August 1, 1894 – April 17, 1895
Jiawu Zhanzheng 甲午戰爭 日清戦争 Nisshin senso
Taiwan ( Formosa) and the Pescadoers ( Peng-hu), Jiangsu
Famous one on one fight between Captain Awatea and a large Chinese soldier
On March 15, 1895, a Japanese expeditionary force of 5,500 set sail for the Pescadores or Penghu 澎湖 Islands, hoping to secure a base in the Taiwan Strait and force the Qing Empire to agree on the cession of Taiwan. The expeditionary force landed on the Pescadores on the morning of March 23 on Peng-hu Island (the principal one of the group). The Japanese fleet cannonaded the forts, which answered, but without ever hitting the ships. The Yoshino was damaged, but by a sunken rock unmarked in the charts. A force was landed, and the forts taken without much opposition, the Japanese only losing about three killed and twenty-eight wounded. The garrisons fled like frightened sheep, the men trampling on each other in their panic hurry to get to the shore and escape in junks and boats. In this last engagement of the Chinese troops amidst such disgraceful demoralisation it is grateful to record some singular instances of rare bravery . The conflict lasted for five months and cost the lives of 14,000 Formosan combatants and nearly 5,000 Japanese, mostly due to disease.
The Xiyu Western Fort on Penghu Island .
In one fort, while all the garrison fled without offering any serious resistance, half-a-dozen soldiers placed themselves here and there and tried to inflict some injury on the enemy ; on another occasion, two bands of twenty and thirty men boldly resisted the advance of the whole Japanese force. Considering how a panic will spread among the Qing troops, the exceptional conduct of these obscure heroes deserves special praise
It will be remembered that from the very beginning of the war Japanese descent upon Taiwan was one of the operations expected and frequently reported. To provide against this threatened danger, a large body of the famous troops from the south of China known as the Black Flags, were sent to the island to entrench themselves and arrange for its defense. They were scarcely settled in comfort when they began a series of outrages on the native population that made them feared and hated by every one, and justified their name. Early in February they extended their outrages from the native population to the British residents. Disturbances on the island increased, and affairs became so bad that foreign residents became alarmed and left in haste. The British consul at the chief treaty-port of the island, sent to Hong Kong an urgent call for assistance, which was furnished without delay. The war ship Mercury left for the island in haste, and its presence acted strongly to quell the disturbances and insure safety for the people. A Japanese squadron too, which was seen patrolling the island on several occasions, acted as a damper upon the spirits of the rioters, and the Chinese authorities themselves were able to quell the disturbance. Twenty-five of the ring leaders were arrested and punished, and peace was restored.
After this time, operations in the south were abandoned until early in the spring, when a fleet of Japanese transports moved down the west side of the island of Taiwan, to the group of small islands knows as the Pescadores, between Formosa and the mainland. The Chinese feared that an attack upon Canton was contemplated, but in reality there was at no time any considerable danger of this. The Japanese desired to be exceedingly careful of the interest of all foreign nations in the treaty ports, and so naturally avoided an attack on any city where they might be endangered. The real point of attack intended by this course, was the town of Makung, in the southwest of the island of Peng-hu, the largest of the group. Makung had a large and absolutely safe harbor, capable of affording accommodations for vessels of large draft, and was protected by its citadel and a line of defensive works. Admiral Ito was in command of the squadron, which numbered nine cruisers and two gunboats. Bombardment was begun March 23, from all the vessels of the fleet, the fire centering on the east fort, which dominated the others. A thousand troops from five transports landed simultaneously and attacked the same fort. The Chinese evacuated the place during the night, and the Japanese entered at 6:00 o'clock on the morning of the 24th, and turned the guns upon the other forts. One of the western forts blew up before it was evacuated. One thousand Chinese prisoners were taken, the rest of the garrison escaping in junks. Three thousand Japanese troops now garrisoned Peng-hu, securing a southern base of operations for the Japanese fleet. Within a few days the Japanese were in entire possession of the Pescadore Islands.
Attack on Jiangsu, island near Taku occupied
Simultaneously with the attack on Pong-hu, the Japanese on the 24th of March made a descent upon Haizhou, Jiangsu 海州区 on
the sea-board of the province of Jiang-su, some two hundred miles north of Shanghai. It was early in the morning when the Japanese squadron appeared off Haizhou and at once opened fire upon the small forts there. Under cover of the bombardment a force of several thousand Japanese troops, landed and attacked the Chinese positions. After a few hours fighting, the stout resistance of the Chinese proved unavailing, and they abandoned their works, having lost some three hundred killed. The island of Yuchow, which lies off Haizhou had already been occupied by the invaders. At Haizhou the Japanese were less than fifty miles in a direct line from the Grand Canal connecting Nanking with Beijing, which at this point approaches nearest to the coast. The canal had been the chief route by which supplies were conveyed to Beijing, and had been of invaluable service for the movement of troops to the capital and to the front by way of Tianjin. The threatened dash of the Japanese upon this main artery of travel startled those who realized it. This sudden and unexpected descent upon the Chinese coast served to bring home the realities of war to a section of the population which probably had never heard of the Japanese successes. The Viceroy of Nanking awakened to his danger, and hastily ordered troops to the front to oppose the Japanese advance and recapture Haizhou .
A third portion of the Japanese fleet, with war ships and transports, appeared simultaneously with these other operations, sailing past Taku into the neighborhood of Shanhaiguan. Passing the latter city, which marks the end of the Great Wall of China where it comes down to the coast, the fleet left terror behind, and moved upon the island of Thao-hua. This island lies but a few miles off the mainland, and fifty-five miles northeast of Shan-hai-kwan, at a point where the main highway from Manchuria to Peking lies close to the coast line. It was therefore about half way between Niuchwang and Taku, the port of Beijing, and an excellent base for offensive operations against the capital.
The armies in Manchuria were practically idle during the latter part of March. The Chinese had nearly all withdrawn to Kinchow, in the north, while the Japanese contented themselves with restoring order in Niuchwang and Ying-kow.In a few days therefore, at least seventy-five thousand men could be concentrated at Shan-hai-kwan and the transports would be available for maintaining a supply service. At the same time the possession of the island of Chao-hua would facilitate the cutting of the line of Chinese communications between Manchuria and Peking. With Hai-chow held by the Japanese and threatening the line of communication from south to north by the Grand Canal and Japanese forces threatening Formosa and the south, the possibility of the repulse of an advance in force on Peking seemed very slight. It was the approach of these dangers and the final certainty that nothing else could be done to avert them that brought the Chinese at Last to humiliate themselves and sue for peace at the hands of the Japanese.
Mar 4, 1895
April 17, 1895