By Captain A. Degtyarev [1]

[Original Author/Translator's footnotes are labeled as such. Other annotations are by Jeffrey Leser]


During the war of 1904-05, a Russian infantry regiment of the Guards, Grenadiers, and line consisted, as now, of four battalions, of four companies each.

For tactical purposes the company is divided into four sections, numbered from 1 to 4, the 1st and 2nd sections forming the 1st, and the 3rd and 4th the 2nd half company.

Regiments are commanded by colonels, battalions by lieut-colonels, and companies by captains.

The two senior officers after the company leader command half companies, and also the 1st and 3rd sections, the next two in rank the 2nd and 4th sections.

Squads are commanded by non-commissioned officers.

The combatant war establishment of a company is three or four officers and 240 non-commissioned officers and men; of a battalion 17 or 18 officers and 958 non-commissioned officers and men; and of a regiment 79 officers and 3,874 non-commissioned officers and men.

During the early stages of the war, units were seldom up to their establishments, the average strength of a battalion being about 700 bayonets.

Previous to 1905, all East Siberian rifle regiments consisted of only three battalions; in October of that year; however, they were raised to four battalion regiments, with a combatant war establishment of 68 officers and 3,852 non-commissioned officers and men. In 1906 the war establishment of the regiments was again slightly increased.

Machinegun companies of eight guns were formed during the war for five East Siberian rifle divisions, for the divisions of six Army Corps, and for five rifle brigades of the line. By a new Army Order of December, 1906, a machinegun detachment of four guns (two gun in peace) is in future to be attached to each regiment of infantry and independent rifle battalion.

As regards to artillery, the organization during the war was not uniform. The East Siberian artillery was organized in brigades of four batteries (32 guns) each. The batteries were numbered form 1 to 4 within the brigade.

For tactical purposes, the brigade appears to have been sometimes divided into two divisions of two batteries each.

A brigade was attached to each East Siberian rifle division of 16 battalions, and bore the same number. The artillery brought from European Russian was organized in brigades of either 6 or 8 Q.F. batteries. The brigades of six batteries were divided into two divisions, each of three batteries; brigades of eight batteries were divided into three divisions, one of two batteries, and two of three batteries each. A brigade was attached to each infantry [division] of 16 battalions, and bore the same number.

There was no corps artillery.

The eight-gun organization of field batteries appears to have been generally adhered to up to Liao-yang. Of the 32 East Siberian field batteries in the theater of war at the beginning of 1904, only 23 were armed wit the Q.F. gun, 1900 pattern; the remaindered were equipped with it during the progress of the campaign.

The new drill book for the Q.F. gun was not issued until four months after the commencement of the war, and it was not until the troops had been in the field for a considerable time that telephones were provided for the artillery.

Further details as regards the organization, drill, equipment, and tactics of infantry and artillery will be found in the "handbook of the Russian Army, 1905," "Russian Field Service Regulations, 1904," and "Extracts from the Provisional Drill Regulations of the Russian Q.F. field artillery, 1905" (translated by the General Staff).


The experience of the late war has shown that the fighting formations of our infantry, and our methods of employing artillery in battle do not satisfy the requirements of modern warfare, and that, in these respects, our field service regulations are defective.

It is not my object to point out defects in the regulations, but merely to show how necessary it is that formations and methods, which have been proved by experience, and which fully stood the test of battle in the late war, should be embodied in the regulations.

It is the spirit of the regulations, rather than the letter, which should be thoroughly understood. And this understanding should not be confined to the commanders, but should also permeate the rank and file. Russian soldiers, with the splendid nerve that history has proved them to possess, have fighting qualities immeasurably superior to those with which soldiers of other nations are endowed. But their lack of individual development renders it imperative that they should all be taught reading and writing, and that, in addition, as many as possible of them should be instructed in fighting formations and tactical methods, which vary so continually with circumstances.

These methods and formations should be thoroughly mastered by the rank and file in peacetime; it is too late to learn in war when the knowledge can only be acquired at a heavy price.

Every innovation, however, beneficial, introduced in an army in time of war, is received by the commanders with distrust, and the troops, to whom it is strange, regard it with suspicion. Moreover, being new and untried, it cannot in any case confer the full advantage which might otherwise be derived from it.

The regulations cannot contain everything. At the same time, the saying: "the scantier the regulations the stouter the soldier" is not an apt one. I consider it necessary that the field service regulations should include; --

1. Some practical lessons drawn from the late war by our detachments of trained scouts;
2. Instructions regarding attack and retreat in successive lines;
3. Formations for night attacks;
4. Retirement at the double.

And, in addition, I consider it most desirable to issue to the troops a special manual drawn up in the most concise form and couched in language easily understood by the rank and file, who should be made to learn it. Its contents should include scouting and outpost duties, and the action of small parties working under the command of non-commissioned officers, &c. In it there should be neither words of commands nor formations, but only instructive matter, illustrated by many varied examples drawn from military history.

Such a pamphlet might, I maintain, develop the fighting efficiency of the soldier, even through it might be to a small extent only. One can hardly calculate upon a knowledge of such subjects as scouting, or of the duties of outposts and detached forces being imparted to the rank and file by means of officers lectures, even during duty hours; neither can one expect that commanders will reach their units methods other than those laid down in the regulations.

Many incidents in the late war proved that once a company lost its officers it became disorganized, and fell an easy prey to any handful of daring hostile troops. For example, on the 10th March [1905], during the fighting on the Hun Ho, two companies of the Stryetensk [2] Regiment, which had lost all their officers, blundered into the village of Fon-shan and were shot down by a score or so of Japanese [3]. The standard of military knowledge possessed by non-commissioned officers upon whom the command of a company devolved in this instance speaks for itself.


The perfection of the modern rifle, combined with the efficacy of machineguns and hand grenades, seldom admits of a successful bayonet attack by large masses of troops. On several occasions the enemy, thought in superior strength, did await the bayonet attack, thinking that by doing so acting he had a better chance of victory with less loss to himself.

The enemy's repeated successes, due entirely to the development of rifle and artillery fire, indicate the necessity for some change in the fighting formation of our infantry. The necessity for such change is still more patent when the action of our infantry under artillery fire is considered.

It is beyond doubt that, in the Japanese Army, as well as in the armies of Western Europe, with the exception of the French Army, the balance of opinion is in favor of fire action. All the fighting in the late war, from Chiu-lien-cheng (the Yalu) to Mukden, inclusive, attended by such heavy losses on our side, failed to give us sufficient experience in the proper use of the bayonet. There were occasions on which we took the enemy by surprise; there were also collisions between single companies or detachments, generally accidental. As an example, may be mentioned the affair of the 11th October, in which the Morshansk Regiment and two battalions of the Zaraisk [4] Regiment captured the village Yen-tou-niu-lu by a night attack, without firing a shot, and bayonet more than 1,000 Japanese [5]. But, in this case, fortune favored us, and the Japanese had barely time to seize their weapons.

The bayonet work of the Tobolsk [6] and the other regiments at Liao-yang, and of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment [7] on the Scha Ho may also be mentioned. Equal energy and daring were displayed, but the results were different; the Japanese were not taken by surprise, and the Tobolsk men lost from rifle 50 per cent of their strength, and the 18th East Siberian Regiment more than 500 men in three minutes.

It is practically certain that the bayonet attack, as the final act in a battle, will always retain its importance. But the concentration under modern rifle fire, according to our present tactical methods, of masses of troops in sufficient strength to deal the enemy a decisive blow, has no advantage which can counterbalance the losses it entails. Moreover, in dealing with an opponent who is aware of his fire superiority and strives to maintain a maximum of fire to the very last stage of the battle, we should reply by fire. Here, however, we are hampered by recognized custom of allocating only half the rifles to the fighting line, instead of at once acting in accordance with requirements; the result is that the firing line is weak in rifles and cannot develop sufficient fire. An as example, let us take a regiment, i.e., four battalions. As a rule two battalions are placed in the firing line and two in reserve. Each battalion follows the same procedure, and allots two of its companies to the first line, each of which details a half company to the firing line. The result is that there are altogether, in the firing line, 400 rifles of a total of 3,200. This number cannot be regarded as sufficient.

When moving to the attack, all the reserves, including the regiment reserve, will always suffer loss, sometimes to a serious extent without, however, inflicting any loss on the enemy. As the crisis of the fighting approaches, the firing line must be reinforced in sufficient strength to enable it to subdue with its fire the fire of the enemy, and to bear, if necessary, the brunt of the bayonet attack. In short, the nearer the enemy is approached, the more necessary, or rather obligatory, it is to reinforce the firing line. The company supports and battalion reserves will be the first to be drawn upon, and, as reinforcements from these sources will be carried out within the zone of effective rifle fire, there will be no doubt that the men will suffer serious losses whilst joining the firing line or prolonging the flanks.

Would it not, therefore, be better to allot at the very outset a sufficient number of rifles to the firing line, and to have the nearest reinforcements also in line formations?

It is obvious that by such an arrangement; --

1. The losses caused by rifle fire will be minimized.
2. Time will not be lost in the detachment of battalion reserve companies into line under effective rifle fire.
3. The reinforcement of the firing line will be easier.

Against this the following objections have been raised; --

1. That such a method of reinforcement would inevitably cause a mixture of companies, with the result that officers and men would not know each other.
2. That a unit acting by itself should had an adequate reserve in to meet emergencies.
3. That the point of attack might be changed during the progress of the fight, and that, to meet this case, a suitable reserve would be required.

I will deal below with the question of mixing companies, when considering the question of company supports. The reserves, under our existing system of deploying only half the rifles, are already too large. For the rest, I can only say that he would be a bad commander who would change the point of attack when within 1,500 to 2,000 paces of a hostile position under modern rifle fire. Such a course should be rendered unnecessary by the preliminary reconnaissance of the enemy's position, and the operation orders issued before the fighting commences, should clearly indicate the point of attack.

I will now discuss the action of the company and battalion in battle, and indicate their best fighting formation, as deduced from the experience of the late war.


If ammunition is plentiful, it is possible for the modern rifle to cause the enemy serious damage at distant ranges up to 3,000 paces; but firing at this range must be directed upon areas, or at big targets, such as columns of troops, transport, etc.

At range from 2,000 to 2,500 paces firing is by volleys alone; serious loss to the enemy cannot be reckoned upon at this distance, but the moral effect is important. At 1,200 to 1,500 paces ordinary individual fire commences and develops as the enemy approaches. From 400 to 200 paces rifle fire reaches its utmost intensity. At this stage the machinegun fire attains immense importance; being a machine, its nerves never falters, and it literally mows down the advancing lines. When this is added the fire of the defender's artillery, which ceases its duel with the opposing guns and transfers its attentions to the attacking infantry as soon as the latter develops its attack, the losses of the firing lines, on which the stress of the fighting falls, becomes so heavy that it will be difficult to count upon the success of the attack.

Our offensive movement to secure command of the line of the Scha Ho will serve as an example. It cost us more than 40,000 men. The battle of the Shen-tan-pu [8] furnishes an equally striking illustration. These, the only instances of offensive action on our side, clearly show what heavy losses the attacking force may suffer from fire. The fighting formation of our infantry, with its columns of reserves exposed on the field of battle, is greatly to blame for such losses. Should one of such columns (whether company supports or battalions or regimental reserves) show itself for a few minutes, the chances are that it will be prematurely shaken, both morally and physically.

The best formation must be deduced from practice in the field, confirmed by the test of battle.


Company and battalion offensive tactics by day have been expounded in detail in the pamphlet by A. Ryabinin [9] entitled "Company and Battalion Tactics, based on Experience of the Russo-Japanese War". To make my argument clearer I give the following extracts from Ryabinin work: --

" In offensive action the change from march to fighting formation takes place at the point where the zone of the enemy's artillery fire is supposed to commence. The intermediate formation, namely, that of battalion column, is not always suitable; in close ground, in fog, or in the gloom preceding dawn, deployment for action will almost always take place from column of route. In level country, of course, the preparatory formation of battalion column is necessary. Thus, in hilly country, a company may come under artillery fire when in column of route, or after it has deployed into line. In the zone of artillery fire the sole care of the commander is to save his men from loss. The amount of loss depends upon the accuracy of the enemy's fire, the density of the column, and the absence of dead ground. The first condition depends upon the enemy, the second upon ourselves, and the third upon the ground and our ability to make use of it. Such action as lies within our power to perform should be carried out by the company commander without loss of time in seeking instructions form his superiors, or in reflection. To minimize losses it is necessary to thin out the formation, either by increasing its depth or its frontage, or both. Facility of control, and compactness, are best attained by the double process. The most suitable formation for the purpose, not laid down in out field service regulations, would be company column (i.e. column of sections), which facilitates control, and admits of the company being readily assembled, or the adoption of a fresh formation. The advance of such a column would not be difficult, and could be easily adapted to the ground. During the halts the distances between sections can be regulated so that the best use may be made of cover."

"It would hardly be convenient to extend the whole company into one line in the zone of artillery fire, since in that case control would be difficult, and even advance of the line would not be so easy, change of direction would be slow, and the company commander would have no reserve in hand wherewith to meet emergences; whereas in a column of sections, the leading line has reserves in the sections behind it."

"The thinning out of a column by increasing its depth can only be resorted to in exceptional cases; for instance, when a defile or narrow strip of ground has to be traversed under artillery fire. In such cases the depth of the column may be increased very considerably. It is the same when retiring fighting, because the main factor-artillery fire-does not change in character."

"In a column of sections, the sections either advance simultaneously or successively at conventional distances, closing up on ground that is not much exposed to fire, and traversing at a run fire swept spaces in groups of from three to five men. As soon as the company enters the zone of hostile rifle fire its task is to prepare the way, by means of fire, for the final blow, and to deliver it with the bayonet. Fire has, however, acquired such importance in recent years that the enemy may often be dislodged from his position by fire alone. In spite of improvements in artillery, rifle fire holds the first place in inflicting loss upon the enemy, and is the best weapon to employ during the attack. In the fighting at Mukden, rifle and machinegun fire accounted for 85 percent of the fatal casualties, artillery for 8 percent, and the bayonet for 7 percent. Theoretically, the zone of rifle fire is more clearly defined than that of artillery fire. The latter depends upon the type of guns used, the relative positions occupied by the artillery and infantry, and the nature of the ground; the former is limited by the range of the rifle and the configuration of the ground. The company commander should adopt the requisite fighting formation in good time, i.e. as soon as the limit of a zone is reached. In the zone of artillery fire alone his sole care should be to avoid loss; in the zone of rifle fire he should endeavor to prepare the way by fire for his decisive blow, and to save his men as far a possible."

"To ensure the defeat of the enemy, good fire positions, with an ample field of fire, are necessary, and for the prevention of loss there should be folds in the ground or natural cover; if these do not exist, entrenching must be resorted to. Field fortifications goes hand in hand with tactics, and a knowledge of maneuvering with the aid of the spade is essential. Entrenching by the firing line is employed even during the attack. The loss of time involved is compensated for by a reduction in casualties, the result being that the company can be led up to the enemy, not in a shattered condition, but in a fit state to deliver the final blow. The Japanese, when attacking, dug trenches on their successive firing positions. We shall doubtless have to do the same. The trench vacated by the firing line is occupied by the supports. The counter-attack is the best means for repelling the attack, and it is more advantageous to meet the counter-attack in trenches. The number of successive fire positions depends entirely upon the configuration of the ground, the distance of the enemy, and the stubbornness of his defense. Under a heavy fire progress will be slower, and the more time will be required for the preparation of the blow; but determination will overcome all obstacles."

"The question arises whether each company should have its own reserve, or whether whole companies should be extended in the firing line, the battalion reserves only being retained. Those who have commanded companies in action are in favor of having their own reserves. The company is gradually thinned out and broken up, and has to occupy this or that point, or to thicken or prolong the firing line."

"If the firing line is reinforced from a battalion reserve, the mixture of men of different companies is inevitable. The result is that officers and men do not know each other-a distinct disadvantage. A mixture of men belonging to different sections of the same company cannot, however, lead to any misunderstanding. In my opinion, it is better for a battalion to keep one of its companies in reserve and extend three in the firing line with their own supports, than to extend two whole companies and hold the remaining two in reserve. The three-line system provides a powerful firing line and a more extended front, thus reducing losses and causing a larger number of officers to take part in controlling the fire of the firing line."

"At long ranges (1,500-2,000 paces) it is difficult for the whole line to advance together. At Hou-Ta-Ling [10], the Japanese, when attacking our positions, had to traverse a ravine under our fire. The range from our trenches was 1,200-1,400 paces. At first the Japanese sent their men across in groups from 3 to 6 men, and these massed themselves behind some rising ground in front. In the fighting on the Hun-Ho, on the 10th March [1905], the same thing happened, but of this I will speak later. These examples show that even at such ranges as 1,200 paces, it is impossible to move forward the whole of the firing line at once; the assembly of troops in a position nearer the enemy must be done by groups, and even by moving one man at a time ranges between 800 and 700 paces."

"In the absence of a convenient fold in the ground or of a suitable covered position for the firing line, the latter has to advance over level ground. This is the opportunity for the spade. Volunteers may have to be called for. Each of these would run forward, ply his spade vigorously, and throw up some cover, making his shelter pit broader in front than would be necessary for himself alone, so that a second might join him and perform the same service a third, and so on. If there is any kind of cover in front, time will be saved by traversing the intervening space at a run in groups from 3 to 4 men, under cover of fire."

"There remains to be said a few words on the most suitable fighting formation for a company with in the zone of rifle fire. The basis of such a formation is the section in line, which is not cumbersome and does not lose its elasticity in the sense of its adaptability to the ground. When the column reaches the zone of rifle fire, the company commander, being still in doubt as to the situation, tells off one or two sections to form a firing line. This formation of a firing line from column of sections is very simple; some visible object is named as the point of direction, and the leading section then merely increases its distance from the head of the column. The remaining sections, acting as supports, will when advancing, make use of such cover as was previously occupied by their leading section."

I agree in general with the views of the author of the pamphlet as regards the fighting formation and action in battle of a company; but I think that, as a fighting formation, the column of sections does not meet the requirements, and that it is more suitable for a battalion in the 2nd line within the zone of artillery fire.

A company column of double sections would meet the fighting requirements much better, especially in the zone of rifle fire. It would be just as easy to employ for action a column of this kind as from a single-section column, i.e., merely by increasing the distance of the leading double section form the head of the column. The double-section column has, moreover, the advantage that it at once provides a sufficient number of rifles in the firing line. I have taken part in actions as both company and battalion commander, and I frequently observed that the company commanders did not send merely a single section into the firing line; it is too small a unit for the purpose.

A company commander generally tells off half his company for the firing line, even before the situation is clear.

I am also unable to share the opinion of the author of the pamphlet on the question of company supports. This question, in case of a company acting with its battalion, is a debatable one. My own opinion, as that of a company commander who has taken part in both offensive and defensive action, is that company supports are altogether superfluous. When a company is acting with its battalion, the main point is to develop the maximum amount of fire, in order to beat down the enemy's fire as soon as possible; a company's supports, in addition to weakening the fire of the company, would, being necessarily near the firing line, merely suffer useless losses. Flank companies must, however, have their own supports, a special duty of which is to guard against daring attempts on the part of the enemy to enfilade the firing line; of this purpose it is better to detail small parties from the company supports than to take men from the firing line, where their whole attention should be devoted to their front. A battalion detailing two whole companies to the firing line would provide a sufficient number of rifles for the firing line, and still have a powerful reserve at hand. As stated by A. Ryabinin, some company commanders raise the objection that reinforcement of the fighting line from a battalion reserve will inevitably result in a mixture of men from several companies, with the result that neither officers nor men will know each other; but surely similar conditions will prevail on the final fire position and in the bayonet attack. A vigorous attack on a stubborn foe will cause the leading companies to lose many of their men, and thus to become mere skeletons. There will then be a mixture, not only of companies, but also of battalions. The important thing, from the point of view of organization, is that the units should still be fighting under the colors of their own regiment. In short, the mixture of companies is unavoidable, because the reinforcement of the fighting line on the final fire positions will always be from a the battalions reserves, which will be brought up in exceptional cases on a flank, but more generally in the intervals between units.

All war have shown that, in the case of a mixture of companies, the fact of officers and men being strangers to each other is not so very important. As an example, I may mention that, at the end of the war, the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment had not a single one of its original company commanders left, some companies having changed theirs five or six times.

It is far more important to have a reliable and intelligent body of officers to furnish leaders for the company in action. The importance of the presence of an officer at the decisive moment lies in his setting an example of individual courage, and whether he be the company's own commander or an officer from another company, it is his example which will carry the men with him.

To finish my remarks about the fighting formation of a company I will mention a fact which has been confirmed by all the actions in the late war, viz., that the heaviest losses fall to the lot of even numbered sections of the companies in the fighting line. This results, of course, from the unsteady fire of the enemy; the jerk of the trigger causes the rifle to, though aimed at the centre of the fire line, to throw to the right, which means that the first half company usually deployed by the company commander, the 2nd section loses most heavily. At close range the first half company is reinforced by the second, and the latter, whilst in the act of reinforcing, has been observed to lose most of its casualties from the 4th section. A practical way to remedy this is to leave intervals of from 30 to 40 paces between sections in the firing line.


Battalion fighting is also dealt with in Ryabinin's pamphlet. It is, however, treated too briefly, the author limiting himself, apparently, to the use of lines of company columns in the zone of artillery fire.

The battalion is a unit which is possible to direct, but not to command, in battle; its deployment in action should, therefore, be considered in greater detail.

In the general battle formation the battalion may be employed either independently, or in the fighting line (1st line), or in reserve (2nd line).

When acting independently, a battalion generally details two or three companies to the fighting line and keeps the remainder in reserve. The best formation for reserve companies in the zone of artillery fire is column of sections, and columns of half companies in the zone of rifle fire. It is impossible under modern conditions to move the companies in battalion reserve in line, as we tried to do at the commencement of the war.

As a matter of fact, para. 294 of the Field Service Regulations recommends that, before the charge, the reserves should be led up to the firing line by companies in line. This method of assembling sufficient numbers to deal the enemy a decisive blow with cold steel may entail such heavy losses as to render the attack a failure; and, even in the most favorable circumstances, the battalion will scarcely be able to pursue the enemy.

In reply to this, it may be urged that the spirit of the regulations should be followed, and that commanders, interpreting the regulations in a sensible manner, should teach their troops methods other than those laid down therein. Actual experience has shown, however, that units were taught according to the latter, and not according to the spirit, of the regulations; and it has required much bloodshed to demonstrate the necessity for the introduction into the regulations of more definitive instructions.

In my opinion companies in battalion reserve entering the zone of rifle fire should be in line of half-companies columns, and that the leading half company of the battalion reserve should systematically replace losses in the firing line opposite the point of attack, thus enabling fire to be maintained in all its intensity up to the decisive moment. The reinforcement of the firing line, and the replacement of its losses to ensure full development of fire, so necessary before the delivery of the bayonet attack, will be particularly easy with such a formation. If the battalion is acting independently, or in the 1st line, the reinforcement of the firing line will devolve upon the battalion reserves, which will have their lines ready for that purpose. All that the battalion commander will have to do will be to name the direction and objective. This will prevent loss of time in deployment, during which serious losses might occur. Moreover, one of the psychological effects of battle is that men when subjected to fire, are increasingly eager to throw themselves into the fighting the nearer they approach the enemy; they instinctively desire to reach a solution as quickly as possible. It is the most important that this fact should be recognized because it facilitates the reinforcement of the firing line, provided that the necessary arrangements are made.

By such means the firing line will always be provided with a sufficient number of rifles and will therefore be better able to subdue the enemy's fire. Being sufficiently thick, it will the more easily bear the first shock of the bayonet attack; in any case it will force the enemy to suspend his fire, and will therefore facilitate the advance of the succeeding lines. The delivery of repeated attacks will also be facilitated. Waves of lines, each stronger than the preceding one, will be continually pressing forward, and it will be possible to maintain the intensity of fire at the same time.

This basis of battalion formations is the "reserve columns." [11] But experience in war has shown that adequate cover for such columns is difficult to find; a column of this kind has only to expose itself for a few minutes, and it will be shattered both morally and physically.

I agree with Ryabinin that the normal formation for a battalion in 2nd line in the zone of artillery fire is one in which the companies are kept separate, each company being in column of sections.

The same battalion formation will be even better as regards diminution of losses from artillery fire.

The distances and intervals between companies and between the sections of a company may be varied according to the nature of the ground.

At a distance, battalions in reserve advancing in such columns will have the appearance of parallel lines and produce a formable impression. This was particularly well illustrated in the fighting on the Hun-Ho on the 10th March in which the 2nd [Siberian Army] Corps took part. There the open valley of the Hun-Ho, which separated the combatants, reaches in places a width of over 2 ½ miles, and there was not the slightest chance of obtaining any natural cover for the reserves. The advance of the Japanese was observed at 9 a.m., and our outposts, posted along the river, withdrew to the heights bordering the valley on the north. Scarcely an hour had elapsed before the enemy's infantry appeared to the south, at a distance of between 2,500 and 3,000 paces, advancing in parallel lines, 12 to 18 in number, with a frontage of 1,200 paces. As soon as the zone of effective fire war reached, the advancing troops halted, and the firing line opened fire, partly individual and partly by volleys. A further advance was then made by rushes, carried out successively by small parties with a frontage of 200 paces. The strength of the parties making the rushes was gradually diminished as our trenches were approached, until, at 1,000 paces, rushes were made by groups of a few men only. At the last fire positions the firing line was systematically replenished by single men running forward from the leading lines of the reserves, and was thus kept supplied with a sufficient of rifles, in spite of enormous losses, to enable it to maintain the full intensity of fire. At 1,000 paces machineguns, carried by hand (with belts holding 30 rounds each), made their appearance in the firing line. Their presence at this stage was bound to have a crushing effect upon the defenders. This method of advancing by battalions, which I also saw repeated in other battles, appears to satisfy fighting requirements to a large extent, for the following reasons, viz. : --

1. The losses incurred will certainly smaller than under our system of advancing with the firing line and reserves companies in line. By day it will only be possible to bring up the reserve unobserved under suitable conditions of ground, and a company in line exposed to modern fire for a few minutes will be prematurely demoralized by serious losses. The defender will always select a position with an adequate field of fire, and make arrangements to neutralize all dead ground. The advance and assault will, therefore, take place in view of the enemy. The plan of having the reserves in extended lines under artillery and rifle fire was adopted by our troops, particularly during the second half of the war in 1905. As an example we may quote the retreat of the rearguard of the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division on 8th March, from the village of Ku-Chia-Tzu. Six companies of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment had to retire 1 ½ to 2 miles across an absolutely open valley under shrapnel fire from 12 field guns. Having no artillery, they were unable to inflict any damage on the enemy. As soon as the order to evacuate the position was received, they were sent back from the village of Ku-Chia-Tzu in extended lines, and retired in this formation during an hour under artillery fire, from which they lost only 46 killed and wounded. The majority of the shells fell between the lines; well-directed shots, striking a line, generally put from one to three men out of action, but, in lucky cases, caused no damage at all.

On the 25th April and 21st May [1905], during the reconnaissance in force at Chang-Tu-Fu and Koyusnia, the battalions of the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division attacked in extended formations. During the first half of campaign, battalions maneuvered in closer order, and suffered much under fire. The danger of coming under artillery fire in a formation which exposes troops to serious loss therefore will in the future necessitate a direct change from march to fighting formation, i.e., without first forming reserve columns.

2. The handling of a battalion in 2nd line, formed in column of extended lines, will present no difficulty, because, as a matter of fact, the line will be commanded in action by the company commander, who has learnt all the details connected with such work in peace time, the battalion commander only exercising general control.

3. The fact of the battalion in reserve advancing in extended lines will rendered it difficult for the enemy to estimate their strength.

4. Firing at a formation of the kind indicated must be directed at areas, as there will be no clearly defined target.

The formation is, however, deficient in power to resist a cavalry attack from the flank; but cavalry is not very effective on broken ground, and in open country its advance will be observed sufficiently far off to enable the requisite measures to be taken in time.


Unfortunately, the tactical employment of infantry in operations by night in dealt with only to a very limited extent in all publications on elementary tactics. Such details as are given relate merely to the special cases of sudden attack by troops in close order, in which the main element of success is secrecy. It is actually laid down in the instructions that firing lines should not be sent forward, but only scouts and connecting files to maintain communications between the advancing columns (Part II, para. 241). The perfection of modern firearms has, however, rendered night fighting of the highest importance, and it is difficult to count upon taking the enemy by surprise in order to neutralize his superiority in numbers.

The experience of the war brings out the thoroughly methodical characteristics of night fighting, and shows that the tactical success won under the cover of night fighting is merely made good at dawn. Important tactical results, such as those gained at Liao-yang and Mukden, were due, to a certain extent, to night operations, and no small portion of our general tactical defeats should be attributed to the absence of necessary instructions regarding the tactical employment of infantry and artillery in night fighting. Methods which were suitable at Kars [12] are not altogether applicable to the conditions of modern warfare with its magazine rifles and machineguns. A striking example is afforded by the night attack of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment on the 3rd March [1905], made with the object of recapturing the trenches lost be the 4th company at Kun-Tun-Chun on the preceding morning. A space of 300 paces had to be crossed between Redoubt No. 7 and three trenches. The attacking party consisted of seven companies in "reserve columns." [13] Complete failure resulted; in the course of three of four minutes the companies lost 500 men from rifle and machinegun fire, and retired to the redoubt in disorder.

The consciousness of our want in training in this respect, and our unfortunate experiences on the Scha Ho, caused steps to be taken, at the end of May, 1905, towards drawing up the requisite instructions for the tactical employment of artillery and infantry in night fighting; but no definite results were obtained, and the question remained, in reality, an open one.

In the methodical conduct of modern night operation, such factors as surprise, superiority of forces, successful flanking movements, etc., must not be taken for granted; the worst must be expected and provided for, and it is only by working on a preconceived plan that success can be achieved. It is imperatively necessary that night operations should be practiced in combination by the three arms. All solutions of the question based on theoretical principals only may easily fall short of the reality.

As an example of a night attack formation for a company and a battalion, based on theoretical calculations alone, I will quote that drawn up at the end of May, 1905 and recommended for adoption by our troops during our contemplated advance (Figs No. 13 and 14). In practice this formation proved so complicated that it was difficult to carry out over broken ground even in daylight. Its first trial by the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment in the reconnaissance at Hsai-Tai-Li on the 25th August, 1905, exposed all its defects.

It is not difficult to see that the method here depicted fails to satisfy the conditions of night fighting. If a company is acting by itself, it should have, in addition to those in front, scouts to connect both flanks of the line of scouts and of the firing line with the company support. No company commander would employ as scouts any but reliable men, namely, the picked company guides. Since the scouts must follow each other at such distances as will enable them to see each other, 30 men will be required on a dark night for this duty. Moreover, the scouts, in addition to the duty of protecting the firing line from surprise, have to communicate to the company commander everything observed by them in conjunction with the enemy. A simple calculation will show that a company is thus weakened to the extent of nearly one whole section, of its very best men. It is impossible to make sure that the scouts will merge themselves in the firing line as soon as the fighting begins; I am convinced that the majority of them, being removed from their commander's authority, will take cover in some safe place or other. Finally, it is impossible to guarantee a surprise attack. The enemy's outpost will always show a bold front, and the line of scouts will be stopped by them. It is evident, therefore, that at the onset there will be an inevitable loss of time while the firing line is merging itself with the scouts.

The best plan is for the firing line to advance and absorb the scouts; but it is more probable that the enemy's outposts will open fire on the line of scouts as soon as they discover them, and draw a direct answering fire from the firing line. In those circumstances it is not to be expected that the scouts will attempt to rejoin the firing line, and they may therefore be regarded as lost for the purposes of the fight. Practice, confirmed by the experience of war, had evolved the best formation for a company and battalion n taking part in night operations.

In carrying out operations with small units, such as a company, battalion, or even a regiment, surprise should, to a certain extent, play a chief part; but the attacker cannot conceal his intentions right up to and including the moment for using the bayonet. In this case, rapidity and prompt action may accomplish more than most cunning plans ever devised for secretly approaching the enemy. Before a night attack, it is essential that all commanders, down to company commanders inclusive, should be made acquainted with the main features of the plan of the attack, because the proper conduct of night operations is exceedingly difficult. The main point of attack, and the special tasks, if any, allotted to individual companies and battalions, should be clearly and definitively stated in as concise language as possible. Night fighting generally takes place as soon as, and occasionally a considerable time after, contact with the enemy has been established. All officers taking part in the attack should, therefore, make themselves acquainted with the ground by daylight, even if they do so from a distance only. It is hardly likely that the enemy will be taken by surprise; it is more probable that the attacking troops will be fire upon by his outposts, and that those of his troops which are held in readiness for emergences will be able to take up their positions. This is the most important moment for the attackers, and their whole object at this juncture should be to drive the outposts back on to the hostile position, and thus produce complete confusion in the enemy's lines before his reserves can come up. For this purpose it is necessary to detail as strong a firing line as possible, without any scouts in front; and each company should have its own supports. The companies of the battalion reserve should follow the firing line at a distance of 100 to 150 paces, and behind these, again, should come the battalions in 2nd line at a distance of 400 to 500 paces, opposite the main point of attack. Formed bodies should be connected by scouts. Before a night attack is undertaken, a most careful reconnaissance should be made; the position of the enemy's machineguns should be ascertained, so that the reserves may be led forward without being exposed to their fire. Company supports and battalion reserves, being in close columns on a narrow front, would incur very serious losses if subjected to machinegun fire, thought they would probably suffer very little from rifle fire, because in night firing every man fires straight to his front. The handling of the formation indicated above would not be difficult, because the flanks would be connected by scouts, and the reserve kept well in hand.

This formation also provides for the full use of the bayonet. The firing line is strong enough in itself to make an effective bayonet charge, and, in case of necessity, the reserve can deploy into line (the best formation for bayonet work) in one movement. In this formation, with the formed bodies alone connected by scouts and the flanks observed by detached patrols, the infantry, after passing through its own outpost line, should move forward without hesitation and without halting. The firing line, when met by fire from the enemy's outposts, should drive back the latter with energy, and pursue them closely to the enemy's trenches. This is the attacker's golden opportunity. The situation will not be an enviable one for the outposts, especially on a dark night; they will not be sufficiently strong to hold the attack, and the latter, on account of the darkness, will very close at hand; hence the necessity of for pressing the enemy's outposts hard without a pause; and it is at this juncture that the inexperience of the young officers, generally told off to the foremost line by outpost commanders, will show itself.

If the attackers fail to get into the entrenchment on the heels of the outposts, their further advance should resolve itself into a vigorous attack with the object of reaching the enemy's obstacles as quickly as possible so as to make a way for the reserves. In this case, it is useful to open a heavy fire from the opposite flank to that from which it is intended to deliver the principle blow has a greater effect on a dark night. The company commander opposite the quarter from which such fire comes is unaware that it is a feint, and naturally reports that he is being attacked; neighboring units are certain to send orderlies to find out what is taking place on the section which is thus being fired upon; these will get the same report, and when delivering their message will, on their own account, exaggerate the enemy's strength. The general impression, in short, will be that this is the real attack and not a demonstration. The regimental commander is thus placed in an extremely difficult position. He is in command of the section of ground allotted to his regiment, a section sufficiently extensive to have a serious importance in the general line of battle; but he is unable to survey his section with his own eyes, and consequently handles his reserve in accordance with reports received by him. If the company commander at the threaten point is not an ambitious man, desirous of raising himself in the estimation of his chief, a report in accordance with the facts may be expected. Otherwise, the report received will be something like this: "The section held by No. - company is being attacked; judging by the fire, I estimate that the enemy is in considerable strength." Meanwhile, time slips by, and the decisive blow draws near!

If the entrenchments are approached close enough to allow hand grenades to be thrown, the defenders may be expelled by these alone. The only thing required is that some of the grenades should actually fall in the trenches. Our opponents in the late war were adept in the use of this weapon.

The opening of a heavy fire from the flank farthest from the reserve draws the enemy's attention away from the main point of attack. Here should be no cheering until the actual moment for the bayonet charge has arrived, lest the positions of the reserve be prematurely revealed.

If there are no hand grenades, the firing line should employ the following most useful devices, viz., to cheer all together before going in with the bayonet, but not to expose themselves for a few seconds; then pour in a simultaneous fire, and immediately rush the entrenchments. This ruse was often used by our detachments of dismounted scouts with good results. As soon as the enemy's trenches, or other works, are captured, they should be strengthened by machineguns, which accompany the firing line. The enemy will attempt to recapture his lost position, in most cases as soon as his reserves come up, and it is then that the machineguns will be of the greatest possible help.

The Japanese attack on the night of the 2nd - 3rd March on the position held by the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division at Kun-Tu-Li-Chun may be taken as an example of an energetic attack of the kind indicated above.

The distance between the opposing forces was 3,000 paces, and the hostile outposts were at night separated by a distance of 400 to 500 paces. On the night of the 2nd - 3rd March strong Japanese lines drove in our outposts at 3 a.m., captured the trenches held by the 4th Company of the 28th East Siberian Rifle Regiment in a trice, and in 40 minutes fought their way to within 1,500 paces of our position. The outposts were driven in so quickly that they had not even time to report the fact that the Japanese were advancing. The latter strengthened their positions during the same night with the aid of sandbags, and forced us to attack them on the 4th under machinegun fire. This counter attack failed, and the 4th Company brought back from the fight only 35 men out of 230.

An example of a successful attack in the formation indicated above was the capture, on the 25th January [14], of the village of Wa-Tieh-Shan and its adjoining trenches, by the combined scouts detachments and companies of the 17th and 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiments; the Japanese found themselves in exactly the same position as that which fell to our lot on the night of the 2nd - 3rd March.


The position occupied for defense should be adequately fortified, if time permits, since this will depend in great measures the success of the defense. Up to the present time a purely passive defense has never been attended with success, and the fortification of the position can easily be arranged so that the offensive can be assumed without difficulty.

The weapon of the defense is fire, the effect of which will be in direct proportion to the number of rifles employed, which again will depend upon the length of the firing line, i.e., of the trenches running parallel with the front of the position. Hence the importance of providing trenches for the firing line.

Closed works (redoubts) can only make full use of their fire when attacked simultaneously from several sides; they are, therefore, more suitable for local reserves, or as rallying points for the firing lines. The above considerations determine the situation of these works on the poison; but, wherever they may be placed, their function is to hold the enemy till the reserves come up, i.e., a rôle of passive defense. This rôle appertains more particularly to works guarding the keys of the position, or situated behind the firing lines, and to those along the front of the position which are liable to sudden attack from several sides. Such works should have a strong profile and be strengthened by obstacles.

Works in the front line should possess the following requirements:

1. They should be invisible as possible.
2. They should admit of an easy assumption of the offensive by their garrisons.

The 35th Infantry Division fortified their position exactly in the manner indicated, and the fighting in October, 1904, proved their method to be correct. The firing line consisted of a series of separate trenches constructed to hold a section or a half company, with intervals of from 30 to 50 paces between them. From 200 to 400 paces in rear of these where trenches for the battalion reserves, and 1,000 paces behind these again were redoubts to hold from one to two companies each.

At Scha Ho Station the Japanese fortified their position in a similar manner.

Unfortunately, all units were not agreed upon this point. For example, the 5th East Siberian Rifle and the 1st Siberian Divisions adopted for their firing lines a system of continuous entrenchments constructed for firing standing. Although the standing trench has been shown by experience to afford the best cover from fire, the continuous line of entrenchments entailed extremely hard work on the troops, and had a depressing moral effect, in that it conveyed to the rank and file, sometimes to the commanders, the idea of a purely passive defense. Not can this be wondered at, when it is remembered that from 150 to 200 paces in front of these works there extended a similarly unbroken line of barbed wire entanglement several miles in length. Under such conditions there can be no thought of assuming the offensive after the successful repulse of an attack. Moreover, when there is a continuous line of fire trenches, the commander will be seized with an irresistible desire to occupy the whole length of front, in which case there will frequently be a paucity of reserves, and the firing line, being thin and weak, will be easily broken through.

The method of fortifying a position adopted by the 35th Infantry Division, mentioned above, meets requirements in a very different manner.

Fire trenches and detached works should be protected by barbwire entanglements, or by thick abattis. These form the best obstacles. Trous-de-loup [15] are altogether unsuitable, since, on hard or stony ground, it is very difficult to dig them deeper than a man's height, and still more difficult to drive a pointed stake into the bottom of each pit. When, further, it is remembered that there must be three or four rows of such pits if an efficient obstacle is to be provided, it will be seen that the labor involved is prohibitive. Moreover, during a night attack, the enemy's firing lines would take cover in the pits, and, being usually superior in number to the defender, they would soon establish a superiority of fire. In soft ground, a step for firing from can easily be made in pits deeper than a man's height with a light entrenching tool.

Lastly, it is impossible not to agree with the general opinion expressed by regimental officers who gained their experience in the late war, that it is useful, when fortifying a position, to construct, at the same time as the trenches for the firing line, and in the same alignment as the later, a number of closed works to hold about half a company each. The advantages of these works are; -

1. They stiffen the resisting power of the firing line trenches.
2. Being distributed all along the front, they determine to a certain extent the line of the enemy's attack in any given section, and thus facilitate the arrangements for the defense.
3. Being aligned with the firing line trenches, they can be designed so as to bring a cross fire to bear on the ground in front of the firing lines.
4. In the event of the enemy breaking through and then being driven back by the reserves, they make it very difficult for him to effect his retreat.

The essence of the defense is to throw the advancing enemy into disorder by fire, and then to complete his discomfiture by assuming the offensive. The only defense which can lead to decisive success is that which ends in an advance.

Whether the defense is to be stubborn or merely a temporary means of delaying the enemy, the commander should invariably remember that his defense must end in offensive action.

After a reconnaissance of the position and the formulation of a plan for strengthening and defending the same, the troops should be furnished with detailed information as to the strength and dispositions of the enemy, the position of the neighboring units, and the general plan of defense. In these respects we were found wanting in the late war.

The duties of the commander in defensive action are laid down in detail in the tactical books, and I will, therefore, merely touch here upon a few special points.

The most powerful weapon in the hands of the defense is fire, and the fullest use should be made of it. This means that as soon as the direction of the enemy's attack is revealed, the strongest possible firing lines should be placed in position, supported by machineguns. Company supports are more necessary in defense than in offense. They can always avoid loss either by finding natural cover or by making shelter trenches for themselves. Their principle duty in the defense is to prevent groups of hostile riflemen from enfilading the company. The Japanese frequently succeeded in doing this in the late war. By making use of ravines, ditches, bushes, and even the most insignificant objects, daring skirmishers would advance singly and establish themselves, unobserved, within effective rifle range, thus being in a position to put a score or more of the enemy out of action. The firing line and its commander are so intent on defending their front that they do not notice what is happening, and the losses continue.

Patrols are, of course, responsible for watching the flanks on such occasions, but, as they seldom consist of more than three men, they are unable to act with effect and, by allowing themselves to become engaged, they may fail to observe something of greater importance. It is better to tell off one or two sub-sections for the company supports to drive off such skirmishers with a few well-directed volleys. As I remarked above, as soon as the direction of the enemy's attack is revealed, the strongest possible firing lines should be placed in position, supported by machineguns; but it is most undesirable that the latter should be unmasked at long ranges. On the defensive, in daylight, it will always be possible to estimate the strength of the enemy more or less accurately; and unless his strength appears to be excessive, it is a mistake to reveal one's position by opening fire too soon. If necessary, fire should be opened from a few rifles only. In any case, machinegun should be kept concealed. The best plan is to allow the enemy to approach to within 600 or 700 paces, and then to open a heavy rife and machinegun fire upon him, so to prevent him from retiring. This procedure requires, on the part of the commander, firmest, self-control, and coolness under fire. As a negative example, I will quote the action of the Japanese on 20 May 1905, when the advanced guard of our 2nd [Siberian Army] Corps attacked their advanced trenches at Chang-Tu-Fu.

The ground at Chang-Tu-Fu to the north of the enemy's trenches was absolutely open; the only cover was afforded by a ravine 1,500 paces from the hostile position. According to the plan of attack, two battalions (one from the 17th and one from the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiments) were to make a frontal attack, while three battalions (of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment) executed a turning movement over the hills against the enemy's right flank. The attack was to be supported by on the right by two detachments of trained scouts (mounted and dismounted). A reconnaissance was made on the same day by the advance guard of the 8th [Army] Corps, but this corps was withdrawn as soon as the fighting commenced, and the mounted scouts had consequently to move to the westward of Chang-Tu-Fu to observe that position of the enemy's forces which had faced the 8th [Army] Corps, lest they should take an active part in the operations. As soon as the battalion of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, which formed the fighting line, crossed the ravine, the Japanese opened rifle fire, partly by volleys and partly individual, followed by shrapnel fire from six mountain guns. The battalion continued to advance in spite of the fire, but was met, at a range of 1,200 paces, by such an murderous fire that it was compelled to halt and reply, at first by volleys and then by magazine fire. At this juncture the Japanese opened fire with machineguns, with the result that the battalion had to remain in the same position for more than an hour. By this time the mounted scouts had ascertained that there were two battalions of enemy in the trenches alone, but they were unable to find out what forces were behind these again.

Out turning movement, in spite of flag signaling, disappeared in the hills and rendered no assistance. The order was given to retire, but owing to the heavy fire and to the necessity for collecting the wounded, the men had to run to the ravine singly or in groups of three to four. If the Japanese had held their fire and let the battalions come to within 600 or 700 paces it could hardly have gotten away at all. This the Japanese could easily have done, having every facility for ascertaining our strength from the watchtower at Chang-Tu-Fu station.

In the defense the immediate reserves should, as a rule be kept close to the firing line, and in such a position as to be able to protect its flanks either by fire or with the bayonet. When the attack has been beaten back, the offensive should be assumed without delay; otherwise the defense will be fruitless.

Apart from the general counter-attack, however, there will be frequent opportunities during the attack for local counterattacks by portions of the defending troops, on the initiative of the officers in command. It is most important that such opportunities should be utilized, because the repulse of an attack throws the attacking force into extreme disorder, and a successful counter-attack at any given point, even if delivered by a small body only, will greatly militate against the enemy's success at the main point. Such action must be regarded as a duty by all commanders.

If the defense fails, the position must, of course, be abandoned; but, as fixed rules cannot be laid down for conducting retirements under pressure of the enemy, everything must depend upon circumstances and upon the resourcefulness of the officer in command. To gain time and put a distance between themselves and the enemy should be the first care of the retiring troops. As a firing line can fire better taking up a position than while on the move, it should, therefore, be withdrawn by sections at a run. This procedure should be sanctioned by the regulations, and taught to the troops in time of peace, so that in war they may look upon it as the correct method, and not as a scamper to get away from the enemy. Our regulations, however, lay down that a line must retire at a walk; but a line retiring in this manner under modern conditions of fire would have very few men left.

It cannot be doubted that a retirement at a run, followed by fire from a suitable position, would give better results than a retirement at a walk accompanied by fire on the move. The following sketch [16] gives a fair idea of the moral conditions of defeated troops who have probably lost their officers. The line retires at a walk, each man thinking of only getting as quickly as possible to some ditch or mound, where he can obtain cover.

To decide who is to halt and fire is a very difficult question. Suppose that one bolder than the rest does so; he will either find himself alone or one of eight or nine men, at most, out of a whole company. The knowledge that he is alone, or at best one of a few only, and that his comrades are going off, will shake his nerve, and spoil the effect of his fire. It is quite a different matter if a whole section of the company rushes back 200 paces and then opens with volleys or magazine fire; the feeling that their comrades are at their side will give the men more confidence, the impression of failure will be lessened and the fire will be more accurate. The sound of their comrades' fire will encourage those who have still to make their rush and such fire will cover the retiring sections better than individual firing on the move. During the reconnaissance of the advance guard of he 2nd [Siberian Army] Corps on the 25th April at Koyusnia, the Japanese successfully retired at a run by half companies. It may be argued that only highly trained troops could be kept under control in such circumstances; but, in recommending this practical method, which has been successfully tested in battle, I had in mind the fact that all Russian troops are highly trained, and that if the system indicated is taught in time of peace, units will not get out of hand in real warfare.


All the battles of the late war, especially those of Liao-Yang and Mukden, furnished abundant instances of night operations by infantry; hence the main characteristics of night fighting have been thoroughly established.

The attackers, having the advantage of the initiative, will always be able to concentrate superior strength at the decisive point; consequently, given that the fighting qualities of both sides are equal, the final assault by bayonet should end in favor of the assailant. The latter will, moreover, base his actions on a preconceived plan, which the defenders, owning to the darkness, will be unable to fathom. Finally, the defenders are placed at a great disadvantage owing to the various means at the disposal of the attackers for diverting the attention, and thus drawing off the forces of their opponents. From the above considerations it appears that the chief requisite for a successful defense by night is to prevent the enemy from approaching close enough to attack with the bayonet. The sole means by which the defenders can effect this is fire, i.e., the heaviest possible machinegun and rifle fire. Weak points in the position should be strengthen by machineguns, and the firing lines should be as dense as possible, so as to sweep with fire the whole of he ground in front of the trenches. When it is growing light, and aiming, even to a small extent, becomes possible, volley fire is most effective, because, in addition to the losses it causes, it shows the attackers that their opponents are well in hand, and consequently unshaken.

It is difficult to lay-down rules regarding the visibility of targets at night; I presume that a sensible commander, having decided upon a night attack, would thoroughly study the ground, and then choose the darkest night, when a man's figure is invisible at 50 paces. In view of these considerations, and of the experience of modern battle, the first care of the commander of the defending force should be to strengthen his position with entrenchments and obstacles, including fourgasses; to draw up a plan of defense and to acquaint the troops with the main points in it; and to make arrangements for the supply of ammunition. As soon as news of the enemy's approach is received from the outposts, strong firing lines must be told off. Each company should have its own supports, placed as close as possible to the firing line. The battalion reserves, in close formation, should be posted at weak points of the position, supplemented, if possible, by machineguns. The regimental reserve should be held in readiness opposite the probable point of attack, and near to the tactical key of the position. If the ground is much broken up, it is useful to split up the regimental reserve, especially if the position occupied is an extensive one. In this case any portion of the regimental reserve, reinforced by neighboring battalions, should always be able to hold its ground until the arrival of other portions of the reserve.

Bold and reliable scouts should be sent out in front of the firing lines, and every precaution should be taken to watch the flanks. As soon as the enemy's advance is detached, the firing line should open a heavy fire, at first by volleys, and then by magazine fire, directed at the obstacles, if there are any, and if not, in the direction in which they would otherwise be placed. Such fire resembles that from machineguns, and has so far given satisfactory results. It is impossible to husband ammunition at this juncture. The maintenance of communications along the front of the position is most important in night fighting; company and battalion commanders should systematically keep themselves informed of what is taking place in neighboring units. If, in spite of this fire, the enemy breaks through the obstacle, the leading men will probably consist of a few more daring, followed by the firing line, after which will come formed bodies in close order. This is the time to throw hand grenades, the moral effect of which at night is terrific. The reserves should be ready at the threatened points to meet the assailants with a bayonet charge. In this manner the 1st Brigade of the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division repulsed 15 attacks by the Japanese at Kun-tu-li-chun during five nights from the 2nd to the 7th of March, 1905. The brigade fired away 2 ½ million rounds during these fights. The only part of the defense which failed was that of the trenches of the 4th company of the 18th East Siberian Rifle Regiment; the position occupied by this company was, however, an exceptional one for the following reasons; -

1. It was not strengthen by obstacles.
2. Its trenches were placed too far in advance of the general front of the position, the result being that the company was surrounded on three sides.


Before closing my remarks on the fighting methods of a company and battalion, I will say a few words on the subject of fire. On the offensive, as well as on the defensive, volley fire ordinarily commences at the longest ranges, up to extreme range of the rifle. As the enemy is approached, or approaches, there is a change, first to individual, then to magazine, fire. As has already been said, no particular result is to be expected from volley firing at long ranges; the effect will be chiefly moral.

Individual fire commences at 1,200 paces, and is capable of inflicting serious losses, since each man can take his own time in firing, and at 1,200 paces the laying-down position is usually adopted; that is to say, the conditions are identical with those laid down in exercise Nos. 7 and 9. of the Musketry Regulations. Magazine fire, according to the experience of war, commences at ranges between 800 and 700 paces, although there were occasions on which it was used at 1,000 paces. We were obliged to have recourse to this kind of fire (thought at such a range it was not very effective), because the enemy frequently covered us with a shower of bullets. It was often employed by us in defensive fighting. During our offensive operations we adhered, from force of habit, to the regulation methods; we were, however, rather too sparing with our ammunition, in spite of the enemy's heavy fire; this was due partly to the difficulty of bringing ammunition close up to the firing lines, and partly to our inability to forget the instructions laid down in the regulations, namely, to advance as far as possible without firing. This was one of the causes of our heavy losses during our offensive movement on the Scha Ho.

Magazine fire involves, of course, the greatest expenditure of ammunition in the shortest amount of time [17], and careful aiming is out of the question. These objections are not so apparent in the defense, because rests for the rifles can be easily provided; and the men, being under cover, are consequently calmer, and wait for the enemy to come closer, all of which considerations increase the accuracy of magazine fire, and compensate in some degree for lack of training in this kind of fire. The conditions in the attack are much less favorable; it will not always be possible to rest the rifle, and magazine fire will have to be resorted to, lying down, at a range of 700 to 800 paces. We were quite untrained in this respect, there bring no suitable exercises laid down in the Musketry Regulations. Exercises 8 and 10 are applicable only to closer ranges (300 to 500 paces).

Magazine fire, which we often employed at ranges of 800-1,000 paces, is, however, most difficult, especially in the lying down position. When men are not accustomed to it, the slightest movement of the left hand will cause the bullet to fly high over the enemy's heads. I would therefore suggest the necessity for including in the regulations some exercises designed to teach the men how to hold their rifles straight and to become efficient 'snap shots' when using magazine fire at 700-800 paces, especially when lying down. This is, unquestionably, a matter of importance, because magazine fire will in future be more frequently used in action than other kinds of fire.


Apart from any ultimate objective of its own, the artillery in a battle can very materially contribute towards the general success of its side. In the attack the principle aim of the artillery should be to force on a duel with the hostile artillery, in order that the latter may thus disclose its dispositions. The artillery duel, however, in the accepted sense of the word, is now a thing of the past. The facility with which indirect fire can be employed from concealed positions renders the modern gun invulnerable, and it is useless to attempt its destruction. The artillery is better employed against living targets, but cannot seriously damage entrenchments or concealed targets-a task for which the old types of shells are more suitable.

Living targets expose themselves nowadays for a very short time only, but the artillery, by making good use of its quick firing capabilities, should be able to make them suffer. For this reason rapid shrapnel fire is most commonly used. The same quick-firing powers of the modern gun oblige artillery to make all its preparations and to come into action out of view of the enemy. To be the first to open fire is a great step for success, more particularly when firing from a concealed position. If the enemy, notwithstanding this, succeeds in locating the battery, and there is danger of heavy loss to personnel, it is better to wait. In this case the enemy will soon change to slow fire, when the battery should again open with rapid fire for a short time. If the shells burst accurately the opponents will probably cease fire. It was in this manner that the 3rd Battery of the 5th East Siberian Artillery Brigade engaged 18 guns, firing from three directions, for four days (27th February to 2nd March) at Kun-tu-li-chun. A battery of the 35th Artillery Brigade was equally successful in the fighting on the 12th of October, during which it lost only one officer and six men wounded. Such is the character of modern artillery duels, and the chief task of the artillery is not to destroy the hostile guns, but merely to threaten them, so as to prevent them from firing upon its own troops.

With a view to increasing the volume of fire, artillery used generally to be deployed in long lines in the firing line. In the defense a special place was allotted to it on the position, and it formed as it were, the framework, which was filled in by the infantry; but nowadays, with modern Q.F. guns, the visibility of such lines would render them liable to suffer heavy losses in a short space of time. The long range of the modern gun does away altogether with the necessity for such formations, and admits of massed fire with the batteries dispersed along the whole length of front. It is thus possible not only to concentrate the fire of the artillery on any given point in the hostile position, but also to enfilade portions of the latter. Further, by distributing batteries throughout the whole length of the front, their location by the enemy is rendered more difficult, and at the same time they are able to threaten any given point in the enemy's lines. In this connection the skillful posting of the battery in a concealed position is most important. Formerly the crest of a hill was selected, with a view to securing a commanding position; now, however, the quick-firing capabilities and long range of the modern gun renders such positions dangerous.

A battery skillfully posted in a concealed position may be able to silence several hostile batteries, thus leaving other batteries free to engage the enemy's troops. The 1st and 2nd batteries of the 35th Artillery Brigade carried out this duty admirably at the village of Khan-chen-pu on the 14th October. Being most skillfully posted, they silenced the Japanese artillery at Scha Ho Station, thus making it possible for the 4th and 5th Batteries of the same brigade to engage the hostile infantry concentrated at the village of Sha-ho-pu. A well-concealed position is the best security against defeat. In view of this, the following positions are recommended for as battery operating ion a hilly country: --

1. The rear slope of a hill.
2. The rear of a hill which has two other hills in front of it, the intervening valleys being from 400 to 500 paces wide.

The three hills thus described should increase in altitude the nearer they are to the enemy. Such a position renders it extremely difficult to locate and range on the battery.

At Kun-tu-li-chun three batteries of the 5th East Siberian Artillery Brigade occupied a position similar to that described in (1) above, and successfully engaged 18 hostile guns from the 27th February to the 2nd March, during which time they only lost 1 officer and 18 men. Occasionally for 20 minutes or so the air above the battery seemed full of bursting shells, but the elevation was too high. At such times the battery would remain silent, its gun detachments taking shelter in lightly protected trenches.

During the fighting at Fengschek [18] on the 13th March, two batteries of the 5th East Siberian Artillery Brigade occupied positions in the manner indicated in (2) above. All the enemy's shells burst short of the hollow immediately in front of the batteries.

Widely dispersed batteries require a thoroughly organized system of observation to enable them to cope with the demands of modern warfare. The observers should be distributed over the whole length of the front occupied, and should have as wide a field of view as possible. Living targets, such as columns, lines, batteries, etc., show themselves ordinarily for a very short time only, and they must be subjected to fire within that time. Flag signaling as a means of transmitting information from the observer to the battery is too slow; the target would have time to hide itself, and the observer using the flag would soon be picked off by the enemy. The best medium for communicating the results of observation is the telephone. It is not only, however, living targets which have to be observed, but the effect also of one's own fire. To do this a battery commander will sometimes have to take up his position at a considerably distance from his battery, in order to be better able to correct its fire; he should, therefore, certainly have with him a telephone. It frequently happens that infantry has to attack localities defended by machineguns, in which case the most practical way in which the artillery can co-operate with its infantry is by annihilating the machineguns, or, at any rate by submitting such localities to a heavy fire. On such occasions the observer (or rather observers) should be as near as possible to the firing line, preferably with the battalion reserve, where he is in a position not only to obtain information as to the whereabouts of the enemy's machineguns, but also, to see them himself.

The rapid communication of such first-hand information to the battery cannot fail to be of the greatest assistance. In this case, however, the information must be of necessity be communicated by flag signaling.

In modern fighting the frequent changing of the positions of the batteries is undesirable. A battery while changing position is useless for fighting purposes, and is liable to suffer heavy losses. Position must, however, be changed either for the purpose of approaching closer to the enemy, or in order to avoid heavy casualties in the event of the enemy having located the battery. In the first place it would be better to bring up fresh batteries from the reserve. These fresh batteries would have a demoralizing effect upon the enemy, and at the same time would give confidence to their own troops. Some recommended a bold advance by batteries, especially if the enemy is beginning to waver, but this method lacks justification; the ballistic powers of our guns are so good that a difference in range of a few hundred yards can confer no particular advantage, while the time lost in limbering up, advancing and taking up a new position would be much better spent in keeping the enemy under fire. In this case it is better to fire several rounds from each gun at the extreme range in the direction of the enemy's rear, especially if there is a possibility of such shots reaching the enemy's staffs or reserves, etc. These rounds will cause little material damage, but will have great moral effect, in that they will indicate that we control the whole field of battle, and will serve to spread the news of our success far and wide through the enemy's lines.

When a change of position is necessary to avoid losses, the guns should be moved by hand for a short distance without exposing them to view.

Before opening fire, the senior artillery commander should make all arrangements regarding observers and the way in which the position will be occupied; all further details will be found in the tactical regulations. Each battery should be furnished with a sketch [19], showing the various points in the enemy's position, with the range and bearing clearly indicated; similar sketches should also be prepared by the observing officers from their post of observation. In offensive operations these sketches should chiefly contain points along and in view of the enemy's front; in defensive fighting they should also show points in front of our own positions. These plans will make it easier to direct fire upon should targets as may present themselves. The limited time during which living targets generally show themselves necessitates rapidity of action; hence it is obvious that the most suitable fire to employ against such targets is rapid shrapnel fire, based on previously ascertain ranges and bearings. In such cases complete independence should be allowed to the battery commander directing the fire of grouped batteries. To wait for instructions from higher authorities on such occasions means the loss of the opportunity for dealing a decisive blow at the enemy. The method advocated above applies only to visible targets.

When firing at concealed objects, especially during the attack, the enemy must be sought out by means of slow fire. In this case observers will be most useful. These, being distributed along the whole front, should easily be able, by noticing flashes, dust, etc., to locate a concealed hostile battery, and may possibly be able to mark its opposition on the sketch. But for the ranging and for the correction of fire, we require our old type of shells, without which observation becomes extremely difficult. As regards overhead fire, experience has shown that it can be regarded as quite normal. If the gunners are properly trained there will be no danger to one's own infantry. The long range of the gun makes it possible, on the defense, to place the artillery 900 and even 1,200 paces behind the infantry. Under such conditions the gun detachments would suffer little from rifle bullets, and their fire consequently be more accurate.

At this distance, moreover, the artillery should be able to sweep the ground close in front of the firing lines, a most important matter for the defense. An example of this will be given when dealing with the defensive action of artillery at night.

At the commencement of an attack the artillery should engage the hostile guns in the manner indicated above, but as soon as the infantry moves forward to the attack, Or preferably a little earlier, it should direct the full force of its fire against the point selected for attack, in order thoroughly to demoralize the defenders at that point. As the infantry approaches the hostile trenches, the enemy will unmask his machineguns, usually at a range of not less than 1,000 paces. This will enable the infantry to locate them with sufficient accuracy. This information should be communicated to the batteries at once, and the latter should then use every endeavor to destroy the machineguns, or at any rate to subject them to such heavy fie as to keep them silent. A continuous fire, chiefly shrapnel, should at this critical be directed over the heads of the attacking infantry at the enemy's trenches, so that the defenders may not fire with impunity at the infantry. By selecting suitable targets and making good use of telescope, the artillery may thus assist its own infantry till the latter is close up to the hostile trenches; but as soon as overhead fire is likely to become dangerous, the battery should slightly increase the elevation of its guns so as to threaten the enemy's nearest reserves. Systematic co-operation of this kind on the part of the artillery will very materially assist the infantry attack. In the defense the action of the artillery will depend upon the targets which present themselves, but in any case, the first objective for its fire should be the hostile artillery. As soon as the enemy's infantry appears, a portion of the guns should immediately be turned upon it.


The co-operation of the artillery is an important factor in the defense by night. If skillfully used, it will nor only have great moral effect, but will also inflict serious losses on the enemy. Although placed behind the infantry, it will be able to fire over the heads of the latter, and thus sweep the ground in front of the firing line trenches with shrapnel. Fire directed down valleys perpendicular to the front of the position is particularly useful because such valleys are natural lines of advance for the attack. In this connection, observation to ensure the correction of fire is most important. The best plan is to post observers in the firing line, and to connect them with the batteries by telephone. To ensure the accuracy of the fire directed upon the ground in front, the ranges and bearings to important points in front of the position should be ascertained by daylight, especially if such points afford facilities for the concentration of hostile infantry. Successful correction of the elevation and direction will remove all danger to one's own troops. The 2nd and 3rd batteries of the 5th East Siberian Artillery Brigade were brilliantly handled during the night fighting at Kun-tu-li-chun between the 2nd and 7th March when the batteries were posted as 1,500 paces behind the infantry. No special observers were told off from the artillery or from the firing line but this duty was successfully performed by one of the infantry officers. The front of the position held by the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division was intersected at right angles by two deep valleys, the mouths of which, at a distance of some 700 paces from the front of the position, were closed by two villages. These villages offered the only available cover for the concentration of the enemy's infantry, but the Japanese were successfully driven out of them by the action of the artillery alone.

Artillery fire directed at points in front of the position has also another advantage; the light from the bursting shells show up the enemy and, although only for a few seconds, enables the defenders to locate objects. Searchlights would, of course, be invaluable on such occasions, but we did not make use of them during the fighting on the Scha Ho. At Su-chia-tun Station we had several searchlights mounted on trucks, and one was employed behind the village of Khan-chen-pu, but it gave only feeble light.

The Japanese used searchlights whenever the nights were dark, and our casualties in consequent were considerably increased.


1. From the foregoing remarks on the duties of the company, battalion, and battery in action it may be inferred that though the principles governing the art of war remain unchanged, the improvements in firearms as regards rapidity of fire and length of range, and the complicated nature of the modern battle, demand a more extensive education on the part of commanders as well as of the rank and file.

2. In order to defeat the enemy, superior forces must be concentrated at the right moment at the decisive point. This principle still holds good, although the concentration of sufficient strength at the decisive point must be accomplished nowadays in a different manner. Formerly, the infantry approached the enemy information composed of firing lines, followed by reserves in close order, which increase in strength in proportion to their distance from the front. Such a formation is now impossible. The destructive effect of modern fire compels infantry to approach the enemy either singly or in small groups, or thin lines, the nearest reserves being in the same formation. If it is necessary to attack in daylight, the infantry reframes from attacking localities defended by machineguns until the artillery can completely destroy or silence the latter.

3. The defensive power of the modern rifle is so great that the first breach in the enemy's lines can rarely be made except by means of a night attack; for it is only under the cover of night that the first tactical success can be gained without disproportionate loss of life. This success can be subsequently confirmed and extended even more easily by day. Night operations are insufficiently dealt with in the regulation-a defect which should be remedied without delay.

4. In connection with night attacks, there is something to be said on the employment of hand grenades. It is desirable that hand grenades should be prepared for action, not by turning a cylinder, but by pulling out a safety pin, this being a more practical method, and safer in the dark. The hand grenades used by us in the later stages of the war were made ready of action by turning a ring. They proved, however, most dangerous, and were the cause of many serious accidents, especially among the men of the 17th East Siberian Rifle Regiment. Instructions as to the use of hand grenades should certainly be included in the field service regulations.

5. The ballistic qualities of the modern gun have determined the place which the artillery should occupy in the fighting disposition of a force. Guns will no longer be massed in long, conspicuous lines. The tendency of living targets to conceal their movements and the careful screening of all dispositions on the field of battle, together with the increased powers of the gun itself, have settled the form which artillery fire should take. Formerly destruction of the enemy's guns was the sole object of the artillery duel; now it is sought to paralyze them by being the first to open first.

Batteries now come into action in concealed positions and employ an extensive system of observation stations, in order to achieve the following results, viz., --

a. To bring to bear quickly on living targets.
b. To anticipate the enemy in opening fire.
c. To enable fire to be concentrated on any desired target.

6. Practical experience has shown that artillery can render great assistance in operations by night.

7. The conditions of modern warfare have greatly extended the limits of the field of battle, and the increased power of firearms necessitates greater care in the matter of concealment. The conduct of a battle has thus become extremely difficult. The commander cannot survey the whole field of battle with his own eyes, and must therefore be guided by reports; but as the latter are frequently delayed in transmission, the state of the fight at any given moment is often quite different to what the commander imagines it to be. It is plain, therefore, that under modern conditions the commander cannot exercise direct control over the battle; hence the necessity for allowing greater latitude to commanders of units, from the company commanders upwards, in the exercise of initiative. But to avoid a misuse of initiative and to insure its being exercised I conformity to the general plan of the commander, it is necessary that all officers should be educated in the art of war on the broadest possible lines, and that the instructions of the rank and file, should be thoroughly practical.


Hidden approaches, enabling the enemy to advance without loss, difficulty of maintaining communication, both laterally and from front to rear, and impossibility of complete co-operation between all arms, these are the main points in which mountain warfare resembles night fighting, whilst the facilities for turning and enveloping movements give the attackers a pronounced advantage over the defenders. Owning to the possibility of advancing under cover and to the existence of much dead ground affording complete protection to the reserves, there is seldom any need for the attackers to adopt extended formations. On the defensive, on the other hand, it is very difficult to find a position with s suitable field of fire, and one has often to be satisfied with ranges within a the limits of a fixed sight. These conditions enable the attackers to approach in close formation to within effective rifle ranges with impunity.

The difficulty of maintaining communication between units during the advance will render it necessary in future to allow greater independence to tactical units. Individual initiative, as a means towards the attainment of success, is nowhere more important than on hilly ground, where even small groups of riflemen can often render the greatest assistance by making intelligent use of their fire. Hilly ground favors the attacking force in affording opportunities for carrying out turning and enveloping movements. A small force (even one or two companies), supported by machineguns, would produce a crushing effect upon the defenders if launched unobserved against one of their flanks. There were occasions (in August 1904 with the Eastern Detachment) when the mere threat of a flank attack caused the defenders to evacuate their position.

All the conditions mentioned above as being favorable to the attack in hill fighting are correspondingly disadvantageous to the defense. The broken ground, on and in front of the position occupied, must be examined from the attacker's point of view, a much more difficult task than on open ground, and one which needs experience and a thorough knowledge of requirements on the part of the commander; the arrangement of the details of the plan of defense depends upon the number of possible hostile combinations; the observation of the flanks, and of hidden approaches leading towards the position, demand not only particular care but also a dispersion of forces; the difficulty of maintaining communications laterally and from front to rear, and the separation of different sections of the defense by natural obstacles, precluded the possibility of mutual support by fire, and necessitate independent action on the part of units; the difficulty of handling the reserve, and the necessity in particularly hilly localities of splitting it up, prevent the commander from conducting the battle personally.

It follows, therefore, that defensive operations in a hilly country should only be resorted to in extreme cases, with a view to delaying the enemy, and that they should be regarded as temporary expedient to pave the way for a more favorable opportunity. However alluring slopes inaccessible from the front may be, they should never be made a pretext for adopting a purely passive defense; active operations should be undertaken at the earliest opportunity.

It must be remembered that there is no such thing as a defensive position on an absolutely inaccessible height; even if it is inaccessible fro other sides, it will always be accessible from the side by which the defenders themselves climbed up.

The most dangerous operation in hill fighting is a retreat, and for the following reasons, viz. :--

1. Units withdrawing from positions will receive only a limited amount of occasional mutual support, or else none at all.
2. There will be no possibility of maintaining proper communication between units hard pressed by the enemy.
3. As the other arms (cavalry and artillery) cannot co-operate in the same manner as on level ground, the whole brunt of the fighting will fall upon the infantry.
4. In the event of a protracted defense ending in a retreat, the attackers will undoubtedly reap the advantages conferred by turning and enveloping movements [20], and the retiring infantry will have to withdrawal under effective rifle and machinegun fire, directed upon them from neighboring heights.

It will be seen, therefore, that in hill fighting the defense may easily prove disastrous. To make my meaning clearer, I will now deal separately with the action of infantry and artillery in hill fighting, having special regard to offensive and defensive operations by day and by night.

The abundance of cover in a hilly country, as has already been said, renders it unnecessary to attack in extended formations. By utilizing covered approaches, the attackers are able to keep their reserves in formed bodies, and in close formation up to within a short distance of the enemy. The same cover prevents, of course, the defenders from using long range rifle fire, with the result that the actual fighting is of short duration. Having reconnoitered the enemy's position and selected the point of attack, the attackers advance, covering their front with fire lines (e.g. one section from a company). The distance at which such lines will have to be formed depends upon the nature of the hills; the steeper the nearer will it be possible to approach the enemy without deploying. Open ridges, valleys, or passes should be crossed by men in small groups, or even singly. As soon as the attackers have approached near enough to the enemy to run the risk of serious losses fro rifle fire, they should thicken their firing lines to the fullest possible extent. A frontal attack in hilly country presents insuperable difficulties, and entails enormous losses. Every commander is, therefore, morally bound to devise a suitable plan of attack, and to take all measures in his power to minimize losses.

A frontal attack up a steep slope in face of an enemy is seldom successful; it is better to make a demonstration only in front, and to aim the decisive blow somewhere at the enemy's flank; but it is necessary that the demonstration should be energetic, and sufficiently dangerous to the enemy by reason of its direction. In this connection a correct appreciation of the enemy's position is important. A feeble demonstration will fail to draw the enemy's attention, and may thus only weaken the main attack. During the advance it is particularly necessary that the companies in the fighting line should support each other by an intelligent use of fire; the smallest chance of enfilading the enemy should be turned to advantage even if such action involves the neglect of the targets lying immediately in front. Small groups may prove most useful by working around to within effective rifle range of the enemy's flanks, and this is not a difficult operation, provided the men are properly trained. By running and creeping forward singly, the men composing these groups can reach suitable positions, and one of two such parties will accomplish more than a whole company. The rapidity of fire of the rifle makes it difficult for the enemy to estimate their strength, and the defenders will often be so much occupied with what is taking place in front that the groups will entirely escape observation. Generally speaking, a characteristic feature of hill fighting is the important results which may be attained by the persistent and independent efforts of small units, such as even sub-sections. Such action shakes the enemy's nerves, leads him to disperse his fire, and distracts his attention, thereby facilitating the task of the troops told off for turning or enveloping movements. The advantages on the side of the defenders in hill fighting are commanding positions, and complete cover for the sectional reserves, which can thus be kept close to the fighting line.

The chief care of the attackers should, therefore, be to neutralize these topographical advantages, and to engage the enemy's nearest reserve as soon as possible. The latter consideration is of great importance in hill fighting as an aid to clearing up the situation. After a careful study of the ground, the attainment of these objects should be sought by detaching sections, or even whole companies, to occupy such points as crests and ridges, from which it would be possible to enfilade the enemy's nearest reserves, and to support the main attack, if necessary, by using the ground to the best advantage (i.e., by working along ridges, etc.). The occupation of such points cannot fail to be useful, as it will force the enemy's nearest reserves to keep on the move, especially if a cross-fire can be brought to bear upon these reserves from the points in question.

By making a demonstration of this kind, these companies will, if the ground is favorable, be able to draw off a portion of the defender's forces, and will thus lighten the task of the main attack. Machineguns will be extremely useful at such points.

Hilly ground looks quite different by night. Distances appear shorter, slopes steeper, and orientation is very difficult. When, therefore, a night attack has been decided upon, the ground should be studied most carefully. The difficult of orientation, and of directing night fighting in the hills, makes it risky to attempt an elaborate combined attack, and limits the force which can be employed. I presume that it would be impossible to detail a larger force than a brigade; and this force should be quite sufficient, because the principle object of a night attack in hilly country merely to seize some important tactical point. Further success must be deferred till dawn, by which time the point already seized should have been fortified. The enemy will doubtless try to regain at dawn the position which he has lost, but machineguns and entrenchments should suffice to frustrate his counter-attack. The attack should be renewed on the following night, so that the troops are thus gradually pushed forward towards the enemy's main position. This method was adopted with excellent results by the Japanese in the late war, their success being due to the fact that fire, the principle factor in the defense, had little effect at night, especially in hilly country. The general character of a night attack has been already described by me under the head of "infantry in the attack by night', and I will, therefore, now merely emphasize the following points, viz. :--

1. The last reinforcement of the firing lines should be carried out as close as possible to the enemy.
2. The utmost use should be made of demonstration by fire.
3. Communication should be maintained by means of lamp signaling.

The method practiced by us of signaling with lamps by adapting the semaphore symbols (one lantern being carried on the chest and one in each hand), was of little use. The signaler is usually obliged to take up his position on a height and, even if the side of the lantern nearest the enemy is darkened, the light will fall on the slope facing the enemy, who will thus be able to locate the signal station. Transmission of messages by this method is, moreover, slow, and mistake are apt to be made. It will be quite sufficient if every commanding officer know where his unit is. This might be ensured if each battalion in a regiment were provided with lanterns at the rate of one per company, of a distinctive color; for example, re in the 1st battalion, blue in the 2nd, white in the 3rd, and green in the 4th. The signalers would momentarily flash these lights from time to time, thus enabling the commander of a battalion (a big unit in night fighting) to locate his companies with accuracy. In transmitting orders, too, a massager will always be able to find the company by watching the flashes.

A frontal attack in a hilly country as has been said, presents insuperable difficulties, and is attended with enormous losses. The success of the attack hinges principally upon successful action on the flanks, i.e., turning and enveloping movements. Hence it follows that, when taking up a position, the defender should pay the moist careful attention to their flanks, and protect them from direct attack. On level ground the fight develops gradually, and the enemy's flanking movements may be detected in good time, and can always be met by the local reserves. The conditions are quite different in hill fighting, where the enemy's success reveals itself only at the last moment, when it is often too late to bring the local reserves into action or when there is only time enough for them to attack straight to their front. The difficulty of maintaining communication and of handling the reserves hampers the defenders considerably, and necessitates posted the local reserves as near as possible to the fighting line. I have already indicated the advantages to be gained by occupying points, such as ridges and heights, from which it is possible to paralyze to some extent the action of the nearest reserves by firing on them. This method, which was confirmed by the experience of the late war, will be adopted in future, and it is, therefore, necessary, when selecting a position for the local reserves to see that it is not exposed to the possibilities of a cross or enfilade fire. In defensive fighting in a hilly country it is most difficult to reinforce the fighting line from the rear, so that the local reserves should be posted in positions from which they can render immediate support by fire. They should, therefore, be posted within 400 to 600 paces of the fighting line. When taking up a position, the companies in the fighting line should be particularly careful to strengthen the front of their sections so as to secure them against a direct attack. Trenches on ground which is easily accessible to the attackers should be traced with a view to giving a cross fire, but company commanders should be careful to ensure that such trenches are themselves not liable to be enfiladed by the enemy's fire. It is often useful to provide a few additional short trenches some 20 paces or more in front of then main position, capable of holding not more than a section each, and so designed as to enable their defenders to enfilade the enemy's firing lines at the critical moment. These trenches should be so emplaced that the enemy will not be able to discover them until the last moment, when the astonishment produced by their sudden revelation may throw the enemy into confusion, and thus delay him under heavy rifle and machinegun fire.

These supplementary trenches should have natural or artificial ways of communication connecting then with the main position, from which it should also be possible to enfilade them.

Speaking generally the fundamental principles governing the construction, for defensive purposes, of trenches in hilly country are that there should be no dead ground, and that all parts of the defense should be able to support each other mutually by fire. These considerations demanded a comprehensive survey of the positions from the point of view of the attack.

The flanks of the position should be protected by closed works against direct attack.

The battalion reserves may be employed either in strengthening the companies in the fighting line where necessary, or acting independently at the decisive moment. In either case the position of the battalion reserve should be as close as possible to the fighting line, never more than 100 to 200 paces from it. If a ridge or height, in rear of the position, offers facilities for supporting the fighting line by fire, such a point must be occupied. If the companies in the fighting line are driven back, the battalion reserve covers their retreat with its fire, and takes the place of the fighting line until the latter is reformed. As soon as information of the enemy's advance is received, all troops should take up their positions. More detailed information such as the strength and composition of the hostile forces, and the direction of their advance, is usually received later, and is sent direct to the higher commanders (i.e., commanding officers of regiments and their superiors) for the outposts-which have special instructions to withdraw in a certain direction-and from the mounted picquets thrown out to the front. The consequence is that commanders of battalions and companies who are sometimes forced by circumstances to act on their own initiative, are absolutely ignorant of the strength of the nearest hostile forces. Such ignorance regarding the enemy is apt to have a dispiriting effect upon both officers and men. Moreover, in a hilly country, where a hostile force may suddenly make its appearance on high ground in front of the position, information regarding the enemy's movements is of special value to company and battalion commanders. I would, therefore, suggest that the companies in the firing line should send forward scouts [21] to the nearest heights as soon as information of the enemy's advance is received. These scouts should work at an interval of some hundred paces and, if sent out early in the day, by making use of covered approaches, they should reach their ground without danger of coming under fire of their side. If there is a clear field of fire extending over 1,000 paces or so, it will be unnecessary too send out these scouts.

In defensive operations in a hilly country at night, reliable scouts posted in front of the position are exceedingly useful. They should be sent out a comparatively short distance only-generally some 200 to 300 paces in front of the line of obstacles. This will suffice to enable them to detect the enemy's advance in time, and to cause him, in all probability, to open fire prematurely. The scouts should retire in a pre-arranged direction, in order to avoid masking the fire of their comrades.

As soon as the enemy's attack thoroughly discloses itself, fire should be directed at the obstacles, and hand grenades should be freely used.

In hill fighting the factors, which determine the actions of the artillery and the kind of fire to be used, are the same as on open ground, viz., the necessity for paralyzing the enemy's guns, and overwhelming his living targets with rapid fire. The facilities for coming into action from concealed positions are greater in hilly country than elsewhere, but while the hills favor artillery in this respect, on the other hand they limit its field of fire. As direct laying can seldom be resorted to in hill fighting, and as it is difficult to observe the effect of fire, the artillery should employ as extensive system of observation posts.

In offensive fighting the task of the artillery is more multifarious than in open country, for, in addition to engaging the enemy's artillery and living targets, it may be called upon to deny to the defenders certain important points, such as heights, ridges, &c., the possession of which would facilitate the progress of the attack. A continuous fire should be directed at such points until information is received to the effect that they have been secured by the infantry. Cross fire should be brought to bear on the enemy's lines, to effect which the artillery should be distributed over the whole length of the front taken up by the attackers. Direct fire will have little effect, as the amount of dead ground, and the numerous small folds, will afford ample cover to the enemy's reserves.

Oblique fire, approaching as nearly as possible, to enfilade fire, will be the most useful. Owning to the difficulty of locating reserves and other targets on hilly ground, it is unwise to open fire from all the guns simultaneously. It is better to save ammunition by telling off certain batteries to prepare the way for the assault; these batteries should remain silent until the infantry approaches the point selected for the assault, when they should open the heaviest possible fire on that point.

A change of position with the object of getting closer to the enemy is very useful in hilly country, especially with the view of securing a better field of fire. It is particularly important that batteries operating against the defenders' flanks, should be boldly handled; by getting into a position whence they can enfilade the position at decisive ranges, they will be able to overwhelm the enemy's reserves at the artillery on open ground.

A change of position in hilly country by a mountain battery with pack equipment is not such a difficult operation as with ordinary field artillery ion open ground.

By talking cover behind ridges a mountain battery can easily change its position unobserved, and will suffer no losses during the movement. The defenders will, of course, keep a sharp lookout for the smallest signs of a move on the part of their opponents, so that, if the ground does not favor a change of position unobserved by the enemy, it is better to move at night. The new positions for the batteries may be selected during the day, and sketches [22] of them should be prepared. In the evening a few men may be sent forward to mark them out.

Bold handling of batteries is more feasible in hilly, than on open ground. Sometimes, even in daylight, some signs of disorder, such as hurried movements of reserves, shifting of guns, etc., may be observed on the enemy's position, indicating that something is amiss. At such times the attacker's batteries even in daylight may push forward boldly to new positions, or batteries from the reserve may be brought closer to the enemy with little risk. The fact that the enemy has begun to shift his guns shows that his observation is defective, and there will therefore be no great danger of suffering losses from his fire. The new positions of the batteries, being nearer to the enemy, may enable them to shoot down the latter's gun detachments and prevent his infantry from removing the guns. This is what the Japanese did, and we, in consequence, lost our guns.

At night the fire of the attacking artillery may render valuable assistance to the infantry. If the ranges and bearings to various points in the enemy's position are ascertained by day, the batteries will be able to fire at night with success. The defender's artillery will doubtless try to support its own infantry with its fire, in which case a heavy fire directed against it will paralyze its action, without, however, endangering the attacking infantry. It is, moreover, sometimes necessary to prevent the defender's reserves from occupying certain points which might assist them in repelling the attack; in this case, an energetic shrapnel fire directed at such points will often save one's own infantry from unnecessary losses.

The defender's artillery should certainly be concealed from the enemy's view, and the batteries should be dispersed.

A study of one's own position from the attacker's point of view may assist one in dispersing the artillery. Batteries in the defense should be posted in such positions that they can bring a cross fire to bear upon all the possible positions for the hostile artillery. If it is contemplated that it will be necessary to change the position of the guns, with the object if firing upon the nearest points which the attackers might find conveniently seize, such as new positions should be fortified beforehand, and measures should be taken to ensure observation from them being carried out at the critical moment without loss of time. Further details regarding the employment of fire by artillery in the defense, changes of position for a short distance by hand under cover, and co-operation with infantry both day and night, will be found under the heading of "Artillery," [23] and the principles there mentioned are equally applicable to mountain warfare. I will merely add that it would be a distinct advantage if the guns were provided shields, in view of the danger to which they are exposed from rifle fire at short ranges.

1. Translated from the Voiennyi Sbórnik, communicated by the General War Office, War Office, 1907. (Trans) [Captain Degtyarev likely served in the IV Siberian Army Corps, but I have not been able to identify his assigned unit.]

2. This is the 1st (Strietensk) Siberian Infantry Regiment, 1st Siberian Infantry Division, II Siberian Army Corps.

3. This was during the attack of the Japanese 23rd Infantry Brigade, 12th Infantry Division.

4. These are the 139th (Morshansk) and 140th (Zaraisk) Infantry Regiments, 35th Infantry Division, XVII Army Corps.

5. The Russians attacked the 33rd Infantry Regiment of the Japanese 3rd Infantry Division.

6. This is the 9th (Tobolsk) Siberian Infantry Regiment, 3rd Siberian Infantry Division, IVSiberian Army Corps.

7. This regiment is from the 5th East Siberian Rifle Division, II Siberian Army Corps.

8. Shen-tan-pu is another name for San-de-pu. The Russian unsuccessfully attacked this village over a period of four days in January 1905 (25-29 Jan).

9. I have not been able to identify this officer.

10. I was unable to identify this action.

11. In reserve column each company is in column of section: the 1st and 2nd companies are abreast of each other in the 1st line, and the 3rd and 4th companies are similarly placed in rear of them at close intervals and distance. (Trans)

12. This refers to the siege of Kars during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78). Kars was an Ottoman fortress city in the Caucasus that was captured by storm by the Russian Army on 18 November 1877.

13. In the "reserve column" each company is in column of sections; the 1st and 2nd companies are abreast of each other in the 1st Line, and the 3rd and 4th companies are similarly placed in rear of them at close intervals and distance. (Trans) [This note was repeated from footnote 6 in the original as the article was broken into three parts for publication]

14. This was during the Battle of San-de-pu.

15. These are a series of circular pits, arranged in staggered lines, each having a sharpened stake embedded in the bottom f the pit, point upwards.

16. Actually this refers to the discussion found in the following paragraph.

17. On an average from 15 to 18 shots may be fired in a minute; but on occasions the fire was so rapid that the wooden parts of the rifle were charred. (Author)

18. This is likely Fan-scheng, a village between the Fan Ho and Tieh-ling. The 5th East Siberian Rifle Division defended this area from 12 to 14 March.

19. This is the reference for footnote 22.

20. Other wise there would be no justification for leaving the position since a frontal attack alone is seldom successful in hilly country. (Author)

21. One scout from every two companies should be sufficient. (Author)

22. The use of these has already been discussed on p. 333 [This refers to the original article's page number. See footnote 19.]

23. Para. (10), p 331, et seq. (Author)