positions without particularly hard fighting, for, having once got
the enemy’s fire under control, one can choose a point of attack,
concentrate the whole of one’s artillery on it, and then take it by
storm with comparatively small numbers. For this, however, a numerous,
well-trained, and efficient artillery is essential. To win a battle
with badly trained or inefficient artillery is now a matter of extreme
difficulty. I will not venture to lay down the exact proportion of guns
necessary per 1,000 infantry, but there must be, at any rate, not less
than 6 guns per 1,000 (_i.e._ one battery to each complete battalion).

What an error we committed in posting our artillery on the crests of
the hills! The Japanese punished us very severely for the mistake, but
it was too late then to change our dispositions.

The Japanese batteries were completely concealed, and fired on our
skirmishers as deliberately as if they were at practice on their
artillery ranges. They had a lot of work in front of them yet, of
course, as we could still hold on to those positions we had spent some
time in fortifying, and the 5th Regiment had yet many trying moments to
live through.

Much had to be done on 203 Metre Hill in order to enable our troops to
hold out under a veritably hellish fire, with which our gunners were
powerless to cope.

From the capture of the advanced hills until the morning of August
19 we worked on our positions almost without molestation, the enemy
devoting all his attention to 174 Metre Hill (See Map II.). Being
convinced that the next serious attack would be made on that hill, we
did all in our power to put it into a good state of defence. The left
flank was covered by a wire entanglement, the front was strengthened by
a 3-foot revetment, and the right flank had a double line of trenches,
the upper tier of which was blinded.

On the top of the hill solid shelters were built for the gunners and a
round trench was made, with a considerable number of blinded traverses,
which were not, however, very solidly constructed.

The summit of the hill on the left flank (which we called the
Connecting Ridge) was lined with trenches. On the reverse slopes of the
hill a magazine, very solidly made, was constructed for gun and rifle
ammunition, and cover was also provided there, sufficient for a whole
reserve company. In rear of the hill (174 Metre Hill) there were four
field mortars, and on the crest, for long-range firing, two long naval
guns (I do not remember their exact calibre, but I think it was 150
mm.) with steel shields, in a well-constructed battery, and behind the
crest four field quick-firers. On the saddle between 174 Metre Hill
and Connecting Ridge were Lieutenant Tsvietkov’s two quick-firers.

The garrison of 174 Metre Hill consisted of the 5th and 9th Companies
of the 5th Regiment (about 300 men), while the 6th, 10th, 11th, and
12th Companies of the same, and one company of the 24th Regiment were
on Connecting Ridge.

There were on Namako Yama at this time: on the left flank, the 1st
Company of the 28th Regiment under Major Sakatski, the 11th Company
of the 13th Regiment, the 5th and 6th Companies of the Kuang-tung
Battalion, and the 12th Company of the 13th Regiment. It must be
admitted that the trenches here were not sufficiently strong to afford
much protection against the Japanese Shimose and shrapnel, and heavy
losses were expected. But what could be done? We had neither the time
nor the tools necessary to deal with that rocky soil, and thus to
improve matters.

A battery had been placed on the top of 174 Metre Hill, instead of an
infantry redoubt. This battery was in position before the 5th Regiment
occupied the hill. I wanted to convert it into a redoubt, but my senior
officers refused to sanction the proposal, as, in General Bieli’s[61]
opinion, there was no other position for long-range guns. How much
time and trouble we spent on completing this battery, while the real
defenders had to crowd into the small unfinished trenches! I may add
that the guns posted in this battery had a large area of dead ground,
and drew on themselves the fire of the Japanese heavy artillery, which
considerably interfered with our work. I was nearly killed by a shell
bursting near me, and escaped by a miracle with no greater hurt than a
blow in the side from a large clod of earth.

On the fall of the advanced positions the garrison of 174 Metre Hill
had to live in the trenches, whereas before they had been encamped on
the reverse slope of the hill. Field kitchens had been well built in a
ravine, and others on the reverse slope.

The men lived in large field tents, and the officers in an improvised
barrack, built of planks.

Strenuous efforts had been made to construct a road leading from the
top of the hill, and an enormous amount of energy had likewise been
expended in making roads to the principal hills—203 Metre, Namako Yama,
and Akasaka Yama. To this end we had been working hard ever since the
arrival of the 5th Regiment at 174 Metre Hill, at which time there
existed only one small path over 203 Metre Hill.

               OF 203 METRE HILL.

p. 116]

By its fire, and by the posting of a detachment to prevent Height 426
from being outflanked from the left, 174 Metre Hill was a source of
considerable annoyance to the Japanese, so, in attacking the advanced
hills, they did not forget it.

On August 14,[62] at 4.15 a.m., the enemy opened a tremendous fire
on 174 Metre Hill, and kept it up till 5 o’clock in the evening. On
this day Captain Andreiev, commanding the artillery on the hill, was
wounded by four splinters.

At 1.15 a.m. on August 15 the enemy advanced on 174 Metre Hill from the
front and from the left flank. Firing continued till 3.15 a.m., when
the Japanese retreated, but a heavy bombardment broke out again at 4.30
a.m. and continued till 9 o’clock.

This bombardment was renewed at 4 p.m., continuing till 7 p.m. As a
result some of our splinter-proofs were destroyed and also part of our

On August 16 the Japanese did not fire at all, possibly through want of
ammunition, we ourselves taking advantage of the occasion to rebuild
our trenches. About 9 p.m. desultory rifle fire broke out under the
hill, and the enemy’s skirmishing line appeared about 1,200 paces away,
while behind, in complete silence, marched the storming columns. The
defenders of the hills threw down their digging tools, stood to their
posts, and opened fire in volleys.

The storming columns moved away, now to the right, now to the left,
and finally took cover in the defile on the left. This was at about
11 p.m., and our men sat in the trenches all night expecting another
attack. We expended 12,000 rounds of ammunition.

On August 17 and 18 our men rebuilt the trenches under heavy rifle fire.

On the 17th the trenches were completed to the required profile, but a
heavy bombardment was then opened on the hill. Our guns tried to answer
the fire from the hills, but could not locate the batteries that were
destroying them, and the Japanese soldiers only showed themselves when
out of range. Our field guns were therefore put under cover, and I
still regret that it was impossible to put those 150-mm. guns under
cover as well.

On August 18 the firing upon the hill increased considerably in
volume, and our trenches and splinter-proofs began to suffer severely.
Lieutenant-Colonel Leesaevski, who was commandant of the hill, reported
that he expected an attack, so I moved our reserves to 203 Metre Hill.

At night fierce hand-to-hand fighting took place round the base of the
hill between the Japanese and our patrols who were forming the outpost
line—a sure sign of a coming attack.

On the night of August 18–19 the Japanese moved in great strength up to
174 Metre Hill and lay down behind the crests of the nearest hillocks.
Lieutenant-Colonel Leesaevski had the whole garrison on the alert, and
opened fire as soon as the columns showed themselves over the crests
beyond. The enemy made several attempts to come to close quarters, but
without avail. On the alarm sounding, star-rockets were fired from
203 Metre and Division Hills, and our search-lights came into play
for the first time. The scene was a terrible, but, at the same time,
an exhilarating one. Discovered by the beams of light, the Japanese
hastily retired over the crest, leaving a great number of dead in front
of 174 Metre Hill. After several attempts they ceased their attacks,
and the rest of the night passed in petty encounters and outpost

Early on the morning of August 19, just as day was breaking, I was
awakened by a fearful cannonade. Running out of my room, I saw a
pall of smoke from bursting shrapnel hanging over 174 Metre Hill.
In order to find out what was happening, I galloped over to Akasaka
Yama. However, when I got there, I was no better off than before, so
I went to the left flank of Namako Yama. A dense skirmishing line was
advancing on the right of 174 Metre Hill, and lines of skirmishers and
columns of troops were moving towards the centre, occasionally taking
cover in the valleys and then again appearing on the ridges. The rattle
of rifle fire from our companies on Connecting Ridge could be heard on
the left flank. The main attack was delivered against the left of 174
Metre Hill, but it was not within my field of view. The lines advanced
so skilfully that our guns were unable to range on them, though they
suffered heavily from rifle fire. Orderlies with reports were galloping
away from 174 Metre Hill.

In order to meet them, I again returned to Akasaka Yama, where Colonel
Irman joined me.

Wishing to be at the centre of the hills attacked, and within easy
reach of orderlies, we changed our position to a hillock situated
between Namako Yama and Connecting Ridge. We also thought that this
would be a favourable point for making observations, but, as a matter
of fact, it was rather the reverse, because all shell falling “over”
landed in this very locality. We posted the reserve (the 7th Company of
the 28th Regiment) behind the left flank of Namako Yama.

From 203 Metre Hill we sent a telephone message to the officer
commanding the artillery, directing him to concentrate every available
gun on the slopes in front of 174 Metre Hill.

In a quarter of an hour our guns boomed forth, and shells of every size
began to fall on the ground indicated by us. The Japanese gun fire
smothered 174 Metre Hill, and a continuous stream of wounded flowed
back towards 203 Metre Hill, where the chief dressing station was
situated. This fierce bombardment continued until about four o’clock.
We had lost heavily. The whole of the rear of the hill attacked was
literally strewn with shell. I was rather badly hit in the left side by
a stone thrown up by a bursting shell.

Seeing that the right flank of Connecting Ridge was the most probable
point of attack (there was a good deal of dead ground from our guns
in front of it), and that a very heavy artillery fire was now being
directed there, I sent the 7th Company of the 28th Regiment, under
Major Frantz, to stand in reserve behind it.

About four o’clock the firing reached its zenith. The Japanese advanced
to the attack, not in columns but in large groups, but they failed
to get up to the trenches. Hundreds of them were mown down, and it
seemed to me that the attack had failed everywhere. What was our
surprise, when we received a report from Major Astafiev, commanding
the 10th Company,[63] that his half-company had been wiped out, save
ten men, and that the Japanese had occupied his empty trenches during
the attack. The remaining ten men, however, had not retreated (they
were separated from the captured trench by a cliff), but had stuck to
their trench. I then and there made a mental vow that the deeds of
these heroes should eventually be put on record in letters of gold as a
perpetual memorial to the 10th Company, and I now redeem my pledge.

The trench occupied by the Japanese was under the cliff, and it was
a very difficult matter to climb down into it. As we had no further
reserves available, I sent to 203 Metre Hill for two half-companies
(2nd and 4th of our regiment), hoping to drive the Japanese out of
the trench with these men. I also sent to General Kondratenko for

Lieutenant-Colonel Leesaevski reported from 174 Metre Hill that the
Japanese had run up one by one, had established themselves within a few
paces of the trenches, and were throwing stones at our riflemen, who
returned the missiles.

At about six o’clock we collected two companies of the 13th Regiment,
and made an attack on about 100 Japanese then in the trenches of the
10th Company. The companies quickly reached the top of the cliff,
but got no farther, as it was a big drop down below. The Japanese
artillery, noticing them, at once opened a heavy fire, and as it thus
became impossible to remain there in the open the companies retreated
again into the valley.

At about seven o’clock General Kondratenko joined us, and four
companies of the 13th Regiment arrived, the 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 9th,
under the command of the battalion commanders Majors Goosakovski and

We decided that the Japanese must be driven out of the 10th Company’s
trenches, and, with that object in view, I reinforced these men, who
had already resisted several attacks, with one more company. The
attack was repeated, but with the same result (it was a big jump down,
right on to the bayonets of the Japanese, who were invisible from the
top, while the guns from the heights beyond mowed down the attackers).
This time half of the men lodged themselves behind stones on the top,
and I now felt sure that the Japanese would not take the hill, as it
would be very difficult for them to climb up the cliff. In order to
minimize our losses from gun fire, I decided on a night attack, and
sent one company, under Major Goosakovski, to carry it out.

I ordered back half a company of the 5th Regiment to its original

It transpired that the 7th Company of the 28th Regiment was not in its
correct place, having for some reason retired behind 174 Metre Hill. I
did not see when Major Frantz carried out this movement.

All this time the firing and bombardment on 174 Metre Hill continued,
and our forces dwindled away rapidly.

Reinforcements being demanded, a Scout Detachment under Captain
Osmanov, which had only just come up, was sent there. This detachment,
with its commander at its head, steadily and quietly ascended the hill,
five men excepted, who tailed off at the foot of the hill, evidently
afraid to go on. I did not order them to ascend the hill, knowing from
experience that the presence of a few cowards may unsettle the very
bravest company.

The stream of wounded from the hill increased, and many of these poor
sufferers expired while being carried across the shell-strewn ground.
We saw one wounded man, who was being carried by two of our clerks,
killed by a shell falling right on top of him. One of his bearers was
killed too, but the other escaped as by a miracle. A large group of
wounded now went past me, and behind them an officer on a stretcher. He
was a very young gunner, and he kept waving his sword in a frenzy and
muttering something. I do not remember what he said, as my attention
was attracted by another stretcher, on which was an officer whom I
thought I knew.

When the stretcher came close, I recognized in the wounded man
Lieutenant-Colonel Leesaevski, who had been commandant of the hill. He
was covered with blood and dust. A bullet had shattered his lower jaw
and tongue, and another had struck his hand. He could not speak from
loss of blood.

In his absence things might go badly on the hill.

This seasoned warrior had always shown extraordinary energy combined
with method. He was nicknamed “General Fock” in the regiment, which for
some reason displeased the real general, so, instead of commanding a
regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Leesaevski was given the command of the
2nd Battalion of the 5th Regiment. General Fock never recognized the
great spirit animating this man, which showed up so prominently in
the defence of 174 Metre Hill. The old Colonel was indeed a far finer
soldier than many of the younger ones.

He fearlessly walked about the hill, encouraging the men and directing
their fire, closely following the movements of the enemy, and then,
bringing up his small reserve just at the right moment, he scattered
the thick columns of attackers like chaff before the wind by a few
well-directed volleys. When the men wanted to take him to the dressing
station, he said: “Leave me alone, my lads; I want to die with you.”
With a heavy heart I accompanied the stretcher, fearing that a stray
bullet or shell might end the career of this magnificent old soldier.
But, thank God! he got safely across the pass to 203 Metre Hill, which
meant that he was out of harm’s way. In his place I appointed Captain
Bielozerov, commanding the 9th Company of the 5th Regiment, one of the
bravest of our officers.

Towards evening more reinforcements were called for from 174 Metre
Hill. The defenders were so worn out that they could not repair the
damage done, which was considerable. The upper battery was destroyed,
all the field guns were dismounted, and the gun-pits reduced to ruins.
Nearly all the splinter-proofs in the trenches were destroyed, as
well as half of the parapet. The whole of the overhead cover against
shrapnel was also wrecked by shell fire.

It is difficult to defend such places without casemated works. On
a hill commanded from all sides what can riflemen do against heavy
artillery, and the high-explosive shell of field guns? During this day
the 5th and 9th Companies of the 5th Regiment lost half their strength.

Gun fire slackened. The stream of wounded also ceased, and we breathed
more freely. Our party on the central hillock was joined by some
reserve officers, and eventually we even had something to eat.

Meat, bread, and hot tea were supplied to the men in the lines, and the
field kitchen on the other side of 174 Metre Hill, which had escaped
untouched, got to work.

General Kondratenko brought up two more companies to the reserve and
sent two companies of the 13th Regiment to the hill to work at the

We laughed at the Japanese who had taken the 10th Company’s trench, and
must by now be feeling like rats in a trap. The half of the 1st Company
of the 13th Regiment who had been left there, and the ten men of the
10th Company, prevented them from spreading along the trench, while in
front their road was barred by those standing on the hill, so that it
appeared inevitable that they must all be killed that night.

Meanwhile night had already fallen. The usual night firing had started
between the outposts at the foot of the hills, and the resulting noise
would cover the advance of our attacking companies. I sent to ask why
the attack had not commenced, and was kept waiting for an answer for
a very long time. The night was very dark. Everything was quiet, till
now and again the enemy’s bullets, like birds of the night, hummed high
overhead, or our star-rockets, strange hissing monsters, like fiery
snakes shot up into the sky and burst into a thousand dazzling stars,
brilliantly illuminating the dark hills and valleys.

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” This proverb was
exemplified in us and in our men. How many times have we not been
witnesses of the truth of it! how many times have not the Japanese
taken advantage of the utter exhaustion of our troops, fallen upon them
when they lay asleep, and captured important points in our position
(as at Ta-ku Shan, Miortvaia Sopka,[64] and other places)!

We realize now what it means to defend a fortress lacking a main line
of defence and having an insufficient number of permanently fortified
positions. Now I can clearly see that open field works, even though
prepared for some time in advance, and with trenches strengthened with
glacis parapets (as Glinka-Yarnchevski proposed at one time), will not
give the defenders facilities for sufficient rest; and rest is a very
important factor.

We were so tired that day—a fact not to be wondered at—that we lay down
where we were and went to sleep. Heavy rifle firing brought us to our
feet again. Star-rockets shot into the air and lit up the place, and
caused the firing to die down once more. We received word from those on
the hill that they had been firing on the Japanese, who had destroyed
some of the wire entanglements. There were not many of them, but they
had nevertheless caused a good deal of damage, and then had crouched
down near the line of wires. It was unfortunate that they had succeeded
to such an extent. I sent orders for the damage to be repaired as far
as possible, but I knew our men on the hill were handicapped owing to
lack of barbed wire.

This barbed wire was literally worth its weight in gold, and I was
always delighted when we succeeded in getting some for the defence of
this or that point, but there was great need of it everywhere.

There were several of these alarms during the night, but all this time
Major Goosakovski’s attack on the Japanese failed to come off.

However, I received a note at last, saying that he had decided to
attack at daybreak.

Having quietly thought the matter out, I came to the conclusion that
the Japanese might be left in the trench. These 100 men could not climb
up and take the hill, which was defended by a whole company, neither
could they be reinforced, as any reinforcements would be annihilated
before they reached them. I told Colonel Irman, who was sitting near
me, what I thought, and as he quite agreed with me, I sent an order
cancelling the attack, and withdrew the companies, except the one
behind the rocks, to a more sheltered spot between 174 Metre Hill and
Connecting Ridge. One of these companies I placed in reserve behind
174 Metre Hill, so that there were now three companies in the reserve,
_i.e._ at the immediate disposal of the officer in command on the hill.
The two companies which had arrived in the evening I assigned to the
general reserve. There were a few hours left till dawn, of which we
took advantage to get some sleep, repairing to Namako Yama, so as not
to be disturbed by the groans of the badly wounded men as they were
being carried along the road.

Our bearers (bandsmen, regimental clerks, and volunteers from the town)
sought them out during the night in the ravines, trenches, and ruined
blindages,[65] and carried them to 203 Metre Hill.

Before the sun had risen, the enemy’s guns began their work of
destruction, the worst of it being that they did it without receiving
any punishment in return.

Little by little, rifle firing broke out. When it was quite light,
the companies on Connecting Ridge noticed a Japanese battery coming
into action at very close range. They opened fire in volleys, and the
battery retired with heavy loss. Second-Lieutenant Bitzouk, who was for
the second time wounded in the leg, was chiefly responsible for the
destruction of this battery.

After this battery had retired, the infantry commenced their attack,
and towards seven o’clock there was very heavy rifle firing.

All the company commanders on Connecting Ridge were placed _hors de
combat_, and the three companies were commanded by Acting Ensign
Agapov. I called for volunteers from the staff for the command of
these companies, and in response to my call Lieutenant Vaseeliev and
Second-Lieutenant Galileiev at once stepped forward.

At 8 a.m. General Kondratenko arrived, and found that everything was
satisfactory. But the firing and bombardment had not slackened.

About 11 a.m. it was reported from the hill that the enemy was
attacking from the left flank, and that Acting Ensign Shishkin had been

I immediately telephoned to the officer commanding the artillery to
again concentrate his fire on the valley in front of 174 Metre Hill,
and soon our shells were streaming in the required direction. But still
the Japanese guns vomited death.

A report now came in from the troops on the hill that their trenches
were absolutely destroyed. They asked for not less than one company
to reinforce them, as there were very few of the original defenders
left. I myself saw that their last reserves had been used, and a long
line of wounded streamed down from the hill, amongst whom was the new
commandant, Captain Bielozerov. When brought to my vicinity, he was in
a fearful condition; a bullet had struck him on the right side of the
chest and passed right through, his shirt being soaked with blood. He
passed quite close to me and whispered to me: “Send up a company at
once. Put Second-Lieutenant Ivanov in command.”

Second-Lieutenant Ivanov was one of my bravest officers. When
volunteers were called for to collect the wounded on Height 426, he
said he would go with twenty-five men who had also volunteered under
Lieutenant Alalikin of the battleship _Poltava_. When they reached
the Japanese outpost line, they saw that it was impossible for the
whole detachment to get through, whereupon Second-Lieutenant Ivanov
crawled through the enemy’s lines alone and found a wounded artillery
non-commissioned officer, whom he hoisted upon his shoulder and brought
back. On his way back he met Serpukov, a lance-corporal of the 9th
Company, who had got through safely, and between them they carried the
wounded man to their detachment, and thence to 174 Metre Hill.

I immediately sent an order to Second-Lieutenant Ivanov to consider
himself in command on the hill.

The loss of Lieutenant-Colonel Leesaevski and Captain Bielozerov was
irreparable. The latter was a real hero. On August 20 there was
a moment on 174 Metre Hill when the sections of the 28th and 13th
Regiments[66] on the left flank wavered and turned their backs. Captain
Bielozerov rushed in amongst the fugitives, and with a few impassioned
words, pointing out to them the shame they would bring on their
regiments, made them return to their posts. Captain Bielozerov was
wounded when he sprang out of the trench to see where the enemy was and
what he was doing.

It was only possible to hold the hill at the price of heavy losses, but
we decided that it was worth it. Hence I resolved to go myself to the
hill, and to send up our last reserves.

At this moment E. P. Balashov, the medical officer in charge of the
hospital, rode up with his assistant, M. Tordan, a French subject, and
accompanied by General Fock. These unexpected arrivals put new spirit
into us.

We were all struck with the bravery and coolness of E. P. Balashov, who
was a great favourite in the regiment. Bullets were whistling by in
sufficient numbers to try the nerves of any man who had not previously
been under fire, in spite of which our civilian general[67] and his
companion did not appear to experience the slightest sensation of fear.

General Fock did not fail to give us his opinion on the position of
affairs, and he declared that the hill _must_ be held anyhow till
nightfall. This was already quite obvious to all of us. It is a very
nasty thing to retreat by day under the fire of an enemy who is only a
few paces off. But General Kondratenko expressed the wish to hold the
hill for an indefinite length of time, notwithstanding the fact that it
would be more than difficult to remain there under a hail of large and
small shells without any cover from their murderous effect.

About twelve o’clock a rifleman ran down from the hill with a note from
Second-Lieutenant Ivanov. He demanded immediate reinforcements, and as
many as possible, saying that both officers and men were beginning to
waver; hence it was obviously necessary to send up help at once.

I knew that Second-Lieutenant Ivanov would not ask for reinforcements
without good reason. I reported this to General Kondratenko (we had one
company left in the reserve), and it was decided to send the required
reinforcements. But General Fock heard the order given, and fired up at
our “inexperience.”

“What does this mean?” said he. “You want to hold on until nightfall,
and yet you send up your last reserve?”

“It is absolutely necessary,” I answered.

“It is not at all necessary,” declared General Fock.

“All right, Nicholai Alexandrovitch,” said General Kondratenko, turning
to me; “we will wait a little longer.”

I saw that General Fock’s assurance had overruled General Kondratenko’s
judgment, and I had not the moral courage myself to contradict him and
insist on the despatch of the last company, the more so, as Colonel
Irman, my immediate superior, did not give me any support.

About half an hour passed since the reinforcements had been asked for.
Balashov and M. Tordan departed saying that they had had quite enough
of it, and General Fock also rode off. Meanwhile the struggle grew
fiercer and fiercer, and now the first signs of wavering became evident.

I noticed three riflemen running away from the hill, and three men
without rifles behind them. I drew General Kondratenko’s attention to
them, and he evidently realized his mistake, for he said to me: “Ah!
now it is too late!” Then behind the second group of three men there
quickly followed about twenty others, and soon an entire company poured
down the hill after them.

On the hill itself men were running in all directions, like ants whose
hill has been disturbed, but a group of about fifty men rushed into
the upper battery, stood upon the breastwork, and fired straight down
on the enemy below. In front of this group, holding his naked sword in
his hand, I saw our Acting Ensign Shchenakin, and my heart swelled with
pride for the 5th Regiment. All these men belonged to the 5th Regiment,
and they had not lost hope of holding the hill, although every one else
had fled.

At this moment the enemy opened a hellish fire on this group of heroes,
wreathing the hill in clouds of smoke; the Japanese, by the way, never
thought twice about firing over the heads of their own men. I did not
see what was the end, for we all—General Kondratenko, Colonel Irman,
and myself—galloped off to stop the retreat, and, though the task was
not an easy one, we nevertheless succeeded. I placed the reserve near
our central hill, and the troops who had retreated occupied a position
in touch with this reserve, from Namako Yama to Connecting Ridge. A
telephone message was sent off at once, ordering the artillery to
direct as many guns as possible on 174 Metre Hill.

The yellow-caps had already shown themselves on the crest and opened a
fairly heavy, though not very accurate, fire on us.

At this moment the crest of the hill was swept by such a terrific storm
of our shells, that everything living was destroyed in a few seconds,
and the Japanese did not dare to show themselves even after the firing
had ceased.

It is a very difficult matter to hold ordinary field trenches against
siege artillery placed at short range.

With the fall of 174 Metre Hill we saw that it was impossible to hold
on to Connecting Ridge, which had, therefore, to be evacuated. General
Kondratenko gave the order to do so, and then went home, as he was
utterly worn out and could hardly stand, Colonel Irman going away with

Taking advantage of the fact that the Japanese did not dare to show
themselves on 174 Metre Hill, I quietly withdrew the companies from
Connecting Ridge, and posted them for the time being behind Namako Yama
and Division Hill.

On August 19 and 20 the 5th Company lost 62 killed and wounded, about
half its then strength. The 9th lost 120 men, and had only 48 left in
the ranks. Our companies were the last to retreat.

Our losses during the defence of 174 Metre Hill amounted to 1,000 men,
of whom about one-third were killed.

Considering that this loss was incurred chiefly on 174 Metre Hill and
Connecting Ridge, where only four companies (800 men at the most) could
act at a time, the loss of 1,000 men at one point will give some idea
of the volume of fire developed at this spot by the Japanese.

If we had decided to retake the hill, it would not have been a
difficult matter, but it would have cost us more than 500 men a day to
hold it, as we should not have been able to reconstruct the trenches
to keep pace with the amount of damage done day after day; my regiment
would only have sufficed for four days, since, including the details
from the 28th Regiment, our strength was no more than 1,800 men.

As is evident from the foregoing narrative, when necessity arose, units
from other regiments were sent to me, but they were often required for
other positions of the defensive line.

Besides 1,000 casualties, we lost 2 long 150-mm. guns, 4 field guns,
2 machine guns, and 4 field mortars. However, two of these were
recaptured by us during the final attacks at the foot of 174 Metre Hill.

With the fall of 174 Metre Hill it became immediately necessary to
strengthen the trenches on Division Hill, Namako Yama, Akasaka Yama,
and 203 Metre Hill.

These trenches were far from complete, except those on 203 Metre Hill,
where they were made with splinter-proofs and light cover from shrapnel
shell, and were furnished with wire entanglements.

But our experience on 174 Metre Hill had taught us how weak our
earth-works were in comparison with the destructive power of the
enemy’s shells, and so it was evidently necessary to strengthen
considerably all the fortifications on 203 Metre Hill.

All this should have been done earlier, but want of tools and men had
prevented us during the defence from working at any but the advanced
positions. 203 Metre Hill was an exception, as, being one of the most
important points if not _the_ most important, on the defensive line, it
had received my special attention.

We had to set to work again night and day. This is what I proposed to
do: to throw the four trenches on Namako Yama into one long trench
the whole length of the hill; to make several communication trenches
back to the rear of the hill, where splinter-proofs were to be built
and tents erected for those defending the hill; to build kitchens and
establish a dressing station at the foot of the hill close to the
battery of long 6-inch guns; to construct a magazine for small-arm
ammunition, shell, and cartridges, and also make a dug-out for the
commandant. I furthermore proposed to convert the trench on the top of
Akasaka Yama into a redoubt, and to make several trenches in front of
it along the hill; to strengthen all the splinter-proofs on 203 Metre
Hill; and to place solid timber baulks to hold up the head-cover, so
that the splinter-proofs would remain standing, even though the parapet
was blown away.

We set to work on our task the first night after the capture of 174
Metre Hill.

The troops on the positions occupied by us were disposed as follows:
On Division Hill, the 5th, 7th, and 11th Companies of the 5th
Regiment, with the 2nd and 3rd Scout Detachments of the 5th Regiment
and the 9th Company of the 27th Regiment, under Major Beedenko.
On Namako Yama, two companies of Marines, under our own officers,
Afanaisev and Siedelnitski, both companies under the command of
Lieutenant Shcherbachev; the 7th Company of the 28th Regiment and the
2nd Scout Detachment of the same regiment, under Major Sokkatski;
also one company of the 13th Regiment and the 9th Company of the 5th
Regiment.[68] A section of Marines defended Extinct Volcano. On 203
Metre Hill, as before, there were the 2nd and 4th Companies of the 5th
Regiment, and I had three companies of the 4th Reserve Battalion in
reserve. All worked at night, and slept during the day.

We were very much stronger now that our defensive line was so much
smaller, and I no longer feared sudden attacks. But the following
regrettable incident again disturbed my peace of mind.

Early on the morning of August 23, I was awakened to hear a report that
the Japanese had taken Extinct Volcano in the night.


p. 136]

I would not at first believe it, as the firing must have been heard,
and the night had passed absolutely quietly.

When I said so to the orderly, he told me that there had been no
firing, as the Marines had been caught asleep.

It turned out afterwards that they were not asleep, but were working,
and had been taken by surprise because they had failed to put out
outposts. Extinct Volcano had two trenches on it—one near the foot, for
a half-company, and the other on the crest, for a section. Three days
before, I had sent half a company of Marines to this hill for work and

Owing to their ignorance of outpost work, they had put out no standing
sentries by night, but were content with a few sentries on the trenches

Noticing their negligence, a small body of Japanese had crept up to the
drowsy sentries, surprised them, and sprung into the trench.

Our Marines only grasped the situation when the majority of them had
already been killed. The remainder fled to the upper trench, where
there was one sub-division of riflemen (I do not now remember to whom
they belonged—possibly the 7th Company of the 28th Regiment, as they
occupied the right flank of Namako Yama). The Japanese ran up behind
them and burst into the trench at their very heels, thus taking Extinct
Volcano without noise or firing.

Major Zimmermann—a hero in the true sense of the word—in command
on Namako Yama, hearing what had happened, immediately organized a
counter-attack, and when the men had somewhat recovered themselves,
set them an example by rushing forward with drawn sword. The soldiers
followed him to a man, and Extinct Volcano was retaken. Unfortunately,
Major Zimmermann was wounded in the arm and breast, and had to
relinquish his command.

Ten minutes after the recapture of the hill, the enemy’s artillery
opened a terrific fire on it.

By this time I had reached the scene of action, having with me one of
the reserve companies, which I ordered to remain on the site of the
former bivouacs of the regimental staff, near the graves of Colonel
Petrov and Major Schiller.

Reaching the top of Namako Yama, the nearest point to Extinct Volcano,
I saw that the yellow-peaked caps were on its summit. This meant that
the enemy’s fire had driven us off the hill, which proved, indeed, to
be the case.

I sent a report to that effect.

At this moment Colonel Irman arrived with his adjutant, and told me
that he had sent for three companies from the general reserve.

But at least an hour would pass before they could arrive, and in that
time the enemy would be able to dig himself in, and it would be very
difficult to drive him out again.

We therefore decided to attack the hill without delay, and with this
object I ordered the 1st Scout Detachment to come to me immediately (it
was stationed near Fort Yi-tzu Shan). Everything was quiet there, and I
felt I could withdraw troops from that position without the fear of any
hostile attacks.

Colonel Irman telephoned to the officer commanding the fortress
artillery to open fire on the top of Extinct Volcano with as many guns
as he could get to bear.

Our guns thundered out, and a hail of shell swept the top of the hill.
In a moment the hill was wreathed in smoke, and the yellow-peaks

In order to see what was happening on the reverse side of the hill, I
went into a ravine in front of the left flank of Division Hill. Our
cannonade continued.

Just as I reached my new point of observation, I had a very alarming
experience. I heard the shriek of a heavy shell over my head, and a
moment later it fell about 10 paces from me; the earth shook from the
deafening reverberation of the explosion, and I was thrown heavily
to the ground, covered with sand and lumps of clay. It was some time
before I recovered from the shock and could continue my way.

This was due to one of our own 11-inch guns on the coast forts. It was
laid on the hill occupied by the enemy, but the shell dropped near
me—by no means the first instance of our coast-defence guns giving
us an unpleasant surprise. An 11-inch shell once landed in the 6th
Company’s trench on Division Hill. Luckily, there were no serious
consequences from these mishaps.[69]

On reaching the left flank of Division Hill, I found that the valley
was not visible to me. I shouted up to Division Hill, telling those
there to inform me if there was anything to be seen behind Extinct
Volcano, and soon received the answer that there were no hostile troops
in the valley.

The Japanese, however, caught sight of me from their trenches and lost
no time in firing at me, which was pleasant indeed. They even started
shelling me with their field guns; they had, seemingly, an enormous
supply of rifle and gun ammunition, and certainly used it freely.

When I returned to Colonel Irman, our scouts had already arrived,
and we decided to attack without delay. The scouts, with one company
from the reserve (the 5th of the 27th Regiment), were to advance
directly on the hill, while one company from the garrison of Namako
Yama moved from the flank. It was a hard climb up the high steep hill,
and continued for some time without the enemy firing a shot, our guns
meanwhile sweeping the summit. When, however, the scouts got close up,
and likewise the company from Namako Yama, our guns ceased firing, upon
which the yellow-peaks immediately again crowned the hill.

The companies rushed forward. They reached the parapet under a very
heavy fire, but went no farther, and lay down near it among the hollows
in the ground.

The opposing forces were so close to each other, that they could easily
throw stones across. The yellow-peaks took cover behind the parapet,
and our men began to throw stones, as there was no possibility of
reaching them with bullets. The Japanese replied in like fashion, and
this continued for some time.

We were quite accustomed to rifle and gun fire, and it did not have
much effect on us now, but this stone-throwing produced a most
childish impression; it was annoying to think that there was not one
man sufficiently brave to show his comrades an example by mounting
the parapet, and the whole procedure appeared futile to one anxiously
awaiting an assault.

Eventually our men stopped throwing stones, and were evidently
preparing for a bayonet charge.

Several men dashed forward—an officer and some non-commissioned

“Now, God with you!” said I to myself. “At last they have pulled
themselves together and are swarming over the parapet.”

The yellow-peaks showed for a moment over the crest of the parapet,
then they were hidden by our fellows, and with a wild “Hurrah” our
companies poured into the trench. Then all was silent.

“They’ve got it,” said Colonel Irman.

“Yes, we had it once before,” I answered, “but nothing came of it,
as their artillery drove us off again. I reported Major Zimmermann’s
success that time; but now we will wait and see.” I had scarcely
finished speaking, when the Japanese began to sweep the top of the hill
with fire from their heavy artillery.

We felt that nothing could be achieved until these cursed guns were
destroyed. But, forced to husband their ammunition, our artillery
hardly put up any fight against the hostile batteries.

Shells of every calibre literally covered the top of the hill, but
our men did not come out of the trench. It seemed strange indeed, as
there were no splinter-proofs in the small trench, and such a fire must
destroy all the defenders.

Ten minutes passed and there was no sign of movement. Another ten
minutes and no retreat.

At last the enemy’s artillery ceased fire.

“Now,” I thought to myself, “the hill is ours.” But a Japanese soldier
with a flag suddenly appeared on the parapet.

“What’s the meaning of that? Surely our men are not all killed?” But
it was practically so. The few that were left broke their way through
to Namako Yama. And the Japanese stood on the parapet and waved his

Just then reinforcements came in sight—a scout detachment of some
regiment. At their head was Lieutenant Evstratov, a strongly built,
tall, fair fellow with a reddish beard. The men marched quickly and
joyously; but there were not more than eighty of them.

“How is it you are so few—they promised me three companies?”

“Here are the three companies, Colonel,” said the Lieutenant.

“Where?” I asked.

“Here,” and he pointed to his men. “These are worth more than three

We decided to add another small detachment that came up behind the
scouts, and attack as before, sending yet another company from Namako
Yama on the flank. We accordingly sent an orderly to Namako Yama with
the necessary instructions. The men who had just arrived did not know
the ground, so I took them on to the hill myself, and went with them
until they could all see how and where they were to attack.

Our artillery again opened fire on Extinct Volcano, and we saw the
man with the flag jump down from the parapet, while the summit of
the volcano was wreathed in smoke from our bursting shells. We were
evidently getting our revenge. After this I returned to Colonel Irman.

There were very few attackers, and we impatiently awaited
reinforcements, but none arrived, and already the scouts had nearly
reached the top, and firing had commenced. The officer leapt on the
parapet and fired at some one with his revolver. All his men followed
him, and lay down on the glacis without jumping down into the trench.
Obviously the Japanese were there.

No reinforcements had yet reached us. I could not stand it, and ran to
a hill lying behind us to see if the companies were coming up, or if
they had halted anywhere.

To reach this hill I had to run across a fairly broad ravine. As I went
down into it, I heard the Japanese firing on the hill, and as I reached
my point of observation I saw the reinforcing companies hurrying
towards us.

I returned to Colonel Irman with the good news, but he soon put a
damper on my spirits. “It’s no good now, our men are all killed by
shell fire.” Looking towards the hill, I saw nothing but the dead
bodies of our gallant comrades.

The reserve companies reached us completely tired out. Colonel Irman
and I could not help acknowledging that it was now impossible to retake
the hill.

Having come to this conclusion, Colonel Irman sent a report to that
effect to General Kondratenko.

I heard afterwards that that splendid officer, Lieutenant Evstratov,
was wounded by a fragment of shell and died in hospital.

Extinct Volcano remained in the hands of the Japanese, and the piles of
bodies, both Russian and Japanese, served for the rest of the siege as
a reproach to our gunners, who were not strong enough to prevent the
enemy from coming into action at decisive ranges.

The defence of this hill was shorter than that of 174 Metre Hill; of
course, there were reasons for this. In the first place, the top of the
hill was ten times smaller than that of 174 Metre Hill, the trenches
only accommodating one section; and, secondly, there was not a single
splinter-proof on it, and the line of trenches was beyond our general
line of defence, and had a certain amount of dead ground in front.

Our riflemen had no cover from artillery fire, and if they did not
retreat, were destroyed to a man. But if we gave up this hill to
the Japanese, we hoped that they would not occupy it, because our
artillery could sweep them off, as theirs did our troops when we were
in possession. However, it did not turn out so.

When we told our gunners to drive the Japanese from this hill, they
answered that they had very few shell and must keep them for more
important targets.

So the Japanese held our trenches unpunished, and repaired them, making
communication trenches and cover from our bullets.

Colonel Irman gave me the companies that had come up at the finish for
strengthening the defences on Namako Yama, and they were badly needed
by me.

What an enormous influence one man, whether officer or private, can
have on the issue of a battle!

In many battles I have noticed and studied the psychological effect
produced on an ordinary man who is brought face to face with death.

The desire to escape from the danger threatening him is so great, that
he is scarcely able to exhibit the strength of will of even the average

Overcome by this feeling, a man loses his power of weighing
circumstances, and he either acts from force of habit, or else follows
the example of his commander or his neighbour. (This is a well-known
phenomenon, but it is brought home only to the man who has been among
soldiers during a fight.) Now, supposing this neighbour loses his head
and runs, there are very few who will not follow his example; the
average man will take to his heels too, his neighbour follows him, and
so on, until the whole detachment is retreating in disorder.

A disorderly retreat is always started by one man, and in most cases
this man is physically weak and sometimes, though rarely, an obvious
funk. Therefore it is essential to recruit soldiers from men who are
physically strong, for almost every weak man will be a cause of retreat
and, consequently, of defeat. A hundred picked men are preferable to
two or three hundred weak ones, even though the latter are equally well

I would add that men must learn how to husband their strength. On a
long march fatigued soldiers are worse than useless. So I say that we
must discard most of what our soldiers now carry in their knapsacks,
and retain only the following articles: 1 shirt, 1 pair of trousers,
1 pair of putties, 1 pair of socks, a ball of lint, a butter-tin,
some needles and thread, and sugar for two days. All the other things
are absolutely superfluous. Have your supply columns perfect; but the
soldier must go as light as possible, and must, moreover, look smart,
so that an enemy will not dare to call him a “ragged beggar.”[70] Make
a soldier so smart that even a sloven will become a rather fine-looking
fellow. A smart outward appearance raises the spirits of the troops.

It is also indispensable to teach the infantry soldier field
fortification thoroughly, so that he becomes the equal of a sapper and
needs no supervision in war time. In the 5th Regiment, not only the
non-commissioned officers, but the men also, could point out where
trenches should be constructed, and of what depth and length they
should be.

Our men blamed the sappers for making trenches with elbow rests, as
they knew by experience what the loss of that width of earth meant
along the firing line. They said that the sappers did it because they
had not themselves been under shrapnel fire, and did not know how to
take aim from behind cover.

               OF THE 5TH REGIMENT.

p. 146]


[61] Commander of the Fortress Artillery.

[62] Our Official History states that “mist and rain prevented an
effectual bombardment on this day,” and no real assault took place. The
bombardment of 174 Metre Hill on the 15th was evidently only done to
cover the attack on Height 426 (described in the last chapter), as no
serious attack was made on 174 Metre Hill till the 19th.

[63] This company was on Connecting Ridge and had been sent to
reinforce the 5th and 9th Companies on 174 Metre Hill.

[64] Meaning “Extinct Volcano”; situated about midway between 174 Metre
and Division Hills.

[65] A blindage is a covered trench with a roofing at least
sufficiently strong to afford protection against rifle and shrapnel

[66] Sent up from Namako Yama to reinforce 174 Metre Hill.

[67] Officials in Government employ in Russia have civil “rank” just as
officers in the army have military rank. Hence the term “general” here.

[68] Consisting of 101 men.

[69] These shells must have come either from Golden Hill Battery
or No. 7 Battery on the Tiger Peninsula, each of which had 11-inch
_howitzers_. (See Map III.)

[70] The average Russian soldier of the infantry of the line, with
his loose jacket, loose breeches, battered peaked cap, and invariable
slouch, does not look what we call smart, and this is what General
Tretyakov is probably referring to.

                              CHAPTER VI

Continuing the work of fortifying the various hills—End of the
  first general assault, August 22 and 23—Attacks on Namako Yama
  from August 24 to September 19.

As soon as Extinct Volcano had been surrendered to the Japanese, I
determined to strengthen our present defences by means of trenches and
wire entanglements, and had the trenches on Namako Yama and Division
Hill extended and deepened accordingly.

I placed the 10th Company in the valley between Extinct Volcano and
Division Hill, hoping thereby to fill up the gap between the hills
occupied by us.

This done, we had next to set to work to fortify Akasaka Yama, taking
the task in hand without a moment’s delay.

I had already commenced a redoubt capable of accommodating one company
on the top of Akasaka Yama, which now required finishing, and, in
addition, it was necessary to build trenches round the hill for five

Keeping in view the possibility of the enemy breaking through across
Extinct Volcano, I fortified the ground between Fort Yi-tzu Shan
and Riji Hill[71] and made Division Hill and Namako Yama into two
independent commands. We also had to safeguard our communications with
Division Hill and Namako Yama which might be exposed to attack. For all
this work we wanted tools, material, and men, and we were again short
of all three. Luckily, at this difficult time Major Gemmelmann of the
Engineers, as well as several non-commissioned officers, was attached
to me, so I was able to get some sleep at night. I collected a large
store of _matériel_ near the regimental headquarter camp.

After many urgent messages the authorities concerned began to send us
wire, bags (for sand), all sorts of iron and steel, and a few tools,
and, as before, we procured whatever else was wanted from the stores in
the town and from the railway people.

Our regimental horses became quite worn out from hauling heavy
materials, such as beams, planks, rails, etc. We had very few carts and
wagons for carrying these things, as our baggage wagons were mainly
required for bringing up regimental necessaries and stores needed to
meet our daily wants.

It is an extraordinary thing how an important fortress like Port Arthur
could have been left almost without any vehicles for general service,
a want which must be seen and felt to enable one to understand rightly
what sufficient transport means in a fortress, and how indispensable it

Towards the end of the siege a light railway was laid as far up as
my headquarters, but was never worked, probably owing to the want of
trucks. I saw the rails, but trucks were conspicuous by their absence.
A fortress, like an army, must have its own transport and the horses
necessary for it, or, preferably, be provided with good powerful motor

I wanted to construct a splinter-proof observation post for myself and
Colonel Irman on one of our hills, but again for want of transport we
had to remain throughout the siege at an observation station exposed
to the enemy’s fire. We always spent the night at the regimental
headquarters, where Colonel Irman’s staff (he was in command of the
whole of the western front) also stayed. Our quarters were buildings
belonging to the Artillery Headquarters Offices on Red Hill, and a
large marquee pitched there served as a mess-room, in which quite a
number of us sat down to dinner.

We seldom received any official visits from the town, as we were not
out of range of the enemy’s bullets and shell. Two bandsmen were killed
near the building, and two wounded, as was also my orderly, Private

However, General Nikizhin rode out fairly frequently to sup with
us, and we always looked forward with pleasure to his visits. At
all times in the best of spirits, he was a clever and entertaining
conversationalist, and invariably brought us some piece of interesting
news, so that while he was with us we forgot the monotony of our
existence. From him we learned how things were going on in the other
sections of the fortress, what attacks had been beaten back, and the
latest news of Kuropatkin’s Army.

We used to get through an extraordinary amount of tea, of which the
officers, both regimental and staff, had a plentiful supply, thank God!
Our dinners were, however, becoming somewhat meagre—rice soup and
roast horse-flesh, with rice garnished with rancid butter or tallow.
Supper was of much the same type. Occasionally when the men brought
us up a canteen full of “goltsies” (small, dark fish), which they had
caught in the horse-ponds, we had a regular banquet.

When I went up to take observations from Red Hill I often shot small
birds sitting in the bushes on the slopes of the hill, which we
ate with great relish. I think night-hawks, particularly, are most
delicious, and I do not know why we do not eat more of them in the
ordinary way of living.

There was a small fir-wood behind Red Hill, towards its northern
side, which became my favourite place for resting, and was a splendid
observation point. One could walk through this wood and breathe the
air, heavy with the odour of firs, and at the same time see all the
positions. On a bright sunny day every man on the hills round could be
seen, and the occupations of the various units defending the positions
could be clearly observed. There, on Division Hill, they would be
preparing dinner in the kitchens of the 7th Company; a little to the
left, the dinners of the 6th Company had already been served out; and
along the communication trench a whole company was moving in relief of
our scout detachments on the left flank of Division Hill, who were in
constant touch with the Japanese.

Under Red Hill was a row of small ponds, used as watering places for
the artillery horses. They were a source of real pleasure to our men,
who frequently bathed in them and fished, in spite of bullets and
shells constantly splashing into them.

Everything was quiet on 203 Metre Hill, and I was thankful that the
Japanese were giving us time to fortify it.

There was a harmless bombardment of Forts Yi-tzu Shan and Ta-an-tzu
Shan, all the shells falling short of the former and passing over the

With what terrific force they burst! The gases are not very noticeable,
nor do they collect in one large puff, but are whirled away in little
streaks scarcely visible to the eye, and then above a cloud of black
smoke is seen.

It was a remarkable thing that where the first shell fell “short,” the
others all fell short likewise; if “over,” then the remainder fell over.

There was a road between Forts Chi-kuan and Ehr-lung. Standing on this
road, one could watch the practice of a certain Japanese gun. The
shells, coming across the road from behind the hill, always struck
in exactly the same place, which was fought shy of by every one, and
this continued throughout the siege, from the beginning to the end.
The soldiers used to joke about it, and say that it was some gunner
calibrating his gun.

Very few shells burst near my walk through the wood. They all fell on
the battery on Red Hill, where Lieutenant Kornilovitch, a most gallant
officer, who came from Kiev to Colonel Petrov’s battery, was killed.

I spent much time in the wood on Red Hill, living again through all
that had passed, and trying not to think of either the present or the
future. I always used to say to the men: “Never think about what is
_going_ to happen to you, but only about what _has_ passed.”

I was frequently accompanied in my walks by our doctor, Theodore
Troitski. He was ever in good spirits and full of jokes, could always
find something interesting to talk about, and so was much sought after.
In my spare time, when everything was quiet, I often used to go to the
dressing station and drink a bottle of stout with Troitski, which he
had managed to get by secret means from some treasured spot. Though
many envied him his privileged position, no one could ever find out
whence he got his stout.

             *       *       *       *       *

In order to strengthen the positions, we had to construct, in addition
to the trenches, various kinds of obstacles at the most important

The favourite device, and the most effective one, was the wire
entanglement, but there was very little barbed wire in the fortress.

Certainly, an enormous quantity of barbed wire had necessarily been
used for strengthening the main inner defensive line, but when it came
to blocking the intervals between the forts (before our arrival in Port
Arthur) no one seemed to have thought of fortifying 174 Metre Hill.
I do not say this in any spirit of criticism of those who fortified
Port Arthur. Naturally they had to strengthen the main line of defence
first, and they had not sufficient material for 174 Metre Hill as well.

               5TH REGIMENT.

p. 152]

The following were covered by wire entanglements: 203 Metre Hill, the
left flank of Akasaka Yama (a very short piece), the left flank of
Division Hill, and the right flank of Namako Yama. (The space between
Extinct Volcano and Namako Yama was strengthened by planks with spikes
in them.[72]) To prevent the enemy breaking through between Falshivy
Hill[73] and 203 Metre Hill, fougasses were laid, as also between
Akasaka Yama and Namako Yama, and on the left flank of Division Hill.
These fougasses were much dreaded by the Japanese, and for that reason,
perhaps, they did not once attempt to force any of the valleys, but
always elected to climb up the most impossible cliffs.

             *       *       *       *       *

We had suffered many defeats from August 14, and continued to do
so until September, the Japanese, thanks to their superiority in
artillery, taking hill after hill from us.

Nevertheless, I did not despair, and often consoled General
Kondratenko, pointing out to him that the nearer we drew towards our
main defensive line, the more effective would become our defence, by
reason of the greater facility of communication between the defenders
of the various positions.

Anyway, in the centre,[74] where the main Japanese attacks were
directed, we successfully defended ourselves, and our successes there
raised our spirits considerably.

             *       *       *       *       *

There were no sheep left. We had eaten them all. We had lamb
occasionally for dinner, cut up into very small portions and served as
tit-bits, but we lived mainly on rice soup.

It was always very hard to get hay for the horses, and very soon it
would become impossible to buy any, and we should have to indent for
it. The Government forage stores had not yet been touched.

We sent Lieutenant Bogdanovitch to Pigeon Bay to get us some fish. He
brought back a good many, but all were rockfish, which none of us would
have looked at a few months before.

As I have already said, on the capture of 174 Metre Hill, we evacuated
Connecting Ridge, which the Japanese immediately occupied and began to
fortify. They also constructed a strong line of trenches designed to
sweep the rear of Namako Yama.

On August 15, I was placed in command of the forts and batteries in the
defensive line from Fort Yi-tzu Shan to Fort Ta-yang-kou North.

I had constantly been on all these positions and forts. Fort Ta-an-tzu
Shan was the only one completed, while Fort Yi-tzu Shan was finished
in the interior, but there were no traverses, and the garrison had to
construct some with the help of sand-bags. There were also no caponiers
in the ditches, and one could come out on to the gorge[75] from the
ditch on the left flank and climb up on to the parapet.

Therefore the men composing the garrison themselves made an open
caponier at the front corner (chief salient), blocking the approach to
it by iron gratings.

Fort Ta-yang-kou North was worked by the garrison throughout the siege.
All that the enemy could see was a gigantic pile of hewn stone, in
front of which was a ditch about 4 sagenes[76] deep, with vertical
escarp and counterscarp cut out of the rock. A bare slope ran down into
this ditch from the entrance of the fort. It was intended to have made
a gate, but, as there was not time to cut it out, any one was free to
come up out of the deep ditch on to this slope, and so, from both sides
of the ditch, straight up through the entrance of the fort. Casemates
or splinter-proofs were entirely wanting. There was also no defence on
the right flank, so that the interior of the fort was plainly visible
from the enemy’s artillery positions. The front face and entrance were
splendidly flanked, but the left flank was taken completely in reverse
by very many Japanese batteries.

With the assistance of some workmen sent up by us the garrison
strengthened the right flank with blindages. In the centre of, and
behind, the entrance a strong bomb-proof was built, sufficiently large
to accommodate the entire garrison. The roof of this bomb-proof was
specially made to withstand shells of large calibre (I myself saw the
damage caused by an 11-inch shell on the right front of a corner of
it, but the bomb-proof itself was not touched). Splinter-proofs for
officers and gun detachments were built under the ramparts, and near
the right flank a large search-light, with a big steam engine, was
placed without any cover whatever.

The space between Forts Yi-tzu Shan and Ta-yang-kou North was covered
by an unbroken line of wire entanglements, supplemented by a large
number of fougasses, and above them again a line of trenches, which
were, however, very shallow and had very thin parapets. We were only
able to complete them after our retreat from 174 Metre Hill to our main

Threatened from the side of Extinct Volcano, and enfiladed from
Connecting Ridge, Namako Yama was in a dangerous position, the more so,
as the trenches on it were absolutely devoid of overhead cover from
shrapnel fire. It was a good thing that after the capture of 174 Metre
Hill we had constructed long traverses the whole breadth of the hill,
so that the enfilade fire from Connecting Ridge had little effect.
When the rear of Namako Yama began to suffer from the firing from
Connecting Ridge, I posted two quick-firing guns near the road leading
up the hill. They demolished the trenches on Connecting Ridge and
caused the Japanese to stop their annoying and dangerous fusillade. In
order to ensure Namako Yama against night attacks, I blocked the road
running along its rear with a row of fougasses, wire entanglements,
and _chevaux de frise_ made out of planks (an excellent obstacle when
there is no artillery to demolish it). To prevent a turning movement
on the right flank, I laid fougasses there, and extended the trenches
on the right flank of Akasaka Yama, where I posted two companies in
well-constructed trenches.

In spite of all these measures Namako Yama was very weak, as the
trenches were very shallow and unprotected by head cover from shrapnel.
Besides that drawback the near slopes of the hill could not everywhere
be swept by the fire of the defenders, a serious failing when one had
to deal with an enemy such as the Japanese. All this showed me that
Namako Yama was in a very precarious state, although defended by six

Taking everything into account, I set to work to strengthen the
defences on Akasaka Yama, but want of tools and men delayed the work,
more especially so as we had at the same time to strengthen the
left flank of Division Hill, which was sadly in need of it. It was
possible to see, not only the heads, but even the heels of the riflemen
defending the trenches from the direction of Extinct Volcano. It was
also impossible for us to reach the hill, so we had to dig at least
two long communication trenches. All this required an enormous number
of tools and men, and the difficulty of making fortifications was
increased by the scarcity of everything needed.

It was fortunate that we had an abundance of rain, yielding streams
full of clean, cold, fresh water, and providing bathing and washing
places for nearly every company on the position.

203 Metre Hill and Namako Yama were worse off in this respect. The men
had to go from there to the artillery horse-ponds near the headquarters
of the staff, not accessible without some danger. Second-Lieutenant
Ivanov was wounded in the leg there by a stray bullet. There was,
however, no other less exposed place available.

On August 22 and 23 the Japanese main assault[77] on the centre of
our defensive line was beaten back, the enemy losing very heavily. We
were told that all the slopes of the hills attacked were piled up with
Japanese bodies, and that the stench was becoming unbearable, from
which cause we also suffered, owing to the number of dead on Extinct

When Major Zimmermann was wounded on August 22, I appointed Major
Moskvin, who had been in charge of administration, to command on Namako
Yama. I had great faith in this gallant, energetic officer, and felt
assured that the defence of Namako Yama would be safer in his hands
than in those of any other man, all our own officers being utterly worn
out and requiring immediate rest. Apart from that consideration, they
were nearly all wounded.

About this time the following occurrence took place. Lieutenant Frost,
our paymaster, Captain Felitzin, and Father Vasili Slounin were put
up in my former quarters near the bazaar in the New Town. In the
morning (I do not remember at what time) they had only just got up and
were drinking tea, when a shell burst in the room in which they were
sitting. Captain Felitzin was wounded in the head, as was also Father
Slounin (he had some of his hair singed off), and Lieutenant Frost was
severely wounded in the head, besides receiving several other minor
wounds in the face. Thank God! none of them were killed, and all were
soon quite well again.


p. 158]

Very many of our horses were killed in our two-wheeled carts and
company wagons while taking supplies up to the positions. The horses
killed were eaten, thus helping to keep up the physical strength of the
rank and file. Many of them did not fancy horse-flesh, but, following
the example of others, they ate it, and felt all the better for it. The
following incident will serve to prove that horse-flesh was eventually
much sought after. I do not remember exactly when it was, but a horse
was killed on one occasion near our staff headquarters. That day, for
want of men, we did not remove the carcass, and in the morning the
horse had gone, a few bloodstains only showing where it had lain. We
learnt afterwards that the men on Red Hill had come over, cut it up
into chunks, and divided it amongst themselves.

             *       *       *       *       *

I got up very early on August 24, drank a cup of tea, and, seeing that
all was quiet, went to take my constitutional in the wood on Red Hill.
It was a glorious morning, and I could plainly see the men on the
positions going down to wash.

The smoke of the field kitchens rose up into the clear air; it promised
to be a magnificent day.

I cannot remember how long I sat there amongst the fragrant green
trees, but I should have stayed some considerable time if I had not
been hailed from below. Some one called to me to go with Colonel Irman
to Fort Ta-yang-kou North, upon which I quickly descended the hill,
found my horse already saddled, and in a few minutes we had reached the
fort mentioned by the town road. It would not have been safe to have
gone straight across.

About half-way we passed a battery of 42-mm. guns (No. 4 Redoubt).

I pointed out to the commander of this battery the end of a Japanese
trench, where our scouts said there were some Japanese machine guns
which interfered with our sorties. The embrasures for these guns were
plainly visible through glasses.

Our guns were quickly laid on the target, and after a few ranging shots
the shells began to fall with extraordinary accuracy.

The dangerous end of the trench was destroyed, but I think the guns
remained untouched, perhaps because the Japanese, anticipating the
impending bombardment, had removed them to another spot. It would,
however, give them a whole night’s work to put them into position
again. The 42-mm. gun is a very accurate weapon, and it is a pity that
the effect of its high-explosive shell is so slight as to render it
good only for dismounting the enemy’s pieces. The gun is sufficiently
mobile to be capable of quick and sudden concentration on any fully
exposed hostile battery, a contingency which would, however, rarely
occur, as nowadays all batteries are carefully hidden from the enemy’s
view. Pieces, however, of this type are incapable of coping with heavy
guns, and one would not advocate having many of them in a fortress.
Their real place is in reserve, and not in batteries on the main
fighting positions.

The enemy did not fire a single shot in reply to the 42-mm. guns and
we quietly rode on to Fort Ta-yang-kou North, which we reached a few
minutes later.

Everything was quiet at the fort. The men worked steadily and without
hindrance, but there was an enormous amount to be done, the task
undertaken by the garrison being to construct a covered trench as well
as some splinter-proofs. Splinter-proofs for the gun detachments and
officers had already been constructed, so the fort became more or less
self-contained and able to put up a good defence.

Our riflemen had originally been posted outside the fort, but, with the
completion of a large bomb-proof and covered way with traverses inside,
it was possible for them to occupy the real defensive line and live in
the fort. As always, the officers received us gladly, gave us tea, and
then took us on a tour of inspection. Every one was at his post. The
work was going on apace, and Captain Versi, of the Naval Construction
Department, who was superintending the work on the fort, displayed
great energy and resource. The exits from the ditch were covered, and
the flank ditches well enfiladed from both sides.

A large bomb-proof, impervious alike to rifle and shell fire, was being
constructed for the reserve, but the ground was solid rock, and so the
work was slow. We had finished our inspection and were talking to the
commandant in a splinter-proof, when we heard a loud crash, caused by
the bursting of a large Japanese shell somewhere near.

We all followed Colonel Irman out of the shelter. The gun detachments
were working at their guns, laying them on some far-distant point
from which the enemy’s shell had come. It was dangerous to stand in
the open, so with Colonel Irman I ran to the nearest gun, where the
signaller could always give warning of the coming of a shell. Ere the
guns had been correctly laid, the signaller shouted: “Look out!” I
ran quickly down into a traverse with some sailors. The enemy’s shell
screamed over our heads, and burst with a tremendous report on the
traverse of No. 2 gun. In the twinkling of an eye, the sailors were at
their places and the two 6-inch Canet guns[78] roared forth. I jumped
up to see where our shells fell, and clearly saw two puffs of smoke
on a very far-distant hill, right behind the Japanese positions. “Do
you mean to say there is anything there?” I said to the gun captain
of No. 1 gun. “Yes, sir, it is there all right, we noticed it a long
time ago.” Again the signaller shouted: “Look out!” and we again rushed
under cover while the shell shrieked over us, but this time it went a
long way over and burst somewhere behind the fort. Almost before it had
struck, the sailors were at their guns and two more shells were sent
towards the same spot, and then other forts joined in adding to the
death and destruction.

This artillery duel continued for a long time. We alternately came
out to observe and ran back under cover. Colonel Irman was much more
indifferent to danger than I was. It seemed to me that my position
behind the traverse was not a particularly safe one, and I decided to
change it for a bomb-proof. At the next shout of “Look out!” I put my
idea into execution, but with unfortunate results. A number of men
rushed with me towards the point of safety, we tumbled one on top of
the other, and I found myself among those who had not time to get into
the bomb-proof before the enemy’s shell fell behind us, burst with a
deafening report, and buried us in smoke, stones, and dust.

Luckily, none of us were badly hurt, but I had a large bruise on my
back to carry away with me as a memento of the occasion.

We had paid no attention to the other hills during this bombardment,
but now we saw that the Japanese were evidently preparing for something
very important.

When peace reigned again on Fort Ta-yang-kou North, we noticed that
203 Metre Hill was wreathed in smoke from bursting shell. Apparently,
instead of the usual daily allowance of two or three dozen shell, the
Japanese had already expended more than a hundred rounds on it. This
caused us much anxiety, and we galloped off as hard as we could go to
the position of the staff. When we arrived, we received a message from
203 Metre Hill from Major Stempnevski to the effect that the enemy
was sweeping the hill with artillery, and that the left flank of our
trenches had suffered severely from shell fire.

Namako Yama was also being heavily bombarded, and it was evident that
an assault was imminent. It would be difficult to hold this hill, as
it was swept from front to rear and from flank to flank. We could
hear very heavy firing from the north-eastern section too, where the
situation was evidently even more serious than with us. Namako Yama
was fairly strongly held by six companies.[79] On the right flank were
two 6-inch guns and one quick-firing gun, with Lieutenant Kolmakov in
command. On 203 Metre Hill there were only two companies, the 2nd and
4th of the 5th Regiment, and two quick-firing guns (I do not count the
two short 6-inch guns, as they had been silenced long before). Fearing
for the safety of 203 Metre Hill, I sent another company there from the

Compared with other points, the position of the defenders there was
serious. Food could only be taken up to them at night, and there being
no water at all on the hill, that had to be carried up at night also.
It was impossible for any one to show himself on the skyline. As the
enemy was within a stone’s-throw of the defenders, eight patrols of six
men each had to be furnished at night. There were no junior officers in
the companies, and gun ammunition was very scarce.

Foreseeing the capture of 174 Metre Hill, we had actually begun to
fortify Namako Yama on August 11. The work itself was very heavy,
besides which the rocky nature of the soil and the want of tools
hampered us greatly. A battery for two long 6-inch guns had been
previously constructed on the hill and a road made leading up to
it. The men only worked at night, as it would have been madness to
do so in the daytime in face of the enemy’s heavy fire. It was even
dangerous to move about, and every day we had several men killed there.
The total number of defenders amounted to about 500 men. By day one
section out of each company was in the trenches and furnished sentries
for observation purposes, while three sections slept behind the slope
of the road, which ran the whole length of the hill, where small
splinter-proofs had been made out of planks. After dinner at night the
garrison of the post started work, covering itself with a line of

On the night of August 25–26 I was awakened by heavy rifle firing in
the direction of Division Hill. Soon an orderly galloped up with the
report that the Japanese were climbing up Namako Yama. I threw on my
clothes and galloped off towards Namako Yama, ordering two reserve
companies, posted near the regimental staff quarters, to proceed there

Having reached a spur of Akasaka Yama, I began to watch the battle.
The weather was as bad as it could be, a strong wind was blowing, and
it was raining as well. I felt quite confident, knowing that if the
enemy had not succeeded in coming up unobserved and taking our men by
surprise, he would certainly be beaten back.

At this time our batteries opened fire, at Colonel Irman’s orders, on
the valley in front of Namako Yama, and the whole foreground was lit up
by our star-rockets. In another half-hour our reserve companies came
up, and Colonel Irman also arrived.

Several wounded men who were being carried back from the hill told us
that the Japanese had not climbed up any farther, but were firing from
below, which meant they had been driven off.

In half an hour the firing ceased, and Major Moskvin reported that the
assault had been beaten back with heavy losses to the enemy, who tried
to take us by surprise, but was discovered in good time by the standing
sentries, whose warnings had given our men time to get to their posts.

We had 4 men killed and 16 wounded.

After this attack we made a communication trench from the road above
along the hill to the advanced trenches, because all our casualties had
occurred as our men were running to occupy their trenches.

On the night of September 1–2 the Japanese again tried to take Namako
Yama by surprise, but were driven off by rifle fire and retreated
behind 174 Metre Hill after suffering heavily. We had Lieutenant
Afanaisev and 6 sailors wounded.

For the repulse of these two night attacks, Major Moskvin received the
thanks of the General Officer Commanding, in General Orders, and he and
a number of other officers were recommended for rewards, but they never
got them, owing to the list of rewards recommended being lost.

After these attacks Colonel Irman and I proceeded to Namako Yama on a
visit of inspection, as the Japanese had evidently chosen it as their
point of attack.

This inspection left me with a very bad impression. The trenches were
still very shallow, of overhead cover there was practically none, and
the enemy had posted some batteries behind 174 Metre Hill and on the
slopes of the hills in front of it at a very short range from us; but
our men were in splendid spirits, in spite of the constant heavy fire.

On September 8 the company of Marines on the right flank was relieved
by No. 7 Company of the 28th Regiment. This company had not shown up
very well during the fighting on 174 Metre Hill, but I had no other
unit to send up, and I thought that it would be anxious to redeem its

From September 8 to 17, things were fairly quiet on Namako Yama, but
at the dinner hour, about twelve o’clock, on the 17th, the Japanese
(about one company) made a rush from Extinct Volcano against the right
flank of Namako Yama, and captured the trench occupied by the 7th
Company of the 28th Regiment without firing a shot. The men of the
company were having their dinners at the moment, and had not time to
seize their arms before the Japanese were in the trench. Hearing of
this by telephone from Division Hill, I immediately telephoned an order
that the Japanese were to be driven out of the trench, and received an
answer to the effect that Major Moskvin had ordered the 7th Company
to reoccupy their trench without delay. This company, however, proved
unequal to the task.

An attack by the 1st Company of Marines was also not wholly successful,
as, though a part of the right flank of the trench was retaken, the
Japanese held the other end, and blocked it with rocks and sand-bags.

Alarmed at such a state of affairs, I went with Colonel Irman to the
hill. I personally inspected the place where the Japanese were lodged.
They did not show themselves at all, and there was not a sign of life
anywhere. They had built up a strong barricade, so high that a man
could not climb up it without the help of another.

We could easily have dislodged them with hand grenades, but we had
none. It was absolutely essential that we should drive them out, and as
it seemed to me that it could best be done at night, I gave orders to
that effect accordingly. For some reason, however, the attack did not
come off, the commandant contenting himself with fortifying a small
knoll on the right flank of the Japanese.

On the morning of September 18 the enemy opened such a terrific fire
on the hill with rifles and five guns that came into action at a very
short range, that all our trenches were knocked to pieces, and we
suffered heavy losses.

On this day that splendid officer, Captain Saltovski, commanding the
9th Company, was killed, and the company itself lost 26 killed and 49

The enemy attacked the hill during the day and captured the advanced
trenches of our 9th Company, but the gallant fellows, quite unaided,
reassembled on the crest-line, charged with the bayonet, and recaptured
their ruined trenches. The hill was in a hopeless plight. Surrounded on
all sides, it was an impossible position.

Colonel Irman and I sent a report to this effect to General
Kondratenko, and then rode off to Akasaka Yama to observe and discuss
the chances of holding the hill if it continued to be deluged with such
a fearful fire from all sides.

Apparently there were sufficient men to defend the hill. To send up
reinforcements only meant subjecting them to the enemy’s deadly fire,
as all cover had been demolished, and, moreover, the commandant did not
ask for help, although expecting an attack every moment.

The Japanese concentrated under the hill in considerable numbers,
concealing themselves very cleverly in the folds of the ground.
However, we moved the reserve nearer the hill, but kept the 10th
Company, which was placed on the right flank of Akasaka Yama, in its
former position. Thus the whole day passed. Our 9th Company fought
minus officers. The _moral_ of the troops under this deadly fire was
extraordinary. Towards evening the firing died down, dinners were sent
up to the men, and one company (the 12th of the 13th Regiment, I think)
was sent as a reinforcement to help to hold the place during the night.

Early on the morning of September 19 Colonel Irman and I proceeded
to our observation station. Firing had already commenced, especially
against 203 Metre Hill and Namako Yama. We received a report that the
Japanese were moving in force against these hills, so we expected an
attack on both of them simultaneously. I therefore moved my reserves
to the hollow behind Akasaka Yama, so that they should be under my
hand and easily despatched to either 203 Metre Hill or Namako Yama.
The situation was unchanged, but our men were suffering severely from
the artillery fire. Hence we came to the conclusion that the Japanese
intended to leave things as they were, and compel us to evacuate the
hill without making an attack.

Towards evening Colonel Irman and I became convinced that the Japanese
did not intend to attack, as I had received no reports to the contrary
from the hills. The only report sent in by Major Moskvin was to the
effect that he was organizing an attack on the trenches occupied by the
Japanese, and that, by enfilade fire from the left of the hill, he had
annihilated 1,000 Japanese who had been lying down under 203 Metre Hill.

I was delighted at this success. About 6 p.m. Captain Sirotko, of the
Frontier Guard, who was attached to my regiment, joined me on Akasaka
Yama. I immediately sent him to command our 9th Company on Namako Yama.
In the evening the firing again slackened, dinners were sent up, and
a reinforcement of one company of the Reserve Battalion detailed for
assisting in the night’s work. That night I inspected the works on
203 Metre Hill and Namako Yama. Those on the former were practically
undamaged, but on the latter all were destroyed. I spent the night with
my orderlies in a ravine behind the 10th Company, in the dug-out of the
officer commanding the 10th Company, and slept for three hours.


[71] Meaning Red Hill; situated right in the rear of 203 Metre Hill.

[72] Compare with Official History, Part III., p. 31.

[73] Meaning False Hill (south-east of and closely adjoining 203 Metre

[74] This refers to the north-eastern section of the defence. The
Japanese captured the East and West Pan-lung Redoubts, but obtained no
other advantage for a total loss of 15,000 men. Hence the “successfully
defended.” (See Map III.)

[75] Rear part of work.

[76] A sagene is about 7 feet.

[77] Chiefly directed against the East and West Pan-lung Redoubts. (See
Map III.)

[78] These guns were taken from the ships of the fleet, and were manned
by naval gunners.

[79] See p. 136.

                             CHAPTER VII

Continuation of the struggle for Namako Yama, and abandonment
  of the hill, September 20—The first attacks on 203 Metre Hill,
  September 19–22.

On the morning of September 20 the cannonade commenced very early,
reaching its zenith at about midday. Our men kept low in their trenches
during this veritable hell of fire, which continued for about two
hours. “Will they hold on, or not?” I thought to myself, looking
towards the right flank of Namako Yama, which was being subjected
to the full fury of the bombardment. Our gunners failed to locate
the enemy’s batteries, and thus remained impotent witnesses of the
slaughter of our companies.

Just then I saw the top of the right flank of Namako Yama covered
with grey smoke and the men there rushing headlong down the hill. The
Japanese were using hand grenades charged with pyroxylin and Melinite,
this being the first instance of their use. I immediately sent a report
of what was happening. After the men on the right flank (they were the
7th Company of the 28th Regiment) had run, the others from the battery
and the enemy appeared simultaneously on the crest. A few minutes
later, from the left of the battery behind the crest of the hill,
appeared a group of our men, who opened fire on the Japanese and drove
them off the top.

Unfortunately, our men did not remain where they were, but also ran
back down the hill. Colonel Irman came up just in time to witness the
complete evacuation of the position. It all happened in a very few
minutes. We immediately sent all the officers and orderlies near us
with orders to the retreating companies to stop on Akasaka Yama and
occupy the trenches there, and I also moved the whole of my reserve

Our artillery was evidently watching the course of the fight on Namako
Yama, for, as soon as we had evacuated it, our shells fell like hail on
the summit, and the Japanese disappeared like smoke before the wind.
This enabled us to occupy Akasaka Yama at our ease, and in the night we
fortified ourselves strongly.

I think it would be interesting to describe the action of our 9th
Company during the last minutes of the defence of Namako Yama.

When Captain Sirotko arrived, he found the company in a critical
position. Acting Ensign Anikin of the 27th Regiment was in command.
The trenches were in ruins and enfiladed from two sides by rifle fire,
and from 174 Metre Hill by gun fire as well. Piles of dead bodies were
heaped up all round, blocking the trenches at various points.

The right flank of the company’s trench was connected with that of
the 7th Company of the 28th Regiment, of which the enemy now held
possession,[80] and from which was enfiladed the trench of the 9th
Company. Lower down, behind the rocks in front of the trench, was
another small party of Japanese.

Wishing to find out in what strength the enemy held the 7th Company’s
trench, Captain Sirotko called for volunteers to attack them. Twelve
men came forward and made a rush, but they were met by a volley from
about 100 Japanese, losing five men, whereupon they retired. Having
reported this to Major Moskvin, Captain Sirotko received an order that
the 7th Company of the 28th Regiment and one company of Marines were to
attack and drive the enemy out of the trench.

About 8 a.m. three Japanese batteries of heavy guns, posted in a
valley behind 174 Metre Hill, four quick-firing guns from 174 Metre
Hill itself, and five or seven heavy guns that came into action on
Connecting Ridge, near the Chinese temple, all of them concealed from
our batteries, opened fire with high-explosive shell and shrapnel.

By about 2 p.m. only 48 men were left out of the original 155 in the
9th Company; many of them were wounded, and nearly all more or less
injured by stones and clods of earth. The trench was quite full of the
bodies of the fallen.

Captain Sirotko asked that an emplacement to his left might be
occupied, so Major Moskvin sent 50 men of the Reserve Battalion for
that purpose. These, however, occupied a communication trench near
that of the 9th Company instead of the position assigned to them,
and subsequently ran off precipitately the moment a few shells fell
near them. Just then the gun fire slackened, but firing continued on
the right flank, and strong columns were seen advancing from Extinct
Volcano, one of which began to turn No. 9 Company’s right flank.

Captain Sirotko could not see a single man in the upper tier of
trenches above him—they had all retreated. Then he ordered the remnants
of the company, and also Melinkov with his 30 Marines, to abandon
the trenches. At this time there was not a single non-commissioned
officer on Namako Yama, except those left in the splinter-proofs. In
the trenches of the 12th Company of the 13th Regiment there remained
only a sentry and one non-commissioned officer, who had been forgotten
by their company and did not know that their comrades had retreated.
Akasaka Yama was alive with retreating men. Captain Sirotko, with the
remainder of his company, opened fire on the Japanese who showed on the
crest of the hill, compelling them to take cover, and thus giving all
those left alive time to retreat quietly on to Akasaka Yama.


The Japanese commenced their bombardment of 203 Metre Hill and Namako
Yama simultaneously. I thought that they were going to attack Namako
Yama first, but was mistaken. I must mention in this connection that
the fortifications on 203 Metre Hill were now so strong as to be
practically impervious to 6-inch shells, and a heavy bombardment with
projectiles of that type would make but slow progress. From this it was
inferred that an assault on 203 Metre Hill would have to be somewhat
later than the one on Namako Yama, which was defended by but weak
entrenchments. It would not be worth while, we thought, for the enemy
to indulge merely in “sweeping” fire.[81]

[Illustration: PLATE I



About 3 p.m. on September 5 a Japanese battery had opened fire on 203
Metre Hill, and on the 6th it was observed that the enemy had during
the preceding night placed two guns in a covered position behind 174
Metre Hill, with which he began to sweep the rifle pits on 203 Metre
Hill (see Plate I.). From the 7th onwards it was noticed that the enemy
was massing troops behind Siedlovy (Saddle)[82] and 174 Metre Hills,
until he had there, by September 14, about one brigade of infantry,
with a squadron of cavalry; and from this date the enemy began to
fortify himself strongly on Connecting Ridge and its offshoots.

At daybreak on September 19 two companies attacked[83] our outposts on
the spurs of 203 Metre Hill, captured their positions, and began to dig
themselves in. Our artillery and rifle fire several times put a stop
to their work, compelling them to take cover, but they nevertheless
finally made good their hold on the trenches and began to pour in a hot
rifle and gun fire on 203 Metre Hill.

From all this it could reasonably be concluded that they had decided
to make an attack. When, therefore, Major Stempnevski (sen.), the
commandant of the hill, asked for reinforcements, I sent him the 1st
Company of the 28th Regiment, under Second-Lieutenant Protasevitch,
who reached the hill at 6 p.m., the 11th Company of the 27th Regiment,
under Captain Churbanov, and the 7th Company of the 27th Regiment,
under Major Jeltkevitch, both of whom arrived at 8 p.m. Altogether
there were on the hill on September 19, 480 bayonets, 50 gunners, 2
miners, 6 telephonists, and 6 Marines.[84]

Of guns, there were the following: two 6-inch, two heavy battery, and
two quick-firing guns on the col between 203 Metre Hill and Akasaka
Yama, also two 37-mm. guns, four machine guns, and one mortar for
throwing pyroxylin bombs.

About 5 p.m. on the 19th the mortar was dismounted by a shell, and one
6-inch, one heavy, and two machine guns were disabled.

On the arrival of the companies the commandant disposed them as
follows: the 1st Company of the 28th Regiment, and half the 11th
Company of the 27th Regiment in the trenches on the right flank, the
remainder in the reserve.

At 8.30 p.m., as the enemy was seen advancing on the left flank, the
commandant sent half the 11th Company, 27th Regiment to occupy the
stone-hewn trenches on the very top of the hill, so that it could pick
off the Japanese as they climbed up on to the roofs of the bomb-proofs
along the main trenches.

At that time there were no redoubts on the top of 203 Metre Hill.

The 7th Company, 27th Regiment was placed in reserve behind the 11th

The enemy did not for a second cease his rifle and machine-gun fire
from Saddle Hill. He commenced his attacks at 10 p.m., advancing always
in dense columns. Though our riflemen and gunners from the neighbouring
batteries and trenches caused fearful havoc among the attackers, the
Japanese nevertheless reached the wire entanglement and cut it in two
places; however, they could not get any farther, as our volleys swept
them away by the hundred. Our 8th Company, which was occupying False
Hill, and was thus acting on the enemy’s flank, rendered great service
in destroying the enemy. A few Japanese, however, succeeded in reaching
our trenches, but, when there, were killed by hand grenades. Throughout
the night the enemy’s infantry continued their attack, supported by
fire from every kind of gun, but at about 9 a.m. they retired into
the ravines and valleys behind Connecting Ridge. In these attacks the
Japanese lost more than 1,500 men in killed alone.

At 7 a.m. on the 20th the enemy’s artillery swept the hill with fire,
but about 10 a.m. changed its objective to Namako Yama, which was
finally captured at 2 p.m., as already described. At 4 p.m. fire was
again directed on 203 Metre Hill, and the enemy’s infantry began to
concentrate behind Connecting Ridge.

The troops in question were collected in order to relieve those that
had attacked the hill on the 7th. That night they made several attacks,
one after the other, but each time were beaten back with heavy losses.
We were greatly indebted to our star-rockets for the repulse of all
these night attacks. However, a section of Japanese fought its way into
our trenches, and occupied one large bomb-proof and one small one where
we had a Maxim.[85]

The news of this reached me at daybreak on the 21st, on Akasaka Yama,
where work was proceeding on the trenches, and whence I watched the
fighting[86] on 203 Metre Hill. This intelligence was so alarming that
I returned to the staff headquarters, where I found Colonel Irman, who,
at Major Stempnevski’s request, sent up one company from the reserve
(our 6th Company).

Reinforced by this company, the garrison of the hill made a
counter-attack and retook a large portion of the half-ruined trench
previously seized by the Japanese. A small body of the latter, however,
still held the two bomb-proofs, and could not be turned out, and thus
the part of the trench between these two bomb-proofs also remained in
their hands. Unfortunately, this was the identical piece of trench in
front of which was “dead ground” to all our batteries. The enemy could
consequently pass freely and in safety to and from their comrades
lodged in our trench. This was no novel experience for us, but I well
knew the danger of it.

In order to prevent the Japanese from spreading along the trench, our
6th Company was ordered to occupy both ends of it. Our assailants tried
several times to climb right up to the top of the hill, but were driven
back on each occasion. Finally, the commandant sent a portion of the
6th Company there, and the gallant fellows, standing out in the open
all day under shrapnel fire, prevented the enemy from reaching the
summit of the hill. All this was plainly visible to the staff, who were
tremendously impressed by our men’s splendid behaviour.

That evening, at my orders, the top of the hill was surrounded with
a ring of small trenches, and during the night these trenches were
connected up with the batteries on the right flank of the hill, which
measure rendered our position fairly safe.

Several desperate attacks were successfully repulsed, in spite of
the fact that the first of them was made before the completion of
the trenches, when our men had to stand up in them without any cover
under a perfect storm of shells. They _had_ to stand up, as they could
not fire down the steep slope of the hill in a sitting position. The
situation was critical. We were losing men so fast under the terrific
fire that the companies were literally melting away minute by minute.
An endless stream of wounded continued to be carried away from the
hill all through the night. In view of this, Colonel Irman sent for
reinforcements from the general reserve, all our local reserves having
been used up.

Danger threatened 203 Metre Hill’s other neighbours, especially the
left flank of Akasaka Yama, where there was some dead ground right up
under the trenches.

My own personal observations from early morning on September 20, from
Akasaka Yama, were as follows: everything was quiet on the rear side
of 203 Metre Hill, in spite of the shells bursting over it, as if
the garrison were in no danger whatever. The companies were standing
quietly in the trenches, visible to us. The trenches themselves were,
apparently, very little damaged. Thank God! only a few shells had
pierced the roofs of the bomb-proofs. Only one bomb-proof on the right
flank of the hill, facing 174 Metre Hill, was seriously damaged.
There was not a single Japanese to be seen anywhere. They are indeed
a wonderful people! But the rattle of musketry did not cease for a
second. The enemy was firing from the trenches surrounding the hill,
chiefly from Saddle Hill. The dull reports of bursting shell did little
more than deafen the men in the bomb-proofs. A veritable blizzard of
lead swept the rear of the hill and the road leading along the top, and
huddled up beneath the steep embankment of the latter sat some of the

               ITS RIGHT FLANK.

p. 180]

Judging by present appearances, it seemed as though we were not in
such a very bad way, though the part of our trenches occupied by
the Japanese was a thorn in my side. I knew from experience that
this foreboded the final capture of the hill, and incidentally the
destruction of our fleet. Colonel Irman, I believe, watched 203 Metre
Hill from the side of False Hill. No living man was visible from that
side, but from both Akasaka Yama and False Hill the Japanese dead were
to be seen in piles. In the ravine at the foot of 203 Metre Hill there
were hundreds, if not thousands, of them.

After half an hour’s observation I returned to the staff. Everything
was as quiet there as if the fortress was not threatened with any
danger. But dark clouds were gathering.

A report came in from Division Hill that large bodies of Japanese
infantry were moving towards 174 Metre Hill.

It became imperative to drive the enemy out of our trench on 203 Metre
Hill. An idea occurred to me to roll a large naval mine down on the
occupants, as some of the other forts had done. General Kondratenko and
Colonel Irman approving of my scheme, I at once sent for Lieutenant
Podgourski, who was a specialist in these matters. This was late in the
evening, so he promised to come in the morning with some mines. Having
little hope of success with the large mines, I asked him to bring, in
addition, small ones (from 6 to 10-lb. bombs), and we decided to attack
the Japanese in the bomb-proofs with these missiles.

Our losses during these two days (_i.e._ September 19 and 20) were as
follows: In the 2nd Company, out of 141 men there were left, including
slightly wounded, 83; in the 4th Company, 48 out of 167; in the 11th
Company of the 27th Regiment, 96 out of 140; and of No. 7 Company of
the 27th Regiment, and No. 1 Company of the 28th Regiment half their
strength was _hors de combat_. During this time also the following
officers were killed: Major Jeltkevitch, commanding the 7th Company of
the 27th Regiment, and Ensign Diantrougov, the junior officer of the
1st Company, 28th Regiment.

It was an unfortunate idea of Father Slounin to bury the dead near the
road leading from 203 Metre Hill to the staff headquarters. The sight
of our dead heroes, lying in long rows along that road, was bound to
leave a bad impression on those who passed by.

As evening drew to a close, taking advantage of a temporary lull, I
sent another company from the reserve with tools and sand-bags to work
on 203 Metre Hill; it was absolutely imperative to strengthen our
trenches on the top of the hill by means of sand-bags. This company,
being our last reserve, was to return in the morning. As far as I
remember, it was on this night that two companies of the 27th Regiment
arrived which we had asked of General Kondratenko for strengthening the
works on Akasaka Yama. They were sent there forthwith, and remained
until the end of the siege.

I was deadbeat that day, and when I got the chance, I threw myself down
and snatched a few minutes’ sleep. In consequence of the wide extent
of ground covered by our command, both Colonel Irman and myself were
utterly worn out.

On the morning of September 21 the enemy’s fire against 203 Metre
Hill increased in volume. We had a splendid view of the hill from the
trenches near the quarters of the staff. As I was watching, I plainly
saw a Japanese flag waving over the bomb-proof on the left. I ran
to the telephone and asked what was the meaning of it, to which the
commandant answered that he knew nothing about the flag, and that
everything was all right on the hill. The Japanese were sitting quietly
in their trenches. I gave orders for the flag to be taken down, and
was glad to see that it had disappeared a few minutes afterwards. Some
Japanese soldier had crawled up during the night and stuck it into
the roof; but how he did it, no one knew. That morning 203 Metre Hill
and the part of Akasaka Yama lying nearest to it were subjected to a
tremendous fire from the Japanese heavy artillery, and we expected an
assault every moment; the more so, as we noticed that the enemy had
concentrated a very large force right under 203 Metre Hill. We also
received a telephone message from Lao-tieh Shan telling us that a body
of Japanese was in position in a large flat-bottomed ravine at the foot
of 203 Metre Hill.

We were unable to see them from any point, but it was obvious that they
had been moved there for the decisive attack on the hill in question.
In response to a call for immediate reinforcements we received two
companies, which I sent closer to the hill, so as to be within easy
call. The roar of the cannonade round the hill increased meanwhile.

Podgourski now arrived with his mines, which were sent to the hill. The
Japanese evidently intended to destroy, if they could, every living
thing on the hill and then to occupy it. Anyhow, they delayed their
attack, which we expected every moment.

Just then I received bad news. While attempting to take the trench
occupied by the Japanese, Second-Lieutenant Pogdanovitch was killed
instantaneously, and the attack failed; the 1st Company of the 28th
Regiment lost heavily, but fought magnificently. The death of this
gallant young officer was a heavy blow to me. There were not many like
him left.

“Well, if Podgourski’s mines are a failure, I don’t know what will be
our next step. God grant that we can hold on to our positions, and
then it will be time to decide that difficult question,” I thought to
myself. Firing ceased; which meant the attack was imminent. I ordered
the reserve companies to move right up to the foot of 203 Metre Hill;
and Colonel Irman reported this fact to General Kondratenko, and asked
for two more companies to reinforce him.

Colonel Irman and I rode to Akasaka Yama, where one had a better view
of the positions and of 203 Metre Hill, but though the attack was at
its height, we did not see a single Japanese. Apparently they were
attacking along the narrow strip of cliff on 203 Metre Hill which was
hidden from view from all our positions. We concluded that the assault
was being driven home in small detached parties.

The rifle fire directed on 203 Metre Hill from all the neighbouring
hills occupied by the Japanese was simply terrific. Bullets were flying
in all directions; it was dangerous to stand out in the open, even far
away to the rear, and one of my horses, which was in a place apparently
quite safe, was hit in the foreleg. Now one of the reserve companies
had climbed up to the hill; in another hour the second was almost
there. It became necessary to think about further reinforcements. In an
unbroken line the wounded were being brought back from the hill. At
this moment I heard heavy rifle firing from Division Hill, but I had
not a single man to send there. If the enemy were now about to attack
there also, we should indeed be in a very bad plight.

It was now that Midshipman Doudkin opened fire with his small guns.
Our telephones were silent. The strain was awful. If the Japanese took
Division Hill, communication between 203 Metre Hill, Akasaka Yama,
and False Hill would become extremely difficult. I reassured myself
with the thought that Fort Yi-tzu Shan would prevent the Japanese from
advancing too far. Meanwhile I sent an orderly to Division Hill to find
out what was happening there. We had a splendid view of the rear of
203 Metre Hill, and could clearly see what every man was doing. We saw
how the companies, on reaching the hill, wriggled along like snakes to
the different parts of the trenches, and then disappeared into them,
how every now and then a man would make a dash for the commandant’s
bomb-proof, and then pick his way back again to the top of the hill,
how they carried the wounded back to the dressing station—in a word,
every movement of the defenders was plainly visible from our point of
observation. For a long time we received no reports, but at last one
came in from 203 Metre Hill. Three attacks had been beaten back, with
enormous losses to the enemy; but the commandant felt sure that the
attacks would be renewed, and therefore considerable reinforcements
were indispensable. He also reported that they had found it impossible
to roll the mines down upon the Japanese, and that things in general
were in a very bad way. There were very few men left, and practically
no officers.

Soon after Lieutenant Podgourski[87] came back from the hill with
his sailors (we had by then returned to the staff headquarters) and
promised to bring smaller bombs, from 6 to 10 pounds in weight, on the

Podgourski informed us that unless we sent up one company to 203 Metre
Hill, it would be taken, as the men were physically and morally worn
out. Fortunately, a reserve company arrived, and I immediately sent it
to the hill, and Colonel Irman sent a despairing message for at least
two more companies to reinforce us. We heard afterwards that the sight
of the company coming to their help had had a most reassuring effect on
the commandant, officers, and men.

The situation seemed to be so hopeless that one of the artillery
officers suggested that the hill should be abandoned, since there was
no hope of holding it. But Major Stempnevski was the first to say
that, even though every one else left the hill, he would remain with
his one company. Captain Alander supported him, declaring that if the
2nd Company remained, the 4th would stand by it. Just at this moment
the reinforcing company was seen coming up. A ringing cheer went
up, and the heroic defence continued. It was reported from Division
Hill that the enemy had occupied a position in front of the hill and
opened a very heavy rifle fire; to which we replied that the enemy
had apparently no reserves there, and that this was probably only a
demonstration, as it eventually turned out to be.


p. 187]

The Japanese attacking 203 Metre Hill did not merely restrict
themselves to ground unswept by fire from any point, but would have
crept up the northern side of the hill, had they not been driven back
by the fire from Akasaka Yama and those trenches on 203 Metre Hill
which were more or less undamaged. As a result they showed themselves
there no more.

In the evening (September 21) two companies of the 14th Regiment
arrived. Captain Yarsevitch, commanding one of them, was well known
to all for his courage and enterprise. I gave him the necessary
orders, and expressed the hope that his company would drive the
Japanese out of the trench captured by them, and that the hill would
be ours. Reinforced by these companies the commandant was to make a
counter-attack, and I felt sure that they would clear the hill of the
Japanese during the night. The companies of the 14th Regiment marched
off. Having asked for permission to have a rest (he was utterly worn
out), Major Stempnevski (sen.) came to the staff headquarters that
evening. With him were relieved the 2nd and 4th Companies of the 5th
Regiment, and the 1st Company of the 28th Regiment. The men of the last
mentioned had lost heart somewhat, and were in a state of exhaustion
after the three days’ ceaseless fighting.

Colonel Irman and I met the gallant companies and showered on them
thanks and praise. The men were in good spirits, but one could not see
their faces for the thick coating of dust on them.

In place of the companies I had withdrawn, I sent the 2nd Company of
the 13th Regiment and the 4th Company of the 28th, and appointed
Captain Sichev commandant of the hill in place of Major Stempnevski

Night fell. Everything was apparently quiet. At times the enemy fired
a few heavy shell at 203 Metre Hill, at other times rifle firing broke
out and then again ceased, while occasionally the star-rockets, fired
from the hill, brilliantly lit up the enemy’s positions, and the heavy
guns on our hills fired a few rounds, the riflemen meanwhile opening
fire on any Japanese caught out in the open.

Colonel Irman, Captain Baum,[88] Lieutenant Kostoushko,[89] and I sat
in the staff headquarters, deliberating as to what was to be done
with the Japanese who had got into our trench on 203 Metre Hill. It
seemed to us that without very careful organization a counter-attack
would not stand much chance of success by day. On the other hand, it
was impossible to make this attack in the night, as the enemy could
concentrate large reserves against us, follow us up the hill, and,
completely outnumbering us, creep close up behind as we withdrew, and
finally drive us entirely off the hill.

In view of the paramount necessity for decisive action on 203 Metre
Hill, I had already sent Major Stempnevski (who had had a certain
amount of rest) back with 20 men who had volunteered from the 2nd
and 4th Companies of my regiment. As he knew every inch of 203 Metre
Hill, Major Stempnevski was ordered to assist the new commandant
in organizing an attack on the Japanese then in occupation of our

Considering the importance of the intended attack, I wished to go
myself to the hill. I sent to General Kondratenko for two more
companies, but he refused to let me have them, proposing to undertake
some movement himself. Thus it but remained for me to see in the
morning from what part I could best withdraw two companies.

At this moment an officer was brought in on a stretcher, and I
was horrified to see that it was our gallant Captain Yarsevitch,
wounded in the chest. I ran to him and asked him if he was badly
hurt, whereupon he pointed to his right breast, saying in a very
feeble voice: “It’s nothing—I shall get over it. It’s all right on
the hill ... they can fight a bit longer ... successfully ... but
they must be relieved ... they have had no sleep and are deadbeat.
Let them take me to the hospital.” Having assured him that his wound
was not dangerous, we turned away determined that we would get men,
cost what it might, to relieve the garrison of the hill, knowing,
however, that it was almost an impossibility, as _we_ had no men,
and in the centre,[90] where there were some reserves, they might
be more needed than with us, seeing that there also the fighting
had been very fierce. Not without cause had General Kondratenko
left us to our own devices.

Captain Yarsevitch was wounded as he rushed at the head of his company
on the trench occupied by the Japanese. Met by a hot fire, and seeing
the fall of their commander, the men picked him up and ran back. How
important it is that a company should respect and love its commanding
officer! The men did everything for him that could possibly be done.

Early on the morning of the 22nd the cannonade, with its resulting
stream of wounded from 203 Metre Hill, recommenced. The reserves had
not arrived, but we received information that the enemy was collecting
in large force under 203 Metre Hill. One might almost say that we were
helpless, as we had not a single man in reserve.

Then an order came from General Smirnov directing us “To send
immediately two quick-firing guns to the rear against the Japanese
collecting under 203 Metre Hill.” Colonel Irman, Colonel Romanovski,
Major Gobiato, and other gunner officers had a long discussion as to
which guns were to be withdrawn. At last they decided to telephone to
Lieutenant Yasinski to move from the Lao-tieh Shan positions through
the _kao-liang_ towards Pigeon Bay, to the rear of the Japanese. The
message was sent, and Colonel Irman himself rode off in that direction,
leaving me at the telephone. Scarcely two hours had passed before some
one caught sight of him galloping towards our headquarters as hard as
he could ride. We ran out to meet him. “Victory! Victory!” shouted our
Colonel, riding up to the door. We deluged him with questions.

“The Japanese are in full retreat from under 203 Metre Hill and the
trenches near it,” he shouted as he dismounted. Lieutenant Yasinski had
ranged on the very centre of them, in one minute had destroyed half
of them, and in another most of the survivors. Completely demoralized,
off they went helter-skelter, like partridges, and even evacuated their
trenches on Saddle Hill.

We were like mad people; I do not think I had ever experienced such a
feeling of joy.

A little later Lieutenant Podgourski arrived with his small 6–10 lb.
bombs. But as we had no reserves we could not withdraw a single man,
the enemy being in force before all the hills.

Podgourski proceeded to 203 Metre Hill. Everything was quiet there
now; even the rifle fire had ceased. I still awaited the advent of the
two companies which I intended to send up to drive off the Japanese,
because I put such little faith in the efficiency of the bombs. It
seemed to me that those who had to throw them would not be able to get
near enough to the Japanese trenches.

Hardly an hour had passed since Podgourski’s departure, when several
terrific explosions were heard from 203 Metre Hill, followed by some
dozen minor ones and then an outburst of rifle fire. We heard a
“Hurrah!” shouted through the telephone. The Japanese were decimated
by the bombs, and the remainder shot as they ran down the hill.
Our spirits rose, and a gasp of relief was heard on the receipt of
this message. I immediately sent a report of the result to General

This is what had taken place. On the arrival of Lieutenant Podgourski,
Captain Sichev, Major Stempnevski and Captain Kramorenko (to whose
initiative the attack was mainly due) formed the following plan: to
call for volunteers among the officers and men to attack the Japanese
with the bombs, to divide them into two parties, and, on a rocket being
fired, one party to act from one flank of the trench and the other from
the other flank. Lieutenant Podgourski was to take charge of one party.
As arranged, the two parties started off in absolute silence towards
their objectives. Then Lieutenant Podgourski with three volunteers,
Riflemen Trufanov and Butorin of the 4th Company of the 5th Regiment,
and Fomeenitch, a sailor, wriggled up on their stomachs to the trench,
and there set the fuses of their bombs. The distance was yet rather
far for throwing, but as it seemed impossible to crawl any nearer
without being observed, they decided to have a try. Fomeenitch was
the first to throw his bomb, but it fell short. The enemy did not pay
the slightest attention. As the signal had not yet been given, it was
decided not to throw any more bombs for the present. Then, seeing that
they were not in a good position for throwing, Lieutenant Podgourski
and Fomeenitch crawled along to the other flank and joined Captain
Kramorenko’s detachment. They then succeeded in getting quite close
to the bomb-proofs, and Lieutenant Podgourski threw his bomb, which,
however, also fell short.

“Let me have another try, sir,” said Fomeenitch to Lieutenant
Podgourski, and the 10-lb. missile, hurled with a strong arm and true
aim, fell right into the entrance to the bomb-proof. There was a
deafening roar, and a great column of smoke, combined with fragments
of planks, beams, iron girders, and shattered limbs, shot high into
the air. All the other men then ran out into the open and threw their
bombs. With a terrific roar the bomb-proofs were blown to pieces.
Clods of earth, pieces of planks and beams, and fragments of human
bodies fell all round our brave fellows. Those of the Japanese who
were left alive fled down the hill, but were all shot down by Captain
Kramorenko’s men. All was over in two minutes.[91]

Praise and all honour to Podgourski and Kramorenko! Our joy knew no
bounds, whereas the Japanese were literally dumbfounded.


p. 193]

Their futile, but desperate, attacks had cost them some thousands of
men,[92] whose bodies were strewn over all the slopes of 203 Metre Hill
and choked the ravines at the foot of it.

On the following day (September 23) we collected a number of rifles and
digging tools. We walked freely about 203 Metre Hill and its environs,
and did not hear a single shot from the Japanese. The enemy’s artillery
also was silent, and if we had only had one more division, we could
have retaken all our old positions, the Japanese having apparently
abandoned them.

Parties of Chinese were sent out to collect the bodies on 203 Metre
Hill, and they dug pits on the spot and buried the dead in them. Our
men were laid to rest near the headquarters of the staff. Many of the
dead had lain for a long time in the trenches on 203 Metre Hill among
its living defenders.

Rest ye in peace, brave men! Your heroic deeds will bear such fruit on
Russian soil that thousands like unto you will arise hereafter.


[80] Namako Yama was defended by two tiers of trenches, an upper and a
lower, and this was part of the lower line that had been captured (see
p. 174, where the upper tier is mentioned).

[81] Probably the author means that to effect anything an assault
would be necessary, as the defenders, safely ensconced in their now
well-constructed trenches, had nothing to fear from a mere bombardment.

[82] In future references the term “Saddle Hill” will be used. This
position is the saddle joining the southern extremity of 203 Metre Hill
to Connecting Ridge.

[83] No mention of any _attack_ is made on this date (19th) in our
Official History; this was probably a preliminary movement to the main
assault fixed for the next day.

[84] The numbers here given again differ widely from those given in
our Official History. Here 500 is about the total, and the Official
History gives 1,500 (Official History, Part III., p. 61)—a considerable
difference. Note the numbers on p. 181. Assuming that companies were at
this time about 140 strong only, the total of these five comes to 714
(700 + 2 + 6 + 6), which, with gunners, gives a total of 764.

[85] All this preliminary fighting is not described in our Official
History, but the lodgment effected by the Japanese on the 20th in the
Russian bomb-proof is mentioned.

[86] See p. 180.

[87] He had apparently failed to keep his previous promise (see par. 2,
p. 181).

[88] Staff Officer to Colonel Irman.

[89] Orderly Officer to Colonel Tretyakov.

[90] This refers to the Japanese attacks and capture of the Waterworks
and Temple Redoubts. (See Map III.)

[91] Official History affirms that this was done with 15-lb. charges,
but according to our narrative the heavier charges failed.

[92] The Japanese casualties amounted to about 2,500.

                            CHAPTER VIII

Making good damages, and strengthening and supplementing the works
  on the various hills.

The following morning (September 24) the damage done to our trenches
and batteries was thoroughly surveyed, and we at once eagerly set to
work to renew those that had been ruined, and to complete those left

Several bomb-proofs had been shattered by heavy shell, while some had
collapsed owing to the shells striking the parapet on which the baulks
supporting the roofs rested.

The trenches themselves were so very shallow that one could not stand
upright in the blindages. General Fock, who also came to the hill to
inspect the works, was very much dissatisfied. He gave orders that the
trenches should be deepened to 7 feet (the ground was solid rock), and
the overhead cover of the blindages strengthened by a thickness of
stone sufficient to render them proof against heavy shells (3-1/2 feet
stone and 14 inches earth); that the 6- and 8-inch beams holding the
roofs should be supported on 8-inch uprights; that a bomb-proof should
be made for the commandant and officers, and for the sergeant-major and
the non-commissioned officers; that the battery on the right flank
should be made into a redoubt; that a redoubt should be hewn out of the
rock on the left flank and supplied with an inner ditch, 3 feet deep,
with vertical sides; and that an abattis of wire entanglements should
be constructed in front of it, and bomb-proofs with iron roofs inside

Throughout this day wagons containing every kind of material made their
way to 203 Metre Hill. Workmen swarmed on the hill like bees, but the
enemy did not disturb us by a single shot.

I was glad to find that two sapper officers were placed under my
orders—Major Gemmelmann, and Ensign Yermakov, a capable and practical
man. I detailed the latter to supervise the work in progress on the top
of 203 Metre Hill.

His idea was to resort to blasting, and I was in complete accord, as
our digging tools were almost worthless in the hard rocky soil.

I had already drawn the trace of a redoubt for one company on Akasaka
Yama, the soil of which was similar, and had put Major Mousious there
with his company to make it.

I gave orders for the existing trenches on False Hill to be bent back
so that the slopes of 203 Metre Hill could be swept by fire from the
south-west. Everywhere work was being pushed forward at top speed.

Paralysed by their defeats, the Japanese showed no signs of life for
three days. During these three days the hundred or so of Chinamen whom
we employed were unable to collect all the bodies, and it was hardly
possible to breathe on 203 Metre Hill from the overpowering stench. The
bodies of the Japanese remained in the ravines near the hill until the
very end of the siege.

I had succeeded in obtaining some hundreds of poods of barbed wire,
and with this I hoped to be able to render 203 Metre Hill impregnable
against all ordinary attacks. The work became interesting to the whole
garrison, and especially so to the 5th Regiment, whose honour was bound
up in the fate of that bloodstained height.

After the September attacks had failed, we had a fairly quiet time
in my section of the defence, and my first thought was to give the
companies occupying 203 Metre Hill every opportunity of resting.

We replaced them with others, and the defenders were quartered near the
headquarters of the staff. O God! I shall never forget the sight they
presented as they descended the hill. Emaciated, ragged, and so caked
with dirt that it was impossible to see the colour of their faces, but
in splendid spirits nevertheless. All the companies had lost at least
two-thirds of their strength in killed and wounded. Colonel Irman and I
took it in turns to compliment and praise them. There were only 70 of
my men left. On my recommending some of them for St. George’s Crosses,
I received the ironical reply from General Fock that “out of 70 men I
had recommended half for rewards.” General Fock forgot, of course, that
these 70 represented one-third of the original strength, and that there
had been more than 200 of them originally[93] on 203 Metre Hill.

Seeing that the Japanese had become quite listless, we began to work
openly by day. This made things much easier for us everywhere, and
especially on Akasaka Yama and the left flank of Division Hill.

Almost the whole of the 27th Regiment was placed under my orders
for the manning of our defensive positions and fighting line, which
were, on the whole, very weak. As they did not come all together, but
arrived by companies, they were posted on different hills, as were also
companies of other regiments which were sent up at various times.

By General Kondratenko’s orders the 5th Regiment was distributed over
all the hills, in order to render the defence more stubborn.

Leaving us in comparative peace, the Japanese began to bombard the town
on September 24, and it became dangerous to walk about in it.

Our central forts also had begun to suffer from the enemy’s gun fire.
We constantly saw big shells bursting near Forts Yi-tzu Shan and
Ta-an-tzu Shan.

             *       *       *       *       *

From the beginning of September it began to get cold at night, and we
had to think of making winter arrangements for the troops. Again we had
to collect material and carry it on to the position, but how could our
horses do this work without fodder? It was not good for the men either
to be without meat. We had had no beef from September 10, and were
eating nothing but horse-flesh.

In the summer the men could be quartered in the actual fighting line;
officers and men slept in the open air in their trenches, or in tents
pitched in safe positions behind the trenches. But this was impossible
in the winter. So, by my orders, warm bomb-proofs (of the type shown
in Plate No. II.), designed by the company commanders themselves, were
constructed in the trenches. We had also to make closed-in places for
the company kitchens, and, lastly, we had to have baths, as the men
were beginning to suffer greatly from vermin.

[Illustration: PLATE II


We wanted an enormous number of sand-bags for completing the trenches,
and barbed wire for making entanglements. Our regimental supplies of
material and tools had, therefore, to be augmented, and we had also to
hunt about for carpenters.

The gunners were appealed to for help to bring up everything needed
on to the positions, and in response they gave us several dozen
four-horsed wagons.

Thanks to the short rest and peace that reigned in our section, both
officers and men somewhat recovered their spirits. On various pretexts
officers began to collect at the staff headquarters and in the quarters
of the officer commanding the western front.

Various rumours, exaggerated of course, were recounted, the probable
intentions of the Japanese were discussed, and interesting anecdotes
related; in a word, we were all in the best of spirits in spite of the
meagreness of our table, which boasted little more than horse-flesh and

With what zest did we not devour that bitter root! There was plenty of
vodka and wine to be had, but I hardly ever saw any one drunk.

The enemy now turned all his attention to our centre,[94] and the
roar of gun and rifle fire rolled down to us continuously from that
quarter. I often, during my tour of inspection round the positions, saw
curling puffs of smoke from bursting shrapnel over the forts in the

It was not by any means pleasant in the town. Shells fell not only
on the houses, but on the hospitals. A shell bursting in the town
wounded our Paymaster, Lieutenant Frost, in the face and head,
Second-Lieutenant Bobirev in the head, Father Vasili slightly in the
head, and Captain Felitzin also. I therefore ordered the horses to be
picketed on the left flank, near the staff of the 28th Regiment, as it
was unsafe to leave them in their old places on Red Hill. The advantage
of the strong bomb-proofs which I had made for the reserves behind Red
Hill, and on the right flank in front of the naval barracks, in the
very heart of the town, was now apparent.

On October 1 we learnt that the enemy had brought up 11-inch howitzers.
This was serious news for us. One could feel that 203 Metre Hill was
practically safe against 6-inch projectiles, but 11-inch were a very
different matter. I had thought that the enemy would never be able to
take 203 Metre Hill and Akasaka Yama. What was to be done now?

Colonel Irman and I thought long and earnestly over this difficult
question, but we could see only one solution—to delve deeper into the
rock. We decided to do so, hoping that the accuracy of the 11-inch
howitzers would not be very great, though I must acknowledge that I did
not put much faith in this supposition. Report said that the 11-inch
shells were coming from behind Feng-huang Shan, which was only 5
versts from our positions, and I knew what our long 10-inch guns could
do at 10 versts.

That evening a large number of officers gathered in the staff
headquarters, officers of all arms being present, among whom there was
much discussion and talk about the 11-inch howitzers. Finally they
comforted themselves with somebody’s remark that Port Arthur would not
be taken by one 11-inch gun.

Thereupon some began to protest against such an argument. “Why do you
think,” they said, “that the Japanese have only one 11-inch gun, and
not a dozen?” “Because it would be a very difficult and long business
to bring them up and put them in position; and besides, where would
they get them from?” “Then where have they got the 700,000 men from,
instead of the 350,000 we gave them credit for?” This question was

             *       *       *       *       *

The Japanese had made no move for some time, but now they again began
to show signs of activity. It was October 3; on 203 Metre Hill our
men were sitting round the samovars,[95] which they had placed on
the road, and were cleaning their clothes and mending their boots,
which had suffered sadly on that stony ground. I went to the upper
redoubt, where I found that good progress had been made, thanks
to the successful blasting. Only a short time ago we had made the
trace[96] of the redoubt, and now it was fully capable of defence. The
drainage and water-supply systems on the top of the hill were nearing
completion. Colonel Doubeedi, of the Naval Construction Department,
who had at my request been detailed to supervise the construction of
the fortifications in my section, procured for us many tools and much
material. He had obtained a steam-engine and pipes for pumping up
water, and promised that in a week there would be a tank on the hill
with as much water as was needed; and, judging by the present rate of
progress, this seemed very probable.

That night our sentries reported that great numbers of the enemy
were working between Saddle Hill and Namako Yama, and when I came
to look next morning I saw an unbroken line of trenches, revetted
with sand-bags, stretching from Saddle Hill to Namako Yama. On a not
far-distant hillock, lying to the west, I noticed a short length of
trench, also revetted, and the enemy was apparently working at it from
both sides. It was a sap!

From three points of the trench between Akasaka Yama and Saddle Hill
the Japanese had begun to make passages for sapping operations. Hurrah!
the enemy had had enough of direct attacks and was going to undertake
regular siege works against our trenches.

I went from 203 Metre Hill to Akasaka Yama. Good progress had been made
there, and now it was possible to live in the trenches, and a stubborn
defence might be reckoned on. From Akasaka Yama I had to cross over
to Division Hill. This had to be done as quickly as possible, as the
Japanese always fired on men crossing in the open, and the need of a
communication trench between those points was becoming very pressing. I
was very tired after my tramp through the trenches, and by the time I
reached the 7th Company on Division Hill I was panting for breath. All
the enemy’s works against my section were to be clearly seen from here.
Every hill and mound that were so familiar to me were crowned with
Japanese trenches. They had closed in towards us considerably, and the
approaches between the front and rear lines of trenches were plainly
visible. Behind Extinct Volcano I saw a typical sap with traverses,
leading straight up towards the left flank of Division Hill. Through my
glasses I could actually see the men at work.

I explained the significance of these works to officers and men on
all the hills, and ordered the former to call for volunteers and make
sorties, to destroy the sap-heads and the men working in them; in this
way I gave full scope to Russian enterprise, which I always encouraged
in every way I could think of.

The capture of Namako Yama made intercommunication along the rear of
our positions extremely difficult. Now we had to construct a regular
network of communication trenches, entailing very heavy work. I was
fortunate in having Major Gemmelmann, Ensign Yermakov, and Lieutenant
Fetter with me to assist me with my field fortifications.

It was not necessary for me now to point out the position of each
trench, for our officers fully understood the end and object of
sappers’ work, and were themselves competent to undertake it.

The fearful effect of small hand grenades demonstrated to us the
necessity of having a store or magazine of them, so Colonel Irman
applied to General Kondratenko, who lost no time in giving the
necessary orders.

Lieutenant Melik-Porsadanov was ordered to construct a melinite
factory, and was given the necessary men for working it. In a few days
we were able to test the efficiency of this factory. Before, however,
we utilized its products, our gunners proposed that they should fire
some of these small shell at the enemy from their mountain guns, using
time fuses. Some hundreds were immediately supplied to them, with
instructions in their use. They were distributed among the gunners in
the advanced positions.

From this time, in the evenings, we set to work to devise a means
of replacing the slow-match in the grenades by some kind of firing
mechanism. Our miners showed the highest inventive powers and thought
out and tried several excellent designs. It is a pity that they took
such a long time to make, as Bickford’s slow-match remained to the end
of the siege practically the only method of ignition. The soldiers, as
was natural, were all for having grenades that would burst on impact.

A grenade with a slow-match is a very imperfect weapon. One has only
to put oneself in the place of a rifleman, almost face to face with
the enemy, lighting the slow-match of the grenade in a wind. The match
is blown out—he lights another; but the enemy is all the time climbing
up closer and closer. At last the slow-match catches, the grenade is
thrown amongst the enemy, in a second there is a fearful explosion,
and the foe has disappeared. There is nothing left but a pall of black
smoke, and over it, high into the air, fly scraps of clothing and
portions of human bodies—arms, legs, and heads. That is roughly the
effect of a 5-lb. pyroxylin bomb. Our men give a shout of “Hurrah!” and
the survivors of the stupefied enemy fly headlong down the hill and
hide in their trenches. But it sometimes happens that the slow-match
goes out, or the bomb bursts after the enemy has passed it. For the
future, before the outbreak of war, some kind of practical mechanism
must be fitted to pyroxylin and melinite grenades.

On October 19 our gallant Colonel Irman rode into the staff quarters
wounded in the thigh. I had told him times out of number not to expose
himself in the trenches.

Whilst going from one trench to another on False Hill he had had a good
lesson for the future! Thank God! the bullet did not touch the bone. He
was a very brave man, our Colonel, but somewhat foolhardy, and as the
officer commanding the whole of the western front of the defensive line
he should have been more careful.

I was nearly always with him, and formerly it was most exceptional for
me to be on one of the positions without him. But as time passed, it
became evident that one of us must always be near the telephone at our
headquarters, so that orders could be passed along without a moment’s

The first section of the western front was mine, but as other sections
under Colonel Irman’s command were as yet out of reach of the enemy’s
fire he made his headquarters within the circle of my section, and
when the enemy compelled me to move my headquarters to a less dangerous
spot, I had them placed in line with the headquarters of the officer
commanding the western front, which was altogether a better arrangement.

After the 27th Regiment had occupied Akasaka Yama and the companies of
the 4th Reserve Battalion were distributed over various parts of the
defensive line, they began to send sailors into the reserve. They were
very fine men, these sailors, but where patience, forbearance, and
knowledge of infantry tactics are essential, they should never be sent,
as they are then worse than useless.

For instance, the left redoubt on 203 Metre Hill was occupied by some
sailors. Tea-time came, and the sailors, under the very eyes of the
enemy, left the redoubt one by one and descended the hill without even
posting sentries. I do not remember what I wanted, but I had sent an
orderly to the redoubt. A minute later he came hurrying back, fully
understanding the danger of the situation, and reported: “There is
no one at all in the redoubt, sir!” Of course I sent some men of the
reserve there at once, and sent all the naval officers—who refused to
believe that their men could have been capable of such folly—after the

I had a lot of trouble with the sailors. Sometimes they had no kettles,
sometimes they had no warm clothing and had to be supplied from the
regiment, at other times they were tired and wanted rest, and so on,
and so on; but they were splendid fighters, especially if they were led
by good officers.

However, now we had to consider what was to be done about the Japanese
saps, gradually lengthening in our direction. After careful inspection
we found that they had made the following: against 203 Metre Hill,
parallels from the west and north; a long approach from beyond Namako
Yama, right across the valley; against Division Hill at some distance
from it, several separate parallels.

About two days after the construction of the parallels under 203 Metre
Hill we noticed several sap-heads, the parapets of which were made
entirely of sand-bags; apparently the rocky nature of the soil made it
impossible to dig down deeply.

About two days later the approaches under 203 Metre Hill were plainly
visible. There were five of them—two from the west and three from the

From the rear of Extinct Volcano one approach had been made towards the
left flank of Division Hill. Thanks to the use of sand-bags made of
straw the enemy got on fairly quickly. Sometimes more than a sagene (7
feet) was made in a night.[97] We carefully watched their progress.

Sorties on a small scale, organized by the commandants of the hills,
were made to try to hinder the work. We also decided to ask General
Kondratenko from time to time to order all the howitzers in the
fortress to concentrate their fire on those points where the enemy
was making headway with his sapping operations. This would have been
excellent if the fire of the howitzers had been more accurate, but
we ourselves sometimes suffered from their bad shooting. We were
particularly afraid of the large naval guns, whose shells frequently
fell inconveniently near us. However, they caused the enemy, too, a
good deal of annoyance. It was unfortunate that, owing to the scarcity
of ammunition, they were not able to keep up a continuous fire. If work
on the saps was noticed by day, we kept up a heavy rifle fire on the
sap-heads. The bullets evidently penetrated the sand-bags, as the enemy
stopped putting them up, and only began work again, with much caution,
when firing ceased. In order to prevent them from working at night, I
ordered supports to be made for the rifles, which were laid with the
greatest care on the sap-heads, and all night firing was kept up from
these rifles. On General Fock’s advice we clamped the rifles down with
sods and earth so that they could not move out of position.[98]

As we could use our field guns with effect against the sap-heads on the
left flank of Division Hill, I obtained one gun and placed it on the
top of Division Hill, absolutely screened from the enemy’s view, and
opened fire on the head of the sap. The third shot struck it fairly,
and, scattering the sand-bags, opened up the trench inside. In about
three days the excellent practice made by this gun compelled the
enemy to stop working that sap altogether, and I felt in consequence
considerably easier in my mind about Division Hill. But the sapping
proceeded surely and steadily round 203 Metre Hill. Our sorties were
the only effective means of checking the work.

I forgot to mention our successful sorties against the saps on the
left flank of Division Hill. We had there our 1st Scout Detachment
and the 3rd, 7th, and 12th Companies of the 5th Regiment. Our Scouts
under Acting Ensign Elechevski, a fine officer of our regiment, made
two very successful sorties, besides several rather fruitless ones. On
each occasion the Japanese were annihilated by grenades and bayonet
charges, and their earth-works demolished. After these sorties, and the
excellent firing of my field gun, no further progress was made with
that sap; but the firing from Extinct Volcano and Namako Yama gave us
no rest. In order to secure the left flank of Division Hill, and to
afford means of communication therewith, we had to dig trenches in rear
and communication passages at least 2 versts in length. The work was
carried out under Lieutenant Kostoushko (who was my orderly officer
towards the latter end of the siege) with only a limited number of men.
It was very heavy work. Owing to the carelessness and indifference to
danger of our men never a day passed without some casualties.

During the first weeks of October the Japanese made themselves very
strong opposite our centre (Fort Erh-lung, and West Pan-lung Redoubt,
and the valley of the Lun-ho), and, as with us on 203 Metre Hill
and Akasaka Yama, rifle firing there did not cease day or night,
and Japanese shell from every kind of gun fell constantly round the

When making my inspections, I often watched the enemy’s movements
against our central positions from Division Hill. I had an excellent
view of the ground in front of Forts Erh-lung and Sung-shu. On one
occasion I observed something very interesting and instructive, which I
will now describe.

While selecting a position for a field howitzer and one quick-firing
gun on Division Hill, I went over to the extreme right flank and saw
in front of me the following picture. Forts Erh-lung and Sung-shu were
literally swept by a storm of shell, and from the ravines below great
masses of Japanese infantry were climbing up towards the forts in
question, and we could clearly see their lines of skirmishers on the
open ground. This movement was apparently unnoticed from Forts Erh-lung
and Sung-shu, but from Fort Yi-tzu Shan everything must have been
visible quite plainly.

“Why,” I thought to myself, “does not Fort Yi-tzu Shan fire?” I asked
the question by telephone, and was informed in reply that ammunition
was scarce in the fort and had to be reserved exclusively for beating
off assaults. I immediately gave orders for fire to be opened on the
enemy advancing on Fort Erh-lung.

               ON HIS RIGHT.

p. 210]

Fire was opened, and I had the pleasure of seeing that our shells
compelled the Japanese skirmishers to take cover in the folds of the
ground. After this our firing ceased and the lines again came out and
began climbing up towards the fort and the battery.

I gave orders for the firing to be renewed, but received the answer
that all ammunition had been expended and more would not arrive before
nightfall, even if sent for immediately; and this when the Japanese had
already got almost up to the glacis and had begun digging themselves in
right under the eyes of all our artillery.

Surely, under such circumstances, this was absolutely irrational. If
they had only had some ammunition at Fort Yi-tzu Shan, the Japanese
would have been swept away from the ground in front of Fort Erh-lung
like dust before a broom, as there they were within short range of
our guns. In reality, however, they were in an untenable position,
facing as they were the heavy long-range guns in Fort Erh-lung, and
being enfiladed from Fort Yi-tzu Shan, which was also well armed. In
consequence of a similar economy in gun ammunition they had also been
left in undisputed possession of Namako Yama and Extinct Volcano.

Report has it that great numbers of shell were taken after the
surrender of the fortress, so why was the enemy allowed to remain,
unmolested by artillery, in positions close up to our lines?

It is true that the heavy guns on Fort Ta-yang-ku North did on several
occasions damage the Japanese trenches on Extinct Volcano, but a
continuous fire should have been directed at this hill, so as to
prevent the enemy from attacking the left flank of Division Hill and
firing at our men in the communication trenches in rear.


[93] The author is referring to men of his own regiment, two companies
of which comprised part of the garrison of 203 Metre Hill.

[94] The north-eastern section. This refers to the preliminary
movements of the Japanese against Forts Erh-lung and Sung-shu. (See Map

[95] Tea-urns.

[96] The “trace” or “outline” of a work is its general shape in plan.

[97] The usual rate of advance of a sap is from 2 to 4 feet per hour,
depending on the nature of the soil and the amount of excavation
necessary. The latter must, of course, depend on due cover for the
party being provided. The Official History states that breastworks, or,
more correctly speaking, “parapets” had to be built up, 5 feet high and
4 feet thick, with sand-bags, as ordinary digging was impossible in the
rocky formation of 203 Metre Hill. This accounts for the slow rate of
progress. Though it is not clear from the narrative, the type of sap
was probably that known as “double.”

[98] It will be remembered that regular rifle clamps were used during
the South African War for firing at night.

                              CHAPTER IX

Fortifying 203 Metre Hill—Situation at the beginning of
  November—Mining operations.

On my inspections now I had to run and jump like a goat from traverse
to traverse, and even crawl on all-fours. I had indeed good reason for
complaining more often perhaps than any one else of the inaction of our

Not long before this the Japanese smashed up our water-cart as it was
wending its way to Division Hill. Well, we ate the horses, but the cart
itself was shattered to pieces, and all because our guns allowed the
enemy to get too close up to our positions.

Thank God! the Japanese could not see our staff headquarters, or
otherwise the structure would have been razed to the ground. Stray
shells alone caused a certain amount of damage to it, so one can
imagine what would have happened if the opposing artillery had actually
ranged on it.

A short time ago, when the Japanese sent up a balloon, I climbed on to
the roof of one of the buildings to see if we were visible to the men
in its car.

I could see the balloon distinctly through my telescope, but it seemed
very doubtful if the Japanese could see the chimneys of our houses, so
we no longer worried about their safety.

I have already said that the Japanese sapping operations near 203 Metre
Hill were progressing apace, and consequently we were now racking
our brains to devise means of impeding their work. I proposed making
a sortie on a large scale. In order to ensure its success, I took a
photograph from 203 Metre Hill of our own and the Japanese works,
and told Major Fofanov, the officer commanding our 5th Company, whom
I had selected to lead the sortie, to make a careful study of the
ground himself, but in the end our senior officers refused to give us
permission to make any sortie on a large scale. We had, consequently,
to be content with a series of small ones. Numbers of men always
volunteered for these sorties, of whom Acting Ensign Makurin and
Rifleman Stoliarov of the 1st Scout Detachment especially distinguished

One of their sorties was brilliantly successful. The Japanese in the
saps and trenches were bayoneted, the trenches were wrecked, and a
quantity of digging tools was captured, while our own losses were
insignificant. One sortie, however, made by Makurin on the night of
October 20–21, was a failure, probably for the reason that the Japanese
had anticipated it, and our men were thus met by rifle fire and hand
grenades. Our losses were heavy, Makurin himself being severely wounded
in the arm.

These sorties were our only means of combating the Japanese sap work,
until at last we discovered a new method—one that had been tried by
Midshipman Vlassev in the centre of our positions. A description of
the procedure was given us when we were all drinking tea (of which
we always had a plentiful supply) in the staff headquarters, and we
promptly decided to try the experiment ourselves.

The following day we dragged a 42-linia[99] gun to 203 Metre Hill,
mounted it in a trench and, with General Kondratenko’s permission,
asked Midshipman Vlassev to come over. Under his direction a stick
about 4 feet long was fixed into the base of a cylindro-conical shell
of calibre 41·5 linia. This wooden tail was pushed down the bore of
the gun, which was previously charged with a small quantity of powder.
On firing, the shell with its tail flew towards the enemy’s sap, where
the 20-lb. charge of pyroxylin exploded, and destroyed all the enemy’s
works as well as the men engaged in constructing them. Midshipman
Vlassev and Major Gobiato (a gunner) undertook to try this method of
firing. Though the first few shots were not successful, the wooden
tail being either burnt up or broken, and the shell failing to drop
where it was intended, they nevertheless struck fear into the hearts of
the Japanese! Afterwards firing became more accurate, and the shells
frequently fell right into the trenches.

For future fortress warfare some practical means must be devised for
throwing 20-lb. charges a short distance with precision, and then close
approach will be rendered so difficult as to be almost an impossibility.

Having noted the position of this dangerous gun, the enemy directed
a tremendous fire upon it, but it took him a month to dismount it,
and then only because it was impossible for us to protect it in the
trenches from the constant fall of heavy shell.

The discharge of these great tailed shell was watched with the greatest
interest by our riflemen. But the enemy, not to be outdone, also
began to discharge large mines at us, the effect of the explosion of
which was considerably greater than that of his 11-inch shell, but
their striking effect was weak and limited to a terrific roar and an
indescribable volume of smoke.

               5TH REGIMENT.

p. 215]

During the last month the work of fortifying 203 Metre Hill had
made rapid progress. One could walk freely about the trenches now,
without the risk of knocking one’s head against the cross-beams in the
blindages. Dug-outs had been made in the rear face of the trenches, so
that a third of the defenders could turn in at night and obtain proper
rest. The blindages in the most exposed places had been strengthened
with rails and 1/2-inch iron plates, with earth and stone piled up on
them to a height of about 6 feet, and the loopholes were furnished
with 1/2-inch iron shields, with a cross-shaped aperture in the middle
for the rifle, so that the men felt themselves fairly safe when
exchanging fire with the Japanese.

Unfortunately, however, the enemy began noticeably to increase his
fire on the hill from 11-inch howitzers. One shell hit a traverse 9
feet thick, blew it to pieces, in spite of the fact that it was nearly
all solid rock, and wrecked all the passages round it. I went to see
what damage had been done, and saw that it would need a great deal of
work to repair it. The passage round the traverse had been blown out
to a depth of 7 feet. Three riflemen, who were standing alongside the
traverse near an embrasure, were killed.

I asked the men: “Well, how do you like this kind of visitor? Do you
find it trying?” “Not a bit, sir. They seldom do much damage, beyond
singeing us a bit—look there!” and a soldier pointed to one of the
hills near the Shipinsin Pass where a puff of smoke was hanging. In
another second a huge 11-inch shell screamed over the hill, and,
striking somewhere behind, burst with a tremendous roar. Thousands of
splinters flew in all directions. “M-iles over,” drawled one of the men

“That is why they have put you here,” I continued. “Every one knows
what splendid men you are—that you will not surrender; you must be
proud that you are so honoured by the whole garrison. Men of the 5th
Regiment are posted in all the most dangerous positions.”

“We _are_ proud, sir,” answered a chorus of voices.

That is how things were when no attack was proceeding. But the end was
bound to come. The enemy’s saps had come half-way up the hill, and we
continued to strengthen our positions.

203 Metre Hill had by now a complete belt of wire entanglements round
it. To further strengthen this obstacle, I gave orders for abattis to
be constructed in it. Trees were cut down near the staff headquarters
and dragged up to the hill. In this way an open attack was rendered an
absolute impossibility. The redoubts and trenches on Akasaka Yama were
also completed. Acting Ensign Yermakov and Major Mousious surpassed
themselves. General Fock came to Akasaka Yama and was very satisfied
with the work done there, which I believe he has mentioned in his

I had many companies of other regiments on the positions in my section.
As I have already said, these companies were sent up as they were
needed, and so they became rather intermixed. This was in every respect
most undesirable, as, whenever anything went wrong, it was impossible
to determine who was really to blame.

It became very evident to me that it is not by any means the same thing
whether four companies of different units hold a position, or whether
it is defended by one battalion, under its own commander.

In view of this, the whole of the 27th Regiment, with the exception of
the 1st Company, was ordered to concentrate on Akasaka Yama and the 5th
on Division Hill, 203 Metre Hill being defended as before by the 2nd,
4th, and 6th Companies of the 5th Regiment, with four machine guns,
the 1st Company of the 27th Regiment, and the 7th Company of the 14th
Regiment under Lieutenant Vanikovski. These men were all familiar with
their various positions, and had become indifferent to constant danger
and quite accustomed to looking down from the top on the enemy digging
below without any particular feelings of alarm.

I must acknowledge that in view of past experience I did not like
changing my tried companies for new ones. I therefore organized them
in reliefs—two days’ rest near the staff headquarters to one on the

Interval Hill was occupied by one company of the 25th Regiment under
Major Veselovski. In the reserve I had the companies of the 4th Reserve

             *       *       *       *       *

Towards the end of November the fortifications on all the hills were
complete. On 203 Metre Hill was a huge redoubt, with two keeps,
completely surrounded by wire entanglements.[101] The interval between
203 Metre Hill and False Hill was covered by several rows of fougasses.
Akasaka Yama was encircled with a well-built line of trenches, and had
a strong redoubt on the top, with two weaker ones on the right flank.
On Division Hill there was a large redoubt with two retrenchments, the
fire of which was directed towards Extinct Volcano, as an attack, we
thought, was certain to come from that direction.

The communication trenches to Akasaka Yama and Division Hill were well
screened from view and impervious to rifle fire. False Hill was also
surrounded by well-constructed trenches, with covered communication
passages leading to them.

The space between False Hill and Fort Ta-yang-kou North was the only
piece in the section resembling a fortified position in the ordinary
sense of the word, and it was held by only two companies, and four
guns of small calibre. All the hills were self-contained and capable of
making a separate resistance, and in case of need I could reinforce any
one of them by two or three companies from the general reserve.

The men on the positions lived now in much greater comfort than before,
particularly since there was room for all in suitable covered dug-outs
at night.

They all had good kitchens, and on Akasaka Yama even baths had been
made. In the matter of food there was, however, little variety, neither
butter nor beef being available. Where had the artillery horses been
taken? We saw none of them. We often ate mules and horses that had
been killed on the positions, but some regiments were unable even to
get them. The garrison was, in consequence, beginning to suffer from
scurvy, and eventually this cursed disease stealthily found its way in
among us also, and laid low many of our best men.

             *       *       *       *       *

While we were, so to speak, having an easy time of it, important events
were taking place in the centre.[102] Time after time we received
reports from there of the defeat of the enemy’s attacks and his heavy
losses. But we also knew that the enemy’s approaches were within
striking distance of the forts, and that it would not be long before
mining operations would commence.

On the evening of November 8, I received a note from General
Kondratenko, inviting me to come and examine the mining work at
Fort Chi-kuan,[103] where they could already hear the enemy’s miners
working. The main object of this examination was to ascertain how far
off their work was going on.

That evening I rode into Port Arthur and met Colonel Grigorenko.[104]
Having had tea with him and a fairly large gathering of officers, who
made one feel quite at home, we all set out in carriages for Fort
Chi-kuan, where we arrived without any mishap.

In company with General Nikizhin, Colonel Reiss, and several staff
officers we passed through the north gate of the town, where the sentry
was inclined to stop us, because, as he said, he had received no order
to let us through.

The road passed through some dark ravines, and by a way which was quite
unknown to me. In half an hour’s time we reached General Nadyein’s
headquarters, which consisted of two barrack rooms, surrounded on all
sides and roofed over with several rows of sand-bags.

General Nadyein had taken some time in building this splinter-proof,
and had used thousands of sand-bags over its construction. Inside it
was comfortable and light. It stood close under a steep cliff. On the
way to it we had heard a good many bullets whistling around, but the
staff quarters themselves were in an absolutely safe place.

Telephone wires on service poles radiated in all directions from the
headquarters office.

General Kondratenko and Colonel Irman joined us here and accompanied
us to the position, to the advanced lines of which we proceeded on foot.

There was a continuous rattle of rifle fire from all sides, and it
was already quite dark. We proceeded along the narrow communication
passages, sometimes coming out into a deep ravine, and thence into the
fighting trenches, where our riflemen were standing in silence with
their overcoats half thrown open (a coat turned inside-out looks like a
rock from a distance, and the men in my section always wore their coats
like that). Occasionally some of them would take aim and fire into the

Just as I was going past one of the men, he literally deafened me for
the moment with the report of his rifle. “What are you firing at?” I
asked. “Into the trench there, sir.” “What are you firing into the
trench for?” “I saw something moving there,” he said. I looked over the
parapet. The enemy’s trench was indeed very close,[105] but I doubt if
it were possible to see anything moving in it.

In this way we went on for a long time, now crawling along on the
ground, now standing up to our full height, Colonel Reiss suffering
most inconvenience of all. He had to bend the whole time, as he was so
tall that otherwise his head would have been quite a foot over the top
of the parapets of the trenches.

At last we stopped. “What’s the matter?” we asked of those in front.
“We have to run one by one across this piece of open ground.” I took
my turn to run across. There was a good deal of firing going on
here, I suppose in order to let the Japanese know that we were on the
alert. The rifle firing, however, was accompanied by fairly frequent
discharges of what appeared to be heavy guns.

Having made one more turn, we saw before us a magnificent spectacle,
which at once explained the firing we had heard. It was not gun firing,
but the bursting of the Japanese hand grenades hurled at Fort Chi-kuan.
I thought how pleasant it would be to be hit on the head by such a

But it was indeed a wonderful sight. From behind the breastwork of
Chi-kuan (we were near the gorge) hissing streams of fire, either
singly or in “bouquets,” shot high into the air and, falling into the
fort, burst with a report like that of a heavy gun.

For about five minutes we watched this wonderful firework display. An
officer who had been farther to the front explained that the missiles
were pyroxylin or melinite cartridges, to which was attached some
wadding saturated with kerosene. The wadding was lighted and the
cartridge thrown into the fort by some mechanical means, and there it
burst as soon as the “slow-match” had burnt down.

The Japanese hoped by this means to set fire to the sand-bags, planks
and beams that were piled up in stacks at the entrance to the fort.

Not knowing how long this display would last, we went across the
entrance of the fort into a bomb-proof on the other side without any
one being injured. Thanks to the light of some small lanterns and the
flames of the wadding which was blazing everywhere, I was able to see
that the fort was almost completely wrecked; parapets and traverses
presented an absolutely ruined appearance, everywhere pieces of planks
and beams from blown-up bomb-proofs were heaped up, and there were
numbers of deep, wide holes where 11-inch shell had burst.

I noticed several riflemen on the parapet lying behind sand-bags.
They were sentries. I also noticed a well-built retrenchment in the
principal salient of the fort.

As I followed the others as quickly as possible into the stone
bomb-proof, I became conscious that a moment before I had been somewhat
uneasy as to whether I should escape without having my face damaged
(just before I had seen a soldier with his face and arms horribly

The large vaulted casemate we had entered was filled with soldiers,
quietly seated all round it. We passed through it and turned to the
left, and then proceeded farther through several doors until we
suddenly found ourselves in the brightly lit casemate of the officer
commanding the fort. We had a short rest there. Colonel Grigorenko
explained the situation, making it clear to us that the enemy’s mining
parties, drilling their way through in two directions, had already got
very close to the wall of the semi-caponiers which were placed in the
chief salient of the fort, while we had counter-mined in two places.

It was now necessary to determine how near we were to the enemy’s
miners and to calculate the charge required. There were very few expert
miners among officers or men. The sapper company had been but lately
formed, and its commander was a pontoon expert, while all the other
officers were young. Major Linder (commanding the company) had never
had any experience of mining operations, and the only people who knew
anything about them were Colonel Grigorenko and Lieutenant-Colonel
Rashevski. The former had served with me in the 6th Battalion and knew
that I had for some years practised offensive and defensive mining
operations at the Engineer College at Kiev, and for that reason he had
asked me to come and help him at this critical moment. According to the
officer who was superintending the work in our mines, the enemy was
extremely close, but just then they could only occasionally hear the
sound of very cautious digging.

After hearing this report, we all went into the semi-caponier. We
proceeded for a considerable distance through some dark casemates, and
then came to the place where the mining was being done. We ordered
every one out of the mine and climbed in to listen. Colonel Grigorenko
and Lieutenant-Colonel Rashevski were with me. We began to listen,
but our movements and breathing prevented our hearing well, so my two
companions went out and I was left alone. Putting my ear close to the
wall nearest the enemy, I held my breath and listened intently, but not
a sound broke the dead silence.

I acknowledge that when my comrades climbed out of the mine, which
dropped down steeply in the enemy’s direction, I felt none too happy.

Supposing the enemy had laid his charge and was just about to explode
it! There would not be much of me left!

In my imagination I conjured up some very disquieting pictures, and all
the time not a sound from the enemy. This rather confirmed me in the
correctness of my supposition.

Long and intently I listened, several times changing my position, as my
legs got stiff and cramped owing to my not being able to stretch them
out. I strained my ears, ... not a sound. Suddenly ... a blow, a very
careful one, then ... another and another; I tried to guess the enemy’s
direction, and how far off he was. Though the formation was somewhat of
the nature of sand-stone, still one ought to be able to judge fairly
accurately. The man was working very cautiously with a pick, and I
could hear it from all sides of our mine. As if it were now (one does
not forget such moments!), I remember that the blows sounded near the
left side of the passage and a little above it. The distance was less
than a sagene (7 feet), but more than an archine (28 inches).

Though the worker was very careful in using his pick, yet he scraped
away the loose earth and stones rather noisily.

This scraping sound was plainly audible through the intervening rock,
but it was thought very probably that an enemy on the other side could
not hear it.

When I had quite decided how attacker and defender were situated with
regard to each other, I climbed out of the mine and reported the result
of my observations. Colonel Grigorenko and his miners accepted my
conclusions, and decided to lay their charge. A report was made to the
commandant of the hill, who had himself heard the enemy at work, and he
personally exploded our mine, which completely destroyed that of the
Japanese, and, bursting along the gallery, hurled planks, tools, and
men to destruction.

However, having once laid open part of the caponier, which was now
quite unprotected by earth, the Japanese blew it up with dynamite and
became masters of part of the interior, and from this time there was a
continual struggle for the possession of this place, which lasted for a
very long time. Some one who was actually there must, however, describe
what happened. I only know about it from what I have heard, and cannot
give any reliable information except as to what I personally saw on
a visit to the fort after the Japanese had blown up the roof of the

I do not now remember why I went to the fort that day, but I think it
was simply out of curiosity. The roof of a large bomb-proof inside
had then been wrecked by an 11-inch shell, and I noticed the amount
of damage done. I saw the wooden wall dividing the ruined part of the
casemate from the unharmed and habitable portion, near which General
Kondratenko and seven of General Gorbatovski’s best officers were

When I left the semi-caponier, it was thick with smoke from our
rifles, though it was possible to breathe in it. Near the sand-bag
wall dividing the portion occupied by the Japanese from ours stood two
riflemen, who continued to fire through the embrasures at the enemy
hidden in the dark on the other side. There was a huge heap of empty
cartridge cases piled up round them, reaching almost as high as their

             *       *       *       *       *

The enemy in my section worked away at his saps, and we continued
firing at the sap-heads, throwing grenades into them, and frequently
making sorties, the majority of which were most successful. Many of the
men who took part in these sorties were deserving of, and recommended
for St. George’s Crosses; but General Fock did not credit the 5th
Regiment with any particular bravery, and kept back the reward lists
(ordering them to be curtailed and combined on one general sheet), so
that, when eventually the fortress fell, they were probably all lost,
and many heroic deeds passed unrewarded.

               HIM COLONEL IRMAN.

p. 227]

Availing ourselves of this period of comparative quiet, we varied
occasionally the every-day routine work by riding into the town, or
visiting other portions of our line of defences. However, a drive into
the town was no great treat, as it was continually swept by fire, and
once my horses were nearly killed by a shell bursting just ahead of

I generally went to see Colonel Grigorenko, but I also visited, though
rarely, the commandant (General Smirnov) and General Stessel. We could
always have tea with them and hear the latest news about everything.

It was most interesting to go to Golden Hill, whence they were
continually firing on the enemy’s torpedo-boats, and where latterly
an attack by fire-ships was expected. The search-lights were kept
going all night, and if one of the Japanese ships happened to cross
the illuminated area, she fared badly. All the shore batteries would
open at once a terrific fire on the unfortunate vessel, and the sea
round her would boil and spout columns of water thrown up by the
falling shell. In the town the firing sounded like thunder, and as
the bombardment nearly always continued at night, the flash of the
guns produced the effect of lightning; indeed, when one heard the
low, unceasing rumble and crash, and saw the frequent flashes, it
seemed as if this were not the work of man’s hand, but a grand natural
phenomenon. But this display cost us hundreds of precious shells which
we were unable to replace.

The Japanese kept a very keen look-out at sea, and even Chinese junks
found great difficulty in slipping past them. Imagine our surprise and
delight, when one night a _steamer_ came into Pigeon Bay. The general
conjecture was that it had brought machine guns and shell.

We were told that the vessel had brought some supplies, and that my
wife had sent me a large quantity of foodstuffs from Tientsin; but
Major Dostovalov, the officer in charge of stores and transport,
would not tell me what kind they were, or how much there was of them.
Everything that had been brought was commandeered by the commissariat
staff, and several days passed without a word being said about our

So I went to Major Dostovalov and asked him to let me have what had
been sent me.

“Yes, I have got something for you,” he said, “but I have not been able
to send it to you yet. If you like, I will give you five Westphalian
hams and we will consider everything square, eh?”

I did not expect to get so much as that, I must confess, and my mouth
watered at the thought of the five hams.

“Rather,” I said. “I shall be quite satisfied.”

I received my five hams and returned home in triumph.

The officers were even more pleased than I was, and we demolished the
hams with the greatest relish, feeling very well disposed towards Major
Dostovalov, who had added as I went away: “I am sorry you have come a
bit late, Colonel, as I would have let you have more, but I can’t now,
as all I have left is for the generals.”

I heard afterwards that my wife had sent me twelve hams, some fruit,
sausages, coffee, and so on—300 roubles’[106] worth altogether. So
after deducting the five hams I actually received, there was a good
deal left, all of which was snapped up by the senior officers.

Though we were rather sore about it, and there was a good deal of
grumbling, yet we blamed Major Dostovalov and our Chi-fu Consul
(Tiddeman) even more for not sending us some newspapers.


[99] The linia is a Russian unit of measurement, and equals 1/10 inch;
hence the calibre of the gun was 4·2 inches.

[100] General Fock wrote a number of “Notes” during the siege, which
were published from time to time and distributed throughout the
garrison. As many of them contained severe criticisms of commanders
of regiments (which were read by junior officers), General Fock was
charged at the court-martial, held in St. Petersburg, in 1908, with
conduct to the prejudice of military discipline, and General Stessel
was also blamed for allowing them to be published. Compare Official
History, Part III., p. 144 (3).

[101] See Map V.

[102] This refers to the repulse of the Japanese second general assault
(October 26–31).

[103] The last direct attack on this fort had been repulsed on October
31, since when mining operations had continued.

[104] Commanding the Engineers.

[105] Only 40 yards now separated the assailants (see Official History,
chap. xix., p. 81).

[106] About £30.

                              CHAPTER X

Events on 203 Metre Hill from November 23 to 30.

By about November 23 the saps made by the Japanese against the left
flank of 203 Metre Hill had reached nearly as far as the lower line of
the wire entanglement, but those in front were still very far off. We
thus concluded that there was no likelihood of an attack on the hill
yet awhile; and as to an attack on the centre of our positions, in
General Gorbatovski’s section, we certainly anticipated none, since
it would be more advantageous for the Japanese, having such vast
superiority in numbers, to attack the fortress along the whole of its
front at the same moment.

[Illustration: PORT ARTHUR

Map No. 3.

London: Hugh Rees, Ltd.

_Stanford’s Geogl. Estabt., London._]

However, notwithstanding our deductions, we noticed from our
observation points that on November 23, 24, and 25 some unusual
movement was being carried out on the enemy’s side. Apparently new
troops were arriving. The same was observed from our positions and

Troops were being sent across to 174 Metre Hill. “They are meant for
_us_,” we said to ourselves. The bombardment of all our positions
by heavy guns became fiercer, and our left flank on 203 Metre Hill
suffered severely. The enemy made a trench extending away to the right
from his first sap, and as from there he could very probably see into
the harbour we decided to make a sortie to destroy it.

On the 26th the bombardment of 203 Metre Hill and of the central forts
of our position became heavier still, so that it became clear that an
attack was imminent, and we made preparations accordingly. From this
moment we kept our stormers, _i.e._ the troops detailed to resist the
assault, in the trenches. Those suffering from scurvy were detailed for
this duty, and as it was very hard on men afflicted with this disease
to have to remain in the trenches, we used to send them away to the
rear, out of danger, where they could bask in the sun. As soon as an
attack was anticipated, the order was sent down: “Stormers to their
posts!” upon which they had to leave their place of concealment and
climb up the hill into the trenches.

A telephone message came through to the effect that our centre was
being attacked.[107]

I went to Akasaka Yama, and found that the earth-works on its left
flank had been badly damaged and the fortifications in front had been
wrecked as well. I recognized at once that, in spite of the solidity of
our works on 203 Metre Hill, they would not protect our men from the
destructive force of the 11-inch shell.

On November 26 the enemy fired twenty-five 11-inch shells, eight
6-inch, 60 mines,[108] and 300 shells of small calibre. The redoubt on
the left flank of 203 Metre Hill was much damaged.

From the right flank of 203 Metre Hill we watched a terrific
bombardment directed against Forts Erh-lung and Sung-shu. We heard the
rattle of rifle fire from all sides, but I saw no signs of an assault.
On returning to the staff headquarters, I heard the good news that
all the attacks had been repulsed with enormous losses to the enemy.
This news I immediately telephoned to all our hills, and ordered
the garrisons to be prepared for attack. In order to further secure
our line from being broken through, I called up the non-combatant
companies[109] of the 5th, 13th, and 28th Regiments, and with them
occupied a second line of defence.

The enemy literally swept 203 Metre and the other hills with fire.
From various signs on November 26, we concluded that the Japanese were
preparing to attack my front, so I moved up the reserve, and gave
orders for all to be ready to meet the impending assault.

Early on the morning of the 27th,[110] 203 Metre Hill resembled a
volcano in eruption. Apparently the enemy wished to sweep it off the
face of the earth with his shells. Telephone messages were received
from the commandant every minute, reporting the fearful damage done by
the 11-inch projectiles.

Finally, by about 8 a.m., all the telephones were out of action, and at
about 9 a.m. an orderly galloped up and reported that the hill was in
the hands of the Japanese. This was apparently a mistake, as we could
see no signs of our retirement from the hill, and everything there
appeared to be as before. As a matter of fact, the works on the hill
had been almost completely wrecked, but the losses had been small, as
only sentries and small reliefs were in the trenches.

At 5 p.m. the Japanese attacked, but were repulsed. The commandant,
however, sent for reinforcements and more officers, of whom very few
were left. I sent up some reinforcements, and with them Naval Ensign
Deitchman, already known to us as an exceedingly brave officer, whom,
with the approval of Colonel Irman, I appointed orderly officer to the

It was already dark when Deitchman reached the hill, and on his arrival
he found that all was not well. It transpired that the attack had not
been entirely beaten back, and that a small body of Japanese was lodged
in a blindage near the central battery, there awaiting reinforcements.
The commandant immediately summoned a council of war, which at once
decided to drive the Japanese out of this stronghold. Acting Ensign
Yermakov, being thoroughly acquainted with the positions of all the
fortifications, was detailed to organize the counter-attack. He
formed three groups of volunteers with which to carry out his plans.
The first, under Fleet Ensign Morosov, was to attack the Japanese
from the right flank; the second, under an officer whose name I have
not learned, was to do the same from the left flank; and the third,
under Deitchman, was to rush the enemy from the front. On the signal
being given, all the columns made a rush on the blindage, but Ensign
Deitchman was shot in the head and killed on the spot. However,
grenades were thrown into the blindage and annihilated the Japanese.
Fleet Ensign Morosov was the first to rush in.

That day the enemy discharged thirty 11-inch, about three hundred
6-inch, and a great number of shell of smaller calibre at 203 Metre

At daybreak on November 28 the Japanese continued to bombard the hill,
and destroyed everything that had been repaired during the night. From
early morning the firing increased, and eventually the Japanese moved
to the attack.

By midday they had completely wrecked the trenches on the hill with
their shells, and as General Kondratenko had come to the staff
headquarters, I prepared to go to 203 Metre Hill personally to direct
affairs. During the day we repulsed two attacks and I sent up all my
reserves in support—the 6th Company of sailors and the non-combatant
companies of the 14th and 16th Regiments.

A number of officers of various corps had collected at headquarters,
all eagerly watching the course of the fighting on 203 Metre Hill
through their glasses.

At 4.30 p.m. on the 28th the Japanese again attacked the ill-fated
hill. Our decimated remnant was cut to pieces, and the enemy captured
both the upper breastworks.[111]

On Akasaka Yama also things were not going well, and at about 2 p.m.
I sent up the 7th Company of the 27th Regiment, which had only just

At 5 p.m. I mounted my horse and rode to 203 Metre Hill. Father Vasili
gave me a small silver crucifix as a charm, which I put on.

I reached the foot of the hill. In the ravine near the dressing station
was a countless crowd of wounded and unwounded men. The rear slopes of
the hill were covered with men lying in different postures, wounded men
who had died on their way back. The reserve company was standing under
arms, the men flattening themselves close up against the cliff, while
shells were exploding all around. The top of the hill was wreathed in
smoke from the bursting of every kind of projectile.

Having left my horse near the dressing station, and called up all the
unwounded men who were taking shelter under the hill, I started to
climb up, and reached the top of the road without a scratch.

Here a truly awful scene of ruin met my eyes. The light plank
bomb-proofs, which were built out from the steep side of the cutting
along which the road ran, were almost all destroyed and were choked
with mangled bodies and torn fragments of human limbs. The whole road
was simply blocked with broken beams and dead bodies.

Stepping over all this, and slipping about on the planks, which were
saturated with blood, I reached the telephone bomb-proof, which had
by some marvel been left untouched. Here I found the commandant and
several officers, all apparently at a loss as to what action to take.


p. 236]

In a few words the commandant explained the situation to me. It was
even worse than I had anticipated, and something had to be done

All the reserves had been used up, so we formed one out of the men I
had brought with me. Although both breastworks were in the hands of the
Japanese, our men were holding on like grim death to the ground in rear
of them, the blindages, narrow passages, and communication trenches.
The whole of the space between the two breastworks was still in our
possession. The lower, circular trench was almost completely wrecked,
but our men were still firmly lodged in the few untouched parts of
it. It thus seemed to me that we must drive out the Japanese by one
well-directed blow, and that, moreover, this would not be a difficult

In order to put my plan into execution, I formed the men I had brought
with me into one command, had hand grenades served out to each man,
and, having given them a short harangue, sent them off, some against
the left breastwork, and some against the right. Seeing that all was
not yet lost, and led by young officers, the gallant fellows rushed
upon the works with a wild cheer. This was about 7 p.m.

The left one was taken in a single rush. The other did not fall at
once, and the men came to a standstill before it, but again rushed
forward on their own initiative and drove the enemy out, many officers,
including Lieutenant Yermakov, witnessing their action. Hand grenades
were freely used and once again proved themselves invaluable.

I immediately sent a report to General Stessel and General Kondratenko.
The former had given orders to me personally to let him know by
telephone all that happened on 203 Metre Hill, and I now received a
message of congratulation from him. As soon as the Japanese had been
driven out of the breastworks, the enemy’s artillery fire became
fiercer, and was directed mainly on the left flank of the circular
trench and on the breastwork above it.

In order not to expose needlessly those of my men who were holding the
now completely wrecked lower line of trenches, I ordered them to make
their way round to the upper road at the rear, and form the reserve.
We abandoned the ruined circular trench, with the exception of its
left flank, but the enemy, unaware of this, continued to complete its
destruction, expending thousands of shell.

I sent for sand-bags and reinforcements to make good at once the damage
done to the trenches and breastworks on the top of the hill. A few
hours later two companies of sailors and a two-wheeled cart with hand
grenades arrived. I placed the sailors in the reserve dug-outs (deep
ditches—one above and one below the lower road), which were practically
immune from fire.

Lieutenant Fenster, a sapper, arrived on the hill, and proposed to
repair the trenches and the breastworks during the night. The north
face of the left breastwork, and the bomb-proof in it, were so ruined,
that I could not climb across them to its western face, and the left
end of the trench connecting the breastwork was levelled to the ground,
but the rear face of the work remained intact.

It was imperative that all this damage should be at once repaired with
sand-bags, provided there was no attack meanwhile.

All the enemy’s trenches round the hill were full of Japanese.

Night was falling on November 28, when hand grenades began to burst
in the left breastwork, and a soldier ran up with the report that
the Japanese were attacking. We rushed out on to the road where the
reserves were. The communication passages from all the fortifications
on the hill met there, and there was also a hollow in the ground, used
as a dressing station. But the explosions of hand grenades suddenly
ceased and all grew quiet, save for the roar of the cannon; our hand
grenades seem to have driven the Japanese back into their trenches. But
how would it be at dead of night when it was impossible to see how far
off the enemy was? I was afraid there would be a panic. In repulsing
the enemy’s attack so easily, we had had great assistance from the
detachments led by Lieutenants Siromiatnikov and Nejentsev which
had taken the enemy in rear from the direction of Major Soloveiev’s

             *       *       *       *       *

That night (November 28) was a dark one, and everything was apparently
quiet since the last attack, only the occasional roar of an exploding
hand grenade breaking the stillness. I could not sleep all night, but
kept sending out orderlies in all directions, and conversing with the
staff over the telephone wires. Every one wanted to know what was
happening on the hill. During the night several two-wheeled carts came
up with hand grenades, which I ordered to be stored in the bomb-proofs
near the dressing station.

At about 4 a.m. gun fire again commenced, and the stream of wounded
began to come down from the crest to the foot of the hill and beyond.

The Japanese had made many vain attacks, and we could live through
everything but heavy gun fire. But the moral effect had to be
considered; our men were accustomed to the shells and to heavy losses,
and to these they had become quite indifferent, but the infantry
attacks upset their nerves. And now one of them was in progress: hand
grenades were bursting in the left breastwork, and an orderly ran up
asking for reinforcements, officers, and hand grenades. Grenades then
began to burst on the right breastwork, and our men there also sent for
a supply. I sent up all they required, and asked Colonel Irman to send
me officers from the staff. In response Captain Bielozerov was sent to
me. Serious work was at hand, for the roll of rifle fire broke out,
foretelling an impending attack. I ordered the company at the foot
of the hill to come up to the upper road, and asked for yet another
company by telephone. The reply came that there was none available.
I then telephoned for our 5th Company to leave its lines on Division
Hill near Fort Yi-tzu Shan, to which it had only just returned, and to
come up at once to 203 Metre Hill. The firing and bursting of grenades
increased, while the bombardment ceased—truly a bad sign.


p. 240]

Indeed, our men were already flying out of the left breastwork. I
brought up my company of sailors, sent it to meet the fugitives, and
shouted myself hoarse, “Stop, stop! reinforcements!” Nevertheless,
they would not stop, and the sailors also wavered and came to a
standstill. There was a good deal of confusion, and what I cried out,
what I actually did, I do not now quite remember. It seems, however,
I succeeded in rallying the men, for those of my own regiment began
to gather round me; and when I found that I was at the head of a
considerable number of men I led them against the left breastwork.
Riflemen and sailors rushed forward and swarmed on to the work with
Captain Bielozerov, who was the first in. Much the same happened as
regards the breastwork on the right, but the state of affairs was not
quite so bad there, as no panic had occurred, and they had simply sent
me word that the Japanese had taken it, but that our men were still
holding the rear rampart. With the other officers I led a detachment
of sailors up through the communication passages into the work. The
Japanese made a poor resistance, and in a few minutes we had captured
the place at the point of the bayonet.

I sent off a long written report, shell fire having destroyed the
telephone wires, which, however, our sappers connected up again within
ten minutes.

Here I should like to say a word or two about our sappers. I had
only very few of them, either on 203 Metre Hill, or in my section
of defence, but they were all fearless and beyond reproach.
Notwithstanding constant danger, they worked with perfect unconcern.
Many of them were placed _hors de combat_. One shell fell into a
bomb-proof where they were working and severely wounded eight of them,
in spite of which the energy and daring of those left were in no way
diminished. They were always seeking opportunities to make themselves
useful, and, indeed, their services to their country and their Tsar had
a great effect on the soldiers with whom they came in contact.

             *       *       *       *       *

Having taken command on 203 Metre Hill, I could not, of course,
exercise control over the other defended hills, so Colonel Irman
undertook this duty. Being thus in ignorance of what was going on
beyond 203 Metre Hill, I felt very uneasy about Akasaka Yama, which the
enemy was again attacking. Sapping up as far as the ravine in front of
203 Metre Hill, the Japanese had driven one sap-head from this ravine
straight towards the foot of Akasaka Yama, then, stopping work about 70
feet from it, they had run across in groups to a small stretch of dead
ground under the cliff facing Namako Yama and had begun to do something
there, as we could plainly see. Although I had had abattis constructed
above this cliff, and our trench ran along behind the abattis, this
point was the most vulnerable in the whole of the defences of Akasaka
Yama, and my fears were realized, for the enemy chose this very point
for his attack.

I was the more concerned about Akasaka Yama because, if it fell into
the hands of the enemy, communication with 203 Metre Hill from the
rear would be interrupted, the latter could then be enfiladed from
all sides, and it would become impossible to hold it any longer. On
the other hand, as long as Akasaka Yama remained ours, it gave strong
support to 203 Metre Hill and prevented the enemy from attacking it
from the front and right flank. The Japanese made one attempt to do
this and suffered very severely, several hundreds of men falling on
the northern slopes of 203 Metre Hill under the fire of the rifles and
machine guns on Akasaka Yama.

             *       *       *       *       *

Having received a severe check, the enemy ceased attacking, but
continued to work at his parallels and to make a zigzag to the right.
This was very serious for us, as it brought the Japanese up to a point
on the hill from which they could observe the fall of their shell
within the harbour area. Without doubt, we should have to make a sortie
in force.

By hurling at least three companies on the enemy in the night, we could
drive him out of his parallel and destroy it. The casualties would be
heavy, but the success gained would be large in proportion. As it was,
we were only just able to hold the hill, and our losses were severe.
We could only get reinforcements with the greatest difficulty, as they
were wanted for General Gorbatovski’s section, which was also being
attacked. But it was impossible to hold the hill without reserves;
either several companies a day would have to be sacrificed, or else the
hill abandoned.

The fearful effect of the 11-inch shell made us think it expedient to
dig caves out of the hill-sides to give the men cover, and we began to
do so, but it was then too late. Those we had time to make were only
large enough to shelter a few men.

Evening was already drawing in on November 29. The bombardment
slackened (the Japanese must have run out of ammunition), and curls of
smoke were to be seen in places covered from fire under the hill, where
the men were making fires for their tea. Everything seemed to point
to the day ending quietly, and I felt quite satisfied, not having the
least suspicion of what a trick the sailors in the left breastwork were
going to play upon me. I had sent my orderly there (I do not remember
what for); ten minutes later he came running back to me and reported
that there was not a single man in the breastwork—it was absolutely

“But where are the sailors?” I cried.

“I don’t know, sir! They must have gone away.”

I immediately sent for the naval officers and ordered them to find
their men and send them back to their post, and in the meantime I sent
to the breastwork all the men near me—about ten riflemen and scouts,
who were acting as my orderlies.

I always kept near me a few men thoroughly acquainted with the
fortifications on the hill. This was essential, as a man who did not
know every feature might very easily lose himself in the labyrinth of
trenches and communication passages, and thus fail to take my orders to
those for whom they were intended.

An hour later the sailors were all collected, and I only forgave them
their foolish action in consideration of their splendid previous
attack, and the way they had driven the Japanese out of the breastwork.
I ordered the naval officers to be always with their men and not to
stay in the bomb-proofs, reminding them that this was the second time
the sailors had been guilty of leaving their post.

Night had already fallen—for me always a trying time, as it is
impossible to exercise effective control in the darkness—and the only
thing I could do was to walk about the hill and encourage my men by
talking to them. But my voice had almost entirely gone, from constantly
shouting in the daytime.

When it had got quite dark, some sappers arrived, bringing sand-bags.
Reinforcements—two companies—also came up. I decided to let those
actually in the fighting line sleep, and to make those who had just
arrived work; but what sleep and what work were possible under a hail
of every kind of shell? We had available for night work, besides
Lieutenant Fenster and Acting Ensign Yermakov, Lieutenant Reinbott of
the Fortress Mining Company. Though I was really dog-tired those last
two days, still I did not feel as if I wanted either to eat or sleep.

As soon as day broke on the 30th, the firing increased in volume,
and we witnessed the utter destruction of the right face of the left
breastwork by the agency of several well-aimed 11-inch projectiles.
Luckily, the enemy failed to do much damage to the side which was open
to his constant attacks, but the inner ditch was completely filled with
dead bodies, both of our own men and the Japanese, which we were unable
to remove. It was impossible to do so, as in the daytime this face of
the work was swept by shrapnel from the flank and rear, and at night
our men there were always on the “qui vive” for an attack, and could
not leave the cover of the breastwork; besides which a great many men
would be needed to carry away the dead, and we had no one to spare.

At 8 a.m. the Japanese suddenly attacked the left breastwork, captured
the front portion, and raised their flag. The sight of this flag always
filled our men with fury. I knew this, and, pointing to it, shouted
to the reserve: “Go and take it down, my lads!” and, like one man,
our sailors rushed into the work. I led them for some distance, and
a moment after there was no sign of the Japanese or their flag to be
seen. Twice more the hostile flag made its appearance on top of the
hill, but each time it was torn down by my handful of reserves.

At about 11 a.m., or a little earlier, I was in the telephone
bomb-proof with the commandant, Major Stempnevski, Acting Ensign
Yermakov, and several naval officers. Suddenly we heard shouts and
irregular rifle firing. I rushed out on to the road, and this is what
I saw. Our men were in full flight from the centre of the hill and
the left flank, and many of them were simply tumbling head over heels
in their hurry to get away. Not far from the bomb-proof I had to jump
over the body of a Japanese, apparently just killed. I began to shout
“Stop, stop!” and in order to enforce my words I drew my sword and hit
one after another (with the flat, of course), Lieutenant Podgourski and
the other officers with me doing the same. The men heeded my voice,
and, stopping where they were, opened a straggling fire on the top of
the hill. I was then anxious to go to the reserve, as, owing to the
firing, my voice could not carry so far, but fearing that my men might
follow after me, I did not myself go back, but sent Yermakov.

By this time we could see Japanese soldiers springing up on to the
top, and they began at once to fire along the road. At the same moment
several dozen men scrambled up to me from below, and, standing round
me, began to fire and shout hoarsely “Hurrah!” In the midst of all this
noise and firing I felt that matters had passed beyond my control,
while all the time the number of the Japanese on the hill was growing
and growing. Luckily, the reserves were not more than 10 paces from
me now, and I already saw Yermakov and Fenster ahead of me; they both
had rifles. The only thing to be done now was to make a rush with the
new-comers and the men I had round me, and this we did. Those who
had retreated, finding they were reinforced, threw themselves on the
Japanese with a deafening shout, and we were once again masters of the

Had not the reserve come up at the critical moment, we should have been
driven off the hill, and then, indeed, it would have been impossible to
retake it, as the Japanese were being strongly reinforced. Once on
the summit again it was quite easy for us to throw down hand grenades.
They rolled down and caused fearful havoc among the retreating enemy.
Our rifles and artillery, which both opened a heavy fire on the foot of
the hill and the neighbouring ravines, were a helpful addition to the
grenades. In less than ten minutes the Japanese had disappeared into
their trenches, and once more we breathed freely.

Without waiting for the enemy’s guns to open fire, I took my men back
into the reserve bomb-proofs; and it was fortunate I did so, as almost
immediately shells began to burst over the top, covering it with a
cloud of poisonous black smoke. Once again our slightly and badly
wounded men began to hobble, or be carried, away from the summit.

It was a terrible sight; still it was wonderful to behold how these
heroes died fearlessly or suffered without complaint.

The number of corpses on the road rapidly increased, and in consequence
it was difficult to breathe, from the offensive smell.

The time had certainly come to ask for men to collect the dead.


p. 247]

I sent a report of all that had taken place, and then went with the
commandant and some other officers to our observation position near
the dressing station, where there was an enormous number of wounded,
keeping the surgeons hard at work.

I remember as if it were to-day that I had turned with my face to
the rear and was looking at the crowd of men who were standing near
the lower dressing station, and wondering where they all came from.
Suddenly there was a fearful explosion, and I was thrown with terrific
force to the ground. The shock was so great, that for a time I was
stunned. When I at last got up, scattering the earth which covered me,
there in front was a great pile of bodies, and beneath them all lay
the commandant, Major Stempnevski. All were motionless, but ghastly
gasping sounds and heartrending groans filled the air. I turned round.
At my feet were several dead, and on them, face downwards, lay Acting
Ensign Reishetov and the sergeant-major of the 2nd Company, while a
young naval mechanic was sitting on the ground, crying aloud with pain
and clutching with both hands his left side. Others, like myself, were
now coming to themselves, and we began to separate the dead from the
wounded. An assistant-surgeon ran up to the young mechanic and carried
him down, and we put Major Stempnevski into the splinter-proof. He was
conscious. Blood was pouring from his head and face.

“Where are you hurt, Stanislav Youlianovitch?” I said to him; and he
replied: “My back is injured, and I can’t breathe.”

“They will take you down below,” I said.

“No, no; wait till the firing has slackened.”

So I left him lying in the splinter-proof. Probably the shell had
struck the cliff near which we were standing, but I, luckily, was a
little farther off, and had only received a bad blow on the right
shoulder. An hour later they carried our gallant commandant away to the
lower dressing station, and I felt myself very much alone.

I reported what had happened, and asked for one of the other
officers to be sent up to take the place of the commandant. Although
the Japanese had had more than one good lesson from us, they were
not satisfied, and here and there came out of their trenches in
considerable numbers, but were immediately driven back again by rifle
and machine-gun fire from 203 Metre Hill and Akasaka Yama. However,
with demoniacal persistence, they twice crawled through our wire
entanglements, and on the left flank even got as far as the breastwork,
but, decimated by hand grenades, they broke and fled, strewing the
slopes of the hill with their dead.

This was a red-letter day, both for us and for the Japanese. At about 8
p.m. I had just gone up to a bomb-proof to have some food, when I heard
shouts of “Hurrah!” and renewed bomb explosions, which told me of yet
another attack. I rushed out of the bomb-proof, and saw our sailors and
riflemen crowding on the parapet near the gorge of the breastwork, and
throwing hand grenades down into it. This looked bad, as the Japanese
must have driven them out of the work. I told the other officers to
place the few dozen men who were on the road behind the stones and
boulders near the breastwork, so as to prevent the enemy from seizing
the road, and to mark at the same time the extreme point beyond which
our men must not on any account retreat.

I immediately sent for the reserve, which consisted at that time of
our 1st Scout Detachment. It was not an easy matter to climb such a
hill as 203 Metre, nor could it be done in a moment, so a considerable
time elapsed before Captain Vaseeliev came up with his men. The
handful defending the gorge of the breastwork above had dwindled away
considerably, and I reported that the Japanese had got as far as the
left flank of the connecting trench, now completely wrecked, and had
established themselves there. But apparently they had not secured
a very firm foothold, and the interior of the work was unoccupied.
That meant that our men, surprised by the suddenness of the attack,
had evacuated the work, the front face of which had been captured by
the enemy. I shouted to the defenders ordering them not to retreat
another step, but to hold on for all they were worth, as I was coming
immediately with the scouts to their support. An officer, who had
remained in the bomb-proof in the centre of the work, sent an orderly
to tell me that the enemy had occupied the parapet, but were afraid to
come down into the work. Unfortunately, I was not able to find out this
officer’s name.

Having told Captain Vaseeliev where to make his attack, and the
necessary dispositions being made, I addressed the men briefly, and
then set out with them against the point which I had decided to
attack—the right flank of the left breastwork, and the left flank of
the connecting trench. Of course, the gallant fellows outstripped me,
and the rush of these men, together with the few left who had defended
the gorge of the breastwork, and some other riflemen who appeared from
somewhere on the right, drove the Japanese out of their trenches. It
does not take long to tell this, but it was not done quite so quickly.

The detachment under Captain Vaseeliev, and all those who rushed
forward with him, for a long time kept on shouting “Hurrah!” firing,
and throwing hand grenades. The Japanese on the parapet made a stubborn
resistance. Together with some other officers I remained in the gorge
of the breastwork, and heard our men shouting “Hurrah!” and saw them
running along the narrow trenches to the front face, which the Japanese
still held. Then two explosions were heard, followed by others, and
the next moment our men were on the parapet. Dozens of hand grenades
were hurled after the retreating enemy, so that the very hill seemed to
quiver from their violent explosions. I immediately went down to the
road to give orders that all those who had descended the hill should be
brought up at once. Whenever the alarm went a fair number of men were
always there.

But I had anticipated matters, for a whole company—about a hundred
men—were coming up the hill towards me, sailors and riflemen, led by
their field-cornet, who received the St. George’s Cross from me on the
spot. This was a pleasant surprise for him; but a disagreeable one was
awaiting me.

Feeling that the hill was now safe again, I was standing on the road in
the centre of my positions, when Captain Vaseeliev came quickly up to
me and reported: “I am badly wounded, Colonel, and I can’t command any
longer. Allow me to go down to the dressing station.”

“Very well,” I said. “From my heart I wish you rapid recovery. The
Cross of St. George is yours.”

The regiment had lost yet another gallant officer, but God grant! not
for ever.

Everything being now quiet on the hill, I sent a report to Colonel
Irman and desired him to ask General Kondratenko to give me permission
to leave the hill to get some rest and have my wound dressed. I also
asked for sand-bags and men to repair damages. Everything I asked for
was sent up, and three engineer officers also arrived. There was no
need to show them where the work was to be done, and I had just sat
down to rest—it was now about midnight—when I saw Colonel Irman and my
adjutant, Lieutenant Kostoushko-Valeejinitch, arriving. Having made a
full report and explained the present situation, I took them into the
commandant’s bomb-proof, where Colonel Irman at once expressed the wish
to inspect the hill and thank the men for repelling the attacks.

He disappeared into the trench with Lieutenant Kostoushko, and I lay
down to rest, as I was worn out through want of sleep. Loud talking
in the bomb-proof awoke me. Opening my eyes I saw a crowd of naval
officers, some of them old friends, but some new arrivals, who had been
sent to the hill from headquarters.

Here I may mention that the naval detachments were frequently commanded
by heads of the Naval Department or by ensigns of the fleet. Many
of these were splendid fellows, among whom Losev and Morosov were
particularly distinguished for their unsurpassed bravery.

I had eaten hardly anything for four days, and had scarcely slept.


Map No. 4.

Enlarged from a Russian Map. London: Hugh Rees, Ltd.

_Reproduced at Stanford’s Geogl. Estabt., London._]


[107] The third Japanese general assault, mainly directed against
Chi-kuan, Ehr-lung, and Sung-shu forts. (See Map III.)

[108] This must refer to the missiles from the wooden mortars used by
the Japanese. These Japanese wooden 5-inch and 7-inch mortars threw
“mines” (really large hand grenades), weighing 4-1/2 and 16-1/2 lb.

[109] There is in every regiment a certain number of men not armed with
rifles—transport drivers, joiners, carpenters, clerks, harness-makers,
wheelers, and shoeing-smiths—and to these are added assistant-surgeons
and hospital orderlies under battalion and regimental doctors. The
company thus formed is commanded by the regimental Quarter-Master.

For inspection purposes these men are formed into one company, but on
service the clerks and medical assistants form two separate companies
and act independently, the former under the command of the Adjutant,
and the latter under one who has passed the “Okolodok” (_i.e._ the
lower standard in the Medical School of Instruction), so that the
Quarter-Master has the transport drivers and joiners, etc., left in his

All the men of the non-combatant companies are armed with revolvers,
with the exception of the transport drivers, who are unarmed, but have
to go through a course of rifle practice and instruction.

[110] The operations here described were evidently preliminary to the
main assault, which, according to our Official History, opened at 8.30
a.m. on November 28.

[111] General Tretyakov speaks of “redoubts,” but according to our
Official History the works on 203 Metre Hill were really of the
less formidable nature of “breastworks,” which term is, therefore,
substituted in this translation.

                             CHAPTER XI

The fighting on December 1—Reconnoitring at night—The “ideal
  officer”—The attacks on 203 Metre Hill on December 4—Events
  on Akasaka Yama from November 27 to December 4.

December 1 ran its course in the usual way, until it had grown dark,
when something rather serious occurred. Owing to the constant alarms,
and my fears for the safety of the hill, I could not think of eating,
but, taking advantage of a period of comparative quiet, and hoping that
the Japanese would take some time to recover from the severe lesson
they had had, I had gone out into the open air (it was fearfully close
in the bomb-proof) and was sitting on the slope of the parapet, when
suddenly the alarm was raised. Rifle firing broke out, accompanied by
the roar of bursting hand grenades. I sprang to my feet and saw that
our men were flying out of the left breastwork—fortunately, however,
only a few of them as yet. Midshipman Soimonov was there with the

“What’s all this about?” I shouted.

“The hand grenades were too much for us. Every one has gone, and the
Japanese have captured our work.”

“You fools!” I yelled after them. “You have been asleep again. Get back
at once and tell Midshipman Soimonov that I order him to turn the
Japanese out again.”

Upon this, the sailors turned and ran past me. Ten minutes afterwards
there was a splutter of firing from the left breastwork, next a loud
“Hurrah!” and then, a moment afterwards, silence. An orderly from
Midshipman Soimonov ran up to me and reported that they had regained
the trench, but that the Japanese were still in possession of the work
itself, from which I concluded that the sailors alone were numerically
too weak to retake the place.

I sent a telegram to the staff, “Send me one fresh company,” but
probably there were none available, as I did not even get a reply.
Everything was now quiet on the top of the hill. I was at a loss what
to do under these trying circumstances. At about 2 a.m. I received a
message: “The non-combatant company of the 12th Regiment is coming up
under Sergeant-Major Kournosov. Organize a counter-attack at once and
drive out the Japanese.”

               ON THE RIGHT.

p. 254]

Before very long these reinforcements arrived. Taking in addition a
small body of men found at the foot of the hill, I myself showed them
the way (no one else knew the disposition of the fortifications so
well), and then went round with Kournosov and from all sides inspected
the left breastwork.

The Japanese in it were keeping very quiet.[112] I posted my men,
appointed leaders for each column (one was to attack from the rear,
and one from the right flank), and indicated to them their points
of attack. On a given signal both columns were to make their attack
simultaneously. Before, however, the signal had been given, the men
suddenly began to fire and shout “Hurrah!” There was such a medley of
noises, that it was impossible to make one’s voice heard, and, owing to
the darkness, personal example was out of the question. For a long time
there was much intermittent firing and disorderly shouting, and then
at last all grew quiet again for a brief space, only to be followed by
renewed shouting and firing a few seconds afterwards.

“Well,” I thought to myself, “we shall never do anything with these
non-combatants,” and the darkness and maze of trenches over the scene
of action combined to make all attempts at control useless. I decided
to wait till dawn, and sent a report to that effect.

Everything grew quiet again, so Soimonov came up and reported that the
riflemen had started firing and shouting, and that his sailors had
rushed upon the parapet, but were met by shots. It was quite dark,
and the men had thrown themselves down on the slope of the parapet
and would not advance any farther. They thought there were a lot of
Japanese in the work, and some one could be seen smoking just inside
the entrance to the bomb-proof.

“Why do you think that there are a lot of Japanese in the breastwork?”
I asked.

“I don’t know, I’m sure, how many there are, but I personally think
that there cannot be very many, as their volley was a scattered one;
but our men lost confidence owing to the darkness.”

“Take some grenades and throw them into the work,” I said, and I sent
about a hundred grenades up to them.

In a few minutes the grenades burst in the work, and then all was
silent again. This silence lasted a long time. I could stand the
suspense no longer, so sent an officer to Soimonov to find out what was

About two hours afterwards, the officer returned and reported that he
had been all round the work along the lower line of trenches and had
not met a soul. He had then crawled into an embrasure and looked into
the work, where nothing was to be seen but a heap of smouldering planks
and beams, with the charred head of a man amongst them. Our men had
then immediately reoccupied the breastwork.

Apparently, the Japanese had been driven out by our hand grenades and
the place was empty. I at once sent a report of what had occurred, and
replaced the sailors by a company of rifles which had just arrived.

I unfortunately forgot the name of the plucky young officer who had
climbed into the breastwork, but it is not too late for him to come
forward now, and, if he does, he will certainly receive the St.
George’s Cross.

My back began to ache a good deal with a kind of burning sensation.
All the time I had not undressed to see if my wound from the bursting
shell was serious or not, and, besides this, I was absolutely worn
out. I felt I ought to try and regain my strength, and eagerly
awaited a reply to my request for permission to leave the hill to
have my wound examined and properly dressed. Sanction was at length
given, and Second-Lieutenant Organov was sent to take my place; but
he told me before I left, that, as he knew nothing whatever about
the fortifications on the hill and their disposition, he could not,
therefore, hope to be an efficient commandant, and begged me to come
back as soon as possible. I promised to return the following morning,
and then went off to the staff headquarters.

Dr. Theodore S. Troitski examined me, and found a small punctured wound
from a splinter, which had been driven some distance into my back, and
also a large blue bruise. When my servant, Peter Ravinski, shook out
my grey wool-lined jacket, quite a quantity of small splinters fell
out. The thick wadding and cloth had prevented them from penetrating,
and they had lodged in the lining. Only one—probably larger than the
others—had gone right through and caused the wound. After a short
conversation with General Kondratenko, I lay down to sleep.

The following day (December 2) the senior doctor in the fortress came
to the staff quarters in the morning and had me taken to Field Hospital
No. 9, where Dr. Krjivetz operated, but failed to remove the splinter.
He said that to look for it would involve tearing open the wound, and
as the splinter was very small, judging by the puncture, he thought it
better to leave it for the present.

After the operation I returned to the staff. General Kondratenko, who
was already there, seemed to be in a very uneasy frame of mind.

“They have already been asking for you on the hill. All is not well up
there, and the commandant seems very anxious. Please go as soon as ever
you can, Nikolai Alexandrovitch.”

I at once ordered my horse and rode off.

             *       *       *       *       *

Apparently everything was quiet on the hill, and there were no signs
of disorder. When I had reached the foot of the hill, I found a crowd
of men of various units and corps, which Captain Prince Nikoladtse
had collected and was trying to organize. Having wished the men “Good
morning,”[113] I began to climb the hill.

The firing was very desultory, and I reached the road in rear without
mishap. The commandant met me with undisguised pleasure and reported
that everything was all right.

“Why have you been so alarmed?” I asked.

“I feel as if I were lost in a forest, sir: I don’t know the officers,
or the men, or the place. Nobody slept last night,” answered the young
commandant, evidently very much concerned at his helpless plight.

As a matter of fact, things could not have been better. Every one was
at his post. Several detachments of sailors had arrived, that under
Lieutenant Lavrov being composed of a really splendid lot of men. All
the sailors were in the very best of spirits, like Lavrov himself. He
at once came and reported to me that his men were ready for anything.
These men, who had originally constituted a balloon section, had made
a balloon, but, as there was no means of producing hydrogen, it could
not be made to rise. How useful it might have been to us!

“If you call for volunteers,” said the Lieutenant, “my fellows will
respond to a man.” And he spoke the truth.

Late in the evening, wishing to reconnoitre the empty lower trench and
the Japanese trenches in front of the hill, I called for volunteers,
whereupon every man in the detachment stepped forward. Then they drew
lots, and three men, delighted with their good fortune, came into the
commandant’s bomb-proof; they were Quarter-Master (artificer) Yakov
Artouk, and two 1st class A.B.’s—Ivan Nefedov and Theodore Pilshchikov.
One of them especially, a beardless boy, impressed me by his obvious
joyousness. I explained to them what they had to do and sent them off.

Everything was now quiet. About ten officers had collected in the
bomb-proof. We discussed what was to be done to protect our road
in rear (where we always had a number of men) from the direct fire
of a battery which the Japanese had placed near the village of
Shui-shih-ying.[114] Eventually we came to the conclusion that the only
way to effect this was by destroying it with the guns from the forts.

I immediately sent to General Kondratenko asking that this might be
done. I gave orders that no one was to leave the trenches except on
duty. Then we decided to make traverses in order to give some sort
of cover to those who had to be on the road. The men usually left the
trenches for water or hand grenades, of which we required a very large
number, and, thank God! Lieutenant Melik-Porsadanov and Midshipman
Vlassev kept us regularly supplied with them.[115]

As I had not had sufficient rest at the staff headquarters, by this
time I felt an overpowering drowsiness, so lay down on a mattress and
fell soundly asleep.

At 2 a.m. I was awakened. The sailors who had been sent to reconnoitre
had returned unharmed, and reported that they had gone to the farther
Japanese trench. There they had found only one sentry, whom they had
killed, but not a single Japanese was in any of the trenches (of which
there were many) in front of the hill. Our ruined circular trench was
also deserted, but it was impossible to walk in it, as it was quite
full of earth, stones, and splinters of wood and iron.

I congratulated the men and awarded them crosses (General Kondratenko
had supplied several to be given on the spot to those who should
distinguish themselves). This method of prompt reward made a deep
impression on every one.

I then sent three more volunteers to find out where the Japanese were
on the left of the hill, those selected being Bereznouk, 1st class
A.B., Semen Boudarev (he had a mother and wife), and Kholodenko, also a
1st class A.B.

I had reason to think that our round trench on the left, which we
had evacuated, was still unoccupied by the Japanese. If this were
the case it was essential to occupy it as far as possible, as it was
an excellent _point d’appui_ from which to make sorties against the
enemy’s sap-head.

For a long time we awaited the return of our gallant three, but there
was no sign of them.

Day broke (December 3). On the left flank hand grenades were bursting,
accompanied by the roar of 11-inch shells. Many of the latter fell over
the crest near the telephone shelter; some did not burst at all, but,
striking the earth, slowly ricocheted away towards False Hill, turning
over and over in their flight. It was a striking display, and the
soldiers watched it with much interest, joking about the bad laying of
the Japanese gunners.

A non-combatant detachment (I do not remember of which regiment), under
a quarter-master, came up to make good our losses of the preceding day.
The men were placed in the trenches allotted to the reserves, and the
officer stood looking at the road, and the piles of dead lying on it.
I suggested to him that he should sit in the trench or stand close up
under the almost perpendicular bank of the road. But the young fellow
said he was not afraid of such missiles, pointing with his hand to an
11-inch shell which was hurtling away after having ricocheted off the
ground; but just at that moment there was a terrific roar, and he was
hidden in the black smoke from a large shell that had burst just where
he stood. When the smoke had cleared away, he was no longer there.

A message came from the left breastwork to say that there was hardly
a man there, and asking for at least a few reinforcements, as the
Japanese were beginning to make a move. I sent up Second-Lieutenant
Shakovskoi and twenty men with hand grenades. At about 12 noon the
cannonade was so terrific that it was impossible to speak in an
ordinary tone of voice, and one had to shout to be heard. Our lower
road was swept by shell, but we had not many casualties. A new
commandant arrived also—Major Veselevski, a brave and intelligent
officer, who had more than once rendered me good service, and was
always quick at carrying out my instructions.

             *       *       *       *       *

It is always good to see an officer calm and collected in a post
of danger—one feels stronger somehow, both morally and physically.
The commandant’s smiling face and his quiet orders made a forcible
impression on the men. Such a commander always inspires them with
unlimited faith—they look at him with a kind of superstitious awe, and
feel that they _must_ obey him, even in moments of extreme peril. I
will even assert that, the greater the danger, the more blindly will
the men submit to the will of a commander who has won their confidence
and respect.

A good officer stands for much in battle, just as a bad one may cause
irreparable harm.

Officers should be very carefully selected, and unreliable ones
eliminated by every possible means. Expert knowledge of military
science is not essential; what really matters is the spirit, the
individuality, of a man; but it is difficult to define in exact
language the characteristics required, and to recognize them in peace
time is yet harder, for few men display them outwardly. Unfortunately,
a commander does not himself choose his officers, but has them pitched
at his head willy-nilly, and how, indeed, can one expect to have
_all_ officers of the best type? Still, governors and instructors at
military academies and colleges can be of great assistance by judicious

Honourable pride, nobility of thought, a sense of the high calling
of an officer’s profession—this is what every military man should
have ingrained into his nature from his youth upward. For this reason
officers must be recruited from families bearing noble traditions.

Physical strength and health are also important factors; therefore,
officers must be encouraged to indulge in sport of all kinds, in order
to develop their quickness of movement and strength of limb.

An officer should enjoy a cultured and even fastidious life, and thus
tone down the roughness of our average army officer. Officers should
occupy a high position in society, but at the same time they should be
trained to endure the hardships of a war willingly and with equanimity.
And to this end they must always bear in mind that their profession,
even in its smallest details, is one of great national, and even
Imperial, importance.

A really talented officer is priceless, but such a man is a hundred
times more rare than a talented painter, professor, or other civilian.

             *       *       *       *       *

The day[116] was now far advanced, but the bombardment continued
without slackening and shells fell very close to our bomb-proof on the
lower road. All this was the work of the battery at Shui-shih-ying,
which our guns had not yet succeeded in silencing. Although our
bomb-proof was built right up against the steep cliff, with 8- and
9-inch beams, the roof was composed only of 8-inch baulks, with a layer
of big stones, cemented with clay, about an archine thick. Though this
was proof against 6-inch shell, as we found when one struck it, the
11-inch howitzer projectile was quite another matter.

So we sat in this bomb-proof and quietly talked. We were surprised at
the foolishness of the Japanese—who were only now beginning to scale
203 Metre Hill, when they ought to have done so much earlier. They had
been breaking their heads against our strong central forts, and had
lost a whole army in trying to take them.

What was to prevent them making a landing-in-force in Pigeon Bay,
occupying Lao-tieh Shan, destroying our fleet from there, and then
taking the New Town, which was very poorly defended from the Lao-tieh
Shan side?

It is absurd to credit them with exceptional knowledge and skill in
military science. Neither do I acknowledge that they are exceptionally
brave, in which opinion my riflemen agree with me.

The Japanese are very cautious, and they have no reason to boast of
their daring. True, they attack without flinching; for this there
are many reasons: first of all, their initial success; secondly, the
numerical inferiority of our garrison; and thirdly, the fact that they
may be peppered with shrapnel if they do not advance.

I am absolutely convinced that in a future campaign, when we have a
double line in Manchuria, when Vladivostok has been strongly fortified,
when we have twice the number of guns, besides Maxims to every company,
we shall utterly defeat them and drive them off the Continent.

Thus we held forth, sitting in our bomb-proof till evening. The firing
died down, and, following the example of the men, we were able to bring
out our samovar and have tea.

Our losses on this day, in spite of the heavy gun fire, were
comparatively small. The men had got to know the place, and had learnt
how to avoid splinters and to find corners immune from fire.

At 8 p.m., as usual, dinner was served with 1 lb. per head of
horse-flesh. The samovars sang, and the men walked freely up and down
the hill, some of them bathing in the stream at its foot. All then
turned in, except the sentries, who stood with hand grenades ready and
kept a sharp look-out for the enemy. If a grenade was heard, every one
stood to arms. The men in the trenches were relieved in turn in small

The engineers, who were with the reserves that came up at about 8 p.m.
under Acting Ensign Yermolov, started work by repairing, or I should
rather say by rebuilding, the trenches with their sand-bags, and in
addition began to cut a communication trench along the rear of the
hill. As usual there was but little of the old trenches left, and it
was fortunate that I had had a considerable number of bags stored in
the regimental depot, ready for such emergencies.

At 12 midnight I made a tour round the left breastwork and other
fortifications. The former was completely wrecked, except for its left
face, and the inner ditch was filled with dead bodies. Providentially
everything was quiet, so I gave orders for them to be carried away.
All that remained of the central battery with its flanking pieces were
piles of rubbish and torn sand-bags.

The right breastwork had not suffered so badly, and was fully capable
of being defended. The Japanese refrained from attacking it, as the
fire from Akasaka Yama barred the way. One attempt to attack this part
of 203 Metre Hill had cost them more than a thousand men, and their
approaches were still far from the top.

The left flank of the lower round trench was quite whole, and the men
were perfectly comfortable there. They had built up a thick, solid
wall between themselves and the ruined portion of the trench, and had
decided to make a small sortie that night.

On the morning of December 4, owing to the ill-success of this sortie,
there was a good deal of cross firing and grenade-throwing. The battery
near Shui-shih-ying still gave us considerable trouble, and three
officers and several men were wounded.

At about 8 a.m. heavy rifle firing and a number of explosions were
heard on the left breastwork—an ominous sign.

I went outside and called up the reserve. It was reported to me
that the Japanese were attacking, and the commander asked for
reinforcements, so, in order to encourage them, I sent up a few men.

To my surprise I heard shouts from the work attacked, and saw our
men flying down the hill. They had been driven out and were in full
retreat. With the other officers and the reserve I rushed up to meet
them, hoping to stop the fugitives, but it was already too late and I
was carried off my feet. The men from the breastwork fled down as far
as the lower slopes of the hill. The reserve, however, stood fast. I
shouted for the commander of the latter, but he was not to be found,
and I had to take his place.

It was fortunate that the reserve consisted of one of my own companies.
We charged up the hill and drove the Japanese out of the breastwork
with our hand grenades, but those of the enemy inflicted heavy loss on
us. By my orders the breastwork was then occupied by the reserve.

At this time the commandant was away inspecting the left flank of
the hill, and thus did not see what was happening. The workmen who
were renewing the central battery between the breastworks assisted
materially in the defeat of the Japanese by attacking their left flank.
I do not know who the officer was that led them to the attack.

I passed through some bad moments during this panic, and was thankful
that the enemy was not in force. Afterwards I learnt that the Japanese
had crawled up unnoticed and hurled several grenades right amongst our
men. An officer was killed and many men either bayoneted or blown to
atoms; the rest broke and ran.

               FIGHTING ON NOVEMBER 28.

p. 268]

All my reserves were now used up, so I sent a request for as many
sailors as possible. As a determined attack now appeared to be
imminent, I went earlier than usual to my observing station. Rifle
firing again broke out in the left breastwork, a sign that the Japanese
were collecting in their parallels.

The battery at Shui-shih-ying caused us ceaseless annoyance. In order
not to attract its attention, I gave orders for the dressing station to
be removed to a point near the foot of the hill. I withdrew half the
men from the right breastwork to form a reserve. But they only sent me
ten men, saying that they were half a company. The men in the left work
were standing firm.

The rifle and grenade duel continued for a very long time.

Evidently the Japanese had decided not to attack, being deterred by
our hand grenades, and the bombardment continued without abatement.
The 11-inch “portmanteaus”[117] (as the men called the 11-inch shell)
were bursting continually in the right breastwork. The right flank of
the hill was completely wrecked by them, and the only sign there of
what were once fortifications was the crest-line covered with splinters
and fragments of beams. But, as I have already said, they did not like
attacking this flank, as it was swept by the flanking fire from the
trenches on Akasaka Yama of which the Japanese had a great dread owing
to their previous fearful losses.

Many wounded were coming from the left breastwork, and some, who were
not able to walk, were rolling themselves slowly down. The sight of
these men painfully dragging themselves down the steep slope always
affected me deeply. From time to time several orderlies had been sent
to me asking for reinforcements and hand grenades. I could not give
them much help, but sent up five men from the reserve with grenades,
which I hoped would give them some encouragement.

At last, thank God! some sailors arrived, and with them a number of
officers. I at once sent a detachment into the breastwork under a naval
ensign. They reached it without loss, and climbed in over the parapet,
the entrance having been destroyed. Suddenly I saw the ensign running
out of the work with about twenty sailors and riflemen in his train. My
heart sank. While I watched them the ensign lay down, and the sailors,
doing the same, began to fire. As, however, they were in the very place
where the 11-inch shell constantly fell, I sent the ensign an order to
return to the breastwork. I saw the orderly reach him and give him my
order, but nevertheless they all remained lying where they were.

My ire rose, and I sent to the ensign to say that if he remained where
he was, I would shoot him like a dog. In another moment I felt that I
had been too hasty, but the orderly was already gone. About a quarter
of an hour later I received in reply the information that a part of
the ditch had fallen in and the parapet had been demolished, making it
impossible to remain there any longer. So I sent him an apology for
my hasty reprimand, and thanked him for his enterprise and bravery. A
non-commissioned officer, who had come back for hand grenades, took him
this message.

Though many shells fell round the little band of sailors and the naval
ensign, who remained on one knee with his drawn sword in his hand, no
casualties occurred. Many were wounded, even near the bomb-proof and
on the road, but these men seemed to bear charmed lives, and all the
officers standing near me marvelled at their extraordinary luck.

Then suddenly there was the scream of an 11-inch shell. With a
deafening roar it burst right over them, and thick black smoke shut out
the awful picture, while all of us held our breath. The smoke cleared
away, and we saw the sailors still lying there and the ensign kneeling
as before. Once again we breathed freely. Unfortunately, I forgot to
find out this officer’s name.

The firing began to die down—a sure sign of impending attack. Our
hand grenades burst over the breastwork in still greater numbers. I
sent a party of sailors towards the work and another into the central
trench to be ready in case of need to charge with the bayonet from the
flank. But no attack came. The Japanese could not, apparently, bring
themselves to face the shower of grenades.

Evening came on, and we were still awaiting the attack. Then an
alarming incident occurred. A detachment of our 3rd Company, under
Acting Ensign Moskvin, was stationed in reserve in a gun emplacement.
The men were sitting right at the bottom of the emplacement, but the
Acting Ensign’s head could be seen over the top. Suddenly a large shell
burst, as it seemed to me, right over him. When the smoke cleared
away, he was lying motionless on the steps of the emplacement. He
was immediately carried to the road, and found to be stunned, but
apparently unwounded; how it was that he was not blown to atoms passes
my understanding.

It transpired afterwards that Moskvin had been injured internally in
the chest and head, in consequence of which he completely lost his
hearing and power of speech, and was paralysed down the right side.
He was a brave lad, and I felt very sorry for him. About a month
afterwards, he regained his speech and power of movement. Later on
he became a prisoner of war, and eventually died here in Kiev. I was
unable to attend his funeral in person, but my wife followed his
remains to their last resting-place.

The day was now over and there had been no assault. It was almost
incredible. Had I indeed made a mistake regarding the intentions of the

That evening a great number of units had collected on 203 Metre Hill,
and, in order to prevent overcrowding, I sent half of them down to the
place where the kitchens were situated.

Any one who carefully reads these lines might very well ask the
question “How is this? Men are constantly being sent up to the hill,
but none seem to leave it?” But it must be remembered that 203 Metre
Hill cost us 4,000 men.[118] Units arrived in good order, but, as soon
as heavy losses occurred, they were usually mixed with later comers.


p. 272]

The senior of those left alive would come to me and report that such
and such a company or detachment had practically been wiped out, that
there only remained so many men, and could they have a rest?

I always commended these detachments for their heroic behaviour, and
granted the request provided there were fresh units on the hill who had
had time to become thoroughly acquainted with its fortifications and
their disposition.

Soon after Moskvin’s unfortunate experience we became easier in our
minds, and collected in the commandant’s bomb-proof[119] to drink tea.
The samovar was singing on the table at which the commandant and I sat.
He gave every one tea in turn, for we had only two glasses[120] left.
The naval men who had just arrived told us of all that had happened
in the centre, where we had brilliantly beaten back all the Japanese
attacks. Every one was convinced that there would be no more big
assaults of that description, as the enemy had lost more than 10,000

They told us about Losev, who, on being ordered to drive the Japanese
out of a trench captured by them under the glacis of Fort Erh-lung, had
adopted a very simple method of carrying out the order. Accompanied by
a few men, he took several grenades in his arms, climbed straight up on
to the glacis and hurled the grenades into the trench. The Japanese,
thrown into confusion, jumped out of the trench and retreated,
whereupon our men at once reoccupied it.

Captain Sirotko, commanding our 9th Company, related all that had
happened on Akasaka Yama during the last few days.

As will be remembered, this important hill was defended by a trench
and a large redoubt on the summit, called by us Karmenny (the Stone
Redoubt). This redoubt was further strengthened by abattis. Companies
of the 5th and 27th Regiments held the hill under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Boudiarnski, a strikingly enterprising and daring

Concurrently with the attacks on 203 Metre Hill the Japanese assaulted
Akasaka Yama, having first wrecked the trenches in front of the Stone
Redoubt by gun fire.

On November 27, previously sweeping the intended point of attack with a
terrific artillery fire, they rushed the trenches in front of the Stone
Redoubt, driving out a Scout Detachment and the 4th Company of the 27th
Regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Boudiarnski took the left half of our 9th
Company out of the trenches which were not being attacked, and ordered
it to go to the support of its discomfited comrades.

At 7 p.m. this half-company reached the position indicated, and found
a Scout Detachment already there, on whose left the Japanese were
established. They immediately occupied this trench to the left of the
Scout Detachment of the 27th Regiment, driving the Japanese before
them, and thus cut off the retreat of those who were near the Stone
Redoubt and already throwing hand grenades into it.

The even numbers of the left half-company were ordered to stand up and
fire to the front, while the odd numbers were to turn about and fire on
the Japanese near the Stone Redoubt. This unexpected fire from their
rear, combined with the rush of our 12th Company and of the 7th Company
of the 14th Regiment from the front out of the Stone Redoubt, caused a
panic among the enemy, who retreated into the trench occupied by the
9th Company, where they were bayoneted to a man. The various units now
occupied their former positions and the men of the left half of our 9th
Company returned to their own trenches.

On November 28, at 1 p.m., the right half of the 9th Company was sent
to the Stone Redoubt to the assistance of the 8th Company of the 27th
Regiment, which was being hard pressed by the Japanese. At 2 p.m. this
half-company, under the command of Sergeant-Major Platonov, reached
the 8th Company, whose commander immediately gave them an order to
extend along the left flank of the Stone Redoubt, taking cover behind
the boulders there. At this time the Japanese were swarming up 203
Metre Hill, and had driven back a part of the 4th and 8th Companies
of the 27th Regiment from the col between 203 Metre Hill and Akasaka
Yama. The men of these companies were retiring, but the right half of
the 9th Company opened fire on the attacking Japanese and compelled
them to take shelter in the trenches. Then, assisted by the retreating
companies, they all rushed in with the bayonet, drove the enemy out of
the trenches they had occupied, and seized the ones on their left flank.

At 6 p.m. the Japanese again attacked and took the trenches occupied by
the 4th and 5th Companies and Scout Detachment of the 27th Regiment,
together with the 12th Company of the 5th Regiment. The companies
retreated in disorder, but the left half of the 9th Company, under
Captain Sirotko himself, was sent up at this moment and reached them in
time. Extending the 4th section, Captain Sirotko barred the retreat of
the fugitives and turned them back, while the men of the 3rd section
hurled themselves on the captured trenches, and, swinging round to the
left, drove out the Japanese. Step by step the other companies then
took up their former positions. The men fought not only with bayonets,
but even with naked fists.

After this decisive repulse of the Japanese the danger zone was held
by the 9th, 10th, and 12th Companies of the 5th Regiment, who beat off
more than four attacks during the night.

On November 29 the 9th Company was allowed a well-deserved rest and
relegated to the reserve.

On the 30th the Scout Detachment of the 27th Regiment was driven out
of its trenches. The enemy attacked Akasaka Yama furiously, and as
the commandant was afraid that their local success against the Scout
Detachment might become a general one, he sent the 9th Company to
occupy the heights in rear,[121] where it stayed until 12 noon. When,
however, the 3rd, 10th, and 12th Companies of the 5th Regiment had
successfully resisted the Japanese attacks, and the assault had been
abandoned, the 9th Company was sent to strengthen the left flank and to
keep touch with 203 Metre Hill.

In the evening the left half of this company received orders to relieve
the 3rd Company of the 5th Regiment. About the same time the right half
of the 9th Company, which was holding the lower line of trenches on the
left flank of Akasaka Yama, repulsed another attack on the col between
the latter and 203 Metre Hill.

On this day three men of the 9th Company, who had been wounded,
returned to their company as soon as their wounds had been dressed.
General Stessel met them, and rewarded them all with St. George’s
Crosses. Captain Sirotko stated that these were the only rewards
received by the 9th Company after nine days’ incessant fighting.
Many received rewards afterwards, but it is better to give them
either during the actual fighting—the right of doing so being given
to commanders of companies beforehand—or directly afterwards. Such
immediate recognition goes far towards raising the spirits of the
various units. General Kondratenko, with General Stessel’s permission,
frequently awarded our soldiers crosses, and expressed his regret that
he had not more to distribute.

On December 1 the Japanese scaled 203 Metre Hill, and, lying under
the steep cliff on the right flank, began to enfilade the trenches on
Akasaka Yama, but the 9th Company drove them off with its fire.

To man the trenches near the cliff itself was the most dangerous duty
of all. The enemy constantly rushed them from their sap-heads, and the
men occupied them very reluctantly. Observation, too, was extremely
difficult, and the place was often left entirely undefended.

Captain Sirotko drew the commandant’s attention to this as soon as he
learned the state of affairs from men sent there by him.

On December 2 the 9th Company was ordered to occupy the practically
ruined trenches on the plateau in front of the Stone Redoubt, a
position of the greatest peril. They were full of bodies, both of our
men and the Japanese, the result of three attacks made by the 9th and
10th Companies of the 5th Regiment on November 27 and 28.

The Japanese saps were but 20 to 30 paces from these trenches.

The 9th Company remained in this position until 2 p.m. on December 4.

Throughout this fighting the companies resisted innumerable attacks
with the help of pyroxylin grenades, which were brought up to the
firing line by men specially detailed for the purpose.

At 2 p.m. on December 4, after nine days’ ceaseless fighting, the
9th Company was withdrawn, having lost in killed and wounded 60 per
cent. of its strength. During these nine days the men of the company,
sleepless and worn out, held the trenches under a hellish artillery
fire, drove the Japanese out of those they had taken by rifle fire,
hand grenades, and bayonet charges, and beat off every assault of their
persistent enemy, never, even for a moment, showing the least sign of
faltering under this terrible ordeal.

[Illustration: DEFENCES OF 203 METRE HILL

Map No. 5.

London: Hugh Rees, Ltd.

_Stanford’s Geogl. Estabt., London._]


[112] Our Official History (Part III., p. 96) states that the Japanese
held the summit (of the southern peak) for some time, but were driven
back at 3 p.m. From the present narrative it is evident that some at
least remained there till after nightfall.

[113] A Russian officer always addresses his men on parade by using two
words which mean “Good morning, men”; and the men answer all together
in two words signifying “We are glad to be able to serve you.”

[114] The Japanese eventually had six batteries firing from the
neighbourhood of this village at the rear slopes of 203 Metre Hill and
Akasaka Yama. (See Map III.)

[115] Grenades were made in three factories, capable of turning out
about 1,000 daily, working the usual hours, and about 2,500, working
day and night. (A. Bortnovski, _Voenny Sbornik_, Jan., 1910.)

[116] December 3.

[117] This name was probably borrowed from the sailors, who called the
12-inch shell of the Japanese battleships “portmanteaus.” (See the
“Battle of Tsu-Shima,” by Semenov.)

[118] Our Official History states “about 3,000,” but the author ought
to be in a better position to give the correct number.

[119] Situated in the centre of the right breastwork. (See Map. V.)

[120] The Russians always drink tea out of glasses.

[121] Of Akasaka Yama.

                             CHAPTER XII

The author severely wounded—Final assault and capture of 203 Metre
  Hill on December 5—The hospitals—Death of General Kondratenko,
  December 15—Retreat from Interval Hill, December 25—Evacuation of Fort
  Erh-lung and part of the Chinese Wall, December 28—Japanese attack on
  the Chinese Wall, December 30—Destruction of Fort Sung-shu, December
  31—Capture of Wang-tai, December 31—Surrender of the fortress, January
  2, 1905.

Having finished tea and exhausted our conversation, we decided to
have a rest, but shouting and firing quickly brought us out of the
bomb-proof. It turned out to be a false alarm. I climbed into the
connecting trench and made sure that all was right, though the men
seemed to be in a restless condition and were obviously anticipating
serious fighting. I went back to the road and joined a group of
officers there.

We all of us noticed how the Japanese batteries at Shui-shih-ying were
sweeping the whole of our rear. Just as I was ruminating over this
ominous fact there was a tremendous roar.... I felt a fearful blow on
the left side of my head, and was thrown into the ditch.

Dazed and all but unconscious, I was unable to struggle to my feet
again. However, I was happy in the thought that I had not been killed
outright. Some one assisted me to my feet and held me up, and I then
saw Major Veselovski and several other officers lying dead near me,
the former having half his head blown away. To my left, most of the
men of the dressing station were lying piled one on another, and the
remainder were already at work among their fallen comrades. Lieutenant
Rofalovski, a very brave fellow, who had formerly been my orderly
officer, suddenly appeared on the scene and helped to carry me below. I
thought that I could walk, but was hardly in a fit state to judge.

So I was carried down to the lower dressing station, feeling a stream
of warm blood trickling down my neck, and on arrival there my head was
bandaged. Of what happened after that, I have not much recollection,
but I remember people talking from time to time as I lay in a
semi-conscious condition. Finally I lost all consciousness, until I
heard some one say: “That is Colonel Tretyakov.” I then opened my eyes,
and at the same moment felt a sharp, stabbing pain on the left side
of my face and head. I was being carried along on a stretcher. Some
one was riding behind me, and the sound of hoofs on the hard road beat
painfully into my head. “Who is riding?” I asked. They told me I heard
my own chargers, which were always kept under shelter near the kitchens
when I was on the hill. By the time we reached the town, consciousness
had completely returned, but the pain in my head and neck increased,
and one of my eyes throbbed badly. I thought that it must have been
put out, and touched it with my hand, but it seemed to be all right. I
could not see with it, because my head and that side of my face were
covered with bandages.

A few minutes afterwards, my stretcher was put down, and a doctor bent
over me. “How do you feel?” he asked. “My head is very painful.” The
doctor examined me and said that I was going on well. Feeling somewhat
encouraged by this, I sat up on the stretcher, but my head ached
terribly and I felt dizzy. I heard some one say in a whisper: “Well,
there’s no hope; the brain is severely lacerated.”

I involuntarily felt my head, but it seemed to me to be all right.
Then it dawned upon me that they were referring to the unfortunate
commandant, Veselovski. Soon afterwards, I was taken to the Red Cross
Hospital and comfortably installed there.

On examination the surgeons found a number of small splinters in my
head and neck, as well as a very large one in my eye, which they
removed at once. There was one big splinter in my neck, which had
lodged near the spinal column and prevented me from turning my head.
I could even feel it with my hand. Then they applied the X-rays and
extracted it, but a bit of splintered bone was left, which I can feel
even now.

For three days I lay racked with pain, but after that the pain grew
less and I began to take an interest in what was going on around me.

But I am going on too fast.

Lieutenant-Colonel Saifoolin took my place on the hill, but he was
wounded in the same arm, and almost in the same part, in which, during
the battle of Nan Shan, he had been wounded before.

On the evening of December 6 I heard a rumour that 203 Metre Hill had
been captured, and on the 7th my adjutant arrived and confirmed this
disastrous intelligence.

On the fall of 203 Metre Hill we abandoned Akasaka Yama, as well
as Division and False Hills. Division Hill was an irreparable loss
to us, as it was not only capable of being defended step by step,
but, moreover, it protected Ta-an-tzu Shan Fort. Without doubt, the
defenders could have held out for some time longer. Colonel Irman
himself tried to recapture it, but was unable to collect sufficient
men for the purpose. I also heard that the following men remained in
the commandant’s bomb-proof: Lossev, a telephonist, Second-Lieutenant
Goudkov, the wounded commander of our 6th Company, and part of our 1st
Scout Detachment, who refused to leave the hill and remained at their
post in the right breastwork.

With these men in the work it might have been possible to drive out the
Japanese once again, but apparently General Kondratenko considered it
inexpedient to continue holding the hill at a possible cost of 500 men
per day, and this, perhaps, was a sufficient reason for evacuating it.
Colonel Irman had to send several men to the breastwork with direct
orders to the 1st Scout Detachment to leave the hill, before they would
forsake their post.

The following is the account of the final struggle for 203 Metre Hill
as I heard it from Captain Sirotko.

About 1 p.m. on December 5 the 9th Company[122] was moved from the
staff headquarters to 203 Metre Hill. Thirty-six men of the Medical
Corps had just been added to it, so that it now consisted of one
company officer, two acting ensigns, and 102 rank and file. General
Kondratenko in person gave the company an order to reach the hill as
quickly as possible.

Under a heavy rifle fire, which caused several casualties, the company
reached the foot of 203 Metre Hill about 2 p.m. Just as it reached
the hill, the Japanese captured the whole of the crest-line and began
sweeping the road in rear with rifle fire and throwing down stones and
hand grenades. Our 6th Company, posted on the reverse slopes, suffered
heavily from these missiles.

The trench above the road was full of riflemen of various companies and
units, but they could not be induced to leave their cover.

Therefore, Lieutenant-Colonel Saifoolin ordered the 9th Company to
advance across the open to the left of the trench. Under a hail of
bullets, stones, and grenades, the company charged up with the bayonet
and drove the enemy out of the ruined trench on the crest-line. Then
the remainder of the men, encouraged by their comrades’ success, made a
rush for the summit.

The company, with Captain Sirotko, Acting Ensigns Lesenkov and
Grouzdev, and the squad and section commanders at its head, then rushed
out of the position it had just taken, and charged over the crest,
supported on its right flank by the 6th Company under Captain Sazonov
and Second-Lieutenant Goudkov. They were, however, met by such a storm
of bullets, shrapnel, and grenades, that in a few moments they lost
half their men, Second-Lieutenant Goudkov being very severely wounded.

Captain Sirotko was badly wounded in the head and arm, and, losing
consciousness, fell backwards down the hill. When he came to himself,
all the men had again retreated into the trench, which was wreathed
in flames on its left flank where the telephone bomb-proof stood. All
the officers were now _hors de combat_, except on the right flank,
where Lieutenant-Colonel Pokrovski, who had replaced Lieutenant-Colonel
Saifoolin, badly wounded while commandant of the hill, was still
unhurt. Two more attacks—one led by Lieutenant-Colonel Pokrovski, the
other by Colonel Irman—were equally unsuccessful, and cost us dear.
Nevertheless, our men still clung to the rear slopes of the hill.

About midnight, when Captain Sirotko had been attended to and had
somewhat recovered, General Kondratenko, who was at the staff
headquarters, sent him four midshipmen and an acting ensign of the
27th Regiment, under whom another attack on the Japanese above might
be made. By this time, however, the enemy had succeeded in dragging
some machine guns to the top of the hill, which was now strongly held.
Realizing this, and that enormous losses would be incurred in any
further attacks, Colonel Irman decided to evacuate the hill, and gave
the order for a general retreat.

It is a pity that we did not adopt the Japanese tactics, of
overwhelming the enemy with gun fire and then seizing the hill without

             *       *       *       *       *

During this fighting the 9th Company lost all its officers, and 60 per
cent. of its men were killed or wounded. From September 6 to December
22 this company lost 253 men killed and wounded, _i.e._ 60 per cent.
in excess of its actual war strength of 155 men. It had performed the
following duties: covering the retreat from Namako Yama; three bayonet
attacks on the enemy occupying the trenches on the left flank of
Akasaka Yama—all of them successful; the repulse of numerous attacks
on the left flank of Akasaka Yama; and the three last gallant, though
unsuccessful, attempts to recapture 203 Metre Hill.

             *       *       *       *       *

The Red Cross Hospital was abundantly supplied with everything
necessary for such an institution in a besieged fortress.

Thanks to the number of nurses, and their tender care of the wounded,
the hospital was more or less like one’s own home, and the patients
felt themselves very comfortable there after life in the trenches.

In the evening numbers of officers came in from the fighting lines
to have their wounds dressed, and they had much interesting news to
tell us. The stories I heard from them, and from those who were lying
there wounded, were so interesting and so detailed, that if it had
been possible to write them down, I could have compiled a full and
instructive account of the whole siege. But, as it was, I was too weak
to attempt the task.

What depressed me and every one else was the thought that we were being
beaten without being able to defend ourselves.

Taking into consideration the enormous superiority of the enemy in
guns, and the scurvy that was raging in the fortress, one could almost
with certainty fix the period within which the final stand must
be made. In my own mind I allowed about two months. News from the
Manchurian Army was far from reassuring, and gave us no hope of relief.

For three days after the fall of 203 Metre Hill the Japanese bombarded
our ships. The naval men who came in said that the fleet was now
doomed. It would soon be at the bottom of the sea, and without it the
squadron coming from home would be useless in view of the enemy’s

I cannot understand how any of us could have buoyed ourselves up with
the hope that our Far Eastern Fleet was a match for the Japanese.

Was it, indeed, impossible to have foreseen that they would sooner or
later protect their own interests? Had we realized the situation and
sent three or four more battleships[123] to the Far East, there would
have been no war and above all no triumph for the Japanese.


p. 286]

To our own mistakes, to our own blindness, and not to the enemy’s
valour, I attribute our _débâcle_. When we have made good our
shortcomings, victory will be ours. Of this I am assured, for I know
the characteristics of the Japanese, I know their army, and I know
their men.

I did not notice any despondency among our officers, but good ones were
becoming scarce.

An officer from Fort Chi-kuan told us that the Japanese had for some
time been masters of the ditch, but, fearing to attack us, remained on
that side of the parapet.

Our men were rolling 10-lb. naval mines into the ditch, and I can
imagine the effect of the explosion of these implements of destruction.
The Japanese tried to drive us out of the caponier of this fort by
burning in it material soaked in arsenic. Our men were stifled by the
fumes, and the sentries in the casemates had to be relieved every few
minutes. Fort Erh-lung was in a similar plight.

On the evening of December 16 a report reached us that General
Kondratenko had been killed. I refused to believe it, but a few minutes
afterwards some wounded eye-witnesses were carried in—a young artillery
officer, and an ensign of a Reserve Engineer Company, named Schmidt—who
verified the rumour.

It seems that about 8 p.m. on the 15th, General Kondratenko went to
Fort Chi-kuan, nearly all the senior officers of that section of
the defence being already there, amongst others Lieutenant-Colonel
Rashevski, Major Zedginidzi, and Lieutenant-Colonel Naoomenko. They had
been summoned to discuss the question of further defensive measures
at that point, as the defenders were in desperate straits from the
poisonous gases they encountered during mining operations.

The casemate where the conference took place having been struck more
than once by 11-inch shells, the ruined part had been shut off by a
stout partition made of baulks, and a hole, made by a shell, in the
vaulted roof had been filled up with loose stones, resting on a pile
of mortar and heavy fragments of beams, with which the interior of the
casemate was strewn. This I had myself noticed during occasional visits
to this ill-omened fort.

General Kondratenko sat at the table with his back to the partition,
while other officers were seated on forms. The rest were standing near
the entrance to the casemate. Suddenly there was a terrific explosion,
and the latter, who were the only ones that escaped alive, were blown
through the entrance, while the whole of the interior fell in. When
they recovered their senses, soldiers were already in the casemate
removing the dead. With the General perished the flower of the officers
of that section.[124]

The death of General Kondratenko made a lasting impression on the
garrison; every one lost heart, since we knew there was none to take
his place.

A few days afterwards, our fleet ceased to exist, and although the
ships’ companies went to swell the numbers of our reserves, from that
moment misfortune dogged us.

On December 18 the Japanese exploded a mine under the parapet of
Fort Chi-kuan. It did not make a very large breach, and the garrison
retreated from the parapet to the retrenchment behind, and thus
prevented the enemy from seizing the former; but in spite of this, at
11 p.m. we evacuated the fort. Captain Kvatz, the commandant, told me
when he came into hospital that he had withdrawn his men in pursuance
of General Fock’s orders, and that he himself considered that further
resistance was not justified. Although, according to him, 100 lives
were sacrificed daily in the effort to hold this position, nevertheless
I could not accept his conclusion, since there was still one casemate
in the fort which was absolutely untouched. However, the loss of this
fort was not so very serious, because it was on a very low site, and
behind and above it was the Chinese Wall, which had already rendered us
great service during innumerable attacks.

By December 24 I had quite recovered, and my eye no longer pained me.
Dr. Mirotvoretz had operated successfully, and removed a splinter from
my neck.

Everything had been quiet in my section during my illness, as the
Japanese were concentrating against the eastern front and taking no
further action against us.

I was discharged from hospital on December 25. On reaching my section,
I found that the staff headquarters had been moved, and was now
placed behind the crest of a hill, near Battery No. 4, where it was
completely protected. With Colonel Irman’s staff I found many of the
town officials, among them Colonel Vershinin, the head of the Kuan-tung
Peninsula district. Messing arrangements had been made, and there was
plenty of everything, but as the charges were exceedingly high, our
officers preferred to dine separately. I felt very well during the
evening, but the wound in my neck became so painful that night, that in
the morning I had fever, and had to return to hospital for three days.

Having had my wound disinfected, I again rejoined my regiment.

During this time the Japanese had attacked Interval Hill, where our 2nd
and 3rd Companies, under Lieutenant Ivanov, were posted. The attacks
began at 2 a.m. on December 25, but they were all repulsed by our fire
from the trenches and from a lunette occupied by the 7th Company. About
ten of the enemy, however, succeeded in climbing up a hill somewhere
in rear, where they dug themselves in. Lieutenant Ivanov reported this
to Colonel Irman, and said that he would turn them out. This was quite
unnecessary, as they would probably have retreated later of their own
accord; nevertheless, Colonel Irman ordered the companies to leave
Interval Hill and take up a position behind our line, in touch with our
11th Company.

On December 26 we evacuated Solovev Hill, near Pigeon Bay.

The 5th Regiment was now concentrated on our main inner position
and occupied the space between two permanent forts, presenting a
considerably stronger front than before; it had also been brought up,
for the third time, to its full complement. The Japanese were now faced
with a problem similar to that previously presented by 174 Metre Hill,
but rendered additionally difficult by the existence of permanent


p. 290]

They wisely decided not to repeat their rash attacks of the past, and
contented themselves with remaining in the positions they had occupied.
Thus everything was fairly peaceful, and I availed myself fully of
this interval of quiet, feeling that it was safe to leave the staff
headquarters occasionally.

First of all, I went to see Colonel Grigorenko, but, being unable to
find his house, I went on to the commandant’s. There I met Colonel
Khvostov, who had just arrived with a report. We had a long talk about
the situation, and I carried away with me the impression that no
disaster was threatening us for some time to come.

             *       *       *       *       *

It seemed that, in the event of the capture of Fort Erh-lung, the
commandant had a second line of defence, which we could hope to hold
against the enemy for a considerable time.

One would have thought that the rocky ground would have prevented the
enemy from mining beneath Forts Erh-lung and Sung-shu, but nevertheless
by now they were making rapid progress there. We could not make a very
stubborn resistance at these points because we had no miners, and,
consequently, no system of counter-mining. The counterscarp galleries
were merely blocked with stones and cement, which became so solid that
it would have taken about three days to destroy, as proved to be the
case at Fort Chi-kuan.

Some time before this, General Kondratenko had asked me to come and
make an investigation. One night (I do not remember the date) I went
with Colonel Grigorenko to Fort Erh-lung, where I found General
Kondratenko in the counterscarp gallery. After listening attentively
to the Japanese working on the other side, we came to the conclusion
that they were tunnelling in three separate parts of the outside wall
of the gallery. They evidently wished to make breaches in this wall by
exploding several small charges, and thus get through into the gallery.
As we could only offer a passive resistance, we determined to block the
gallery with a large boulder and cement it hard against those portions
of the wall where the Japanese was working. This plan was carried into
effect at once.

All this took place some time before, and the enemy were now right
under the breastwork of the fort and ready to explode several charges.
In anticipation of this the fort was evacuated except for sentries on
the parapets. Imagine the frame of mind of a sentry who knows that
at any moment he may be blown to atoms! The commandant, having made
arrangements for further resistance in case of the destruction of the
fort and subsequent Japanese attack, was quietly awaiting events.

             *       *       *       *       *

Having breakfasted with the commandant, and heard a full account of the
state of our defences, I returned to the headquarters of the regiment.
The Japanese were directing a somewhat heavy fire towards the road
along the shore, but the shells mostly fell into the water beyond.


p. 292]

On December 28 I again rode into the town. While crossing the bridge
over the Lun-ho, I felt the earth tremble slightly and then heard a
loud rumble in the distance. Looking up, I saw a huge column of black
smoke hanging over Fort Erh-lung. “Well,” I thought to myself, “the
fort is blown up, and possibly taken, but there is not much harm done,
as the Chinese Wall is behind it.”

When I reached the staff, all the details were known. It turned out
that the explosion had not been entirely successful, as we were still
masters of the retrenchment, but we had lost heavily owing to the rain
of shells into the fort. Rumour said that the Japanese themselves had
suffered heavy losses from the explosion, that the whole of the trench
nearest the fort had been wrecked, and that the men of the attacking
party, who were waiting in it, had perished in the ruins.[125]

In my section everything was quiet, and we spent the evening quite
happily, congratulating ourselves that the Japanese had not broken
down the defence of the fort, which they could have done if they had
exploded their 150-lb. pyroxylin charges under the parapets.

But our joy was premature. The following day we learnt that Fort
Ehr-lung had been evacuated in the night; all _matériel_, cartridges,
and shells had been removed beforehand. Besides the fort, we had also
abandoned that part of the Chinese Wall which ran straight to the rear
from both flanks, and had occupied a position on a rocky crest-line
behind, and on a height to the left of it.

Our perilous situation in the centre of the line, the deadly artillery
fire, the constantly repeated attacks, and the endless vigil wore out
our men, and their spirits began to flag in a marked degree.

In a great battle, soldiers may make a stubborn fight, especially if
victory may yet be snatched or some great prize won for the Fatherland.
But if after constant fighting there is no apparent gain; if they
are, each moment, exposed to deadly peril; if from each individual
heroic effort is demanded, not for one soul-stirring moment alone, but
ceaselessly, with certain death the only reward,—it is pardonable if
hearts grow faint, if men are at times found wanting in energy and slow
to carry out orders.

Then is the time for reliefs; but for us there were none available.

Scurvy, moreover, claimed its victims, bringing in its train suffering
and weakness. Nourishing diet was necessary, and I do not know why
we spared the artillery horses. Long ago we had lost all hope of any
offensive action, so ere this the gun horses might well have furnished
the men with meat once a day. They may perhaps have been utilized in
other ways, though the fact remains that by this means we might have
kept, fit and well in the trenches, more than another thousand men!

On December 30 we were dining peacefully, when suddenly tremendous
firing burst forth from all our batteries, and the rattle of musketry
along the front told us that the Japanese were making a determined


p. 294]

We all rushed up on to the hill, but nothing was visible save the smoke
from our own batteries and from bursting shrapnel. All our forts were
smothered with shell, though we could not see the enemy’s infantry.
I tried to get some news through the telephone, but it was already
overtaxed and continuously in use.

Only in the evening did we learn that the Japanese had made a fierce
attack on the Chinese Wall and Naval Ridge beyond. This attack had been
repulsed with enormous loss to the enemy, who had, however, succeeded
in fortifying themselves at the foot of Naval Ridge, and thus enfiladed
the Chinese Wall. Still, even that was not of supreme importance, since
the Chinese Wall had a number of traverses and splinter-proofs along it.

In my section all was quiet. We had not a single man in reserve, but
even so we believed we could beat back every attack. This was not the
case, however, on Lao-tieh Shan, where Major Romanovski had practically
only our mounted Scout Detachments. The enemy constantly attacked them,
and captured another hill near Pigeon Bay. This was decidedly serious,
as now the Japanese had nothing but these scouts between them and the
other half of the western front, where there was but a remnant of the
27th Regiment, the main portion of it being required on the front
attacked, which was held by only a few men.

Fortunately, the Japanese seemed content with the success already
gained, and settled down for their usual long rest, or, possibly, their
men were also required on the front of attack.

On December 31, after tea, we received news of a further disaster. Yet
once again in this disastrous war had fortune favoured the Japanese.
Fort Sung-shu had been blown up, and, what was worse, in one stroke
the whole garrison had been annihilated. This is what had happened:
About a thousand hand grenades had been stored in an excavation which
the garrison also used as a shelter. A Japanese shell burst, detonating
these grenades, and the whole place collapsed on the garrison. This was
a fearful blow to us, and we deeply lamented the death of our gallant
comrades and their commandant.[126]

Fate had indeed played us a sorry trick!

We were all dispirited, and few cared to partake of dinner that night.

On the evening of the 31st we evacuated the Chinese Wall[127] and took
up positions at Wang-tai and on the Mitrofanievski, Vladimirski, and
Laperovski Hills.[128] It now became very difficult for us to hold out
on the front exposed to attack. We ought to have begun fortifying the
New Town on the side facing the Old Town, but no orders were received
to that effect. What were our commanders doing?


p. 296]

That night we were all very depressed. Every one discussed plans for
continuing the defence, if only till the new year.[129] This was the
universal wish, and could certainly have been realized. We dispersed at
a late hour, to be aroused in the morning by heavy firing. On climbing
the hill, we saw Wang-tai literally swept with shell, and so covered
with smoke that it was impossible to see its summit. The bombardment
continued for a long time. We could not follow exactly what was taking
place, but learnt in the evening that the Japanese had captured it.
Our reserves had at first quickly driven back the enemy, afterwards
repulsing five further attacks, but towards evening, when there were
only three or four of the defenders left, the sixth assault was

That evening, by General Fock’s order, the whole of our front from
Wang-tai to Chi-kuan Battery was evacuated.

The same night the Japanese attacked Signal Hill, near Takhe Bay, but
were repulsed.

On January 2, 1905, the majority of the officers were collected at the
staff headquarters to hear the latest reports. Suddenly an officer came
galloping out of the town and informed us that he had himself seen two
officers riding out beyond our lines with a white flag.

My heart froze at this news. We all remained silent for some time,
seeking to hide our discomfiture.

“Can that mean surrender?” said some one at last.

“Doubtless,” answered another.

After a full minute’s silence conversation broke out noisily on all
sides. Every one asked what was to be done under the circumstances,
and as they were all talking at once, it was impossible to understand
anything. But general indignation against General Fock was apparent,
and every kind of accusation was heaped upon his head. I do not
remember how long this continued, but I know that we had not yet sat
down to dinner, when we received the fateful news by telephone: “Arthur
surrendered. The officers are allowed to keep their swords and return
to Russia after giving their parole not to take any further part in the
present war.”

There was a tremendous commotion at the receipt of this news. The
majority had no wish to surrender, and vehemently attacked our seniors
for surrendering the fortress without the consent of all the officers.
Some of them wanted to set out immediately for Lao-tieh Shan and
continue the defence there; others proposed to hire Chinese junks and
leave the fortress, so as not to become prisoners of war; only a few
decided to bow to the will of their commanders. As each one insisted on
his opinion being accepted, the discussion soon became very heated, and
there was a danger of untoward results.

Eventually those who wished to defend themselves on Lao-tieh Shan
gave up the idea, as owing to the lack of water and fortifications of
any kind it would be impossible to hold that position. Those who had
thought of escaping in junks could not do so, owing to contrary winds.

How long this stormy scene lasted I do not remember, but at its very
height some one rode up and told us that the senior officers had
sent a telegram to the Tsar asking whether the exemptions obtained
by the authorities for the officers were to be accepted or not. This
news seemed to have a quieting effect, but with one accord every one
determined to express his disapproval of the action of the authorities
by an absolute refusal of all exemptions that had been granted as the
price of the capitulation of the fortress. All were resolved to share
the fate of the men and endure with them the humiliation of becoming
prisoners of war. It was a praiseworthy decision, and I expressed my
approval, but at the same time several arguments against it presented
themselves. Many of these were unheard, as there was much loud
discussion. The two chief points advanced were:

(1) As prisoners of war, the rank and file would be separated from
their officers and distributed in various places throughout Japan,
hence the presence of the latter would be of no help to them, nor would
it lessen their hardships.

(2) As an enormous number of officers had been withdrawn from Russia
in order to make good the losses sustained in Manchuria, the need
of them at home was a very urgent one, and in the event of war in
Turkestan, which was more than probable, we should find ourselves in
a most critical position. Even without war the want of officers would
jeopardize the efficiency of those regiments and reserve battalions
that were left. Some 500 officers were in question, and these in
Japanese prisons could render no service to their country in her hour
of need.

Besides all this I added: “Gentlemen, people in Russia might think that
we officers became prisoners of war in order to spend a pleasant time
in beautiful Japan, free from all duty and hardship, at a time when
disturbances are taking place in the centre of our own country, and
she has great need of all those who are anxious for her welfare.”

The officers of my regiment agreed with me and decided to return to
Russia, and I can add now that they were far from being of no use here
at home, as the regiments in the south were almost without officers,
a deficiency which led, as is well known, to serious disorders in the
reserve battalions; so that their arrival was most timely.

When the surrender of Port Arthur became an acknowledged fact, we had
great difficulty in preserving order in the fortress.

The soldiers felt that something beyond belief had happened, something
savouring of disgrace to the brave Russian Army and the Russian Empire
as a whole.

“Have we got to surrender, sir?” cried my men when I inspected the
companies for the last time.

“Yes, my lads,” I answered. “We have been ordered to surrender; but no
blame attaches to the 5th Regiment, and you can with a clear conscience
tell each and every one that the 5th Regiment has always looked death
bravely in the face and has been ready to die without question for its
Tsar and its Country. Every one knows this, and no one will dare to
cast a word of reproach at you. As you have always been, so you remain,
true heroes, known to the Japanese, to our great and dear Fatherland,
and to the whole world. Your conscience is as clear as the sky above

Many of them burst into tears, and I could hardly speak for the sobs
that choked me.

A wrinkled old man who was standing near me, and was the sole
witness of our emotion, snatched his cap off his head, and, waving it
triumphantly in the air, shouted: “To the honour of the 5th Regiment,
hurrah!” But there was no one to follow his lead.

Even now I feel overcome as I recall these sorrowful moments, and I can
dwell no longer on a scene so heartbreaking.


[122] This company had been withdrawn to the reserve at 2 p.m. on the
4th. See preceding chapter.

[123] Admiral Wirenius, with a squadron of one battleship and two
cruisers, was actually on his way to Port Arthur when war broke out.

[124] Seven were killed on the spot, and seven more wounded.

[125] This proved to be an exaggeration. The storming parties were
protected by roofs of boards and scantling, and only a few casualties
occurred (see Official History, Part III., p. 116).

[126] Mention of this incident is made in Official History (Part III.,
p. 119), where it appears that the Japanese had actually sprung their
mines before this accidental explosion took place.

[127] Attacked by the 6th Brigade under General Ichinohe. (See Map III.)

[128] Eminences flanking the Wang-tai position, probably named after
the officers charged with their defence.

[129] The corresponding Russian date was December 18.


                              No. 1


Each regiment consists nominally of four battalions.

Each battalion consists of four companies, the war strength of each of
which is 240 N.C.O.’s and men.

The war strength of a rifle regiment of four battalions is:

  Officers                             79
  Officials                             7
  N.C.O.’s and men (combatant)      3,855
  Non-combatants                      442
                      Total         4,383 all ranks.

                              No. 2

                AT THE BATTLE OF NAN SHAN (pp. 41–61)

  Commanding 5th Regiment: Col. TRETYAKOV.
      „      1st Battalion: Lieut.-Col. SAIFOOLIN.
      „      2nd Battalion: Lieut.-Col. BIELOZOR (killed); replaced
               by Major STEMPNEVSKI (jun.).
      „      3rd Battalion: Lieut.-Col. DOUNIN.

                      _Company Commanders_

  No. 4. Capt. SHASTIN.
   „  6. Major GOMSIAKOV (killed); Capt. SICHEV (superseded);
           Lieut. POPOV.
   „  7. Major STEMPNEVSKI (jun.).
   „  8. Capt. MAKOVEIEV (killed); Capt. SAKAROV.
   „  9. Major SOKOLOV.
   „ 10. Major GOOSOV; Half-Company, Second-Lieut. MERKOULEV.
   „ 11. Capt. BOOCHATSKI.

                       _Scout Detachments_

  No. 1. Lieut. VASEELIEV.
   „  3. Capt. KOUDRIAVTSEV and Lieut. CHOULKOV.
  Mounted Detachment: Capt. ANDREIEVSKI and Lieut. SIETCHKO.


  Field Batteries: Lieut.-Cols. ROMANOVSKI and PETROV.
  Machine Guns: Second-Lieut. LOBYREV.
  Naval Guns: Midshipmen SHIMANSKI and DOUDKIN.
  Mountain Guns: Lieut. NAOOMOV.
  Bullock Battery: Second-Lieut. SADYKOV.

                         _13th Regiment_

  1 Company (not numbered): Capt. LUBEEMOV; Capt. TEEMOSHENKO.
  No. 2 Company: Capt. ROTAISKI.
  Scout Detachment: Lieut. BANDALETOV.

                         _14th Regiment_

  No. 3 Company: Capt. USHAKOV.
  1 Company (not numbered): Capt. KOUSMIN.
  Scout Detachment: Lieut. ROOSOI.

                              No. 3

According to our Official History none of the Japanese divisions
landed near Terminal Point itself, but in the first place made use of
Pi-tzu-wo and Hou-ta-shih, and afterwards Dalny. There are two Ta-scha
rivers, 15 miles apart, the most northerly one being that indicated in
the text.

                              No. 4

The Japanese went down into the water on the right flank as the tide
receded, and sat or lay there until ready for their final attack. Their
opponents apparently thought them dead, and later were surprised by an
attack from that quarter.


Map No. 6

London: Hugh Rees, Ltd.

_Stanford’s Geogl. Estabt., London._]


  Afanaisev, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 94, 110, 136

  Agapov, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 128

  Akasaka Yama, defences of, 135;
    condition of works, 156, 157;
    events on, Nov. 28, 1904, 235;
    account of fighting round, 273 _et seq._

  Alalikin, Naval Lieutenant, 129

  Alander, Captain, 5th Regt., 186

  Ammunition, false economy in expenditure of, 210, 211

  Andreiev, Artillery Captain, 117 (wounded)

  Andreiev, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 109, 110 (wounded)

  Andreievski, Captain, 5th Regt., 22

  Anikin, Acting Ensign, 27th Regt., 172

  Artillery, destructive effect of Japanese, 35, 48, 49, 72,
    73, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 109, 117, 120, 134, 180, 223,
    226, 236, 238, 270, 288, 297

  Artouk, Naval Artificer, 259

  Astafiev, Major, 5th Regt., 120

  Balashov, Surgeon-General, 130, 132

  Balloon, use of, by Japanese, 212

  Bandaletov, Lieutenant, 13th Regt., 46, 57

  Baranovski, guns, 109

  Bashchenko, Sergeant-Major, 5th Regt., 85

  Baum, Captain, Staff Officer, 188

  Bayonet fighting, 80, 240, 274

  Beedenko, Major, 27th Regt., 136

  Bereznouk, Able Seaman, 260

  Bieli, General, Commander of Fortress Artillery, 115

  Bielozerov, Captain, 5th Regt., 124, 129 (wounded), 239, 240

  Bielozor, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th Regt., 25, 43, 45, 51, 58,
    59 (wounded and taken prisoner)

  Bitzouk, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 128 (wounded)

  Bobirev, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 200 (wounded)

  _Bobr_, Russian gunboat, in action during battle of Nan Shan, 44

  Bogdanovitch, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 154

  Boochatski, Captain, 5th Regt., 40 (severely wounded)

  Boudarev, Seaman, 260

  Boudiarnski, Lieutenant-Colonel, 27th Regt., 273

  Butorin, Rifleman, gallantry of, 192

  Cattle driven into Port Arthur from Chin-chou, 66

  Chang-chia-tun, eye-witness’s account of reconnaissance in
    direction of, 34;
    Russian losses, 37

  Chi-kuan, Fort, evacuated by Fock’s orders, 289

  Chin-chou, occupied as an advanced post, 9;
    measures for its defence, 38;
    attack on, 39;
    assault and capture by Japanese, 42

  Chinese workmen, employment of, by Russians at Nan Shan, 12

  Choulkov, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 79, 80, 81, 107

  Churbanov, Captain, 27th Regt., 176

  Concealment, Japanese skill in, 33, 97, 117

  Connecting Ridge, works on, 114;
    evacuated, 133

  Co-operation between army and navy, 18, 44, 49, 93

  Dalny Bay, its suitability for landing operations, 20

  Danger, psychological effect of, 144

  Dead, Russian form of address to, 49 and note

  Decorations, prompt award of Russian, 260

  Defeat, causes of Russian, 286

  Deitchman, Naval Ensign, 233, 234 (killed)

  Diantrougov, Ensign, 28th Regt., 182 (killed)

  Ditchmann, Naval Lieutenant, 18;
    sinks a Japanese ship, 20

  Division Hill, condition of works on, 157

  Dmetrevski, Lieutenant-Colonel, Chief of Staff, 4th Division, 63

  Dostovalov, Major, Intendance Dept., 228, 229

  Doubeedi, Colonel, Naval Construction Dept., 201

  Doudkin, Midshipman, 67, 85, 109, 185

  Dounin, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th Regt., 29, 77, 78;
    skilful conduct of retreat from the Position of the Passes, 81, 82

  Ehr-lung, Fort, bombardment of, 232;
    evacuation of, 293 _et seq._

  Elechevski, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 107, 209

  Eremeiev, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th Regt., 11

  Evlanov, Sergeant-Major, 5th Regt., 80 (wounded)

  Evstratov, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 142, 143 (mortally wounded)

  Extension, danger of undue, 17

  Extinct Volcano, capture of, by Japanese, 136 _et seq._

  Felitzin, Captain, 158 (wounded), 200 (wounded)

  Feng-huang Shan, retreat from, and description of works on, 85, 86;
    eye-witness’s account of retirement from, 87, 88

  Fenster, Lieutenant of Engineers, 238, 244, 246

  Fetter, Lieutenant of Engineers, 203

  Field works, necessity of infantry being expert
    in construction of, 146

  15th Regiment, 17, 23, 28, 63, 76

  5th Regiment, arrival of 1st Battalion at Chin-chou, 1;
    reinforced by 3rd Battalion, 7;
    initial distribution, 11;
    casualties at Nan Shan, 54;
    posted to Port Arthur defences, 67;
    losses in the Position of the Passes, 77;
    disposition after retreat from Feng-huang Shan, 85;
    casualties on 174 Metre Hill, 133;

  Fock, General, plans for defence of Nan Shan, 15 _et seq._;
    directness of his orders, 27;
    makes reconnaissance in force, 28;
    his “Notes,” 217 and note;
    orders evacuation of Fort Chi-kuan, 289;
    directs withdrawal from Wang-tai, 297;

  Fofanov, Major, 5th Regt., 213

  Fomeenitch, Seaman, gallantry of, 192

  Fortification, field, criticism of General Fock’s methods, 86, 88

  Fougasses, employment of, 153

  14th Regiment, 17, 34, 42, 46, 47, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 60, 63,
    64, 82, 88, 187, 217, 274

  14th Reserve Battalion, 94

  4th Reserve Battalion, 102, 108, 111

  Frantz, Major, 28th Regt., 120, 122

  Frost, Lieutenant, Paymaster of 5th Regt., 158 (wounded),
    200 (wounded)

  Galileiev, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 128

  Gavreelov, Major, 13th Regt., 121

  Gemmelmann, Major of Engineers, 148, 196, 203

  Glieb-Koshanski, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 56

  Glinski, General, 4, 5

  Gobiato, Major of Artillery, 190, 214

  Golden Hill, fire from, on Japanese ships, 227

  Golenko, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 11

  Golitsinski, Lieutenant-Colonel, 14th Regt., 60

  Gomsiakov, Major, 5th Regt., 36,
    37 (taken prisoner and died of wounds)

  Goosakov, Lieutenant-Colonel on Staff,
    73 (killed on Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill)

  Goosakovski, Major, 13th Regt., 121, 122, 127

  Goosov, Major, 5th Regt., 11, 42, 57

  Gorbatovski, General, 226, 230, 242

  Goudkov, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regiment, 282, 284 (severely wounded)

  Grigorenko, Colonel, 68, 220, 223, 224, 225, 227, 291

  Ground, failure of Russian soldiers to take advantage of, 26

  Grouzdev, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 283

  Guides, Russian neglect to post, at cross-roads, 25

  Guns, Russian, faulty position of, 113;
    a danger to their own troops, 139, 208;
    naval, for use on land, 162

  Hand grenades, mechanical means of ignition required, 204, 205

  Hand grenades, Russian manufacture of, 260 note

  Hand grenades, use of, by Japanese and Russians, 171, 177, 222, 234,
    237, 238, 239, 240, 247, 249, 251, 253, 256, 260, 261, 267, 268,
    270, 273, 277, 283, 296

  Headquarter Hill, the fight for, 96 _et seq._;
    detailed account of fighting round, 105 _et seq._;
    Russian losses, 111

  Height, 426, detailed description of fighting on, 108 _et seq._

  Horses, carcasses of, used for food, 159, 212, 265

  Hospitals, Russian, 285

  Howitzers, Japanese 11-inch, damage done by, 215

  Hsiao-ku Shan, capture of, by Japanese, 92

  Hunhutzes, depredations committed by, 2, 3, 6, 22

  Initiative, absence of, in Russian soldier, 27

  Iolshin, Captain, General Staff, 102

  Irman, Colonel, in command of western section of Port Arthur
    defences, 96 _et seq._;
    wounded, 205;

  Ivanov, Major, 5th Regt., 94, 98, 100, 103

  Ivanov, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 129, 131, 157 (wounded), 290

  Japanese, the author’s estimate of the, 264

  Jeltkevitch, Major, 27th Regt., 176, 181 (killed)

  Jerebtsov, Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers, 74

  Kaminar, Ensign, 5th Regt., 55

  Kan-ta Shan, capture of, by Japanese, 93

  Kao-liang, obstruction due to, 86, 87, 89, 93, 104, 190

  Kashtalinski, General, 4

  _Kasuga_, armoured cruiser, 4, 14

  Katishev, Major, 5th Regt., 104, 111 (wounded)

  Khaidoulin, Lance-Corporal, gallant conduct of, 107

  Kholodenko, Seaman, 260

  Kholodovski, General, 7, 10

  Khvostov, Colonel, 291

  Kites, uselessness of, 41

  Kobrintsev, Lance-Corporal, left in command on Height 426, 110

  Kolmakov, Lieutenant of Artillery, 163

  Kondratenko, General, killed, 287;
    tribute to value of, 288;

  Kornilovitch, Lieutenant of Artillery, 151 (killed)

  Kostoushko, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., gallant conduct of, at Yu-pi-la-tzu
    Hill, 72, 188, 209, 252

  Koudriavtsev, Captain, 5th Regt., 11, 34, 71, 79, 80 (killed)

  Kourelov, Mr., in charge of kite, 41

  Kournosov, Sergeant-Major, 12th Regt., 254

  Kousmin, Captain, 14th Regt., 51

  Kragelski, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., heroic conduct of, at Nan Shan, 55

  Kramorenko, Captain, 5th Regt., 192, 193

  Krjivetz, Dr., 257

  Kuropatkin, General, 22

  Kvatz, Captain, in command of Fort Chi-kuan, 289

  Kvitkin, Captain, 5th Regt., 74, 77 (killed)

  Landings, difficulties of opposing, 20

  Lao-tso Shan, fighting round, 72 _et seq._;
    detailed description, 77

  Lavrov, Naval Lieutenant, 258

  Leesaevski, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th Regiment, 118, 121, 123 (wounded)

  Lesenkov, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 283

  Levitski, Captain, 13th Regt., 99

  Linder, Major of Engineers, 224

  Lobyrev, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 43, 104

  Losev, Naval Ensign, 252;
    coolness displayed by, 272, 273

  Lossev, Telephone Clerk, 282

  Lubeemov, Captain, 13th Regt., 50, 51

  Machabeli, Prince, Colonel, blamed for his action on Feng-huang
    Shan, 88;
    killed on West Pan-lung Redoubt, 89, 90

  Machine guns, employment of, at Nan Shan, 47

  Makoveiev, Captain, 5th Regt., distinguishes himself at
    Nan Shan, 55, 58

  Makurin, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., gallant conduct of, on 203 Metre
    Hill, 213;
    wounded, _ibid._

  Maps, indifferent quality of Russian, 23

  Marines, Russian, lacking in foresight, 136

  Melik-Porsadanov, Lieutenant, 204, 260

  Melinkov, Naval Lieutenant, 174

  Merkoulev, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 42, 55, 111 (killed)

  Mines, naval, use of on land, 181, 191, 287

  Mirotvoretz, Dr., 289

  Mixed units, unreliable character of, 67

  Molchanov, Rifleman, gallant conduct of, 108

  Moosalevski, 2nd Lieutenant, 56

  Morosov, Naval Ensign, 234, 252

  Mortars, Japanese 11-inch, 200, 201

  Moskvin, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 271, 272

  Moskvin, Major, 5th Regt., 158, 165, 166, 169, 173

  Moukin, Ensign, 5th Regt., 111 (killed)

  Mt. Sampson, 15;
    fighting round, 29, 30

  Mousious, Major, 5th Regt., 196, 216

  Music, reassuring effect of, 62, 76

  Nadyein, General, 17, 19, 31 (wounded);

  Namako Yama, works and armament on, 135, 147, 148, 156, 157, 163,
    164, 166;
    night attacks on, repulsed, 165, 166;
    the struggle for, 167 _et seq._;
    abandonment of, 174

  Nan-kuan-ling, retreat to, 62 _et seq._

  Nan Shan, vulnerability of position of, 9;
    armament, 21, 43;
    battle of, 43 _et seq._;
    inquiry into conduct of battle, 56 _et seq._;
    rewards given, 65

  Naoomenko, Lieutenant-Colonel, 102, 104, 287

  Naoomov, Lieutenant of Artillery, 18, 19, 29, 78, 81

  Navy, Japanese, its value at first underrated by Russians, 14;
    its co-operation in the battle of Nan Shan, 44, 49

  Navy, Russian, optimism regarding, 4, 5;
    discipline, 13;
    its doom, 286, 288

  Nazarov, N.C.O., 5th Regt., 106

  Nefedov, Seaman, 259

  Nejentsev, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 239

  Nikizhin, General, 149, 220

  Nikoladtse, Prince, Captain, 258

  _Nisshin_, armoured cruiser, 4, 14

  Non-combatant companies, Russian, 232 and note

  Noskov, Lance-Corporal, 5th Regt., 109

  Obstructions, various forms of, 153, 156, 218

  Officers, qualities requisite to make good, 262, 263

  174 Metre Hill;
    work on its fortification, 92;
    works and armament, 114;
    capture of, 116 _et seq._;
    Russian casualties, 134;
    distribution of troops after loss of, 135

  Optimism, Russian, at beginning of war, 13;
    for the future, 265

  Orders, indefinite nature of Russian, 23;
    directness of General Fock’s, 27;
    conflicting, 36, 53

  Organov, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 257

  Osmanov, Captain, 122

  Passes, Position of the, fighting for, 71 _et seq._;
    withdrawal of Russians from, 75

  Pavlovski, Major, 5th Regt., 6, 21

  Petrov, Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery, 99, 101 (mortally wounded),

  Pilshchikov, Seaman, 259

  Pi-tzu-wo, 3, 10, 16;
    landing of Japanese at, 22

  Platonov, Sergeant-Major, 5th Regt., 274

  Podgourski, Naval Lieutenant, 181, 183, 184, 186, 191, 192, 246

  Pogdanovitch, 2nd Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 183 (killed)

  Pokrovski, Lieutenant-Colonel, 284

  Popov, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 71

  Port Arthur, fall of first shell in, 92;
    shortness of means of transport, 148;
    surrender, 298 _et seq._

  Preegorovski, Captain, 5, 66

  Protasevitch, 2nd Lieutenant, 28th Regt., 176

  Ptooski, Bombardier, 44

  Radetski, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th Regt., killed at Nan Shan, 46

  Rashevski, Lieutenant-Colonel, 224, 287

  Ravinski, Peter, 149 (wounded), 257

  Reconnaissances in force, Russian, 22, 28

  Reinbott, Lieutenant of Engineers, 244

  Reishetov, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 248 (wounded)

  Reiss, Colonel, 220, 221

  Reserves, proper use of, 60

  Responsibility, divided, 61

  Rifles, clamping down of, for night firing, 208

  Rofalovski, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 280

  Romanovski, Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery, 25, 29, 30, 31,
    35 (wounded), 36, 86, 97, 99, 190

  Romanovski, Major, 295

  Roosoi, Lieutenant, 14th Regt., 46, 56

  Rotaiski, Captain, 13th Regt., 47, 50, 52, 56, 57, 99, 110

  Sadykov, Second-Lieutenant, 5th Regt., commanding bullock
    battery, 31, 52

  Saifoolin, Lieutenant-Colonel, 34, 43, 281 (wounded), 283, 302

  Saliarski, Major, 5th Regt., 54

  Saltovski, Captain, 5th Regt., 168 (killed)

  Sappers, excellent work of, 241

  Saratski, Major, 5th Regt., 85

  Schiller, Major, 138

  Schwartz, Major of Engineers, 7

  Shakovskoi, Second-Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 262

  Shchenakin, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., bravery of, 132

  Shcherbachev, Naval Lieutenant, 136

  Shimanski, Midshipman, 43

  Shishkin, Acting Ensign, 80, 81, 182 (killed)

  Shui-shih-ying, village of, Japanese field artillery massed at, 259,
    264, 266, 268, 279

  Sichev, Captain, 5th Regt., 37 (superseded), 101 (wounded), 188, 191

  Siedelnitski, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 94, 136

  Sietchko, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 18

  Singing on the march, Russian practice of, 27

  Siromiatnikov, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 238

  Sirotko, Captain, Frontier Guard 170, 172, 173, 174, 273, 275,
    276, 277;
    account of fighting on 203 Metre Hill, 282 _et seq._;
    wounded, 284

  Slounin, Father Vasili, 158 (wounded), 200 (wounded), 235

  Smirnov, General, _passim_

  Soimonov, Midshipman, 253, 254, 255, 256

  Sokkatski, Major, 28th Regt., 136

  Sokolov, Major, 5th Regt., 38, 42;
    heroic conduct at Nan Shan, 55

  Soldiers, Russian, form of address of, by officers, 258 and note

  Soloveiev, Major, 239

  Solovev Hill, abandonment of, by Russians, 290

  Star-rockets, use of, 95, 96, 98, 106, 118, 126, 188

  Stempnevski (jun.), Major, 5th Regt., 18, 71

  Stempnevski (sen.), Major, 5th Regt., 43, 71, 163, 176, 178, 186,
    187, 188, 192, 245, 248 (wounded)

  Stessel, General, _passim_

  Stoliarov, Rifleman, distinguished conduct of, 213

  Stone-throwing between combatants, 140

  Strength, importance of husbanding, 145

  Sung-shu, Fort, bombardment of, 232;
    blown up, 296

  Suvorov, Captain, 14th Regt., 34

  Ta-an-tzu Shan, condition of Fort, 154

  Ta-fang-shen, demolition of railway station of, 54

  Ta-ku Shan, capture of, by Japanese, 92

  Ta-scha River, reported Japanese landing at mouth of, 21

  Ta-yang-ku North, condition of Fort, 155, 160

  Terminal Point, 11;
    Japanese squadron reported near, 21

  Teemoshenko, Captain, 50, 51

  13th Regiment, 17, 42, 43, 46, 50, 55, 57, 63, 82, 87, 88, 99, 111,
    115, 121, 136, 169, 174, 187, 232

  Tiddeman, Russian Consul at Chi-fu, 229

  Tordan, Medical Dept., 130, 132

  Trajectory, flat, false application of a principle, 87, 88

  Transport service in Port Arthur, deficiencies in, 148

  Tretyakov, Colonel (the author), 248 (wounded),
    279 (severely wounded);

  Troitski, Theodore, Medical Dept., 152, 257

  Trufanov, Rifleman, gallant conduct of, 192

  Trusov, Corporal, 5th Regt., bravery of, 108

  Tsvietkov, Lieutenant, 115

  28th Regiment, 115, 119, 120, 122, 134, 136, 137, 167, 171, 172,
    173, 176, 181, 183, 187, 188, 200, 232

  25th Regiment, 218

  27th Regiment, 77, 78, 79, 82, 136, 140, 172, 176, 177, 181, 182,
    198, 206, 217, 235, 273, 274, 275, 284

  26th Regiment, 82, 85

  203 Metre Hill, description of works on, 134, 174;
    first assault on, 174 _et seq._;
    garrison and armament, 176;
    Japanese losses, 177, 193;
    Russian losses 181;
    strengthening of position, 195 _et seq._;
    second assault, 238 _et seq._;
    Japanese losses, 266;
    Russian losses, 271, 272, 285;
    account of final struggle, 282 _et seq._

  Ushakov, Captain, 14th Regt., 47, 50, 51

  Vagin, Corporal, 5th Regt., fine work of, 106

  Vanikovski, Lieutenant, 14th Regt., 217

  Vaseeliev, Lieutenant, 5th Regt., 11, 128;
    Captain, 249, 250, 251 (severely wounded)

  Vershinin, Colonel, Commandant of Kuan-tung District, 289

  Versi, Captain, Naval Construction Dept., 161

  Veselevski, Major, 5th Regt., 262

  Veselovski, Major, 25th Regt., 218, 280 (killed), 281

  Visoki, Major, 47

  Vlassev, Midshipman, 213, 214, 260

  Yarsevitch, Captain, 14th Regt., 74, 187, 189

  Yasinski, Lieutenant of Artillery, 190

  Yermakov, Ensign of Engineers, 196, 203, 216, 234, 237, 244,
    245, 246

  Yermeiev, Lieutenant-Colonel, 5th Regt., 41

  Yermolov, Acting Ensign of Engineers, 265

  Yi-tzu Shan, Fort, condition of, 154

  Yu-pi-la-tzu Hill, struggle for, 72 _et seq._

  Zakrejevski, Acting Ensign, 5th Regt., 106 (wounded)

  Zedginidzi, Major, 287

  Zimmermann, Major, gallantry of, 137 (wounded)

  Zmoushko, Sergeant, 5th Regt., alertness of, 107

  Zoobov, Colonel, 4th Reserve Battalion, 102, 104

     _Printed and bound by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld.,
                  London and Aylesbury._

                *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s note:

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. All other changes
to the original text are as noted below.


  Page 172 – “feel” changed to “fell” (our shells fell like hail)

Other changes

The spelling of some words and place names in the original text varies.
Where a consensus spelling was obvious these variations have been
corrected. Hence the following changes to the original text:

  Page viii – “Taku” changed to “Ta-ku” (the capture of the Ta-ku Forts)
  Page xiii – “Wangtai” changed to “Wang-tai” (Capture of Wang-tai,
                 December 31)
  Page 14 – “earthwork” changed to “earth-work” (the defenders of the
  Page 19 – “inter-communication” changed to “intercommunication” (made
               intercommunication exceedingly difficult)
  Page 33 – “earthworks” changed to “earth-works” (able to locate
               earth-works on)
  Page 80 – “Serjeant-Major” changed to “Sergeant-Major” (Sergeant-Major
               Evlanov wounded)
  Page 112 – “day-time” changed to “daytime” (working in the daytime
                whenever the)
  Page 104 – “Pang-lung” changed to “Pan-lung” (immediately went to
                Pan-lung Shan)
  Page 159 – “horseflesh” changed to “horse-flesh” (not fancy
  Page 159 – “horseflesh” changed to “horse-flesh” (will serve to
                prove that horse-flesh)
  Page 164 – “sky-line” changed to “skyline” (on the skyline)
  Page 167 – “re-occupy” changed to “reoccupy” (to reoccupy their
  Page 169 – “Akasako Yama” changed to “Akasaka Yama” (to the hollow
                behind Akasaka Yama)
  Page 204 – “fuzes” changed to “fuses” (using time fuses)
  Page 215 – “loop-holes” changed to “loopholes” (the loopholes were
  Page 265 – “sandbags” changed to “sand-bags” (piles of rubbish and
                torn sand-bags)
  Page 273 – “re-occupied” changed to “reoccupied” (whereupon our men
                at once reoccupied it)
  Page 307 – “carcases” changed to “carcasses” (Horses, carcasses of,
                used for food, 159, 212, 265)
  Page 308 – “Panlung” changed to “Pan-lung” (killed on West Pan-lung
                Redoubt, 89, 90)

The following inconsistent place name spelling of “Bokovi/Bokovy” has
been left unchanged:

  “Bokovi (Side) Hill”, “BOKOVY HILL (SIDE HILL)”, “Height 426 (Bokovy)”

Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together at
the end of each chapter.

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