« ForrigeFortsæt »
is safe to say that if the garrison that strategic point, Russians had had any substan- and also a division of fresh tial success in any one of the troops which, recently arrived heavy counter - attacks which from European Russia, had they hurled against the Japan- mobilised at Harbin, and was ese centre, it is possible that now on its way down to join the great battle would have the main army at Mukden. had to be written off as drawn. Consequently, March 4 and 7 During these five days Nogi, witnessed the most desperate on the extreme west, was in a and sanguinary fighting northmost precarious situation ; so west of Mukden that the cammuch so, that on March 6 he paign was destined over to see. had to send to Oku a supplica- Nogi's veterans realised that tion for reinforcements, and at they were struggling for that moment Oku was himself success which would mean the 80 heavily involved that he entire overthrow of the Russian could not spare a single man. army. Kuropatkin, on the As soon as he had reached other hand, with his troops, Hsin-min-ting, Nogi threw out realised that, unless Nogi was his army into fighting forma- hurled back in defeat, the tion, and pivoting it on Ta- whole toil and trouble of the min-tin, advanced north-east past ten months would be with the object of striking the wasted, and the army Mukden-Tieling railway about veloped in a disaster which fifteen miles north of Mukden. had in it all the elements of On March 2 he moved eight a total rout. It would be miles; on the following day he impossible in this paper to still made considerable progress, give anything like an adequate since the opposition in front of account of this fearful struggle him was not great, so that on the plain. No report that on March 4 we find that he has reached 80 far has had covered nearly twenty really done justice to the miles since leaving Hsin-min- extraordinary issues in this ting. This brought him within great struggle north of the seven miles of the coveted Mukden Tombs, which hung railway. But often in military upon the individual fighting operations seven miles is almost value of the opposing soldiery; as significant as a hundred, but of the accounts that have For on March 2 Kuropatkin been published, we venture to realised that he had taken his think that the letter from a reserves on a wild-goose chase Japanese officer to his friends to Fu - shun,—that the real at home, as published in The attack, the real menace, was Times,' will in a small way coming from the west. He bring before the reader some immediately trained his inde- appreciation of the fearful pendent reserve back to Muk- tension which weighed down den, and marched it out to foil all combatants
combatants during this Nogi's advance. He also, by titanio struggle. Writing of telegram, brought from Tieling these very operations of Nogi’s, part of the force told off to this officer says: “The 6th
was the hottest and worst, position that some of them and the most savage, of the actually passed through the whole series of the Mukden line—but they never returned. battles. The Russians held a These are the fresh troops line from San-sen-ho to Neng- from the reserves — determined yo-ho, while we ranged our- because of the knowledge that selves in or about Gyorimbo, on their action hangs the fate which is about four miles west of Kuropatkin and his army. of Mukden station. The dog. So that day's success remained gedness of that Russian advance! with the Russians, in spite of Heavy guns and light guns, all our efforts. .
Well, they handy mountain guns and little deserved it. At the suggestion dynamite guns, all joined in of an officer of the Staff Corps the bombardment of the posi- we volunteered to reach the tions, while the heroic Russian works the same night. Men gunners repliedshot for shot and
to their officers and shell for shell. Attacks and begged to let them go and fill counter-attacks succeeded each up the trenches with their other like the figures on a fairy corpses, so that those following lantern. We fought with rifles, them might walk over their we fought with bayonets, then bodies into the defences. At with grenades and with shovels the men's earnest request a and picks, and then with fists. deputation of officers and men Why, it is no more or less than sent to the Divisional a gigantic street brawl. One Commander, who gave them of the battalion commanders the requested permission, not was killed and the colonel without some hesitation. wounded severely, and one At midnight the men threw after another the company off their great winter coats, and officers went down. Once white distinguishing bands when I whistled to the buglers, were put on the sleeves in and the charge was sounded, readiness to move. With just barely forty out of a drawn swords the officers led, battalion of skirmishers leaped with fixed bayonets the men to their feet, and the rest follow in our usual formation. remained still, no cowards, but First grenade men in a line at dead men-dead at their posts. certain intervals, then the main Those who replied to the call body in column of sixes, with had no right to do so: they a grenade man at every few ought to have been in the paces in the ranks. With a ambulances. Though these tremendous yell we stormed doings could never be told into the earthworks. What vividly enough by my pen, and, followed I cannot bear to perhaps, no words could ever recite. How many of us redo justice to the bravery of the turned ? A few, a very few. men, Russian and Japanese, And the works? Intact still? and the hardships they endured. As we rested came the enemy's The Russians, five or six times counter-attack — the officer in our number, charged time after command of this section knows time so resolutely up to our his business well. . After
half a day's desultory firing much to lessen the power of and leisurely fighting our bat- the resistance of the troops talion received an order to take holding these works; and over Tahoshitu [Tashichaou), which and above this, every available the enemy held in force. In man had been withdrawn by this my company form the first Kuropatkin to throw into the line. I talk of battalions and operations against the flank companies ; but a battalion, attacks. Nodzu, with that particularly ours at this stage, military instinct to which we furnished about as many men have already on previous ocas a company. We moved casions referred, knew through a hail of rifle and actly the right moment when machine - gun bullets, which to throw in his unexpected now began to resemble some weight.
We find him on perfectly natural phenomenon, March 6 still with his left at as of sunshine or of rain, and it Sha-ho-pu. On the following was mere child's play compared day, almost without a check, with the experiences of the his men are up and over the awful night of the 6th." shattered breast-works which
And we almost imagine that they had been watching for similar accounts of the fearful the last six months; and bestresses of the battle in this fore Kuropatkin quite realises particular engagement might what is happening, and at the have been written from every very moment that Nogi is other portion of the field. This beseeching Oku to come to his much is certain, that until mid- assistance, Nodzu, with troops day on the 7th Kuropatkin that are practically fresh, has still fought with the hope of thrown himself over the Hun-ho
For four days he had and is practically into Mukden. held Nogi,-he was still holding Simultaneously with this news Oku, but of Nodzu he knew of an advance, which was almost nothing, and Linievitch still as disastrous and decisive as reported the Russian left secure. the general advance ordered by But it will be noticed that we Wellington on the historic field have made no mention of Nodzu. of Waterloo, there reached Again was this intrepid leader Kuropatkin information that to handle the turning influence his railway communication was in the struggle. Early on severed just south of Tieling. March 5 the gunners with One cannot envy the General Nodzu reported the Russian his feelings at this moment. intrenchments just south of It is true that the railway was Mukden to be practicable— only cut by a patrol detached that is, practicable for Jap- from Nogi's left, but when the anese assault.
They had been news arrived at the Russian submitted for the last ten days headquarters Kuropatkin had to possibly the heaviest artil- just been called from superlery bombardment that had intending a counter - attack ever been concentrated on a against Tashichaou to organline of field-works. The very ise a resistance against this intensity of the fire had done new terror advancing directly
from the south. Then it was be remembered that in a prethat he penned the message vious chapter we commented which, sent by an alternative the fact that, while the line, leaked out in St Peters- Japanese intrenched their secburg, "I
surrounded.” ond and third positions within Was there ever a more miser- an easy distance of their first able statement of a situation line, Kuropatkin had chosen to placed on record than the allow his army a stretch of despairing echo contained in forty miles before they could that message ?
hope to reach the field-works, On the night of March 7 which were destined to be their Kuropatkin gave the fateful second line of resistance. It order that the whole army was these forty miles of open should fall back on Tieling. It which killed Kuropatkin's must have been a great wrench army, which rendered the deto this earnest soldier thus to votion of his rear-guard useless, acknowledge, both to his troops and which practically turned and to the enemy, that he was the withdrawal of his baggage out-manoeuvred, out-numbered, and his rear-guards into a rout. and beaten; that he could Again was Nodzu the deciding only hope to save himself by factor. The majority of the flight, and by the excellent accounts which have reached roads which he had had con- this country contain the sugstructed between Tieling, Muk- gestion that it was Nogi who den, and Fu-shun. But although cut off Kuropatkin's Kuropatkin accepted the situa- guard, and was responsible for tion with all the fortitude of a the great capture of prisoners brave man, he did not desert and military equipment.
A the cause as if it were abso- careful study of all the relutely lost. He did not, like ports furnished, however, goes some other great captains in to prove that this impression history, place himself in the fore- is quite wrong. As he had front of the flight, but turned intended, Kuropatkin was able with all the dogged nature and to hold Nogi to the very end. desperate courage of which In fact, pivoted upon his own the Slav is capable to do his right wing in retirement, Kurobest to repeat the history of patkin swung round in front of Liauyang. Collecting together Nogi. If it had not been for the troops that had held his the wonderful rapidity and centre, he threw them in to energy of Nodzu's advance, the support of the brave legions the withdrawal from Mukden that had held Nogi at bay for would have gone down to histhe last five days. It was tory as a successful retreat, under the cover of this rear- worthy of a parallel with that guard that he hoped to emulate of Liauyang. his Liauyang retirement and It was not in Nogi's army, withdraw his army, with some which, the reader must rememmeasure of
success, behind ber, a few hours previously had the intrenchments
had been urgently soliciting aid established at Tieling. It will and reinforcements, to press a
pursuit, or to cut off as desper- mouth, we will not be far ate troops as those which Kuro- wrong if we trace the cause patkin personally conducted of Japan's magnanimity to the into their position as his rear- paralysing effect of the battle guard. But Nodzu, pressing of Mukden on her military reon, not even waiting to assist sources. At the time wonderKuroki into Fu-shun, pushed ful speculations were rife as to north until he struck the rail- the fate of Linievitch with the way at Pu-ho, midway between Siberian Army Corps. KawaMukden and Tieling. All
mura was supposed to have through the 8th and 9th this dropped from the clouds and intrepid soldiery,—which had to have immediately engulfed turned the scale at Tehlitz, a third of Kuropatkin's army had assaulted and pierced the in disaster. In reality, of Russian centre at Liauyang course, we find that Linievitch, and on the Sha-ho, and, here learning that
that Kuropatkin's again, had defeated the enemy, centre had given way, was himand unexpectedly placed itself self forced to retire, but knowathwart the line of retreat of ing the fate that would await Kuropatkin's rear - guard, - him if he debouched directly staggered on in face of a Man. into Mukden's plain, he withchurian
blizzard,-on, drew his army more composedly until midday on March 10, by way of the Wankao passes. when the battle of Mukden It now behoves us to count was finally lost and won. the cost of this stupendous
There are many misconcep- struggle. Again we are flung tions with regard to this great upon the rocks of uncertainty, battle. It was a decisive blow and are faced with the original against Russian prestige and difficulty of making the remilitary power in the Far ports and estimates of eyeEast. It was a heavy defeat witnesses coincide with the and a crowning disaster to a official returns. According to disastrous campaign. But it the Japanese estimates, they was not the crushing, wither- captured on the field of Muking, exterminating blow that den just over 40,000 Russian it has so generally been repre- prisoners. They reckon that sented to have been in this the Russians left some 30,000 country. After examining the dead on the field, and that evidence of foreign officers who altogether the Russian casualwere present on this occasion, ties, in killed and wounded and we come to the conclusion that missing, amounted to 170,000 the battle of Mukden
We are asked to believe almost as disastrous in its —that is, we are told in the military paralysis to the victors official Japanese accounts—that as to the vanquished. In fact, this result was attained by a if we are to look for the prime loss to the Japanese themfactor which conduced to the selves of only 50,000 men in surprising peace which was all manner of casualties. Alrecently arranged at Ports- ready in previous articles we
VOL. CLXXVIII. —NO. MLXXX.