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Title: The Russian army and the Japanese War, Volume II - Being historical and critical comments on the military - policy and power of Russia and on the campaign in the Far - East
Author: Kuropatkin, Aleksei Nicolaevich
Language: English
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                       THE RUSSIAN ARMY AND THE
                             JAPANESE WAR


                         THE RUSSIAN ARMY AND
                           THE JAPANESE WAR,


                        BY GENERAL KUROPATKIN.

                             TRANSLATED BY
                        CAPTAIN A. B. LINDSAY,
                  “THE TRUTH ABOUT PORT ARTHUR,” ETC.

                               EDITED BY
                  MAJOR E. D. SWINTON, D.S.O., R.E.,

                      WITH MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

                       IN TWO VOLUMES: VOL. II.

                               NEW YORK
                       E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY

                       PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

                          CONTENTS TO VOL. II

                              CHAPTER IX

  Reasons for our reverses (_continued_): The insufficient
      tactical preparation of our troops—Measures taken
      to improve it                                                1–25

                               CHAPTER X

  Reasons for our reverses (_conclusion_): Particular
      difficulties of the strategic situation—Defects in
      spirit in the army, and lack of determination in
      carrying operations to a finish—Breakdown of our

                              CHAPTER XI

  Suggested measures for the improvement of the senior
      ranks; for the improvement of the regulars and
      reservists; for the reorganization of the reserve
      troops; for increasing the number of combatants
      in infantry regiments—Machine-guns—Reserve
      troops—Troops on the communications—Engineers
      —Artillery—Cavalry—Infantry—Organization generally         98–176

                              CHAPTER XII

  Summary of the war                                            177–204

                             CHAPTER XIII

  Introduction and conclusion to Volume III.                    205–305

                              APPENDIX I

  The Royal Timber Company                                      306–313

                              APPENDIX II

  Breakdown of the unit organization and distribution           314–335

  INDEX                                                         336–348

                       ILLUSTRATIONS TO VOL. II.

  GENERAL KUROPATKIN REVIEWING HIS TROOPS                 _Frontispiece_

                                                          OPPOSITE PAGE
  GENERAL LINIEVITCH                                                 18

  GENERAL BARON KITEN NOGI                                           40

  GENERAL GRIPPENBERG                                               100

  FIELD-MARSHAL MARQUIS IWAO OYAMA                                  206


      ALONG RAILWAY SOUTH OF HARBIN                                  27

      WAR RELATIVELY TO RUSSIA AND JAPAN                             34

      PLACES MENTIONED                                     _At the end_

      MUKDEN                                              _At the end_


                              CHAPTER IX

                REASONS FOR OUR REVERSES (_continued_)

     The insufficient tactical preparation of our troops—Measures
                         taken to improve it.

I have touched upon the fact of how our want of tactical training was
shown up in the Crimean and second Turkish Wars. Especially conspicuous
was the inability of our senior commanders—relying as they usually
did upon quite inadequate information as to the enemy’s strength and
dispositions—to co-ordinate the operations of the different arms
towards one end, and their ignorance of where to deliver the main
attack. The minor part played by our cavalry and our comparatively
great power of defence were also remarked. Finally, attention was drawn
to the fact that our lack of the power of manœuvre compelled us to
place superior numbers in the field against the Turks, a course which
had not formerly been necessary.

After the war of 1877–78 we set to work to study our weak points, in
order to eliminate our faults. Much must have been accomplished since
then, for the tactical training of the army at the beginning of the
recent war was undoubtedly of a higher standard than it was twenty-five
years ago. Still, in some matters we had not progressed, while in
others we had actually gone back. The duty of training the troops rests
with commanding officers of all ranks, and the responsibility for this
extends right up to those in command of military districts. Although
the same drill-books and manuals are used by the whole army, there
is considerable variety in the way that the tactical instruction is
imparted, owing to the diverse views held by the district commanders.
I have taken part in many manœuvres, and was in command of the army
at the grand manœuvres at Kursk in 1902, and I noted down what I
considered to be our principal failings in this respect. In October,
1903, I submitted a report on the subject to the Tsar, in which my
conclusions on certain points were as follows:

    “1. _Staff Work with the Main Army and with Detached Columns at
                         the Grand Manœuvres._

 “Generally speaking, the staff work cannot be characterized
 as entirely satisfactory. The principal reasons for this were
 the somewhat unhappy selection of the officers appointed to
 be chiefs of the different staffs, the poor organization of
 the staffs themselves, due to a limited personnel and to an
 insufficient supply of the means of communication [telegraph
 and telephone equipment] for both the troops and staffs, and
 the neglect to arrange proper intercommunication between units
 by making use of mounted orderlies, automobiles, or cyclists.
 Intelligence of the enemy as well as of the disposition
 of other units was always received late by those whom it
 concerned, because the cavalry was badly organized, and could
 not carry out its orders properly.

 “The amount of writing done by the various staff-officers was
 colossal. They worked the whole evening and all night; their
 effusions were lithographed or printed, and were sent off in
 all directions; but the orders were rarely received by the
 troops in proper time. At the manœuvres of the Warsaw Military
 District in 1899, cases came under my notice of general
 officers commanding divisions receiving the order to move in
 the morning two hours after the time appointed for them to

 “In many instances staff-officers with troops seemed ignorant
 of how a reconnaissance should be carried out, and consequently
 did not gauge the dispositions of the enemy’s forces with
 sufficient accuracy. This reacted in turn on the dispositions
 made by the chief commanders, more particularly in their
 employment of the reserves (Kursk manœuvres and those at Pskoff
 and Vlodava). Similarly, they did not know how to arrange for
 the maintenance of touch along the front and to the rear,
 a defect which caused a delay in the receipt of orders and
 information which was quite avoidable.

                “2. _Work of the Cavalry at Manœuvres._

 “The increased importance now attached to the strategic or
 independent duties of cavalry has, in my opinion, acted
 detrimentally upon the cavalry work with the troops. The
 spirit of the strategic rôle was in most cases not properly
 grasped, and the chief idea of the masses of mounted troops of
 both sides appeared to be to meet each other. They therefore
 neglected to furnish the commanders of their sides with the
 information of the enemy, so necessary before an action, and
 left the infantry without their co-operation during the actual
 combat; this was the same whether they were acting in attack or
 defence. Long-distance patrols often did useful work, but owing
 to the lack of proper means for the quick transmission of the
 information collected, it reached the troops to whom it might
 be useful after the enemy’s dispositions had been changed.
 The near patrols did not work in with the long-distance ones.
 Our mounted troops were frequently allowed to lose touch with
 the enemy at night under the pretext that the men and horses
 required rest, and the employment of a dozen troopers was
 grudged after dark, when by day whole divisions and corps were
 futilely marched and countermarched, and sent upon duties which
 were not always in accordance with the general idea of the

 “The cavalry work should be more strictly in co-operation with
 that of the other arms than it is at present, and all officers
 in command of mounted units should remember that their rôle is
 auxiliary, and largely consists in assisting the General in
 command to come to a proper decision by the completeness and
 accuracy of the information they send back; that the cavalry
 should help the commanders, firstly, to frame a plan of action,
 then to crush the enemy on the field of battle.

                     “3. _Attack and the Defence._

 “Here again information was wanting. When commanders made up
 their minds either to attack or to stand on the defensive, they
 were never able to feel, from their information of the enemy
 and the locality, that they thoroughly knew what they were
 doing, or that it really was in accordance with the spirit of
 the general idea. We were strong in the defence, but we rarely
 delivered a soundly conceived or executed attack. In the attack
 column commanders did not always take pains to obtain enough
 accurate information as to the dispositions and strength of the
 enemy, so as to be able to appreciate the situation properly
 and draw up a reasoned plan of battle, to select the direction
 of the main attack, to allot the troops for it, and take steps
 to deceive the enemy as to its precise direction. When they had
 massed sufficient first-line troops for the main attack, they
 did not also move up the reserves of all arms.

 “In particular, we did not know how to conduct the advance, and
 then deliver the assault with proper preparation by artillery
 and rifle fire. Many commanders seem, unfortunately, to be
 wedded to the idea of carrying out a continuous advance without
 making any use of the rifle. If we ever encounter an enemy,
 such as the Germans, who systematically train their troops to
 advance under cover of their own heavy rifle-fire, we shall be
 worsted, for in peace we often advance almost without firing a
 rifle to a range of 1,000 or even 800 paces of the position.

 “The guns also frequently ceased fire at the same critical
 period—_i.e._, when their attacking infantry are nearing the
 enemy. My inquiries as to the reason for this were usually
 met with the reply that their ammunition was expended. If
 the absolute necessity for keeping in hand a considerable
 number of rounds for the assistance of the decisive infantry
 attack is not realized now that we have quick-firing guns, our
 artillery will in war become useless at the very moment when
 its co-operation is most vital.

 “In defence we are better than in the attack, and we know how
 to make the most of the fire effect of both guns and rifles.
 The ranges in front of a position are usually measured and
 clearly marked. But proper use is not made of reserves. We do
 not, as we should, throw them into the firing-line, so as to
 increase the volume of fire after the enemy’s main attack has
 developed, nor do we launch them in a fierce counter-attack
 after he has come within decisive range. The reserves are
 often kept in mass, and thrown against the attack without any
 supporting rifle-fire. Many regiments and brigades told off as
 reserves to a defensive position go through the whole manœuvres
 without firing a single round.

       “4. _The Revival of the Column Formation in the Attack._

 “Other European armies are now doing everything possible to
 minimize the murderous effect of modern rifle and artillery
 fire on themselves, and are, at the same time, endeavouring
 to develop their own fire to the utmost, both in the attack
 and defence; indeed, the Germans, in their efforts to this
 end, have gone the extreme length of deploying all their
 troops—sometimes even to the sacrifice of their reserves—in
 long thin lines. We, on the other hand, judging by the last
 manœuvres, are going to the other extreme, for our decisive
 attack is delivered almost without any fire preparation, and
 with men massed in quarter column!

 “If a stop is not put to the increasing density of our attack
 formations, we shall suffer for it heavily. It is all the more
 dangerous for us, as we do not assist our assaulting infantry
 properly with supporting gun and rifle fire.

                   “5. _The Work of the Artillery._

 “Artillery positions were in most cases skilfully chosen, but
 the fire discipline was often bad. As batteries can only carry
 a limited number of rounds in the field, it is vital that the
 gunners should be taught to economize every round; this is, of
 course, particularly important with quick-firing guns. But we
 often fired more rounds than were necessary: fire was opened
 too hurriedly, at quite unimportant targets, with the result
 that, at the critical moment of the attack, batteries had to
 signal that they were in action, for all their ammunition had
 been expended.[1]

                    “6. _The Work of the Sappers._

 “The bloody lessons of Plevna and Gora Dubniak put fresh life
 into our military engineering, which lasted for a certain
 time after the Turkish War. Our sappers became skilful at
 constructing trenches and redoubts, and the other troops were
 also trained in field-works, and began to like entrenching
 themselves. But a reaction soon set in. This was largely due
 to General Dragomiroff, who did much to bring about a return
 to the old order of things, when it was held that everything
 was decided by the bayonet. He was quite opposed to the use of
 cover, and carried his orders on this subject to the height of
 absurdity, even forbidding his men to lie down while advancing
 to attack!

 “To dig oneself into the ground means labour, and takes much
 time. Moreover, instructions used to be issued that all
 trenches dug had to be filled in again, and all redoubts
 dismantled. This at once limited the scope of trench-work in
 the army. The entrenching tool, which after the Turkish War had
 been valued next to cartridges and biscuits, was relegated to
 the mobilization store, and never brought out for use or even
 for inspection. At many manœuvres the men were not practised at
 all in the fortification of positions; at others the alignment
 of trenches was traced only. While giving the sapper units full
 credit for their excellent training, I cannot but express my
 fear that they specialize far too much in a mass of detail, and
 ignore the fact that their main duty in war is to co-operate in
 every way with the infantry, both in strengthening defensive
 positions and in the attack of them.

                    “7. _Criticism by Commanders._

 “It is gradually becoming the custom to omit all criticisms[2]
 at grand manœuvres. Mistakes, therefore, pass unnoticed, are
 repeated, and tend to become chronic. I remember some very
 instructive manœuvre criticisms made by General Gurko, and
 I have listened with interest and advantage to others made
 by General Roop. Discussions after the operations are always
 held in the Kieff and St. Petersburg Military Districts,
 but nowadays some officers in command of districts neither
 make any remarks themselves when present at manœuvres, nor
 expect them to be made by the officers commanding sides or
 the other seniors. Orders issued after a long period—though
 they may enumerate the various points noticed—and the reports
 eventually printed of large concentrations and manœuvres, are
 comparatively useless for instruction. To be of use, criticisms
 must be made by the commanders, and made on the spot.

 “It is, however, important to realize how rare the power of
 good criticism is. The remarks usually made are either quite
 colourless or too highly pitched. Some of our most capable
 general officers also seem peculiarly ‘unlucky’ in the way
 they manage unnecessarily to hurt the feelings of commanding
 officers by their harsh way of putting things. They forget
 that to lower the prestige of a senior in the presence of his
 juniors always produces a bitter harvest, especially in war.
 They forget the infinite variety of the conditions of different
 tactical situations, and that at peace manœuvres there is
 no need for one side to win or lose. Again, independent
 action, though certainly not wrong in itself, is often put
 down as a mistake and adjudged to be wrong because the senior
 commander has his own opinion in the matter. Such narrow-minded
 criticism deprives officers in command of units of the
 spirit of independence, of initiative, and of the desire for
 responsibility. Instead, they try to discover the fads of the
 officer in command, in order to ‘play up’ to them.

    “8. _Conclusion as to the Tactical Instruction of our Troops._

 “Although the opinion of the generals in command of military
 districts in all matters pertaining to military training
 should, and do, carry great weight, yet there must be some
 limit to individual action. It is impossible, for instance, to
 permit each of them to train the troops in his command entirely
 in accordance with his own views as to what is most important
 in war; for the instruction of attack and defence should not
 be carried out on entirely different lines in the different
 districts. Yet this is more or less what has been done. We at
 headquarters are partly to blame, owing to the delay in the
 publication of the field-service manuals and the instructions
 for the combined training of all arms. As an example of what I
 refer to: General Dragomiroff has trained the troops under him
 in the Kieff Military District to attack according to a system
 of his own, of which the soundness is open to doubt. If some of
 his theories are carried out in war, they will result in heavy
 loss, and therefore their inculcation in peace seems entirely
 wrong. His order that the skirmishers escorting artillery
 should be on a line with the guns themselves would only cause
 the premature silencing of the latter; and another, that the
 lines of skirmishers advancing to attack should not lie down
 when halted, is simply impossible of execution. When bullets
 are flying, a line lies down of its own accord as soon as it
 halts, and quite rightly so, as men get cover more easily when
 lying than standing. And now, following General Dragomiroff’s
 example, in the Vilna Military District General Grippenberg has
 begun to act according to his own theories, and depart from
 the textbook. In his District Orders this year,[3] in which
 were published his criticisms on the work done at manœuvres, he
 recommends that infantry in close order should receive cavalry
 with independent fire[4] instead of with volleys. He insists,
 also, that when a line is advancing by short rushes, these
 rushes should begin from the flanks.

 “Unfortunately, much that I saw when inspecting the troops in
 the different districts and on grand manœuvres led me to the
 conclusion that the tactical training, especially in command,
 of officers commanding units, from regiments upwards, is
 neither sound nor uniform.”

My strictures on the peace tactical training of the army were,
unfortunately, only too well confirmed during the war.

The theatre of war in Manchuria presented many peculiarities of
climate, topography, and inhabitants. It was unlike any of the
“probable” theatres of operations we had studied, and was, therefore,
quite new to the troops who came from European Russia. The Japanese
were not only new and practically unknown foes, but the nature of the
information that we did possess about them tended to show our great
superiority, and therefore incited us to contempt. The existing edition
of our “Field Service Regulations” was obsolete, and the revised
edition was still in the Press. Special instructions, therefore, had to
be issued, in order to assist our troops to grapple with the entirely
strange conditions under which they were placed. These were compiled
and printed under my direction, and distributed to officers in command
of all units, from companies and squadrons upwards, and to all chief
staff-officers. In them I emphasized the necessity of getting to know
something about the enemy, enumerated their strong and weak points,
and drew attention to their patriotism and traditional indifference to
death. I stated that their strong points predominated, and that in the
Japanese we should find a very powerful opponent, even when reckoned by
European standards. I continued:

 “It is most important that in the first engagements, in which
 they will certainly be in superior strength, we should not give
 the Japanese the satisfaction of victory, for that will only
 still further elevate their spirit.

 “No particular or new tactics need be adopted against our
 present enemy, but we must not repeat the mistakes in
 manœuvring which cost us so dear in the Turkish War of 1877–78.”

I then mentioned the causes of our reverses at Plevna, and commented
in detail on the most important. After capturing Nicopolis, our troops
moved on Plevna in ignorance of the strength and dispositions of the
enemy. As far as obtaining this information was concerned, our cavalry
was not well handled. In the first fight at Plevna (July 20, 1877)
we attacked with too few men and in detail. We did the same in the
fights of July 31 and September 12, but to an even greater extent,
and the attacks were carried out in too dense a formation, were not
sufficiently prepared by fire-effect, and our own numerous cavalry
and that of the Roumanians did practically nothing. The attacks on
September 10 and 11, 1877, failed because our troops were badly
distributed and untrained. I attached an appreciation of the work of
our troops in the Turkish War as follows:

 “In this war the staff work was not always successful. The
 troops often received orders too late, and time was wasted
 waiting for their receipt before commencing a move. Units
 arriving at night on the positions allotted to them did not
 always find the officers who should have been waiting their
 arrival to guide them. Officers in command of troops were
 often not informed by the staff as to the enemy’s strength
 and dispositions, or as to our own neighbouring columns. Lack
 of information was the principal cause of our disasters; we
 sometimes attacked in entire ignorance of the enemy’s strength
 and dispositions, and even partially so of our own.

 “As an example of what our troops can do in an attack may be
 quoted the capture of Kars; it is a very instructive case.
 Though the weak field-works of Plevna resisted our efforts for
 five months, at Kars neither strong parapets nor deep ditches
 could check our onslaught. Our gallant Caucasians advanced on
 the fortress by night; they were well led, and always had a
 body of scouts skilfully thrown out in front, and they captured
 strongholds that had been termed ‘impregnable’ with great

 “In the defence our troops have always fought well. Let us
 remember the defence of the Shipka Pass, and imitate it.”

After a short review of our errors in the Turkish War, I enumerated
those which were still noticeable in our peace manœuvres.

As operations developed the enemy’s peculiarities became as well known
as our own, so I was able in August, September, October, and December,
1904, to issue supplementary instructions.

Notwithstanding the number of our cavalry, and what our scouts had
been able to do, we had not ascertained the general dispositions
and strength of the enemy. The information brought in by spies was
exaggerated and unreliable. The result was that, when we had carried
out any offensive operations, we had advanced without knowing anything
of the enemy. My instructions ran:

                   _Instructions issued in August._

 “In our attacks we have started the advance too rapidly,
 without strengthening positions already occupied, and without
 full artillery co-operation, and we have stopped the action at
 a period when we still had large numbers both in the general
 and regimental reserves. In retirements we have withdrawn to
 positions previously occupied by us without having taken steps
 to hold our ground on any of them, which preparation would not
 only have greatly assisted the retirement itself, but, what was
 far more important, would have enabled us to renew the attack.

 “Another point is, that many of our defensive positions have
 not corresponded to the numbers, when extended, told off to
 defend them. Nevertheless, the enemy’s frontal attacks, even if
 we hold quite chance positions, usually fail, and we have been
 obliged to abandon our ground owing to the turning movements
 which their superior numbers have made possible.

 “In attacking, especially among hills, the infantry must wait
 so that the assault may be prepared by fire, in order to get
 breath or to give time for the co-operation of a turning
 movement. There is also another and involuntary reason for
 halting—namely, the enemy’s fire. Owing to this, units halt,
 or, what is worse, begin to retire without orders; what then
 usually happens is this: A few men begin to trickle back from
 some company that has come under a particularly hot fire; they
 are followed by their own company, which is in turn followed
 by the companies on either side, even though the latter may
 perhaps be holding strong ground. Such a moment is, indeed,
 critical, and unless some brilliant officer appears who
 possesses the secret of rallying retreating men and succeeds
 in making the company hold its ground, the action is lost. But
 besides setting a personal example to the men, a commanding
 officer must at once push forward some of his reserves to
 stop the rot among those retreating. The most important thing
 at such a crisis is the example set by the officers or the
 steadiest men, particularly by Cavaliers of the Order of St.
 George.[5] A company commander’s example is everything to his
 company. Therefore, however deserving he may be in peace, a
 company commander who does not display personal gallantry in
 action should be instantly removed from his command.

 “The most effective method of guarding against a sudden
 emergency either in attack or defence—and this is particularly
 true in hilly country—is to have in hand a strong reserve,
 and not to make use of it too lightly. This we have not done
 in recent actions; we have told off weak reserves, and used
 them up too quickly. Whole regiments have sometimes been sent
 in support where two companies or a battalion would have been

 “In all kinds of operations officers in command must keep the
 forces on either flank, as well as their seniors, informed of
 everything that happens. We are, unfortunately, not accustomed
 to do this. Before an action the smallest details are reported,
 but as soon as an action begins we become so preoccupied with
 the fight that the most obvious duties are forgotten. Chief
 staff-officers of all grades will in future be held responsible
 for the frequent transmission of reports during an action.”

The special attention of commanding officers was also called to the
necessity for providing their men with hot food during action, and to
the excessive expenditure of ammunition in our fights.

                _Instructions issued during September._

The following were the main instructions given by me while preparing
for an advance after the fighting in August:

 “It is a regrettable fact that so far, whenever we have taken
 the offensive, we have met with reverse. Owing to our lack
 of information, to which I have already drawn attention,
 instead of delivering a confident attack according to a
 clearly-thought-out plan, we have acted in a half-hearted
 manner. We often deliver our main attack too soon, and
 regardless of the enemy’s intentions. Instances have occurred
 where we have detailed attacking columns as small as a
 battalion; in others we have operated without any definite
 plan of action. Finally, there have been cases where not
 enough determination has been shown in pressing forward to the

The importance of gaining even slight successes over the enemy’s
advanced troops at the beginning of a forward movement, the fact that
in the attack of positions turning movements should always be made
in combination with frontal attacks, and the advantage of pushing on
energetically when once an advance had commenced, were all points
specially noted. The necessity of holding on determinedly to every
yard of ground gained was accentuated, and leading units in a frontal
attack were warned not to deliver the assault until the synchronous
turning movement had been fully developed. Every use was to be made of
fire-effect of every sort. I wrote:

 “A glaring case of that lack of co-operation from which we
 suffer so much was the fight of September 2,[7] when the left
 column began the action far too soon, and therefore finished by
 retiring in disorder. This had the worst results on the success
 of the whole operation.

 “I must again remind all ranks of the great necessity for
 economizing ammunition, especially gun ammunition. At Liao-yang
 we used up in two days our special artillery reserve of more
 than 100,000 rounds. The conveyance of gun ammunition to the
 front is very difficult, and batteries which have expended
 theirs become mere dead-weight to the army.”


The peculiarities attendant on operations in a country covered with
such crops as _kao-liang_ were also reviewed in detail:

 “Any men leaving the ranks in action under pretext of
 accompanying or carrying away wounded men will be severely

 “Companies and squadrons must be as strong as possible for
 an attack. To this end the most strict precautions must be
 taken to limit the number of men employed on extraneous duties
 and for transport work. The Cossacks are not to be employed
 as orderlies and escorts by the officers under whom they may
 be temporarily serving. Sound horses in possession of sick
 Cossacks should be taken from them, and made over to those who
 are horseless, but fit for duty.

 “It is to be regretted—and I have more than once commented on
 it—that commanding officers do not pay proper attention to the
 order that the soldier’s emergency biscuit ration, carried on
 the person, should remain untouched. This reserve ration is
 constantly being eaten, and no steps are taken immediately to
 replace it. Many commanding officers calmly allow the whole of
 the men’s portable reserve to be consumed under the pleasing
 conviction that it is the duty of someone else to bring up
 fresh supplies to the regimental commissariat.

 “The above instructions only touch on a few details of
 field-work. The main guide for action is the ‘Field Service
 Regulations,’ but these cannot, of course, meet every case
 which may arise in the entirely new circumstances under which
 we are now operating. I expect commanding officers of all
 ranks, therefore, to show greater initiative in the performance
 of their duties.”

My instructions issued in October included remarks on our offensive
operations during the end of September. Amongst other things, I said:

 “I still notice faults in the method of conducting attacks.
 Thick lines of skirmishers are too closely followed by the
 supports and reserves. The formations have generally been
 ill adapted to the ground, and have been such as to form an
 excellent target. If this close-order formation had been
 assumed in these cases just before a bayonet charge, then,
 despite the heavy sacrifices entailed, there would have been
 some point in it, because of the additional force and impetus
 given to the assault; but it was adopted when the attack was
 still at long range, and so caused useless and heavy loss.
 We should in such cases imitate the Japanese, and do what we
 used to in the Caucasus—make every use of cover. Every effort
 must be made to reconnoitre well, in order that advantage may
 be taken of every fold of the ground, and of every stick and
 stone, and the attack may be enabled to advance as close as
 possible to the enemy with the least possible loss. The way to
 do this is for individual men, or groups of men, to advance
 by short rushes till the attacking units are able to collect.
 On open ground, if the attacking infantry has to wait for the
 artillery preparation, it should entrench itself as rapidly as

 “In retreating, the movement to the rear of large masses
 together afforded the enemy a splendid target, for which we
 suffered. Again, to avoid unnecessary loss in retirement,
 portions of a position have often been stubbornly held until a
 withdrawal could be effected under cover of darkness. If the
 portion of ground on either side happens to have been already
 abandoned, and the Japanese are sufficiently mobile to make use
 of it, such isolated defence of any one section of a position
 might cost very dear. We must learn how to retire by day—by the
 same methods as laid down above for the attack (by rushes), and
 avoid close formations in doing it.

 “I and other senior officers have noticed during an action
 hundreds and thousands of unwounded men leaving the ranks,
 carrying wounded to the rear. In the fights of October 12
 to 15[8] I personally saw wounded men being carried to the
 rear by as many as nine others. This abuse must be put down
 with the utmost rigour, and until an action is over only the
 stretcher-bearers should take wounded to the rear.

 “The Japanese are fortifying the positions along our front,
 converting villages, knolls, and hill-tops into strong,
 defensible points, and strengthening their positions with
 obstacles. These positions should be carefully studied, their
 strong points noted, and in every section of our line a plan of
 possible operations against the corresponding portions of the
 enemy’s position should be made. The early organization of the
 artillery preparation of any attack on these selected points is

 “Detachments of sappers and scouts should be sent ahead of the
 assault to destroy the obstacles round fortified villages,
 which should be well shelled. Till the assault is made the
 advance should be under cover, and if the leading troops find
 they are not strong enough to capture the point on which they
 have been directed, they must hold on to a point as near to
 the enemy as possible, in order to press forward again when

Finally, in my instructions issued in December, 1904, I recapitulated
the most important points brought out by our recent experiences, such

 “1. The necessity, in order to avoid loss, for our attack
 formations to be better adapted to the ground.

 “2. Economy in artillery ammunition.

 “3. The more intelligent employment of rifle-fire, and the
 necessity for volley-firing at night.

 “4. The great value of night operations.

 “5. Proper communication between all senior commanders.

 “6. The necessity for the mutual co-operation of all arms, and
 the maintenance of touch in battle.

 “The surest road to success is the determination to continue
 fighting, even when the last reserve has been exhausted, for
 the enemy may be in the same, if not in worse plight, and what
 is not possible in daylight may be accomplished at night.
 Unfortunately, in recent fights, some commanders even of large
 forces have confessed themselves unable to carry out the
 operation entrusted to them, at a moment when they still had in
 hand big reserves which had not fired a shot.”

Of course, as soon as our disasters began, the papers started to accuse
our troops of insufficient training, and they were not far wrong. In
the first place, most of the men were reservists who had forgotten
a great deal. In the second, this war was our first experience of
smokeless powder, of quick-firing artillery, of machine-guns, and of
all the recent developments in means of destruction, and much was
strange and unexpected. Our preconceived notions were upset, and we
were baffled by the deadly nature of indirect artillery-fire, by the
new attack formations—when advancing infantry is rarely visible, and
one man at a time crawls up almost unseen, taking advantage of every
inch of cover. Our troops had been instructed, but what they had
learned varied according to the personal idiosyncrasies of this or that
district commander. The stronger the officer commanding a district, the
less did he feel bound to abide by the authorized method of instruction
and training laid down in the existing drill-books. General Grippenberg
was no exception to this. In spite of the regulation as to the use of
volleys for repulsing night attacks; in spite of war experience which
in every way confirmed the necessity and value of volley-firing; in
spite of the Commander-in-Chief’s instructions on this point, he made
up his mind some days before a battle to re-teach the force under his
command. He ordered the employment of independent fire at night. His
“Instructions for the Operations of Infantry in Battle” [signed by
him on January 4, 1905], printed and issued to the troops, aroused
consternation and amusement throughout the army. In this book it
was actually laid down that volleys were only to be resorted to if
the enemy suddenly appeared at close quarters, and that immediately
after a volley a bayonet attack should be made. While condemning the
method in which our troops operated at the Ya-lu, he, in the above
“Instructions,” gives a recipe for action whereby two of our battalions
might destroy a Japanese division. After a summary of the amount of
small-arm ammunition expended, he said:

 “If our two battalions had been deployed and had opened rapid
 independent fire, the Japanese division would have been
 destroyed, and we should have won the day.”

Such a simple matter did General Grippenberg consider the annihilation
of a Japanese division! But a few days later, when he moved against
the Hei-kou-tai position with a strong force of 120 battalions, his
own prescription proved to be valueless. In the first few days, when
he was opposed by not more than two divisions, he was unable to take
San-de-pu, got his troops into confusion, gave the enemy time to bring
up strong reinforcements, and retired—to St. Petersburg.

As to the attack formation adopted by the troops arriving from Russia,
the 41st Division had in particular been taught to work in very close
formation, and not taught to make use of the ground. It came from
the Vilna district, which was commanded before the war by General
Grippenberg. Our gunners also arrived at the front with only one idea
of artillery tactics—to place their batteries in the open and make use
of direct fire. For this we paid dearly in our very first fight.

                               CHAPTER X

                REASONS FOR OUR REVERSES (_conclusion_)

 Particular difficulties of the strategic situation—Defects in
     organization and _personnel_—Absence of a military spirit in
     the army, and lack of determination in carrying operations to a
     finish—Breakdown of our organization under the strain of active

It is the duty of every Headquarter Staff to work out all
possibilities, and, regardless of existing international relations, to
provide for war in every probable quarter. Accordingly, our general
line of operation in case of war with Japan had been duly drawn up in
conjunction with the staffs of the Pri-Amur and Kuan-tung districts,
and had been approved. The following is an extract from the paper
dealing with the subject:

 “Taking advantage of her military position—for she will be more
 ready for war than we are, and will therefore possess in the
 first period of the campaign a great numerical superiority both
 by sea and land—Japan can afford to define her objectives only
 generally. She may (1) confine her attention to the occupation
 of Korea, and not take the offensive against us (which will most
 probably be the case); or (2) occupy Korea and also assume the

  (_a_) In Manchuria.
  (_b_) Against Port Arthur.
  (_c_) In the Southern Ussuri district (Vladivostok).

 “Should Japan decide on the first alternative, then, taking
 into consideration the number of reinforcements we shall need,
 and the adverse conditions under which they will have to be
 conveyed to the front, we shall be forced at first to allow her
 to seize Korea—without retaliative action on our part, if only
 she will confine herself to occupying that country, and not
 develop plans against Manchuria and our territory. Should she
 choose the second alternative, we should be obliged to fight,
 and ought at once to make up our minds not to end the war until
 we have utterly destroyed her army and fleet. In view, however,
 of her numerical superiority and greater readiness during
 the first period of the struggle, we shall have to assume a
 generally defensive rôle. Any troops we may have within the
 theatre of operations should as far as possible keep clear of
 decisive actions, in order to avoid being defeated in detail
 before we can concentrate in force.

 “The numerical superiority of the Japanese fleet will probably
 prevent our squadron from any major active operations, and it
 will have to confine its action to the comparatively modest
 task of delaying the enemy’s landing as much as possible. The
 defence of our own possessions should be carried out by the
 forces in the Southern Ussuri and the Kuan-tung districts,
 which are formed for that particular object, and based on the
 fortresses of Vladivostok and Port Arthur. All the remaining
 troops, except those allotted to the line of communications and
 to maintain order in Manchuria, should be concentrated in the
 area Mukden-Liao-yang-Hsiu-yen. As the Japanese advance, these
 troops, while delaying them as much as possible, will gradually
 be compelled to retire on Harbin. If it becomes evident in the
 first period of the campaign that the whole Japanese effort is
 being directed against us in Manchuria, then the force which
 would be concentrated first of all in the Southern Ussuri
 district (1st Siberian Corps) would be transferred there.”

[Illustration: Sketch Map of MANCHURIA showing main places
    along railway south of Harbin]

The two years succeeding the date on which this paper was written saw
great alterations in the strength, dispositions, and readiness of our
military and naval forces in the Far East. There was also considerable
change in the political conditions in Manchuria and in Northern Korea
in consequence of the active policy which we had begun to assume. It
was therefore found necessary in 1903 to consider a revision of the
above scheme in accordance with these altered conditions. During those
two years our strength in the Far East had grown by the increase in our
land forces and fleet, and the improved efficiency of the railways.
We have already seen what was done to improve the latter. It will
suffice to say here that, instead of the twenty waggons available over
the whole Chinese line in 1901, the War Department in 1903 received
seventy-five in the twenty-four hours, and hoped, on the strength of
promises made, to have five through military trains by the beginning of
1904. The fleet, which in 1901 was considered inferior to the Japanese,
was, at the end of 1903, stated, on the authority of the Viceroy,
Admiral Alexeieff, to be so strong that any possibility of its defeat
by the Japanese was inadmissible. But in those same two years Japan
had not been idle, and had been unceasingly increasing her naval and
military forces. In consequence of this the relative local strengths
of the two nations were still much the same in 1903 as they had been
in 1901, and it was thought prudent to adhere to the same general plan
of operations as had been drawn up and approved two years previously.
To give an official opinion of that time, I quote an extract from a
memorandum I submitted to the Tsar on August 6, 1903:

 “In the report which will be sent in from the Headquarter
 Staff, the conclusion arrived at after a careful appreciation
 of the resources of both nations is the same as that reached
 two years ago—namely, that in the event of war with Japan,
 we should act on the defensive; that the concentration
 and general distribution of our troops should remain the
 same; that although we may move troops on to the line
 Mukden-Liao-yang-Hsiu-yen, we cannot hold our ground in
 Southern Manchuria in the first period of the war if that
 region be invaded by the whole Japanese army. We should
 therefore still count upon Port Arthur being cut off for a
 considerable period, and in order to avoid defeat in detail,
 should withdraw towards Harbin until reinforcements from
 Russia enable us to assume the offensive. But I may add that,
 while accepting the same plan of operations as we did two
 years ago, we can now have far greater confidence in the
 issue of a struggle. Our fleet is stronger than the Japanese,
 and as reinforcements will arrive now more quickly than they
 could have formerly, it will take less time for us to be in a
 position to advance.”

In a memorandum by the Chief of the Headquarter Staff, submitted to me
on February 12, 1904—_i.e._, a few days after the enemy had attacked
our fleet at Port Arthur—General Sakharoff described the Japanese
intentions as follows:

 “The Japanese plan appears to be—

 “1. To inflict a crushing blow upon our fleet so as to paralyze
 its activity once and for all, and thus guarantee freedom of
 movement to their transports. To attain this end they have not
 hesitated to attack us before the declaration of war (_vide_
 the night operations of February 8 and 9). The transfer to
 them by the British of Wei-hai-wei also has given them an
 advantageous naval base right on the flank of any operations
 undertaken by our squadron.

 “2. To capture Port Arthur in order to attain the same
 object—the destruction of our fleet.

 “3. To advance on and capture Harbin, so as to isolate the
 Pri-Amur district from the rest of Russia, and to destroy the

Our hopes as to the promised improvement of the railway were
unfortunately not realized, while our fleet, damaged by the enemy’s
onslaught before the declaration of war, was not only weaker than the
enemy’s, but failed even to perform the modest task expected of it in
1901. Consequently the concentration of our troops was a far slower
business than we thought it would be, while the Japanese, having
gained command of the sea, threw the whole of their army on to the
continent. Thus, gaining the initiative on land as well as on the sea,
and fired as they were with immense patriotism, the enemy commenced
the war superior to us morally as well as materially. However, though
the task before us was one of extreme difficulty, our resources were
immensely superior to the enemy’s, and the moment when we should become
completely ready for the struggle was only postponed. Notwithstanding
the unfavourable conditions under which we started, after fifteen
months’ fighting we were holding the Hsi-ping-kai positions, and,
although we had not actually assumed the offensive, we had by no means
retired as far as Harbin, which had been accepted as a possibility
in the original scheme. If we had only possessed the determination
necessary to carry this scheme right through, we ought not to have
ended the war until we had utterly defeated the enemy. Therefore,
whatever we did accomplish can only be looked upon as preparatory to
the decisive struggle. One of the assumptions of our original scheme
of operations was that, if a strong Japanese force invaded Southern
Manchuria, we should not be able, in the first period of the war, to
hold it. In the event the whole Japanese army invaded that area, but
the opposition shown by our troops at Liao-yang, on the Sha Ho, and
at Mukden, was so effectual that, though the enemy gained possession
of the greater portion of Southern Manchuria, they did not reassume
the offensive against us for six months. The difficulties which the
Japanese surmounted in advancing from Ta-shih-chiao to Tieh-ling
cannot be compared to those which would have faced them, in the three
defensive lines which we had constructed on the way to Harbin,[9] had
they attempted to drive us to that place. I reiterate what I have so
often said in the preceding chapters: though the war was brought to an
end, the army was not beaten. Of the great force which lay ready on the
Hsi-ping-kai position in August, 1905, one-half had never been under
fire. Further on I will explain how it was that we never acquired the
material and moral superiority necessary to defeat the enemy during the
fifteen months that the war did last.

In the diary I kept when in Japan[10] I drew a diagram, with
explanatory notes, to illustrate the Japanese question and show the
possibility of our being able to defend our interests in Manchuria and
Korea by force. I reproduce the diagram[11] and the notes _in extenso_:

 “This diagram shows Japan’s comparatively favourable situation
 with regard to the theatre of operations. Her base—indeed, her
 whole country—is only about 600 miles by sea from our shores,
 and 135 from Korea.

 “Our territory in Asia is so vast and so thinly populated that
 we shall be compelled to make European Russia, which is 3,400
 to 6,000 miles distant, our base. For a protracted war with
 Japan it is evident that the single-line Siberian Railway will
 not suffice; we shall be obliged to lay a second track, and
 to increase the number of trains in the twenty-four hours.
 Also, as it runs for a considerable distance along the Chinese
 frontier and through Chinese territory, it cannot be relied on
 in the event of war with both China and Japan together.”

We were glued to the railway, and could not move away without risk of
being left without supplies. Our field artillery and heavy four-wheeled
transport carts were unable to travel over most of the hill roads. The
summer rains made the movements of the army, with its heavy baggage
trains and parks, extremely difficult; teams of twenty horses were
harnessed to guns, and even empty carts had to be man-handled.


But of all our difficulties, the complete command of the sea obtained
by the Japanese right at the beginning of the war caused the greatest.
With their three armies they cut off Port Arthur, and began an advance
from an enveloping base against our army, which was still tied to a
railway-line. Our southward advance for the relief of Port Arthur
was threatened by Kuroki’s army based on Korea. Any movement against
him was out of the question, especially for those corps which had
arrived from Russia, as they were quite unused to hilly country. Our
communications through Manchuria were only weakly defended, and might
be cut at any moment by the Chinese, while those further west were
liable to interruption (bridges destroyed, strikes, frost, etc.).
The feeding of the army depended on local resources, which a hostile
population could easily conceal, carry away, or even destroy; and as
the amount of supplies obtained from Russia was extremely small and
uncertain, the army might very easily have been starved. The chance
actions at the Ya-lu and Te-li-ssu, in which our most reliable troops
were worsted, still further improved the enemy’s _moral_, and lowered

With the absence of a proper military spirit among our troops, and
the evil influence of the many seditious manifestoes against the
war circulating amongst them; with the unsteadiness shown by many
units in the first fights, and with all the other defects above
mentioned, a great numerical superiority was necessary—I must speak
perfectly plainly—in order to defeat an enemy worked up to a pitch of
fanatical excitement. But we did not obtain this superiority until
it was too late—when we were waiting on the Hsi-ping-kai position,
and negotiations for peace were being carried on at Portsmouth. Up
to December we were fighting with what seemed a fairly large force,
according to a tally of battalions; but these were greatly under
strength, for in the most important early period of the war—from May
to October inclusive—we lost very many men, and received but few
drafts. In many cases the Japanese battalions were twice as strong as
ours. While all our actions were hampered by insufficient information
regarding the enemy, the intelligence we received as to what was
happening in our rear—in Mongolia and in the Manchurian provinces—was
so alarming as to compel us to detach a large force to protect our
communications. Again, when the enemy became complete masters of the
sea, we had to detail sufficient troops to guard against a landing in
the Vladivostok and the Ussuri districts. All these things combined
to complicate our position and give the enemy the initiative at the
start, and right manfully did their whole nation strive to seize
their advantage. Their land communications were safe; their sea
communication with their base was quick and sure. We, on the contrary,
could only put in the field a fraction of our land forces, and, till we
could concentrate sufficient men for an offensive, were tied down to a
definite course of action. We had—

1. To make certain of and protect the concentration of the
reinforcements which were arriving, so as not to allow them to be
destroyed as they came up.

2. To take steps to relieve Port Arthur.

3. To maintain order in our rear, and to guard the railway.

4. To feed the army—mainly on local supplies.

5. To guard the Ussuri district.

Had the Japanese got possession of our communications, a catastrophe
unprecedented in military history might have resulted. Without any
victory in the field, the mere destruction of the railway in our
rear, combined with the cutting off of local resources, would have
threatened us with starvation—and disaster. Such were the unfavourable
conditions under which we fought for fifteen months, and our army was
not only _not_ completely defeated, but grew in strength, while our
communication with Russia gradually became better secured and more
efficient. We had always recognized the possibility of being driven
back to Harbin and beyond; but this never happened, and we held on to
Hsi-ping-kai. The situation could only have been improved in one way—by
a rapid concentration of sufficient troops for, and an assumption of,
an offensive all along the line. While these troops were collecting,
each fight—quite independent of its actual result—would have really
helped us if it had at all weakened the enemy. But our departure from
our accepted plan of operations began at the commencement of the war,
when, instead of fighting a rearguard action, General Zasulitch got
seriously engaged against the whole of Kuroki’s army at the Ya-lu, and
was defeated.

In May, when the 3rd Siberian Division[12] had alone arrived at
Liao-yang (besides the troops of the Pri-Amur Military District), the
Viceroy, fearing for the fate of Port Arthur, instructed me to assume
the offensive towards the Ya-lu against Kuroki’s army, or southwards
for the relief of the fortress of Port Arthur. But the inadequate force
with which General Shtakelberg pushed forward, owing to ignorance
of the fact that the Japanese were in superior strength, got drawn
into a serious engagement at Te-li-ssu, and was defeated. With the
arrival of all the units of the 4th Siberian Corps and one division
of the 10th Army Corps, it seemed possible to contain Kuroki’s army,
to concentrate fifty to sixty battalions rapidly in the direction of
Ta-shih-chiao, and to attempt to hurl back Oku to the south. It seemed
as if our army had a splendid chance of operating on interior lines.
The enemy was strung along three lines of advance—Dalny, Kai-ping,
Ta-shih-chiao (Oku); Ta-ku-shan, Hsiu-yen, Ta-ling, Hai-cheng (Nodzu);
Ya-lu, Feng-huang-cheng, Fen-shui-ling, Liao-yang (Kuroki). We occupied
the central position—Liao-yang, Hai-cheng, Ta-shih-chiao—with advance
guards thrown forward on to the Fen-shui-ling heights. We might have
been able, by containing two armies and deceiving the enemy by a
demonstration, to strike the third army in force. A blow delivered at
Kuroki or Nodzu did not promise success, owing to our lack of training
in, and unpreparedness for, hill warfare [we had no mountain artillery,
our baggage was heavy, and we were uncertain of receiving supplies,
owing to the insufficiency of transport material]. The only other
course was to strike at Oku, who was based on the railway, but such an
operation was risky, because Kuroki and Nodzu might have driven back
our screens and fallen on our communications. On June 26 and 27, when
only one brigade of the 31st Division of the 10th Army Corps[13] had
arrived at Liao-yang, the Japanese on the eastern front (Kuroki and
Nodzu) themselves took the offensive and seized the passes (Fen-shui
Ling, Mo-du Ling, Da Ling) on the Fen-shui-ling heights. We opposed
them in insufficient strength, and did not even make them disclose
their numbers. The troops of the eastern force withdrew towards
Tkhavuop, and General Levestam’s force to Hsi-mu-cheng. Our screens
were thus situated as follows: on Kuroki’s line of advance, only two
marches from Hai-cheng; on Oku’s line of advance at Ta-shih-chiao, four
marches from Liao-yang.[14] Our position was critical, particularly
if the information we had received as to the Japanese collecting in
considerable force to operate against Hai-cheng was confirmed. Still,
if we were able to strike a rapid blow at Oku, we might rob the enemy
of the initiative, and after forcing back Oku’s army, have fallen on
Nodzu. After we had driven back these troops, Kuroki’s position would
have been so far forward and so far separated from the other groups
that the danger of his breaking through to Liao-yang would have been
minimized. But for such decisive operations the first requisite was the
concentration of sufficient troops for offensive operations against Oku.


At the end of June we had altogether available against the three
Japanese armies 120 battalions, and were inferior to the enemy both
in the number of battalions and the number of men. Our position was
made worse by an epidemic of dysentery which broke out amongst the
troops at Ta-shih-chiao, and swept off a considerable number of men.
The Krasnoyarsk Regiment[15] was the greatest sufferer, having as many
as 1,500 men down with the disease at the end of the month. But the
main thing which delayed any advance on our part was the rain, which
made all moves difficult, and some places absolutely impassable for
transport. It was even difficult to convey supplies to our various
stationary forces over distances of less than a march. In spite of the
lack of pack-saddles, wheeled transport had to be given up for pack
transport, and not even pack-animals could do more than seven to eleven
miles in the twenty-four hours. On the Liao-yang–Lang-tzu-shan road
things were still worse, for the bridges over the mountain streams had
been carried away, and communication between the eastern force (3rd
Siberian Corps, under Count Keller) and Liao-yang was interrupted for
some time. Far, therefore, from being ready to advance, the officers
commanding the 1st and 4th Siberian Corps found the greatest difficulty
in rationing their troops, and on June 29 asked that they might be
withdrawn towards the positions near the railway at Ta-shih-chiao, and
that the country east of the line might be left to the cavalry, with a
few infantry units in support.[16]

General Count Keller was persistent in his demands that communication
should be maintained between his force and Liao-yang, but we had
neither the material, the means, nor the time to comply with his
wishes, which would have meant the laying of a light railway and the
strengthening of the road bridges. As I feared that the Japanese might
make a fresh forward movement on Hai-cheng, I ordered thirty-nine
battalions to concentrate near Hsi-mu-cheng on June 29. The short march
from Hai-cheng was accomplished on the 28th with great difficulty
through a sea of mud, and on the 29th Hsi-mu-cheng was temporarily
cut off by the mountain streams in flood. The feeding of the troops
collected there was found to be so difficult that as soon as it was
known that the enemy, instead of advancing, had retired towards the
Fen-shui Ling (Pass), certain units were ordered to return to the
railway. Taking advantage, on July 18, of the screen formed by a
portion of the 17th Army Corps, we attempted to advance against part
of Kuroki’s army in the hope of forcing our way forward and gaining
a partial success. For this Count Keller had under his command
forty-three battalions, but the attempt failed. He stopped the action
before any large number of our troops had become engaged. On the 29th
Oku’s army took the offensive; we had to evacuate Ta-shih-chiao and
Newchuang after a feeble resistance, and allowed Oku and Nodzu to
join hands. When on July 23 I inspected the units of the 10th Army
Corps, who were holding the position near Hu-chia-tzu, I found out
how absolutely incapable of operating in hilly country the troops
newly arrived from Russia were. Before sending them forward, it was
necessary to train them in hill fighting, and to provide them with
pack transport. On July 31 all three Japanese armies advanced, and we
concentrated after a series of battles round Liao-yang. Here, in spite
of our resistance, the three armies were able to join hands. Their
attacks on the left bank of the Tai-tzu Ho were repulsed, but owing
to the unfortunate nature of our operations on the right bank, the
conditions became so unfavourable to us that I was obliged to order a
retirement to Mukden. The withdrawal was conducted without the loss
of a single gun or transport cart, while the enemy lost in men more
heavily than we did. In the detailed accounts I have given in the first
three volumes of the operations at Liao-yang, on the Sha Ho and at
Mukden, our difficulties and the causes of our defeats are explained.
The course of events showed that our original scheme of operations was
quite a correct forecast, for in it the probable necessity of retiring
towards Harbin had been foreseen. Indeed, matters at Liao-yang, on the
Sha Ho, and especially at Mukden, might have been very much worse for
us than they were, and might have necessitated our retirement on Harbin
early in October, 1904, when, as a matter of fact, we remained in
Southern Manchuria.

Clausewitz has truly laid down that an army should be inseparably
connected with its base, but our base was Russia, more than 5,000 miles
away. The way that this one difficulty alone was overcome will perhaps
be eventually appreciated at its true worth. The very complicated
attendant circumstances demanded great and patient efforts on the
part of the whole nation in order to turn them to our advantage. Our
reverses were explicable, and even in our defeat we exhausted our
enemy, while ourselves increasing in strength. It was inevitable that a
different complexion would have been put on the face of things as soon
as circumstances became more favourable to us.


The war showed that our army organization gave us too small a
percentage of actual combatants as compared with the total numbers
whom we rationed. By this I mean that, in spite of the immense numbers
that we maintained in the face of great difficulties, we were unable
to put enough men into action to win. Our establishments of all arms,
of parks, hospitals, transport corps, field bakeries, staffs, and all
offices and institutions, include a large percentage of non-combatants,
which was swollen in the last war by the absence of any organized line
of communication troops, the necessity of carrying out a large amount
of railway construction, and of appointing officers and men to newly
formed supply and transport units. Even so the number of non-combatants
laid down in the establishments for each unit was not sufficient
to perform the duties that fell to them, and it became necessary,
for reasons which will be mentioned later, to detail combatants for
domestic duties. As but few non-combatants were wounded in action,
the proportion of them to the combatant element became still greater
after every big fight. It was usual, when a battle was imminent, to
order back to their units all men who were on extra-regimental duties,
but in spite of all the steps taken, the fighting number was never
more than 75 per cent. of the number of men on the strength. In the
beginning of April, 1905, when we were preparing the theatre of war up
to the River Sungari, the combatant element of the 1st Manchurian Army
actually fell to 58 per cent. of the strength. As in previous wars, the
infantry, of course, did most of the fighting, and also carried out by
far the greater number of fatigues and extra duties. As they also lost
more men in action, their fighting strength was proportionately more
reduced than that of the other arms.[17] In April, 1905, the percentage
of rifles in the 1st Manchurian Army to the total number of men that
had to be rationed was 51·9 per cent. When the convalescents returned
to the ranks, its strength amounted by the beginning of December to
192,000 men, of whom 105,879 carried rifles; but we could only put a
much smaller number in action owing to various duties, fatigues, etc.
In August, 1905, the number of rifles was 58·9 per cent. of the total
of men rationed.

To obviate this state of affairs, and to insure that companies should
be as strong as possible in action, I gave orders on June 9, 1905
[when I was commanding the 1st Manchurian Army], that out of each of
the four battalion regiments, not more than 369 combatants should be
detailed for extra duties. This figure included 128 stretcher-bearers,
35 bandsmen, and 48 men for baggage guards. In addition to this, a
large number of men were required for road and bridge work on the
communications, for guards for the different stores, for working
parties to assist the supply and medical services, for policing
villages, for duty with the improvised transport units, etc. True, this
had its compensations, for we were able thus to get rid of the 2nd
Category reservists from the ranks; but we felt the loss in the number
of rifles we could place in the firing-line. Of course, there were, in
addition, the sick, the wounded, and the convalescents with units and
in hospital. In this way the total of all ranks classed as combatants
but absent from the firing-line, or not doing combatant work, amounted
on the average to 800 men out of every four-battalion regiment, or
about one-quarter of its strength. To carry on the campaign without
properly organized units on the communications, without sufficient camp
guards, without making roads and bridges, without allowing men for
transport and baggage duties, was impossible. Notwithstanding the good
payment we offered, the native population did not come forward to work
freely, especially when fighting was imminent. A certain number were
employed on transport, but they were very unreliable, and bolted at the
first alarm, often taking their horses and carts with them. During the
battle of Mukden, for instance, the whole of the hired transport of the
1st Army, consisting of 400 carts, entirely disappeared. Our attempts
to obtain Russian hired labour were a failure, though the rates of pay
offered were liberal enough.

The extent to which transport duties were responsible for weakening the
fighting strength of the army can be seen from the fact that, during
the fifteen months of war, 122 transport units were formed, and 8,656
carts, 51,000 horses, and 20,000 pack-animals purchased. For duty with
these, 328 officers, 22,000 men, 1,700 hired civilians (Russians), and
9,850 Chinamen were employed. These 122 units were improvised under
adverse conditions and from small cadres, and, as they had to be raised
in a hurry, there was nothing for it but to appoint to them men and
officers from the army.

The strength of units also decreased most marvellously in action.
This was partly due to losses, but often also due to the habit of
men leaving the firing-line to carry wounded to the rear. This was
sometimes done with permission, sometimes without. Very often the men
who retired did not have this excuse.

I have pointed out (in Chapter VII.) that the army did not receive
its drafts in time, and that we had to fight below strength; this
shortage was still further increased for the following reasons: The war
establishment of a company was 220 rifles; but from this number had to
be deducted the shortage with which units arrived at the front,[18]
the sick, and those detailed for camp and other duties—a procedure
which, though unprovided for by Regulations, was permitted by officers
in command. Accordingly companies often went into the very first
fight at a strength of only 160 to 170 rifles. For a long time the
personal supervision exercised by commanding officers to insure that
units took the field as strong as possible was very slack. It seemed,
on the contrary, as if their efforts tended all the other way, for
they left men behind whenever they possibly could, particularly those
who were most necessary—_i.e._, those on whom depended the payment
and regular rationing of the men. Thus, with the exception of the
regimental adjutant, the staff of a regiment rarely went into action;
while of the men who are classed as combatants, the company clerks,
armourer-sergeant, cooks, officers’ servants, the butcher, the cattle
guards and the officers’ grooms, were always left behind. The formation
of a force of mounted scouts took away a certain number of men, and
stretcher-bearers and bandsmen of course did not fight. Finally, owing
to the peculiar nature of the country, donkeys for carrying water were
provided for each company, and these required men to look after them,
and one or two entire companies from each regiment had to be detached
as baggage guard owing to the insecurity of our communications.
Commanding officers thought it necessary to leave behind so many men
for the above purposes that the orders given for them to accompany the
firing-line were either quite neglected, or only half carried out. It
was soon found that eight bearers per company were far too few for
carrying wounded, and men from the ranks were allowed to help their
wounded comrades to the rear. From this cause companies often literally
melted away during a fight. There were many instances where unwounded
men went to the rear under pretext of carrying away the wounded, at the
rate of six, eight, or ten sound soldiers to one wounded! The return
of these willing helpers to the front was not so prompt as it might
have been, and was difficult to control. The result was that a company
hotly engaged usually only had 100 or less rifles after a few hours’
fighting, although its losses might have been inconsiderable.

Meanwhile, as we only asked for drafts strong enough to bring companies
up to the established war strength, without taking into account the
above extraordinary leakage, the drafts we received did not bring
companies up to their proper strength in action.

The reason why the lines of communication in the field[19] took
so large a number away from our fighting-line was that we had no
proper communication units, and the large working parties necessary
for the light railway, road and bridge work had to be drawn from the
fighting troops. It was entirely owing to the care with which the
commanding officers on the line of communications—especially those
in the engineers—had been selected that we were able to fight, and
at the same time to make roads of some hundreds of miles’ length for
intercommunication between corps. For instance, at the end of 1904
and the beginning of 1905, when the 1st Army was south of the Hun Ho,
out of 180,000 men, 7,000 were on the line of communications. At the
beginning of July, 1905, when the strength of the 1st Army had gone up
to 250,000, and the communications stretched back a length of 150 miles
to the River Sungari, there were 10,000 men employed on them—_i.e._,
4 per cent. of the army’s strength. The length of the road made on the
Hsi-ping-kai positions by the 1st Army alone amounted to 1,000 miles,
with bridges of more than 20 feet breadth and 50 feet span, and nearly
40 miles of embankment. Though the greater part of this was done by
hired Chinese labour, even in this comparatively quiet period the
troops of the 1st Army were on “works” for a period of 30,000 working
“man days.”[20]

The supply service, also, as has been mentioned, absorbed a large
number of men. The field commissariat were unable, at the beginning of
the campaign, to work the bakeries owing to the lack of men. All the
bakeries, therefore, were taken over by the troops, who had to build
the ovens, buy flour, and bake the bread themselves. Thus the eight
field bakeries (of which four were in Liao-yang) which arrived in
Harbin and Liao-yang without transport or men had at first to be taken
over by the troops. But from May, 1904, onwards the Governor-General
insisted on most of the work being handed back to the Commissariat
Department. The energy of General Gubur, the Field Intendant of the
army, in obtaining supplies locally rescued it from the difficult
position in which it was beginning to find itself owing to the
constantly increasing number of mouths and to the inadequate number
of supply trains. Assisted by Generals Bachinski and Andro, General
Gubur took full advantage of all the resources of the country. For
this, again, officers and men were necessary to guard supply depôts and
collect and escort herds of cattle, and were taken from the combatant
troops. A large part of the forage and meat the troops obtained for
themselves, but this entailed the provision of strong foraging parties,
which went far afield and often remained away a considerable time, and
of permanent guards to tend the regimental cattle. When the troops of
the Pri-Amur district were concentrated in Manchuria, they left a
number of men behind as “base details” to look after their buildings
and property. Touch was maintained between these base details and the
units at the front during the whole war; from them the troops received
their warm clothing in winter, and to them it was sent back in the
summer of 1905. This all meant the employment of soldiers. Finally,
men had to be told off for topographical work, reconnaissance, and as
escorts for officers and other persons, etc.

The number for all the above duties taken together, with the wounded
and sick present with units, constituted on an average 400 to 500 men
per regiment. This, added to the 369 authorized “employed” men above
mentioned, brought the total up to 800. Obviously such a loss of
numbers must be taken into consideration in appreciating the fighting
work of the army.

Other things which contributed to the same result were the immense
development of the different staffs and administrations, the auxiliary
institutions, such as supply parks and hospitals, the congestion on
the roads caused by the masses of baggage which had collected, and
the fact that both our wheeled and pack transport carried less than
it was supposed to owing to the hilly country and the all-prevailing
mud. After heavy fighting our army corps, especially those consisting
of three-battalion regiments, amounted to less than 10,000 to 15,000
rifles, and yet the immense organization, military parks, baggage, and
transport, etc., for a full corps had still to be guarded. Even the
regimental standards, which should have been a source of strength and
encouragement in the fight, were in many cases prematurely taken to the
rear under a guard of a company or half a company, the troops at the
front being weakened by this number at the most important moment of an
action. I was obliged to make a ruling that in action the standards
should be kept with the regimental reserves, and that steps should be
taken that they should be a symbol of victory in the most critical
phases of a fight (as used to be the case in former wars), and a source
of strength instead of weakness to the units which possessed them.

In September and October, 1905, instead of one Manchurian army,
three were formed (the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd); they were all intended
for operations in the Mukden area, and were based on the one railway
which constituted their common line of communications. The powers
of the army commanders were as laid down by regulation. Officers in
command of armies were given (Field Service Regulations, 1890) almost
all the powers formerly vested in the Commander-in-Chief. As regards
fighting, it was laid down that “in conducting military operations the
officer commanding an army should be guided by the instructions of
the Commander-in-Chief, but should act independently.” This latitude
would be very convenient in operating in Europe, where each army
would have its own independent line of communications; but in the
conditions which existed at Mukden—one common position and one line of
communications for all—and with a difference of views existing between
the army commanders as regards the conduct of affairs, the arrangement
was, to say the least of it, extremely unsuitable. A difference of
opinion upon some vital matter might easily arise, when it might be
necessary either to order the army commander to carry out an operation
which he thought unnecessary, inopportune, or even dangerous, or
else to ask for him to be replaced. For instance, a fortnight before
we assumed the offensive on January 25, after everything had been
settled and all plans drawn up, General Grippenberg suddenly surprised
me by his opinion—that the campaign was lost; that we should retire
towards Harbin, hold that point and Vladivostok, and thence move with
two armies in other directions. In which directions, he was unable
to explain. The Commander-in-Chief’s instructions on many essential
points, such as the danger of holding non-continuous lines[21] and
the necessity for having strong army reserves, were not carried out
because the responsibility for holding the defensive positions occupied
by the armies rested on the army commanders. Thus my endeavours to
send at least twenty-four battalions—if not the whole of the 17th
Army Corps—from the 3rd Army into the reserve failed, as the officer
commanding that army thought that his position in the centre would not
be safe if the regiments of the 17th Corps, which was in advance, were
replaced by reserve regiments of the 6th Siberians. As mentioned in the
account of the operations of the 14th Infantry Division at Hei-kou-tai,
notwithstanding my instructions to conceal our intention of attacking
the enemy’s left flank as long as possible, General Grippenberg, for
no apparent reason, and without even asking permission, assumed the
offensive almost two weeks before the time that I had fixed by moving
the 14th Division towards Ssu-fang-tai (on the heights by San-de-pu)
on January 13, and by moving the 10th Army Corps into the advanced
lines between the right flank of the 3rd Army and the River Hun on the
16th. By this the enemy was informed of our intentions before we began
our forward movement, and the front of the 2nd Army was spread over
thirteen miles.

With the exception of General Linievitch, our army commanders were
unnecessarily sensitive to interference with their powers, and in
cases where orders would formerly have been issued to corps commanders
it now became necessary to reckon with the personal opinions of army
commanders, and to guard against offending their susceptibilities.
After the pomp and parade of General Grippenberg’s departure from
the army, the relationship between the army commanders and the
Commander-in-Chief became still more strained. How jealously they
looked after their rights, and how strangely they interpreted their
own powers, is illustrated by the following incident: On February 19
I sent for the three army commanders and their chief staff officers,
in order to ascertain their views as to the plan of operations which
should be undertaken under the unfavourable conditions brought about
by the fall of Port Arthur and General Grippenberg’s unsuccessful
operations at Hei-kou-tai. The following courses were open to Nogi’s
army, no longer required in the Kuan-tung Peninsula: it might join
the four armies already in the field against us; it might, together
with the divisions formed in Japan and the troops in Korea, form a
force of seventy to eighty strong battalions for operations against
Vladivostok, or, landing at Possiet Bay, it might march against Kirin
and Harbin, so as to outflank our position at Mukden. I had also been
continually receiving reports from General Chichagoff to the effect
that the enemy had invaded Mongolia, and, aided by numerous bands of
Hun-huses, had begun to attack the railway in our rear, which had forced
me to weaken the army by detailing an infantry brigade and four Cossack
regiments to reinforce the railway guard and safeguard our position. In
spite of these reports, Generals Linievitch and Kaulbars expressed the
opinion that we ought not to change our plans, and should carry out the
orders I had issued on January 25—namely, to fall on the enemy’s left
flank. But when my Chief of Staff asked the officer commanding the 2nd
Army—who was to commence the operation—how he proposed to employ his
cavalry, Kaulbars,[22] looking upon the question as an interference
with his authority, became annoyed, and said much that was unnecessary
and quite beside the point. As it turned out, the Chief of the Staff
had every reason to be anxious as to the employment of this Army, for
its work in the battle of Mukden was anything but satisfactory.

The very large powers vested in army commanders in the matter of
bestowing distinctions was both unnecessary and harmful. They were
authorized to award the fourth class Order of St. George on the
recommendations of committees convened by them; they could give the
Distinguished Service Cross to private soldiers, and award the Orders
of St. Anne, second, third, and fourth classes, and St. Stanislav,
second and third classes, with swords and ribbons. As the forces
were lying so close together, it was very soon noticed that the
distribution of decorations in the different armies varied very much,
being in accordance with the personal predispositions of the different
commanders. In one army they were so lavishly bestowed as to excite
general derision, and their value was much lowered in consequence. By
far the worst offender in this respect was one well-known general,
who for one and the same engagement [Hei-kou-tai] decorated divers
officers with two Orders apiece, while, contrary to regulations, he
bestowed the Distinguished Service Cross to fifteen and more men per
company and battery. I jotted down in my diary my impressions after
inspecting units of the 2nd Army. Amongst other things, I noted that he
had awarded thirty Distinguished Service Crosses to a battery, of which
only seventy men had been in action and even then scarcely under fire.
Indeed, to my astonishment, as they stood on parade almost the whole
of the front rank were wearing crosses. The officer in command told
me that he had been ashamed to announce these rewards to the men, and
to have to try and select certain specific acts for them. I told the
men I hoped that they would show themselves worthy of these marks of
distinction in the fights to come!

The large independent powers possessed by the army commanders in
matters of supply were also superfluous in a case where there was only
one railway and one tract of country in which to procure supplies. The
only result was that prices were raised all round by the fact that
the different armies were bidding against each other. In this respect
General Grippenberg’s behaviour was most incomprehensible. As meat was
very scarce in December, I advised him to cut down the meat ration from
1 pound to 1/2 pound. Instead of this, by an order issued on January 3,
he increased it to 1-1/2 pounds per man per day. With the conditions
that obtained generally on the Sha Ho, and if our army corps had been
organized on a broader basis, there would have been no necessity
whatever for three separate army commanders with their special powers;
but they were appointed. And yet, after the disaster of Mukden, it
was the Commander-in-Chief who was generally held responsible for

                        DEFECTS IN _PERSONNEL_.

As regards the _personnel_, I will give in full the impressions
recorded in my report on the 1st Manchurian Army at a time when the
experiences of the war were fresh in my mind; my opinion in the main
agrees with those of other senior commanders.

(_a_) _The Command._—No appreciation of the senior commanders—that is
to say, of the work done by individual corps, divisional, and brigade
commanders—can or, indeed, ought to be made at present. The personal
element is too prominent. We must wait till personal feelings have
died away, so as to be able to draw impartial conclusions based on
authenticated facts, and on facts alone, as to what happened and who
was to blame. All the same, it may be said that the most pronounced
weak points amongst our senior commanders, especially in the first
period of the campaign, were their lack of initiative, their ignorance
of the method in which an attack should be conducted, and their want
of determination. There was never any co-ordination in the operations
of large units, which were really quite remarkable for their absolute
disconnection. Indifference as to the position of neighbouring forces
was the rule, and a tendency to accept defeat before a fight was really
lost was painfully evident. Even our best commanders preferred their
neighbour to be told off for the attack, while they themselves remained
in support. If a column were retiring under difficulties, any other
forces close at hand would withdraw also, instead of coming to its
assistance; and there was practically no instance of a bold forward
movement. The work of the regimental commanders was certainly better
than that of those higher up, but it was impossible not to notice that
they did not possess the power of making the most of a situation and
finding their way about. A regimental commander detached on special
duty could rarely make his arrangements without the assistance of
an officer of the General Staff; he could not, as a rule, read a
map himself, much less teach those under him how to do so. This was
especially the case at the beginning of the war, and had considerable
influence on the conduct of operations, as regiments often either
arrived late at their rendezvous or went to points where they were
not wanted. The lack of eye for country is partly explained by the
fact that our officers were quite unused to hills. Though this defect
certainly became less marked as time went on, it was still perceptible
in the operations round Mukden, and even afterwards.

Though the officers lacked a proper military spirit, they were
generally good in other ways, particularly those of the regular army.
The best proof of their gallantry is furnished by the number of losses
sustained by the 1st Army from November, 1904, to September, 1905, from
which it will be seen that their proportion of killed and wounded was
considerably higher than that of the men.

  |       |     Officers.     |   Rank and File.  |
  |       |        |Percentage|        |Percentage|
  |       |Numbers.|to Average|Numbers.|to Average|
  |       |        | Strength.|        | Strength.|
  |Killed |   167  |   4·1    |  4,779 |    2·5   |
  |Wounded|   905  |  23·8    | 27,425 |   14·6   |
  |Missing|    89  |   2·1    |  5,684 |    2·9   |
  |       +--------+----------+--------+----------+
  |       | 1,151  |  30      | 37,888 |   20     |

The losses in this army for the whole period of the war were somewhat

           Officers.   Rank and
  Killed       396      10,435
  Wounded    1,773      56,350

With the exception of those who had volunteered for the front, the
officers of the reserve were not nearly so well qualified as those of
the regulars; they were much behind them in tactical training, and did
not always perform their duties with the zeal which should be shown on
active service. Many ensigns of the reserve turned out unsatisfactory,
having accepted this rank purely to escape becoming private soldiers
upon mobilization; they had no sympathy with the military profession,
and hated soldiering. They were absolutely without training, and some
of them had no authority whatever over the men. The ensigns and
acting ensigns[23] promoted from the ranks for distinguished service
were excellent in every respect. Having been selected from the rank
and file, they usually appreciated their rank, and had considerable
authority amongst the men; they got on well with the officers, and
proved efficient and hard-working assistants to the company commanders.
The extent to which the acting ensigns sacrificed themselves to duty
is evinced by the fact that of 680 in the 1st Army in February, 192
were killed and wounded in the Mukden battle—_i.e._, more than 28 per
cent. The moral tone of the officers was quite satisfactory; during the
whole period of the war only nineteen were dismissed for unbecoming
conduct. In reporting on the work done by the officers of the General
Staff, the majority of the senior officers in command of troops
expressed the opinion that their theoretical training and intelligence
stood very high, and that their work was unselfish, but that they were
not sufficiently in touch with the troops, and lacked the personal,
practical knowledge required to enable them to judge properly how much
might be expected of men, and in what way an order would be carried
out—a knowledge which is necessary if small errors are to be avoided in
the transmission of orders, etc. They recommended that, to give these
staff-officers the necessary practical training, they should do most
of their service with troops of all three Arms, and only a part of
their service on the staff; while, to prevent them being looked upon
by the troops as mere clerks, they should be relieved of the mass of
clerical work that now falls to the General Staff. As in other bodies
of men, so amongst these officers are to be found some specially fitted
for field-work, and others, again, who prefer purely staff duties, and
in my opinion the two classes should be separated. Generally speaking,
the General Staff officers in the 1st Army did everything that was
required of them. From November, 1904, to September, 1905, their losses
in killed and wounded amounted to 12 per cent. of their strength; if
the casualties which occurred before the formation of the 1st Army are
taken into account, the percentage works out as much as 25·7. During
the whole of the above time only four were sent back to Russia on
account of sickness, while the majority of the wounded returned to the

As regards the senior commanders, many general officers who had
commanded independent units with great success in peace-time were
quite unfitted to take command of large units under the stress of war.
Few had even had sufficient peace practice in the actual command of
divisions and corps, and many were not up-to-date in their knowledge of
modern war requirements. The general characteristic displayed by most
was their lack of the power of forming a decision and a disinclination
to accept responsibility. Some arrived at the front actually holding
important commands for which they were—either through ill-health or
for other reasons—quite unfitted. From three army corps, composed of
veteran regiments which had arrived earlier than others in the theatre
of war, there retired, or were sent back, after the first fights, one
corps, four divisional, and several brigade commanders. Amongst the
reasons which contributed to complicate the conduct of operations were
the frequent changes in the Commander-in-Chief, of whom there were
three in nineteen months. From the beginning of the war till the end
of October, 1904—for eight and a half months—Admiral Alexeieff was
in supreme command; from the end of October to the middle of March,
1905—four and a half months—I was in command; from the middle of March
till the end of the operations—six months—General Linievitch was in

The fact that I only commanded for four and a half months out of
nineteen, and that this period was in the middle of operations, was not
taken into account by those who last year flooded Russia with pamphlets
and newspaper articles, apparently written with the sole object of
proving that I, both as Commander-in-Chief and as War Minister, was
the person mainly responsible for our misfortunes. In a letter to the
Tsar, dated February 21, 1906, from the village of Shuan-chen-pu, I
wrote on this point as follows:

 “I am aware of the serious accusations levelled against me
 in the Press. Though there are among them many to which I
 would scorn to reply, I should be happy to accept entire
 responsibility for the disasters which have overtaken us, but
 that such a course would be historically incorrect. It would
 also be a mistake, because it would lessen the general desire
 of the whole army for a thorough investigation of all the
 causes of our partial defeats, so that we may be able to avoid
 them in the future.

 “I venture to say ‘partial’ defeats, because there could be no
 possible suggestion that our land forces in Manchuria suffered
 defeat similar to that sustained by the fleet. When peace was
 concluded we had an army of almost one million men, still
 holding positions occupied by us after the Mukden battle,
 and ready, not only for the defensive, but for a most active

 “Information that reached us from Japan showed that the sources
 from which she had been drawing the men for her armies were
 drained dry, that her finances had been completely exhausted,
 that discontent at the long-drawn-out war was already making
 itself felt among her people, and that for these reasons her
 army could not reckon on further success against our superior
 numbers. Therefore, the most searching and exhaustive study of
 all our weak points cannot shake the belief prevalent in the
 army that our troops in Manchuria would have been victorious if
 only the war had been continued.

 “It will be for the future historian to decide whether the
 troops we put into the field before March, 1905, would have
 sufficed for victory.

 “Nowadays, with the complicated machinery of modern armies, the
 personality of the supreme commander is less important than it
 was. Without trusty, able, and energetic subordinates, without
 a spirit of initiative amongst all ranks, without a superiority
 in numbers, and, what is most important, without a military
 spirit amongst the troops and patriotism in the whole nation,
 the duty of a Commander-in-Chief is so difficult that it is
 far too much for a merely talented leader. It may be said that
 a military genius would have overcome the moral and physical
 difficulties we had to encounter. Possibly; but an Alexeieff,
 a Kuropatkin, a Linievitch, a Grippenberg, a Kaulbars, and a
 Bilderling were unable to do so.

 “I venture to remind Your Imperial Highness that, on receiving
 the orders appointing me to be Commander-in-Chief, I did not
 joyfully express my gratitude. I replied to the effect that
 it was only a dearth of commanders which led Your Majesty to
 select me. If I still firmly believed in victory after the
 Mukden battle, I had, indeed, good grounds for so doing.”

The author of the cleverly written article entitled “All about
Commanders” writes as follows:

 “The absence of initiative, the habit of always relying upon
 superiors, and only acting when ordered to from above, are
 characteristics of junior commanders which made the work of
 those at the head of the army more difficult. The value of the
 time element in war also was forgotten.”

The modern theorist in strategy, Blume, says: “Even the greatest genius
in a supreme commander cannot replace independent action by individual

Even during actual operations numerous newspaper articles appeared,
well calculated to discredit the officers. They were represented as
overbearing, rude, dishonourable drunkards. Indeed, one of the most
gifted of our writers—Menshikoff—went very far in this respect, for
he wrote of the “blunted sense of duty, intemperance, moral laxity,
and inveterate laziness” of a large body of men who never spared their
lives and performed their duty almost religiously. In a diatribe
against military life by M. Kuprin, called “The Duel,” private soldiers
were represented as being treated with the greatest cruelty, and it was
implied that it was the custom for our officers to slap and beat their
men on company parades. The writer concluded by saying that the time
would come when the officers would be caught and beaten in byways, when
women would deride them, and soldiers refuse to obey their orders. In
the great family of officers—as in other classes—there are, of course,
bad specimens, but no generalization can be made from this as to the
class as a whole. If some officers were seen drunk on the lines of
communications or at Harbin, it is not fair to jump to the conclusion
that all officers got drunk. They should be judged after they have been
seen in action, in the trenches, and on the line of march, not only, as
they often were, by what happened in the rear. But it is much easier
to sit in St. Petersburg or Harbin and hurl abuse than it is to watch
matters at the front. I have alluded to the large proportion of killed
and wounded amongst the officers, which shows that their gallantry has
not grown less than it used to be, and they certainly looked after the
welfare of the soldier in a way that was unprecedented. The men were
fed, clothed, cheered up, and kept in good fettle. The junior officers
were zealous, soon found their feet under new and strange conditions,
and as they grew accustomed to the local topography, became good
map-readers. The most severe critic must acknowledge that the standard
of our officers, both staff and regimental, has been much raised since
the Russo-Turkish War.

But, according to the opinion of these same observers, the private
soldier has, on the contrary, deteriorated during these twenty-seven
years, for, though a better man physically, he is morally a worse man
than he used to be. As I have remarked, the men with the colours were
quite reliable, but many of the reservists—especially the 2nd Category
men—required much supervision both in action and out of it, the most
difficult material to handle being that from the manufacturing centres
and large towns. Soldiers nowadays require more looking after than they
did formerly, when but few were literate. Up to the present, thank
God, our officers still have a good hold upon the men, based on mutual
respect; but great endeavours were made at the beginning of the war to
undermine this.

Kirilloff and others have made a dead set against the behaviour of the
officers of our General Staff in the late war, but the majority worked
most unselfishly, and did good service commanding units or on the
staff. A large number distinguished themselves by their professional
zeal and gallantry, while some found a glorious death in action. At
their head may be mentioned General Kondratenko, the hero of Port
Arthur. Among the killed also were the gallant General Count Keller,
Staff-Officers Zapolski, Naumenko, Jdanoff, Pekuti, Vasilieff, Mojeiko;
and of those who died from wounds were Andreeiff and Yagodkin. Among
the wounded were four divisional commanders—Lieutenant-Generals
Rennenkampf and Kondratovitch, Major-Generals Laiming and Orloff; also
Staff-Officers Markoff, Klembovski, Gutor, Rossiski, Gurko, Inevski,
etc. Altogether, about twenty officers of the General Staff were
killed and forty wounded. The hostile attitude of the Press towards the
officers, the endeavour of divers persons to undermine their authority,
the indifference of the intelligent classes in Russia to what was
happening in Manchuria, and especially the anti-Government campaign,
which was conducted with the object of creating a mutiny among the
troops, was hardly calculated to raise the soldiers’ _moral_, or to
encourage them to perform acts of heroism. There was no military spirit
in the army.

                         _The Rank and File._

The rank and file, like the officers, were of two classes: those
serving with the colours, and the reservists. The former were in every
respect good; they were steady in action, enduring and well trained;
but the reservists were on a much lower plane altogether. In the first
place, the older men were unable to stand the arduous conditions of
field service, coupled with the rigours of the Manchurian climate.
They suffered greatly from sunstroke and heart affections when
marching among the hills, and during the hot weather. At the battles
of Ta-shih-chiao, Hai-cheng, and Liao-yang, these men fell out in
such numbers that their units became quite immobile, and absolutely
useless for any offensive operations. Moreover, the 2nd Category
reservists did not know the rifle, and had forgotten everything they
had once learnt when with the colours, and it required real hard work
to instruct and train them up to the level of the serving soldiers. I
have mentioned their unsteadiness. Units which were almost entirely
composed of these men—that is to say, those units which had been formed
by expanding the reserve regiments—were very unsatisfactory: it was
almost impossible to get them into action. The regiments of the 4th
Siberian Corps, which did so splendidly at Ta-shih-chiao, Hai-cheng,
and Liao-yang, were an exception; they were composed entirely of
Siberian reservists, who, though surly fellows and poor marchers, were
men of character and very steady in action. The drafts composed of
young soldiers were magnificent. Most of them had only just done their
recruits’ course, were single men, and possessed both staying power and
activity, and, being regular soldiers, were accustomed to field-service
conditions. Unfortunately, it was only after the battle of Mukden that
these drafts began to arrive. But these young soldiers who did so well
in small actions would have done still better in a decisive engagement.

The general feeling of discontent which already prevailed in all
classes of our population made the war so hateful that it aroused
no patriotism whatever. Many good officers hastened to offer their
services—which was only natural—though all ranks of society remained
indifferent. A few hundreds of the common people volunteered,
but no eagerness to enter the army was shown by the sons of our
high dignitaries, of our merchants, or of our scientific men.
Out of the tens of thousands of students who were then living in
idleness,[24] many of them at the expense of the Empire, only a
handful volunteered,[25] while at that very time, in Japan, sons of
the most distinguished citizens—even boys fourteen and fifteen years
of age—were striving for places in the ranks. Japanese mothers, as I
have already said, killed themselves through shame when their sons were
found to be physically unfit for military service. The indifference
of Russia to the bloody struggle which her sons were carrying on—for
little-understood objects, and in a foreign land—could not fail to
discourage even the best soldiers. Men are not inspired to deeds of
heroism by such an attitude towards them on the part of their country.
But Russia was not merely indifferent. Leaders of the revolutionary
party strove, with extraordinary energy, to multiply our chances of
failure, hoping thus to facilitate the attainment of their own unworthy
ends. There appeared a whole literature of clandestine publications,
intended to lessen the confidence of officers in their superiors,
to shake the trust of soldiers in their officers, and to undermine
the faith of the whole army in the Government. In an “Address to the
Officers of the Russian Army,” published and widely circulated by the
Social Revolutionists, the main idea was expressed as follows:

 “The worst and most dangerous enemy of the Russian people—in
 fact, its only enemy—is the present Government. It is this
 Government that is carrying on the war with Japan, and you are
 fighting under its banners in an unjust cause. Every victory
 that you win threatens Russia with the calamity involved in the
 maintenance of what the Government calls ‘order,’ and every
 defeat that you suffer brings nearer the hour of deliverance.
 Is it surprising, therefore, that Russians rejoice when your
 adversary is victorious?”

But persons who had nothing in common with the Social Revolutionary
party, and who sincerely loved their country, aided Russia’s enemies
by expressing the opinion, in the Press, that the war was irrational,
and by criticizing the mistakes of the Government that had failed
to prevent it. In a brochure entitled “Thoughts Suggested by Recent
Military Operations,” M. Gorbatoff referred to such persons as follows:

 “But it is a still more grievous fact that while our heroic
 soldiers are carrying on a life-and-death struggle, these
 so-called friends of the people whisper to them: ‘Gentlemen,
 you are heroes, but you are facing death without reason. You
 will die to pay for Russia’s mistaken policy, and not to defend
 Russia’s vital interests.’ What can be more terrible than the
 part played by these so-called friends of the people when they
 undermine in this way the intellectual faith of heroic men who
 are going to their death? One can easily imagine the state
 of mind of an officer or soldier who goes into battle after
 reading, in newspapers or magazines, articles referring in this
 way to the folly and uselessness of the war. It is from these
 self-styled friends that the revolutionary party gets support
 in its effort to break down the discipline of our troops.”

Reservists, when called out, were furnished by the anti-Government
party with proclamations intended to prejudice them against their
officers, and similar proclamations were sent to the army in Manchuria.
Troops in the field received letters apprising them of popular
disorders in Russia, and men sick in hospitals, as well as men on
duty in our advanced positions, read in the newspapers articles
that undermined their faith in their commanders and their leaders.
The work of breaking down the discipline of the army was carried
on energetically, and, of course, it was not altogether fruitless.
The ideal at which the leaders in the movement aimed was the state
of affairs brought about by the mutinous sailors on the battleship
_Potemkin_. These enemies of the army and the country were aided by
certain other persons who were simply foolish and unreasonable. One
can imagine the indignation that the M―s, the K―s, and the K―s would
feel if they were told that they played the same part in the army
that was played by the persons who incited the insubordination on the
_Potemkin_; yet such was the case. Firm in spirit though Russians might
be, the indifference of one class of the population, and the seditious
incitement of another, could hardly fail to have upon many of them an
influence that was not favourable to the successful prosecution of war.

Commanding officers in the Siberian military districts reported,
as early as February, that detachments of supernumerary troops and
reservists had plundered several railway-stations, and later on regular
troops, on their way to the front, were guilty of similar bad conduct.
The drifting to the rear of large numbers of soldiers—especially
the older reservists—while battles were in progress was due not so
much to cowardice as to the unsettling of the men’s minds, and to a
disinclination on their part to continue the war. I may add that the
opening of peace negotiations at Portsmouth, at a time when we were
preparing for decisive operations, unfavourably affected the _moral_ of
the best in the army.

M. E. Martinoff, in an article entitled “Spirit and Temper of the Two
Armies,” points out that

 “... even in time of peace, the Japanese people were so
 educated as to develop in them a patriotic and martial spirit.
 The very idea of war with Russia was generally popular, and
 throughout the contest the army was supported by the sympathy
 of the nation. In Russia, the reverse was true. Patriotism was
 shaken by the dissemination of ideas of universal brotherhood
 and disarmament, and in the midst of a difficult campaign
 the attitude of the country toward the army was one of
 indifference, if not of actual hostility.”

This judgment is accurate, and it is evident, of course, that with
such a relation between Russian society and the Manchurian army it
was impossible to expect from the latter any patriotic spirit, or
any readiness to sacrifice life for the sake of the Fatherland. In
an admirable article, entitled “The Feeling of Duty and the Love of
Country,” published in the _Russki Invalid_ in 1906, M. A. Bilderling
expressed certain profoundly true ideas as follows:

 “Our lack of success may have been due, in part, to various
 and complicated causes, to the misconduct of particular
 persons, to bad generalship, to lack of preparation in the
 army and the navy, to inadequacy of material resources, and to
 misappropriations in the departments of equipment and supply;
 but the principal reason for our defeat lies deeper, and is to
 be found in lack of patriotism, and in the absence of a feeling
 of duty toward and love for the Fatherland. In a conflict
 between two peoples, the things of most importance are not
 material resources, but moral strength, exaltation of spirit,
 and patriotism. Victory is most likely to be achieved by the
 nation in which these qualities are most highly developed.
 Japan had long been preparing for war with us; all her people
 desired it; and a feeling of lofty patriotism pervaded the
 whole country. In her army and her fleet, therefore, every
 man, from the Commander-in-Chief to the last soldier, not
 only knew what he was fighting for, and what he might have
 to die for, but understood clearly that upon success in the
 struggle depended the fate of Japan, her political importance,
 and her future in the history of the world. Every soldier
 knew also that the whole nation stood behind him. Japanese
 mothers and wives sent their sons and husbands to the war with
 enthusiasm, and were proud when they died for their country.
 With us, on the other hand, the war was unpopular from the
 very beginning. We neither desired it nor anticipated it,
 and consequently we were not prepared for it. Soldiers were
 hastily put into railway-trains, and when, after a journey that
 lasted a month, they alighted in Manchuria, they did not know
 in what country they were, nor whom they were to fight, nor
 what the war was about. Even our higher commanders went to the
 front unwillingly, and from a mere sense of duty. The whole
 army, moreover, felt that it was regarded by the country with
 indifference; that its life was not shared by the people; and
 that it was a mere fragment, cut off from the nation, thrown to
 a distance of 6,000 miles, and there abandoned to the caprice
 of Fate. Before decisive fighting began, therefore, one of
 the contending armies advanced with the full expectation and
 confident belief that it would be victorious, while the other
 went forward with a demoralizing doubt of its own success.”

Generally speaking, the man who conquers in war is the man who is
least afraid of death. We were unprepared in previous wars, as well
as in this, and in previous wars we made mistakes; but when the
preponderance of moral strength was on our side, as in the wars with
the Swedes, the French, the Turks, the Caucasian mountaineers, and
the natives of Central Asia, we were victorious. In the late war, for
reasons that are extremely complicated, our moral strength was less
than that of the Japanese; and it was this inferiority, rather than
mistakes in generalship, that caused our defeats, and that forced us
to make tremendous efforts in order to succeed at all. Our lack of
moral strength, as compared with the Japanese, affected all ranks of
our army, from the highest to the lowest, and greatly reduced our
fighting power. In a war waged under different conditions—a war in
which the army had the confidence and encouragement of the country—the
same officers and the same troops would have accomplished far more
than they accomplished in Manchuria. The lack of martial spirit, of
moral exaltation, and of heroic impulse, affected particularly our
stubbornness in battle. In many cases we did not have sufficient
resolution to conquer such antagonists as the Japanese. Instead of
holding with unshakable tenacity the positions assigned them, our
troops often retreated, and in such cases our commanding officers of
all ranks, without exception, lacked the power or the means to set
things right. Instead of making renewed and extraordinary efforts to
wrest victory from the enemy, they either permitted the retreat of
the troops under their command, or themselves ordered such retreat.
The army, however, never lost its strong sense of duty; and it was
this that enabled many divisions, regiments, and battalions to
increase their power of resistance with every battle. This peculiarity
of the late war, together with our final acquisition of numerical
preponderance and a noticeable decline of Japanese ardour, gave us
reason to regard the future with confidence, and left no room for doubt
as to our ultimate victory.

In both Russian and foreign papers numerous articles have appeared
in which the Commander-in-Chief has been accused of a lack of
determination in the conduct of various battles. Without any real
basis for their statements, critics have represented that orders to
retire were for some unknown reason more than once given by him at a
moment when victory lay in our hands. Comments upon his indecision and
frequent change of orders were so common that the idea became universal
that it was Kuropatkin, and Kuropatkin alone, who prevented the army
and corps commanders from defeating the enemy.

My first three volumes supply the answer to the most serious of these
accusations: in them are described the tremendous efforts we had to
make to prevent our operations ending worse than they did. I have never
been one of those who believe that an order once given should not be
countermanded or modified. In war circumstances change so quickly, and
information received so frequently turns out to be false, that it would
be fundamentally unsound to insist, in spite of changed conditions, on
keeping exactly to an order once issued. An excellent example of this
is given by the operations at Hei-kou-tai. The order received by the
officer commanding the 1st Siberians to rest his troops on January 27,
and to occupy the line Hei-kou-tai–Su-ma-pu–Pei-tai-tzu, was founded
on the incorrect supposition of the commander of the 2nd Manchurian
Army that San-de-pu had been captured. The former was more than once
told not to attack. Yet, even though news was received that San-de-pu
had not been taken, he insisted in carrying out the orders given, in
which, by a mistake, a village held in force by the enemy was appointed
as our halting-place. The result is known: we fought all day, lost
7,000 men, and at daybreak on January 28 were compelled to retire.
With regard to the accusation that the late Commander-in-Chief[26]
constantly countermanded his own orders, it is interesting to note that
General Grippenberg, in his article, “The Truth about the Battle of
Hei-kou-tai,” points out that, although he did not agree with him as to
the necessity for retiring the right flank of the 2nd Army to take up
a more concentrated position, he did not express this opinion to the
Commander-in-Chief, because he and all his staff knew that Kuropatkin
would never countermand an order once given.

Upon the point as to whether we might have defeated the Japanese at
Liao-yang or Mukden we shall remain unenlightened, in spite of the
publication of my book, till we know in detail the actual movements of
the Japanese in these actions. As regards Liao-yang, I can only express
my personal opinion. An important decision, such as that leading to
an order for troops to retire, cannot be given upon the inspiration
of a moment. All the attendant circumstances have to be taken into
account—the results of the previous engagements; the physical and
mental condition of the troops; the strength and dispositions of the
enemy; the results which he may attain if the fight is continued; the
reports from the front, flanks, and rear; the extent to which the
reserves have been depleted, their readiness for action; the amount of
ammunition in hand, etc. At the battle of Liao-yang Kuroki’s army, in
addition to Nodzu’s, might easily have been pushed across to the right
bank of the Tai-tzu Ho, just as the Japanese boldly threw the greater
part of Oku’s army, in addition to Nogi’s, across on to the right bank
of the Hun Ho at Mukden. This was all the more possible because our
attempt to assume the offensive with the troops stationed on the left
bank on September 2 ended disastrously. If there is no hope of worsting
an enemy by an offensive counter-stroke, it is very important for a
defending force, circumstanced as we were,[27] to retire in good time,
and not to hold on until an orderly retirement becomes impossible to
carry out. We retired under very difficult conditions along roads deep
in mud, but not a single trophy was left behind, not a prisoner, not a
gun, not a transport cart.

If we had delayed a single day, our retirement might have resembled
that of the 2nd and 3rd Armies, which were in so awkward a plight at
Mukden. For the reasons explained in my third volume, the 2nd Army was,
on March 7, almost surrounded on flanks and rear. Great efforts were
necessary in order that we might extricate ourselves from the position
in which we were placed without being utterly defeated. But these
efforts were not made, and the situation of our whole force on March 7,
8, and 9 became worse, and the danger of a considerable part of the 2nd
Army being surrounded by Nogi’s troops still more imminent. Comparing
the condition of our men with that of the Japanese on March 7 and 8, as
well as the positions occupied by the two forces on the 8th, and taking
into account the moral superiority of the Japanese, I should have given
up hope of a victorious issue from the battle on the 7th and 8th, and
have arranged for a retirement to Tieh-ling before the army became
disorganized. The future historian will probably accuse me of having
held on too long. I did not give the order to retire till March 10, and
according to events and the opinion of my staff, the order should have
been given a day earlier. If we had retired on the 9th, the army would
probably have fallen back in complete order without losing anything
(except wounded); indeed, we might have taken with us a fairly large
number of prisoners and captured guns and machine-guns. In my report
upon the battle of Mukden to His Majesty the Tsar, I acknowledged that
I was primarily responsible for our reverse, and admitted that I should
have more accurately gauged the difference between the men of the two
forces and the qualifications of the commanders, and that I should
have been more careful in making my decisions. Hoping against hope to
defeat the enemy, despite the disastrous operations of the 2nd Army,
between March 2 and 7, I gave the order to retreat too late. I should
have abandoned all hope of eventual victory at Mukden a day sooner than
I did, and our withdrawal would have been effected in good order. Thus,
the general conclusion regarding the battles of Liao-yang and Mukden
could, in my opinion, be expressed as follows: If we had retired from
Liao-yang a day later than we did, the result would have been much the
same as at Mukden; if we had retired from Mukden a day sooner, the
result would have been much the same as at Liao-yang.[28]

I might also have been blamed for not holding on longer to Tieh-ling
and fighting there, and for ordering the troops to retire on to the
Hsi-ping-kai position. My reply is given in detail in my third volume.
It is sufficient to say here that, when it was decided to retire from
Tieh-ling on March 12 and 13, according to the officers commanding
those units of the 2nd and 3rd Armies which suffered most in the battle
of Mukden, we only had an effective strength of 16,390 rifles in 114
battalions.[29] If I had accepted battle there under such conditions,
it would have been most dangerous, as we might have completely lost the
cadres of many units. How long it would have taken us to re-form for
a new battle can be judged from the fact that the officer commanding
the 3rd Army stated before a committee assembled as late as May 17
[two months after the retreat] that he thought the acceptance of a
general action even then on the Hsi-ping-kai position itself was

I will bring the present chapter to a close by quoting literally my
farewell address to the officers of the 1st Manchurian Army. In this
address, with fresh impressions of all that we had gone through and had
actually felt during the war, I outlined those of our defects which
prevented us defeating the enemy in the time at our disposal. But while
indicating our weaknesses, I also brought out the strong points of
the troops which I had commanded—points which gave every reason for a
belief that we should have won in the end.

“_To the Officers of the 1st Manchurian Army._

“In a few days the 1st Manchurian Army will be broken up, and I must
now bid farewell to the glorious troops which I have had the great
honour to command for two years. Upon you fell the arduous duty, in
the beginning of the war, of withstanding the attack of a numerically
superior enemy, so as to gain time for our reinforcements coming from
Russia to concentrate. You had the good fortune to be present at
the battles of the Ya-lu, Te-li-ssu, Ta-shih-chiao, Yang-tzu Ling,
Lang-tzu-shan, and also at the long-drawn struggles of Liao-yang, the
Sha Ho, and Mukden, and by your conduct during those fights you earned
the praise of the rest of the army.

“With a comparatively weak establishment of five and a half corps (160
battalions), or an average fighting strength of 100,000 rifles and
2,200 officers, the 1st Manchurian Army lost up to March 14, 1905:

            Officers.  Rank and File.
  Killed       395         10,435
  Wounded    1,773         56,350

or a percentage of killed and wounded amongst the officers of 91, and
amongst the rank and file of 67, per cent. of the average war strength.
In the independent units the losses in killed and wounded were:

                                     Officers.  Rank and File.
  34th East Siberian Rifle Regiment     89          3,243
  36th East Siberian Rifle Regiment     73          2,531
  3rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment     102          2,244
  4th East Siberian Rifle Regiment      61          2,170
  23rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment     50          2,290
  1st East Siberian Rifle Regiment      71          1,920

“The particularly gallant conduct in action of the officers is apparent
from the fact that the percentage of killed and wounded is considerably
higher than that of the men, while many single units proved that it
is possible to continue fighting after a loss of two-thirds of the
fighting strength. And yet, despite these sacrifices, despite all our
efforts, we were unable to beat the enemy. Undoubtedly we had to fight
against a very brave, energetic, and most martial foe. So careless were
the Japanese of life that they piled the bodies of their comrades on
our obstacles, and endeavoured to reach our positions by climbing over
these masses of corpses. For a long time also they were able to bring
superior forces against us. But we became tempered by misfortune, and
gained wisdom by experience, and our numbers grew until we finally
became so strong in mind and spirit last summer that victory seemed

“The intervals of comparative peace between the great battles were
employed in strengthening the army, and many positions up to and
including Mukden were fortified with immense trouble. After that battle
the defence of the left flank of the whole force was entrusted to
you, and three very strong defensive lines were constructed by your
labours up to the River Sungari. These lines, particularly the first
and second, were, on account of their fortifications and the nature
of the ground, in every way suited either for a desperate defence or
for the attack. Although our army was not quite ready to assume the
offensive by last May, it would have welcomed orders to advance. The
enemy, shaken by their losses at Mukden, kept their positions for
six months, and waited for us to move forward. We inaugurated many
improvements based upon our previous experiences in the war, and the
tactical training of the troops made immense progress. We not only
filled up our weakened ranks by means of the drafts which reached us,
but expanded all the rifle regiments into four battalions. In the way
of reinforcements, the 1st Army received the 53rd Infantry Division,
the Cossack Infantry Brigade, and the Don Cossack Division.

“The firing-line of the 1st Army was in August last stronger than it
was at the beginning of the war, before the September battles on the
Sha Ho, and, thanks to the great exertions of those in command, and
the unselfish work of the medical services, the health of the army
remained excellent throughout. It was, indeed, fortunate, for if any
great sickness had broken out we should, owing to the few drafts
then arriving, only have had very weak cadres for the field. It was
absolutely essential, therefore, that no expense or efforts should be
spared in order to keep every man fit for the ranks, and I am happy
to say that our common efforts met with unusual success, for our
losses from sickness were less than in killed and wounded. In the 1st
Manchurian Army we had lost up to August 14, 1905, 2,218 officers and
66,785 other ranks killed and wounded in action, and 2,390 officers and
58,093 other ranks from sickness. I draw your attention to the fact
that while the percentage of losses from action should naturally be
higher among the officers than the men, they ought, on account of their
better living, to lose less from sickness. The converse was the case
with us, which shows that our officers were not sufficiently hardy,
and did not know how to preserve their health. To this we must pay
particular attention.

“In material matters the army was also excellently situated in August.
Clothing and equipment of all sorts were on the spot and plentiful,
while all technical supplies had accumulated. Never have we been such
a formidable force in every sense as we had become by the summer of
1905, when we were suddenly informed of the unhappy negotiations
at Portsmouth, and that peace had been concluded. Doubtless this
was necessitated by the state of the interior of Russia; but it was
heart-breaking for the army. I remember with what grief the news was
received by all ranks. Life seemed to die out of our bivouacs, and all
our minds were filled by one sad thought—that the war had ended before
the enemy had been beaten. Looking back on the trials we have recently
gone through, we can find consolation in the feeling that we have done
our duty to Tsar and country as far as has lain in our power; but for
many reasons the time given us has turned out to be insufficient. These
reasons we must fearlessly search out, and discover what—beyond mere
numerical inferiority—prevented our success before peace was concluded.
Before all others, I, your senior commander, am guilty because I did
not succeed in rectifying our many moral and material defects during
the war, and in making the most of the undoubted strong points of our
troops. The material defects are known to all of us—the small number
of rifles in the firing-line per company [partly owing to lack of care
to put as many men as possible into action], the insufficiency [at the
beginning] of mountain artillery, the lack of high explosive shells,
of machine-guns, and of technical stores of all sorts. By last August
the majority of these deficiencies had, through the great exertions
of the War Ministry, been made good. Our moral defects I attribute to
the different standards of training among the troops, their inferior
technical preparation, and the great numerical weakness of units in
action. We also suffered much from inadequate reconnaissance of the
enemy’s position before a battle, and the resulting vagueness as to
how to conduct the action [particularly in the attack]; and, most
important, from the lack of initiative and independent thought in
individual commanders, the absence of the military spirit in officers
and men, of dash, of mutual co-operation between units, and of a
general determination to carry out a task to a finish at any sacrifice.
The tendency to accept defeat too soon—after only the advanced troops
had suffered—and of retiring instead of repeating the attack and
setting an example, was highly detrimental. Such retirement, instead of
calling forth increased efforts from the neighbours, in most cases only
served as a signal for their own retreat.

“Generally speaking, there was in all ranks a great dearth of men
of strong military character, with nerves tough enough to enable
them to stand the strain of an almost continual battle lasting for
several days. It is evident that neither our educational system nor
our national life during the last forty to fifty years has been of
a nature to produce men of strong independent characters, or more
would have appeared in our army when wanted. Now the Tsar has given
us the blessing of freedom. The nation has been released from the
leading-strings of a bureaucracy, and can now develop freely, and
direct its energies to the good of the country. Let us hope that this
blessing of freedom, coupled to a well-thought-out system of education,
will raise the material and moral forces of the Russian nation,
and produce in every sphere of national activity stalwarts who are
enterprising, independent, possessed of initiative, and strong in body
and soul. By an infusion of such the army will be enriched. But it is
not possible for the army idly to await results which are the work of a
generation. Knowing now our strong and weak points, we can, and ought
to, start on self-improvement without delay. The war has brought out
many men [especially amongst all ranks of the 1st Army], from modest
company officers up to corps commanders, on whose energy, zeal, and
ability the Russian nation can rely; and I notice with pleasure that
not a few of those amongst the 1st Army have received good appointments
in the Far East and in Russia. This should serve as a fresh proof that
the Tsar is diligently watching our efforts, and is losing no time in
employing the most worthy of you to the advantage of the whole army.

“You have first-hand knowledge of the difficult conditions generally
under which war is now conducted, and of the moral and physical effort
that is required to carry on an almost continuous battle for several
days. You also know by experience the exact value in action of all
kinds of technical equipment. All this makes it necessary for you
to endeavour to perfect yourselves. With the exception of the cadet
corps, our schools take no pains about the physical development of
children; consequently, many of our officers, as was evident in the
war, are physically feeble. Pay attention to gymnastics, to fencing,
to singlesticks, and to musketry. An officer should not be a mere
spectator of the physical exercises of the men—a thing I have often
noticed—but should himself set the example to those under him.

“The relations between officers and men have always been of the
closest. Like fathers to the men, our officers have won their
affectionate respect. Remember that to our soldiers the word
‘father-commander’ is not merely an empty phrase; they believe in it.
Remember, also, that a commander only wins the heart of his soldiers
when he is their father-commander. It is quite possible to be strict
and at the same time look after the men’s welfare, for our soldiers are
not afraid of severity, but respect it; in the majority of cases a just
severity is a deterrent against crime. But the simple-minded soldier
is particularly sensitive to injustice, and soon sees through any
deceit practised on him. You who shared with the men all the hardships
and dangers of field service are very favourably situated. The men
having seen you in action—always in your place, giving an example of
unselfishness—will forgive much, and will follow you through fire and
water. These links which bind the ranks must be carefully maintained,
and officers who have been in the field with units must not be removed
from them unless absolutely necessary. Guard the military traditions
acquired by regiments, and do your best to preserve the memory of the
gallant deeds done by companies, squadrons, or batteries collectively,
or by individual members of them. Keep in close touch with the private
soldier; try to win his full confidence. You will gain it by your
constant care of and your affection for him; by your strict, and at the
same time fatherly, relations to him; by knowing your work; and by your
own example. Only by these will you be able to take advantage of all
his good points, to correct his defects, and guard him from the harmful
influences which will be more numerous in the future than ever. The
recent cases of military mutinies should be constantly in our memories.
I turn to you officers in command of regiments in particular. You know
the great responsibility which falls upon you in action. How often has
the issue of the battle depended on the way a regiment has been led. It
has often been enough for an energetic, gallant, capable man to get the
command of a regiment to change its character utterly. The selection
of men for these appointments must, therefore, be carefully made, and
those chosen must work incessantly to educate all those under them.

“Up to the present our regimental commanders have, unfortunately, been
too much taken up with routine and office work, and have been unable to
give sufficient time to the practical military side of their duties,
to that intercourse between officers and men which is so valuable.
Some seem to think that their chief duty is to look after such details
as the colour and the repainting of the transport carts, and not the
training of the men. The constant strain of how to make both ends meet
with the money granted, how to maintain the clothing and other funds,
has increased to such an extent, and worries some commanders so much,
that they scarcely get to know their own officers, and do positive
harm to their men by trying to increase funds at the expense of their
rations, and therefore of their health. In the late war the Supply
Department carried out their difficult duties so well that they have
proved that they deserve to be implicitly trusted in peace-time; we can
therefore give over to this department much of the work of supplying
the troops (clothing, equipment, transport, food). Then regimental and
company commanders will stand out as real flesh and blood commanders
in the true sense, and will cease to be “office” automatons and mere
inspectors of stores and depôts, and the work of training and education
will progress.

“I would invite the special attention of all commanding officers to the
necessity for thoroughly studying the characters of those under them.
With us, men of independent character and initiative are rare. Search
out such men, encourage them, promote them, and so encourage the growth
of the qualities which are essential for all soldiers. Men of strong
individuality are with us, unfortunately, often passed over, instead of
receiving accelerated promotion. Because they are a source of anxiety
to some officers in peace, they get repressed as being headstrong.
The result is that they leave the service, while others, who possess
neither force of character nor convictions, but who are subservient,
and always ready to agree with their superiors, are promoted. Remember
how much our inattention to the opinions and evidence of those under us
has cost us.

“The greater part of the 1st Army is to remain in the Far East, and I
am convinced that the glorious Siberian regiments of the 1st Manchurian
Army, which have been such a tower of strength in action, will now,
under the new conditions of peace, still be Russia’s bulwark in that

“In bidding you farewell, my dear comrades in the field, I sincerely
hope that the war experience you have gained will be of great advantage
to the army and the country. Devoted to Crown and country, always
ready to maintain law and order, and to uphold the authority of the
Government, holding yourselves aloof from the intrigues of political
parties, and knowing your own weak and strong points as shown up
by the struggle we have all been through, you will, I believe,
quickly heal your wounds, and lead the army in its struggle towards
perfection. Although in the future you may be denied the recollection
of victories won, you can remember—and this should be a consolation
and an encouragement—that you were ready, without fear of sacrifice,
to continue the struggle with the gallant enemy till you had beaten
him. You, officers, believed that you would win, and you succeeded in
instilling this belief into our grand soldiers.

“May God assist you in the duties that lie before you, which are as
important for our dear country as any we have already performed, even
though they be in peace. Farewell. Accept my sincere gratitude for
all your self-denying service in the field, and express to the men my
thanks for their services, and for the many proofs they have given of
devotion and loyalty to the Tsar and Fatherland.

     “_February 18, 1906_.”

                              CHAPTER XI

 Suggested measures for the improvement of the senior
     ranks; for the improvement of the regulars and
     reservists; for the reorganization of the reserve troops;
     for increasing the number of combatants in infantry
     regiments—Machine-guns—Reserve troops—Troops on the

Our recent experiences have furnished ample material by which we may
be guided in our efforts to improve the war training and increase
the efficiency of our forces. The War Ministry, assisted by officers
who served in Manchuria, and by articles which have appeared in the
military Press, has already embarked upon numerous reforms. I shall
here merely express my own opinion upon the points I consider most
important, and which should be settled first of all. Amongst these are
measures for—

1. The improvement of the senior ranks.

2. The improvement of the regular soldiers and reservists.

3. Reforms in the organization of the reserve troops.

4. Increasing the number of actual combatants in our infantry regiments.

5. Enlarging the war establishment of regiments, brigades, divisions,
and corps, and, by means of decentralization, making them more

As regards the first: Our three wars of the last fifty years have
disclosed many shortcomings in our officers. Most of these have
undoubtedly been due to the undeveloped state of the nation, and to
the general conditions of life and labour, which have affected the
army as an integral part of the whole population. Any serious attempt
to improve our officers as a body, therefore, is only likely to be
successful if and when a general improvement sets in in our social
conditions. It has pleased the Tsar to inaugurate many fundamental
reforms for the betterment of the civil status of all classes of our
population in every walk of life, and reforms in the officer class
should be instituted at the same time.

Why is it that, with so many capable, keen, and intelligent men as
we possess among our junior officers and those in comparatively
subordinate positions, we have so few original-minded, keen, and
competent seniors? As I have said, the standard of all ranks of the
army entirely depends on that of the nation. With the growth of the
moral and mental faculties of the people at large there will be a
corresponding growth in that of the military class; but so long as
the nation suffers from a paucity of well-informed, independent, and
zealous men, the army cannot well be expected to be an exception. If
the uniform attracted the pick of the population, out of a nation of
many millions, however backward, there would be at least hundreds of
the very best men—in every sense—quite capable of commanding troops in
war. It would therefore seem necessary—

1. To adopt a military uniform such as will attract the flower of our

2. To insist that the best of those privileged to wear the uniform
should serve in the army, and there acquire the military knowledge and
strength of character necessary for war.


In the first of these two particulars we have succeeded, for in
Russia the military uniform has been particularly honoured for years;
but we have by no means approached near the second desideratum. The
majority of the best men wearing military uniform have not only never
served in the army, but are absolutely unconnected with it. In the
eighteenth century a custom crept in of dressing the sons of grandees
in military clothes, and they could get promotion at an age when they
were riding toy horses round drawing-rooms. Then, little by little,
military uniform, military rank, even that of General, ceased to become
the absolute prerogative of the army, or, indeed, to denote any
connection with war. The members of the Church were the only people
not arrayed in it. Members of the Imperial Council, Ambassadors,
Senators, Ministers of the different departments and their assistants,
Governor-Generals, Governors, Mayors, Superintendents of Police,
officials in the various Government departments and in the military
institutions, all wore military uniform, and were graded in different
ranks. With few exceptions, all that they had to do with the army was
to be a source of weakness to it. Amongst the many names in the long
list of generals, only a few belong to officers on the active list,
and, what is worse, those who are serving in the army get superseded
in rank by, and receive less emoluments than, those who are not.
Consequently, the best elements in the service are naturally anxious
to leave. The posts of Minister of the Interior, of Finance, of Ways
and Communications, of Education, and of State Control, used to be held
by generals and admirals, as well as the appointments of Ambassador
at Constantinople, Paris, London, and Berlin. Service uniforms were
therefore conspicuous at all diplomatic and ministerial gatherings.
Military clothes also had a great attraction for other departments, and
several of them tried to assimilate their uniforms as much as possible
to those of army officers. The worst offender in this respect was the
Ministry of the Interior, which adopted a uniform for police-officers
and even for constables which could hardly be distinguished from that
worn by military officers. The private soldiers were naturally unable
to make anything of this multitude of uniforms, and never knew whom to
salute or obey; indeed, the police-officers’ great-coats and caps with
cockades were enough to puzzle the most discriminating. This all seems
incomprehensible; but the ambition to wear military uniform is easily
explained. It is largely due to the ignorance of the people. Not long
ago, anyone wearing even a hat with a cockade was taken in the country
for a person in authority; caps were doffed to him, and in winter
heavily laden sledges would be turned into snow-drifts to give him the
road, while his vulgar abuse would be patiently accepted.

Thirty years ago, when a young officer, I spent about a year on
service with the French in Algiers, and travelled a great deal. I was
astonished to find that it was found convenient, even under republican
rule, to keep to a system of semi-military government for the native
population—Arabs and Kabyles. It was, in this case, entrusted mainly to
army officers, and those civilians who were also appointed had to adopt
a uniform similar to that worn by the military. These officials told
me in all seriousness that their spurs and the gold braid round their
caps assisted them in their dealings with the Arabs, in collecting
taxes, settling land questions, and other matters. It was so in our
case. Undoubtedly the wearing of military clothes did facilitate the
difficult work which our police-officers have to do; but a great
change has recently come over the country, and a uniform alone is not
now enough to command obedience. It is sometimes a drawback, if not a
danger. It is, of course, to be hoped that such an unnatural state of
affairs will not last; but it is very desirable to take advantage of
the present indifference displayed by the civil population to uniform
to take it from all who are not actually serving in the army. The
time has come when the prestige appertaining to our uniform should be
restored, and the status of those serving in the army should be raised.

With the same object in view, we must continue to try and improve the
material position and prospects of the corps of officers. An important
matter, and one to which I have given much attention—so far without
entire success—is that service on the staff, in offices and in branches
of the War Department, should not pay better than service with the
troops. Many of the officers now so employed in semi-civil duties can
well be replaced by civilian officials. It is, moreover, essential that
service in the Frontier Guards, in the Customs, police, gendarmerie,
on the railway, and as tax-collectors, should cease to be financially
preferable to service in the army.

As senior officers get on in the service, they must not be allowed to
forget what they have previously learnt, a thing which is now only
too common. It is essential that they should be practised in peace
in commanding troops, and not be mere administrators, inspectors,
spectators, and umpires. They should therefore be in a position to
spend most of their time with troops in the field and in cantonments.
With our military system the command of troops is at present almost
entirely in the hands of the regimental, brigade, divisional, corps and
district commanders.[31] Thus our infantry and cavalry regiments used
to be under five masters. But, in the words of the proverb, too many
cooks spoil the broth, and in war all was not for the best in all our
regiments. Often while the ingredients and the fire left nothing to be
desired, the cooks did not know what to do. How can such a state of
things be explained? It will be said that the selection of commanders
was not always happy. That is true; but it must be remembered that
selections had to be made from those men who were qualified according
to the regulations and the reports drawn up by various commanding
officers. In some cases seniority was considered to be by itself
a qualification for promotion. Efforts of a sort were undoubtedly
made to get the best men we had, but they were insufficient. All
the commanders in the five degrees of our military hierarchy are so
occupied with their daily work of routine and correspondence, while
many are so overburdened with the administrative details of their
appointments, that they have little time to attend to the business of
actual war. Yet, as they get on in the service, more knowledge of war
is required of them. The short periods of concentration in summer,
with only a few days of instructional work on both sides, give little
practice in command, and at other times the number of responsible
duties connected with administration places that art on a far higher
plane than mere soldiering. And what is most important is that the
whole of our service—of our lives almost—is spent doing things which
do not go to form character. Of the five posts above mentioned, only
two—the divisional and corps commanders—are in any way independent,
and their occupants are immersed in office work. The relative amount
of time spent on the different sorts of duties tends to turn the
regimental commander into an administrator rather than a fighter,
while a brigade commander has absolutely no independence; in fact, his
absence or presence is scarcely noticed. Finally, the same tendency
to produce office men and bureaucrats is noticeable even in the work
of those on the highest rungs of the ladder—the general officers in
command of military districts. Instances might be multiplied of men
who, though long in charge of military districts, never once commanded
troops on manœuvres, and for several years never even got astride a
horse. How can this impossible state of affairs be remedied, and a body
of leaders, constantly practised in the execution of those duties in
command of troops that would be required of them in war, be formed?


On active service the rôle of the regimental commander is both wide
and important. To issue successfully from the test of modern war, he
must have character, experience, and facility in manœuvring his unit
in the field, must know his men well, and therefore have found the
time both for intercourse with his officers and for perfecting himself
in his profession. In battle it is men he has to deal with, and not
files of papers and storehouses. But, situated as he is at present, he
is so overburdened with important administrative details that most of
his time is passed dealing with requisitions and inventories instead
of with flesh and blood. The penalties he incurs by neglect of his
administrative duties are far heavier and more tangible than those
incurred by neglecting the tactical training of his regiment. The
greater part of these duties—those such as are connected with clothing,
transport, and rationing—should be removed from his shoulders. He
should be made the controller of these sections of duty, and not the
person actually responsible. Nor is his position easy in respect
to the _personnel_. The great shortage of officers, especially in
those units quartered in inferior barracks, is the cause of many
difficulties. When mobilization is ordered, some of the already too
small number of officers are told off for the innumerable miscellaneous
duties and detachments; commanders of battalions and of companies are
interchanged; many of the men are transferred to other units, a mass
of reservists join, and, if there is not time for the new arrivals to
settle down with the few old hands, the commander has to lead into
action a regiment which he does not know, and which does not know
itself. Our mobilization schemes, therefore, require revision in this
respect, and every regiment should have in peace-time a permanent
establishment of officers and men who would accompany the regiment on
service. The company commanders in particular should not be removed
from their companies. But to make such an arrangement possible, it is
essential that one of the senior captains (who might be appointed to
the staff) should run the regimental school. It is also important to
keep the regimental commander as a man apart as far as possible; he
should be made to realize upon all occasions the peculiar importance of
the duties entrusted to him, and the respect due to himself personally
by reason of these duties.


In Manchuria, just as in the wars of the second half of last century,
the great value of the infantry brigade as an independent fighting
unit came out strongly in all the large battles; as also did the great
influence of its commander on the result of the fight.

The advance and rear guards of army corps generally consisted of
brigades. A brigade commander usually began the attack; a brigade
commander usually finished it (by commanding the rearguard). And yet
the post of Brigadier is not considered one of importance; his powers
are insignificant, and his position does not allow him sufficient
independence to enable him to train either himself or his unit.
Divisional commanders and their chief staff-officers in peace-time
often ignore the brigadiers as if they were not wanted, and were fifth
wheels to the coach; and their absence for whole years, building
barracks and roads, etc., is not considered to have any adverse effect
on the successful training of the regiments under them. In such
circumstances even the zealous ones, and those anxious to do their
duty, become dulled, slack, and lose capacity for work. There can
be only one way out of this unnatural state of things, which, from
a military point of view, is most harmful: _brigade commanders must
in peace-time be given independent command of those units which they
will have to command independently in war_. This applies to cavalry as
well as to infantry. Every brigade should have a small staff such as
exists in independent brigades—namely, two adjutants, one an officer
of the General Staff for operations, and one for administration. Each
brigade commander should have powers in both these branches of their
duty equal to that now delegated to divisional commanders, while their
disciplinary powers should remain as at present.


Our divisional commanders are independent and in direct touch with
troops; but they also are overburdened with routine correspondence,
and as they are frequently appointed to command the summer camps, it
happens that they are more often present at the exercises of the troops
as spectators than actually in command. In field operations where
there are two sides, the divisional general rarely finds it possible
to take command of one, partly owing to an exaggerated idea of his
own abilities, and partly to the scarcity of officers of sufficient
seniority to be umpires. Consequently, he only gets practice in
commanding troops in the field during concentrations of large bodies
of men. This is not enough. Commanders of infantry divisions, in
particular, do not know nearly enough about the other arms, owing to
the little practice they get in commanding mixed forces. So, while
giving greater powers to brigade commanders, it will be also advisable
to delegate to divisional generals the powers now exercised by corps
commanders (with the exception of disciplinary powers). Divisional
commanders should always remember that the 16,000 rifles which they
command are a number that can decide the fate of any action. With the
inclusion, in divisions, of artillery, sapper, and cavalry units,
exceedingly instructive exercises can be arranged within these units
both in summer and winter, and the troops and their commanders thereby
trained for war under modern war conditions. The four[32] officers of
the General Staff who would be with each division should be relieved of
all routine, except that relating to operations, and they should devote
the whole of their time and energies to preparing work for the brigade
and divisional commanders in the training of the troops for battle.


Army corps commanders are quite independent, but, like the divisional
commanders, are overburdened with routine correspondence, etc., and do
not get sufficient practice in commanding troops in the field. Some,
during a tour of duty of several years, have never commanded troops
on manœuvres; and it is impossible for all of them to have sufficient
acquaintance with cavalry, as some corps do not include this arm.
They and their staff, especially the General Staff officers, have no
practice at all, or else very little, in the use of technical equipment
and the modern aids to warfare (telegraphs, telephones, mines, motors,
balloons, etc.). The experience of the late war showed up the necessity
of increasing the establishment of the army corps, and the actions
of their commanders will have such an important, and in many cases
deciding, influence, that extremely careful selection is necessary for
these posts; the men appointed must be capable of teaching others as
well as of learning themselves. As with the divisional generals, so
should the powers of corps commanders be extended at the expense of
those now exercised by officers in command of military districts.


The commanders of military districts are the senior officers actually
in charge of troops, and have at the same time important duties as
administrative heads of districts. Here again administrative work,
together with correspondence connected with the troops, occupies the
greater part of their time, and only in exceptionally favourable
circumstances (the large manœuvres with concentrations of troops from
different districts) can they get any practice in commanding in the
field. But as they also have to perform the duties of Governor-General,
they are not able to devote sufficient time to the troops, even in
inspecting them, or to improving themselves. I am absolutely convinced
that, however much such a combination of two appointments—each of which
requires a man of exceptional ability and character—may be desirable
from the political point of view, it has the gravest disadvantages for
the army. There is a limit to human power. As our governor-generals
devote the greater part of their time and energies to civil matters,
they entrust a large part of their military duties to the chief
staff-officers of the districts. It can easily be understood that such
an arrangement is not in the interests of the army. For instance, the
most important military district—that of Warsaw—was, as far as the army
was concerned, neglected in the time of several governor-generals.
Indeed, at one time, much to the subversion of the authority of
officers in command of districts and corps, the troops in this area
were controlled by the chief of the district staff! Therefore, if
we wish that the commanders of military districts—our most natural
selections for the command of armies in war—should have time to prepare
themselves for this important duty, _we should free them from civil
duties_; otherwise we shall get no improvement. They must also be
relieved of the numerous and responsible cares with respect to all
those questions which in war mainly fall to the officer in command of
the communications.

The inspection of hospitals, of supply depôts, engineer and artillery
units, of parks, of offices—everything that takes too much time
from the exercises for the actual training of the troops and of
themselves—should be eliminated from their duties. These have become
so heavy with the complications of modern war, and are fraught with
such importance to army and country, that the men who will have to
perform them must unceasingly prepare themselves in peace; but, for
the reasons I have already given, few officers have time to follow up
the developments in their profession. That is why in the recent war
we were left behind in knowledge of the employment of artillery, of
the utility of the various technical means of intercommunication, in
appreciating relative value of different attack formations, etc. _Our
senior officers must be given_ _sufficient leisure, while improving
the troops under them, at the same time to improve themselves._

                     IMPROVEMENT OF THE REGULARS.

I have more than once pointed out how excellent the regulars were
as regards military qualifications, and how much more reliable in
the first fights than the reservists, especially the older ones. But
we must look to the nation itself for the cause of the shortcomings
of both. The lack of education in the peasant is reflected in the
private soldier, and the non-existence of a martial spirit amongst the
masses, coupled to the dislike for the war, resulted in the absence
of a military spirit in our troops in Manchuria. Their ignorance
made the conduct of modern war, which demands a much greater spirit
of combination and initiative from the individual than formerly,
very difficult for us. Consequently, while behaving with the utmost
gallantry when in close order—in mass—our men, when left to themselves
without officers, were more inclined to retire than to advance. In
the mass they were formidable; but very few of them were fit for
individual action, and this is a point in which the Japanese had a
great advantage. Their non-commissioned officers in particular were
better educated than ours, and on many prisoners—private soldiers
as well as non-commissioned officers—we found diaries written not
only grammatically, but with a general knowledge of what was going on
and of what the Japanese were trying to do. Many of them drew well.
One prisoner—a private—drew on the sand an excellent diagram of our
position and that of the enemy.

It is never easy to turn in a short time an ignorant, illiterate
recruit into an intelligent and keen soldier, capable of individual
action; and the recent reduction[33] of the term of service has made
the task still harder. The greatest difficulty, however, is to get good
non-commissioned officers; even with the four to five year period with
the colours we were not able to do this satisfactorily. The mass of
our recruits are so illiterate, and so much book knowledge is required
in the schools from our non-commissioned officers, that there is a
natural tendency to pick the men for these posts on account of their
education and outward sharpness. This is a mistake, as these qualities
are often superficial. The simple recruits of the deepest and strongest
characters are usually slow and uncouth and do not shine externally;
consequently many of them never become selected for non-commissioned
rank, and finish their service as private soldiers. But a surly man
of some character often makes a better soldier than his smarter
comrade. With the reduced term of service we can do nothing without
a considerable number of time-expired men. The present conditions
under which these men are kept on in the ranks are sound enough, but
the men dislike doing time-expired, or what they characterize as
“mercenary,” service. We must get over this dislike, and therefore
as much as possible raise the position of sergeant-major and other
non-commissioned officers.

Another burning question, and one with which we shall be confronted
more and more in the future, is how to keep the destructive tenets of
the revolutionary parties out of our barracks. Drastic action will of
course be taken, but if we do not succeed in crushing these parties
among the people, we can hardly expect to be able to keep the army from

One of the most important requirements with our short term of service
is that our men should not be taken away from their work for police
duties. The part so frequently taken by the troops in putting down
civil disorders by force of arms is particularly harmful to discipline.
To turn to another point, owing to the inadequate funds allotted, our
soldiers have always been treated worse than those of other armies.
The Germans, for instance, spend twice as much per head upon the
maintenance of their army as we do. Some improvement in this direction
has already been made, especially in the feeding. With a serviceable
cadre of time-expired sergeant-majors and non-commissioned officers,
and with the living conditions of the men improved, we can face the
future calmly even with a three-year term of service. But we shall
only succeed if we relieve the troops of the large amount of extra
regimental work which falls to them (tailoring, shoemaking, and other
workshop work, care of reserve stores, etc.), and if we lighten their
guard duties. Our recruits are free from this work and from guards only
in the first year of service.


Our infantry in the recent war can be classified in four groups,
according to the relative number of old regular soldiers and reservists:

1. The East Siberian Rifle Regiments, which were maintained almost on a
war footing[34] in peace.

2. The infantry in the 1st Brigades of the 31st and 35th Divisions,
which were filled up to war strength with regulars at the beginning of
the war.

3. The infantry of the regular army corps brought up to war strength
with reservists.

4. The infantry units formed from reserve troops.

According to the opinion of competent officers who served in the war
(which I fully share), other conditions being equal, _the more regular
soldiers there were in a unit, the more it could be relied on in
battle_. The best troops we had were the East Siberian Rifle Regiments,
and after them the brigades of the 31st and 35th Divisions. In the case
of the army corps, which proceeded to the front direct from Russia,
sufficient care was not taken to regulate the proportion of regulars
to reservists. Some units—the 10th Army Corps, for instance—arrived at
the front 20 per cent. below strength in men, and more in officers.
In the first fight in which it was engaged, several companies of this
corps had only sixty regular soldiers—thirty trained men and thirty
recruits—who had not _even passed their recruit’s musketry course_. All
the remainder were reservists, among whom were a large number of 2nd
Category men. These regular units consequently were, to all intents and
purposes, nothing but reserve units. Finally, our reserve units arrived
almost without any permanent peace cadres, so swallowed up were they in
the great mass of reservists. In the early fighting these reservists,
particularly those of the 2nd Category, were vastly inferior to the
regulars; many of them took advantage of every opportunity to leave
the ranks with or without permission. There is little doubt that if
the war had been a national one, and if the country had supported its
sons at the front instead of doing the opposite, these men would have
done better in the first fights; but it is also quite certain that,
other conditions being equal, the man with the colours must be better
than the other as a soldier. He is not torn from his family at a time
when he has begun to think that his military liability is over; he is
better trained, and possesses _esprit de corps_. Therefore, the best
way of improving our infantry is to maintain it with a stronger peace
establishment than at present.

In Manchuria a peace establishment of 100 men per company became
so weak from the various causes incidental to active service that
companies went into action with one-third regulars to two-thirds
reservists. Nominally regular forces, they were in reality more like
reserve troops. Regulars should be in the majority in every company,
but the great difficulties and expense of maintaining troops on a
strong peace footing compel us to pay special attention to the question
of improving our reserve men. Modern war must be fought mainly with men
temporarily called up from amongst the people.

The only thing that will insure devotion to their country among
reservists proceeding to the front is the existence of a spirit of
patriotism in the nation. Discontent and feelings of oppression
among the people are naturally reflected in the minds of those of
them leaving for war. But, independent of such all-important general
considerations, there are certain definite things that can be taken to
improve the tone of the reservists. According to the present system,
when a man passes from the colours into the reserve his connection with
his own unit—in fact, with the Service generally—almost ceases. The
practice concentrations are not carried out on a large enough scale,
and though valuable, are often dispensed with altogether on account of
financial considerations. So it happens that a man passing into the
reserve takes his uniform with him, but, with rare exceptions, never
even wears his forage-cap; this he generally gives to some neighbour or
relation—hardly ever a soldier—to wear out. The reservist himself only
too gladly dons peasant’s clothes or other mufti; he is glad to feel
that he is a peasant again. He starts in business, takes up peaceful
occupations, and raises a family. When he reaches the age of forty,
he begins to put on flesh. And it is under these conditions that he
is suddenly torn from the bosom of his family, and sent to fight in a
strange, “hired”[35] land for a cause for which he feels no sympathy,
and which he does not understand. To this are added the general
discontent all around him, and a flood of revolutionary proclamations.
The separation of the reservist from all touch with the army once he
has left it does not tend to his rapid retransformation from “mujik”
into trained soldier. In the case of Manchuria he certainly became a
good man after some months in the school of war, but so long a period
of grace cannot be counted on in the future.

Coming here into the heart of the country as I did nine months ago, and
staying here continuously, I have been in a position to observe our
reservists returning from the war. When the return stream first began
in March, April, and May, there were large numbers. Sometimes when I
passed they would fall in—in line—and receive me after the military
fashion. They wore fur caps, very often military great-coats, and
looked, as they were, a fine body of young soldiers. Nine months of
hard work in the fields soon turned them again into peasants, and now,
when they come to me, on business or otherwise, instead of saluting,
they take off their caps and call me “Barin.”[36]

In Japan mothers counted it a dishonour if their sons were rejected as
medically unfit to go to the front. With us how different it was! Women
often came to thank me heartily for having “had pity” on their sons
and husbands, because these latter happened to have been told off for
duty with transport units or with hospitals, etc., instead of being
sent into action,[37] and they did the same when their men returned
safe and sound. In Japan, Germany, and other countries, some endeavour
is made in education to inculcate patriotism into the people. A love
of country and pride in the Fatherland is created in the children. As
has been said before, the schools in Japan do everything they can to
create and foster a martial spirit in the youth of the nation, and to
practise them in military matters. There and in other countries the
formation of various patriotic societies is approved, and all kinds of
physical sport are encouraged. The authorities are not afraid to issue
thousands of rifles to the people for rifle practice, etc. We do not do
this; we are afraid for political reasons. Little is done to inculcate
patriotism by education in our schools, and the great gulf between
Church, rural, and Government schools makes matters worse. Students in
the highest educational establishments have long ago abandoned study
for politics; it has for long been the fashion to abuse everything
Russian, and military service is thought to be dishonourable. Our
infantry soldier is undersized and overloaded; he is usually untidy,
often dirty, and wears an ugly and ill-fitting uniform. Is it a wonder
that, as he slouches along, he excites more pity than pride in the man
in the street? And yet it is on this undersized man that the integrity
of the Empire depends. Money is tight, as we all know, but still, we
do not keep the soldier clean and smart enough when he is serving, and
when we pass him into the reserve we give him a dress which he can
display with no pride to his neighbours or even his own family. Under
such conditions, how can we hope that he will then suddenly turn into a
martial warrior?

Only by the reformation of our schools, and the introduction into the
life of the lower classes of reforms, which, besides increasing their
comfort, will develop in them a love for, and pride in, their country,
and a deep sense of the necessity for some sacrifice for it, shall we
get in the reserve a thorough soldier of the right sort. The attainment
of such a result cannot depend entirely on any actions of the War
Department, which must, after all, be secondary; but the things that
can be effected by it are nevertheless important, and I will enumerate
those which seem to be the most pressing.

In an army discipline is the foundation of all efficiency; but to
maintain discipline in an army is impossible when the mass of the
nation have no respect for authority, and where the authorities
actually fear those under them. The term of service with the colours
is now so short that there is no time to overcome in the soldier
the disorderliness of the people from whom he comes, yet to effect
improvement in the reservist demands an iron military discipline. It
must not be allowed for a moment that a soldier need not be afraid of
his officer. The present greatest enemy to discipline is the employment
of soldiers in the political struggle now going on. On the one hand,
the force is corrupted by propaganda; on the other, men are taken
away from military duties and detailed for almost continual police
work, in putting down disorder not only of a military nature, such as
mutiny, where the situation can only be saved by the assistance of
reliable troops, but riots which should be dealt with by the police
and the gendarmes. Officers are taken away to sit on field courts,[38]
to judge, shoot, and hang political and other criminals. These duties
make the populace hate the troops, and among the soldiers who suffer
in killed and wounded it arouses a feeling of hatred not only for the
civilians who shoot at them, but against the officers who order them
to kill the civilians. The result is demoralizing to a degree. What
impression can the man passing into the reserve take home with him
if, during the two or three years of his colour service, he has been
“maintaining order” in various ways with the aid of his rifle? The
army can and must do all that is necessary to suppress mutinies, and
to break down all organized opposition, but it should then return at
once to its ordinary work. If this sort of duty becomes frequent, if
the soldier sees that the Government is powerless to restore order
even with the aid of troops, doubts will creep into his mind as to the
expediency of the Government’s policy and as to his own commanders.
According to what I hear, it seems that the heavy task which has
recently fallen to the lot of the army is now coming to an end, and
that order is beginning once more to be restored in our great country.
Please God may it soon be the case, as otherwise the force must
deteriorate instead of improving.

Under ordinary conditions our work should tend to make the man passed
into the reserve arrive in his native village or town well disciplined,
knowing his work, taking a pride in his old corps, and respecting
those under whom he has served. We must therefore endeavour to prevent
him from losing touch with the Service and quickly forgetting what he
has learned in it. In some armies to obviate this they have what is
called the territorial system, by which reservists maintain touch
to the end of their term with those units in which they have served.
This system is not possible for us in its entirety, but it might be
applied partially and adopted on a fairly large scale. One of its great
advantages would be that reservists would on mobilization at once
join the units in which they had previously served. They would not be
strangers, but would be known to the cadre of time-expired, but still
serving, non-commissioned officers and the officers, and would soon
settle down. Men of the same district would be more inclined to hold
together under fire, and every man would feel that if he behaved badly
his comrade would send news of it to his home. Units territorially
connected with the people would be more dashing than corps collected
from anywhere. There would, of course, be many difficulties, which
would have to be overcome before the system could be adopted. For
instance, men taken from a certain locality would, if employed to
suppress disorders in that place, be more likely to waver than men from
another unit and district. Cases have been known where non-commissioned
officers who had been strict with their men have requested, on being
passed into the reserve, not to be sent off in the same compartment
of a train with their late subordinates, who had threatened to “make
things even” so soon as they both passed into the reserve together.
With us such a settling up of old scores might easily be effected under
a territorial system, by which both officers and soldiers would, after
their service, come together in one district.

It must be more frequently impressed on the reservists that they still
are soldiers. Local concentrations should be organized for them so that
they may get some training, and these should be arranged at such a time
of the year as to interfere as little as possible with the crops. This
would vary, of course, according to locality. Our recruiting officers
are now mainly occupied, like everyone else, with office work; they
should be more in touch with the reservists, who should look to them
as their commanding officer, adviser, and protector. The relationship
now is too purely official. An important matter also is the division of
reservists in peace-time. In my opinion it is essential to have three
classes. For the first two years after the man leaves the colours he
should be considered on furlough; he should be made to wear uniform,
and always be ready to be recalled in case of partial or general
mobilization. The men of the last two classes should be on a different
footing, and should be used on mobilization to fill up services in
rear, hospitals, bakeries, parks, transport units, and to guard camps
on the communications, etc.


We have already seen (Chapter VI.) how, when the war began, we found
it necessary, in the absence of any assurance arranged by diplomacy
against other contingencies, to be ready for any military eventuality
on our Western frontier. Consequently, too great a number of reserve
units were included amongst the troops told off to take the field in
the Far East. Another reason for this was that we did not really know
the qualities of different sections of our army. Our crack troops,
taking both officers and men together, of three Guard and three
Grenadier divisions, six divisions in all, were left in European
Russia, while newly formed corps composed of reserve units were sent
into the field. I have already mentioned how my recommendation to
mobilize the reinforcements being sent to us immediately after Easter
was for various reasons rejected, how they were mobilized a month
later than they should have been, and arrived in Manchuria unsettled,
untrained, knowing scarcely anything of the new rifle, without having
fired a course of musketry, and not having done any combined tactical
operations with the other arms.

The troops of the 6th Siberians, which certainly had been in camp for
a short time before starting, had not been given a gun or a squadron
to enable them to practise combined operations. Of the 4th Siberian
Corps, which mobilized under most favourable conditions, only the
Omsk Regiment had been trained in artillery, and this was of an old
pattern; yet it had to go into action with quick-firing guns. Cavalry
were hardly seen. Indeed, if we consider the haphazard selection of
commanding officers, the lack of any community of thought amongst the
officers generally, the almost complete absence of proper tactical
training, the large number of 2nd Category reservists, general dislike
of the war, and, finally, the absence of military spirit, it will be
evident why some units of the reserve troops failed. In the first
battles the troops of the 4th Siberian Corps won a good reputation in
the army. The reasons for this were:

1. The splendid character of the men in them. Bluff, surly fellows of
Siberia, they were strong in body and stout of heart, and understood
better than others the reasons for which we were fighting in the Far

2. The careful selection of those in command.

3. The bravery of the officers.

4. The long time they had, compared with other troops, to train and
acquire cohesion.

But, after the reserve troops which came out from European Russia had
received their baptism of fire, they also did well. It is sufficient
to call to mind the behaviour of the regiments of the 54th and 71st
Divisions at Mukden, as well as those of the 55th and 61st Divisions.
But this result was not reached till late, and cost many lives. In
a European conflict the fate of a campaign will be far more rapidly
decided than it was in Manchuria, for the first battles fought after
the declaration of hostilities will have a deciding influence. In the
recent war, owing to the slow concentration possible on a single-track
railway, the reserve troops might have been collected sooner and given
several months to settle down, and have thus arrived at the front more
ready for battle. In a European war they will have to be transported
into the theatre of operations in a very short time after mobilization.
We made a great mistake in forming the reserve troops into separate
army corps. In my opinion, it would have been much better to have
put them into existing corps—either as third divisions or separate
brigades. This would have improved our corps organization, which is too
unwieldy and too big for a strength of only twenty-four battalions.
With strong corps consisting of efficient self-contained brigades the
confusion of units in battle would be minimized.

Before the war no army corps organization had been worked out for
the reserve troops; everything had been arranged for a divisional
organization. In my opinion, neither corps nor divisions are
necessary. It would be more advantageous to form the reserve units
into independent brigades of eight battalions, and to use them as army
troops, or possibly as corps troops. The mobilization of the reserve
artillery, sapper, and cavalry, should take place together with that of
the infantry. Every reserve brigade of eight battalions (8,000 rifles)
should have, with two batteries of twelve guns, one company of sappers
and one reserve squadron of cavalry or a _sotnia_ of Cossacks. This
arrangement would permit of reserve troops being employed on secondary
objects without the organization of the army being broken up, and it
would no longer be necessary to find so many divisional and corps
commanders, with their numerous staffs.


Amongst the causes of our disasters has been mentioned (Chapter
VI.) the small number of rifles per company we had in action as
compared with the Japanese. We often had more battalions than they,
but fewer men. The various reasons for this I have already enumerated.
To lessen the number of subsidiary duties which take men away from
the fighting-line of the regular army, we must create cadres for the
troops of the rear services; we must also arrange that the casualties
are quickly made good from the reserve troops, which should be kept
up permanently and closely connected with the regular troops. (Every
regular regiment should have one reserve or depôt battalion.) To
augment the numbers fighting compared with the numbers fed, and, in
particular, to increase the number of men in the firing-line, we must
bring up the combatant establishment of our companies from 220 to 250
rifles. With 220 rifles on the roll of a company, we were never able
to put even 200 in action; and in bringing the strength of these units
up to 250, we must take steps to see that they all really can take the
field. According to the “War Establishments,” a line infantry regiment
has an establishment of 3,838 combatants and 159[39] non-combatants
(total 3,997), which gives 235 rifles per company. But in this
number are included 35 bandsmen, 33 drummers, 1 bugler, 3 regimental
quartermaster-sergeants, 1 sergeant-major of the non-combatant company,
5 baggage non-commissioned officers, and, moreover, another 240 (15
per company) detailed for supply work, etc. Excluding these, 3,520
combatants are left, which gives 220 per company; but experience has
shown that there is much leakage from this number.

The peculiarities of Manchuria necessitated the employment of men on
duties that would have been quite unnecessary, or less necessary, in
a European war. Thus, in addition to the authorized transport, we had
pack transport, which swallowed up fifty men per regiment. The large
herds of cattle with regiments required twenty-four men to look after
and guard them. There were nine regimental butchers. Two or three
donkeys were told off to each company. (Indeed, they were of such
great use in taking water and ammunition up into the firing-line that
I consider they should be included in the establishments of troops
in European Russia.) In each company one man was told off to these
animals. The number of officers on the regimental rolls included those
who had been wounded and were away convalescent, and many of these took
their orderlies with them on leaving the front. The expenditure in
these orderlies alone amounted to more than 100 men. For the special
pack transport which was formed for the scout sections for carriage
of ammunition and supplies, thirteen men per regiment were required.
Judging by the experience of the war, I consider the following
duties ought to be allowed for in every regiment in addition to the
establishment of 159 non-combatants:

  Company clerks                               16
  Mess caterers                                18
  Officers’ mess cooks                          4
  Men’s cooks                                  18[40]
  Butchers and cattle guard                    12
  Officers’ grooms                             27
  Transport drivers with scout sections        13
  Instructors                                   4
  Stretcher-bearers                           128
  Baggage guard                                48[41]
  With water donkeys                           16
  Officers’ orderlies                          80
  Sergeant-major of non-combatant company       1
  Transport driver non-commissioned officers    5
  Despatch riders                              20
  Bandsmen                                     35
  Drummers                                     33
  Reserve in case of sickness and wounded      13
                  Total                       491

All these must be classed as non-combatants. Adding to these the
prescribed establishment of 159 non-combatants, we shall get a total of
650 with each regiment of four battalions. They should all be armed,
and be ready to fight either in the advanced lines or with the baggage.

The value of machine-guns is now so great that we cannot afford to be
without them. In my opinion, each company should have one gun, and six
men should be detailed to carry it and its ammunition. Thus, there
would be 100 men with the machine-guns in a regiment (including four
reserve men). The scout sections also did such useful service in the
recent war that we ought certainly to have dismounted and small mounted
scout sections in each regiment. This would take up 200 more men.
Finally, the strength of every company, exclusive of all these extras,
should be fixed at 250 rifles, which would make 4,000 in the regiment.
The strength of a regiment would, therefore, total as follows:

  Combatants (in sixteen companies)  4,000
  Scout sections                       200
  Machine-gun sections                 150
  Non-combatants                       650
              Total                  5,000

The present establishment of a four-battalion regiment is 3,838
combatants and 159 non-combatants; total, 3,997. Therefore a total
increase of 1,003 per regiment is desirable. Including fifteen men in
every company for supply duties, the authorized non-combatant element
works out at:

  Non-combatants                                         159
  Bandsmen, drummers, buglers                             69
  Regimental quartermaster-sergeants                       3
  Sergeant-majors and baggage non-commissioned officers    6
  For supply duties                                      240
                Total                                    477

Fixing the total number of non-combatants required at 650, I thus add
to the expenditure authorized by existing establishments 173. These,
including stretcher-bearers, would never go into action. Thus, the
addition necessary to bring the fighting element of a regiment up to
5,000 comes out as follows:

  Increase of thirty rifles per company (so
      as to have 250 instead of 220)            480
  Scout sections                                200
  Machine-gun sections                          150
              Total                             830

This increase would greatly add to its present strength.


At the beginning of the war the army had only a small number of
machine-guns. Recognizing the value of this weapon, the Japanese
quickly introduced it, and furnished their field troops with a large
number. We did the same, and several machine-gun companies and sections
arrived from Russia during the summer of 1905. But the type of weapon
did not satisfy tactical requirements—(1) as regards its weight; and,
(2) adaptability to the ground. A pattern must be invented that can be
carried even into the outpost line. Our high, unwieldy weapons, with
their shields, more resembled light field-guns; and their unsuitable
construction, combined with the difficulty of adapting them to the
ground, was responsible for the decision that these guns should be
organized into batteries, and be treated and used as artillery. Such an
opinion is absolutely wrong, for the great volume of fire which they
can deliver calls for their distribution at the most important points
along the firing-line, and, therefore, a capability of advancing with
assaulting columns. The organization of machine-gun companies did not
meet the above tactical requirements. Each battalion should have four

                      RESERVE (OR DEPÔT) TROOPS.

The reserve or depôt troops should be developed and given an
organization which will permit of the wastage in units, both in
officers and men, being made good from them immediately after a battle
or during a long series of battles. Each infantry regiment should have
its reserve (depôt) battalion, which should be formed on mobilization
at a strength of 40 per cent. of the combatant establishment of a
regiment—_i.e._, at 1,600 men.[42] Of these, 400, or 10 per cent. of
the regiment’s strength, should be in the theatre of war. This number
should be formed into one company, and should constitute the reserve
depôt company of its particular regiment, and be continually feeding
it. With every division these companies should be organized together
into a reserve battalion of 1,600 men for the immediate replacement of
casualties in the regiments of the division. All wounded and sick who
are not sent to the base should be attached to this battalion till they
are passed as fit. After great battles this reserve would be depleted,
and would require filling up from the base depôt. The establishment of
the other arms should be kept up to strength by a parallel arrangement.
The casualties amongst non-combatants are less, but in their case a
reserve is necessary, distinct from the combatant reserve, to make good
their wastage. It should be mainly composed of 2nd Category reservists
and those of the convalescent combatants not considered fit enough for
the ranks.

The war shows very clearly the immense importance of rapidly repairing
the wastage in units directly after an action. The Japanese succeeded
in doing this, with the result that they were greatly superior to
us in numbers. It was more important for us to be able to replace
casualties by drafts than to receive reinforcements, and it would have
made us stronger. For instance, with five troop trains available in the
twenty-four hours, a complete army corps with its baggage and parks
took twenty days to reach the front, and increased our strength by some
25,000 rifles. If drafts had been sent up during those twenty-days
instead of an army corps, we should have received 90,000 to 100,000
men. In place of cavalry, baggage, artillery, parks, and a small number
of infantry, we should have got a large number of the latter. It was
infantry we wanted, for in our big battles it was the infantry that
suffered so heavily. The number of guns per 1,000 rifles was too large,
and the amount of transport and baggage was prodigious, with the result
that the 10,000 to 12,000 rifles left in corps resembled an escort to
the artillery, parks, baggage, etc.,[43] more than anything else.


By troops in rear I mean those at rest camps, railway troops, road
working parties, telegraph sections, motor troops, transport of various
kinds, all of which should be under the general officer commanding
communications. There is also a large number of men in the departments,
institutions, and depôts of all the field administrations, but as in
Manchuria these were mostly fixed by the authorized establishment,
I will not refer to them. The absence of any prepared organization
of troops for the line of communication, however, led to their being
formed at the expense of the fighting strength of the infantry. While
officers commanding regiments complained of the great wastage of their
men on duties in the rear, those in rear complained that the numbers
they had were insufficient. Troops for the duties in rear should of
course be formed on mobilization. In the part of my report upon the 1st
Army which deals with the organization of the communications there is
much valuable material which is based on war experience, and may be a
useful guide for the future. By the end of August, 1905, the strength
of the 1st Army alone was 300,000. Its own communications in rear
had a depth of 150 miles and a frontage of 330 miles, including the
detachments guarding the extreme left flank and the left flank corps
under General Rennenkampf, with which we permanently occupied a front
of about 70 miles. Under the general commanding the communications of
the 1st Army, which consisted of six army corps, were 650 officers
and officials, 12,000 men, and 25,000 horses, and this number was
considered inadequate. In my report, I gave as my estimate for the
numbers required for one army corps per day’s march in length of

  1. Half company infantry               120
  2. Transport                           320
  3. Road troops                          25
  4. Postal telegraph working parties      5
                  Total                  470

                           ENGINEER TROOPS.

The great development of science in warfare is very marked, but the
late war did not display the employment of scientific forces that will
be made in a struggle between two European Powers. In this respect
the Japanese were much better served than we were, but even they were
not technically equipped in the way that will soon be necessary. The
speedy construction of strong fortifications, the laying of railways
(especially of field railways) and construction of metalled roads,
the organization of aerial and wireless telegraphy, of signalling by
heliograph, lamps, and flags, the employment of balloons, motors, and
bicycles, are all duties for which the demand increases every day,
while the great quantity also of artificial obstacles, wire, mines,
hand-grenades, explosives, reserves of entrenching tools, etc., now
required must exist ready for use in large quantities. A much larger
number of engineer troops, including sappers, telegraph and railway
units, than we had available in Manchuria is necessary, in order
that all this technical equipment may be used to the best advantage.
Without touching here upon the railway troops necessary for the proper
service of the communications, the number of which must depend upon the
length of the existing lines, and of those proposed to be laid during
operations, let us consider the question of the number of sapper and
telegraph troops required for one army corps of three divisions.

The spade, which had been forgotten since the Turkish War, has once
more regained its true position. With the volume and murderous
effectiveness of modern fire, neither the attack nor the defence can be
conducted without enormous losses, unless proper and intelligent use is
made of digging. For a protracted defence strong fortified positions
with both open and closed works and all possible kinds of artificial
obstacles are absolutely necessary. Consequently, for the attack of
such positions, special troops are required trained in the use of
explosives and the destruction of obstacles, and in road-making, for
heavy artillery demands good roads and strong bridges.

While every Japanese division of twelve infantry battalions had one
strong sapper battalion, we had on an average only one company of
sappers with each division. This proved to be too small a proportion.
Our sappers worked nobly in the construction of earthworks and roads,
but they did little in actual contact with the enemy, and, strange as
it may appear, were often forgotten when an action began, even when we
attacked the enemy’s strongly fortified positions. In the 2nd Army we
had several sapper battalions, and yet in the assault on San-de-pu[44]
not a single company was told off to accompany the storming columns.
As our sappers were so scarce, we took the greatest care of them, as
their small number of casualties as compared with those of the infantry
proves. To get the best results from this arm, it seems to me necessary
to associate them more with other troops, and therefore _to attach
them to divisions_, instead of including them in the corps troops. If
we succeed in getting strong regiments of 4,000 rifles, I consider
it essential that every regiment should have attached to it, for
offensive as well as defensive operations, one sapper company of 250
men, which would mean a four-company sapper battalion, 1,000 strong,
for every division. They should be trained to put up obstacles very
rapidly, and should possess the necessary tools and equipment for their
destruction. A large supply of wire is also very important; it may be
taken that every division should have a sufficient supply of wire for
two defensive points, say 1 ton for each.

Moreover, there should be attached to each division a field-telegraph
company of six sections, in order to organize rapid communication
between each party of troops thrown out in front and the divisional
staff. Each regiment should have with it a section which should be
equipped to establish communication by telephone,[45] flag, cycle
or motor. With every three-division army corps there should be a
sapper brigade of three battalions, a field-telegraph battalion of
five companies, a mining company, a balloon section, and a railway
battalion. Two of the telegraph companies should keep up communication
from the corps to army headquarters, to other corps, to its own
divisions, to the parks, the baggage, and reserves.

One of our principal failings, as I have repeatedly mentioned, was
lack of information. Owing to this, and the consequent loss of touch,
commanders could not conduct operations intelligently or keep corps
and army commanders and the Commander-in-Chief informed of what was
happening. Every Japanese regiment laid down telephones as it advanced;
we used to find their dead operators in our _trous de loup_, which
showed that they were right up with the firing-line. With us touch
was not infrequently lost even between whole corps and armies! The
necessity for remedying this grave defect is obvious, and we must
practise how to do this in peace. Not a regiment should be allowed to
advance at manœuvres without at once being connected up by telephone
with its brigade commander and the divisional staff, and it is
essential that, as the information comes in by telegraph and telephone,
the divisional corps and army staffs should at once fix on the maps
the positions of both forces. Formerly commanders could watch the
whole battlefield through a telescope from an eminence, could see their
own troops, and could trace the position of the hostile infantry and
artillery from the smoke. Now there is nothing to be seen. Often the
troops are out of sight, and all that meets the eye are the puffs of
smoke from the bursting shrapnel. Therefore orders and dispositions
have to be worked out on the map, and we must learn how to keep these
maps constantly up to time. In order that all intelligence may be at
once noted, a “service of communication,” by means of motors, cyclists,
and particularly of telegraph and telephone, might be organized, in
addition to the ordinary reports brought in by mounted men. To attain
these important results, considerable expense must be incurred in the
creation of this “service of communication” or “service of information”
of such a nature as to meet in every way the requirements of battle, of
movement, and of rest.

An adequate number of sapper units with regiments will not only help us
in the capture of fortified positions strengthened by obstacles, but
will assist us rapidly to adapt them for defence when taken. The work
of the mining company in future wars will be great both in attack and
defence, especially in defence. It should have charge of all explosives
required for demolitions, including mines, pyroxyline bombs, and
hand-grenades. The great effect of the bombs thrown by revolutionaries
and anarchists points to their extensive use in war in the future. If
fanatics can be found who will rush to certain death in order to kill
peaceful citizens, it should certainly be possible to find devoted
soldiers who will advance ahead of the firing-line and throw bombs into
the enemy’s obstacles.

Besides supply of field railway material for the army, each corps
should have enough for thirty miles of line (steam or horse draught,
according to circumstances).


We have learnt by experience that skill in the employment of guns is
more important than their number. Under modern battle conditions, when
the position of a battery cannot be seen, a great deal of ammunition
is fired during the artillery duel without any result. Two to four
well-concealed guns cleverly moved from one position to another can
hold their own with a brigade of artillery, and, if they can only
range on the enemy’s guns first, rapid fire gives them the power of
inflicting heavy loss. Our keenest and most experienced gunners got
on to the enemy on many occasions with great effect, but as a rule
our artillery did little damage. One occasion when very ineffective
results were obtained by us was at Hei-kou-tai, where, in our
endeavour to get possession of San-de-pu, we fired 70,000 rounds into
every square,[46] except the one which actually contained the village.
Our immense expenditure of ammunition also emphasized how carefully
the question of the right proportion of guns in a force must be
considered. In this war, owing to the great delay in sending up drafts
to repair wastage, we were often actually handicapped by having too
many guns! We frequently had to fight with divisions containing only
some 6,000 to 8,000 men in the four regiments and the full forty-eight
guns—a proportion of six to eight guns per 1,000 rifles, which is far
too many. And our guns were literally an embarrassment, especially
when they had run out of ammunition. Even assuming that we shall be
able (as I have suggested) to place in the field regiments with a
strength of 4,000 rifles, I consider it will be quite sufficient if we
maintain the proportion of guns at forty-eight per division, or three
guns per 1,000 rifles. The fire from quick-firing guns is nowadays
quite powerful and effective enough for four guns to be considered a
tactically independent fighting unit; but the formation of batteries
of such a size is expensive, and requires too many men. It appears
to be preferable, therefore, to abandon the artillery divisional
organization, and return to the former twelve-gun battery, dividing
it into three companies, each of which would be in a tactical sense
independent. The 48 guns—_i.e._, four batteries—with an infantry
division, would then be organized into an artillery regiment under the
command of the divisional general. Each company would be commanded by a
captain, the battery by a lieutenant-colonel, the regiment by a colonel.

We found that for mutual and smooth co-operation in battle it is most
important that batteries should operate as far as possible with the
same regiments of infantry. Close touch is established, and each arm
unselfishly supports the other. I often heard the expression, “our
battery,” “our regiment,” and in these simple words a deep, underlying
sentiment was expressed. Each battery should be capable of acting
independently of the artillery regiment to which it belongs. For hill
warfare mountain artillery should be allotted to infantry in the same
proportion as I have suggested for field artillery.

Our gun proved an excellent weapon; but our shrapnel, which was very
effective against objects and troops in the open, was of no use against
invisible targets, earthworks, and mud walls. Our artillery fire
against villages held by the enemy, therefore, produced very little
result. I consider that a new pattern of shell should be introduced
with thicker walls and a heavier bursting charge; but even then the
effect of such light projectiles as our field-guns fire will not be
great against the earthworks which are nowadays so quickly thrown up on
positions. To prepare the way for the assault on such fortifications,
and to obtain any speedy result in attacking defended localities, we
must have field howitzers of a modern type. They should be organized
in regiments of two batteries (twenty-four howitzers), and attached to
a corps as corps artillery. Finally, it is essential that every army
should have a light siege-train to assist in the capture of strongly
defended posts and heavy works.

The organization of park units was well conceived, but the vehicles
were unsuited to the Manchurian roads. I am afraid to express an
opinion in favour of a further increase of mobile parks, because we
were so overburdened with baggage of different kinds. I think it is
preferable to improvise local parks at railway-stations and junctions,
as we did in Manchuria.

Small-arm ammunition rarely ran short, but there was often a great lack
of gun ammunition, and after the battles of Liao-yang, the Sha Ho,
and Mukden, our reserves for filling up battery and park stocks were
exhausted. The average expenditure of rifle ammunition worked out as
follows: For a whole-day battle for one battalion, 21,000 rounds, with
a maximum of 400,000; an hour’s fighting for one battalion, 1,700,
with a maximum of 67,000. The total reserve taken with a four-battalion
infantry regiment was 800,000. The average expenditure per quick-firing
field-gun in a one-day battle worked out at 55 rounds, with a maximum
of 522; an hour’s fighting, 10 rounds, with a maximum of 210.

In the earlier fights the work of the artillery varied a good deal, and
was not very successful; but as they gained experience, many batteries
fought splendidly, not only against guns, but against rifle-fire.
Compared with the work of our artillery in 1877–78 (in the European
theatre of operations), we have made considerable progress in skill,
and the very heavy losses in killed and wounded in many batteries prove
that our gunners know how to die. The horse artillery work depended
entirely on the commanders of the cavalry units to which the batteries
were attached, and when these commanders really meant fighting the
batteries did good work. As a proof of this, it is enough to recall
the gallant conduct of the 1st Trans-Baikal Cossack Horse Artillery
Battery attached to Mischenko’s Trans-Baikal Cossack Brigade. This
battery and its young commander were known to the whole army; more
than once it successfully fought several of the enemy’s batteries,
and yet its losses were insignificant. Sometimes our cavalry leaders
were unnecessarily anxious to retire, as was the case in the cavalry
of the 2nd Army at the battle of Mukden, when the two batteries which
were with it lost _only two men wounded and one missing in eleven
days’ fighting_. One six-gun battery was sufficient for four mounted
regiments of such strength as we had. As said above, there should be
one artillery regiment of four batteries (48 guns) with each infantry
division, or a total of 144 guns for the three divisions. These three
regiments would be organized in a brigade. There should also be one
regiment of 24 howitzers with each corps.


Though our cavalry was numerous, its work hardly came up to our
expectations, but where it was properly commanded it did well enough.
In my opinion, the main reform that is necessary in the cavalry is to
improve their training. Till it is educated to feel that it should
fight as _obstinately as infantry_, the money expended on our mounted
Arm will be thrown away. If infantry can still continue fighting after
losing 50 per cent. of their strength, cavalry should be able to do
the same. In action we nursed the cavalry too much; out of action we
did not take sufficient care of it. Though they had not lost a man,
whole regiments were moved to the rear as soon as the first shrapnel
began bursting near them. The four regiments of cavalry—two dragoon
and two Cossack—on whom fell the most difficult but the most honourable
duty of obtaining information and opposing the leading units of Nogi’s
enveloping forces at the battle of Mukden, lost in killed and wounded:

                    February 25         2
                    March 2             1
                    March 4             1
                    March 5             7
                    March 6             2
                    March 7             6
                    March 8             1
                    March 9             1
                    March 10            1
                           Total       22

Which works out at less than one man per squadron and _sotnia_. The
casualties in almost every company of infantry were more than in these
twenty-four squadrons and _sotnias_. It is quite plain that these units
did not fight, but merely avoided the enemy; and it is equally plain
that, by avoiding battle, the cavalry neither checked the enemy’s
movement nor got any information about him. The material of which our
cavalry was composed was excellent, but everything depended on those in
command. In the battle of Te-li-ssu the infantry of the 1st Siberian
Corps lost 2,500 men; the Primorsk Dragoon Regiment, belonging to the
same corps, lost one!

But I repeat that where their leaders meant fighting the cavalry did
their duty and suffered heavily. Take, for example, the Trans-Baikal
Cossacks, which did so well under Mischenko, and the Caucasian Brigade.
The Siberian Cossacks, under Samsonoff, fought at Liao-yang and the
Yen-tai Mines with greater bravery than was displayed by some of
Orloff’s infantry, while the independent _sotnias_ of the Don and
Orenburg Voiskos, and the dragoons under Stakhovitch, were no whit
behind them. Indeed, the men of the Primorsk Dragoon Regiment were good
enough; it was the officers who failed in not getting the best out
of them. The independent units of all the Cossacks did well, but it
was out of the question to expect martial ardour or a keen desire to
perform feats of gallantry in old men such as formed the 3rd Category
Cossack regiments. But even these 3rd Category regiments could do good
work when skilfully handled. The Cossack horses generally, and the
Trans-Baikal horses in particular, were too small; while those of the
Don regiments were sturdy, but rather soft. The Trans-Baikal Cossacks
on their shaggy little ponies reminded one more of mounted infantry
than cavalry. On the whole, however, our cavalry worked far better
than in the Russo-Turkish War under Generals Kuiloff and Loshkareff at
Plevna. The great difficulty now is to find and train cavalry leaders;
in Manchuria, according to most accounts, the juniors were good, the
field officers moderate, and the general officers, with few exceptions,

The personality of the officer in command of a regiment of cavalry is a
very important factor, as his merits and weak points are very quickly
known, and as soon as a man in such a post shows himself unsuitable he
should be removed. (This also applies to the general officers.) But I
rarely found a divisional or corps commander who would report on the
unsuitability of senior commanders under them; they even concealed
cases of cowardice. It was only at the conclusion of hostilities that
it transpired that several had not only shown a lack of keenness, but
even of personal courage. Some of the regimental commanders were very
old; at fifty-five a man is too old for the command of a regiment. As
in the infantry, the post of cavalry brigadier should be improved, and
made a more important appointment. To it should be given the executive
and administrative powers now wielded by divisional generals.

Three brigades should be formed into a division, the divisional
general being given the powers of an army corps commander. There is no
necessity for a higher organization. To the division of three brigades
should be allotted a twelve-gun battery of horse artillery (three
companies of four guns each). To every three-division army corps
should be added one cavalry or Cossack brigade. One of the regiments
of this brigade should act as divisional cavalry, two squadrons
or _sotnias_ with each division. If it is thought desirable that
commanders of infantry divisions become acquainted with cavalry in
peace-time, then two squadrons should be stationed in the area of the
divisions under them.


As in former wars, so in Manchuria was the heat and burden of the day
borne by our infantry, and there is no doubt that, in the future,
infantry will retain its name as the principal Arm. The importance
of other Arms depends entirely on the extent to which they assist
infantry to defeat the enemy, for the latter is the final arbiter of
victory or defeat. But infantry cannot work alone, and nowadays, if
it is not assisted in action by artillery, cavalry, and sappers, if
every resource of modern science is not brought into play to lighten
its heavy task, it will either fail or will buy victory at too high a
price. It is to infantry, as the principal Arm, that we must pay our
chief attention. _And yet with us service in the Line is not considered
so honourable as service in the other branches!_ From the moment of
the selection of its recruits we do everything to weaken it. Even
the pattern of uniform worn by our Line infantryman is particularly
ugly. In his old-fashioned, badly fitting tunic, overburdened with
haversacks and equipment of all sorts, he is anything but a martial
sight. This is an aspect of the case which cannot be ignored, and it
is almost as important that a man’s uniform should be comfortable and
attractive as that it should meet all the purely military requirements.
All ranks should be enabled to admire their own dress and be proud of
it. Up to the present, the majority of Line officers have not been
given a good enough general or military education. Officers of all arms
should receive a general education not lower than the intermediate
standard of the national educational establishments, and a military
education not lower than that of the military schools. We should teach
the line officer to have a love and respect for the Arm in which he
serves, as well as a knowledge of its particular rôle in battle,
and must therefore raise his social position so that he may be a
welcome guest in any society. We must provide him with a comfortable,
inexpensive, and smart uniform. We must protect him from being abused
by his seniors in the presence of his juniors, and in every possible
manner encourage the development in him of an independent spirit.
Bravery alone is not sufficient nowadays to attain victory; knowledge,
initiative, and willingness to accept responsibility are also required.
Infantry have always had a hard part in action, and have always
suffered great loss, but the modern battle which lasts for days makes
greater demands upon their mental and physical endurance than ever
before. With a large proportion of reservists and short-service men,
we cannot rely on perfection in the soldier; it is therefore all the
more necessary that we should take steps to obtain it in our officers,
and for this purpose we are lucky in having excellent and responsive
material. Under all the arduous conditions under which the majority of
our regiments had to fight, the greatest trials fell to the infantry
officer, and right well he did his duty. It is quite enough to compare
the casualties amongst those officers with those of their brothers
in the cavalry, artillery, and sappers to see on whom fell the chief
hardships and dangers. In some regiments the whole set of officers was
changed several times. The following figures serve as an illustration
of how they suffered:

                                               Killed and
    The 3rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment lost      102
    The 34th East Siberian Rifle Regiment lost      89
    The 36th East Siberian Rifle Regiment lost      73
    The 1st East Siberian Rifle Regiment lost       71
    The 4th East Siberian Rifle Regiment lost       61
    The 23rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment lost      50

It is impossible to recall the gallant war services of these and of the
officers of many other regiments without profound respect and emotion.

It must always be borne in mind that the infantry of the Line is the
backbone of our Service in peace as well as in war. Consequently, we
should make much more of those who serve in it than we do, and give
them a better chance. At present the list of regimental commanding
officers includes far too many Guardsmen or officers of the General
Staff. I am convinced that if the importance of service in the Line is
to be maintained, we must put an end to the present unfair acceleration
of promotion amongst Guards and General Staff officers as compared with
that of their brothers. The latter produce a great many men capable
of being good regimental commanders; all that is wanted is to know
how to select them. Since the last Turkish War they have undoubtedly
made considerable progress, and it is for us to arrange that this
improvement is continued by fostering it in every way.

Owing to casualties, the company commanders were changed too often
for efficiency, but they generally performed good service, lack of
initiative being, as usual, their chief fault. It is most important
for the good of the Service that captains (of all arms) displaying
distinguished military qualifications should be quickly promoted to
field rank. Yet recommendations sent to St. Petersburg were not acted
on for a very long time, if ever. In such a matter some discretion
should be allowed the Commander-in-Chief, and he should be empowered
to promote junior officers to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel for
distinguished service in the field. Special men would thus arrive
at the command of independent units and regiments, posts where the
personality of the man in command is so important. It often happened
that a regiment which had done badly absolutely changed its character
with a change of commanding officers. Seniority should not be the
only guide for promotion, and the establishment of field-officers
in Manchuria constituted a quite adequate number from which good
regimental commanders could have been liberally selected. During the
period when we were occupying the Hsi-ping-kai positions, many of
the regimental commanders in all the armies were good men, and the
1st Army was particularly lucky in this respect. Though many of the
infantry brigadiers who came out to the war proved failures, amongst
the regimental commanders were many capable field-officers, whose
advancement to the rank of General gave us some first-class brigade
commanders. In the 1st Army alone were Major-Generals Lechitski,
Stelnitski, Dushkevitch, Lesha, Riedko, Dobotin, etc. Thus, even under
the unfavourable conditions under which they served, we found enough
good material amongst our infantry officers to give us some confidence
for the future. Had the war been continued, many of the colonels
promoted to generals for distinguished service would have commanded
divisions. This is as it should be, for it ought to be possible for a
regimental commander to rise within a year to the command even of an
army corps, if he be sufficiently brilliant.

I repeat that the tasks which fall upon infantry in battle nowadays are
of such exceptional difficulty that the promotion of its officers for
distinguished field service should be made exceptionally rapid. I am
aware that even a good regimental commander may make a bad divisional
general; but I also maintain that a regimental commander who has
successfully commanded in several fights, has shown a knowledge of
his work, keenness, enterprise, and personal bravery, and has won the
confidence of his men, should be promoted as quickly as possible. He
may find it difficult at first to get his bearings under the new and
more complicated conditions of a high command, where he has to rely
upon maps and the reports of others instead of upon the direct evidence
of his own eyes and ears, but still he will grapple with the situation,
even of an army corps commander, far better than some general whose
experience has been confined to office-work and peace manœuvres.

Finally, in order to give due importance to the principal Arm—infantry
(infantry of the Line in particular)—I consider the following measures

1. To give a better education to the officers entering it.

2. To improve their material and social position.

3. To provide officers and men with a smarter uniform.

4. To accelerate their promotion and put an end to the system by which
Guardsmen and officers of the General Staff get more rapid advancement,
and so block the way of their unfortunate brothers to regimental and
divisional commands.

5. To facilitate as much as possible the special promotion in war of
distinguished company officers to field rank.

6. To award regimental commanders who display particular merit on
service rapid advancement to the rank of General, without regard to
their seniority or the speed of their promotion.

The two last of these recommendations also obviously apply to officers
of the other Arms.


In my opinion, our experiences in the recent war have shown the
necessity for such an organization in our army as I will now describe:

_Infantry Regiment_: To consist of 4 battalions, each of 4 companies.
Each company to have a strength of 250 combatants. In addition to the
16 combatant companies per regiment, there should be scout sections
(mounted and dismounted), and machine-gun sections with 16 portable
guns. Strength of regiment, 5,000 men.

_Cavalry and Cossack Regiments_: As at present.

_Infantry Brigade_: 2 regiments, 8 battalions.

_Cavalry Brigade_: 2 regiments, 12 squadrons or _sotnias_.

All brigades should be capable of acting independently.

_Infantry Division_: To consist of 2 infantry brigades, 1 regiment of
artillery,[47] 1 sapper battalion, 1 telegraph company, 2 squadrons or
_sotnias_ of cavalry, transport company, parks, bakeries, hospitals.
Total, 17 battalions, 48 guns, and 2 squadrons or _sotnias_.

_Cavalry Division_: To consist of 3 separate brigades, 1 horse
artillery battery. Total, 36 squadrons or _sotnias_, and 12 guns.

_Army Corps_: To consist of 3 infantry divisions, 1 artillery brigade,
including a regiment of howitzers, 1 cavalry brigade,[48] 1 sapper
brigade,[49] 1 transport battalion, 1 battalion for camps on the line
of communication. Total, 48 battalions, 169 guns, 12 squadrons or
_sotnias_, and 3 sapper battalions.

_Reserve Troops_: To be formed into independent brigades, to which
the reserve units of artillery, cavalry, and sappers should be
attached. Each brigade to consist of 8 battalions, 2 batteries (24
guns), 1 squadron or _sotnia_, 2 sapper companies, half a company of
telegraphists, transport, hospitals, and bakeries. These brigades,
being organized on an independent footing, would be attached to the
armies; they would be detailed either as part of the army reserve or
for independent work in guarding the flanks and rear, or be joined to
corps, according to circumstances.

This, I think, will give great independence to all units, and the
creation of independent reserve brigades, outside of the divisional
and corps organization, would often prevent the breaking up of this
organization when a battle was in progress. To organize reserve field
troops beforehand in field formations, such as divisions of three
brigades, or corps, is not a convenient or suitable arrangement, as
they will not be ready to take part in the fighting as soon as the

                      *    *    *    *    *    *

Amongst steps which will raise the status of regimental service, and
so attract the best men to it, I consider it necessary, in addition
to providing an attractive uniform, to establish ranks distinct from
those borne by officers on the staff, in administrative offices, and
in departments. According to the scale of our military hierarchy, the
various commands (exclusive of the Cossack troops) carry ranks as

Sub-Lieutenant, Cornet, Lieutenant, and Staff-Captain in the different
Arms are the ranks given to the junior officers in companies,
squadrons, and batteries.

A Captain commands a company or a squadron.

A Lieutenant-Colonel commands a battalion, a battery, and a cavalry

A Colonel commands a regiment and a division of artillery.

A Major-General commands a brigade.

A Lieutenant-General commands a division.

A Lieutenant-General or a full General commands an army corps or a
military district.

All these ranks are also conferred on officers serving on the staff
and in departments. Thus, the rank of Colonel, which ought only to
be given to men in command of regiments, is also borne by those on
the administrative and police staffs, while generals of all grades,
who have never held command of troops or even of small units, fill
up our Generals list. At the time I framed the regulation to limit
the number of promotions to General’s rank of men not actually in the
army I was much bothered by numerous officers who feared that their
further promotion might be blocked. The present large number of ranks
amongst the officer class is not required. It is quite possible to
reduce them, and to give to these their old Russian names (to which
the Cossack[51] troops still adhere), for officers of all Arms doing
regimental service—namely, _Khorunji_, _Sotnik_, and _Esaoul_. The
rank of _Pod-esaoul_, which was adopted later, might be excluded.
_Esaouls_ would command companies, squadrons, _sotnias_, and companies
(of artillery); _Sotniks_ would command half-companies, half-squadrons;
and _Khorunjis_ would command sections. The normal establishment of a
company would be one _Esaoul_, two _Sotniks_, and four _Khorunjis_. The
same should be done in the cavalry. For those not serving regimentally
the ranks of Ensign, Lieutenant, and Captain might be maintained,
those of Sub-Lieutenant and Staff-Captain being abolished. The present
ranks of field-officers might be conferred on those officers not
doing regimental service, and the titles of _Voiskovoi Starshina_ and
Colonel on those with regiments. The first would command a battalion,
a division of cavalry or artillery; the second, regiments of all Arms.
The rank of Lieutenant-Colonel to be kept for staff and departmental
officers, and the rank of Major should be introduced instead of that
of Colonel. The names of the ranks of those serving with troops to
correspond generally to the nature of the appointment; thus, officers
commanding brigades should be called Brigadiers, those in charge of
divisions, Divisional Generals, of an army corps, Corps Generals. The
latter rank should also be given to commanders of military districts
and their assistants. The only officers not actually serving with
troops who should be allowed to have the title of Corps General
should be three: the War Minister and the chiefs of the General and
Headquarter Staffs. For service away from troops only two ranks of
General should be maintained—Major-General and Lieutenant-General. The
titles Generals of Infantry and Cavalry, etc., should be abolished. The
grading would then be as follows:

                      A.—FOR REGIMENTAL SERVICE.

  Commander of section                            Khorunji.
  Commander of half-company, half-squadron,
      half-_sotnia_                                 Sotnik.
  Commander of company, squadron, _sotnia_,
      artillery company                             Esaoul.
  Commanding battalion, battery,
      division of cavalry              Voiskovoi Starshina.
  Commanding regiment                              Colonel.
  Commander of brigade                           Brigadier.
  Commander of division                 Divisional General.
  Commander of corps                         Corps General.


  Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Lieutenant-Colonel, Major,
      Major-General, and Lieutenant-General.

Except in the case of the chief staff-officers of districts, the
transfer of general officers not with troops to service with troops
should be forbidden. The appointments of Corps Chief Staff-officers
and Quartermaster-Generals on the staffs of districts should carry
the rank of Major. Officers going into other departments should take
purely civil rank, and promotion on retirement should be abolished.
To accelerate the advancement of specially distinguished colonels,
it should be possible to appoint them to brigades with the rank of
Brigadier. There is at present great confusion in this matter of
accelerated promotion in deserving cases, for colonels can be given the
command of independent brigades, and yet not of non-independent ones.

As war is a greater strain on the officers than on the men, it is
important, when granting special privileges for regimental service to
the latter, that great care should be taken to insure their physical
fitness. A particularly bad form of unfitness is that caused by
corpulence, and, unfortunately, many even of our company officers
suffered from this in Manchuria. One of our regimental commanders was
so stout that he was practically helpless, and was taken prisoner at
Te-li-ssu, though unwounded! As to the rank and file, hill-climbing
with an 80-pound equipment makes campaigning very arduous for those
of forty years of age or over. Company and field officers can well
serve up to fifty, but commanding officers of cavalry should not be
over fifty, and of infantry regiments over fifty-five. The age-limit
for generals in command of brigades and divisions should be sixty,
and of corps sixty-three. The necessity for the age regulations we
now have became apparent during the war, for as a result of them our
field-officers were relatively young; but our experience proves that
the limit should be still further lowered in the direction I have

The proposals set forth above, which it is thought would tend to
increase our fighting efficiency, are, after all, only details of
organization and of preparation. The main factors contributing to
insure victory are the same as they always have been—a high _moral_
and the power of rapid concentration in superior strength. Diplomacy
must prepare for the struggle so as to enable all the armed forces of
the Empire to be put into the field if necessary, and we must have
numerous efficient railways to facilitate the rapid massing of superior
numbers. On these two most important factors will depend the plan
of campaign. The ability to assume the offensive bestows an immense
superiority, for it gives the initiative to the side which undertakes
it. The defender’s leading troops are compelled to fall back, his
less prepared troops are perhaps crushed, while his reinforcements
are destroyed piecemeal. The result is that the _moral_ of the
attacker increases, while that of the enemy inevitably diminishes. To
re-establish a balance under such conditions is not only a matter of
time, but is extremely difficult. With a defensive plan of operations,
unshakeable belief in eventual success and immense patience are
necessary in order to overcome all difficulties, and to defeat the foe
with a final assumption of the offensive.

From the short sketch I have given of what was accomplished by the
Russian armed forces in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it
is seen that we took the offensive in the majority of the wars we
were engaged in. Without railways, but with a large peace standing
army (period of service twenty-five years with the colours), with
equality and often a superiority[52] in armament and training, Russia
was able to commence operations, and to force her will upon the
enemy—_i.e._, to assume the offensive. Nowadays we have been left
behind by our Western neighbours in readiness for hostilities, and
the recent war disclosed the fact that we had been outdistanced by
our Eastern neighbour also. Russia will, no doubt, in time find the
strength and means once more to take her former place amongst other
Powers as regards fighting efficiency; but it will take years of
unceasing effort, for rapid concentration and an offensive strategy are
impossible without great developments in our railway system. No one can
say whether we shall be allowed to wait for everything to be perfected,
or whether we shall again be drawn into war before we are ready. It is
therefore absolutely necessary to prepare without loss of time to make
war under conditions as unfavourable as those of the recent conflict.

Without referring here to the necessity for diplomatic preparation for
hostilities, and the proper attitude of all grades of Russian society
during war, I will comment in the most general lines on those measures
which should, in my opinion, be taken for the more useful employment
of resources already at our disposal. The principle which is of such
importance in field operations, that troops once engaged will not be
relieved, must be finally accepted. Therefore, every unit going into
action should know that it will be supported, but not replaced. The
principle in its broadest sense applies without distinction to all
ranks who join the field army, and till victory has been attained not
a soul should be able to return home or receive another appointment
outside the theatre of operations. Those who prove themselves unfit
for their appointments at the actual front should be given other
employments for which their bodily and mental qualifications are
fitted. In such a serious business as war in defence of country no
personal ambition should or can have place, and the removal of a
person from the field army should be considered the greatest possible
disgrace—a stain which the service of a lifetime cannot efface.
Officers thus removed should be deprived of their military rank,
dismissed the Service, and should forfeit all rights and privileges
gained in the Service, and officers and men so removed should be
deprived of the right to hold any Government post whatever, whether
under the War Department or not.

The punishment for cowardice should be death.

I have touched upon the question of accelerated promotion for good
service in the field, and the converse applies. Senior commanders
who show themselves unfit for their appointments ought to be at once
removed from their commands and given posts corresponding to their
capabilities. Commanders of corps and divisions considered unfit
may, in order to guard their military honour, request to be allowed
to remain in the army in command of divisions or brigades. Only one
kind of seniority can be acknowledged in war—namely, the ability to
gain the victory. General officers incompetent for field service can
do very useful work on the lines of communications, in the direction
and training of the reserve troops, the management of hospitals, the
administration of the inhabitants of the country, etc. If we ever mean
to be capable of defeating a powerful enemy, we must not allow an army
corps commander who is struck off from the command of his corps, and
who does not even display personal courage, to become a member of the
Committee of Imperial Defence; nor must we allow junior commanders who
fail when tested by war to receive appointments in non-mobilized units,
nor permit hundreds of officers who leave the front on account of
ill-health, and under various pretexts, to remain away and not return.
I say nothing of the case where an army commander leaves his army
during active hostilities without even reporting his departure to the

If courts of honour are found to be a necessity in peace-time, how
much more are they necessary in war? In addition to being formed in
regiments, they should be formed in corps and armies to adjudicate
upon the conduct in action of senior commanders up to the rank of
Divisional General. It is vital that the existing immunity of men who
show cowardice in action, or who are guilty of disgraceful conduct out
of action, should at once cease. For this purpose I consider we should
form soldiers’ courts of honour in every company and independent unit,
as a means for suppressing the worst elements found in the ranks. For,
with the lack of moral development of the modern man in the street,
it is absolutely necessary to have some such tribunals upon whose
verdict corporal punishment can be awarded to private soldiers. To
leave the field under the pretext of assisting or carrying away the
wounded—except for the men specially detailed for this duty—should be
punished with the utmost rigour. And to fight an action to a finish,
officers must not hesitate to sacrifice their last reserves, if
necessary, and also themselves. It is necessary to draw attention to
this, as instances occurred in the war where officers, having given
orders for a retirement, were themselves the first to go. Such an
example is always infectious, and leads to disorganization of units
and loss of confidence in the commander. Commanders of forces who do
not in battle support neighbouring units when able to do so should be
deprived of their appointments, tried, and, if necessary, punished by
death. Commanders of all ranks should be thoroughly alive to the value
of every man in the ranks. Therefore, every endeavour should be made to
keep units as strong as possible during an action.

Finally, I will touch briefly on several points. I will permit myself
to express the opinion that the existing regulations as to rewards
in war require revision and considerable alteration. At present far
too many honours are bestowed. Another point that demands attention
is that of malingering. As we have seen, sickness was more prevalent
amongst the officers, in spite of their better living, than among
the men. Unfortunately, also, the medical officers more than once
called my attention, when I was inspecting hospitals, to cases of
malingering amongst officers as well as men. The great majority of
patients, of course, were really ill, but much of the sickness was due
to the individual not taking proper care of himself. Officers must
realize that, however honourable a thing it is to be wounded, it is as
dishonourable to remain in hospital when their comrades are fighting.
It should be ruled for all ranks that in such cases the period of
sickness should not count as service, and that during it pay should
be forfeited. All officers and officials absenting themselves for
more than two months should be removed from their appointments, and
appointed to the reserve or depôt troops. Amongst the many regrettable
things to be noted in the late war was the disgraceful conditions
under which both men and officers were often taken prisoner. The
existing regulations, which lay down that all the circumstances of
a case of capture should be investigated, were not complied with.
Officers who returned straight to Russia from being prisoners in Japan
were appointed by the War Department even to the command of divisions.
There is only one thing which justifies capture—the fact of being
wounded. All those who surrender when they have not been wounded should
be tried by court-martial for not fighting to the last.

The regulations regarding fortresses should be revised, and the
occasions upon which a fortress is allowed to surrender should be
absolutely cut out, for fortresses may be taken, but should never,
under any circumstances, surrender. Commandants of fortresses who
surrender them, captains who surrender their ships, officers in command
of units that lay down their arms, should be considered as forfeiting
all rights, and should be condemned to be shot without trial, and all
those not in command who surrender unwounded should be deprived of
their military rank from the day of their surrender. During the war
the Press did much to undermine the authority of officers in command,
and to lower the _moral_ of the men, by indiscriminate revelations.
In the next war only such events should be allowed to appear in the
newspapers as may help to encourage the men. When active operations
are over, the circumstances are changed, and it is then essential for
the good of the Service to have a thorough investigation into all

But it is not sufficient that all ranks of the army should be
imbued with the spirit of fighting on till victory is won; it is
necessary that the whole nation should have the same feeling, and
to the best of their ability assist towards a happy issue of the
struggle being carried on by the army. In our state of backwardness
(especially as regards railways) we are doomed in our next war to a
slow concentration, and therefore to a protracted campaign. Being
unable at once to put large forces into the field, and to seize the
initiative, we may again be compelled to bear the consequences of our
unreadiness—frequent reverses, and retirement; but we must, without
wavering, firmly believe in eventual success, however unfavourable the
conditions at the start. The moral and material resources of Russia are
immense, and the fixed determination on the part of the army and the
whole nation to win is our principal guarantee of victory.

                              CHAPTER XII

                          SUMMARY OF THE WAR

I have already reviewed[53] (in Chapters VIII., IX., X., and XI.)
the causes of our failure. They can be summarized in three groups:

1. Those causes independent of the War Ministry.

2. Those dependent on the War Ministry, for which officers in the field
had no responsibility.

3. Those for which officers in the field were alone responsible.

The first group comprises—

(_a_) The absence of any diplomatic arrangement which would have
enabled us to despatch and distribute our whole army freely as
circumstances dictated (similar to that which in 1870–71 made it
possible for the Prussians to move the whole of their armed forces
against France).

(_b_) The subordinate part played by the fleet during the war.

(_c_) The inferiority of the Siberian and Eastern Chinese Railways.

(_d_) The internal disorders in Russia, which affected the spirit of
the army.

The second group comprises—

(_a_) The delay in mobilizing the reinforcements for the Far East.

(_b_) The transfer into the reserve during the war of well-trained
soldiers—men who were still liable for colour service—from the military
districts in European Russia, while untrained elderly reservists were
being sent to the front.

(_c_) The belated despatch of drafts to the front. (The reason of this
was also the inefficiency of the railways.)

(_d_) The delay in promoting those who particularly distinguished
themselves in the field. (Many recommendations were ignored.)

(_e_) The deficiencies in our technical equipment.

(_f_) The faults of organization (absence of troops for protecting
communications, dearth of transport, unwieldiness of the army and corps

(_g_) Deficiencies in the _personnel_ both of officers and men.

The third group comprises—

(_a_) The absence of a true military feeling among the troops.

(_b_) The poor spirit in action shown by some of them.

(_c_) The lack of determination on the part of commanders of all
degrees to carry out the tasks entrusted to them.

(_d_) The breakdown of the organization under the stress of war.

The weak points of our forces, which were so noticeable in the wars
waged in the second half of the last century, had not been entirely
eliminated during the fifty years which intervened since the Crimea,
and were again evident in the recent struggle—namely:

1. We were inferior to our enemy in technical troops and equipment.

2. The “command” was unsatisfactory.

3. The army was insufficiently trained tactically.

4. We did not insure victory by having considerable superiority in

We did not have before us any clear idea of our object, and
consequently did not show sufficient determination in its prosecution.

So many different reasons have been advanced for our failure that the
question naturally arises as to what foundation there really is for my
opinion—shared by the greater part of the army in the field—that if we
had not concluded peace so hastily victory would have crowned our arms.

My belief that we could, and ought to, have issued victorious from the
struggle is based upon—

      I. The steady growth of our material forces.

     II. The growth of our moral forces.

    III. The gradual deterioration of the enemy
           in both respects.


We have already seen how fatal the inefficiency of our railways was for
us. Yet, though six months before the outbreak of war only two pairs
of short trains were available for military purposes, when peace was
concluded we had ten and even twelve pairs of full trains running in
the twenty-four hours. Thus, during hostilities the carrying capacity
of the railway grew sixfold, and was capable of still further increase.
Notwithstanding all our reverses, the army continued to grow in
numbers, and was 1,000,000 strong when peace was concluded, and more
than two-thirds of this number (including the newly arrived drafts,
the new corps, and the Pri-Amur troops) had not been under fire.
Moreover, owing to improved rail transport and the proper exploitation
of all local resources, the whole number was assured of everything
necessary, both for fighting and subsistence, to an extent that had
never previously been the case. We had received a proper proportion
of artillery of every nature, reserves of light railway material,
telegraph and wireless telegraph stores, and entrenching and technical
tools and equipment of all sorts. We had constructed three strong
lines of defence at Hsi-ping-kai, Kung-chu-ling, and Kwang-cheng-tzu;
our communications in rear were safe; almost every army corps was in
possession of its own line of rails; and the Sungari and other rivers
were crossed by many bridges. The war strength of all units had been
considerably augmented. Russia’s resources for continuing the struggle
were greater than those of Japan, for not only had our Guards and
Grenadiers not been drawn upon, but the greater part of the army was
still at home.


Though an improvement of _moral_ is by no means as easy to bring about
in an army as that of its material condition, the officers who were
most in touch with our men were convinced that it was done in our
case. It may possibly be a peculiarity of the Russian soldier that
he possesses latent moral strength of the kind which is developed
slowly, and not destroyed by any trials to which the individual is
subjected; but to those who made a study of the war it appeared
perfectly clear that our men showed an increasing spirit of stubborn
determination as the campaign progressed. In the early fights before
the battle of Liao-yang—at Te-li-ssu and Ta-shih-chiao—we withdrew
after comparatively small losses. At the latter fight two army corps,
and at Yang-tzu-ling one corps, retired, though they together did not
collectively lose as many men as the 1st East Siberian Rifle Regiment
alone lost in the battle of Mukden. At Liao-yang our men fought better
than in the previous fights; on the Sha Ho they showed a better spirit
than at Liao-yang; while at Mukden many units showed a still further
improvement. We were all convinced, therefore, that in a defence of,
or an offensive advance from, the Hsi-ping-kai position, the men would
fight even better than at Mukden, for the improvement in spirit shown
by our troops had been progressive and steady. They had learned much,
particularly during their long stay in direct touch with the enemy
on the Sha Ho. Even the reserve units, which failed in the early
fights, fought with great bravery and steadiness at Mukden. To prove
this, it is only necessary to recall the exploits of the 71st and
54th Divisions, the later arrived reserve units of the 55th and 61st
Divisions at Mukden, and of many regiments of the 10th, 17th, and 1st
Army Corps. The regiments of the 4th Siberian Corps and the East
Siberian Rifles, indeed, were an example throughout the war.

The Tsar, in his Order to the army and fleet of January 14,
1905, predicted this improvement in the _moral_ of the troops,
notwithstanding their reverses, with great foresight. His belief in the
spirit of the army was expressed in the following memorable words:

 “Though we may be sore at heart on account of the disasters and
 losses that have befallen us, do not let us be discouraged. By
 them Russia’s strength is renewed, and her power increased.”

As operations continued we made corresponding progress in our tactics.
We learned how to attack and make use of the ground, and how to
employ artillery, and learned by heart the lesson of keeping strong
reserves in hand [at the Hsi-ping-kai position the reserve of the 1st
Manchurian Army alone consisted of eighty battalions]. We also learned
how to obtain intelligence of hostile forces. At the close of the war
our knowledge of the Japanese dispositions was more complete than
it had ever been; indeed, we had accurate information of the exact
whereabouts, not only of their main bodies, but also of many individual
units. (This was chiefly obtained from prisoners.)

We received as reinforcements 300,000 regular soldiers then with
the colours, most of whom had volunteered for the front, and the
1905 recruits. These young soldiers were ready to face any danger;
they arrived in the highest spirits, and their cheerfulness and
evident keenness to see some fighting did one’s heart good. The
older reservists were mostly employed on duties in the rear. As a
result, volunteers were always forthcoming for the numerous raids and
reconnaissances made by the 1st Manchurian Army from the Hsi-ping-kai
position, or for any other adventurous work. The mainspring of the
improvement in our spirit, however, was the more careful selection made
of the officers appointed to command units. Many of these now began to
display military qualifications of a high order. The fighting round
Mukden had produced generals of a calibre upon which we could have
fully relied in any subsequent battles. As regards the general question
of the readiness of the 1st Manchurian Army for renewed fighting after
the Mukden battle, I concluded my report on this force as follows:

 “With the occupation of the Hsi-ping-kai position the army
 found itself confronted with a great work.

 “No map of the neighbouring country existed, and the little
 information we had of the enemy was chiefly remarkable for
 its absolute vagueness. There were no roads to the rear, no
 local depôts for the supply of the army, and no fords over
 the Sungari River, which was a standing menace, as the usual
 Spring floods were still ahead of us.

 “The co-ordinated and willing efforts of all ranks, however,
 soon changed all this. The fortified line of works from
 Hsi-ping-kai Station to the village of Kung-chu-ling became
 practically invincible, and the order was given to use it as a
 _place d’armes_ and accumulate strong reserves there. In May
 there were eighty battalions in reserve behind the left flank;
 practically one-half of the five army corps was located here.

 “A two-verst[54] map was made, showing not only the country
 in our rear, but the strip of ground right up to the enemy’s

 “By means of reconnaissances and the employment of spies,
 we gradually sifted our inaccurate intelligence till our
 information was correct. We were able first to locate the
 disposition of the enemy’s armies, then of his divisions, and,
 finally, of small units.

 “The services to the rear were carried out with similar energy;
 roads were laid out, the Sungari was bridged, and storehouses
 were built.

 “At the beginning of July the army was almost ready to advance;
 the only thing lacking was the equipment for light railways for
 horse traction. Without this it was impossible to advance in
 any great strength.

 “During the last few months a horse railway was laid to
 Ya-mu-tzu, and the carriage of supplies for a forward movement
 was thus assured.

 “A connected series of reconnaissances were carried out in
 order to gain knowledge of the ground in front.

 “The army was brought almost up to full strength by the drafts
 and new units which had joined.

 “In August it was quite ready for battle, and its now
 recuperated and reinforced veteran corps waited the order for a
 forward movement in complete confidence.”

General Bilderling, who commanded the 2nd Manchurian Army (which
suffered the most heavily at Mukden), finishes his report on this army
as follows:

 “The army occupied the Hsi-ping-kai position, shattered and
 disorganized by the battle of Mukden; but it has recovered with
 extraordinary rapidity. With the arrival of the young soldiers
 and reservists, all the units have been brought up to full war
 strength, and it is only in the officers that there is still
 a great deficiency. The mounted units have been reinforced by
 fresh squadrons and by horses from the artillery reserve; the
 guns and waggons which were lost or had become unserviceable
 have been replaced. Every division has been strengthened by
 mounted and dismounted machine-gun sections, and howitzer
 batteries have been formed; a light railway for horse-draught
 has been laid along the whole length of the position and in
 rear of it; and, profiting by recent experience, the troops are
 now thoroughly proficient in all exercises and manœuvres. Thus
 the army, by reason of its numbers, material composition, and
 training, has become really better prepared for hostilities at
 the close of the war than it was at the beginning, and again
 constitutes a menace to the enemy.”

The 3rd Manchurian Army, which, under the command of General Batianoff,
formed a reserve for the 1st and 2nd Armies, and contained corps which
had arrived latest and had not been in action, was also a large and
reliable body of men.

Of course, there is a skeleton in every cupboard, and naturally in such
a large force as the three armies constituted there were weak spots.
Thus, there were to be found amongst the men, and even the officers,
a certain number of poor-spirited creatures who disbelieved in the
possibility of victory. But even such characters would have plucked up
their spirits and done good service at the first success.

From the moment I joined the army in Manchuria, I invariably told every
unit that I met or reviewed that the war could only end after we had
been victorious; that till then none of us would be allowed to return
home; and that victory was certain when sufficient reinforcements
reached us. And belief in these facts sank into the hearts of officers
and private soldiers. Both before and after Mukden, I more than once
heard the men themselves—particularly those in hospital—say that they
could not return home till the enemy had been defeated. “The women
will laugh at us,” were their words. Another important factor, and
one which the Russian especially values, is constant and affectionate
care for his bodily needs and his health. For anyone who has not been
on active service it is difficult to appreciate how troops who have
been disorganized and badly shaken by hard fighting can regain heart
if they suddenly find hot food ready for them. A night’s rest, a full
stomach, ammunition replenished, a quiet calling of the roll, and the
calm demeanour of their officers—all assisted to make our splendid
soldiers once more ready for the fray. As regards the army’s _moral_
generally, I should mention that the nearer our men were to the enemy,
the better were their spirits and the fewer the carping comments and
criticisms which always do so much harm; there was no time to read the
papers. When I visited the advanced units of the 1st Army (those of
the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Siberians, and of the 1st Army Corps commanded
by Colonels Prince Trubetski, Tikhomiroff, Redkin, and General
Kashtalinski), I found universal keenness to advance. The men were well
looked after, discipline was strict, and the attitude of both men and
officers was one of quiet and steady determination. But in proportion
as the distance from the advanced lines increased, and direct touch
with the enemy was lost, there was time for talk and gossip. It was on
the lines of communication (particularly at Harbin) that drunkenness
and gambling took place, besides other forms of dissipation that
disgraced the army. It was here that the white-livered brigade
collected, leaving the front under any excuse even when fighting was in
progress, and, indeed, what else could be expected of them? It is much
to be regretted that some of our pressmen judged the army by what they
saw at Harbin, and that we were judged by this standard even in Russia.
Many officers and others in authority who had failed to pass the
“ordeal by fire” lived on in Russia, and from them a correct opinion
as to the self-sacrifice and devotion of the army and its readiness to
continue the war could hardly have been expected. Unfortunately for
us, also there happened to be on the Committee of Imperial Defence two
general officers who had been at the front. One had left it; the other
had been deprived of his command of an army corps. Clearly, such men
as these could not have much assisted this new and important body to
insist on the necessity of continuing the struggle.

A step taken by me to raise and to maintain the spirit of the army
was the rapid promotion of those officers who had most distinguished
themselves in the field. We obtained a number of our best senior
regimental officers by promoting captains, and, what is more important,
we appointed many distinguished officers to the command of regiments
without regard to their lack of seniority, or to the fact that some
of them were only lieutenant-colonels. In a very short time these
commanding officers improved their regiments almost beyond recognition,
and fully proved how important a careful selection is in war. By
promoting to Major-General those colonels who had most distinguished
themselves on service, we began to get at the head of brigades leaders
who were worthy of every confidence, and offered a splendid selection
from which to choose divisional and corps commanders.

A further step which I took to woo victory was to enforce the humane
treatment of the Chinese population of Manchuria. I, and those
immediately under me, insisted on their being protected (as far as war
conditions permitted) from unnecessary hardships, and on their property
being guarded, and I made a point of their being promptly paid in
cash for everything they brought in. This assisted us considerably in
getting supplies, and, notwithstanding the great hardships we ourselves
occasionally suffered, I invariably insisted on these relations being
maintained. Consequently, not once was I forced to have recourse to
requisitioning supplies or transport, nor had I to use force to get
local labour. The results surpassed all my expectations, for, in spite
of the great efforts made by the enemy to raise the Chinese population
against us, and in spite of the unfriendly feeling towards us of
many of the Chinese authorities themselves, the mass of the people
appreciated our attitude, remained quiet, and, by freely bringing in
their products, saved us from hunger. Although they might have easily
kept us in a perpetual state of alarm by killing isolated officials,
attacking small detachments, destroying the telegraphs and the roads,
they—with very few exceptions—lived on peacefully in the theatre of
war, in some instances even joining with us in fighting the Hun-huses.

Thus, besides the plan of campaign for carrying on the war—in which the
possibility of retiring even behind Harbin was foreseen—the principal
means taken by me to secure victory were:

1. To instil in all ranks a firm belief that the war could only be
brought to a close with victory, and that till victory had crowned our
efforts not one of us would return home.

2. To foster a constant fatherly endeavour on the part of all in
authority to attend, as far as the exigencies of the Service permitted,
to the comfort and preserve the health of the troops.

3. To assist in all ways the readiness and preparation of the troops,
particularly by accelerating, irrespective of mere seniority, the
promotion of the most distinguished of the officers.

4. To maintain a uniformly humane attitude towards the Chinese
population of Manchuria.


The enemy’s army began to weaken in the moral as well as the material

To drive back our army northwards to Hsi-ping-kai called for immense
efforts and many sacrifices on the part of the Japanese. I have
stated (in Chapter VII.) that our Headquarter Staff estimated the
total peace establishment of their army at 110,000 men [of which
13,000 were always absent on furlough and leave], and the reserve and
territorial forces at only 315,000, so that the total number available
for service was, as we thought, not more than 425,000. But, according
to the figures of the Japanese army medical authorities, more than
1,000,000 men were called up to the colours, which must have demanded
a great effort on the part of the nation. It was found necessary also,
during the war, to alter the existing laws so as to catch those men
who had already completed their time in the reserve for a further
period of service in the regular army, and to draft into the ranks
in 1904 and 1905 the recruit contingent of 1906 as well as that of
1905. (Towards the end we began to find old men and boys amongst our
prisoners.) Their casualties were very high; in the Cemetery of Honour
in Tokio alone 60,600 men killed in battle were buried, and to these
must be added more than 50,000 who died of wounds. Thus it appears
from these two sources alone that they lost 110,000—a figure equal to
the whole peace establishment of the army. Taking into account our
standing peace army of 1,000,000 men, our losses were comparatively far
lighter than those of the Japanese. In all some 554,000 men passed
through their hospitals during the war, of whom 220,000[55] were wound
cases. Altogether they lost 135,000 men killed and died of wounds and
sickness. Their losses in officers were particularly heavy, and the
men fought with such stubborn bravery that whole regiments, and even
brigades, were on certain occasions almost wiped out of existence. This
happened, for instance, in the fight for Putiloff Hill,[56] on October
15; also during the February fighting for the position held by the 3rd
Siberians on the Kiao-tu Ling [Pass]; in the battle of March 7, at
Tu-hung-tun[57] and other points. At Liao-yang and Mukden the majority
of the enemy’s troops suffered very heavily in their frontal attack of
our positions, and failed to take them. The fate of these battles was
decided by turning movements. In the fighting on the Sha Ho they tried
hard to force us back towards Mukden, and many of their units were
again and again driven off our positions, and only occupied them after
we had abandoned them of our own accord. The spirit of these Japanese
troops who had thus seen no success attend their individual efforts
could not but be shaken. Again, the ever-increasing determination
displayed by our men must have affected their spirit. Their regulars
had been placed _hors de combat_ in considerable numbers, and however
quickly the recruits might be called up and trained, it was not to be
expected that they would be able to develop the same stubbornness in
defence, and the same dash in attack, that their comrades had possessed
in the first campaign. This was noticeable in the fighting in front of
Mukden, but especially near Hsi-ping-kai. While our scouting parties,
and the troops of the advanced posts, were pressing the enemy more and
more boldly, we began to notice a comparative lack of enterprise on
their part, coupled with a want of their former daring, and even their
watchfulness. Perhaps the strain of war was beginning to tell on the
Southern temperament. Indeed, for six whole months they gave us time
to strengthen ourselves and fortify, without once attempting to attack
and press us back on the Sungari, and so inflict a crushing defeat.
While we remained at Hsi-ping-kai the number of prisoners taken by us
began to increase, and they ceased to display the fanaticism shown by
those captured in 1904. Many openly acknowledged that they were weary
of the war, and from the nature of numerous letters from Japan found
on the killed and prisoners, it was evident that this weariness was
general. These letters also told of the heavy increase in taxation
during the war, of the increased cost of the necessities of life,
and of the dearth of employment. Once an entire company surrendered
in front of the positions held by the 1st Siberians, a thing that had
never happened before. Nor were the enemy well situated as regards
material. Money became more and more scarce, while the requirements of
the growing army increased. Particular difficulty was found in quickly
replenishing artillery ammunition. This was very noticeable on the Sha

But what must have been the most serious source of anxiety to Japan
was the indifference which Europe and America were beginning to show
to her successes. At first it had seemed profitable to Great Britain
and Germany that Russia and Japan should be drawn into war, for when
they were exhausted the hands of both would be tied—ours in Europe, and
Japan’s in Asia. Nevertheless, it was not to the interest of Europe
generally to allow the triumph of the Japanese in the battlefields of
Manchuria to become absolute. A victorious Japan might join with China,
and raise the standard of “Asia for the Asiatics.” The extinction
of all European and American enterprises in Asia would be the first
object of this new great Power, and the expulsion of Europeans from
Asia would be the end. There is already little enough room on the
Continent of Europe. Without the markets of the wide world she could
not exist, and the cries of “America for the Americans,” “Asia for the
Asiatics,” “Africa for the Africans,” are of serious import for her.
But the danger is approaching, and is so imminent that the Powers of
Europe will be forced to sink their differences and unite in order to
withstand the attempt of the young nations[58] to drive old Europe home
into the narrow shell which she has long since outgrown. We might have
taken advantage of this change in international feeling, and have tried
to close the money markets of the world to Japan. Only one decisive
victory on our part was wanted to bring about a very serious reaction
both in Japan and in the army in the field. If we had exhausted her
financial resources, and had continued the war, we might soon have
compelled her to seek an honourable peace, which would have been
advantageous to us.

At Mukden we fought with a shortage in establishment of 300,000 men;
we began the war with inconsiderable forces; we conducted it under the
most unfavourable conditions, and without the support of the country;
we were, moreover, weakened by disturbances in the interior, and were
connected with Russia only by a single-track weak line. In these
impossible conditions we put 300,000 of the enemy _hors de combat_,
and had 600,000 rifles ready at Hsi-ping-kai at a time when they were
beginning to flag. If we attained such results, can it be said that
our army accomplished but little? Is it fair to continue applying
the epithet “Disgraceful” to the war? It cannot be denied that both
the troops and their leaders did less in the time at their disposal
than they might have done if properly supported by the country; but
by the summer of 1905 conditions had begun to change in our favour.
The conquered are always judged severely, and the leaders should
naturally be the first to bear the responsibility for disaster to the
troops under them. We can only be judged as acquitted because of our
readiness to continue the struggle—a readiness which was created, and
grew stronger in the army in spite of disaster. We believed in the
possibility and certainty of victory, and if it had not been for the
serious internal disturbances in Russia, we should have undoubtedly
been able to prove the truth of our belief in battle.

Even the inhabitants of Moscow, where, in all the difficult times the
nation has passed through, a manly and determined voice has always
been raised in support of the honour and dignity of Russia, showed
that their spirits had on this occasion fallen. It was with amazement
and sorrow that we read of a certain action of the Moscow Town Council
on June 7, 1905. The news had immense effect on the army, and on
hearing of it I sent the following letter[59] to Prince Trubetski, the
President of the Moscow nobility:

 “An overwhelming impression has been produced throughout
 the army by the news which has reached us from home that
 many poor-spirited people are trying to bring about an early
 peace. It is forgotten that a peace made before victory has
 been won cannot be honourable, and will not therefore be
 permanent. Never has our army been so strong and so ready for
 serious battle as now. Victory is nearer than seems likely
 to those at a distance. The troops have great belief in the
 new Commander-in-Chief;[60] they are assured of everything
 necessary to their wants, and their health is excellent. We
 would welcome news of the enemy’s advance, and are ready to
 move against them, when ordered to, with full faith in our
 strength. The troops have become war-seasoned. Even those units
 which were for various reasons not as steady as they should
 have been in the early fights are now thoroughly reliable.
 Numbers of wounded officers and men are hastening to rejoin,
 though not completely convalescent. Though we have lost the
 fleet, the army remains to us, and, I repeat, it is more
 powerful than it ever was before. Our position is altogether
 stronger and, tactically, better placed than those we held at
 Liao-yang or Mukden, for the Japanese do not envelop us in
 the same way. Though their forces have also been growing in
 numbers, there are many indications that their strength is on
 the wane: their ranks are being filled with men who formerly
 would not have been accepted, and the whole spirit of the army
 has undergone a change. More men allow themselves to be taken
 prisoners than before; their artillery and cavalry are weaker
 than ours, and they are short of gun ammunition. Letters from
 Japan, which we have found on the men, show that a general
 feeling of dissatisfaction with the war is growing among the
 people, for prices have gone up, and they are enduring great
 privations. These are the conditions under which I to-day
 read in letters from Moscow that on June 7 the Town Council
 discussed the advisability of inviting the representatives of
 the people to consider the question of putting an end to the
 war. Last February, on my departure for the front, you, in the
 name of all the representatives of Moscow, bade me farewell
 with words full of courage and of faith in the might of Russia.
 I therefore consider it my duty to send this letter to you.
 If the Muscovites do not feel as able as before to send their
 worthiest sons to us to help us overcome the foe, let them at
 least not prevent us from doing our duty in Manchuria.

 “Although there is nothing of a secret nature in this letter,
 its publication in the Press over my signature is very

In reply, Prince Trubetski wrote to me on June 14 as follows:

 “I have handed over your telegram, which greatly touched me,
 to the Mayor and Zemstvo; I will communicate its contents to
 as many as I can, and I will do everything that is possible to
 get action taken on it. If it may be considered necessary by
 the Tsar to end the war, I do not think it should be discussed
 beforehand in committees. May God help you! My whole heart is
 with you.”

But the efforts of individuals were powerless to check the march
of events. The serious state of Russia’s internal affairs and the
hostile—to put the best construction on it—indifference of the people
resulted in peace being prematurely concluded. The consequences
of making such a peace, by which Japan was recognized as Russia’s
conqueror in Asia, will have serious results not only for us, but for
all the Powers who have possessions or interests on that continent.
The “Yellow peril,” the appearance of which has only recently been
foreseen, is now a reality. Notwithstanding her victorious issue from
the war, Japan is hurriedly increasing her forces, while China is
forming a large army under the guidance of Japanese officers and on the
Japanese model. In a very short space of time she and Japan will be
able to pour an army of more than 1,500,000 into Manchuria, which, if
directed against us, could proceed to take a great deal of Siberia from
Russia, and reduce her to a second-rate Power.

We have seen above how the absence of any previous diplomatic
arrangements forced us to keep the greater part of our armed forces
in European Russia during the war, which fact constituted one of the
reasons of our reverses (the Guards and Grenadiers Corps remained
in Russia, while the reserve troops fought in Manchuria). We have
one consolation in that we now know that our Western neighbours are
not pursuing any policy of aggression against us, for they had an
excellent opportunity in the years 1905 and 1906[61] to alter the
existing frontier had they wished to do so. We may hope, therefore,
to be able to come to some understanding with the Powers of Europe by
which, should we be again attacked in the Far East, we shall be able
to throw the whole of our armed forces into a struggle with either
Japan or Japan and China combined. Another reason for our failure is
the fact that we were unable rapidly to make full use of such forces
as were available, because of the weakness of railway communication
between Russia and Manchuria. It is clear that, as matters now stand in
the Far East, the laying of a second track over the Siberian line and
the construction of a railway along the bank of the Amur are so vital
for us that no time should be lost in doing these things. The mere
construction of a line along the Amur can help us but little, while
a double-track line, even with forty-eight trains in the twenty-four
hours, cannot, of course, satisfy all the requirements of the great
army we should have to put in the field in the event of a fresh war.
In future we shall only be able to rely to a small extent upon the
vast supplies of food in Manchuria, and shall be obliged to convey
the greater portion not only of our munitions of war, but of our
food-supplies, from European Russia and Siberia. It will therefore be
necessary to make use of our water communications, for the failure of
the attempt to transport supplies in 1905 by the Arctic Ocean and the
River Yenissei cannot be considered final. Particular assistance also
could be afforded to the army by increasing the population of Siberia,
and so at the same time augmenting the local resources necessary for an
army. The rich reserves of metals, coals, and timber in that part will
assist us in bringing nearer to the Far East not only our food-supply
base, but also our war base (for ordnance, ammunition, explosives,

Among the main reasons for our disasters must be mentioned the
indifferent, even hostile attitude of the people to the late war; but
the menace to our nation from the Far East is now so clear that all
grades of society ought to prepare—in case of a fresh attack on Russia
by Japan or China—to rise like one man to defend the integrity and the
greatness of our Fatherland.

Thus, to attain success in any such future war, which is by no means an
improbable contingency, we should strive—

1. To be in a position to make use of all our troops;

2. To have thorough railway communication between the Pri-Amur and

3. To prepare the waterways of Siberia for the carriage of heavy goods
in bulk from west to east;

4. To move the army’s base as far as possible from Russia into Siberia;
and, what is most important—

5. To make ready to carry on a new war not only with the army, but with
the whole of a patriotic nation.

History had apparently destined Russia to undergo a bitter trial from
1904 to 1906, both on the field of battle and at home. Our great nation
has issued renewed and strengthened from still heavier trials, and let
us not doubt now but that Russia, summoned by the Tsar to a new life,
will quickly recover from the temporary blows which she has sustained,
and will not fall from her high place among the other nations of the
world. As regards the army, its bitter experiences should not on this
occasion fail to bear fruit, and the most detailed, thorough, and
fearless study of all its defects can only bring about a renewal and
increase of strength. We must remember one point—and it is the main
point: our officers and many of the men conducted themselves most
unselfishly in most difficult circumstances. Given this, all our other
faults can be comparatively quickly mended; but before all else, we
must not be afraid of openly acknowledging them.

Strength lies—in the truth.

In this important work of rejuvenation which is now beginning in Russia
for the good of the people and the army, we must remember the great
words of the Tsar to the Army and Fleet almost two years ago:

 “Russia is mighty. During the thousand years of her existence
 there have been years of still greater suffering—years when
 greater danger menaced. Yet she has every time issued from the
 struggle with fresh glory, with added might.

 “Though we may be sore at heart on account of the disasters and
 losses that have befallen us, do not let us be discouraged. By
 them Russia’s strength is renewed and her power increased.


       “_November 30, 1906_.”

                   END OF VOLUME IV. OF THE ORIGINAL

                             CHAPTER XIII


When war seemed likely, the following scheme for the strategical
distribution of the troops in the Far East in the event of hostilities
was agreed to by the Viceroy, Alexeieff:

1. The major portion of the troops, consisting of 60 infantry
battalions, 65 squadrons, 2 sapper battalions, and 160 guns (total,
65,000 rifles and sabres), were to be sent into Southern Manchuria. The
main body was to be concentrated in the area Hai-cheng–Liao-yang, and
the advance guard[64] moved forward to the Ya-lu.

2. The garrison of Port Arthur was to consist of the 7th East Siberian
Rifle Division (12 battalions), 2 battalions of fortress artillery, and
1 company of sappers. The 5th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, consisting
of 4 battalions with 6 guns, was also detailed for the defence of
the Kuan-tung district, to augment the strength of the garrison if

3. The garrison of Vladivostok was to consist of the 8th East Siberian
Rifle Division (8 battalions of infantry), with 2 battalions of
fortress artillery, 2 sapper companies, and 1 mining company.

4. That of Nikolaievsk was to be 1 fortress infantry battalion, 1
fortress artillery company, and 1 mining company.

This scheme, by which the force detailed for the defence of Port Arthur
and the whole Kuan-tung Peninsula was limited to sixteen battalions,
was due to our exaggerated idea of the strength and invincibility of
our Pacific Ocean Fleet. According to the Viceroy, it was founded
on the following opinion, expressed by Admiral Witgeft, Chief of
Alexeieff’s temporary naval staff:

 “According to the present relative strengths of the two fleets,
 the possibility of ours being defeated is a contingency that
 need not be considered, and until it has been destroyed it is
 inconceivable that the Japanese can land at Newchuang or any
 other spot on the Gulf of Korea.”


But such an attenuation of our force in this quarter was contrary
to the opinion of a committee—attended by me in my capacity of War
Minister—which sat in Port Arthur in June, 1903. The Viceroy and senior
commanders of the garrison were present at the meeting when it was
resolved and recorded as “essential” that the 3rd Siberian Corps should
be formed for the defence of Kuan-tung, in addition to the 7th East
Siberian Rifle Division, its permanent garrison, and that this corps
should be composed of the 3rd and 4th East Siberian Rifle Divisions,
each of twelve battalions. In fact, it was considered necessary to have
thirty-six battalions of infantry, exclusive of reserve battalions,
for the defence of Port Arthur and the Peninsula. This formation of a
special army corps for Kuan-tung was thought to be necessitated by the
existence so close to Port Arthur of Dalny, a magnificently equipped
port, connected by railway to the fortress, and a most convenient base
for operations against it.

Feeling that the force allotted to the defence of the Peninsula was
inadequate, on February 11 I telegraphed as War Minister to Alexeieff
that I considered it imperative that the 9th East Siberian Rifle
Division—then under formation—should be sent there in place of the 3rd
East Siberian Rifle Division, ordered to the Ya-lu. The Viceroy did not
concur in this view, but he temporarily retained the 13th and 14th East
Siberian Rifle Regiments.

On February 20, 1904, I was appointed to the command of the Manchurian
Army. In my first communication to the Viceroy (No. 1 of February 24)
I again expressed the opinion that, in view of the possibility of it
being besieged by four or five Japanese divisions, our first efforts
should be directed to strengthening Port Arthur. And I further stated:

 “If Port Arthur is weakly garrisoned, and should be besieged,
 I might be tempted by that fact to assume the offensive before
 there has been sufficient time to concentrate our forces. It is
 for this reason that I have already advised the concentration
 of the 9th Division in Kuan-tung to replace the 3rd.”

However, the Viceroy again disagreed with me, and wrote in a despatch
of March 1:

 “Separate operations against the fortress would only be really
 worth undertaking if the enemy could make certain of seizing it
 by a _coup de main_, and the moment for this has passed. The
 land front is becoming more formidable every day, and, though
 not complete, the works are now well advanced; 200 additional
 guns have been mounted in Port Arthur itself, and more than
 forty at Chin-chou; the strength of the garrison is being
 brought up by the reservists arriving from Trans-Baikalia,
 and the stocks of supplies are being increased. All the bays
 nearest the fortress, as well as the port of Dalny, have been
 mined, and for the rest—the oft-proved stubbornness of the
 Russian soldier in defence can be relied on.”

He had already reported to the Tsar that—

 “Although separate operations against Port Arthur would
 threaten the fortress itself with all the hardships of a siege
 or blockade, they would be rather advantageous to our arms
 as a whole, for they would entail a division of the enemy’s

As regards my own recommendations upon the plan of operations to be
followed against Japan, I drew up two memoranda, which I submitted to
the Tsar on February 15 and March 4. In the former I stated:

 “In the first phase of the campaign our main object should
 be to prevent the destruction of our forces in detail. The
 apparent importance of any single locality or position
 (fortresses excepted) should not lead us into the great error
 of holding it in insufficient force, which would bring about
 the very result we are so anxious to prevent. While gradually
 growing in numbers and preparing to take the offensive, we
 should only move forward when sufficiently strong, and when
 supplied with everything necessary for an uninterrupted advance
 lasting over a fairly long period.”

Against this the Tsar was pleased to note in his own handwriting the
words “Quite so.”

I left St. Petersburg on March 12, and arrived at Liao-yang on the
28th. On this date there were collected in the concentration area in
Southern Manchuria 59 battalions,[65] 39 squadrons and _sotnias_, and
140 guns. The distribution was as follows:

The _Southern Force_ (under General Sakharoff) of the 1st and 9th East
Siberian Rifle Divisions—20 battalions, 6 squadrons, and 54 guns—was in
the area Hai-cheng—Ta-shih-chiao—Newchuang—Kai-ping.

The _Eastern (Advance) Force_ (under General Kashtalinski) of the 3rd
East Siberian Rifle Division—8 battalions, 24 guns, 8 mountain and 8
machine-guns—was moved to the Ya-lu.

The _Mounted Force_ (under General Mischenko) of 18 squadrons and 6
guns was operating in Northern Korea.

The _Main Body_ was divided into two groups:

  At An-shan-chan: 5th East Siberian Rifle Division
     of 8 battalions and 24 guns.

  At Liao-yang: 2nd Brigades of the 31st and 35th Infantry
     Divisions, 22nd and 24th East Siberian Rifle Regiments—21
     battalions, 10 squadrons, and 24 guns.

In addition to these, the 23rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment—3
battalions and 4 guns—was allotted to the protection of the Viceroy’s

In _Port Arthur_ were the 7th East Siberian Rifle Division—12
battalions, 2 reserve battalions, 3-1/2 battalions of fortress
artillery, and a sapper and mining company.

In _Kuan-tung_ were the 5th, 13th, 14th, and 15th East Siberian Rifle
Regiments, 1 battalion of the 16th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, 2
battalions of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, and 1 reserve
battalion—12 battalions, 20 guns, and 1 _sotnia_ of Cossacks.

On my arrival I approved the following scheme of engineering works:
The fortification of the positions on the Fen-shui Ling (Passes), and
at Liao-yang, Mukden, and Tieh-ling; the construction of roads across
the passes to the Ya-lu, and of three parallel roads from Kai-ping to
Mukden; the construction of crossings over the Liao River, and the
hutting of three army corps. I at once took steps also to strengthen
our advance guard on the Ya-lu, which was some 133 miles distant. Two
regiments of the 6th East Siberian Rifle Division were sent there, in
addition to the third battalions for the regiments of the 3rd East
Siberian Rifle Division. By the time, therefore, that the enemy began
crossing the Ya-lu, the Eastern (Advance) Force had been increased
to eighteen battalions, besides which the 21st East Siberian Rifle
Regiment had been moved towards Ta-shih-chiao. The advance guard was
under General Zasulitch. Meanwhile the units of the 1st Siberian
Division were detained by Alexeieff in Harbin, so that, from the middle
of March to the middle of April, the Manchurian Army did not receive a
single battalion from the rear.

Notwithstanding the orders Zasulitch had received to avoid a decisive
engagement with the enemy, who had the superiority in numbers, on
May 1 part of his force became hotly engaged in what developed into a
serious fight at the Ya-lu, and after a disastrous finish his eastern
force was withdrawn to the passes of the greater Fen-shui-ling range,
which they reached on May 7. In this action only nine of our eighteen
battalions took any active part, those of the 11th and 12th East
Siberian Rifle Regiments showing great gallantry and determination.
When asked why he had disobeyed the orders repeatedly given to him
not to become entangled in a serious engagement, but to fall back on
Feng-huang-cheng, Zasulitch gave as his reason that he had hoped to
defeat the enemy. On May 5 the Japanese began debarking at Pi-tzu-wo,
and a small force of all arms under General Zikoff was detached
from the southern force in order to reconnoitre and ascertain the
importance of this landing. The advance of this column incidentally
enabled us to repair temporarily the portion of the line which the
enemy had destroyed, and so to run a train-load of mélinite shells,
machine-guns, and ammunition through to Port Arthur. The Emperor was
fully alive to the danger of the situation caused by the dispersion
of the Manchurian Army, and on May 11 telegraphed his orders for an
immediate concentration. This was completed by the 14th, and the force
was grouped on two points—Hai-cheng and Liao-yang. The former group
consisted of twenty-seven battalions, twelve squadrons and _sotnias_,
and eighty guns; the latter of twenty-eight battalions, six _sotnias_,
and eighty-eight guns. The passes over the Fen-shui-ling range were
guarded by small columns of infantry with guns, and advance and flank
guards were thrown out. The independent cavalry, operating on our
flanks east of the passes, was divided in two bodies, under Mischenko
and Rennenkampf. West of Liao-yang was a small force under General
Kossagovski, while five and a half battalions of the 1st Siberian
Division lay at Mukden. At this time also, when the Viceroy returned to
Port Arthur (after Admiral Makharoff’s death of April 13), the weakness
of the place began to be shown up, and Alexeieff’s apprehensions as to
its safety became acute. In a despatch of May 16 he questioned whether
the place “would be able to hold out for more than two or three months,
in spite of all the steps taken to strengthen its defences.” On April
25 the Chief of the Viceroy’s Staff telegraphed to me that, owing to
the inadequacy of the garrison, Alexeieff considered it essential that
if the fortress were attacked, the field army should support it as
energetically and rapidly as possible. Alexeieff was not singular in
his pessimistic views, for Stössel also gave up hope of a successful
defence of Port Arthur directly after he had so unnecessarily
abandoned the Chin-chou position on May 27. On the 28th I received a
telegram from him urging me to support him speedily and in strength.
This opinion was again endorsed by Alexeieff, who telegraphed on June
5 that “Port Arthur cannot strictly be called a storm-proof fortress,
and it is a question whether it can even stand a siege of the length
indicated in my telegram of May 16.”

The result of this _volte-face_ on the part of Alexeieff as to the
powers of resistance of the place was that he pressed me to send part
of the army at once to assist it, though we were by no means ready for
such an enterprise. On May 21 he wrote that he considered the moment
in every way favourable for the army to assume the offensive in one of
two directions—either towards the Ya-lu, with the object of defeating
and throwing Kuroki back across the river, detaching a force to contain
him there, and then moving on to relieve Port Arthur, or else direct on
that place.

It should be borne in mind that these instructions were given at a time
when the position of only two of the hostile armies had been fixed. Of
these, one—of three divisions and three reserve brigades—had forced
the crossing of the Ya-lu, and the other—of three divisions—had landed
near Pi-tzu-wo. Moreover, a landing, of the extent of which we had no
information, was then being carried out at Ta-ku-shan. Consequently
we did not know the destination of one-half of the enemy’s army, and
were thus not in possession of two important pieces of knowledge which
were necessary before any operations of a decisive character could be
undertaken—namely, the position of the enemy’s main forces and their
probable plan of operations. It was incumbent on us, therefore, to
exercise great caution, and to keep our forces as far as possible
concentrated, so as to be ready to meet the attack of two or even three
armies. Concerning the two directions in which the Viceroy advocated
an advance, the following few points suggest themselves. For any
operations towards the Ya-lu—bearing in mind the necessity for guarding
our flank and rear against one hostile force landing at Pi-tzu-wo,
and possibly others landing near Kai-ping or Newchuang—not more than
sixty to seventy battalions were available of the ninety-four which
in the middle of May constituted the army; the whole of the food for
these troops had to be brought up by rail, owing to the exhaustion of
the local resources—never very plentiful—in the hilly country between
Liao-yang and Feng-huang-cheng: we had not got the transport to do
this, for our ten transport trains could only have carried a three or
four days’ supply for a force of this size; the usual May and June
rains would have made the movement of our guns and baggage at first
difficult, and then impossible, and we had at that time no mountain
artillery or pack transport; we were by no means well placed in the
matter of artillery parks: the horses for those of the 5th, 6th, and
9th East Siberian Rifle Artillery Divisions were still _en route_ to
Harbin, while the 1st and 2nd Siberian Divisions had arrived without
any. Finally, if Kuroki should fall back behind the Ya-lu without
accepting battle, we should have been obliged to retire and leave at
least an army corps to contain him. When the rainy season came on, this
corps itself would have been obliged to withdraw, as with interrupted
communications it would have been seriously threatened by Kuroki’s
far larger force, well provided with both mountain artillery and
pack transport. For these reasons an offensive towards the Ya-lu was

Under the conditions laid down by the Viceroy as to keeping screens on
the Fen-shui Ling (Passes), and leaving a reserve at Hai-cheng[66]
until such time as fresh reinforcements had been received, a direct
advance on Port Arthur could only be made with one corps of twenty-four
battalions. In view of the possibility of Kuroki taking the offensive
in superior force (after reinforcement by the troops already beginning
to land at Ta-ku-shan) against our cordon, which extended along the
Fen-shui-ling range for more than sixty-six miles, and in view of the
possibility of the Japanese cutting off any detachment moving on Port
Arthur by landing somewhere in its rear, the despatch of this corps
130 miles to the south could not but be considered a most risky and
difficult operation.

As our numerical weakness absolutely precluded a general assumption
of the offensive on our part, I pointed out that by such a movement
for the relief of Port Arthur we risked disorganizing the whole army.
I also drew attention to the fact that, according to the report of
Captain Gurko, who had just arrived from the fortress, its combatant
strength amounted to at least 45,000 men (including sailors), and that
the enemy could not therefore have any very overwhelming superiority.
My views upon the inexpediency of any movement towards Port Arthur were
communicated to the War Minister in my telegrams (Nos. 692 and 701)
of May 28 and 30. But in a telegram of the 31st the Viceroy urgently
requested me to advance to the relief of the fortress, and expressed
the wish that four divisions should be detailed for the operation;
while on June 6 he quoted to me a message from St. Petersburg in which
it was stated that the time was “ripe for the Manchurian Army to assume
the offensive.”

At the end of May the first reinforcements—the 3rd Siberian
Division—began to arrive in the concentration area. This enabled me to
increase the force detailed for the advance into Kuan-tung up to 32
battalions,[67] 22 squadrons and _sotnias_, and 100 guns. As a reserve
to this force, the 2nd Brigade of the 31st Division was placed in the
area Kai-ping—Hsiung-yao-cheng, and to a brigade of the 3rd Siberians
was allotted the duty of watching the coast from Newchuang to the
latter place. To hold Kuroki and the troops under Nodzu that had landed
at Ta-ku-shan in check, 40 battalions, 52 _sotnias_, and 94 guns were
left on the Fen-shui Ling (Passes), distributed over a length of more
than sixty-six miles. The general reserve consisted of the 5th East
Siberian Rifle Division at Liao-yang, and a brigade of the 3rd Siberian
Division at Hai-cheng. Early in June the force detailed under General
Shtakelberg for the operations towards Port Arthur began to concentrate
at Te-li-ssu, with its advance guard at Wa-fang-tien. On the 13th the
Japanese themselves began to advance from Pu-lan-tien, and by the
evening of that day we had been able to rail two regiments of the 9th
East Siberian Rifle Division into Te-li-ssu. On the 14th the enemy’s
attack of our position there was repulsed, and on the following day
Shtakelberg proposed to make a counter attack, having been reinforced
at noon by the Tobolsk Regiment. However, the battle ended in our
defeat, and we were forced to fall back. General Gerngross, who was
in command of the 1st East Siberian Rifle Division, was wounded, but
remained in action. Shtakelberg’s orders gave him freedom of action,
but he was instructed not to accept decisive battle if the enemy were
in superior numbers. Simultaneously with the enemy’s advance from the
south, Kuroki moved forward on the 14th to the Ta Ling[68] (Pass)
from Hsiu-yen, where three (according to some reports four) Japanese
divisions were concentrated. Their 12th Division and three reserve
brigades were left to watch our eastern force, and a further movement
on Kai-ping, Ta-shih-chiao, or Hai-cheng was quite likely.

In order to be in a position to check the combined advance of the
two Japanese groups, I thought it advisable to strengthen our
southern force, and therefore so rearranged our dispositions that
87 out of 110 battalions were massed on the southern front, in the
area Kai-ping—Hai-cheng, against Oku and Nogi. Fortunately for us,
the critical position of our eastern front during the operations at
Te-li-ssu was not appreciated by Kuroki, which fact favoured Count
Keller’s demonstration towards Feng-huang-cheng in the middle of June.
Otherwise Kuroki might have seized Liao-yang. On the 25th the enemy’s
advance against our eastern force was commenced. On the 27th Keller
withdrew some of his troops from the Fen-shui Ling (Passes) without
opposition, and by July 1 the main body was concentrated seven miles
east of Lang-tzu-shan and twenty-seven from Liao-yang. On June 27,
without any serious engagement, but under pressure from the enemy, we
abandoned the Fen-shui Ling (Passes), which they at once occupied.
A few days previously—on June 23—about a division of the enemy had
been located by Rennenkampf to the east of Sai-ma-chi. Believing that
Hai-cheng constituted our greatest danger, as the enemy might, if they
gained a success there, cut off Shtakelberg’s force close by, on the
29th I concentrated forty-one battalions and eighteen _sotnias_ under
Zasulitch at Hsi-mu-cheng, intending with them to hurl back the enemy
on to their Hai-cheng line of advance. However, on the same day we
discovered that those of the enemy who had moved at first from the Ta
Ling (Pass) along the Hsi-mu-cheng road had again retired to it.

This danger being temporarily averted, I ordered the 31st Infantry
Division back to Hai-cheng. As the defence of Liao-yang from the east
was the next most urgent matter, a brigade of the 9th Division, which
had just arrived from Russia, was moved to Lang-tzu-shan to act as
a reserve to the eastern force, which had been previously augmented
by the return to it of two regiments of the 3rd East Siberian Rifle
Division. The other brigade was sent, under General Hershelman, who
commanded the division, to Hsi-kei-an village [at the junction of the
Liao-yang and Mukden roads], so as to cover the left flank of the
eastern force and guard the road to Mukden. Taking into consideration
the considerable increase of the eastern force, I ordered Count Keller
to take the offensive, so as again to get possession of the passes.
He did so, but although he had forty battalions under his command,
he advanced with only twenty-four. Though our troops were successful
in the early hours of July 17, thanks to the gallant conduct of the
24th East Siberian Rifles under Colonel Lechitski, the result of the
day’s action was not favourable. Keller stopped the advance before
even bringing into action his strong reserves, with the result that at
nightfall the eastern force was once more on its former positions on
the Yang-tzu Ling (Pass). On the 19th the brigade of the 9th Division
was driven from its position at Chiao-tou, and fell back towards

By the middle of July the disposition of the enemy’s forces was
approximately as follows: Kuroki, with three field divisions and
reserves, had captured the three Fen-shui Ling and Mo-Tien Ling
(Passes), and, with his outposts thrown out on the roads to Liao-yang,
had reached the valley of the Tang Ho, a tributary of the Tai-tzu Ho.
Nodzu, with an army of approximately the same strength, had captured
the passes on the Kai-ping, Ta-shih-chiao, and Hai-cheng roads, and
had two divisions and a brigade in reserve on the Hai-cheng line of
advance and one on the Ta-shih-chiao line. Oku, having moved up from
Kuan-tung with his army of some four divisions, had driven back our
outposts and occupied Kai-ping. Two brigades were left in reserve on
the line Feng-huang-cheng—Kuan-tien-chang. Thus, according to our
information, two armies of about 90 to 100 battalions had advanced
against us from the east, and one of about 50 to 60 battalions from
the south, whilst Nogi’s army of 3 divisions and 2 reserve brigades
had been left to operate against Port Arthur. Our dispositions were
briefly: 44 battalions against Kuroki’s army; 28 battalions on the
line Fen-shui-ling—Hai-cheng against 2 divisions and 1 reserve brigade
of Nodzu’s army; 48 battalions against Oku’s army, and 1 division of
Nodzu’s; 16 battalions were in the general reserve at Hai-cheng, and
four in garrison at Liao-yang. It must, however, be borne in mind that
the effective strength of our battalions was very far short of the
prescribed establishment.[70] From the beginning of the war up to July
only 3,600 men were received in the way of drafts.

With the above dispositions of the opposing forces, we should,
according to the theory of the art of war, have been able to operate
on “interior lines.” But for us this was extremely difficult, as,
in the first place, we had not enough men to attain the necessary
superiority over any one of the hostile groups without laying ourselves
open to defeat by the other two; and, in the second, the rains had so
seriously damaged the roads as to prevent the rapid movement (as we
had heavy guns and baggage) necessary for successful action even on
interior lines. Finally, as their bases (Korea, Ta-ku-shan, Pi-tzu-wo)
were enveloping it was possible for each of their groups to refuse an
unequal battle, and fall back without exposing its communications.
Still, notwithstanding these unfavourable conditions, it was proposed
to attack Kuroki, who menaced our communications most, at the earliest
favourable moment. The troops which could be employed to strike him
were distributed in two directions: twenty-four battalions of the
eastern force on the main road from Liao-yang to Lang-tzu-shan, with
its outposts on the Yang-tzu-ling heights; and twenty-four battalions
of the 10th Army Corps on the line Liao-yang—Sai-ma-chi, with its
outposts five miles short of Chiao-tou. Twenty-four battalions of the
17th Corps were told off to remain as a reserve to these two groups at
Liao-yang, while to prevent our left flank being turned, and to cover
the Mukden road, the 11th Pskoff and 2nd Dagestan Regiments, which
had just arrived from Russia, were ordered to Pen-hsi-hu. But on July
23, when I inspected the 10th Corps, I found that it was absolutely
incapable of operating in the hills, as it had no pack-animals. In
fact, those companies on outpost duty on steep or high ground had
actually to remain all day without food or water. As the units of the
17th Corps were in a similar condition, it was impossible even to think
of at once assuming the offensive.

Meanwhile, on the 23rd and 24th, the enemy themselves took the
initiative by attacking the 1st and 4th Siberian Corps south of
Ta-shih-chiao. In spite of the fact that the position held by these
corps was very extended (eleven miles), and was divided in the centre
by a rocky ridge, and that its left flank could have been easily
turned, all the enemy’s efforts were repulsed. The regiments of the 4th
Siberians, who bore the heat and burden of the day, behaved splendidly,
but “in view of the great superiority of the enemy and the development
of an attack from the direction of Ta-ling,” Zarubaeff, who was given
general instructions but allowed freedom of action, decided early
on the morning of the 25th to withdraw his force towards Hai-cheng.
On learning of this, I ordered General Sluchevski to make immediate
preparations for offensive operations, and, if Kuroki should cross the
Tai-tzu Ho and move towards Mukden, at once to advance, whether his
troops were prepared for operating in the hills or not, and endeavour
to strike Kuroki’s communications. However painful the abandonment
of the port of Newchuang was for us after our tactical success at
Ta-shih-chiao—for the enemy could now make use of it as a new base—the
strategical position of our army was improved. With the departure of
the southern force towards Hai-cheng, our greatly extended front was
diminished by twenty miles.

On July 31 the enemy advanced all along the line. As far as our
southern group was concerned, their blow was directed against
Zasulitch, who was holding a position west of Hsi-mu-cheng, especially
against his right flank, which was driven back in spite of the devoted
efforts of the Voronej and Kozloff Regiments. As any further success
on their part threatened to cut off the 2nd Siberians from the main
body of the southern group, I withdrew Zasulitch’s force to Hai-cheng.
On the same day, the enemy’s operations on the eastern front were
directed against both our groups. In the action on the Yang-tzu Ling
(Pass) General Count Keller was killed, and the unexpected death of
this gallant commander, together with the abandonment without orders
by the 23rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment[71] of the position which
protected his left flank, greatly influenced Kashtalinski (Keller’s
successor) in coming to his too hasty decision to withdraw the force
to Lang-tzu-shan. At the same time the 10th Corps was taken partly by
surprise,[72] and driven from its advanced posts towards Hu-chia-tzu.
Sluchevski, learning of the retirement of the eastern force towards
Lang-tzu-shan, and fearing for his right flank, then withdrew his corps
to An-ping. In these operations the corps commander displayed a lack of
energy, and several regiments showed great unsteadiness, especially the
reservists, many of whom actually left the ranks during the progress of
the fight.

The complicated nature of the situation now necessitated extreme
caution on our part, lest anything should prevent our concentration in
strength at Liao-yang, and there fighting a decisive battle against all
three Japanese armies with some hope of success. From Liao-yang to our
position on the eastern front, An-ping–Lang-tzu-shan, was twenty miles,
and to Hai-cheng forty miles. In order to insure the movement of the
troops on the southern front to their positions at Liao-yang in good
time, it was necessary to move them from Hai-cheng to the position at
An-shan-chan—fifteen miles from Liao-yang—which was fortified at the
beginning of the war. The retirement began early on August 2, and on
the following day the troops were concentrated on the position. In my
report to the Tsar of August 4, I gave the following general reasons
for withdrawing to the line An-shan-chan–Lang-tzu-shan–An-ping after
the July fighting:

1. The Japanese superiority in numbers.

2. They were accustomed to hills and hot weather; they were younger,
carried lighter loads, and had numerous mountain artillery and pack

3. Their energetic and intelligent leadership.

4. The extraordinary patriotism and military spirit of their troops; and

5. The lack of such a spirit on our side (caused by general ignorance
of what we were fighting for).

Every moment gained at the beginning of August was of great importance
to us, as the units of the 5th Siberians, which the Viceroy agreed
to send to the front—instead of into the Pri-Amur district, as was
proposed earlier—should have been beginning to arrive in Liao-yang.
Orders were therefore issued to fortify an advanced position half a
march from Liao-yang in addition to the main position at that place,
and for this time was required. Still, in spite of the obvious and
immense importance of every day we gained by delaying the enemy’s
advance, General Bilderling, who had taken over the command of our
eastern front from July 31, wrote that it was necessary to withdraw
his troops immediately without fighting to Liao-yang itself, while
Sluchevski urged that the army should be concentrated still further
north—in the area Liao-yang–Mukden. These officers reiterated the same
opinions still more forcibly early in August, when the difficulty of
moving their troops towards Liao-yang became greatly increased by the
heavy rains. The Viceroy, who was much perturbed about the fate of Port
Arthur by the news of the unfortunate result of the naval operations
on August 10, and whose fears were increased by Stössel’s highly
alarmist reports, was at the same time urging me (August 15) to assist
the fortress and make an advance of some sort—though it were only a
demonstration—towards Hai-cheng.

On August 25 the enemy again advanced, and on the 26th attacked us
on the eastern front, but their onslaught on the 3rd Siberians at
Lang-tzu-shan and the attempt made to turn our right flank failed.
Ivanoff (who was in command of the corps) handled his artillery most
skilfully, and all units of this corps behaved well. The reserves
sent up by Bilderling arrived in good time, but the enemy obtained a
position on the left of the 10th Corps which enabled them to menace the
retirement of this corps along the Tang Ho. In the hot fight on the
26th again several units of the 10th Corps did splendidly. At this time
a strong turning movement was discovered being developed against the
left flank of our An-shan-chan position; but by delaying and inflicting
heavy loss on the enemy on the Lang-tzu-shan and An-ping positions,
all the corps were able to fall back on the advanced positions at
Liao-yang, where the army was concentrated on August 29. At the
beginning of the action there the army was short of its prescribed
strength by 350 officers and 14,800 men. Excluding the men detailed for
extra duty (on the communications, etc.), the average strength of our
companies was only 140 to 150 rifles, and those companies that lost
most heavily in the previous fights could muster less than 100.

The detailed account of the battle of Liao-yang has long ago been
submitted to Headquarters. The following is a general description of
it: On August 30 and 31 the enemy attacked our advanced positions with
great determination, especially that of the 1st and 3rd Siberians, but
were repulsed everywhere with heavy loss. In this fight the regiments
of the 1st, 9th, 3rd, 6th, and 5th East Siberian Rifle Divisions
rivalled each other in steadiness and gallantry, while the dispositions
made by Shtakelberg and Ivanoff were good. Our success, however, was
by no means lightly gained. Our artillery expended as much as 100,000
rounds of ammunition, leaving us with only 10,000 rounds in the army
reserve. Moreover, excluding eight battalions furnishing guards and
holding the works of the main Liao-yang position, on September 1 only
sixteen battalions were left in the general reserve. During the 31st
we observed that large bodies of Kuroki’s army were crossing on to
the right bank of the Tai-tzu Ho. And, as the position held by the
10th Corps (against which Kuroki should have been operating in full
strength) had not for two days been subjected to any such determined
attacks as that held by the 1st and 3rd Siberians, there was every
reason to suppose that Kuroki’s main body was moving round to operate
against our communications. Accordingly a decision had to be made of
one of two alternatives: either—

1. To contain Kuroki with a small force and advance to the south
against Oku and Nodzu; or—

2. To fall back on the main Liao-yang position, leave as few troops
as possible to defend it, and then attack in force that portion of
Kuroki’s army which was moving round our left, and endeavour to crush
it by driving it back on the Tai-tzu Ho, which at that time of the year
was unfordable except at a few points.

As regards the first, even if we were successful against Oku and Nodzu,
they could always fall back on their communications if in difficulties,
and so draw us away from Liao-yang, while any success by Kuroki which
might lead to an attack by him on our communications would threaten
us with catastrophe.[73] In order to collect sufficient force to
move against the two armies, it would have been necessary to have
contained Kuroki with only such troops as were on the right bank of the
river—namely, the 17th Corps and two regiments of the 54th Division
(total, forty battalions) under Bilderling. But as these troops were
not yet seasoned, it was impossible to rely on their performing such an
extremely difficult task as that of holding in check Kuroki’s superior
numbers on the necessarily extended position they would have to occupy
[this fear was justified by subsequent events]. These considerations
led to the adoption of the second alternative.

On the 31st, under cover of darkness and without being pressed, we
began the evacuation of the advanced positions, which had already been
of value to us, inasmuch as the enemy had been weakened by the losses
incurred in attacking them. By the following morning as many as 100
battalions, with artillery and cavalry, had crossed on to the right
bank of the river. The Japanese did not occupy our abandoned positions
till the evening of that date, when they began to shell Liao-yang.
The general disposition of the army was as follows: 56 battalions, 10
_sotnias_, and 144 guns (under Zarubaeff) were still on the left bank;
30 battalions, 5 _sotnias_, and 84 guns were on the right for the
defence of Liao-yang itself. In addition to the small columns detailed
to guard our flanks and rear, the remainder of the army, totalling
93 battalions, 73 squadrons and _sotnias_, and 352 guns, were told
off to attack Kuroki. But in making this calculation as to the number
of battalions available, it is essential to explain a very important
factor. During the whole period of the war from its commencement
till August only 6,000 men had been received at the front as drafts
to repair wastage, and, as I have said, we began the fighting round
Liao-yang with a shortage of 15,000 men. The result of this, taken
in connection with the great number of men that had to be detached
for various non-combatant duties, and also our losses in the fighting
that had already taken place in the neighbourhood, was that the actual
strength of the ninety-three battalions was, on September 1, only from
50,000 to 55,000 rifles. For instance, the twenty-one battalions
comprising the 10th Corps (which took part in the affair of September
2) only numbered 12,000 rifles, and the total of the twenty-four
battalions of the 1st Siberians only amounted to 10,000. Kuroki’s army,
on the other hand, was calculated to number approximately from 65,000
to 70,000 men. The plan of operations for the troops crossing on to the
right bank was as follows: The force was to deploy between the position
held by the 17th Corps near the village of Hsi-kuan-tun and the heights
near the Yen-tai mines, which were to have been held by Orloff’s force
of thirteen battalions. Using the Hsi-kuan-tun position as a pivot,
the army was to throw its left forward so as to strike the Japanese in
flank. The position for the 17th Corps near this village was chosen by
Bilderling in preference to that which had been prepared for defence
beforehand on the right bank on the line San-chia-tzu–Ta-tzu-pu, and
sufficient attention was not paid to its fortification. All that was
done was to dig a few trenches, and no field of fire had even been
cleared in the _kao-liang_ crops. The consequence was that, in the
early morning of September 2, the enemy drove the 137th Niejinsk
Regiment from the peak north-east of this place, which constituted the
left flank position of the 17th Corps, and to regain this hill became
the first thing we had to do. For this Bilderling was given forty-four
battalions, with the 3rd Siberians in reserve, while the 1st Siberians
and Orloff’s column were to assist by threatening the Japanese right.
Both Bilderling and Shtakelberg had been instructed as to what was
expected of them, but they were given an absolutely free hand as to
their dispositions. Notwithstanding the large force under Bilderling’s
command, the operations failed in their object. Although the peak was
recaptured on the evening of the 2nd, we were again driven off during
the night, and had to fall back some two miles, only halting on the
Erh-ta-ho heights.

Orloff, on the other hand, moved from his position on the heights south
of the Yen-tai mines before he ought to have done, without waiting for
the arrival of the 1st Siberians. His troops became at once immersed
in a perfect sea of _kao-liang_, and were fired on from front and
flank; parts of the column were seized with panic, and the whole force
retreated in disorder towards Yen-tai station. A large portion even
went as far as the station itself. This sudden and unexpected departure
from the field of 12,000 men had a disastrous result on this flank. We
lost an excellent position, which should have served as the support for
our advance from the left, and the enemy, spreading away to the north,
had by 5 p.m., in spite of the gallant efforts of Samsonoff and his
Siberian Cossacks, occupied the whole range of heights and the Yen-tai
mines. With the occupation of these heights the whole of our left was
endangered. At midnight Shtakelberg reported that, owing to his heavy
losses in the preceding battles, he would not be able to take the
offensive, or even to accept battle on the following day.

Meanwhile the armies of Oku and Nodzu had advanced in force against
Liao-yang, but had been driven back by Zarubaeff. Here the main burden
of the fighting fell on the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division, which
behaved extremely well, as did the regiments of the 4th Siberians. On
the night of the 3rd, however, Zarubaeff reported that, though the
enemy had been repulsed, he had only three battalions left in reserve,
and needed reinforcements and gun ammunition. At the same time a
message came in from Lubavin, who was covering the Pen-hsi-hu–Mukden
line, informing me of his retirement to the Tung-chia-fen Ling (Pass),
sixteen miles from Mukden. From this it is evident that if, choosing
the first alternative, we had marched against Oku and Nodzu, Kuroki
could most certainly have driven back the 17th Corps and 54th Division,
and have seized the railway in rear of our troops moving southwards.
As we knew, however, that Kuroki was not operating against us with his
main body during the battle of the 2nd, we realized it might have been
sent to turn our left. Such being the situation, we had to decide
whether to maintain our hold on the river, or to abandon Liao-yang
and retire to the position on the left bank of the Hun Ho in front of
Mukden, which had been already fortified.

As regards the first alternative, it seemed possible that we might,
by an immense effort and skilful manœuvring, be able to hold on to
Liao-yang and throw Kuroki behind the Tai-tzu Ho. But for this it was
essential to draw in the force that had crossed to the right bank, and
to deploy it on a fresh line farther to the north, so that we might be
able to attack the enemy’s position on the heights near the Yen-tai
mines from the north as well as from the west. Such a movement would
have exposed our right, and would have isolated the position still
held by the 17th Corps on the right bank of the river. The Japanese
might drive it in and issue in rear of the troops at Liao-yang, for
that place was only eleven miles distant from the position to which
the 17th Corps would have had to retire if it were driven back. The
defenders of Liao-yang, being then attacked by Oku and Nodzu combined,
would be in a critical situation. As regards the second alternative,
a retirement on Mukden presented great disadvantages and dangers. It
increased the distance to Port Arthur; it would have to be carried out
under pressure from the enemy in front and on the left, and the roads
had been so much damaged by rain that it was doubtful whether we
should succeed in getting our transport or even artillery to Mukden.
The abandonment of Liao-yang could not fail both to depress the troops
who had so gallantly defended it and encourage the enemy. But, on
the other hand, we should be extricated by such a retirement from a
situation in which we were threatened in front and flank. A successful
withdrawal would also give time for the 1st Army Corps to come up, and,
what was not less important, for us to replenish artillery ammunition,
of which we were very short. Besides this, the banks of the Tai-tzu Ho
were specially unsuited for our troops, as they were almost entirely
covered with _kao-liang_. Our men were unused to this, lost their heads
whenever they got into it, and were very liable to panic.

On the whole, our past experiences of the offensive did not inspire any
confidence that we should be able to cope with the difficult situation
implied by a retention of Liao-yang. I decided, therefore, on the
retirement towards Mukden, which was carried out by September 7. The
most difficult work, especially on the early morning of the 5th, fell
to the lot of the 1st Siberians, who had to beat off Kuroki’s force
attacking from the east; this they did with success, and without losing
a single trophy, in spite of the difficulties in which we were placed.

A general account of the operations round Liao-yang, and a statement
of all the considerations which led to our retirement, were telegraphed
to the Emperor on September 11. On the 14th the army was made happy by
the following gracious message, which I received from His Majesty:

 “From your reports of the fighting at Liao-yang, I appreciate
 that it was impossible for you to have held that position
 longer without risk of being completely cut off from your
 communications. Under such conditions, and in face of the
 existing difficulties, the retirement of the whole force across
 country without the loss of guns or baggage was a brilliant
 feat of arms. I thank you and the gallant troops under your
 command for their heroic conduct and enduring self-sacrifice.
 May God help you all!”

Upon retirement, our troops were grouped in two principal bodies—

1. The defence of the main position on the left bank of the Hun Ho was
entrusted to the 10th and 17th Corps under Bilderling, to whom was
subordinated Dembovski’s force of 10 battalions of the 5th Siberians,
which was guarding the near right flank of the main position.
Altogether, the troops under Bilderling’s command amounted to 75
battalions, 53 squadrons and _sotnias_, 190 guns, 24 mortars, and 3
sapper battalions.

2. The protection of the left flank from Fu-shun to the west was
entrusted to Ivanoff’s force, consisting of the 2nd and 3rd Brigades of
the 4th and some units of the 5th Siberians (total, 62 battalions, 26
_sotnias_, 128 guns, and 2 sapper battalions).

3. To keep touch between these two main groups were the 1st Siberians
under Shtakelberg (total, 24 battalions, 10 squadrons and _sotnias_, 56
guns, and 1 sapper battalion). To his force was entrusted the defence
of the portion of the Hun Ho from Chiu-tien to Pu-ling.

4. The general reserve was disposed in two groups—

(_a_) 4th Siberians (24 battalions, 6 squadrons, 96 guns, 12 mortars,
and 1 sapper battalion) on the line Erh-tai-tzu–Khou-kha.[74]

(_b_) 1st Army Corps, which concentrated in Mukden early in
September[75] (32 battalions, 6 squadrons, 96 guns, 1 sapper
battalion), along the Mandarin road on the line Pu-ho–Ta-wa.

5. The protection of the extreme right was entrusted to Kossagovski
(6-1/2 battalions, 9 squadrons, 14 guns), the main body of which was at
Kao-li-tun on the Liao.

6. A brigade of the 6th Siberians (8 battalions and 1-1/2 _sotnias_)
was concentrated at Tieh-ling to protect our communications.

7. The Trans-Baikal and Ural Cossack Brigades which did not belong to
any corps were joined together under the command of Mischenko (21
_sotnias_ and 8 guns).

Besides putting the finishing touches to the main position at Mukden,
which had already been fortified, the defensive work consisted of
strengthening the Fu-liang and Fu-shun positions, and throwing up some
works on the right bank of the Hun Ho between Mukden and Fu-liang. The
object of these was to check the enemy crossing until our reserves
could come up. In addition to this, much was done to improve the
communications towards Tieh-ling. On September 20 I learned by telegram
from the Viceroy of the formation of the 2nd Manchurian Army. This was
to comprise the 6th Siberians and 8th Army Corps, five Rifle brigades
from Russia, a Cossack infantry brigade, the 4th Don and 2nd Caucasian
Cossack Divisions, and three dragoon regiments of the 10th Cavalry
Division. General Grippenberg was appointed to the command of this
force on September 24.

Our position at Mukden had some very grave defects.

1. Its left flank (Fu-liang–Fu-shun) was, owing to the bend in the Hun
Ho to the north-east of Mukden, thrown much too far back. If the enemy
were successful on this flank, and came out on to our communications,
we should be compelled to abandon the main position prematurely.

2. Almost immediately in rear of the position was the River Hun, which
was at the time unfordable, and could only be crossed by bridges.
Behind the river was the town itself.

3. The Fu-shun coal-mines, which were most necessary to us (for railway
fuel), were right in front of the position.

These drawbacks, as well as our great desire to prevent any of the
enemy’s forces being detached for the reinforcement of Nogi’s besieging
army, drove us to try and take the offensive as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the drafts whereby to replace our losses were still arriving
at the front very slowly; during July and August only 4,200 men were
received. On September 29 the eight corps composing the Manchurian Army
could only muster 151,000 rifles, the deficit in officers being 670.
Besides these corps, the Viceroy put the 6th Siberian Corps[76] under
my command, with the proviso that it should not be included in the
army, and should not be split up.[77] It was concentrated at Mukden on
October 8. My requests that the units of the 1st Siberian Division—some
ten battalions—which were not included in the army, might be made over
to me were not acceded to. But although we were really too weak, an
advance seemed more advantageous than waiting for the enemy to attack,
for there seemed little chance of our being able to hold our ground on
the Mukden positions.

According to our information, the Japanese main forces had crossed
on to the right bank of the Tai-tzu Ho, between Liao-yang and
Pen-hsi-hu, and were disposed approximately as follows: In the
centre, behind the line Yen-tai station–Yen-tai mines, six divisions
with brigades in reserve; on the right, écheloned along the line
Pan-chia-pu-tzu–Pen-hsi-hu, two divisions with brigades in reserve;
on the left, more or less along the line San-de-pu–Sha-tai-tzu, two
divisions with their reserves. The enemy had fortified their positions
on the Yen-tai heights and at Pan-chia-pu-tzu. It was decided,
therefore, that the first object of our advance was to hurl the
Japanese back on to the left bank of the Tai-tzu Ho. To do this we
were to deliver a frontal attack, and at the same time endeavour to
turn their right, so that, if successful, we should dislodge them from
the hills. Orders were issued for the forward movement to commence on
October 5. The following was the plan of advance decided upon by me:

1. _Western Force._—This force, under Bilderling, consisting of the
10th and 17th Corps (total, 64 battalions, 40 squadrons and _sotnias_,
196 guns, and 2 sapper battalions), was to make a demonstration in
front against the enemy’s main force.

2. _Eastern Force._—This force, under Shtakelberg, consisting of
the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Siberians (total, 73 battalions, 29 squadrons
and _sotnias_, 142 guns, 6 mortars, 32 machine-guns, and 3 sapper
battalions), was to attack the right flank of the enemy, moving round
it from the east. The first objective of this force was the enemy’s
positions at Pan-chia-pu-tzu.[78]

3. _The General Reserve._—This, consisting of the 1st Army Corps and
4th Siberians, with Mischenko’s brigade (total, 56 battalions, 20
_sotnias_, 208 guns, 30 mortars, and 2 sapper battalions), was to move
up in rear of the interval between the western and eastern forces.

4. _The 6th Siberians_ (32 battalions, 6 _sotnias_, 96 guns, and 1
sapper battalion) was to remain temporarily in Mukden (with a brigade
at Tieh-ling), so that it might either be moved to a flank or added to
the reserve, according as the operations developed.

5. _Flank Guards._—A force of 30-1/2 battalions, 39 _sotnias_, 82 guns,
and 1 sapper battalion was told off to protect the flanks. Of this,
19-1/2 battalions, 25 _sotnias_, 64 guns, and the sapper battalion were
to take part in the attack of the enemy’s position while keeping touch
with Dembovski’s and Rennenkampf’s columns of the eastern and western
forces respectively.

6. Should the enemy concentrate towards their right, an endeavour
was to be made to break through their centre in the direction of the
Yen-tai mines by the 6th Siberians, with Bilderling’s force and the
general reserve.

The advance began on October 5, and meeting with no determined
opposition, we on the 9th occupied the following positions:

_Western Force._—The line Shih-li-ho–Ta-pu.

_Eastern Force._—The line San-chia-tzu–Shang-shan-tzu–Ununin.

_In the Centre._—By the range of hills south of Khaamatan (with the
assistance of a portion of the general reserve).

The 4th Siberians, especially the Tomsk, Barnaul, and Irkutsk
Regiments, did excellent work, as did Mischenko’s mounted force,
reinforced by the 4th East Siberian Rifle Regiment. Rennenkampf’s
column moved out into the Tai-tzu Ho Valley, and worked along both
banks of the river towards Pen-hsi-hu. Though the independent
regiments of the 1st and 3rd Siberians suffered heavily, overcame
the difficulties of the locality, and made altogether a gallant bid
for success, they failed in their object, mainly owing to the lack
of co-ordination in the plan of operations, and of cohesion in its
execution. On the evening of the 10th the Japanese themselves took the
offensive, having concentrated their main forces opposite our right and
centre. Bilderling’s western force, after fighting desperately against
heavy odds and losing forty-six guns, fell back on the 12th on to the
main position on the Sha Ho. Our centre, augmented by the 1st Corps,
found itself, in consequence, too far forward, and was obliged on the
evening of the 13th to commence a retirement on to the high ground near
the position of the western force, and occupied the heights south of
Erh-ta-ho. From the 10th to the 12th Shtakelberg’s eastern force made a
gallant but vain endeavour to get possession of the almost inaccessible
ridges to the north of the road from Pen-hsi-hu to the Yen-tai mines.
His dangerous position, thirteen miles in advance, and the necessity
for collecting enough troops in our centre to repulse the further
attacks of the enemy’s main body, compelled me on the 12th to order him
to withdraw to the high ground of the position occupied by the rest of
the army, and to move a portion of his force in support of our centre.
The enemy’s further attempts to drive us from the ground we were
holding were unsuccessful, though we were hard pressed on the Sha Ho,
and the general desire to retire on our Mukden positions became very
great. In a night attack on the 15th the enemy succeeded in dislodging
two regiments of the 22nd Division from the “One Tree Peak,” which they
were holding on the left bank of the Sha Ho between the villages of
Sha-ho-pu and Sha-ho-tung. The loss of this height, which commanded us
on the right bank of the river, and constituted, so to speak, the key
of our position, by no means improved the situation. On the evening of
the 16th, therefore, I concentrated a force of twenty-five battalions
under Putiloff, whom I ordered to attack the enemy in front and flank.
After desperate hand-to-hand fighting, he succeeded on the morning of
the 17th in driving them off the heights, and captured eleven guns, one
machine-gun, many limbers and waggons. This episode put the finishing
touch to the major operations of both sides, and we now proceeded to
pass the winter in our respective positions in close touch with one

The reasons of the indecisive issue to the battle were:

1. Shtakelberg’s unskilful disposition of the large force put under his
command, which was (as we discovered later) almost three times the size
of that opposed to him.

2. The absence of proper control and generalship among senior
commanders of the western force.

3. The abortive operations of, and lack of energy displayed by the
officer commanding the 10th Corps. (Among other things, he not only
retired quite unnecessarily on October 12 from his position on the left
bank of the Sha Ho, but also neglected to warn his neighbour in command
of the 1st Corps, who was in consequence placed in a critical position.)

4. The useless manœuvres of the officer commanding the 31st Division,
who several times ordered one of his brigades to retire without due

5. The unsteadiness of many units.[79]

6. The lack of cohesion in the operations of the 6th Siberians (on the
right of the western force).

During this battle of the Sha Ho the senior commanders—Generals
Bilderling and Shtakelberg—were given instructions as to what was
required of them generally, but were left to make their dispositions

As will be seen from the above brief sketch of events, the September
fighting had no decisive results. The two sides suffered equally, and
lost about 50,000 men each. Still, our assumption of the offensive,
even with inadequate numbers, greatly improved our strategical
position by moving our general front thirteen miles forward in front of
Mukden, and afforded us a matter of four and a half months of time. As
soon as we occupied the positions on the Sha Ho from Shou-lin-tzu on
the right flank to Kao-tu-ling on the left, we set to work fortifying
them. Besides ten battalions of the 1st Corps, the whole of the 1st
Siberians and twenty-four battalions of the 6th Corps were moved into
the general reserve in rear of the centre, and we were confident that
we would be able to hold our ground. We still had, however, a very
small number of men—indeed, in some units the shortage was alarming.
The total strength of the 252 battalions comprising our army on October
25 was only 140,000 rifles, which works out at an average strength of
550 per battalion, while many battalions could not even muster 400
men. Not less disquieting was the lack of officers, which now amounted
in the infantry alone to over 2,700, or an average deficiency per
battalion of eleven. Meanwhile the drafts to repair wastage were still
coming up in driblets. In October and November we only received some
13,000 men. It was not till December 8 that they began to reach us in
any quantity; during that month and the first half of January 72,000
arrived. I reported upon this vital question in my letters to the Tsar
of October 26 and November 5.

In his despatches of October 23 and 26 His Majesty was pleased to
inform me that I had been appointed to the supreme command of all the
forces in the Far East, that General Linievitch was appointed to the
command of the 1st, and General Baron Kaulbars to the command of the
3rd Army.[80] My first act was to augment the army by adding to it the
whole of the 1st Siberian and 61st Divisions, the latter of which was
intended by Alexeieff for the Pri-Amur district. This at once added
20,000 rifles to the field army; the leading units also of the 8th
Corps began to arrive at the beginning of November, and at the end of
the month were concentrated at Mukden. But the main thing which still
remained to be done was the improvement of our railway communication
with Russia, which became more than ever necessary on account of the
increased army to be supplied.

On November 28 the effective strength of all three armies, including
the 8th Corps, amounted to 210,000 men. Our information as to the enemy
put their strength at this date at about 200,000. Although we were
rather superior in numbers, our superiority was too slight to insure
a successful offensive under the particularly difficult conditions
offered by the intense cold weather, and the fact that the enemy’s
positions were strongly fortified. The low temperature rendered the
lightest trench work practically impossible, and made the provision of
a large amount of warm clothing an absolute necessity. Our preparations
for the offensive, as regards making Mukden an intermediate base and
our engineering work, began in November. In addition to the branch
railway to the Fu-shun mines, which was completed that month, a branch
was laid to the right flank of our dispositions,[81] and a field line
to Rennenkampf’s force on the left.[82] But still, when December came
we were not ready to advance, mainly owing to the delay in railway
construction, largely caused by the weather. Although I was informed
by the War Minister, in a communication dated November 8, that the
running capacity of the Siberian and Trans-Baikal lines would from
October 28 be brought up to twelve pairs of military trains, we never
received as many right up to the end of the war. The result of this was
that the expected drafts, as well as the three Rifle brigades, arrived
about ten days later than we had calculated on receiving them, and
there was great delay in the distribution of warm clothing to the men,
particularly felt boots. Very great difficulty also was experienced in
collecting the food-supplies necessary for the forward movement, and
in organizing new transport units.

When, in the middle of December, I summoned a meeting of the three
army commanders and consulted them as to the possible date of an
advance, in view of the critical state of affairs at Port Arthur, they
unanimously stated that it was essential to await the arrival of the
whole of the 16th Corps. On receiving the news of the surrender of
the fortress, I again asked their opinions as to whether—in view of
Oyama’s armies being probably augmented by that of Nogi—they did not
consider it desirable to commence an advance at an earlier date. But
they still adhered to their former opinion, modifying it only to the
extent that we should begin our advance while this corps was arriving,
and not wait until its concentration was completed. As regards the
actual plan of the offensive operations, the opinions of the three
army commanders were the same—namely, that we should deliver the
main blow with as large a force as possible at the enemy’s left, and
envelop it. The only difference of opinion was as to the depth of this
envelopment. The boldest and most original plan was that proposed by
Grippenberg—namely, that he should undertake, with the 2nd Army, a
wide turning movement—almost an envelopment—of the enemy’s left in the
direction of Yen-tai station, and cut himself free from the 3rd Army.
He considered it necessary to have seven corps under his command for
this operation. This, however, was impracticable, as, even without
leaving any troops as a general reserve, besides the 16th Corps then
arriving, only four corps could be given him—namely, the 8th, 10th,
1st Siberian, and the Composite Rifle Corps. General Linievitch, who
was apprehensive that the enemy might attack the 1st Army, thought
it dangerous to give Grippenberg the 1st Siberians. Kaulbars, in his
turn, thought it impossible, without grave risk of the 3rd Army being
driven from its positions, to detach any portion of it to the 2nd Army.
Finally, Grippenberg’s plan, though it promised great advantages in the
event of success, seemed very risky, for it extended our already long
front still more, and made it so attenuated that it would be liable to
be broken by a determined attack at any point. Moreover, no general
reserve would be left at my disposal with which to deal with any
unforeseen emergency.

After proposing the above bold plan, Grippenberg suddenly went to the
other extreme, and became pessimistic. For instance, on January 13,
he informed me that the campaign was as good as lost, that we ought
to retire to Harbin, hold on to that point and Vladivostok, and from
thence move with two armies “in other directions.” On my asking him
which were the directions in which we should move, he gave no clear
explanation. The same idea was expressed also in a report received on
the same day (dated January 12) from General Ruzski, the Chief of the
Staff of the 2nd Army. In it was contained Grippenberg’s opinion that
it was impossible for us to dream of being successful after Nogi’s
arrival, and that—

 “The officer commanding the Army accordingly inclines to the
 conclusion that, under the circumstances, the best solution of
 the question would be to fall back to Mukden, or further if
 necessary, and there to await a favourable opportunity to take
 the offensive.”

However, it was finally decided, in accordance with the opinions of
Linievitch and Kaulbars, and with the consent of Grippenberg, to take
the offensive in January, on the condition that complete and direct
touch was maintained between all three armies.

According to our information, the strength of the Japanese armies was
approximately as follows:

  Kuroki’s Army    68 battalions, 21 squadrons,
                      and 204 guns
  Nodzu’s Army     50 battalions, 11 squadrons,
                      and 168 guns
  Oku’s Army       60 battalions, 29 squadrons,
                      and 234 guns

or a total in all three armies under Oyama of 178 battalions, 61
squadrons, and 606 guns. It was calculated that they could put 200,000
rifles in the field against us on January 14, 1905. As a matter of
fact, we underestimated the number. From the prisoners we took we knew
accurately what was going on in their 1st Army, but we were unable to
ascertain with sufficient accuracy and in good time what was happening
in the rear, or what reinforcements were being received. Their
fortified positions were as follows: The left flank up to the village
of Hsiao-tung-kou was held by Oku. In the centre was Nodzu’s army. On
the right was Kuroki. Opposite Rennenkampf, on our extreme left, was a
force under Kavamura amounting to about 15,000 to 20,000 men. Nogi’s
army was estimated at 72 battalions, 5 squadrons, and 156 guns; but
which units had reached Oyama, and how they were grouped, we did not

In order to induce the enemy to detach as many men as possible for
their line of communications, and so weaken their front, to handicap
their supply arrangements, and to stop the rail transport of Nogi’s
units to the front, a raid by a mounted force[83] was organized against
their line of communications. The objects of this raid, which was under
Mischenko, were:

1. To seize Newchuang station, and destroy the large stocks of
food-supplies collected there; and—

2. To blow up the railway-bridges and destroy the track on the portion
of the line from Ta-shih-chiao to Kai-ping.

Neither object was fully attained, chiefly owing to the slowness with
which the force moved. Individual episodes that occurred are, however,
very instructive, and show that our cavalry is quite fitted to perform
the most self-sacrificing duties.

The plan agreed upon for the main advance was explained in my orders of
January 19. Just as it had been in September, our primary object was to
drive the enemy behind the Tai-tzu Ho, and to inflict on him as much
damage as possible. The force selected for our first attentions was
Oku’s left-flank army, the left wing of which was to be enveloped. The
advance of the 1st and 3rd Armies against the positions held by Nodzu
and Kuroki were to be started and developed in accordance with, and
depending upon, the measure of success attending the efforts of the 2nd
and 3rd Armies to capture the enemy’s left-flank positions on the Sha
Ho. The armies were given the following tasks:

1. The 2nd Army was to gain possession of the line of Japanese
works San-de-pu–Lita-jen-tun–Ta-tai–San-chia-tzu, and then the line
Tsun-lun-ian-tun–Ta-ta-san-pu along the Sha Ho. And, conformably to
the enemy’s action and the success attained by the 3rd Army, it was,
while throwing a strong containing force to the south, to develop its
operations towards the line San-tia-tzu–Shih-li-ho, and on the heights
south of the last village.

2. The 3rd Army was to capture the line of works Chang-ling-pu–Ling-
shen-pu, and then the line along the Sha Ho from the latter point to
Hun-ling-pu inclusive. And, conformably to the enemy’s action and the
successes attained by the 2nd Army, it was to develop its operations
towards the line Hei-te-kai Peak–Hung-pao Shan Peak.

3. The 1st Army was to co-operate in the capture of Hou-te-kai
Peak, and seize the heights near the villages of Cheng-san-lin-tzu
and Shih-shan-tzu. And according to the action of the enemy and
the successes attained by the 2nd and 3rd Armies, it was, with the
assistance of the 3rd Army, to develop its operations towards the
positions near the villages Ta-pu, San-chia-tzu, Shan-lu-ho-tzu, which
we had occupied on the 10th to 12th October.

In my orders of January 21 it was clearly defined that the above scheme
would require modification dependent on the line of action adopted by
the Japanese.

If, contrary to our calculations, the enemy preferred to contain our
2nd and 3rd Armies, and to fall with the rest of their forces on the
1st, or on the interval between the 1st and 3rd Armies, the position
would call for a very energetic advance against their flank by the 2nd
and 3rd Armies.

If they should at once fall back on their second line of positions
without holding on to their first line, we should endeavour to turn
their retirement into a disordered retreat.

January 25 was the day fixed for the commencement of our advance,
but, owing to the action of Grippenberg, who should have started the
movement, the arrangements had to be altered. Almost a fortnight before
our operations began our chances of success had been unfortunately
reduced by certain dispositions made by him. The corps to be attached
to his army were disposed as follows:

  8th Corps        South of the River Hun on
                     both sides of the railway.
  10th Corps       At Bai-ta-pu village on the
                     Mandarin road.
  1st Siberians    Behind the right flank of the
                     1st Army.

The right of the 2nd Army between the 5th Siberians and the River
Hun was only protected by cavalry, while a separate column of five
battalions and two cavalry regiments under Kossagovski was on the right
bank of the river. Notwithstanding the instructions issued that these
dispositions were to hold good as long as possible, in order that we
might conceal our intentions from the enemy, and also that the 10th
Corps—intended to act as a reserve in the event of their striking at
our centre—was not to be moved from its place without my knowledge, on
January 14 Grippenberg transferred the 14th Division over on to the
left bank of the Hun, and on the 16th, without letting me know, moved
the 10th Corps closer to the right of the 3rd Army. These movements,
of course, at once disclosed our intentions, and information soon came
in that the enemy had, in their turn, commenced moving their troops
westwards and fortifying opposite our new dispositions.

The strength of the army was:

  |        |  Bat- |Squadrons |Field|Mortars|Siege|Machine| Sapper|
  |        |talions|   and    |-Guns|       |-Guns| -Guns |  Bat- |
  |        |       | Sotnias  |     |       |     |       |talions|
  |2nd Army|  120  |   92     |  412|  24   |   4 |  20   |    3  |
  |3rd Army|   72  |   18     |  294|  54   |  56 |  12   |    3  |
  |1st Army|  127  |   43     |  360|  12   |  -- |   8   |    5  |
  |General |       |          |     |       |     |       |       |
  | Reserve|   42  |   --     |  120|  --   |  -- |   4   |    -- |
  |        +-------+----------+-----+-------+-----+-------+-------+
  |   Total|  361  |  153     |1,186| 90[84]|  60 |  44   |   11  |

By the middle of January our numbers were, as regards rank and file,
almost up to the authorized war strength, except in the Composite
Rifle, 8th and 16th Corps, which had arrived short, so that the total
of our forces was about 300,000 rifles. Although the establishment in
officers was not fully complete, we now had some 5,600 in the infantry,
which gave us on the average 15 per battalion.

The advance began on January 25, as ordered, the 1st Siberians first
seizing the village of Huan-lo-to-tzu, and later, after a hot fight
lasting all day, the village of Hei-kou-tai;[85] Kossagovski’s
column gained possession of Chi-tai-tzu and Ma-ma-kai without much
difficulty. San-de-pu was not attacked that day. Of the 14th Division,
which was intended for this attack, three regiments were sent on
the 22nd to join Mischenko’s force, in order to strike a separate
blow at a small Japanese force of all arms, which, according to
spies, was in occupation of A-shih-niu. Mischenko moved against this
place with his infantry, but found no enemy there, and so the 14th
Division was marched forty miles on a fool’s errand, and only arrived
at Chang-tan on the morning of the 26th, thoroughly exhausted. The
action of the 25th for the village of Hei-kou-tai, which we only
seized with great difficulty and after heavy loss, in spite of our
overwhelming superiority, indicated that such strongly fortified
points as San-de-pu and Lita-jen-tun could not be attacked without
proper previous preparation, for we could not afford to waste men. I
particularly underlined the necessity for this in my directions—“For
the operations of the 2nd Army in capturing the enemy’s fortified
line San-de-pu–Lita-jen-tun–Ta-tai,” dated January 15, and also in
my instructions with regard to the 2nd Army’s operations against the
Lita-jen-tun portion, dated January 16. Notwithstanding this, in the
orders for the dispositions of the 2nd Army on January 26, it was to
operate on the line from Hou-leng-tai to the Hun—over a distance of
ten miles against a fortified position—and to capture the two strongly
defended points, San-de-pu and Lita-jen-tun. Grippenberg, moreover,
came to no understanding with Kaulbars as to co-operation, and it was
only upon a request made by the commander of the 10th Corps that the
commander of the 3rd Army arranged to co-operate with his artillery,
and so prepare the assault of the 5th Siberians. Being by chance in
Hsui-tun just at the time when the 10th Corps was making ready to carry
out its allotted task, I was able to avert a dispersed attack (over a
stretch of thirteen miles), and to prevent the employment of troops in
an unprepared assault on strongly fortified positions. The attack to
be made by the left flank of the 2nd Army on the morning of January 26
was countermanded by Grippenberg himself, but the order was delayed
in transmission, and if I had not been in Hsui-tun it would have taken

The attack of the village of San-de-pu by the 14th Division alone
failed, and it could hardly have done otherwise in the absence of
any artillery preparation. Neither the ground round it nor the
fortifications of the place itself had been studied, and no sketch-plan
of it had been made or issued to the troops. The result was that our
guns shelled a village called Pei-tai-tzu, north-east of San-de-pu,
all day instead of the place itself, which they did not touch, while
the 14th Division attacked and captured Pao-tai-tzu (to the west of
San-de-pu), and reported to me they had taken San-de-pu. The outer
enclosure of San-de-pu village was mistaken by this division for that
of a _reduit_ inside the village, and acting upon the assumption that
they were not strong enough to seize this _reduit_, they were ordered
back to their former positions, and abandoned Pao-tai-tzu. Meanwhile,
having received the report that San-de-pu had been taken, Grippenberg
gave orders for the heavy guns and mortars with the 8th Corps to be
sent at once to the 10th Corps, in order to prepare the assault of
Lita-jen-tun next day. At the same time, as his men, who had had no
sleep for three nights, were utterly exhausted, he asked permission
to rest his army on the 27th. Accordingly, the 1st Siberians were
ordered to halt in the area south-east of Hei-kou-tai; but as we
had not yet taken this area, the order led to this corps having to
fight a separate action on the 27th for the possession of Su-ma-pu
and Piao-tsao. When it became known on the morning of the 27th that
San-de-pu had not been taken, Grippenberg was obliged to give up all
idea of repeating the attack on the 27th, as he had sent his heavy
guns to the 10th Corps. The decision was also necessitated by the fact
that the Japanese had sent up strong reinforcements. When Shtakelberg
was informed that San-de-pu had not been taken, he did not consider
it possible to carry out Grippenberg’s twice repeated order to cease
his attack, and late in the evening, after a hot fight, he seized the
greater part of Su-ma-pu by a disconnected attack with four regiments.
But being counter-attacked at dawn on the 28th by superior numbers both
in front and on the left, he was forced to fall back with great loss
(6,000 men). By that evening the 1st Siberians were holding a position
on the line Tou-pao–Chu-san-ho-tzu, which the Japanese continued to
assault with great fury till the early morning. The despatch of troops
towards Su-ma-pu in no way met the circumstances: it led to a needless
digression from the main objective of the whole operations—_i.e._,
San-de-pu—and generally to a still greater extension of the already
too long front occupied by the 2nd Army. In order to divert the enemy’s
attention from our right flank by a demonstration, the villages of
Hsia-tai-tzu and La-pa-tai were attacked and seized on January 27 by
part of the 10th Corps under Tserpitski; but as we were not ready to
storm San-de-pu, these places were abandoned.

The cavalry of the 2nd Army, under Mischenko, made a bold dash at the
enemy’s rear, and succeeded in killing and capturing a good many;
but their success would have been far greater had the Don regiments
under Teleshoff not been late in arriving. Mischenko, who was at the
head of the advanced _sotnias_, was severely wounded, and Teleshoff,
who succeeded in the command, failed to carry out the task entrusted
to him. He neither sent word that the Japanese were receiving
reinforcements, nor helped the Siberians when they were fighting for

By evening on the 28th the situation in the 2nd Army was roughly as
follows: The positions north of San-de-pu, along a front of eight
miles—from the positions occupied by the 3rd Army up to the River
Hun—were held by the 10th Corps and 15th Division; sixteen battalions
of the former had been brought closer to the river, and behind them
was the reserve of the 3rd Army, a brigade of the 17th Corps. The
Composite Rifle Corps and 1st Siberians were distributed along a front
west of San-de-pu, on the line Chan-chua-tzu–Tou-pao. Kossagovski’s
force was at San-chia-tzu. The reserve of the 2nd Army consisted of
only one regiment of the 14th Division,[86] and Grippenberg had (26th
to 28th) three times asked for reinforcements to be sent him from the
general reserve. The front of the 2nd Army was spread over twenty
miles. Thus, by the evening of the 28th the greater part of that army
was separated from the 3rd Army by San-de-pu village, which was still
in the enemy’s hands, and was dispersed over a long line fronting
south-east. Whilst so distributed, not only was it difficult to assist
it with troops from the 3rd Army in the event of its being attacked,
but there was the danger, if the enemy reinforced heavily, of their
being in a position to employ San-de-pu as a pivot, force back the
Rifle Corps, and break through on to the communications of the 1st
Siberians. Meanwhile reports came in which showed that only a portion
of the enemy’s available forces were operating against Grippenberg,
while the movement of Kuroki’s and Nodzu’s troops to the west showed
that the enemy could still throw another six divisions into the fight.
They might be moved against the weakened and extended front of the 3rd
Army, thrust into the interval between the 3rd Army and the Hun Ho, or
used as reinforcements to the troops operating against our positions
west of San-de-pu.

About 7 p.m. Kaulbars reported to me that the enemy had at 4 p.m. begun
a movement in great strength towards their advanced positions. At the
same time this movement became disclosed, and we opened artillery and
rifle fire. As the reserve of the 3rd Army had already been given
to the 2nd, I was obliged, as a temporary measure, to give Kaulbars
the 72nd Division from my reserve. This left me with only thirty
battalions of the 16th Corps, which had just arrived. Although the
positions held by the Composite Rifle Corps and 1st Siberians had
behind them an ice-covered river with steep frozen banks that hindered
the crossing of all three arms, and were therefore inconvenient, yet
the situation of the 2nd Army—enveloping San-de-pu, as it did—offered
us certain advantages if we could only drive back the troops attacking
the 1st Siberians and succeed in storming that place on the 29th.
When, therefore, the above report came in from Kaulbars, the Chief of
Staff of the 2nd Army was asked on the telephone when it was proposed
to start the assault on San-de-pu. To this Ruzski replied that it
certainly could not take place next day, as it had not been properly
prepared by artillery, and that it was impossible then to fix a time
for it. On account of the vagueness of this reply, he was instructed
to report to Grippenberg the information sent in by Kaulbars, and also
the orders in which the 2nd Army was instructed to take up a more
concentrated position in the early hours of the 29th, assuming as their
first task the defence of the line Ssu-fang-tai—Chang-tan—Ta-man-ta-pu.
Grippenberg, who was in a neighbouring apartment with a telephone,
did not say a single word to this message,[87] and these orders
were carried out. All the enemy’s attacks on the positions
Tou-pao–Chu-san-ho-tzu were repulsed by the 1st Siberians before

Thus ended our first attempt at the offensive, and it cost us 10,000
men. The chief cause of our failure was, of course, our neglect to
prepare properly the assault on San-de-pu, which again was a sign that
we did not yet sufficiently respect our foe. Though a contempt of the
enemy was all through the war evinced by the senior officers when
they first arrived at the front, yet after our first actions it was
generally, and perhaps unfortunately, replaced by an exaggerated idea
of their merits. The absence of proper touch between Grippenberg and
the corps under him was also responsible for much, as, owing to it, the
transmission of orders and of information was greatly delayed. The
whole of the 8th and Composite Rifle Corps, again, did not shine in
action. For instance, on the 28th, certain units of the 15th Division,
though not at all pressed, began to retire without permission. By
doing so they exposed the siege battery they were covering, which was
preparing to destroy its guns and blow up its ammunition preparatory to
retiring itself.

On January 30 Grippenberg reported himself sick by letter, and by the
Tsar’s permission left on February 3 for St. Petersburg. This action
of his set a fatal example both to those under him and to the rest of
the army, and was most harmful to all discipline. The opinions, also,
that he had expressed, to the effect that the campaign was virtually
over, and that we should retire to Mukden and Harbin, had a dangerously
disturbing effect on our weaker members. It was in the long-run more
harmful than any single defeat of a portion of our force would have

When the right flank of the 2nd Army fell back, the army held a
line from Fu-cha-chuang-tzu to Ssu-fang-tai. The enemy made several
unsuccessful attempts to drive us from those of their advanced
positions that we had captured, their main efforts being directed
towards the recapture of Pei-tai-tzu and Chang-tan-ho-nan. We, on our
side, made energetic preparation to continue the advance we had begun
so unluckily. Fresh siege batteries were brought up, the approaches to
the enemy’s defended posts were carefully reconnoitred, and detailed
plans were made. On February 16 we received some drafts, which were
used to make good the casualties in the 1st Siberians and the Composite
Rifle Corps, both of which had suffered so heavily at Hei-kou-tai.

On February 10 General Kaulbars assumed command of the 2nd Army,
and Bilderling temporarily took over command of the 3rd. Meanwhile,
early in this month, information kept coming in that large bodies of
Japanese cavalry with guns, together with bands of Hun-huses, were
collecting in Mongolia, especially near the portion of the railway
between Kung-chu-ling and Kuang-cheng-tzu, and early on the morning
of the 12th the enemy raided the line north of the station of the
former name and blew up a railway-bridge. The same day a reconnoitring
party of the Frontier Guards suddenly came on a Japanese force of two
cavalry regiments, a battalion, and some 2,000 Hun-huses near the
Mongolian frontier. In the ensuing action we lost a number of men and
one gun. General Chichagoff continued to report with great insistence
that large bodies of the enemy—over 10,000 strong—were collecting in
Mongolia for the purpose of cutting our communications. Believing these
reports, I detailed a brigade of the 41st Division and the whole of
the Don Cossack Division to reinforce our protective troops on the
railway itself, upon which, of course, we were dependent for supplies,
drafts, and reinforcements. In addition to this, I also put some 15,000
reservists[88] under the command of General Nadaroff, to strengthen the
Frontier Guards and the line-of-communication troops generally.

The rumours that we heard at this same time also of the landing of a
large Japanese force in Northern Korea (assumed to be in connection
with the liberation of Nogi’s army by the surrender of Port Arthur),
part of which might be detailed for operations against Vladivostok,
compelled me to take in hand the strengthening of our forces in the
Primorsk district, and of the Vladivostok garrison in particular. With
this end in view, a mixed brigade of six battalions, formed from men
of the 1st Army, was sent to the fortress. In order to enable this
brigade to be expanded into a division, and each of the Rifle regiments
in the Primorsk district into regiments of four battalions, it was
necessary, first of all, to divide the drafts which had come up for the
army between the field army and the troops in the Primorsk district.
Although forced to reduce the strength of the field army to the above
extent, I made a mistake in not insisting upon a sufficiently strong
general reserve being formed. To do this I should have taken the whole
of the 17th Corps into my reserve, though such a course would have been
against the opinion of General Bilderling (who considered it dangerous
to weaken the 3rd Army, as he had no reliance in the steadiness of the
reserve troops of that army, the 5th and 6th Siberians). Instead of the
thirty-two battalions, which would have been thus obtained, only one
division, the 6th Siberians,[89] was added to the general reserve.

In my orders issued after our disastrous action at Hei-kou-tai, it was
laid down that as many units as possible should be taken out of the
firing-line, so that strong army reserves might be formed. In order
to render this possible, it was pointed out that defensive positions
should not be held in equal strength along the whole front; that it
was sufficient to prepare and hold the most important portions of a
line as strongly as possible; and that, by holding on to these at all
costs, time would be gained in which reserves could be pushed up to any
threatened section. Unfortunately, I left too much to the experience
and discretion of the army commanders, and did not sufficiently insist
on exact compliance with my instructions.

Adhering to the original plan of offensive operations decided upon in
accordance with the opinions of all the army commanders, I requested
Kaulbars to fix the first day for the advance. He first chose February
23, but owing to the troops of the 2nd Army being worn out with the
very heavy work they had done in connection with the fortification of
the positions, the advance was, at his own request, postponed till
the 25th. On the 24th, however, Kaulbars heard that the date for
the assault of San-de-pu was known to the enemy. He therefore lost
hope of success, and asked that the assault might be indefinitely
postponed. Meanwhile, on the 23rd, the enemy advanced in force against
the Ching-ho-cheng column, and this body fell back from its fortified
position next day after fighting an unsuccessful engagement.

At the commencement of the Japanese advance our armies were distributed
as follows:

_Right Flank._—2nd Army, consisting of the 1st Siberians, Composite
Rifle, 8th and 10th Corps, a brigade of the 3rd and a mixed brigade
of the 5th Siberians (total, 126 battalions), occupying the line
Ssu-fang-tai–Chang-tan–Hou-lien-tai, a length of sixteen miles.

_Centre._—3rd Army, consisting of the 5th Siberians (less
two regiments), 17th Corps, and one division of the 6th
Siberians (total, 72 battalions), occupying the line Hou-lien-tai–Ling-
shen-pu–Sha-ho-pu–Shan-lan-tzu, a length of eleven miles.

_Left Flank._—Here were the 1st Army (less one regiment), 4th, 2nd,
and 3rd Siberians (the latter less one brigade), 71st Division,
Independent Siberian Reserve Brigade, and two Trans-Baikal
infantry battalions (total, 128 battalions), occupying the line
Shan-lan-tzu–Lu-chiang-tun–Erh-ta-kou–Lia-cheng-wu-tun, and further
along the right bank of the Sha Ho, having its left flank three miles
east of the Kao-tai Ling (Pass), a length of thirty miles. The 1st Army
also had independent columns at Ching-ho-cheng and Hsin-tsin-tin.

_The General Reserve_ consisted of forty-four battalions—namely, the
16th Corps (less one brigade) on the railway six miles south of Mukden
station, 72nd Division, and 146th Tsaritsin Regiment, behind the right
flank of the 1st Army at Huang-shan.

On February 23 the shortage in the infantry (rank and file) of all
three armies was 49,000.

A “Short Account of the Operations round Mukden in February, 1905,” was
submitted to His Majesty the Tsar with a letter from me dated May 13,
1905. A detailed description of these operations has been completed,
and has now also been submitted to His Majesty. The whole of the
Mukden operations can be divided into three phases:

1. From February 23 to 28, till the turning movement against our right
flank developed.

2. From February 28 to March 9—the period of our concentration on the
right bank of the Hun Ho, and our attempts to drive back the enemy who
were enveloping us.

3. From March 9 to 16—our final attempt to hold on to Mukden, and our
forced abandonment of it.

                             FIRST PHASE.

During this the enemy directed their attention exclusively to the left
flank of the 1st Army—to Rennenkampf’s force, the 3rd, and (partly) the
2nd Siberians. Amongst the troops operating against Rennenkampf was the
11th Japanese Division from Port Arthur, and from this it was surmised
that other portions of Nogi’s army were also acting on that flank. The
widely extended position of the 1st Army, bearing in mind the absence
of an adequate army reserve; the concentration of large bodies of
the enemy against the 2nd and 3rd Siberians, disclosed on February
24; the retirement of the Ching-ho-cheng force; the possibility of a
turning movement against it; and, finally, the decision of the officer
commanding the 2nd Army to postpone the attack indefinitely—all these
made me decide to reinforce the 1st Army quickly from my general
reserve, not only in order to check the enemy, but also in order
to operate actively ourselves. The first reinforcements despatched
were: a brigade of the 6th East Siberian Rifle Division on February
24 to protect the left flank of the Ching-ho-cheng force, and the
146th Regiment and 2nd Brigade of the 72nd Division on February 25
to reinforce the left flank of the 1st Army. Finally, when it was
discovered that the enemy were operating in great strength against the
left flank of the Kao-tai Ling position, the 1st Siberians and 1st
Brigade of the 72nd Division were sent on February 27 to assist the
1st Army in its projected advance. On this day, also, the 85th Viborg
Regiment was sent to reinforce Daniloff’s force. When the 1st Army
received these additions, amounting in all to fifty-four battalions,
the advance of Kuroki’s army and of the right flank force of Kavamura
was checked; but still our intended advance did not take place (owing
to the exaggerated reports as to the enemy’s strength), and the 1st
Siberians were sent back to the right flank to rejoin the general

                             SECOND PHASE.

The first report of large bodies of Japanese infantry appearing near
Ka-liao-ma, on the left bank of the Liao, was received on February 28.
News came in also of the enemy moving along the right bank, and of the
appearance of their columns at Hsin-min-tun. It was essential to take
immediate steps to meet them on the way to Mukden in their turning
movement. I thought it was possible, by using the positions of the 3rd
Army as a pivot of manœuvre, and withdrawing its right flank on to
the line Ling-shen-pu–Shua-lin-tzu–Lan-shan-pu, to leave[90] for the
defence of the section between the 3rd Army and the Hun Ho, and of that
on the right bank, a total of forty-eight battalions, and to transfer
on to the right bank the remainder of the 2nd Army (forty-eight
battalions), and, after reinforcing them with twenty-four battalions
of the 16th Corps and thirty-two battalions collected from the 3rd and
1st Armies, to detail them for operations against Nogi. The command
of the troops collected on the right bank of the Hun was entrusted
to Kaulbars, and I pointed out to him several times the particular
importance of rapid and energetic action against the turning movement
which threatened Mukden and our communications.

The first units sent from the main reserve at Mukden to the west were:

1. Towards Kao-li-tun, on the river, to operate against the wide
turning movement along the River Liao, a brigade of the 41st Division
under Birger.

2. To Sha-ling-pu, the 25th Division, under General Topornin,
commanding the 16th Corps.

3. Simultaneously the 2nd Brigades of the 9th and 31st Divisions were
concentrated under the command of Topornin, south of the 25th Division,
on March 2.

The successive arrangements made by Kaulbars, in view of the enemy’s
advance—already commenced on the right of the 2nd Army; the abandonment
of Ssu-fang-tai; the withdrawal of troops from the right bank; the
relief of corps that had been engaged, and the retention of troops
which had already started towards Mukden, not only disclosed to the
Japanese the possibility of free movement along the right bank of the
river, but delayed the arrival on the western front of reinforcements
from the 2nd Army. General Topornin therefore received no support
either on March 2 or 3; still, he successfully continued on March 3
the attack commenced the day before on the village of Sha-ling-pu.
However, in view of the turning movement that had now become quite
clear against our right flank, Kaulbars ordered a retirement—though the
enemy were in no way pressing us—to the western Mukden fortifications.
The troops took up a line fronting on Ma-tuan-tzu–Wu-kuan-tun, and,
in spite of the orders given, did not occupy either the old railway
embankment or the fortified position west of Lin-min-shan-tzu.
This direct withdrawal towards Mukden placed our troops in a very
disadvantageous position, and enabled the enemy both to continue their
turning movement, and make it wider and more dangerous. Immediately
after our retirement from Sha-ling-pu, they moved forward quickly
and enveloped our western front, and, moving on March 3 across on to
the main Hsin-min-tun road, began to threaten Mukden from the north.
Birger’s brigade, which had now returned from Kao-li-tun, fell back on
Hu-shih-tai station.

The protection of Mukden on the west and north was placed under
Kaulbars, and was undertaken by units joining the general reserve.

1. The composite divisions of three regiments of the 17th Corps under
De Witte took up the fortified position at Khou-kha[91] on the morning
of March 3.

2. A force of seven battalions under Colonel Zapolski was sent to
Hu-shih-tai station.

3. The 10th Rifle Regiment was concentrated at siding No. 97.

4. Eighteen battalions of the 1st Siberians came up as a reserve to
these on March 3.

The concentration which I had ordered of the units of the 2nd Army on
the right bank of the Hun was taking place extremely slowly. Indeed,
some regiments which had already assembled had been sent back to the
left bank. When I reached Mukden on the 3rd, I impressed on Kaulbars
the necessity of not losing any time, and told him to attack the
following day, but gave him a free hand as to the direction of attack.
He did not carry out the order, owing to the concentration of his
army on the right bank not having been completed. Meanwhile, in the
early hours of March 4, the important hamlet of Ssu-hu-chia-pu was
evacuated by the 2nd Army, and at the same time Ivanoff withdrew the
15th Division from the position behind the Hun and the right flank
of the 3rd Army, which he had been told to defend, without fighting.
The latter thus became exposed. A brigade of the 5th Siberians and
nine _sotnias_ of cavalry, which had remained on the right bank near
Tung-chen-tzu, were moved across to the left.

During March 4, which was thus lost to us for offensive operations,
Nogi continued his turning movement, which was now becoming enveloping
and dangerous. Accordingly, after discussing the matter with Kaulbars,
I ordered him on the 5th to concentrate sufficient troops for the
purpose, and to attack the enemy’s left, and I again emphasized the
fact that our main chance of success lay in the rapidity and energy
with which he struck. In an order of the 2nd Army of March 5, a force
of forty-nine battalions was organized to make the attack under the
command of Gerngross. Here again the concentration was too slow, and
the right column only moved out from the line Sha-ho-tzu–Khou-kha about
2 p.m. Its right flank might have been strengthened by a brigade of the
41st Division with Zapolski’s column, and the left flank by sixteen
battalions of the 25th Division. We therefore might have contained the
enemy on the Yang-hsin-tun–Hsiao-sha-ho-tzu line with a force under
Tserpitski, and have attacked with a mass of seventy-seven battalions.

Kaulbars, alarmed at Tserpitski’s exaggerated reports as to the nature
of the attacks made on his left by some three divisions, moved a
brigade from Gerngross’s force behind the left flank, sent another
on to the left bank of the river, and stopped Gerngross’s attack
till such time as the result of Tserpitski’s action should be known.
The net result of these proceedings, of the late commencement of the
operations, and of their half-hearted nature, was that, although we
met with no opposition, on the 5th we moved our right only on to the
line Pao-ta-tun–Fang-hsin-tun–San-chia-fen; and so another day was
lost. In accordance with my orders for energetic action, the advance
of the right was continued on the 6th, but it was carried out with
less men than on the previous day (thirty-three battalions), without
energy or cohesion, and met with determined opposition at the village
of Liu-chia-kan. Then, before the whole of Gerngross’s force had
become engaged, Kaulbars stopped the advance, and gave orders to take
up the defensive. That day we got possession only of Tsuang-fang-chih.
In short, notwithstanding the great strength of the 2nd Army, with its
reinforcements of more than fifty battalions, on March 4, 5, and 6—the
three most important days—we moved our right only a few miles forward,
and took to defensive measures even on the western front.

Owing to the ill success of the operations of the 2nd Army on March
5, I issued orders to all the armies to send back their divisional
baggage along their respective lines of communication towards the
north of Mukden. On the 5th the Japanese began a series of attacks
on our northern and western fronts. On the left flank of our west
front they were everywhere repulsed by Tserpitski and Hershelman,
whose forces amounted to forty-nine battalions. In the centre of
the western front they won a partial success, on March 7 compelling
units of the 25th Division to retire temporarily from Wu-kuan-tun.
But on the northern front, which was the most dangerous for us,
they won great successes, on the 7th and 8th getting possession of
several villages. From there they repeatedly attacked our northern
force of twenty-five battalions under Launits, which was holding the
line Ta-heng-tun–San-tai-tzu–Kung-chia-tun. At the same time their
columns moved still farther to the north, and threatened Hu-shih-tai
station. To protect this, I despatched a force of six battalions of
the 4th Siberians to Tsu-erh-tun under Colonel Borisoff. To secure our
retirement to Tieh-ling, in case we should not succeed in beating off
Nogi’s army, on the evening of March 7 I gave orders to the 1st and 3rd
Armies, who were too far forward, to retire early on the 8th to our
fortified positions south of Mukden—at Fu-liang and Fu-shun. With their
retirement and the concentration of the whole of the 2nd Army on the
right bank it became possible to allot forty-eight battalions from the
1st and 3rd Armies to operate against Nogi, and to collect seventeen
battalions into the reserve of the 2nd Army. Of these reinforcements,
General Artamonoff’s force of ten battalions alone arrived under my
command on the 8th.

                             THIRD PHASE.

Having failed in our attempts to stop Nogi’s army, which was moving
round our right flank, first on the line from Sha-ling-pu to the
old railway embankment, and then on the line of the Hsin-min-tun
main road, I decided to try once more to block it on the line
Ku-san-tun–Tsu-erh-tun, and, if a favourable opportunity occurred, to
assume the offensive from this line. On the 9th we had the following
troops available for the purpose:

1. Borisoff’s column of 6 battalions holding the villages of
Tung-chan-tzu, Ku-san-tun, and Hsia-hsin-tun.

2. Artamonoff’s column of 9 battalions[92] at Tsu-erh-tun.

3. Hershelman’s column of 14 battalions, sent from the reserve of the
2nd Army to that place. Total, 29 battalions.

On March 9 I ordered Lieutenant-General Muiloff, to whom was given
the command of these troops, to co-operate with Launits’ force in an
attack on the village of Hei-ni-tun. The operation was carried out in
a disjointed manner, without careful reconnaissance, and without any
arrangement for co-operation having been made with Launits; a bad storm
and clouds of sand also impeded us, and the attack failed. The Japanese
continued their advance to the north-west. Thus, by the 9th, the enemy
was still not driven back on the side where they were most dangerous;
part of the village of San-tai-tzu, taken from us in the early hours
of that day, remained in their hands. The situation, indeed, appeared
critical, for we received news on the same evening of the Japanese
advance to the Hun Ho against the section Fu-liang–Hsiao-fang-shen,
which was held by weak units of the 1st Army, 4th and 2nd Siberians.
Indeed, if we delayed the withdrawal on Tieh-ling longer there was
great danger that some of our most advanced forces in the south and
south-west might be cut off. Therefore orders were given that same
evening for a retirement to Tieh-ling early on the 10th, and for this
operation roads were allotted as follows: The 2nd Army was to proceed
along both sides of the railway and west of the Mandarin road; the 3rd
Army along the Mandarin road and others to the east of it, as far as
the Fu-liang–Hsi-chui-chen–Hui-san–Shu-lin-tzu road; the 1st Army along
the latter, and the roads to the east of it.

Meanwhile the enemy had on the 9th broken through the 1st Army near
Chiu-tien, driving back part of the 4th Siberians from this point
to Leng-hua-chi. The officer commanding the 2nd Siberians (next
to them) did nothing but merely hold his position on the River
Hun at Hsiao-fang-chen, and the enemy spread out along the valley
Hsiao-hsi-chua–Hu-shan-pu. The attempt made to drive them back at night
by the Tsaritsin Regiment failed.

During the early morning of the 10th our position became yet worse;
on the right flank the Japanese drove back Borisoff’s force to
Hsiao-kou-tzu and opposite San-tai-tzu, and penetrated as far as the
grove of the Imperial tombs. On the east large bodies of them appeared
in sight of the Mandarin road. One was opposite Levestam’s force, while
another began shelling the Mandarin road near Ta-wa from the heights
near Hsin-chia-kou. The orders given on March 5 for the baggage to
be sent back in good time had not been carried out, and part of the
impedimenta of the 2nd and 3rd Armies, which was stretching along the
road near Mukden early on the 10th, blocked the passage of the 5th and
6th Siberians and 17th Corps. On this morning also the Japanese, who
had broken through near Chiu-tien on the 9th, began to press our left
flank under Meyendorff. The troops sent as reinforcements did not act
together, and were driven back north-west. By 10 a.m. Meyendorff was in
full retreat—not north-east, but north-west towards the Mandarin road,
which he crossed between Ta-wa and Pu-ho. The 6th Siberians now began
to retire prematurely, and by so doing exposed the right of the 1st
Corps and the left of the 17th. This unnecessarily sudden retirement
of more than forty battalions under Meyendorff and Soboleff placed the
17th Corps and the 5th Siberians in a difficult position. Instead of
fronting south, they had to front south-east. After a hot fight this
force, consisting of thirty battalions, was also obliged to move to
the rear prematurely. They did not go to Ta-wa, but west and south of
the Mandarin road. This opened out a way for the enemy to that road,
and also to the railway north—further on the portion between Mukden
and Wen-ken-tun. By seizing this section about 2 p.m., before the
rearguards or even the tail of the main body had passed Wa-tzu, they
took our troops in flank. We had evacuated the village of San-tai-tzu
prematurely, and it was quickly occupied by the Japanese. Between
Wa-tzu and this village there is a defile, less than three miles long,
through which a large part of the 2nd Army had to force its way under
attack from both sides. Portions of the rearguards under Hanenfeld and
Sollogub, which tried to get round to the east of it, were captured or

I instructed General Dembovski to organize the defence of the Mandarin
road at Ta-wa, and for that purpose to utilize the troops retiring
along it. By 10 a.m. the distance between the portions of the enemy on
the west and east of the railway was only seven miles. It was vital
to stop any further contraction of the area of retirement of the 2nd
Army. This might be done by blocking the Japanese advance to the
railway from the west and north-west. As I was more anxious about the
latter direction than any other, I moved out the eighteen battalions
under Zarubaeff, which had joined my reserve from the 1st Army, on
to the line Ma-kou-chia-tzu–Yang-tzu-tun, and ten battalions of the
72nd Division on the front Tung-shan-tzu–Hsiao-hsin-tun. The first
force covered the railway between Hu-shih-tai and San-tai-tzu, and the
second barred the enemy’s advance and supported the right flank of
Artamonoff’s column. As a reserve to these troops, in case of pressure
from the east, a brigade of the 1st Siberian Division was left near
Hu-shih-tai station. By 4 p.m. the state of affairs on the Mandarin
road became worse, as, immediately after General Levestam’s force had
retired behind Pu-ho, Dembovski also abandoned his positions near
Ta-wa, and moved off to the west. The fighting ceased as darkness came
on. The last of the 2nd Army to fall back were portions of the 1st,
2nd, and 3rd Rifle Regiments under Lieutenant-Colonel Korniloff; they
broke through near Wa-tzu in the pitch dark, though hemmed in by the
enemy on three sides.

We continued to retire during the night, covered by the rearguard under
Muiloff and that of Zarubaeff’s column. On the 11th several units of
the 1st and 3rd Armies collected at the village of Yi-lu; but the
greater part of the 3rd Army fell back direct on Tieh-ling. Bilderling
was unable to carry out his proposal of remaining on the River Yi-lu
till the 12th, and, having taken command of Shileiko’s force, after
slight opposition retired northwards from Yi-lu village. By doing
this he placed the rearguards of the 2nd Army that were still south
of this point in a very precarious position. The main bodies of all
the armies began on the 11th to occupy a position eight miles south
of Tieh-ling on the Fan Ho. The 2nd Army took up a line to the west
and the first one to the east of the Mandarin road, the 3rd remaining
in reserve. Everything possible was done to restore order amongst the
troops, transport, and parks. On the 13th the enemy’s advanced troops
reached our positions, and on the 14th they attacked, directing their
main effort on the line between the sections held by the 2nd Siberians
and 72nd Division. All their attacks were repulsed with great loss, and
many hundreds of dead were left in front of our position. Our losses
were 900.

The two-weeks battle had badly disorganized several units, especially
those of the 2nd and 3rd Armies. The men who had got separated from
their own units and attached to others had to be sorted out and
restored, baggage, transport, and parks had to be separated, and
ammunition replenished. To carry this out made it essential that we
should not be in direct touch with the enemy—that there should be
some space between us. For this reason, and on account of the turning
movement against our right flank along the River Liao, discovered by
the cavalry, I decided not to accept battle at Tieh-ling, but to order
a general retirement of all the armies on the 14th to the Hsi-ping-kai
position, which was the best one between Tieh-ling and the River
Sungari. The 1st and 2nd Armies began to move out of Tieh-ling on March
16, and by the 22nd were on the heights of Hsi-ping-kai.


Both the nearness of the events related above and our ignorance
about the enemy make it impossible for any detailed and absolutely
impartial judgment to be formed upon the reasons for our defeat in
this great battle. The records that have been collected so far,
however, are sufficient to throw light upon a few facts—upon certain
of our dispositions that did not correspond to the requirements of the
case. Those made by the commander of the 2nd Army, to which force was
entrusted the duty of stopping Nogi’s turning movement towards our
rear, are of particular interest, and certain of them which had a very
important bearing on the issue of the operations are now described.

General Kaulbars made neither a sufficient nor a clever use of his
cavalry. This fact, coupled with the unfortunate selection of its
leaders, was the reason why the mounted branch did such bad work,[94]
and behaved in a manner that can hardly be called “devoted” during the
Mukden operations. In the instructions given on March 1 to Grekoff’s
cavalry to operate against Nogi, the object to be attained was plainly
set forth, but how it was to be attained was not clearly defined. The
execution of its most important task was also made the more difficult
by the fact that Grekoff’s force was, on the same day as the orders
were issued, split up into two almost equal groups, of which the
eastern was found to be fighting Oku instead of Nogi. To rectify this,
the cavalry under Pavloff was ordered on the same day by Kaulbars
to undertake a special task against the turning columns, but on the
2nd the order was changed, and eight of Pavloff’s _sotnias_ were put
under the command of Launits, who was operating against Oku. No touch
was maintained between their different groups, and the greater part
of the mounted forces clung to the infantry, and did practically no
fighting (the losses suffered by this Arm during the twenty-three days’
operations in February and March were quite insignificant). Yet most of
our regiments were quite capable of performing the most difficult tasks
of war. The action of the infantry of the 2nd Army on the positions
which they had taken up was completely passive. They did not try to get
into touch with the enemy to ascertain their strength and dispositions
(by taking prisoners), or to occupy advanced posts where these would
be advantageous. The reconnoitring patrols of this army also did but
little work. The consequence of such unsatisfactory performance of
their duties by the cavalry and advanced infantry units of the 2nd Army
was that information of the enemy was so meagre that the appearance of
a great mass of Nogi’s army on and to the east of the Hsin-min-tun road
came as a complete surprise to Kaulbars.

Owing to the appearance of large hostile bodies near Ka-liao-ma, I
had on February 28 already ordered him[95] to take immediate steps
to ascertain their exact strength, the direction in which they were
moving, and their intentions. I repeated this order[96] on March 2,
instructing him to find out their strength and dispositions more
accurately if possible, and to frame some plan of action. I pointed
out the necessity for energetic steps to ascertain the whereabouts of
Nogi’s main body—whether it was opposite Sha-ling-pu, or whether it was
executing a wider turning movement. On the morning of March 5 I for
the third time[97] asked Kaulbars to find out where Nogi’s left flank
was. Not one of these orders was carried out, with the result that I
had inadequate and incorrect information upon which to form a decision
as to the strength and whereabouts of the enemy operating on the right
bank of the Hun. Tserpitski’s alarmist reports to the effect that more
than three divisions were opposed to him made the fog worse. Kaulbars,
who had been ordered to stop Nogi’s flanking movement, on the strength
of incorrect information, all the time turned his chief attention
towards the western front to Oku, whom he took for Nogi. The latter,
owing to the 2nd Army’s inaction on March 3, 4, 5 and 6, was made a
present of four days in which to complete his sweeping movement to the
north-east,[98] and Kaulbars continued to see danger only on the west,
paying insufficient attention to what was happening on the Hsin-min-tun
road, north-west of Mukden. On March 1 he conceived a most complicated
“castling” manœuvre, which he endeavoured to carry out when in direct
touch with the enemy. The Composite Rifle Corps was ordered to cross
from the right bank of the Hun on to the left, and the 8th Corps from
the left to the right. The Rifle regiments crossed over the river,
and by so doing evacuated the most important section near Chang-tan,
but the 8th Corps was unable to get across. The enemy at once took
advantage of this, and, rapidly throwing their 8th Division forward
along the right bank of the river, drove back the relatively weak force
of ours still on that side. Kaulbars, moreover, stopped the movement on
Sha-ling-pu (of the Composite Division under Golembatovski), which had
already been started, and by so doing deprived us of the possibility
of checking the heads of the enemy’s columns on March 2. Finally, the
5th Rifle Brigade under Churin—which was moving by my orders to operate
against Nogi—was stopped on March 3 by Kaulbars in the valley on the
right bank of the Hun, and found itself among the troops opposing Oku.

After weakening Topornin by sixteen battalions, Kaulbars, on reaching
his force, countermanded the advance on Sha-ling-pu, which had been
begun on the morning of the 3rd, and suddenly withdrew thirty-two
battalions to Mukden without fighting. This made our position
distinctly worse. He took no steps to establish and maintain touch
with Birger’s brigade on the Hsin-min-tun road, and never informed
the latter of the order to retire he had given to Topornin on the
3rd. In telling Launits on the morning of March 3 of his decision (to
withdraw Topornin’s force to Mukden), he stated that “Grekoff’s column
and Birger’s brigade are probably cut off from Mukden,” but he made
no attempt to help Birger. And yet up to 2 p.m. on the 3rd Birger’s
brigade was not even engaged. Our attempt to retake Ssu-hu-chia-pu on
March 4 was stopped by Launits, owing to the receipt of orders from
Kaulbars not to attack if it was likely to be a costly operation.
Kaulbars did nothing that day, although he had under his command
119 battalions[99] on the right bank of the Hun, and although I
had ordered him to assume the offensive. Moreover, he did not even
know the whereabouts of the troops under him. Although he had 113
battalions under his command on the right bank on March 5, he again
did nothing. He did not carry out my orders to attack the enemy’s left
energetically, and permitted these troops, which were at Khou-kha—next
to Gerngross’s force—to deploy very slowly, and stopped their advance
before they had got in touch with the enemy. Moreover, yielding to
the preconceived idea of the main danger lying in the west, he moved
sixteen splendid battalions of the 10th Corps from Gerngross’s force,
operating towards Hsin-min-tun, on to the left flank of the army. Yet
again on the 6th, although he had 116 battalions on the right bank,
he effected scarcely anything, for our active operations towards
Hsin-min-tun were conducted with an insufficient force, and therefore

The result of his dispositions from March 2 to 5 was that on the 6th
we did not have a single battalion of the 2nd Army operating against
Nogi, whereas we should have had forty.[100] All ninety-six battalions
of the 2nd Army were on that day distributed on the defensive against
Oku. This distribution of troops, which in no way met either the
general requirements or the definite task given to Kaulbars—to stop
Nogi’s army—constituted one of the main reasons of the failure of our
operations at Mukden.

On the 2nd and 3rd the following troops were given to Kaulbars from my
reserve for his operations against Nogi:

  16th Corps                        24
  1st Siberians                     18
  De Witte’s column (3rd Army)      15
  Zapolski’s column                  4
        Total                       61

Moreover, sixteen battalions of the 10th Corps (2nd Army) were by my
orders concentrated opposite Sha-ling-pu on the 2nd, and on the 7th
the 10th Rifle Regiment and two battalions of the 4th Siberians were
sent from my reserve to join Kaulbars’ army—_i.e._, he was given in all
eighty-one battalions, of which sixty-five had not previously belonged
to the 2nd Army. Of these, as transpired later, as many as thirty-five
battalions did not take part, or only took very little part, in any
fighting up to the 10th—_i.e._:

  1st Siberians                  13
  De Witte’s column              13
  2nd Brigade, 9th Division       8
  10th Rifle Brigade              2
        Total                    35

These units either occupied defensive positions, and merely watched
the Japanese making a flank march past them,[101] or were moved for no
reason from one place to another (2nd Brigade of the 9th Division).
Their losses from the 3rd to 9th were trifling.

On the 4th, when I ordered Kaulbars to “move every available man on to
the right flank near the Hsin-min-tun road,” the reverse was done. Two
regiments (Tambov and Zamost) were moved from the right bank of the
river on to the left; the 2nd Brigade of the 9th Division was ordered
to move away from the Hsin-min-tun road, and crossed from Huang-ku-tun
to Liu-kou-tun, and the Primorsk Dragoons from an important position
on this road were sent to the rear to Hu-shih-tai.[102] On March 5 we
were able to collect more than 100 battalions for operations against
Nogi, 70 being concentrated by my instructions. But although Kaulbars
had received orders to send an army corps on to the right bank of the
Hun to engage Nogi, he not only did not carry out the order, but lost
five days (March 2 to 6), and thus allowed the turning movement to
develop so far that part of the force I had collected (25th Division)
was on the 7th operating, not against Nogi, but against Oku’s left
flank. Moreover, as he had on the 5th also weakened the force collected
by me to act against Nogi by sending 16 battalions to the left flank of
the 2nd Army, the result of these dispositions and our inaction during
these five days was that on the 7th only 37 battalions operated against
Nogi instead of 100. The loss of time, and the weakness of the force
that actually opposed Nogi, were largely contributory to our failure.

Having so far employed only a very small part of the troops entrusted
to him for offensive operations, on the 7th Kaulbars definitely and
finally assumed the defensive. He did not even seize the opportunity
of the repulses suffered by the enemy at Wu-kuan-tun and against
Tserpitski’s force to attack. On the 7th, 8th, and 9th, with 140
battalions at his disposal, he assumed a passive rôle everywhere.
While allowing a great confusion of units, he did not take proper
steps, which he was quite able to do, to re-establish the corps,
divisional and brigade organization, and on the 8th he did not take
advantage of the possibility of forming a reserve from the entire 10th
Corps, which would have enabled him to re-establish the organization
of the other corps. On the 4th he removed Generals Muiloff, Topornin,
and Kutnevich from the command of their corps for no reason, and as
he did not replace them by other officers, the staffs of these corps
were headless. The employment of the reserves in the 2nd Army was
neither carried out by arrangement, nor in accordance with the actual
necessities of the situation, so that there were instances of reserves
being sent up when not required (Gerngross on March 8). In spite of
my order, which he received on the 5th, to send back the baggage and
transport to the north, Kaulbars only obeyed this instruction in regard
to Tserpitski’s and Gerngross’s columns on the 9th, and thus made
our retirement, especially that of our rearguards, most difficult.
He failed to observe the appearance or concentration of the enemy
on the northern front, and took no steps to avert this danger. The
concentration of our forces on this side was carried out under my own
orders. Had it not been for this, the enemy would have seized the
village of San-tai-tzu and the grove of the Imperial tombs on the 7th.

One occasion when Kaulbars did issue orders that met the case was
when he ordered Launits to attack the enemy on March 10 at Hei-ni-tun
so as to assist the retirement, and he got together a strong force
for this purpose. But then, when these troops were on the point of
commencing the attack, he went to Launits and countermanded it, without
even informing me of this most important change in his previous
dispositions. Yet, had this attack been only partially successful, it
would have greatly relieved the situation. Right up to March 13 not one
of the arrangements made by him was fully carried out, and it is clear
that he did not even then in the least appreciate the conditions. In
addition to wasting time, extending his front, and acting only on the
defensive, he did not realize the danger of Nogi’s appearance at such
a moment north of Mukden, nor of his movement round our flank. In a
letter to me of August 11, he wrote that on March 8 and 9, “although we
had been retiring for a week, circumstances were going very well for
us, as, the further the enemy moved northwards, the nearer they were
getting to their Poltava.”

From the above it can be seen that Kaulbars’ dispositions, his
inaction, and his misunderstanding of the whole situation, could not
lead the 2nd Army to Poltava. On the contrary, on March 8 and 9, 1905,
it was nearly a case of Tsushima.

It only remains for me to conclude with a few pages out of the short
report on the war which I submitted to His Majesty the Emperor.

 “Of the many causes contributing to the disastrous issue to the
 Battle of Mukden, I will only mention the following:

 “1. The fall of Port Arthur liberated Nogi’s army, the whole
 of which took part in the battle. The formation of the new
 divisions in Japan was completed at the same time, and, judging
 by the prisoners we captured, two of these also took part in
 the battle. The immediate making good of wastage in their ranks
 presented no particular difficulty to the enemy, owing to the
 relative proximity of Japan to the theatre of war, and the
 resultant ease with which she was able to transport her troops
 by sea. Judging by the muster rolls found on the dead and
 wounded, the effective strength of their companies was between
 200 and 250 rifles, and all casualties were at once replaced.

 “The liberation of Nogi’s army and the landing of troops in
 Northern Korea compelled us to increase the force detailed
 for the defence of the Primorsk district and Vladivostok,
 and the appearance of bodies of Japanese cavalry, together
 with artillery and numerous bands of Hun-huses in Mongolia,
 coupled with the raids on the railway, which were becoming
 more frequent, necessitated steps being taken to increase the
 railway guard along its 1,350 miles’ length in Manchuria.

 “These two measures took fourteen battalions and twenty-four
 _sotnias_ from the field army, and also a large number of the
 80,000 reservists then being sent to the front as drafts.

 “All these things combined enabled the Japanese at the battle
 of Mukden to be as strong as, if not stronger than, we were in
 the number of rifles.

 “2. The tardy discovery by our cavalry of the enemy’s movement
 round our right flank, when ‘strong columns of Japanese
 infantry’ had already appeared at Ka-liao-ma.

 “3. The complete lack of energy displayed by the officer in
 command of the 2nd Army in repulsing Nogi’s force which was
 moving round us, with the result that we lost seven most
 important days (March 1 to 8).

 “4. His complete ignorance of the strength and whereabouts of
 the enemy moving round his right. The lack of information and
 the inaccuracy of what was received rendered some of my own
 dispositions not only unnecessary, but wrong. As a particular
 instance, I may mention that I only knew for certain when
 it was too late that the enemy were not making (as had been
 reported) a wider turning movement on both banks of the Liao
 towards Tieh-ling.

 “5. The lack of energy displayed by senior officers of the
 3rd Army on March 10 in overcoming the difficulties of the
 retirement. Their passive attitude with regard to the enemy’s
 movements towards the Mandarin road—illustrated by the
 diversion of the various columns (on encountering the enemy)
 towards the west on to the line of retirement of the 2nd Army,
 instead of forcing back the enemy away from the Mandarin road.

 “The inaction of the 55th Division of the 6th Siberians was
 remarkable. The commander of this unit, who only had this one
 division under his command, decided to place it directly under
 the officer in command of the 1st Corps. Having done so, he
 rode away from his division to Ta-wa village. When he reached
 the railway on the morning of the 11th, he was unable to inform
 me where his division[103] was!

 “6. The failure of the commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Armies
 to carry out the orders I had given some days before the
 retirement began to send back the baggage and transport
 northwards. It was the disorder and panic which occurred
 amongst these auxiliary services on the retirement that caused
 the loss of so many guns and limbers, and ammunition and
 baggage waggons.

 “7. The inertia displayed by the officers commanding the 2nd
 Siberian Division and the 2nd Siberians, when an attempt was
 made to prevent the enemy breaking through near Chiu-tien, and
 when later they spread north of the Mandarin road. Besides the
 twenty-four battalions of the 1st Corps and the 4th Siberians,
 which did remain on the right flank of the 1st Army, the 55th
 Division might have been used in this operation. But the
 officer commanding the 2nd Siberians received the enemy’s
 advance passively, merely throwing back his right flank, and
 thus presenting the enemy with an opening for their advance on
 to the Mandarin road.

 “8. Nevertheless, I consider that I myself am the person
 principally responsible for our defeat, for the following

 “(_a_) I did not sufficiently insist on the concentration of
 as large a general reserve as possible before the operations

 “(_b_) I weakened myself just before an important battle by a
 brigade of infantry and a Cossack division (believing General
 Chichagoff’s reports). If I had not sent one brigade of the
 16th Corps for duty on the communications, and had insisted
 on the 1st Siberians being sent back from the 1st Army at
 full strength, I should have had two full corps available for
 operations against Nogi’s turning movement.

 “(_c_) I did not take adequate measures to prevent the
 confusion of units. Indeed, during the battle I was myself
 compelled to contribute to the disintegration of corps.

 “(_d_) I should have made a better appreciation of the
 respective spirit of both sides, as well as of the
 characteristics and qualifications of the commanders, and I
 should have exercised more caution in my decisions. Although
 the operations of the 2nd Army from March 2 to 7 failed in
 their object, my firm belief in ultimate victory resulted in my
 ordering a general retirement later than I ought to have done.
 I should have abandoned all hope of the 2nd Army defeating the
 enemy a day sooner than I did; the retirement would then have
 been effected in complete order.

 “(_e_) When convinced of Kaulbars’ inertia and passive tactics,
 I should have taken command of the troops on the right bank of
 the Hun personally. On March 9 I should similarly have taken
 command of Muiloff’s force, and acted as a corps commander.”

In my letters of March 31 and May 13, 1905, to His Majesty the Emperor,
I reviewed generally the factors which made the war extraordinarily
difficult for us.[104]

Has the army survived its Tsushima? No; it went through nothing
nearly so bad as that. We fought hard everywhere, and we inflicted
greater losses on the enemy than they on us. We were weaker in numbers
than they were, and we retired. Even the Mukden reverse owes its
reputation as a decisive Japanese victory to the impressions of our
own correspondents, who were with the baggage and in rear. Can one say
that the Russian land forces were defeated, when in the first important
battles (at Liao-yang and on the Sha Ho) we only put into action a
fourteenth part of our armed forces, and at Mukden, at a time when the
Japanese had already put forth their greatest efforts, we had less than
a sixth of our force? Nor must it be forgotten that we fought against a
nation of 50,000,000 martial and ardent souls, who, hand in hand with
their Emperor, were able to grasp victory by fearing no sacrifice. To
defeat such a foe in such a distant theatre of war, great and continued
efforts were required of the whole of our country as well as of the
army. In the beginning of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries we
waged great wars with such leaders as Charles XII. and Napoleon. In
these we also experienced defeat, but in the end we issued absolute
victors. In the eighteenth century, between defeat at Narva and victory
at Poltava nine years elapsed; in the nineteenth, between defeat at
Austerlitz and our entry into Paris there was also nine years’ interval.

The events which happened in the Far East in 1904–05 can, owing to
their historical importance and their significance for Russia and the
whole world, be placed alongside those through which Russia passed
in the early years of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In
the struggle with Charles XII. and Napoleon the Russian people was
at one with the Tsar, and bravely bore all trials and sacrifices,
strengthening and improving the army, treating it with kindness,
believing in it, wishing it well, and profoundly respecting it for its
gallant deeds. The people realized the necessity for success, hesitated
at no sacrifice, and were not troubled by the time required to gain it,
and the harmonious efforts of Tsar and people gave us complete victory.
The way to victory is in the present day by the same road which our
ancestors followed in the early years of the last two centuries.

If mighty Russia, headed by the Tsar, had been permeated by a brave
and single-minded desire to defeat the Japanese, and had not stinted
the sacrifices and time necessary to preserve Russia’s integrity and
dignity, our glorious army, supported by the trust of its ruler and a
united people, would have fought until the enemy had been vanquished.


                              APPENDIX I

                     THE ROYAL TIMBER COMPANY[105]

Among the first questions suggested by General Kuropatkin’s narrative
and the editorials, reports, and official proceedings that he quotes,
are: Who was State Councillor Bezobrazoff? How did he acquire the
extraordinary power that he evidently exercised in the Far East? Why
was “everybody”—including the Minister of War—“afraid of him”? Why
did even the Viceroy respond to his calls for troops? and why was his
Korean timber company allowed to drag Russia into a war with Japan,
apparently against the opposition and resistance of the Tsar, the
Viceroy, the Minister of War, the Minister of Finance, the Minister
of Foreign Affairs, the Port Arthur Council, and the diplomatic
representatives of Russia in Peking, Tokio, and Seoul?

No replies to these questions can be found in General Kuropatkin’s
record of the events that preceded the rupture with Japan, but
convincing answers are furnished by certain confidential documents
found in the archives of Port Arthur, and published at Stuttgart,[106]
just after the close of the war, in the Liberal Russian review
_Osvobojdenie_. Whether General Kuropatkin was aware of the existence
of these documents or not I am unable to say; but as they throw a
strong sidelight on his narrative, I shall append them thereto, and
tell briefly, in connection with them, the story of the Ya-lu timber
enterprise as it is related in St. Petersburg.

In the year 1898, a Vladivostok merchant named Briner obtained from
the Korean Government, upon extremely favourable terms, a concession
for a timber company that should have authority to exploit the great
forest wealth of the upper Ya-lu River.[107] As Briner was a promoter
and speculator who had little means and less influence, he was unable
to organize a company, and in 1902 he sold his concession to Alexander
Mikhailovich Bezobrazoff, another Russian promoter and speculator, who
had held the rank of State Councillor in the Tsar’s Civil Service,
and who was high in the favour of some of the Grand Dukes in St.

Bezobrazoff, who seems to have been a most fluent and persuasive
talker, as well as a man of fine presence, soon interested his Grand
Ducal friends in the fabulous wealth of the Far East generally, and in
the extraordinary value of the Korean timber concession especially.
They all took shares in his enterprise, and one of them, with a view
to getting the strongest possible support for it, presented him to
the Tsar. Bezobrazoff made an extraordinarily favourable impression
upon Nicholas II., and in the course of a few months acquired an
influence over him that nothing afterward seemed able to shake. That
the Tsar became financially interested in Bezobrazoff’s timber company
is certain; and it is currently reported in St. Petersburg that the
Emperor and the Empress Dowager together put into the enterprise
several million roubles. This report may, or may not, be trustworthy;
but the appended telegram (No. 5), sent by Rear-Admiral Abaza, of
the Tsar’s suite, to Bezobrazoff in November, 1903, indicates that
the Emperor was interested in the Ya-lu enterprise to the extent, at
least, of the two million roubles mentioned. Bezobrazoff’s “Company,”
in fact, seems to have consisted of the Tsar, the Grand Dukes, certain
favoured noblemen of the Court, Viceroy Alexeieff probably, and the
Empress Dowager possibly. Bezobrazoff had made them all see golden
visions of wealth to be amassed, power to be attained, and glory to be
won, in the Far East, for themselves and the Fatherland. It was this
known influence of Bezobrazoff with the Tsar that made “everybody” in
the Far East “afraid of him”; that enabled him to enlist in the service
of the timber company even officers of the Russian General Staff;
that caused Alexeieff to respond to his call for troops to garrison
Feng-huang-cheng and Sha-ho-tzu; and that finally changed Russia’s
policy in the Far East, and stopped the withdrawal of troops from
Southern Manchuria.

General Kuropatkin says that the Russian evacuation of the province of
Mukden “was suddenly stopped by an order of Admiral Alexeieff, whose
reasons for taking such action have not to this day been sufficiently
cleared up.” The following telegram from Lieutenant-Colonel Madridoff,
of the Russian General Staff, to Rear-Admiral Abaza, the Tsar’s
personal representative in St. Petersburg, may throw some light on the

                               (No. 1.)

        HOUSE NO. 50, FIFTH LINE,

 Our enterprises in East constantly meet with opposition from
 Dzan-Dzun of Mukden and Taotai of Feng-huang-cheng. Russian
 officer merchants have been sent East to make reconnaissances
 and examine places on Ya-lu. They are accompanied by Hun-huses,
 whom I have hired. The Dzan-Dzun, feeling that he is soon to
 be freed from guardianship of Russians, has become awfully
 impudent, and has even gone so far as to order Yuan to begin
 hostile operations against Russian merchants and Chinese
 accompanying them, and to put latter under arrest. Thanks to
 timely measures taken by Admiral, this order has not been
 carried out; but very fact shows that Chinese rulers of
 Manchuria are giving themselves free rein, and, of course,
 after we evacuate Manchuria their impudence and their
 opposition to Russian interests will have no limit. _Admiral
 (Alexeieff) took it upon himself to order that Mukden and
 Yinkow (Newchuang) be not evacuated._[108] To-day it has been
 decided to hold Yinkow, but, unfortunately, to move the troops
 out of Mukden. _After evacuation of Mukden, state of affairs,
 so far as our enterprises are concerned, will be very, very
 much worse,[108] which, of course, is not desirable._ To-morrow
 I go to the Ya-lu myself.

                                        (Signed)      MADRIDOFF.

Shortly before Lieutenant-Colonel Madridoff sent this telegram to
Admiral Abaza, Bezobrazoff, who had been several months in the Far
East, started for St. Petersburg with the evident intention of seeing
the Tsar and persuading him to order, definitely, a suspension of
the evacuation of the province of Mukden, for the reason that “it
would inevitably result in the liquidation of the affairs of the
timber company.” From a point on the road he sent back to Madridoff
the following telegram, which bears date of April 8, 1903, the very
day when the evacuation of the province of Mukden should have been
completed, in accordance with the Russo-Chinese agreement of April 8,

                               (No. 2.)


 There will be an understanding attitude toward the affair after
 I make my first report. I am only afraid of being too late, as
 I shall not get there until April 16, and the Chief leaves for
 Moscow on April 17. I will do all that is possible, and shall
 insist on manifestation of energy in one form or another. Keep
 me advised, and don’t get discouraged. There will soon be an
 end of the misunderstanding.

                                    (Signed)    BEZOBRAZOFF.

On April 24, 1903, Bezobrazoff sent Madridoff from St. Petersburg a
telegram written, evidently, after he had made his first “report” to
“the Chief.” It was as follows:

                               (No. 3.)


 Everything is all right with me. I hope to get my views adopted
 in full as conditions imposed by existing situation and force
 of circumstances. I hope that if they ask the opinion of the
 Admiral (Alexeieff), he, I am convinced (_sic_), will give me
 his support. That will enable me to put many things into his

                                    (Signed) BEZOBRAZOFF.

General Kuropatkin says that Admiral Alexeieff gave him “repeated
assurances that he was wholly opposed to Bezobrazoff’s schemes, and
that he was holding them back with all his strength”; but the Admiral
was evidently playing a double part. While pretending to be in full
sympathy with Kuropatkin’s hostility to the Ya-lu enterprise, he
was supporting Bezobrazoff’s efforts to promote that enterprise.
Bezobrazoff rewarded him, and fulfilled his promise to “put many things
into his hands” by getting him appointed Viceroy. Kuropatkin says that
this appointment was a “complete surprise to him”; and it naturally
would be, because the Tsar acted on the advice of Bezobrazoff, Von
Plehve, Alexeieff, and Abaza, and not on the advice of Kuropatkin,
Witte, and Lamsdorff. It will be noticed that Von Plehve—the
powerful Minister of the Interior—is never once mentioned by name in
Kuropatkin’s narrative. Everything seems to indicate that Von Plehve
formed an alliance with Bezobrazoff, and that together they brought
about the dismissal of Witte, who ceased to be Minister of Finance on
August 29, 1903. Anticipating this result of his efforts, and filled
with triumph at the prospect opening before him, Bezobrazoff wrote to
Lieutenant-Colonel Madridoff on August 25, 1903, as follows:

                               (No. 4.)

 “The great saw-mill and the principal trade in timber will
 be transferred to Dalny, and this in co-partnership with the
 Ministry of Finance. The Manchurian Steamship Line will have
 all our ocean freight, amounting to 25,000,000 feet of timber,
 and the business will become international. From this you will
 understand how I selected my base and my lines of operation.”

In view of the complete defeat of such clear-sighted statesmen and sane
counsellors as Kuropatkin, Witte, and Lamsdorff, there can be no doubt
that Bezobrazoff’s “base and lines of operation” were well “selected.”

The document that most clearly shows the interest of the Tsar in the
Ya-lu timber enterprise is a telegram sent to Bezobrazoff at Port
Arthur in November, 1903, by Rear-Admiral Abaza, who was then Director
of the Special Committee on Far Eastern Affairs, over which the Tsar
presided, and who acted as the latter’s personal representative in
all dealings with Bezobrazoff and the timber company. In the original
of this telegram significant words, such as “Witte,” “Emperor,”
“millions,” “garrison,” “reinforcement,” etc., were in cipher; but when
Bezobrazoff read it he (or possibly his private secretary) interlined
the equivalents of the cipher words, and also, in one place, a query
as to the significance of _artels_—did it mean mounted riflemen or
artillery? The following copy was made from the interlined original:

                               (No. 5.)

                                    FROM PETERSBURG,
                                         _November 14–27, 1903_.


 Witte has told the Emperor that you have already spent the
 whole of the two millions. Your telegram with regard to
 expenditure has made it possible for me to report on this
 disgusting slander, and at the same time contradict it.
 Remember that the Chief counts on your not touching a rouble
 more than the three hundred without permission in every
 case. Yesterday I reported again your ideas with regard to
 the reinforcement of the garrison, and also with regard to
 the _artels_ (mounted Rifles or artillery?) in the basin.
 The Emperor directed me to reply that he takes all that you
 say into consideration, and that in principle he approves.
 In connection with this the Emperor again confirmed his
 order that the Admiral telegraph directly to him. He expects
 a telegram soon, and immediately upon the receipt of the
 Admiral’s statement arrangements will be made with regard to
 the reinforcement of the garrison, and at the same time with
 regard to the mounted Rifles in the basin. In the course of the
 conversation the Emperor expressed the fullest confidence in

                                    (Signed)    ABAZA.

General Kuropatkin refers again and again to the Tsar’s “clearly
expressed desire that war should be avoided,” and he regrets that His
Imperial Majesty’s subordinates “were unable to execute his will.”
It is more than likely that Nicholas II. did wish to avoid war—if he
could do so without impairing the value of the family investment in
the Korean timber company—but from the above telegram it appears that
as late as November 27, 1903, only seventy days before the rupture
with Japan, he was still disregarding the sane and judicious advice
of Kuropatkin, was still expressing “the fullest confidence” in
Bezobrazoff, and was still ordering troops to the valley of the Ya-lu.

                              APPENDIX II


Amongst the causes which added to our difficulties must be mentioned
the frequent breakdown in action of the normal organization of the
troops. It began when war was declared, and though efforts were made
to rectify things as far as possible, it was not till after the battle
of the Sha Ho that we were really able to re-establish our formations.
But both the corps and divisional organization again disappeared during
the battle of Mukden, and the resulting confusion to a certain extent
contributed to our defeat.

When war began the corps organization of the troops stationed in the
Far East was not complete, and one corps was formed of the independent
Rifle brigades. When the Rifle regiments were brought up to a strength
of twelve battalions, the normal composition of the 1st and 3rd
Siberian Divisions was twenty-four battalions. The 2nd Siberian Corps
was supposed to consist of one Rifle division and one reserve division
formed in the Trans-Baikal district. Before hostilities commenced,
a division of the 3rd Siberian Corps (the 3rd East Siberian Rifle
Division) was moved by the Viceroy to the Ya-lu; the 4th East Siberian
Rifle Division, with the corps staff, remained in Kuan-tung. The 1st
Reserve Division, which constituted part of the 2nd Siberian Corps,
I kept at Harbin, and this corps remained with only one division
till I was appointed Commander-in-Chief. When the operations began, I
endeavoured to reform the dislocated corps organization. I therefore
collected on the line Liao-yang–Feng-huang-cheng the 3rd and 6th
Siberian Rifle Divisions, and formed with them a corps which I called
the 3rd Siberians. At first I did not succeed in sending to this corps
the 23rd East Siberian Rifle Regiment—it being stationed in Mukden as
a guard on the Viceroy’s Headquarters—and my subsequent request that
it might be sent to the Ya-lu to join the corps there was refused;
it was only sent forward after the battle of the Ya-lu. The line
Liao-yang–Ta-shih-chiao–Port Arthur was guarded by the 1st Siberian
Corps, at full strength. The 2nd Siberian Corps, in which was included
the 2nd Brigades of the 31st and 35th Divisions, which had arrived in
the Far East in 1903, composed my reserve, and was divided between
Liao-yang and Hai-cheng.

At first, owing to our paucity of numbers, the 3rd Siberians had to
defend a large tract of country. Six regiments of this corps were
on the line River Ya-lu–Feng-huang-cheng–Fen-shui-ling–Liao-yang;
one regiment was on the line Ta-ku-shan (sea and mouth of
Ya-lu)–Hsui-yen–Ta Ling–Hai-cheng. One regiment was on the line
Kuan-tien-cheng–Sai-ma-chi–An-ping–Liao-yang. When the 4th Siberians
arrived, the line Ta-ku-shan–Ta Ling–Hai-cheng was occupied by one
of its brigades, because a considerable number of Japanese had made
their appearance in this direction. The remaining three brigades
were concentrated near the station of Ta-shih-chiao,[110] as a
reserve either for the 1st Siberians to the south or the brigade
of the 4th Siberians on the Ta Ling (Pass). All the units of the
10th Army Corps which arrived from Russia were collected on the line
Sai-ma-chi–An-ping–Liao-yang, where Kuroki’s army was in force. As
soon as the units of the 4th Siberians and 10th Army Corps occupied
the above-mentioned lines, the regiments[111] belonging to the 3rd
Siberians were moved off to join their own corps. On arriving from
European Russia, the units of the 17th Army Corps were concentrated
near Liao-yang, and formed my main reserve.

The two brigades of the 10th and 17th Army Corps, which arrived in the
Far East in 1903, were organized as independent brigades, and, till the
troops concentrated at Liao-yang, operated with the advanced forces.
The brigade of the 35th Division fought with the 1st Siberians, to
which it was sent up as a reinforcement in the battle of Te-li-ssu. The
brigade of the 31st Division sent to reinforce the troops operating
on the line Ta-ku-shan–Ta-Ling–Hai-cheng, together with the 5th East
Siberian Rifle Division, became part of the 2nd Siberians. When the
Japanese advanced with all their three armies on July 31, the general
disposition of our troops was as follows:

1. To the south, opposite Oku’s army, were the 1st and 4th Siberian
Corps, total forty-eight battalions (the 1st Siberians at full
strength, the 4th Siberians consisting of three brigades), under the
command of General Zarubaeff.

2. On the line Ta-ku-shan–Ta Ling–Hai-cheng, opposite Nodzu’s army,
were the 2nd Siberians and a brigade of the 4th Siberians, total
twenty-eight battalions, under the command of Lieutenant-General

3. On the line Ya-lu–Fen-shui-ling–Liao-yang, opposite Kuroki’s army,
were the 3rd Siberians, and the 10th and 17th Army Corps, total eighty
battalions, under the command of General Bilderling. At this time the
5th Siberians were, by the Viceroy’s orders, detrained at Mukden,
and told off to protect the rear and the line Pen-hsi-hu–Mukden, and
to act at the same time as a reserve for the advanced corps. When we
moved towards Hai-cheng the brigade of the 4th Siberians operating on
the line Hai-cheng–Ta Ling–Ta-ku-shan, returned to its own corps. In
retiring towards Liao-yang, the two brigades of the 10th and 17th Army
Corps, which had been sent out to the Far East in 1903, joined these

During the first days of the battle of Liao-yang the 1st, 3rd, and
4th Siberians and 10th Army Corps took part at their full strength of
units. The 2nd Siberians had only one division, and the 17th Army Corps
concentrated on the right bank of the Tai-tzu Ho, and was not at first
engaged. When we crossed on to the right bank of the river, in order
to operate against Kuroki, the corps organization became in several
instances quite dissolved. In addition to the 2nd and 4th Siberians,
we had to leave a brigade from both the 3rd Siberians and the 10th
Army Corps for the defence of the immense fortified camp at Liao-yang
itself. At the time of our advance at the beginning of October, I did
everything possible to keep the corps organization intact. The 1st
and 3rd Siberians and the 1st, 10th, and 17th Army Corps operated at
full strength, while the 4th and 6th Siberians had three brigades
each, one brigade of the 4th Siberians being sent to strengthen the
3rd, which had a particularly difficult task allotted to it, and
one brigade of the 6th Siberians (which was under me) being left by
the Viceroy’s orders to protect our rear. The 2nd Siberians, which
consisted of the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division, was strengthened by
five reserve battalions. The 5th Siberians was alone (for good reasons)
split up into two groups, one operating under the command of the corps
commander on the extreme right flank, the other on the extreme left
under General Rennenkampf. The account of the September operations
of the Eastern and Western Forces, given in Chapter IX., shows
to what an extent the units became mixed by the mere course of the
fighting. As soon as I was appointed Commander-in-Chief, I did my best
to prevent this in the future. The 61st Reserve Division, which did
not belong to an army corps, and had been detailed by the Viceroy to
strengthen the Vladivostok District, was sent by me to the field army
and incorporated in the 5th Siberians, in place of the 71st Division,
which was concentrated on the extreme left flank under the command of
General Rennenkampf. All the regiments of the 1st Siberian Division
were sent to join the 2nd Siberian Corps, and the 1st Siberian and
10th Army Corps were moved at full strength from the first line to my
main reserve. The 3rd, 4th, and 6th Siberian and the 1st and 17th Army
Corps were at full strength—distributed along the first lines and in
reserve. The 2nd and 5th Siberian Corps had each only three brigades,
one brigade of the latter having been left on the right bank of the
Hun Ho to protect our extreme right. A brigade of the 5th Division
holding Putiloff Hill was left, at the special request of the officer
commanding the 1st Manchurian Army, on the positions which had been
captured by the splendid regiments of this brigade (19th and 20th East
Siberian Rifle Regiments). As soon as the 8th and 16th Army Corps
arrived they were posted to my main reserve; the three Rifle Brigades
were formed into a Composite Rifle Corps.

Early in January, 1905, I concentrated all three corps of the 2nd
Army—_i.e._, the 8th, 10th, and Mixed Rifle Corps in reserve, and I
had in my main reserve the 1st Siberians with a division of the 16th
Army Corps (the other was still on the railway). We had altogether
128 battalions in reserve, and our position was most favourable. It
might, however, have been still better if I had insisted on strong army
reserves being formed in the 1st and 3rd Armies. My proposal to move
the 17th Army Corps back from the advanced lines met with a strongly
worded request that the distribution of the 3rd Army might be left as
it was. In the 1st Army I might have insisted on the whole of the 4th
Siberian Corps being sent to join the reserve after the transfer of
the Rifle Brigade from Putiloff Hill to the strong Erh-ta-ho position.
I made a mistake also in forming three Rifle Brigades together into
one corps. If I had kept them as independent brigades, it would have
been unnecessary to take brigades from army corps whenever independent
brigades were required. Although the Japanese had fewer battalions
than we had, these were much stronger than ours; they also had more
independent units than we had. Their divisions were not organized in
corps, their small armies being made up of divisions and independent
brigades, and our corps organization was not sufficiently flexible
to meet the thirteen to fifteen Japanese divisions, and a similar
number of independent brigades. The enemy were able to take divisions
and brigades from the advanced positions and transfer them, without
upsetting their existing organization, and with far greater ease than
we could move our corps. When an independent brigade operated against
us—as, for instance, on the line Sai-ma-chi–An-ping—we were obliged to
break up our corps organization in order to meet it with one of our
brigades; this happened in the 10th Army Corps.

Again, owing to the general course of events and other reasons over
which I had no control, our corps organization had to be broken up
before the operations at Hei-kou-tai, but was restored as soon as
possible. It also occurred during the February fighting round Mukden,
where the circumstances, indeed, did not in every case warrant it.
After General Grippenberg’s disastrous operations at Hei-kou-tai our
strategical position was altered much for the worse. Four army corps,
which had until then been standing in reserve, were sent up into the
fighting-line, and three of them became hopelessly mixed up in the
process. At the time I thought it only possible to keep one corps (the
1st Siberians) in reserve, but the 16th Army corps, the 72nd Division,
a brigade of the 6th East Siberian Rifle Division, and the Tsaritsin
Regiment were available, as it turned out. This made a total reserve of
eighty-two battalions. With such a strong main reserve I hoped to be
able to meet the enemy successfully, if, on being reinforced by Nogi’s
army from Port Arthur, they took the offensive.

According to our estimates, the fall of Port Arthur might reinforce
the Japanese field army by some fifty battalions altogether, but we
thought that the greater portion of Nogi’s army would be sent to
operate against Vladivostok, or via Possiet towards Kirin, so as
to take us in the rear. The possibility of this made us extremely
sensitive, both as to our rear and as regards Vladivostok. The first
thing we did, therefore, on Nogi’s army being set free, was to
strengthen the garrison of the latter place, which was very weakly held
for the extent of the defences. I sent there from all three armies
cadres of a strength of six battalions, which were to expand into four
regiments so as to form the 10th East Siberian Rifle Division. It was
thought that, upon a general assumption of the offensive, the Japanese
would simultaneously try to bring about a rising of the local native
population, and to destroy the railway bridges behind us. To give
colour to our fears, a whole series of reports, each more alarming than
the last, were received from General Chichagoff. In these he described
the large numbers of the enemy that had appeared behind us with the
intention of seizing Harbin as well as of destroying the railway. I
mentioned (Vol. III.) how this officer calculated the strength of the
enemy in our rear at tens of thousands, and how persistent he was in
his demands that the troops guarding the line might be strengthened.
As a proof of the urgency of the circumstances, he reported the
defeat, with a loss of guns, of some Frontier Guards sent out by him
to reconnoitre east of the Kuan-cheng-tzu station. Later information
corroborated these reports in so far that parties of the enemy,
accompanied by bands of Hun-huses, had penetrated far in rear, broken
through our line of posts between Kuan-cheng-tzu and Bei-tu-ne, and
were threatening the latter point, which, being our central corn-supply
depôt, was of immense importance to us. Large bodies of Japanese and
Hun-huses were also reported as moving in the direction of Tsit-si-har
with the intention of blowing up the important railway-bridge across
the River Nonni, and thus cutting our railway communication. One of the
large bridges near the station of Kung-chu-ling was, after a skirmish
with our guards, destroyed. In the face of such “circumstantial
evidence” as the loss of guns and the destruction of bridges, it was
impossible not to credit General Chichagoff’s reports (the extent of
their exaggeration we did not find out till later), and to refuse him
assistance. The security of our communications was literally vital,
for even their temporary disorganization meant catastrophe. Not only
the flow of reinforcements to the front, but the collection and
distribution of local supplies would have ceased. As we were over 5,300
miles away from our base (Russia), we had been forced to form a local
supply base, and the loss of this would have threatened the army with
starvation. As, therefore, the actual numbers guarding the railway were
small, I increased them by one brigade of the 16th Army Corps and four
Cossack regiments. My staff inclined to the opinion, indeed, that six
Cossack regiments should have been sent.

In February the Japanese moved forward in strength, carrying out a
frontal attack combined with simultaneous turning movements against
both our flanks. To carry out such an operation successfully implies
great numerical superiority on the side of the attackers, or else
great attenuation along their front; and relying, apparently, on the
strength of their positions, the Japanese did weaken their front to a
very great extent. Our best plan would accordingly have been to have
attacked them in the centre in the hope of breaking through there, and
then operating afterwards against the outflanking movements. But this
might have been disastrous, for if they succeeded in holding their
frontal positions with comparatively small numbers stiffened by extra
artillery and machine guns and well reinforced by reserves [which
were in their case splendidly organized], we might still have been
outflanked by the turning movements.

The special difficulty of frontal attacks was amply confirmed during
the Mukden battles, for, although our troops there held very extended
positions, they repulsed the Japanese whenever the latter made only a
frontal attack. When, therefore, the Japanese assumed the offensive,
and Kavamura’s movement round our left flank developed, I determined to
check it by attacking Kuroki in front and flank. The situation on our
left had become very alarming, for by losing the strong Ching-ho-cheng
position and retiring towards Ma-chun-tan we had exposed the left
flank of the 3rd Siberian Corps on the Kao-tai Ling (Pass). A still
wider turning movement threatened to throw the 71st Division back on
Fu-shun, but the reinforcements rapidly sent to the 1st Army from the
main reserve were able to arrest Kavamura’s movement, largely owing
to the behaviour of General Rennenkampf’s and Daniloff’s 71st and 6th
East Siberian Rifle Divisions, which fought with great gallantry and
stubbornness. If the 1st Army, which had a strength of 175 battalions,
had made a successful advance, it ought to have influenced the
operation then under way against our right. Being anxious to take the
offensive, I gave Linievitch, commanding the 1st Army, the chance
of selecting the main point of attack, and he decided to strike the
point where Kuroki’s and Kavamura’s armies joined. The orders had been
issued, and the movement had actually begun, when certain unconfirmed
reports as to the movement of some Japanese divisions round the left
flank of the 3rd Siberians unfortunately led him to stop the attack
and send back such units of the 1st Siberian Corps as had been lent to
the 1st Army for the operation. We had lost several days in collecting
troops for this offensive movement, and large bodies of the enemy had
meanwhile been moving round our right. I have described in detail (Vol.
III.) the steps taken to avert this danger, and the results achieved.
Here I will only mention them briefly. Against the 2nd Army, which
consisted of ninety-six battalions, and which was mostly located on the
left bank of the Hun Ho, Oku was operating with the greater part of
his army. His right flank was, according to our information, operating
against the 5th Siberians, and part, probably, against the 17th Army
Corps of the 3rd Army. Thus, opposed to the troops under General
Kaulbars’ command at the time when Nogi’s advance developed, there
were, according to our calculations, not more than thirty-six to forty
Japanese battalions. As the 2nd Army was reinforced by twenty-four
battalions of the 16th Army Corps from the main reserve, theoretically
we should have driven Oku’s army south by an energetic offensive, and,
having thus cut it off from Nogi’s force, should have fallen on the
latter. To do this we should have had to seize the fortified positions
with strong defensive points near the village of San-de-pu by frontal
attack. Practically, in the much more favourable conditions of a month
previous, 120 battalions of the 2nd Army had been unable to drive the
enemy southwards and get possession of this village after six days’
continuous fighting. There was every reason to fear, therefore, that
even if we gained possession of these points, and succeeded in forcing
back Oku’s army, so many men would have been expended in the effort
that we should have been in no condition to oppose Nogi, who could then
have captured Mukden, and cut off the 2nd and 3rd Armies from their

Whatever course was decided upon, our weakness in power of manœuvre,
the strength of the Japanese divisions, and their great powers of
defence, had to be borne in mind. On the whole, a consideration of
these points rather led to the conclusion that it was probably a
distinct advantage to them to engage as many of us as possible in a
frontal attack on their positions, so that they might be the more
certain of success in their turning movement. After looking at the
question from all sides, I decided to stand on the defensive in the
front of the 2nd and 3rd Armies, and to move as quickly as possible
sufficient troops to the right bank of the Hun Ho to check and then
drive back Nogi’s army, which was executing the turning movement. The
first troops to be used for this were those of the 2nd Army, whose duty
it was to protect the right flank of our whole force. For this purpose
I first took one corps from this army, calculating that the sixty-four
remaining battalions could without difficulty withstand any onset by
Oku (of from thirty to forty battalions). General Baron Kaulbars was
ordered to move this corps as quickly as possible towards the village
of Sha-ling-pu, where I proposed to concentrate the units to oppose
Nogi. To operate against him I then moved up twenty-four battalions
of the 16th Corps together, putting them also under the command of
General Kaulbars, while as a reserve to these advanced troops I took
twelve battalions from the 3rd and the 1st Siberian Corps, which I
ordered to move towards Mukden and rejoin my reserve as soon as news
was received of the attack being stopped, and of the departure of
the 1st Army to Chi-hui-cheng. Thus, arrangements were made for the
concentration of ninety-two battalions, which by March 3 should easily
have been able to cover our right flank, check Nogi’s army, and drive
it back. Unfortunately, our hopes of what was going to be effected on
this flank were not fulfilled. In order to move this army corps against
Nogi, Kaulbars essayed a most complicated manœuvre—namely, to move the
Composite Rifle Corps from the right bank of the Hun Ho on to the left,
and to replace it on to the right bank by the 8th Army Corps, which was
to move on Sha-ling-pu. The first part of this plan was carried out—the
Rifle Corps crossed on to the left bank, but, owing to the Japanese
pressure, the 8th Army Corps remained on that side. Thus the units
of the two Corps became mixed up. Of the 2nd Army, only two brigades
(of the 10th Army Corps), which had been sent there under my orders,
together with the 25th Infantry Division, arrived at Sha-ling-pu.
Meanwhile the whole of the 10th Army Corps, or at least twenty-four
battalions of it, might have been moved there, for it was opposed by
very few of the enemy. The transfer from the right—the threatened—flank
of the Rifles had, as is now known, very serious consequences, for by
it the right flank of the 2nd Army was uncovered too soon, and the
units there, being attacked in front and flank, began to retreat, which
caused the adjacent troops to do the same.

From the information I received as to the enemy’s movements, I decided
to move the 16th Army Corps in two directions—one portion direct on
Hsin-min-tun, and the 25th Division on Sha-ling-pu. When it became
apparent that the enemy were not advancing behind the Liao Ho, but
between it and the Hun Ho, Kaulbars very properly gave orders for a
brigade of the 41st Division to be sent up towards the 25th Division
at Sha-ling-pu. We should have thus had the 16th Corps, consisting
of twenty-four battalions, all together; and to this it was General
Kaulbars’ intention to add the 8th Army Corps at full strength. As
this force would have been reinforced by me by another Siberian corps,
we should have had three army corps against Nogi. Unfortunately,
however, Kaulbars countermanded the orders already issued to General
Birger (to join the 25th Division), and this brigade continued to
act independently, and added to the existing confusion of troops,
especially when it split up and retired in two directions—towards
Mukden and Hu-shih-tai station. Instead of the 8th Army Corps arriving
to reinforce the 25th Division, two brigades of the 10th Army Corps
turned up. Finally, Linievitch did not consider it possible to carry
out his orders (to send the 1st Siberian Corps to Mukden at full
strength), and asked permission to detain two regiments of it, and so
the divisions of the 1st Siberian Corps arrived in Mukden with only
three regiments each. Fully recognizing the danger of our position on
the right flank, the commander of the 3rd Army sent his army reserve
of three regiments of the 17th Army Corps to Mukden, and on his own
initiative added to them the Samara Regiment (three battalions), which
had been sent to him the day before with a view to strengthening his
left. Meanwhile the different orders given during the fighting between
February 23 and March 4 by the commanders of the 1st and 2nd Armies
resulted in an inextricable confusion of lesser units, which added
to that caused by the breakdown of the corps organization. As there
were insufficient army reserves, Linievitch reinforced the troops that
were being attacked from the corps reserves of those corps which had
not been attacked. For instance, when the enemy’s advance against the
left flank of the 1st Army began, certain units of the 3rd Siberian
Corps, by moving eastwards along the front, were able to strengthen
Rennenkampf’s force. When the Kao-tai Ling position—defended by the 3rd
Siberians—was attacked, this corps was supported by portions of the 2nd
and 4th Siberian Corps to the west of them; when the 2nd Siberians were
attacked they were reinforced by units of the 4th.

Thus the reinforcements sent up by me only served to heighten the
general confusion of units caused by the orders of the officer
commanding the 1st Army and of the corps commanders. Against Kavamura
on March 1 and 2 there were in the 1st Army the 71st Division,
consisting of three regiments, the whole of the 6th East Siberian Rifle
Division, one regiment of the 3rd East Siberian Rifle Division, and
one regiment of the 1st Army Corps—total twenty-nine battalions.[112]
Against Kuroki were the 3rd East Siberian Rifle Division, consisting
of three regiments, one regiment of the 71st Division, two of the 4th
Siberians, and one of the 2nd Siberians—total twenty-five battalions.
On the assumption that we should attack, I sent to these troops the
72nd Division and the 1st Siberians at full strength, as well as one
regiment of the 1st Army Corps—total forty-four battalions. Thus
sixty-nine battalions were concentrated on and behind the positions
of the 3rd Siberian Corps. Farther west, on the positions of the 2nd
Siberian Corps, there remained of this corps fourteen battalions,
which, reinforced by a regiment of the 4th Siberians, successfully
repulsed all attacks, including an assault made by the Japanese Guards.
Still farther west, on the positions of the 4th Siberians, which were
not attacked, there were twenty to twenty-four battalions of this same
corps. Finally, against Nodzu’s right twenty-four battalions of the
1st Army Corps not only completely repulsed all attacks, but pressed
forward very successfully. Generally speaking, although the units of
the 1st Army were considerably mixed up, the corps organization of the
1st, 2nd, and 4th Siberians and the 1st Army Corps was not very much

In the 2nd Army matters were worse. The unsuccessful attempt to
“castle” two corps (the Composite Rifle and 8th Army Corps) was the
start of the break-up of the army corps organization, and in beating
off the enemy these two corps, together with the 10th, became still
more involved. Throughout the fighting of the night of March 4 no
touch was kept between the different units of the 8th Army Corps. The
14th Division (three regiments) and one regiment of the 15th Division
crossed on to the right bank of the Hun Ho and moved westwards, while
the 15th Division (three regiments) arrived behind the left flank of
the 3rd Army after a night march to the north-east. On the morning of
the 4th mingled portions of all these corps took up fresh positions on
both banks of the Hun Ho.

Sufficient efforts were not made to readjust matters either in the
divisions or corps. The commander of the 10th Army Corps maintained
under his command only two brigades of the 9th and 31st Divisions
(consisting of sixteen battalions), which had been moved by my order
towards Sha-ling-pu; the commander of the 16th Army Corps was with the
25th Infantry Division, which had sixteen battalions; while neither
the commanders of the 8th or Composite Rifle Corps had got so many
troops directly under them. By General Kaulbars’ orders, Tserpitski was
appointed to command the left wing of the troops moved on to the right
bank of the Hun Ho; among these was only one regiment of the 10th Army
Corps, the remainder belonging to the 8th Army, Composite Rifle, and
5th Siberian Corps. At the same time as Kaulbars appointed Tserpitski,
he removed the commanders of the 8th, Composite Rifle, and 16th Corps
from the direct command of troops. This gave the _coup de grâce_ to
the corps organization of this army. It was now completely destroyed.
As I have mentioned (Vol. III.), there was an opportunity on March 6 of
withdrawing the whole of the 10th Army Corps from the first line, and
so reorganizing the 8th Corps and the Composite Rifles properly, but
the commander of the 2nd Army did not seize it.

The inaction of the 2nd Army on March 4, its passive and disastrous
operations on the 5th and 6th, placed our right flank in a very
difficult position. Nogi was moving not only along the flank, but to
the rear of the 2nd Army. The commander of this army, continuing to
see danger where there was none, paid particular attention to Oku’s
operations, and left Nogi to move round to our rear without hindrance.
Indeed, had I not interfered on March 7, Nogi’s force would have seized
Shan-tai-tzu, the Imperial Tombs, and Mukden, and moved in rear of the
2nd Army. By my orders the defence of the positions near Shan-tai-tzu,
Ta-heng-tun, and Wen-ken-tun was organized so as to face to the north
and west. The movement of the 3rd Army towards the Hun Ho contracted
our position, and enabled me to withdraw to my main reserve portions of
the 9th, 15th, and 54th Divisions, and by means of this concentration
the danger of Nogi’s movement to our rear was temporarily averted,
but in the section held by the 2nd Army we were fighting on three
fronts—west, south, and north. Under such conditions I naturally sent
into action those units which were nearest. Still, the defence of the
northern front was entrusted to a brigade of the 41st Division, the
Volinsk Regiment, and to the 9th Rifle Regiment. Near Tsu-erh-tun were
concentrated three regiments of the 9th and three of the 54th Divisions.

On the 6th and 7th I made a final attempt to wrest victory from the
Japanese. Hoping that Kuroki had suffered heavily on the preceding
days, and relying on the splendid material in the 1st Army, I made
up my mind, after considerable discussion of the matter with its
commander on the telephone, to weaken that army considerably, so as to
make certain of having sufficient men at Tsu-erh-tun. I augmented my
main reserve by the whole of the 72nd Division, a brigade of the 2nd
Siberian, and eighteen battalions from the 1st Army and 4th Siberian
Corps. The commander of the 1st Army was of opinion that if we did not
soon have a success on the right this weakening of the 1st Army might
be a danger, but though fully realizing the force of his contention, I
considered it necessary to take the risk for the following reasons:

1. One hundred and five splendid battalions were still left under the
command of General Linievitch.

2. The enemy in front of the 1st Army must, according to the reports
sent in by its commander, have lost very heavily.

3. The Japanese had transferred almost the whole of Oku’s army to
the right bank of the Hun Ho, immediately after Nogi’s, and we had
either to break through this disposition or strengthen those of our
forces on the right bank of the Hun Ho by a lateral movement. As I
have described already (Vol. III.), our hopes were not realized. The
movement of the reserves to Tsu-erh-tun was effected very much more
slowly than we had counted upon, and, taking advantage of our reduction
in strength on the front held by the 1st Army, the enemy broke through
there. At the point of our position (Chiu-tien) where the enemy broke
through, _there should have been, according to the arrangements of the
officer commanding the 1st Army, four regiments of the troops under
his command, but as a matter of fact there were only ten companies
of the Barnaul Regiment_.[113] Taking all the circumstances into
consideration, our retirement was, in my opinion, a day too late, and
instead of throwing all the reinforcements which arrived at Tsu-erh-tun
into the fight, some of them (General Zarubaeff’s force) had to be kept
as a last reserve in case the enemy attempted to close us in with a
ring of fire.

In the last fights at Mukden, the 4th Siberian Corps was scattered
along the whole front, but the enemy being at that spot in
inconsiderable strength, did not attack its strong position at
Erh-ta-ho. Thirty-two splendid battalions of this corps might have
been used by the commander of the 1st Army for a local counter-attack,
or, together with the troops of the 1st Army Corps or those of the 2nd
Siberians, for a greater effort at the counter-offensive, for which a
very favourable opportunity presented itself when the enemy attacked
the 2nd Siberians. By advancing we could have taken the attacking
forces in flank and rear, and the Japanese Imperial Guards would have
been threatened with disaster. But the opportunity was not seized.
Hence the 4th Siberian Corps, having no force opposed to it, only
formed, so to speak, a reserve to the 1st and 2nd Armies.

On the whole, the confusion was at its greatest between March 8 and 10
on the northern front of the 2nd Army, but the energetic and gallant
General Launits was in command, and he not only beat back all attacks,
but rescued the inert units of the 2nd Army, whose rear Nogi was
threatening. On March 10 General Muiloff, in command of the rearguard
(composed only of the Lublin Regiment), gallantly and successfully
carried out the difficult duty of covering the retirement of the 2nd
and 3rd Armies.

It must be remembered that, though the corps organization mostly
broke down, the regimental organization was preserved, and this
gave a cohesion in action which, when taken advantage of, served us
right well. The preservation of the regimental organization was also
important on account of the rationing of the troops. The first line
transport (with field kitchens and two-wheeled ammunition carts) were
kept with regiments, and so ammunition and food were in many cases
most opportunely forthcoming in spite of the mixing up of units. The
nearness of our supplies also at Mukden enabled us easily to refill
regimental reserves. Against the 1st Siberian Corps at the bloody
action at Su-no-pu (near San-de-pu) on January 27—a fight that was more
or less unpremeditated on both sides—units of five different Japanese
divisions were engaged, though the enemy had a comparatively small
force in the field. The enemy, therefore, must also have suffered from

I have endeavoured to give some explanation of how it was that
units got mixed up; but I consider that it was in many cases quite
unnecessary. Consequently, when I reported to the Tsar that I was
mainly responsible for our disaster at Mukden, I pointed out that one
of my mistakes was that I did not sufficiently legislate to prevent
this confusion, and that, as a matter of fact, I was forced by
circumstances to add to it.


  ABAZA, Admiral, his connection with the Royal Timber Company,
      ii. 309–313

  Abdur Rahman, and Afghanistan, i. 84, 85

  Adabash, Colonel, his information on Japanese reserve forces, i. 206

    her frontier, i. 62;
    Britain’s advance, i. 63, 84;
    and Russia, i. 64–66, 87;
    a buffer State, i. 85;
    Boundary Commission, i. 86

  Alexander I., Emperor of Russia:
    more freedom for the army, i. 14;
    his example, i. 20

  Alexander II., Emperor of Russia:
    the clamour for peace, i. 22;
    the emancipation of the serfs, i. 23;
    military economy, i. 87;
    the Siberian Railway, i. 149

  Alexander III., Emperor of Russia, military economy, i. 87

  Alexeieff, Admiral:
    stops work at Port Arthur, i. 126, 128;
    the Boxer rebellion, i. 154;
    stops the evacuation of Mukden, i. 169;
    his connection with Bezobrazoff and the Royal Timber Company,
      i. 173–185, ii. 306–313;
    becomes Viceroy of the Far East, i. 187;
    his negotiations with Japan, i. 188–198;
    disperses his troops and fleet, i. 225;
    his opinion of the fleet, i. 237, 238;
    report on the Eastern Chinese Railway, i. 246;
    presses for relief, i. 257;
    strategical distribution of troops, ii. 205–211;
    the weakness of Port Arthur, ii. 213, 229

  Alien population, dangers of an, i. 102

  Alma, battle of the, i. 17

  America, Russia hands over her possessions in, i. 35

    defects in gun, i. 137;
    average expenditure of rifle, ii. 149, 150

  Amur district, Russia’s annexation of, i. 35

  Armament (see Army):
    inferior, i. 15;
    moral effect of, i. 107, 108;
    artillery, i. 121, 135;
    for Port Arthur, i. 129;
    test of a new field-gun, i. 136;
    defects in gun ammunition, i. 137

  Army, Russian:
    the Great Northern War, i. 5, 6;
    reductions in, i. 8;
    distribution of, i. 9;
    struggle with France, i. 10;
    annexation of Finland, i. 12;
    in the Crimean War, i. 13–21;
    in the Turkish wars, i. 24–34;
    casualties in the two main struggles, i. 36;
    peace and war establishments, i. 38;
    relative speed of mobilization, i. 88–90, 272–284;
    losses in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, i. 99;
    incapacity of generals, i. 101;
    improvement of, i. 113, 119–124;
    value of the Siberian Corps, i. 125;
    want of railway transport, i. 131–134, 156, 242–268;
    re-armament of the artillery, i. 135, 136;
    defects in gun ammunition, i. 137;
    numbers in the Pri-Amur district, i. 144;
    its distribution, i. 225, ii. 209, 210;
    its favourable state when peace declared, i. 230–234;
    defeats at Yalu, Chin-chou, and Te-li-ssu, i. 257, 258;
    loss at Sha Ho, i. 259;
    the reservists, i. 278–290;
    shortage and capabilities of officers, i. 290–294, 300–305;
    discipline, i. 295, 296;
    corporal punishment, i. 297–299;
    want of sappers, i. 305;
    machine-guns, i. 306–309;
    criticism of staff work, ii. 2, 3;
    cavalry at manœuvres, ii. 4;
    attack and defence, ii. 5;
    column formation, ii. 6;
    work of the artillery, ii. 7;
    work of the sappers, ii. 7, 8;
    criticism by commanders, ii. 9;
    tactical instruction, ii. 10–25;
    relative positions of, ii. 33, 34, 37–40;
    absence of military spirit and patriotism, ii. 35, 183;
    adverse conditions, ii. 37, 39;
    effect of the rainy season and dysentery, ii. 41;
    difficulties in organization, ii. 44–60;
    defects in the command, ii. 60–72;
    in the rank and file, ii. 72–80;
    Kuropatkin’s final address to, ii. 88–97;
    suggestions for the improvement of:
      (1) the senior rank, ii. 98–114;
      (2) the regulars and reservists, ii. 114–127;
      (3) reserve organization, ii. 128–131;
      (4) augmenting the combatant infantry, ii. 131–136;
      (5) machine-guns, ii. 136;
      (6) depôt troops, ii. 137–139;
      (7) communication troops, ii. 139, 140;
      (8) engineer troops, ii. 141–146;
      (9) artillery, ii. 146–151;
      (10) cavalry, ii. 151–155;
      (11) infantry, ii. 155–161;
      (12) organization, ii. 161–176;
    summary of the war, ii. 177–204;
    gradual improvement in spirit, ii. 183, 188, 189;
    strategical distribution of, ii. 205, 271;
    Kuropatkin’s narrative of the war, ii. 205–305;
    strength of, ii. 258;
    breakdown of the unit organization and distribution, ii. 314–335

  Artamonoff, General, ii. 281, 282

    rearmament of the, i. 121, 135;
    machine, i. 306–309, ii. 136, 137;
    suggested improvements, ii. 146–155, 162

    Russia’s war with Turkey, i. 26;
    Russia’s position in, i. 34;
    Russia’s frontiers, i. 40–46;
    opposition to Russia’s expansion in, i. 147

  _Asia for the Asiatics_, ii. 195, 196

  Austerlitz, Russia’s heavy loss at, i. 98

    war with Napoleon, i. 10;
    Crimean War, i. 16;
    her frontier with Russia, i. 51–54;
    her strategic railways, i. 55;
    her speed of mobilization, i. 90;
    her perfected organization, i. 103

    Russian frontiers, i. 44, 50–52;
    trade with Russia, i. 52;
    possibility of war with Russia, i. 53, 54

  Azov, surrender of, i. 6

  Baikal, Lake, great obstacle to the Siberian Railway, i. 149, 248, 254

  Balasheff, Acting State Councillor:
    his warlike despatch, i. 178;
    investigation of the Royal Timber Company, i. 181

  Baltic Sea: Russian aims, i. 5, 9;
    defence of, i. 114

  Batianoff, General, Commander of the 3rd Manchurian Army, ii. 186

  Batoum, i. 32

  Bayazet, the defence of, i. 26

    Congress, i. 32;
    Treaty of, i. 82

  Bessarabia, Russian annexation of, i. 13, 24

  Bezobrazoff, State Councillor:
    his connection with the Royal Timber Company, i. 169, ii. 306–313;
    his propositions, i 172–174;
    Kuropatkin’s report on, i. 177–179;
    investigation of the Royal Timber Company, i. 180, 184

  Bilderling, General, Commander of the 2nd Manchurian Army:
    his report, ii. 186;
    criticism on, ii. 228, 234, 247;
    his force, ii. 242;
    withdraws to position on the Sha Ho, ii. 245, 286

  Black Sea, the:
    Russian progress towards, i. 6, 12, 13;
    Russia deprived of a war fleet in, i. 19, 24, 33;
    coast defence on, i. 114

  Blume, M., theorist in strategy, ii. 69

  Borisoff, Colonel, at Mukden, ii. 281, 283

  Borodino, Russian loss at, i. 98

  Boskey, General, surprises the Russians at the battle of the Alma,
      i. 17

  Bothnia, Gulf of, Russian aims, i. 9, 41, 42

  Boxer Rebellion, i. 136, 154, 155

    Turko-Servian War, i. 24, 25;
    Russian behaviour in, i. 29, 30

  Burun, M., on the Russian fleet, i. 236, 237, 240, 241

  Caucasus, the:
    her Russian frontier, i. 5, 8, 33, 34, 57, 58;
    her troops, i. 26, 114

    not sufficiently used, ii. 151, 152;
    failure of the officers, ii. 153–155, 288;
    details of units, ii. 162

  Censorship, necessity for press, ii. 176

  Charles XII., King of Sweden, war with Russia, i. 5

  Cherniaeff, General, Geok Tepe, i. 32

  Chichagoff, General, his alarmist reports, ii. 302, 321, 322

    peaceful attitude of, i. 5;
    Peking Treaty, i. 35;
    Russian frontier and trade, i. 67, 68;
    war with Japan, i. 69, 151, 201–204;
    Russian policy, i. 72, 157;
    the awakening of, i. 91;
    Boxer Rebellion and treaty with Russia, i. 154–162;
    her alarm at Russia’s policy, i. 170;
    Russian treatment of the Chinese, ii. 190, 191

  Chin-chou, battle of, i. 257

  Civil disorder, repression of, ii. 125

  Constantinople, Russian advance to walls of, i. 30, 82

  Cossacks. See Cavalry

  Crimean War:
    strength of Russian army, i. 13;
    Russia’s unpreparedness, i. 16, 101, 109;
    Inkerman, i. 18;
    siege of Sevastopol, i. 19;
    a premature peace, i. 20–22

    Russian annexation of, i. 69;
    Japanese use of, i. 127;
    its fortifications, i. 172, ii. 207;
    commerce, i. 190;
    coal storage at, i. 246

  Danube, the, Russian acquisition and loss of the mouths of,
      i. 13, 16, 19, 24, 32

  Defence schemes, ii. 26–30

  Dembovski, General, at Mukden, ii. 285, 286

  Demchinski, M., _Were we Ready for War?_ i. 111

  Djam, Russian force at, i. 84

  Dragomiroff, General, and quick-firing artillery, i. 136;
    his theories, ii. 8, 10, 11

  Dubniak Hill, capture of, i. 25

  Dukhovski, General, Governor-General and Commander
     in the Pri-Amur district, and the Siberian Railway, i. 151, 171

  Dushkevitch, Colonel, i. 302

  Eastern Chinese Railway:
    the bad condition of, i. 131, 132, 182–242;
    a parallel in Persia, i. 193;
    suggested sale to China, i. 221;
    capacity of, i. 243–256

  Emmanuel, Major, his appreciation of the Japanese army, i. 222

  Engineers, ii. 141–146;
    details of units, ii. 162

  Essen, Admiral, his daring sally from Vladivostok, i. 239

  Esthonia, Russian annexation of, i. 5

  Eupatoria, the Allies’ disembarkation at, i. 17

  Feng-huang-cheng, Russian occupation of, i. 170–174, 184

  Finance Minister, dual capacity of, i. 139

  Finland, Russian annexation of, i. 5, 12, 41;
    Russian frontier, i. 8 _n._, 9;
    her aims for autonomy, i. 42

  Fortresses, work on the, i. 126–130

    her struggles with Russia, i. 10;
    strength of her army, i. 15;
    cause of Franco-Russian _entente_, i. 46;
    lessons from the Franco-German War, i. 78–81

  Friederichsham, Treaty of, i. 40, 41

  Frontiers (see Russia), Russian, i. 8 _n._, 35, 40–77

  Galicia, strategic value of, i. 54, 55

  Geok Tepe, Russian attack on, i. 31, 85, 148

  Georgia, Russian annexation of, i. 8

    war with Napoleon, i. 10;
    her Russian frontier, i. 44, 45;
    her Russian trade, i. 45, 59;
    her strategic preparations, i. 46–49;
    possibilities of war, i. 49, 50;
    trade in Persia, i. 59, 60;
    lessons from the Franco-German War, i. 79, 80;
    her relative speed of mobilization, i. 90;
    her perfect organization, i. 103, 113;
    her military expenditure, i. 112, 113

  Gerngros, General:
    the Boxer Rebellion, i. 155;
    wounded at Te-li-ssu, i. 219;
    the battle near Mukden, ii. 278, 279, 293, 297

  Giers, M., Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs,
      on the cession of Kuldja, i. 93

  Glinski, M., _The Resurrected Dead_, i. 292

  Godunoff, Boris, and the Caspian Sea, i. 4

  Goltz, Von der, a distinguished German writer,
      his dictum on war, i. 88

  Gorbatoff, M., _Thoughts Suggested by Recent Military Operations_,
     ii. 75, 76

  Great Britain:
    strength of her army, i. 15;
    the Crimean War, i. 16–20;
    her trade with Persia, i. 59, 60;
    Russia and Afghanistan, i. 62–67, 84, 85;
    Afghan Boundary Commission, i. 86;
    treaty with Japan, i. 269

  Grieg, Admiral, Russian Minister of Finance,
      on the cession of Kuldja, i. 93

  Grippenberg, General, Commander of the 2nd Army:
    his peculiar theories and behaviour, i. 299,
        ii. 11, 23–25, 55–60, 251–253, 257, 260, 261, 264–267, 320;
    _The Truth about the Battle of Hei-kou-tai_, ii. 83

  Grodekovi, General, i. 154, 155

  Guber, General, ii. 52

  Gulistan, Treaty of, i. 60

  Guns. See Artillery

  Gurieff, M., _The Outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War_, i. 146

  Gurko, General, siege of Plevna, i. 26; criticisms by, ii. 9

  Hamilton, General Sir Ian, an appreciation of the Japanese army,
      i. 223

    concentration at, i. 155, 160;
    railway difficulties, i. 245, 254, 261, 268;
    drunkenness at, ii. 188

  Hei-kou-tai, operations at, ii. 82, 83, 271, 320

  Hei-ni-tun, Russian attack on, ii. 282

  Herat, proposed railway, i. 67;
    and Russia, i. 86

  Hershelman, General, i. 279

  Hsi-mu-cheng, concentration at, ii. 42

  Hsi-ping-kai positions:
    Russian occupation of, i. 229, ii. 32, 182, 287;
    handed over to Japan, i. 232;
    preparations near, ii. 184, 185, 194

  Hun-huses, raids by, i. 158, 159

  Imeretinski, General, at Plevna, i. 28

  India and Russia’s policy, i. 64–67

  Infantry (see Army):
    the chief arm, ii. 155;
    improvement in, ii. 156;
    officers’ casualties, ii. 157, 158;
    promotion in the field, ii. 159;
    _field_ v. _office_ training, ii. 160;
    organization and details of units, ii. 161–170;
    penalties on active service, ii. 171–175

  Istomin, Admiral, his heroic death, i. 18, 21

  Ivanovitch, Tsar Theodore, i. 4

    peaceful attitude of, i. 5;
    Russia and Saghalien, i. 35;
    Peking Treaty, i. 35;
    war with China, i. 69, 151, 202–204;
    events leading up to the war with Russia, i. 123–130, 151, 157–166,
        170, 177–179;
    the Royal Timber Company, i. 172;
    Kuropatkin’s visit to, and impressions of, i. 174, 175, 217–223;
    progress of negotiations, i. 188, 193;
    Russia’s bluff, i. 193–198;
    her early history, i. 199;
    birth of her army, i. 200–202;
    expedition to China, i. 203;
    her estimated strength, i. 203, 208, ii. 192;
    expansion for war, i. 204–206;
    her loss in the war with Russia, i. 207, ii. 192;
    her sea-transport, i. 209;
    Russian criticisms on the army of, i. 210;
    her officers in Russian employ, i. 212;
    her reserve troops, i. 213;
    the _samurai_ spirit, i. 214;
    her resentment with Russia, i. 215;
    her system of education, i. 217–219;
    Korea a vital question, i. 219;
    German and English appreciations of, i. 222, 223;
    her disembarkations on Liao-tung Peninsula and Kuan-tung unhindered,
        i. 225;
    her advantages, i. 226;
    their moral tone, i. 227;
    the nation with the army, i. 228;
    partial exhaustion, i. 230, 235, ii. 194, 195;
    strength of the fleets in the Far East, i. 236, 237;
    the naval battles near Port Arthur and Vladivostok, i. 238–241;
    her victories at the Yalu, Chin-chou and Te-li-ssu, i. 257, 258,
        ii. 38, 83;
    her treaty with Great Britain, i. 269;
    relative positions after fifteen months’ war, ii. 31–35, 39–44;
    her losses, ii. 192, 193;
    Kuropatkin’s summary of the war, ii. 217–287, 314–335

  Jassy, Treaty of, i. 6

  Jilinski, General, Headquarter Staff, i. 206, 256

  Ka-liao-ma, ii. 274, 290

  Kamchatka, Russian annexation of, i. 35

  Kao-li-tun, ii. 275

  Kars, the capture of the fortress of, i. 26, 30, 32, ii. 14

  Kashgaria, i. 70;
    Chinese take possession of, i. 92

  Kaufmann, General, i. 32;
    and Afghanistan, i. 85;
    the cession of Kuldja, i. 92, 93;
    the Bokhara Khanate, i. 147

  Kaulbars, General, ii. 58;
    in command of the 3rd Army, ii. 249, 265;
    in command of the 2nd Army, ii. 268;
    the assault of San-de-pu, ii. 271;
    battles near Mukden, ii. 272–287;
    criticisms on, ii. 288–305, 324–335

  Keller, General Count, ii. 42, 221;
    his death, ii. 71, 226

  Khanates, the, i. 147, 148

  Khilkoff, Prince, Minister of Ways and Communications,
      and the Siberian Railway, i. 246, 248, 250, 254

  Khiva, Russian failure to gain possession of, i. 5

  Kipke, Surgeon-General, list of Japanese casualties, i. 207, 208

  Kirghiz tribes and Russia, i. 4 _n._, 5, 8 _n._

  Kirin, capture of, i. 155

  Kondratenko, General, the hero of Port Arthur, i, 300, ii. 71

    independence of, i. 69;
    necessity for quiet in, i. 72, 73;
    Russian activity in, i. 153, 178;
    timber concession, i. 170;
    council at Port Arthur on, i. 180, 181;
    the Treaty of Peking, i. 199;
    a vital question, i. 219

  Korniloff, Admiral, siege of Sevastopol, i. 18;
    heroic death, i. 21

  Korniloff, Lieutenant-Colonel, ii. 286

  Kronstadt, fortifications of, i. 126

  Kruimoff, Captain, i. 303

  Kuan-tung Peninsula: Russian annexation of, i. 35, 69;
    Japanese land and fortify, i. 127, 257;
    Russian defence force, ii. 206, 207

  Kuang-cheng-tzu, seizure by rebels, i. 155

  Kuldja, province of, i. 70;
    the cession to China of, i. 92–95, 148, 149

  Kuprin, M., _The Duel_, ii. 69

  Kuroki, General:
    in command of the 1st Japanese Army, i. 257, 258;
    his opinion of the Russian shells, i. 306;
    his victory at Te-li-ssu, ii. 38;
    his positions, ii. 39, 40, 216, 222;
    his turning movement, ii. 230–232, 264;
    strength of his army, ii. 253;
    battle of Liao-yang, ii. 317;
    at Mukden, ii. 323,329, 332

  Kuropatkin, General, Minister of War, afterwards Commander-in-Chief:
    his report on the possibilities of the twentieth century, i. 39;
    his report on the Russian frontiers and their suitability, i. 40–77;
    deductions from the work of the army as a guide to future wars,
        i. 96–110;
    the work before the War Department, i. 111–144;
    his opinion on the Manchurian and Korean questions, i. 145–198;
    difference of opinion with Admiral Alexeieff, i. 167–169;
    the Royal Timber Company, i. 172–184, ii. 306;
    his impressions on visiting Japan, i. 174, 175, 217–223;
    his reports on the Manchurian position, i. 176–179, 189–193;
    his responsibility for the rupture with Japan, i. 177–179;
    his pyramid of Russian interests, i. 185, 186;
    resignation on the establishment of the Viceroyalty, i. 187;
    his proposal to give way, i. 189;
    his report on strength of Japanese army, i. 242;
    on necessity for Russian railway improvements, i. 252–254, 263–268;
    on mobilization, i. 271–289;
    on reserve of officers, i. 293, 294;
    his recommendations as to officers, i. 301–305;
    on machine-guns and ammunition, i. 306–309;
    his criticisms of staff work, ii. 2, 3;
    of cavalry, ii. 4;
    of attack and the defence, ii. 5, 6;
    of column formation in attack, ii. 6;
    on the work of the artillery and sappers, ii. 7, 8;
    on criticism by commanders, ii. 9;
    on tactical instruction of our troops, ii. 10;
    his supplementary and monthly instructions, ii. 12, 13, 15–22;
    reasons for the reverses at Plevna, ii. 13, 14;
    his diagram of, and opinion on, the relative positions in Manchuria,
        ii. 33–44;
    on difficulties in organization, ii. 44–60;
    on defects in _personnel_, ii. 60–72;
    on the rank and file and Social Revolutionists, ii. 72–81;
    on the countermanding of orders, ii. 81–84;
    takes the blame for the defeat at Mukden, ii. 85, 86, 335;
    his farewell address, ii. 87–97;
    his suggested improvements in the senior ranks and all arms,
        ii. 98–176;
    his summary of the war, and conclusions, ii. 177–305;
    breakdown of the unit organization and distribution, ii. 314–335

  Kushk, proposed railway to, i. 67;
    defeat of Afghans at, i. 86

  Kutnevitch, General, ii. 297

  Lamsdorff, M., Minister for Foreign Affairs,
      and the Royal Timber Company, i. 173, 174, ii. 306, 311, 312

  Launits, General, his gallantry, ii. 334

  Lessar, Acting State Councillor, Russian Minister in China,
      council at Port Arthur on the Yalu enterprise, i. 175, 180

  Levestam, General:
    withdrawal to Hsi-mu-cheng, ii. 40;
    the battle near Mukden, ii. 283, 286

  Liao-tung Peninsula, Japanese land at, i. 225, 257

    seizure by rebels, i. 155;
    Russian concentration at, i. 225, 242, 258;
    battle at, ii. 18, 83, 229, 230, 317;
    Russian retirement, ii. 86;
    Japanese losses at, ii. 193;
    Kuropatkin’s arrival at, ii. 209

  Linievitch, General:
    capture of Peking, i. 155;
    in command of the 1st Army, i. 230, ii. 249, 324;
    Commander-in-Chief, i. 301, ii. 198;
    and Kuropatkin, ii. 56, 58

  Livonia, Russia’s annexation of, i. 5

  Lomakin, General, his disastrous expedition against the Turcomans,
      i. 31

  Losses, Russian, in the two main struggles, i. 36;
    in past wars, i. 98;
    in the future, i. 99

  Madridoff, Lieutenant-Colonel, and the timber concession,
      i. 175, 181, 184, ii. 309

  Makharoff, Admiral, i. 225, 238

  Maksheef, Professor, on military expenditure, i. 111–113

  Malakhoff Hill, capture of, i. 19

  Malingering, i. 174

  Maloshevitch, N. S., _Memoirs of a Sevastopol Man_, i. 16

  Manchuria (see also Railways):
    Russian movements in, i. 35;
    the question of annexation, i. 71, 105, 157–179;
    expansion of Russian garrison, i. 122;
    the rising in, i. 126;
    the War Minister’s opinion on, i. 145;
    investigation of the timber concession, i. 180–184;
    pyramid of Russian interests, i. 185, 186;
    negotiations, i. 187–198;
    Japanese invade Southern, ii. 32–44;
    summary of the war, and conclusions, ii. 177–305

  Martinoff, M. E., _Spirit and Temper of the Two Armies_, ii. 77, 78

  Menshikoff, M., Russian writer, ii. 69

  Menshikoff, Prince, Commander-in-Chief, Crimean War, i. 17;
    battle of Inkerman, i. 18;
    superseded, i. 19

  Meyendorff, General Baron, Commander of 1st Army Corps, i. 302;
    retreat of, ii. 284

  Milutin, General:
    the emancipation of the serfs, i. 24;
    Plevna, i. 25;
    cession of Kuldja, i. 93;
    the improvement of the army, i. 113

  Mischenko, General:
    retirement of the local railway guards, i. 155;
    his cavalry successes, ii. 150

  Mobilization, relative speed of, i. 90;
    inconveniences of, i. 272–286

  Moscow, a poor spirit in, i. 198, 199

  Muiloff, Lieutenant-General, ii. 282;
    removal of, ii. 297;
    his gallantry, ii. 334

    seized by the rebels, i. 154;
    recaptured, i. 155;
    battles round, i. 229 _n._, 260, ii. 43, 246, 272–305, 314–335;
    Japanese losses at, ii. 193, 194;
    Russia’s unfavourable position at, ii. 196, 197, 240, 241

  Nakhimoff, Admiral, i. 18;
    his heroic death, i. 21

  Namangan, occupation of, i. 148

  Narbut, General, member of the military council, i. 293

  Narva, reasons for Russian defeat at, i. 5

  _Nasha Jizu_, newspaper, _The Viceroy Alexeieff’s Firm Policy_, i. 109

  _Navarin_, Russian battleship, terrible loss on, i. 240

  Navy, Russian:
    state of, i. 15;
    disadvantages of, i. 107;
    its uselessness at Port Arthur, i. 131;
    the Pacific Squadron, i. 224;
    minor part played by, i. 236;
    strength of Japanese and, i. 236, 237;
    battles at Port Arthur and Vladivostok, i. 238–241

    Russian intentions, i. 157;
    evacuation of, ii. 43

  Nicholas II., Tsar of Russia, on improvements in the army, i. 120–122;
    his efforts against war, i. 145, 187;
    railway transport, i. 245, 252, 263–268;
    mobilization, i. 272;
    orders concentration, ii. 212;
    on Kuropatkin’s retirement at Liao-yang, ii. 238;
    his connection with the Royal Timber Company and Bezobrazoff,
        ii. 306–313

  Nicolaeff, Grand-Duke Michael, operations in Asia, i. 26

  Nicolai-Pavlovitch, the late Emperor, his warning, i. 16

  Nishtabtski, Treaty of, i. 5

  Nodzu, General, lands on the Liao-tung Peninsula, i. 236;
    his advance, ii. 222;
    summary of the war, ii. 177–305, 314–335

  Nogi, General, lands on the Liao-tung Peninsula, i. 236;
    on the fall of Port Arthur, i. 260;
    at Mukden, ii. 84, 152, 281;
    summary of the war, ii. 177–305, 314–335

  Norway, her frontiers, i. 40

  Obrucheff, General, Chief of Headquarter Staff:
    cession of Kuldja, i. 93;
    the improvement of the army, i. 113

  Offensive, advantages of strategic, ii. 169

  Officers, Russian:
    incapacity of, i. 101, ii. 1–11;
    the shortage of, i. 290–295;
    General Grippenberg’s resignation, i. 299, ii. 57;
    quality of, i. 300–303;
    _The Resurrected Dead_, i. 305;
    the susceptibilities of, ii. 57, 58;
    defects in, ii. 61–72, 95–97;
    suggested improvements, ii. 98–113;
    casualties among, ii. 157;
    line officers have no fair chance, ii. 158;
    promotion in the field, ii. 159;
    _field_ v. _office_ training, ii. 160, 161;
    suggested changes in rank of, ii. 164–168;
    removal of incompetent, ii. 172

  Oku, General:
    his landing on the Liao-tung Peninsula, i. 236, 256;
    joins General Nodzu’s army, ii. 43;
    battle of Liao-yang, ii. 84;
    summary of the war, ii. 177–305, 314–335

  Organization, Russian:
    defects in, i. 26, 27, 88, 89, 119;
    difficulties in, ii. 44–60;
    Kuropatkin’s proposals on, ii. 161–176;
    breakdown of, ii. 314–320

  Orenburg-Tashkent Railway, i. 86 _n._

  Orloff, General, at Liao-yang, i. 279;
    retreat to Yen-tai, ii. 234

  Osaka, great exhibition at, i. 219

  Ostolopoff, Colonel, i. 302

  _Osvobojdenie_, the Royal Timber Company, ii. 307

  Pacific Ocean, opposition to Russian access to, i. 146, 147

  Patriotism in Japan and Russia, ii. 78–80, 121–123, 227

  Paul II., Emperor of Russia, and the army, i. 8

  Pavloff, Chamberlain, Russian Minister in Korea, Yalu enterprise,
      i. 175, 180

  Pavlovski, M., engineer of Siberian Railway, i. 253

  Peking, Treaty of, i. 35, 199;
    capture of, i. 155

  Penalties on active service, ii. 171, 173

    war with Russia, i. 33;
    frontier and trade with Russia, i. 58, 59;
    the cockpit of the Middle East, i. 59;
    Great Britain and Germany in, i. 60;
    Russian aims in, i. 61

  _Personnel_, defects in, ii. 60–72

  Peter the Great:
    war with Sweden, i. 5;
    war with Turkey, i. 6;
    founder of the Russian fleet, i. 7;
    his struggles with Charles XII. and Napoleon, i. 10, 11;
    his counsel, i, 20;
    his influence, i. 41

  Petroff, General, i. 245

  Petrovitch, Paul, Emperor, his reforms, i. 38

  Plancon, M., diplomat, investigation of the Timber Company, i. 180

  Plehve, Von, Minister of the Interior, and the Timber Company, ii. 311

  Plevna, battle at, i. 25–30;
    the cause of the Russian reverses at, ii. 13

  Poland, Russia’s neighbour, i. 3;
    her struggles with Russia, i. 7;
    the problem of, i. 10, 11;
    rebellion, i. 23

  Poltava, Russian victory at, i. 5, 11, 41

  Port Arthur:
    Russian aims, i. 69;
    work at, i. 126, 127;
    armament for, i. 128, 129;
    the council on the timber concession, i. 180–184;
    Kuropatkin’s advice as to, i. 189, 190;
    Chino-Japanese War, i. 202;
    naval battles at, i. 238–241;
    fall of, i. 260;
    garrison at, ii. 205, 208;
    weakness of, ii. 211, 213, 214;
    result of fall of, ii. 299

  Pri-Amur district and Russia, i. 77;
    increase of troops in, i. 121, 122, 144, 151

  Punishment, corporal, ii. 173

  Putiloff Hill:
    Japanese losses at, ii. 193;
    movement of troops from, ii. 319

  Railways, the Siberian, i. 123, 149, 156;
    as a factor in the Japanese War, i. 131–134, 198;
    the problem of, i. 242–254, ii. 31;
    necessity for guarding, ii. 37

  _Razsvet_, newspaper, on Kuropatkin’s responsibility, i. 177

  _Razviedchik_ (_The Resurrected Dead_), i. 292

  Rediger, Lieutenant-General, War Minister, his report, i. 138, 139

  Rennenkampf, General:
    capture of Tsitsihar and Kirin, i. 155;
    in the Tai-tzu Ho Valley, ii. 244, 254, 273;
    Liao-yang, ii. 318, 328;
    the gallantry of his troops, ii. 323

  Reservists, Russian, i. 275–286, ii. 73, 163

  Revenue, Russian, i. 142

  Revolutionists, Social, ii. 75–80

  Roop, General, criticisms by commanders, ii. 9.

  Roslavleff, M., on Kuropatkin’s responsibility, i. 176, 177;
    the council at Port Arthur, i. 184

    Russian frontier, i. 44, 56;
    her aspirations, i. 57.

  Rozhdestvenski, Admiral, result of his defeat at Tsushima, i. 241, 242

  Rusin, Captain, Russian naval attaché, his report on the Japanese
      navy, i. 206, 207

  _Ruski Viestnik_, article on the fleets in the Far East, i. 236, 237

    extent of, in the eighteenth century, i. 2, 3;
    her neighbours, i. 3;
    her aims, i. 4;
    the Great Northern War and its result, i. 5–7;
    extension of, in the nineteenth century, i. 8, 35;
    reductions in the army, i. 8;
    closer touch with Europe, i. 9;
    struggles with France, i. 10;
    Polish problem, i. 11;
    annexation of Finland, i. 12;
    further wars with Turkey, i. 13, 24;
    deterioration of the army, i. 14;
    her navy, i. 15;
    her unpreparedness, i. 16;
    Crimean War commences, i. 16;
    Allies’ disembarkation permitted, i. 17;
    battle of the Alma, i. 17, 18;
    Inkerman, i. 18;
    siege of Sevastopol, i. 18, 19;
    a premature peace, i. 20–22, 81, 82;
    emancipation of the serfs, i. 23;
    Plevna, i. 25;
    failure of assaults, i. 26;
    her slow concentration and shortcomings, i. 27–29;
    her ultimate success, i. 30;
    Geok Tepe, i. 31;
    Kushk, i. 32;
    her position, i. 33–35;
    losses in the two centuries, i. 36, 37, 98, 99;
    peace and war establishments, i. 38;
    her future, i. 39;
    her Swedish frontier, i. 40–44;
    her German frontier and trade, i. 44–50;
    her Austro-Hungarian frontier, i. 50–55;
    Austria’s strategic railways, i. 55;
    her Roumanian frontier, i. 56;
    her Turkish frontier and trade, i. 57;
    her Persian frontier and trade, i. 58, 59;
    her aims in Persia, i. 61;
    her frontier with Afghanistan, i. 62;
    her policy versus Great Britain, i. 63–66;
    no wish for India, i. 67;
    her Chinese frontier, trade, and policy, i. 67–73;
    her position, i. 73–77;
    lessons from Franco-German War, i. 79, 80;
    _National_ wars, i. 80, 81;
    her isolation in 1878, i. 83;
    her lever against Great Britain, i. 84;
    Afghan Boundary Commission, i. 85, 86;
    military economy, i. 187;
    her disabilities, i. 188, 189;
    relative speed of mobilization, i. 90;
    the awakening of China, i. 91;
    cession of Kuldja, i. 92–94;
    her complications, i. 95;
    deductions from the past, i. 96;
    strain of armed peace, i. 97;
    probable losses in the future, i. 99;
    dangers of alien population, i. 102;
    the chief duty of the twentieth century, i. 103;
    her handicap on the west, i. 104, 114;
    her forward movement in Manchuria, i. 105;
    the disadvantages of a navy, i. 106, 107;
    military expenditure, i. 112, 118;
    expansion of forces in the Pri-Amur district, i. 121–123;
    commencement and causes of the war with Japan,
        i. 123, 151, 156, 157;
    work at Port Arthur, i. 127, 130;
    railway factor, i. 131–149;
    line of communications 5,400 miles long, i. 135;
    dual capacity of Finance Minister, i. 139, 140;
    her finance and revenue, i. 141–144;
    War Minister’s opinion on the Manchurian and Korean questions,
        i. 145;
    inception of the Siberian Railway, i. 149–155;
    Boxer Rebellion, i. 154, 155;
    her intentions as to Manchuria, and the result, i. 157–170;
    treaty with China, i. 158, 160;
    influence of M. de Witte, i. 171;
    the Royal Timber Company, i. 172–184, 306–313;
    pyramid of her interests, i. 185, 186;
    establishment of a Viceroyalty in the Far East, i. 187;
    Kuropatkin’s special reports, i. 188–193;
    her bluff, i. 194–198;
    reasons for her reverses in the war with Japan, i. 229–309,
        ii. 1–97;
    suggested improvements in the army, ii, 98–176;
    summary of the war, ii. 177–287;
    conclusions upon the battle of Mukden, i. 288–305;
    breakdown of the unit organization and distribution, ii. 314–335

  _Russki Invalid_, article on military expenditure, i. 111, 112;
    on duty and love of country, ii. 78–80

  Russo-Chinese Bank, De Witte’s influence over the, i. 172

  Saghalien, Russian garrison at, i. 148, 200;
    part concession of, to Japan, i. 232

  St. George, the Cross of, ii. 16

  St. Petersburg Convention, i. 40 _n._

  Sakharoff, General, Chief of the Headquarter Staff, i. 115, 207;
    War Minister, i. 252;
    the Siberian Railway, i. 261;
    mobilization, i. 272, 273, 276, 277;
    unfitness of generals, i. 300;
    his description of the Japanese plans, ii. 30;
    commands the Southern Force, ii. 209

  Samoiloff, Lieutenant-Colonel, military attaché in Japan,
      his views on Japanese strength, i. 208

  Samsonoff, General, and his Siberian Cossacks, ii. 234

  Sappers. See Engineers

  Serfs, emancipation of the, i. 23, 24

  Servia, war with Turkey, i. 24

  Sevastopol, siege of, i. 18, 19, 83;
    Russian loss at, i. 98

  Sha Ho, Russian strength at battle of, i. 242, ii. 182;
    Japanese loss at, ii. 193

  Shipka Pass, defence of the, i. 26, 30

  Shtakelberg, General:
    on the Yalu, ii. 38;
    concentration at Te-li-ssu, ii. 218, 219;
    battle near the Yen-tai Mines, ii. 234;
    strength of his force, ii. 243 _n._;
    faulty disposition of his troops, ii. 246, 247;
    his attack on Su-ma-pu, ii. 262

  Siberian Railway. See Railways

  Siberian Rifle Regiments, East, expansion and value of, i. 124–126,
      ii. 183, 207

  Sinope, Russian victory at, i. 15, 16, 107

  Skobeleff, General, at Plevna, i. 26, 28;
    seizes Geok Tepe, i. 31, 85, 148

  Solovieff, M., historian, the Crimean War, i. 21, 22

  Sosnovski, Lieutenant-Colonel, and the Chinese, i. 92

  Spade, revival in the army of the use of the, i. 142

  Stössel, General:
    defence of Port Arthur, ii. 213;
    his alarmist reports, ii. 229

  Subotin, General, capture of Mukden, i. 155

  Sungari River, Russian withdrawal to, i. 232

  Surrender, the question of, ii. 175

  _Suvoroff_, Russian battleship, gallantry on the, i. 240

  Suvoroff, General, his campaigns, i. 8, 10

  Sviatosloff, Grand-Duke, i. 4

  Sweden as Russia’s neighbour, i. 3;
    war with Russia, i. 12, 36;
    her Russian frontier, i. 40–44

  Tartars as Russia’s neighbours, i. 3

  Ta-shih-chiao, battle of, ii. 182

  Tashkent, Russian occupation of, i. 87, 147

  Tchernaya, battle of the, i. 18

  Telegraph and telephones, need for, ii. 143, 144, 162

  Te-li-ssu, Russian disaster at, i. 257, 258

  Territorial system, the, ii. 126

  Tieh-ling, retirement from, ii. 86

  Timber Company, the Royal:
    its importance, i. 169;
    Bezobrazoff’s propositions, i. 172;
    investigation of, i. 173–184;
    history of, ii. 306–313

  Todleben, General:
    Crimean War, i. 21;
    assault on Plevna, i. 26

  Togo, Admiral:
    naval battle at Port Arthur, i. 238, 240

  Topornin, General, ii. 276, 292, 297

  Trans-Baikal Railway to Vladivostok, i. 69;
    capacity of, i. 247–256

  Trans-Baikal Cossack, success of, ii. 153

  Triple Alliance, the, i. 46, 51, 87, 113

  _Trous de loup_, i. 215, 216

  Trubetski, Prince, President of the Moscow nobility,
      correspondence with Kuropatkin, ii. 198–200

  Tserpitski, General, ii. 279, 280, 290, 296, 297, 330

  Tsitsihar, capture of, i. 155, ii. 322

  Tsushima, defeat of Russian fleet at, i. 238–241

  Turkey, and Russia, i. 3;
    wars with Russia, i. 6, 81–83;
    her army, i. 15;
    her peace strength, i. 15;
    Crimean War, i. 16;
    war with Servia and Russia, i. 24;
    Plevna, i. 25;
    Russian loss, i. 36;
    possibility of trouble with Russia, i. 58

  Turkomans, Russian expedition against the, i. 30–32, 85, 86

  Ujin, Colonel, his pack telephone system, ii. 143 _n._

  Uniform, value of, ii. 100–103

  Units, proposed details of, ii. 161–163;
    breakdown of, ii. 314–335

  _Ushakoff_, Russian ironclad, total loss of, at Tsushima, i. 240

  Ussuri districts, Russian annexation of, i. 35, 69, 200

  Vannovski, General, War Minister:
    the improvement of the army, i. 113;
    succeeded by General Kuropatkin, i. 115;
    on the allotment of funds, i. 117

  Velichko, Major-General, armament for Port Arthur, i. 128

  Viceroyalty, establishment of the, i. 187

    Trans-Baikal Railway, i. 69;
    fortification of, i. 126, 148, 151, 200;
    Russian fleet at, i. 237;
    daring sally from, i. 239;
    garrison at, ii. 206

  Vogak, Major-General, council at Port Arthur, i. 180

  War Department (see also Army), problems for the Russian, i. 1–39;
    expansion of the army, and growing complications of defence
        problems, i. 78–96;
    the chief duty of the twentieth century, i. 102–104;
    taken by surprise, i. 105;
    estimate procedure and inadequacy of funds allotted,
        i. 116–122, 138, 139;
    ready by September, 1905, i. 134;
    lines of communication 5,400 miles long, i. 135;
    dual capacity of Finance Minister, i. 139;
    Manchurian and Korean questions, i. 145–198;
    reasons for the Russian reverses, i. 229–309, ii. 1–97;
    measures for the improvement of the army, ii. 98–176;
    the causes of Russian failure summarized, ii. 177–204

  Wei-hai-wei, Japanese occupation of, ii. 30

  Witgeft, Admiral, his death while attacking the Japanese fleet, i. 238

  Witte, Sergius de, Minister of Finance, and Dalny, i. 127, 172;
    his dual capacity, i. 139;
    his influence, i. 171;
    and the Russo-Chinese Bank, i. 172;
    and the evacuation of Manchuria, i. 173;
    and the Royal Timber Company, i. 173–184, ii. 306–313

  Yakub Beg, death of, i. 92

  Yalu, battles on the, i. 125, 257, ii. 38;
    the timber concession, i. 169–184, ii. 306–313;
    naval engagement at the mouth of the, i. 202

  _Yellow Peril_, the, a reality, ii. 200

  Yen-tai mines, battle at the, ii. 234–236

  Zarubaeff, General, i. 303;
    withdraws his troops towards Hai-cheng, ii. 225;
    the retreat from Mukden, ii. 232, 285, 286, 333

  Zasulitch, General, his defeat, ii. 38, 211, 212, 225

  Zikoff, ii. 212

                                THE END


[Illustration: Sketch map of area containing the battlefields of
LIAO-YANG, THE SHA-HO, HEI-KOU-TAI & MUKDEN showing some of the more
important places mentioned]



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[1] [To economize ammunition at manœuvres, batteries sometimes signal
that they are firing instead of actually doing so.—ED.]

[2] [What in the British Army are colloquially known as “Pow-wows.”—ED.]

[3] [1903.—ED.]

[4] Independent fire is difficult to control, and almost impossible to
stop in action.

[5] [The Cross of St. George corresponds to our Victoria Cross, but is
more easily won.—ED.]

[6] [Russian regiments in Europe, as a rule, consist of four
battalions. East Siberian Rifle regiments in the late war had

[7] [Liao-yang.—ED.]

[8] [The Sha Ho.—ED.]

[9] [Hsi-ping-kai, Kung-chu-ling, and Kuang-cheng-tzu.—ED.]

[10] [1903.—ED.]

[11] [See next page.—ED.]

[12] It was followed by the 2nd Infantry Division; 10th and 17th Army
Corps; 5th Siberian Corps; 1st Army Corps, and 6th Siberian Corps.

[13] The leading units of the 10th Army Corps arrived on June 30.

[14] Sixty miles by a road which the rains had made very difficult.

[15] [A European Russian regiment contains four battalions.—ED.]

[16] My report of June 20.

[17] The officer commanding the 2nd Manchurian Army stated that the
whole war strength of his force (total of rifles, sabres, guns, with
twenty-five men to a gun, and ten to a machine-gun) constituted, on an
average, only half the actual numbers.

[18] This amounted in some units to as much as 20 per cent. in men, and
30 per cent. in officers.

[19] [Behind and between armies.—ED.]

[20] [One man on one full day’s work.—ED.]

[21] [General Kuropatkin’s views on this point appear to have changed,
see p. 270.—ED.]

[22] [Who had succeeded Grippenberg in the command of the 2nd Army.—ED.]

[23] Or sergeant-majors.

[24] [On account of student disorders that had led to the closing of
the Universities.—ED.]

[25] Medical students.

[26] [General Kuropatkin himself.—ED.]

[27] Our communications were threatened, and the Yen-tai Mines on the
flank were in the enemy’s hands.

[28] The retirement from Liao-yang was orderly, while that from Mukden
more nearly approached a rout; but it is not certain that the Russians
were really beaten at the former place when the decision to retire was

[29] [_Sic._ This seems almost incredible.—ED.]

[30] [The portion of this chapter which immediately follows deals in
great detail with the breakdown of the unit organization. It has been
separated from the text, and is given in Appendix II.—ED.]

[31] When the appointments of Inspector-Generals were created, some
confusion resulted between the powers of these and that of the district

[32] Two in the two brigades, and two on the divisional staff.

[33] [Service with the colours in Russia has been reduced generally
from five to three years.—ED.]

[34] The transport was not fully horsed.

[35] [By this expression is meant a land not belonging to Russia.—ED.]

[36] [The term used by common folk in Russia when addressing men of
higher birth.—ED.]

[37] Owing to famine in the Kholm district in the years just before
the war, the reservists in it were called up later than those in the
neighbouring districts, and the majority of them were consequently
stationed on the line of communications.

[38] [Summary courts-martial under martial law.—ED.]

[39] With two-wheeled baggage-carts, the number has to be increased by
an additional fifty-four men.

[40] Cooks and mess caterers, eighteen of each—_i.e._, sixteen per
company, and two with scout sections, one mounted, one dismounted.

[41] Three per company.

[42] [This is taking a regiment at 4,000—_i.e._, the men actually in
the firing-line and not employed specially—for scout sections, etc.—ED.]

[43] I several times reported to the War Minister that the despatch of
drafts to fill up wastage in the units already at the front was much
more necessary than the despatch to us of fresh units.

[44] [Battle of Hei-kou-tai.—Ed.]

[45] Colonel Ujin’s pack-telephone system, which I tried in Manchuria,
is a very good one.

[46] [Presumably squares on a map.—ED.]

[47] Artillery regiments to be subordinate in all respects as regards
command to the divisional commander. The commander of an artillery
brigade must technically superintend and inspect all batteries with an
army corps.

[48] One cavalry regiment per division.

[49] One sapper battalion and one company of sappers per division; one
mining and two telegraph companies as corps troops.

[50] [_Sic._ This word is rather misleading. Some formation less than a
regiment is meant.—ED.]


  Voiskovoi Starshina = Lieutenant-Colonel  }
  Esaoul              = Captain             } Of
  Sotnik              = Lieutenant          } Cossacks.
  Khorunji            = Cornet              }

[52] In the wars with Turkey and Persia, in the Caucasus and Central

[53] [The first portion of this chapter, which is a recapitulation
of what has already been written in Chapters I. to VII., has been
omitted from this translation. What is now given touches more upon the
war itself.—ED.]

[54] [About 1–1/3 miles to the inch.—ED.]

[55] [_Sic._ Killed and wounded (see p. 207, Vol I.).—ED.]

[56] [At the Sha Ho.—ED.]

[57] [At Mukden.—ED.]

[58] [Possibly the author refers to China, Japan, and India being young
in a national sense.—ED.]

[59] [? Telegram.—ED.]

[60] [General Linievitch.—ED.]

[61] [? 1904 and 1905 also.—ED.]

[62] [The name of General Kuropatkin’s country estate in the province
of Pskoff.—ED.]

[63] [This chapter is composed of the introduction and conclusion to
Volume III. of the original, which have been translated, as they add
some light on points not touched upon in Volume IV.—ED.]

[64] Eighteen infantry battalions, 25 squadrons, 86 guns total, 19,000
rifles and sabres.

[65] Two of them sapper battalions. The third battalions formed in
Russia for all the East Siberian Rifle Regiments were only then
beginning to arrive.

[66] The Viceroy’s letter (No. 2,960) of June 6 called attention to the
necessity of “bearing in mind measures to guard against the event of an
advance by Kuroki.”

[67] 1st and 9th East Siberian Rifle Divisions, and 2nd Brigade of the
35th Division.

[68] [There are several passes of this name.—ED.]

[69] [This action is apparently what is elsewhere known as that of

[70] [The reasons for this are given in great detail in Volume
IV.—_i.e._, Chapters I. to XII. of this book.—ED.]

[71] This regiment did splendidly in later fights.

[72] The 122nd Tamboff Regiment was attacked when bivouacking.

[73] The positions held on August 31 by the portion of Kuroki’s army
that crossed the river were only eleven miles from the railway.

[74] [? Houton.—ED.]

[75] The corps also arrived at the front with a shortage of about 400
men per regiment—_i.e._, 1,600 per division.

[76] Less one brigade garrisoning Tieh-ling.

[77] [Presumably because it was destined for the 2nd Army.—ED.]

[78] Including Rennenkampf’s column, Shtakelberg had under him 85
battalions, 43 _sotnias_, 174 guns, and 3 sapper battalions.

[79] A very large number of men, particularly of the 1st Corps, left
the ranks without reason. At Mukden, however, this corps fought with
great gallantry and steadiness.

[80] [Grippenberg had already been appointed to the command of the 2nd

[81] From Ssu-chia-tun station to Ta-wang-chiang-pu.

[82] From Fu-shun to Ma-chia-tun.

[83] Of 72 squadrons and _sotnias_, 4 mounted scout parties, and 22

[84] Including thirty siege-guns.

[85] Its garrison was not more than two battalions.

[86] Two regiments of the four in this division had been sent to
reinforce the Composite Rifle Corps, and one regiment to reinforce the
1st Siberians.

[87] General Grippenberg could not use the telephone himself, as he was
somewhat deaf.

[88] Out of the 80,000 men of the drafts which had arrived.

[89] According to the programme of the arrival of the troops, I
calculated on increasing my reserve by three and four Rifle brigades,
but they arrived more than ten days late.

[90] For operations against Oku.

[91] [? Houton.—ED.]

[92] One was ordered to support General Launits.

[93] [The body of Vol III. in the original deals in great detail with
the battle of Mukden, and is omitted in this translation.—ED.]

[94] Except from February 27 to March 1.

[95] 12.20 p.m., February 28.

[96] 3.25 p.m., March 2.

[97] 6.45 a.m., March 5.

[98] [Query north-west.—ED.]

[99] In addition to five and a half battalions of the 41st Division.

[100] Sixteen battalions of the 19th Corps, concentrated at Sha-ling-pu
under my orders on March 2; sixteen battalions of Golembatovski’s; and
eight battalions of Churin’s division, detained by Kaulbars on the way
to join the troops operating against Nogi.

[101] Major-General Krauze’s report.

[102] And fifty battalions collected towards Hsin-min-tun were thus
left with two squadrons of the Niejinsk Dragoons.

[103] In the afternoon of the 11th this division began to move on
Tieh-ling; it had only suffered small loss during the battle.

[104] [Only the concluding portion of what follows in the original is
given here; the remainder is an exact repetition of what has been more
than once recapitulated.—ED.]

[105] [This extract is, by the kind permission of the editor, reprinted
from _McClure’s Magazine_, where it appeared as an editorial note upon
the article on these memoirs, published in September, 1908.—ED.]

[106] _Osvobojdenie_, No. 75, Stuttgart, August 10, 1905. No question
has ever been raised, I think, with regard to the authenticity of these
letters and telegrams; but if there were any doubt of it, such doubt
would be removed by a comparison of them with General Kuropatkin’s
memoirs.—G. K.

[107] Asakawa, who seems to have investigated this matter carefully,
says that the original contract for this concession dated as far back
as August 26, 1896, when the Korean King was living in the Russian
Legation at Seoul as a refugee.—“The Russo-Japanese Conflict,” by K.
Asakawa, London, 1905, p. 289.

[108] The italics are mine.—G. K.

[109] [Extracted from Chapter X.—ED.]

[110] At the junction of roads near Newchuang.

[111] The 21st and 23rd East Siberian Rifle Regiments.

[112] Of these a brigade of the 6th East Siberian Rifle Division and
one regiment of the 1st Army Corps were sent by my orders.

[113] The Omsk Regiment lost its way, and for a long time could not be
found, and the Krasnoyarsk and Tsaritsin Regiments were kept with the
2nd Siberian Corps.

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