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by the fact that on February 11 he reported its position to St Petersburg, and that 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 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
Russians, an indication that some general movement was on foot.
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. As 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.
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 army namely, 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 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
the whole of the country between Chang-tan and Hsinmin-ting. This being realised, it is difficult to understand how Nogi's army was able to reach the railway terminus without being opposed. If ever there was a doubt as to the efficiency of Mishchenko's cavalry and his vaunted Cossacks, it stood confirmed by the successful occupation of Hsin-min-ting by the Port Arthur army. For if, in the whole area of operations, there ever was a terrain that was suited to the movements of an independent cavalry division, it was in this particular section. But, and here the inherent cunningness and military acumen of the Japanese is demonstrated, two events had taken place before Nogi was launched on his dash for Hsinmin-ting, which were calculated to clear the road for him. The first was the advance of Kawamura and Kuroki in the mountains against the Russian left. The second was the arrival of three squadrons of cavalry 160 miles north of Mukden.
Japanese staff knew his Russian well. He knew that if three squadrons arrived unexpectedly on the railway communications, the numbers of the force would be exaggerated out of all proportion, and that in the general dismay felt for the possible destruction of the railway, which was the main and only artery for the gigantic force collected at Mukden, any menace to its safety would be almost certain to cause the withdrawal of Mishchenko's Cossacks to clear up the situation on the line of communi
cations. And there seems no doubt that this manoeuvre had the desired result, for, as will be subsequently shown, Nogi arrived at Hsin-min-ting practically unopposed.
We have not access to the same information concerning the Russian dispositions as we have with regard to our allies, but although there has been a general tendency throughout the whole campaign,-a tendency which the Japanese have not thought it worth while to contradict,-to overstate the Russian numbers, yet we believe that actually at the battle of Mukden the Russian army had reached its highest total. Lord Brooke estimates the Russian strength as being well over 350,000. These numbers to some extent are borne out by the Russian order of battle, compiled by the Japanese from the evidence of their prisoners after the battle of Mukden. This estimate, according to 'The Times' correspondent, was as follows: The Russians had three armies, the first under Linievitch, the second under Kulbars, and the third under Bilderling. Under Linievitch were three army corps-the 2nd, 3rd and 4thwith Rennenkampf's independent corps of Cossacks, making a total of 100 battalions of infantry, 30 batteries of artillery, and 48 sotnias of cavalry. Kulbars had four army corps: the 1st Siberian, the 5th, the 8th, and the 10th, together with the Division of Rifles. His army mustered 144 battalions of infantry, and 38 batteries of artillery. Bilderling's command comprised the