SinoJapaneseWar.com  

August 1, 1894 – April 17, 1895

 Jiawu Zhanzheng 甲午戰爭   日清戦争 Nisshin senso

 Index

Google

 

Web

SinoJapaneseWar.com

 

 

 The Invasion of China

 

 

 

 The First Army's invasion of China

 

The battle of Pyongyang ended the war in Korea. The Chinese troops attempted no further resistance in that country, and retired to the Yalu, the river which forms the boundary between the Chinese empire and Korea. After the battle of the Yalu, Japan had command of the Yellow Sea, which was now open for the transportation of troops into the Chinese territory. A second army therefore, was called out for the invasion of the Liaodong Peninsula, known as the Regent's Sword, at the extremity of which lies Port Arthur ( now known as Dalian ), as until this great Chinese fortress was captured, the Chinese fleet could not be said to have been rendered absolutely useless. The possession of this famed port would give Japan the command of the Gulf of Pechili and enable the Japanese to intercept the trade with the ports in that gulf.

 

Organization of the First Army

 

map of northern China and Manchuria

 

Two Armies are formed

 

 Japanese army at Uiju Now North Korea on the Yalu .

 

Japanese in Wiju ( Uiju ),Korea base of operations for the invasion on Manchuria . The Japanese army, after the capture of Pyongyang and a short rest, advanced north towards the frontier. Tachimi, with the advance-guard, was at Anju on the 5th of October, at Ka-san on the 6th, Chong-ju on the 7th, at Son-chon on the 9th, and at Wi-sun (near Uiju and the Yalu) on the 10th. But the Japanese scouts were at Uiju as early as the 6th of October, and a telegraph line from that place to Pyongyang was completed on the 18th of that month. The Japanese found the roads in Northern Korea from Pyongyang to Uiju much better than any they had met before. They had to thank the Chinese for this, as they had been obliged to mend the roads to convey their artillery to Pyongyang. About the 20th of October the whole Japanese army was around Uiju, on the southern bank of the Yalu. It was composed of the 3rd and 5th Divisions, which had now been formed into a corps d'armee, a novelty in the Japanese army, whose largest unit had hitherto been the division. This force was called the First

Army ( 第1軍 Dai Ichi Gun ), and was commanded by Marshal Yamagata Oritomo ( 1838 - 1922 )  and commanded by Lieutenant General Katsura Taro ( 1848 - 1913 )  in the field. The army was to pursue the fleeing Chinese Beiyang Army and isolate the land approaches to the strategic port of Lushun (Port Arthur) .

 

It was decided by the Japanese high command that two main armies would attack China . The First Army ( 第1軍 Dai Ichi Gun ) under Yamagata Oritomo ( 1838 - 1922 ) would enter China through Manchuria . Another army under the minister of war, Oyama Iwao ( 1842 - 1916 ) would land in the northern Liaodong Peninsula  with the Second Army ( 第2軍 Dai Ni Gun ) and march on the naval base at Port Authur .

 

Gen. Song Qian 宋 慶

 

The Chinese Beiyang army was led General Song Qing 宋 慶( 1820 - 1902 ) . After the Japanese victory at the Battle of Pyongyang, Li Hongzhang appointed Song as commander and assigned him the responsibility for defending the Yalu River from being crossed by the Japanese and entering China. The Chinese force was divided into 49 camps , numbering about 24,500 men.

 

Field Marshal Count Yamagata

 

A force, composed of a division and a brigade, named the Second Army, was also being prepared for the invasion of Manchuria and move on the old Machu capital of Mukden ( Shenyang) .This was to be led by Field Marshal Oyama, who earned a repuation as a martinet, driving his men on in the depths of the Manchurian winter . A song about the hardships of the troops serving under him became popular in Japan.

 

Field Marshal Oyama

 

The Yalu, between China and Korea, is a broad, deep river forming a formidable natural obstacle. The Chinese general Sung Qing, who had studies military science in Europe was in charge .The new commander-in- chief, wisely chose it as the first line of defence against the threatened invasion of the empire. As the defence of this river has always been an important- consideration both for China and Korea, two strong towns are placed on the opposite sides of the river, Jiuliangcheng ( A section of what is now  Dandong ) on the northern, and Uiju on ther southern bank. These two cities now were the headquarters of Sung and Yamagata. As soon as the Japanese troops reached the Yalu they began to make preparations for crossing it. The engineers of the 5th Division, who had arrived about the 12th of October, proceeded to ascertain the width of the river, no easy matter, as the opposite shore was swarming with Chinese soldiers. The daring of the Japanese found a solution to the difficulty. Mihara, a. soldier of the engineers, a strong swimmer, volunteered to swim across with a line, but the numbing coldness of the water deprived him of the use of his limbs, and he was drowned, his corpse floating away to the other shore

 

A rope line is connected across the Yalu .

 

Not discouraged by his fate, Sergeant Miyake, of the engineers, with a soldier, whose name is not recorded, plunged into the icy stream, and succeeded in swimming across with a line, and coming back with the desired information. It seems that the Japanese found they had not enough pontoons to bridge the river, because they began to collect timber and build rafts. About the 20th of October the Japanese troops began to make demonstrations on the southern bank of the Yalu, now appearing in one place, and then in another, with the object of tiring the Chinese and of rendering them less watchful.

 

Marshal Yamagata had chosen for his residence a building on high ground, called the General's Pavilion. A beautiful view was enjoyed from this place ; below flowed the Yalu river ; on the right Su-ku-chong and Li-tzu-yian ; on the left An-tung and Wu-tiao-kou, and in the centre Chiu-lien-ch'eng ( Dandong ) studded the vast plain which stretched before the eye. Only on the right, there was a hill, which from its resemblance to A crouching tiger is called Hu-shan (Tiger Mountain). On the night of the 23rd of October orders were sent to Colonel Sato to proceed up the river to Su-ku-chong and cross the Yalu. Colonel Sato, with seven companies of the 18th Regiment, a small force of cavalry and two guns, proceeded to Su-ku-chang, and on the 24th crossed the Yalu. The Chinese forts fired upon the Japanes his maps, saw that the key of the position lay at Hu-shan (Tiger Mountain), and formed his plans.

 

 Battle of Jiuliangcheng  九連城之戰

Oct 24, 1894

 

Jiuliangcheng fortress

 

 

 

Colonel Sato, with seven companies of the 18th Regiment, a small force of cavalry and two guns, proceeded to Su-ku-chang, and on the 24th crossed the Yalu. The Chinese side of the river opposite the Korean border town of Uiju had been fortified for about 16 kilometers in either direction with over a hundred redoubts and trenches. Chinese Beiyang Army General Sung Qing defended the river with around 23,000 troops.The Chinese forts fired upon the Japanese, and a small force of 300 infantry and 60 cavalry attacked them ; but the Japanese drove them back and stormed a fort, capturing two mountain guns, ammunition and a quantity of winter clothing. It was a very tame affair, as the Japanese had only one- soldier slightly wounded. The Chinese fled when the Japanese approached at 600 metres. Colonel Sato, as soon as he had secured his position on the left bank of the Yalu, sent a mounted messenger to inform the headquarters of his victory, and proceeded to complete the soundings of the river. Marshal Yamagata decided to make a general attack on Hu-shan (Tiger Mountain) on the following day .

 

crossing the Yalu by Kobayashi Toshimitsu

 

During the night from the 24th to the 25th the engineers completed a bridge with pontoons and rafts  on October ,24 1894 undetected, immediately in front of the Chinese fortifications. The Yalu at that place divides into three branches, the first 60 metres wide, and 80 centimetres deep, the second 150 metres wide and 3 deep, and the third about 110 metres wide. At 4.30 a.m. on the 25th the 3rd Division crossed the river and moved towards Hu-shan (Tiger Mountain), the artillery park under Kuroda taking a position N.E. of Uiju, to protect the passage with mortars. Tachimi's Brigade followed the 3rd Division and took up a position on its left wing, the 5th Division remaining on the other bank ready to give assistance. On September  17, 1894, the 10,000 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army's First Army Corp, under the overall command of Marshal Yamagata Aritomo crossed the Yalu River into southern Manchuria .

 

 

The Chinese, in their usual way, had been building forts for a long time as if they intended to oppose a determined resistance, but the sudden appearance of the Japanese army on their side of the river surprised and disheartened them. After an engagement which lasted from 6:15 to 7:45 a.m. they broke and retreated across the Ai river in the direction of Jiuliangcheng ( Dandong ) . The Chinese general now became conscious of the important event which had taken place, and fresh troops from Jiuliangcheng ( Dandong ) advanced in three columns to attack the Japanese. Oseko and Tachimi attacked the Chinese right wing, while Katsura engaged them in front, and after a short struggle they were defeated, some retreating again across the Ai river, and others dispersing in the mountains. The battle was over at 10.30 a.m. and at half-past eleven Yamagata was already at Hu-shan.

 

Japanese soldiers firing on a Chinese position .

 

An-tung ( Dandong )  occupied
 

Preparations were made during the night for attacking Jiuliangcheng on the following day (26th). General Katsura with the 3rd Division was to attack in the rear, while General Nodzu with the 5th Division advanced along the right bank of Ai river ; but the next morning when the Japanese advanced to attack, they found that the Chinese had evacuated the town during the night. The Japanese, though so near to the enemy, had been obliged to light fires in the night to dry their drenched clothes, and the Chinese kept up a harmless fire with their guns, probably to protect their retreat.

 

The Japanese acknowledge their imprudence in fighting a battle with a river at their backs, but considered such a risk legitimate in the face of an enemy ignorant of the art of war. While these events had taken place up the river. Major Okuyama with three companies of infantry had descended opposite to An-tung  ( Dandong )on the 25th, and had made demonstrations against that place to prevent the sending of reinforcements to Jiuliangcheng. The Chinese kept firing volleys with their rifles all night, but it was not until the morning of the 26th that the Japanese began to fire witli two field-pieces. As the Chinese made no answer. Major Okuyama crossed over at 9 a.m. and found that the Japanese army had already occupied An-tung. An-tung was to become the civilian headquarters for parts of Manchuria occupied by the Japanese .

 

They captured several Krupp guns not yet used, and 900 magazine rifles in unopened cases. An-tung had been the residence of General Sung, and his house was occupied by General Katsura, who used the furniture of his adversary ; amongst it, there were the Chinese military works of Sun and Wu and a variety of maps of Korea and Japan. The Japanese were much amused to find their country of an elliptical figure. The Japanese losses in the battles around Jiuliangcheng were one officer and thirty-two men killed, and three officers and 108 men wounded : they buried 495 Chinese, but many more must have been drowned in the Ai river. The spoils were : 74 field-pieces and 4 macliine-guns. 4,395 rifles. 30,384 rounds of artillery ammunition. 4,300,600 rounds of small arm ammunition. The Japanese were surprised at the forts they found, and they observed that from Seonghwan to Pyongyang up to Jiuliangcheng, there was a constant improvement. But good soldiers were wanting, and they remarked that war depends more on men than things.

 

Fenghuangcheng taken

 

The defeated Chinese troops under General Sung retreated to Fenghuangcheng (Fengchung 凤凰城, Liaoning Phoenix City), an important walled town, which  was held by General Sin with fourteen or sixteen camps. It is necessary now to remind the reader, that up to 1875 a neutral zone forty miles broad, and uncultivated, existed between China and Korea ; in the historical sketch at the beginning of the book this has been mentioned. Feng-huang was a border town on this neutral zone, and several roads converged there : it is therefore a place of considerable strategical importance. The Japanese resolved to attack it on the 3rd of November, their emperor's birthday, as they wished to solemnise that day by a victory. But these hopes were frustrated by the Chinese, for when Greneral Tachimi reached Tang-shan, a town five li from Feng-Huang, his cavalry scouts reported that on the 29th of October the Chinese had set fire to the town and retreated. Tachimi entered Feng-huang-cheng: on the 30th of October without any resistance. The Japanese captured two mountain guns, three mortars, and a quantity of rifles and tents. From the reports of prisoners, they ascertained that the Chinese army, discouraged of fighting, had dispersed : the greater part of the soldiers had fled seawards to Ta-ku-shan (Great Orphan Hill), while General Sung with a few of his men had retreated north towards Mukden. After the capture of Feng-huang, the two divisions of the First Army were separated ; the third division continuing the campaign westwards, while the fifth carried on operations to the north and east.

 

The headquarters of the First Army were at Jiuliangcheng, and afterwards at An-tung, and Generals Oseko and Tachimi led the van of the third and fifth divisions.General Tachimi, on the 9th of November, sent out detachments on the two roads leadinor from Feng-Huang to Mukden ; the first on the western road proceeded up to Lien-shan-kuan (United Mountain Pass) on the 11th of November, and on the 12th explored the celebrated Mo-tien-ling (Heaven-touching Pass), which is the strongest place on that road to Mukden. It found the pass strongly defended by the Chinese, and after a skirmish, in which one soldier was killed and three wounded, it retired to Lien-shan-kuan, the object of the reconnaissance having been attained. As the Chinese kept appearing in the neighbourhood of Tsao-ho-kou (Grass River Pass), thus threatening to cut the communication of the Japanese at Lien-shan-kuan, Tachimi sent orders that the detachment should concentrate on Tsao-ho-kou. The other detachment advanced on the northern road ; but when it passed Ta-hsi-kou (Great Western Ditch), it found the enemy in force ; and as its object was to reconnoitre, it retired. General Tachimi was now- aware that the enemy was in the neighbourhood of Lien-shan-kuan (United Mountain Pass) and Tsao-ho- kou (Grass River Pass) on one route, and near Ai- yang-pien-men on the other route.

 

Prisoner gives useful information

 

General Oseko, who was in command of the van of the third division, which was to act westwards, on the 5th of November pushed on to Ta-tung-kou (Great Eastern Ditch) and Tai-ku-shan (Great Orphan Mountain). One of the prisoners taken at the battleof Pyongyang was a native of Tai-ku-shan, and had been very kindly treated became very useful in obtaining information. He reported that the disbanded soldiers flying from Feng- huang had conamitted great excesses, pillaging and ravishing in all the villages ; some of them had fled to Chin-chow and others to Hsin-yen. As the latter was a place of considerable strategical importance, where roads converged from every direction, it was decided to attack it.

 

Japanese take Tu-men-tzi

 

As usual, the Japanese planned a double attack. While General Oseko was to advance from Tai-ku-shan on one road, Major Mihara, detached by General Tachimi, was to proceed from Feng-huang on another, and the Chinese were to be puzzled by a simultaneous attack in front and rear. General Oseko, with three battalions of infantry,one company of cavalry, and one battalion of artillery (minus a company) started from Tai-ku-shan on the 14th of November. On the 16th, after a slight skirmish with the Chinese cavalry, he entered Tu- men-tzi (mud-door) at 11.30 a.m. ; several bodies of Chinese cavalry and infantry attacked the place, but they were repulsed. On the morning of the 17th no trace of the Chinese could be seen, and Oseko advanced to Hung-chia-po-tzu (Red-House Village) ; at 11.20 A.M. firing was heard in the distance, and he knew that Mihara was attacking Hsin-yen on the north-east. Oseko's vanguard continued to advance, and met a body of Chinese, who commenced firing at long range, while the guns of Hsin-yen also joined in the attack.

 

Battle at Huang-chin-tzu

 

The main body of Oseko's detachment at 8.30 p.m. entered Hsin-yen, where they found nine guns and a number of rifles. Colonel Mihara, who led the flank attack, left Feng Huang on the 14th of November with a battalion of infantry and a troop of cavalry videttes. On the 15th the cavalry had reached Huang-hua-tien (yellow-flower field), and the infantry Lau-yeh-mias (gentleman temple). On the 16th the infantry arrived at Ling-kou (collar-hook) ; as the cavalry was insuflicient, a section of foot-soldiers assisted as scouts. This mixed vanguard met the Chinese near Huang-chin-tzu (yellow-peak), and had a sharp engagement. On the 17th Mihara came up with his whole force and attacked Huang-chin-tzu (yellow-peak). The Chinese had already engaged Oseko's force at Tu-men-tzii (mud-door) on the 16th, and they were obligednow to divide their forces to meet the double attiick. At Huang-chin-tzi (yellow-peak), the Chinese stationed four camps'of infantry and one camp of cavalry.

 

 

This force, availing itself of its advantageous position oh the brow of the hill, opposed a determined resistance to the Japanese. Mihara ordered two companies to deploy on the right and left of the road, and to climb up the hill. Lieutenant Machida, who commanded the forty picked soldiers of the vanguard, distinguished himself on the right, driving the Chinese from rock to rock ; but as soon as the Japanese had taken one height, they found, as is usual in a very mountainous country, another height to be stormed. After a succession of these attacks they took the crowning height Huang-chin-tzu (yellow-peak) itself, and captured a mountain gun.

 

The Chinese retired to Hsing-lung-kou (eminent hook), but the principal force at Hsin-yen, during the night, retired to To-mu-cheng (knocker-wood town). While engaged with Oseko at Tu-men-tzu (mud door), the unexpected attack of Mihara from the rear alarmed them, and they retired for fear of having their communications cut off. A rear-guard was left to defend Hsin-yen, and delay the Japanese advance, but Colonel Mihara soon defeated this force and entered the city. From the names on the captured flags, and from the reports of the inhabitants it was ascertained that Generals Feng, Nieh, and Chia were in Hsin-yen, with about ten camps of infantry and 1,000 cavalry.

The Japanese mention, that, during Mihara's advance. Sergeant Kawasaki with a cavalry soldier were sent by another road to keep up communications with Oseko's detachment. On passing through a village, the sergeant separated from his companion for a short time, but when he came back, he only found his headless trunk. This was the second narrow escape of Sergeant Kawasaki ; he was one of the mounted scouts that were sent towards Phyong-yang at the end of July, and after swimming across the Tai-dong he luckily saved himself during the Chinese surprise at Chung-hwa, where almost all his comrades were killed. The combined attack of Oseko and Mihara who started from Tai-ku-shan (Great Orphan Mountain) and Feng-huang-cheng (Phoenix City), two points over fifty miles distant, was so exactly timed that it succeeded completely.

 

A garrison was left in Hsin- yin with the captured guns, but Oseko with his main body withdrew to Tai-ku-shan. The Japanese did not intend to advance the First Army until the Second Army, which had already landed and was marching on Port Arthur, should be in a condition to co-operate by advancing north. The First Army confined itself to spreading out detiichments like a fan, radiating from Chiu-lien-ch'eng ; the outposts were situated at Tai-ku-shan, Hsin-yen and Lien- shan-kuan, in touch with the enemy, and ready to be reinforced if the enemy advanced. The Japanese in these advanced stations suffered great hardships ; they were often without food for days, the provisions having to be brought over very steep mountain roads in carts dragged by Japanese army-coolies.

 

Japanese threaten Mukden (Shenyang)

 

For the present the plan was a defensive one, and had for its object to keep up a line of communications by driving away any attack from the north. Of course this plan was not divulged, and it  was popularly supposed that the First Army intended to march on Mukden, a city which from its having been the ancient capital of the Manchu dynasty, and containing the imperial ancestral tombs, had a great moral importance for the Chinese Government This grand scheme which was openly discussed, and probably feared by the Chinese, kept a large force occupied in defending the northern passes. People were astonished at the Japanese delay in taking Mukdfen. This rest in the military operations of the First Army, will enable us to turn our attention to the Second Army which was very active about this time.

 

Landing of  the 2nd Army troops at Huayuankou

Oct 24, 1894

 

 

The landing of Japanese troops on the Liaoning peninsula

at Huayuankuo . The Japanese would land in the same spot in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 .

 

The Japanese fleet for some time had been exploring the coasts of Manchuria to discover a suitable landing place, and when their choice was made they found disagreement amongst the staff of the Second Army, who complained that the chosen spot was too far from Port Arthur, the principal object of attack.

 

On the 23rd of October the transports conveying the brigade of the Second Army left the mouth of the Tai-dong river, convoyed by fourteen men-of-war, loaded with 18,000 men of the I Divison based in Tokyo. On the morning: of the 24th the whole fleet anchored at five miles from Huayuankuo 花園口(Flower Garden Port), a small village at the mouth of the Hua-yuan- jiang (Flower Garden River). The weather was misty and the shore could only be dimly discerned, but before daybreak a party of marines landed and planted a Japanese flag on a hill as a signal for the transport. The quiet inhabitants of the village were struck with amazement at the arrival of this armada in the quiet harbor only casually visited by junks ; many fled in terror, but were captured and brought back to be convinced of the peaceful intentions of the Japanese.  The Japanese covered these landings from their tempoaray base on the ChangShan Islands, about 15 miles offshore .

 

Four peasants were brought on board and asked to sell their clothes, which were promptly put on by Japanese interpreters, who wore pigtails, and only required the local dress to be able to explore the country like natives. A proclamation in the name of Marshal Oyama was published to tranquillise the inhabitants and enforce discipline in the army.The Japanese army pushed inland almost as soon as it landed. On the 25th detachment was sent six miles up river, and a battalion under Major Saito matched towards Pi-tzi-wo, a town on Dayou bay about thirty miles distant on the road to Port Arthur .

 

The Chinese fleet did not give any trouble to the transports, and these vessels were able even to take the offensive,capturing 15 or 16 junks laden with timber and mortars. The Japanese fleet was not idle. Some men-of-war took on board two or three land officers and explored the coast. They caught some fishermen to use as pilots, in addition to four which had been brought over from the mouth of the Tai-dong. A torpedo boat cruising near Dalian Bay captured a small steamer of 30 tons, which was utilised as a steamtug.

 

 

 

 

 

  Battle of the Yalu

Sept 17, 1894

Home

 Battle of Port Arthur - Port Arthur Massacre

Nov 21, 1894