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WE left the Russian army quietly settling itself back into its dug-outs, and awaiting such further developments as the season and the Japanese might have in store for it. But although the rank and file moved back into the warm welcome of their underground intrenchments, yet there are certain evidences which show that, in spite of all the various reports to the contrary, Kuropatkin was preparing, if not again to undertake the initiative himself, at least to receive a Japanese attack. We find mentioned, both in Lord Brooke's interesting work and also in various telegrams to the 'Novoe Vremya,' that the Russian generalissimo late in February ordered his hospitals to be prepared to receive 70,000 casualties over and above those already incurred at Heikou - tai. Japanese sympathisers, who in this country throughout the war have always been anxious to put the very best complexion on everything that emanated from Tokio and the Japanese General Staff, have told us that Kuropatkin and his staff were totally blind and uninformed as to the various preparations which the Jap

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able to possess themselves of as complete information with regard to their enemy as the Japanese were able to obtain, we have always been ready to allow; but even after this allowance we think, with regard to the premises to the great battle of Mukden, that Japanese sympathisers have been a little inclined to overestimate the excellence of the Japanese General Staff to the belittlement of their beaten enemy. For instance, we are confidently informed by some expert military writers that Kuropatkin had no knowledge of the whereabouts of General Nogi's army. Another military writer has told us at great length that this Port Arthur force was successfully screened by a division of cavalry from all intercourse with the outer world while it was preparing to push forward to Hsin-min-ting. We ourselves are inclined to think that the Japanese plans as they developed were mystifying enough, and that their dispositions, as they brought them to bear upon their enemy at Mukden, were scientific and conclusive enough without crediting them with supernatural energies or powers. That Kuropatkin knew where Nogi's army was by the middle of February is definitely proven

by the fact that on February Russians, an indication that 11 he reported its position some general movement was to St Petersburg, and that on foot. this report was published in several of the Russian papers. We have quoted this as an instance, because we feel that, in our sympathy to our allies and in the character of that sentiment which we must feel for the successes of the Japanese, many writers have erred on the side of over-enthusiasm, and have thus become partisan. Although Kuropatkin is a beaten soldier, we still maintain that, when an unbiassed analysis of the campaign is procured, it will be found that he is not so totally disgraced as so many writers in this country would have us to believe.

That there were indications of the coming Japanese advance is evident to every student of the campaign. Take, for instance, the affair of the Hsin-kai Bridge on February 11. Here, 160 miles north of Mukden, the Russian permanent way was attacked and cut by a considerable force of Japanese cavalry. This in itself was portent enough, for it was the first time that the Japanese had endeavoured to bring about any considerable enterprise of such a character. The story of this raid, which in itself reminds us of the Southern cavalry enterprises during the American Civil War, was a really magnificent piece of work. Space will not allow us to give it the attention it deserves, and, as far as we are concerned, it must remain just as it was to the

At the end of the last chapter we severely criticised both Kuropatkin and his staff for their want of action during Gripenberg's action. The reason for this criticism is obvious, although even at this date we are not able to do more than surmise the real cause of Kuropatkin's failure. But whatever this cause may have been, it is certain that neither he nor his staff realised how nearly they had achieved a very considerable success. For although we never will believe that the Russians were within measurable distance of a complete tactical success, yet, if they had been able to have forced Oyama to sufficiently weaken his right flank and centre to confront their attack, the season would have slipped by during which the Japanese had calculated to force their great attack,-before the spring thaws had rendered military movement almost impossible. If Gripenberg's army had been able to maintain its position, or to have effected a further turning of the Japanese left, the battle of Mukden would have been postponed, and possibly would never have taken place. it was, the Japanese had the merest margin in which to correct the displacement of their elaborate plans which the Gripenberg diversion caused.


But by February 19 everything was ready, and the Chief of the General Staff, comfortably ensconced near the centre of the great Japan

ese line, gave the order for possibly the most comprehensive military military movement of modern days. The battle of Mukden is a difficult battle to describe. In the first place, it is a series of different battles, each in itself almost of the magnitude of Waterloo. It would seem to us that the best way to tackle such a subject, which in itself is titanic, and which will probably never be fairly and adequately dealt with, is to give first a brief outline of the positions held by the chief units in the opposing armies, and then to follow the victors in detail from right to left.

Oyama's striking army was divided into five armies. Reading from right to left, on February 19 the positions of these five armies were approximately as follows: Kawamura's army, which, as we have already stated, had been landed somewhere at the mouth of the Ya-lu, was lying in one of the Ta-ling valleys on the Fu-shun road. Its outposts were in touch with the Russians who were holding Chingho-cheng, one of the strong passes in the Ta-ling range. Kawamura's object was to advance upon Fu-shun by the Ma-chun-tun and Ti-ta roads, driving in and defeating the Russian force of Siberian Rifles which, in considerable strength, held these last two positions. Kawamura had the longest and most definite route to follow, consequently, in order that, at the crucial moment, the cooperation of the whole Japanese army might synchronise, it was necessary that he should

begin his operations in advance of the others.

Next, on his left, lay Kuroki. He was still lying in the vicinity of Pên-hsi-hu, from which heights Stackelberg had been unable to drive him when he essayed the attempt at the battle of the Sha-ho. The object of Kuroki's advance was to force the great mountain buttresses, which the Russians had covered with defences, lying between the Sha-ho and Machun-tun.

Next, on Kuroki's left, came Nodzu, with the weakest and yet the most efficient army of the five in the field. It was always to Nodzu that some special and crafty object was assigned, and it would appear that, in nearly every one of the great fights, it was Nodzu's army which turned the balance in Japan's favour. It is remarkable that although Japan allowed foreign attachés and correspondents, and their own correspondents, with every other army in the field, yet they refused to allow any one to accompany General Nodzu. The part assigned to Nodzu in this particular battle was, in the first place, to keep the Japanese centre from being broken by any desperate endeavour by the Russians to divide the Japanese army in half; and in the second, when Kuropatkin had finally and fatally distributed the last of his reserves, to force the point of least resistance in the Russian line. Nodzu's headquarters were in the vicinity of Shi-li-ho. His outposts joined those of his old comrade in arms, Oku, at the railway.

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To Oku was apportioned a rôle almost similar to that destined for Nodzu. Ever since Hei-kou-tai the Russian staff seemed to have conceived that, profiting by the lessons of the battle in the snowstorms, they would on some future occasion be able to force in and destroy Oku. For this purpose they massed against him a very formidable artillery. This manœuvre served the Japanese purpose well, for they also, in this portion of the field, massed a large number of field and heavy batteries. The object of this decision on the part of the Japanese staff would seem to have been to make the Russians believe that the support to the main attack would follow the railway, and thus keep Kuropatkin from distributing his reserves too early to the strengthening of his threatened flanks. When at last concealment as to the nature of their flank attack was impossible, this same artillery would, by its concentrated fire, be able to prepare for and cover those fierce and desperate infantry assaults which had made Oku's army famous ever since it landed on the Liau-tung peninsula.

There remains one armynamely, that of Nogi. These veterans from Port Arthur, as fine soldiers as any that ever took the field, had already played their part in the battle of Hei-kou-tai. In this great final effort, however, they were destined to fill the lacuna in the Japanese organisation made by the paucity of its cavalry force. In a word, Nogi was to effect a great envelop

ing movement on the Russian right flank. For this purpose the army, towards the end of February, disappeared into the great plain west of the Hun-ho. Some remarkable stories are told by correspondents at the front with regard to the methods which the Japanese employed to disguise and conceal the movements of this Port Arthur

army. We have already referred to this subject, and shown, quoting evidence, that the Russian staff were not so much in the dark with regard to this army as these correspondents with the Japanese were led to believe. But that does not matter. We must, therefore, give credence to the statement that the Japanese cavalry was used for the peculiar purpose of screening from view, by surrounding in a complete cordon, this army of over 50,000 men.

This army was about to carry out an operation which, doubtless, would have been far better conducted if it had been effected by an independent cavalry division. The ultimate objective of Nogi's army was Hsin-min-ting, the terminus of the Kou - pang - tzu railway. Geographically, this point was out of the sphere of operations tacitly agreed upon by the combatants, but when the campaign had reached these stupendous proportions this really became a side a side issue hardly worth noticing. Once Hsinmin-ting was reached, the Russian right was turned.

In our last chapter we gave a description of the country in the vicinity of Hei-kou-tai. This description would do for

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