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August 1, 1894 – April 17, 1895

 Jiawu Zhanzheng 甲午戰爭   日清戦争 Nisshin senso

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Manchuria Battle of Newchang 营口 (Yingkou)

March 4, 1895

 

 

 

Following the capture of the walled town of Haicheng, south of Liaoyang in the Liaodong Peninsula, Manchuria by the 3rd Division of the 1st Japanese Army on 13 December 1894, Chinese forces made three attempts in January and February to retake the town. All were unsuccessful. Military operations in Manchuria were now exceedingly difficult owing to the depth of snow and the bitter cold weather. On the same day as the last battle, simultaneously with the attack on Hai-cheng, General Seh with ten thousand men and a strong force of artillery advanced from the port of Niuchwang against Kai-phing. An artillery engagement ensued on the 24th of January, which ended in a precipitate retreat of the Chinese.

 

General Nogi now moved forward his headquarters to Huntsai. The Chinese army under General Seh was considerably reinforced, chiefly by Tartar troops with large bodies of cavalry, and skirmishes with the Japanese scouts were of daily occurrence. The strength of the enemy in the immediate vicinity of Niuchwang was more than twenty thousand men. On the 30th of January it was found that the Chinese had occupied Liao-Yang in force, and that the western contingents were gradually advancing southward. General Hoi-Pang-Tao was on his way to Ying-kow with a large force. On the 1st of February the Viceroy Liu arrived at Niuchwang and assumed the supreme command of the operations in Manchuria. He brought with him an army said to number nearly twenty thousand, so that his whole force numbered probably twice that many. It seemed certain that the viceroy intended to advance against Hai-cheng in full force. The Japanese armies were also united, or in close touch with one another, at Kai phing and Hai-cheng, ready for a decisive battle. February 16 a Chinese army of fifteen thousand men attacked Hai-cheng from Liao-Yang and the Niuchwang road. The fighting lasted three hours, and extended over a considerable tract of country. The attack was successfully repulsed, one hundred and fifty Chinese being killed and wounded, and the Japanese loss considerably less than that number.

 

The news of the capture of Wei-hai-wei reached the Japanese and Chinese forces in Manchuria, and the Viceroy Liu was evidently disheartened, for there was an entire absence of activity during the next ten days. The incessant drilling in the neighborhood of Niuchwang was stopped, and the forces were steadily dwindling through desertion. On the last day of February, after a period of comparative inaction, the Japanese troops began an advance on Niuchwang and its port Ying kow. On that day General Nodzu attacked the Chinese positions between the Liao-Yang and the Niuchwang roads. The Japanese artillery first opened a heavy fire upon the Chinese. This lasted over an hour, and then the fifth Japanese brigade threw itself upon the Chinese right wing with such impetuosity that the enemy scarcely made a stand in that part of the field, but broke and fled in disorder. While this was going on, the main Japanese column under General Nozu marched against the Chinese center, which rested on the village of Chang-ho-tai. Position after position was carried by the Japanese infantry, and the enemy was finally driven in disorderly retreat northwestward towards Kinchow city, at the northern extremity of the Gulf of Liao-Tung.

 

The sixth brigade had been told off to clear the Chinese out of the villages along the Laio-Yang road. This it accomplished without loss, and then by pre-arrangement it joined hands with the main column, the combined forces thereafter occupying Tung-yeng-tai and all the villages and heights near that place, in the direction of Liao-Yang. General Nodzu's division extended its line southwestward from Hai-cheng, so that the army extended through a very wide front. The Chinese forces engaged numbered about eighteen thousand men with twenty guns. General Yih was in command. They lost one hundred and fifty men killed, and about two hundred wounded. The Japanese losses amounted to about half as many. Early the next morning the Japanese resumed their advance, this time without opposition of any sort. The Chinese retired before them, and when night fell the Japanese limit extended nearly to Maitzu. Throughout the advance upon Niucheong there was no opposition offered worthy the name .

 

 

 

The reconnoissances eastward and northward made by General Nodzu's scouts on Friday, March 1st, brought the information that the main body of the Chinese forces had fled by the northern road, with the evident intention of rallying and making another stand at Liao-Yang, the only place of importance between Hai-tcheng and Mukden. Lieutenant-General Katsura's brigade was ordered to pursue the enemy. By that evening the troops had covered about eight miles of difficult ground, and had got within a mile of Kan-thouan-phu, where several thousand Chinese were known to be ready to give battle. The Japanese advanced against the town at daybreak, only to find that the enemy had fled during the night. After resting his troops Katsura resumed the pursuit. It was thought that the Chinese would make a stand at a small town situated on the river Sha and commanding the high road to Liao-Yang, but the place was occupied by the Japanese on Sunday, March 3, without serious opposition. The next morning Katsura moved on until within five miles of Liao-Yang, which brought him within forty miles of Mukden.

 

While Katsura was driving the routed Chinese before him along the Mukden road, General Nodzu with all the remaining forces at his disposal was moving towards Niuchwang Old Town. The troops were under arms at dawn on Monday. The fifth division moved against the town from the southeast, while the third division came from the north. The movement was admirably timed, despite the difficulties of the ground. In three hours the men of both divisions were in position, and at ten o'clock a heavy shell fire was opened upon the Chinese fortifications. The Chinese appeared to be confused ; their artillery fire was bad, and they kept massing troops at points which were never threatened. Many of their guns were dismounted, and after a two hours' bombardment the Chinese abandoned the walls and retreated into the town. The Japanese infantry then poured into the place, both divisions forcing their way into the gates and over the walls almost simultaneously.

So far the Japanese had suffered very little loss.The leading brigade of the first division charged several Chinese regiments still standing their ground, and they at once fled precipitately towards Ying-kow, followed by the Japanese cavalry. Meantime, in the town the Japanese infantry were warmly engaged. The main body of the Chinese, when driven from the batteries and walls, had taken refuge in the narrow streets and houses. Every window and every housetop was occupied by sharp- shooters. The fighting was of a desperate character. The Chinese seeing all hopes of escape cut off, fought until they were shot or cut down. The headway made by the Japanese was painfully slow. Each street had to be effectually cleared before an advance could be made to the next. Each house had to be assaulted and taken.

 

Throughout the day the fighting continued, but slowly the Japanese cordon was brought more closely around the center of the city, and by eleven o'clock at night all opposition had ceased. Many of the Chinese, after nightfall broke through the Japanese lines, and made their escape into the open country, but a large number accepted quarter and remained in the hands of the Japanese. The Chinese fought with desperate valor. Repeatedly they charged the Japanese troops in the streets, and hand-to-hand fighting was frequent. The officers too, encouraged the men by their own example, and the defense of the streets was conducted with some military skill. Nearly two thousand Chinese killed and wounded were found in the houses and streets, and six hundred prisoners were taken. The Japanese losses exceeded five hundred in killed and wounded. A large quantity of stores and provisions fell into the hands of the victors, beside eighteen cannon, and a large quantity of rifles and ammunition. we will consider the season's campaign of the armies in Manchuria closed.

The 1st Division of the 2nd Japanese Army left Kinchow on 10 February 1895, and rendezvoused with the 1st Japanese Army outside of the foreign treaty port of Yingkou (then known as Niuzhuang). Niuzhuang was taken on 4 March 1895 after a fierce street-by-street fight in which the Chinese suffered from 1800 casualties.

On 6 March 1895, the Japanese forces entered Yingkou without resistance, and then proceeded to bombard the town of Tianzhuangtai on the opposite side of the Liao River, which they razed to the ground.

After the engagement of the 4th, Lieutenant-General Yamaji's division of the second Japanese army advanced upon Peh-mia- totsu, where it had been reported that the main body of General Sung's defeated forces had halted. The enemy, however, did not wait for the Japanese troops, but fell back upon Ying-kow. General Nogi, following close along the coast road, came up with the Chinese and attacked them. During the fighting which ensued the Chinese were reinforced from Ying-kow, but they were soon driven back under the protection of the town batteries

leaving many dead upon the field. Most of the Chinese retreated in a northeasterly direction, but General Sung and troops immediately under his command made another stand at Yiug-kow. The Japanese artillery was well handled, and the infantry fought with great spirit, driving the Chinese before them. By the time the town was entered General Sung and his troops had fled towards Chen-sho-tai. Meanwhile the Japanese artillery had concentrated their fire upon the shore forts, which protected the estuary. The Chinese brought their heavy guns to bear upon the assailants, and held their own for some time, but finally the Japanese infantry under cover of the fire of their artillery, carried the forts one after the other, and by nightfall Tiug-kow was in undisputed possession of the invaders.

As soon as the fort had been captured, guards were placed for the protection of the foreign settlement, and the streets were strongly patrolled. Scouts were sent out along the Niuchwang road to meet General Nodzu's patrol. On the morning of the 6th, General Nodzu sent a brigade towards Ying-kow, which the second army was to attack that day. Tung-kia-thun was found destitute of Chinese troops, and the Japanese advanced nearly to Kao khan without seeing anything of the enemy. Here they camped for the night, and before morning the outposts of the two forces had met and had exchanged the good news of the success of each. The retreating Chinese, under Generals Sung and Ma, were reported to have halted at Chen-sho-tai.

 

The occupation of Niu-chwang and its port by the Japanese marked a distinct phase in the interesting campaign in Manchuria. For many weeks Niuchwang and Ying-kow had sheltered the Chinese army. From them a succession of feeble attacks upon the Chinese positions had been delivered. General Sung's unwieldy forces were now broken up ; the Japanese front was advanced to the river Liao ; and the first and second armies had joined hands. The third important fortified harbor had fallen into the hands of the Japanese. The defense of Niuchwang was maintained with vigor, the Chinese fighting most bitterly to the very end, but uselessly. The coast defenses too at Ying-kow made some show of resistance, but being attacked in the rear had quickly fallen in accordance with all established precedents.

 

Niu-chwang, a city of sixty thousand people, a town with an immense annual trade, had fallen into

Japanese hands, and its capture was unquestionably an important stroke on the 9th of March the first division of the first Japanese army attacked Thien-chuang-thai, on the western side of the river Liao, to which place General Sung fled after the capture of Ying- kow. A fierce engagement ensued, lasting three hours and a half. The main body of the Chinese force numbered seven thousand men with thirty guns, and the Japanese forces were but

few less than that number. General Katsura commanded the Japanese center, and General Oku the right wing. The left wing was composed of Yamaji's troops.

 

 

 

 

 

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