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La Cavalerie Russe pendant la Guerre Russo-Japonaise
Translated from the French 'Journal des Sciences Militaires' August,
Annotated & Footnoted by Jeffrey Leser, December 2002
The Russian Cavalry during the Russo-Japanese War
When the Russo-Japanese War broke out everybody was convinced that the numerous Cossack cavalry at Russia's disposal would cover themselves with laurels, not, of course, on the field of battle, but in the very extensive domain of exploration and reconnaissance.
It was also thought that the commander of the Russian forces would frequently send his Cossack troops upon the enemy's rear to cut his lines of communications, to capture his trains and to harass him without ceasing. Finally, it was hoped that during the tactical operations the Russian cavalry would be able to properly inform the staff concerning the actions of the enemy, and of his turning movements especially.
We must remember that the Russian cavalry has actually made several raids on the rears of the Japanese armies but that they have not given satisfactory results.
As for the service of reconnaissance during battle, it was not what it should have been.
We must confess that our reliance on the successors of Ataman Platoff's  famous Cossacks had been based on other things.
It is true that in this campaign the cavalry has often had to operate in unfavorable regions and this may explain in part why it has been thrown so much in the shade. The Russian officers especially have been the first to acknowledge it; one of them, Captain Engelhardt, of the Nerchinski Cossack Regiment, delivered a lecture before the 'Societe Adepts des Sciences Militaires' April 24, 1905, from which we quote the following extracts:
"In general, our cavalry has had to operate over terrain which were unfavorable to it. In the mountains it encountered rocks and torrents that often could not be crossed by fording. On the plains there were other difficulties: the fields were quagmires and the roads were abominable. Finally, we lacked good maps. Such were the difficult conditions under which our cavalry had to act, conditions which have a very great influence on the operations of the army. Our cavalry could only march very slowly; in a single march of about 20 versts (a verst is 1066 meters) one troop had to ford thirteen streams.
Small cavalry bodies could ordinarily cover short distances of 500 to 1,500 meters at a trot. As for large detachments, they were obliged to march almost exclusively at a walk.
In reconnaissance, the cavalry was often obliged to dismount and walk for fear of ambuscades and also because the terrain was badly cut up. When the cavalry was in route column it had to send its scouts out on foot. The result was that in a mountainous country this arm was deprived of its principle quality, speed, for it could march only two or three versts an hour. The information gained by the cavalry would be delivered late at the destination and would often be of no value when the commanding officer would receive it. Furthermore, the power of modern musketry fire rendered the role of our cavalry very difficult.
Generally speaking, our cavalrymen have been able to live on the country, but our horses, on the contrary, have been poorly fed.
At the commencement of the war we had, in all, 6 squadrons and 36 sotnias  doing duty of the first class . The cavalry received reinforcements at the beginning of March and at the close of the autumn (207 sotnias and squadrons); of these the Cossacks made up 63% (the remainder, that is to say 37% of the cavalry was composed of dragoons--fifteen squadrons--and mounted units of the Frontier Guard corps ). The Cossacks of the second class are badly instructed. The Transbaikal Cossacks, in particular, are badly prepared for war; they are brave, intelligent and hardy; but they know nothing of reconnoitering patrols and have not the least idea of outpost duties, they saddle their horses badly
The horse artillery attached to the cavalry has greatly hindered the marching of that arm in mountainous countries; in defiles it becomes necessary for the men to draw the cannon. The result was that there were cases when it took 17 hours to travel 50 versts."
More than once, the cavalry was obliged to relinquish its artillery, and naturally the absence of its guns had an unfavorable repercussion on the results of the reconnaissance
The best auxiliaries that an army commander can obtain for purposes of information are spies, patrols and strong reconnaissances. Spies did not give us good service; they furnished but little information that did not have to be verified. Long distance reconnaissance was frequent enough, but touch with the army was also frequently lost. The cavalrymen were frequently obliged to march on foot when traversing the enemy's outposts or skirting around them. Three series of reconnaissance patrols managed to return their horses and then continue their march on foot; the majority of them did not return. The information obtained by patrols sent on long distance reconnaissances would be obtained by the staff only in about two weeks and was consequently not of the least value.
Only the patrols sent out for short distances furnished the staff with valuable information."
Captain Engelhardt also stated that the end of 1904 the commanding general had, in round numbers, 30,000 cavalrymen at his disposal.
We have hinted above that the service of reconnaissance was not what it should have been. But it is also possible that the staff was not able to appreciate the service rendered by the cavalry. In fact, we read in a letter written by an officer and dated at Harbin the 15th of April, 1905: "The mistake of the Russian generals has been in their not utilizing the information furnished by their cavalry; I will give an example of it;
"At Mukden I was near an old general; suddenly a young second lieutenant arrived from a reconnaissance. He reported that four Japanese regiments were marching around the right flank. The general, instead of taking the necessary action, immediately got red I the face from anger and shouted at the officer: "My friend, the fear of danger has made you lose your head; go and be more careful.
A few days afterwards, another officer rode up at full speed and said: "Sir, six Japanese regiments are enveloping our right flank." The old chief made another strong reply. But he soon had to yield to evidence; an entire Japanese army was outflanking the Russian right wing "
In another part of his letter the same officer highly praised the units of the Frontier Guard Corps. He said in regard to them:
"One knows how important to the Russians is the Trans-Siberian Railway which carries them provisions and reinforcements; let it be cut and all would be lost. The Japanese have well understood this; they have also made very effort to destroy the railway by organizing bands of Khounkhouses . However, with the exception of some slight damage, the efforts of the Japanese have remained unfruitful. To whom is due the honor for these results! To the Frontier Guards. Day and night, during every hour and minute, every kilometer of this railway line has been obstinately defend by the brave and gallant soldiers wearing the green uniforms of the Frontier Guards. These soldiers are the terror of the Japanese with whom the order is: "Make no prisoners of green uniforms; kill them without mercy!
The Frontier Guard are not satisfied with protecting the railway in Manchuria and up into Siberia; these are they who, after every battle, are the last to leave the place of combat and who cover the retreat of the army : they defend the railroad until the last minute, for that is the order of their intelligent leader, General Tchitchagoff.
At Mukden, the frontier guard preserved a remarkable attitude in the midst of the general route; as always, they were the last to leave the place."
The general nature of the theater of war determined the commanding general, in May, 1904, to create a body of mounted scouts consisting of two squadrons . This body, which was made up of the best officers and soldiers of the Manchurian cavalry, was placed under the command of Captain Prozdovskii (39th Regiment of Dragoons of Narva)  and was particularly charged with strategic exploration. Each squadron consisted of five officers and from 150 to 180 men. All the cavalry regiments were represented in this body: the Dragoons and the Don, the Ural, the Orenburg, the Siberian, the Transbaikal, the Amur, and the Ussuri Cossacks. The men who were assigned to it were all audacious, intelligent and brave. As for the officers, the most of them belonged to the cavalry regiments of the Guard; captain Stenbok-Fermor (Hussars of the Guard), the commander of the 1st Squadron, had taken part in an expedition to Abyssinia in 1902 at his own expense; Lieutenant Radziville had taken part in the Anglo-Boer War as a volunteer; Captain Count Velepoloskii, the commander of the 2nd Squadron, had accompanied Captain Stenbok-Fermor to Abyssinia; Lieutenant Shatiloff (Cossacks of the Guard) had left the Staff Academy to take part in the campaign; Second Captain Grevs (Hussars of the Guard), had accompanied Grand Duke Cyrille Vladimrovitch during his travels in the Far East. One sees that the body of mounted scouts was composed of choice elements.
During battle the scouts were at the disposal of the commanding general who made use of them to obtain information of the different events in the struggle; during the periods of lull, the scouts made strategic exploration on the rear and the flanks of the Japanese. The colors of the scouts were those which had been offered to General Kuropatkin by the city of Moscow.
During the battle of Sha-Ho, General Kuropatkin ordered Captain Drozdovskii to proceed to a company of infantry which occupied an important position, vigorously cannonaded by the Japanese, and order its commander to hold the place at all cost. Captain Drozdovskii went accompanied by Captain Stenbok-Fermor and a small group of cavalrymen. Having arrived at the position, Captain Drozdovskii found the company already retreating; he informed them that they would be reinforced and that the commanding general enjoined them to hold the position at any cost. The company commander took no notice of the order and continued his movement in retreat.
Very well, said Drozdovskii to him, I am going to remain on this position; I am going to pasture my horses here, and I will report to the general that I have been able to grass my horses upon a position that you had abandoned under the pretext that it was impossible to hold on account of the enemy's fire. The company commander immediately caused his company to return and occupy the position again.
During the same battle, a Russian battery riddled the crest of an eminence upon which no enemy could be seen. Several cavalrymen of the scout corps received orders to go see if this height was occupied by the enemy. In ten minutes they returned and reported that it was not occupied but that strong columns of the enemy were assembling in the rear of it. The battery mentioned immediately began firing over the heights and delivered an effective fire on those columns.
By these two examples we see what kind of service the body of scouts rendered during the battle.
In the month of June, 1905, Captain Krasnoff , military correspondent for the Russian Invalid, wrote this article which gives us some information on the employment of Russian cavalry during the war:
"One hears it often asked: What has our cavalry done? Where was it during the war? Why do we not hear something said about it? Why is it that up to the present it has nowhere played a decisive role?
There are people who go so far to say that the role of the cavalry is finished, that it has had its day and that little by little it must be replaced by mounted infantry.
Is that right? Let us first see if we had enough cavalry to throw into these rather hazardous undertakings on the enemy's rear.
Normally one must have a division of cavalry with a group of horse artillery to every two divisions of infantry . Such is the proportion of cavalry in all our armies of European Russia. Under these conditions a corps commander has sufficient cavalry to operate along its front and even to charge it with independent missions. At the present time we do not have in Manchuria a cavalry reserve that can be employed in independent missions; the army corps have none at all, and the cavalry divisions have been broken up to insure their service. Our adversary possess still fewer squadrons than we; we have three times more cavalry than he, and this is why we should withdrawal from one to two cavalry regiments from every corps to form four detachments of independent cavalry: that of General Lioubaine (formerly commanded by General Rennenkampf), on our left flank; that of General Baumgarten (General Samsonoff's old command), in the center; that of General Mitshenko, an independent command; and finally, that of General Grekoff (of Vladimir) which is on our right flank. The effective strength of these commands has varied a great deal during the different phases of the command.
Where there is no decisive offensive, no pursuit, no charges to be made against strong bodies of infantry, no carefully planned out raids, the service in the cavalry is "slow" and passes unnoticed.
His is the kind of service to which the Cossacks from the Tranbaikal, the Orenburg, the Ural, and the Don were tied down during the first period of the war; they were limited to the service of security and reconnaissance. Our Cossack troops were consequently subjected to no fewer losses than the infantry but those losses passed unseen because they occurred daily and only a very few every day.
While the infantry would lose a great many men at a single stroke, the Cossacks would lose one or two men every day. And there were many such days for the Cossacks 
Ambuscaded by day and night, frequently going whole weeks without being relieved, constantly patrolling, the Cossacks exhausted their strength and their nerves, wore out their horses and but rarely received any praise. The public was accustomed to read news of this kind: 'A certain patrol has had a skirmish at such a place; it repulsed the Japanese at such a village; but, afterwards, it had to fall back before the Japanese infantry." Due to the news of this kind, the public found it tiresome in the end and has given it no further attention.
Where then was our cavalry?" asks the public. It was engaged in the slow and unnoticed service of security and exploration."
Several times, imposing masses of Russian cavalry would execute raids on the enemy's rear. The three most important of these raids were those carried out by General Mitshenko: in Korea, during the months of February and March 1904; upon Yin-Kou in January, 1905; and on the Mongolian side in May, 1905. These raids yielded no appreciable results.
The raid into Korea was undertaken with three regiments of the Transbaikal Cossacks ; only one third of their effective strength was composed of young men, and the horses, which had lacked forage, were thin. The column marched, without maps, across a new and almost unknown region, and along a single road. General Mitshenko wished to press as far forward as Seoul-which would have been possible at that time, that is, in the middle of February-but, at 60 versts from that city they received the order to not uselessly expose the only cavalry at disposal at the time, and they returned to the Yalu. When Mitshenko had returned, he received new orders to advance to the front and he proceeded by the same route as far as the Tchin-Tchan-han River. He was able to go no further; the Japanese infantry and artillery were advancing already, and arranging his small forces, he returned toward the north in order not to be cut off by the Yalu which could no longer be crossed on the ice.
After this raid in Korea, the Cossacks were constantly employed either on small reconnaissances or to cover the retreat of army by occupying intrenchments, which they would defend with their carbines.
The Yin-Kou raid did not permit the Russian cavalry to gather the laurels for which they had hoped. Ordinarily, the object and the itinerary of raids of this kind are kept secret; when the must take place on an enemy's rears, they are executed in an unexpected manner and constitute the first or the last act in a general battle. As the Russian army was talking about the Yin-Kou raid from the month of September, the Japanese ought to have certainly been advised of it.
Consequently, they had all the villages on the route from Mukden to Yin-Kou lightly but energetically garrisoned. The troops talking part in this raid were composed of Cossacks from the Trans-Baikal, Orenburg, Ural, Siberia, and the Don, as well as dragoons . Unfortunately, this mass of cavalry was weighted down by a heavy train.
Instead of a fan shaped, as forgers, this cavalry force was divided into three massive columns that marched slowly, making no more than 40 versts a day, every halt being a grand halt to await the arrival of the convoy, etc. Having arrived within sight of the railway station at Yin-Kou, they dismounted to make the attack but were not successful.
Briefly, the Russian cavalry was employed in operations that overtaxed its strength instead of in operations demanding lightness and mobility. In spite of it all, the Cossacks alarmed the Japanese upon their rear and burned several of their trains.
During the raid on Yin-Kou, some of the Caucasian Cossack troops bravely captured, with their side arms, several Chinese villages occupied by the Japanese. Later, near Gountchjouline, at the battle of San-de-pu, January 26, 1905, during the Japanese attack, the Don and the Caucasian Cossacks and the mounted troops of the Frontier Guards charged the cavalry and infantry troops of the enemy with saber and lance.
Finally, the 17th of May, 1905, the Mixed Caucasian [Cossack] Division and the Transbaikal Cossacks carried away several Japanese machine guns and captured an entire company .
If the Russian cavalry remained inactive during the battle of Mukden, it was because they not been assembled with the view to an autonomous mission, and also because its glorious leader, General Mitshenko, who had not recovered from the wound which he had received at Sandepou, could not ride his horse "
Independently of the Cossacks, Dragoons, and Frontier Guards, the Russian staff has likewise employed mounted infantry additional exploration duty in front of the advance guard.
Role of the Russian cavalry from the commencement of the campaign until the fight at Turentchen (May 1, 1904).
The Russian cavalry came into serious contact with the Japanese for the first time on 23rd of March, 1904, in the neighborhood of Paktchin, situated in the northern part of Korea about 30 kilometers west of An-Ju. General Mitshenko, commander of the Transbaikal Cossack Brigade (three regiments of six sotnias each) had, in fact, crossed the Korean frontier about the 20th of February with two regiments (12 sotnias) and a battery of horse artillery of six pieces to march on Ping-Yang through An-Ju. The third regiment of this brigade had been sent to the Kwang-tung. General Mitshenko retired before the advanced guards of Kuroki's army and withdrew towards the west.
On the 28th of March, this small body of Russian cavalry had an engagement with the Japanese at Chung-ju, situated about 40 kilometers west of An-Ju. Mitshenko had five troops successively dismount and take position about 500 meters from Chung-ju and open fire upon this locality which was occupied by a few Japanese dragoons. After a fight which lasted one and a half hours, General Mitshenko having been informed that a battalion of the enemy was coming to the assistance of the Japanese cavalrymen, gave the order to retreat. There were very few losses on either side.
On April 4th the heads of the Japanese advance guards arrived at the Yalu in the shelter of which Kuroki's army deployed. This latter army had at its front a Russian covering detachment consisting of about 1,100 men under General Zasoulitch, as well as Mitshenko's Cossack brigade.
On account of the wooded and mountainous nature of the region the service of security extending along the Russian side of the Yalu was entrusted, not to the Cossacks, but to the covering detachment of mounted infantry, the okhotniki (hunters) , as they were called.
Then the battle of Kieulien-cheng (May 1st) took place in which no part of Mitshenko's brigade took part. This latter was at that time located on the extreme right of General Zasoulitch and overlooked the seacoast. After the passage of the Yalu, Kuroki's army was directed towards the north-west without energetically following up the Russian retreat.
Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff's raid upon the rear of Kuroki's Army (April-May, 1904).
When Kuroki's army had crossed the Yalu and fought the battle at Kieulien-cheng there was a great deal of astonishment upon learning the Russian cavalry was still in Korea and was capturing different places occupied, in some places by Korean, and in others by Japanese troops. What was this body which was operating against the rear of the Japanese army? Where did it come from? It was know later that it was a raiding party commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff of the staff. One of the officers attached to the staff of the Manchurian Army, Captain Pletse, has given us the following account of it:
"The present war has already proved how difficult it is to fight the Japanese. This is because the latter combine the knowledge of modern and technical sciences with fanaticism, obstinacy and artifice. It was consequently necessary that we oppose our adversaries with these same qualities in order to attempt to obtain any advantageous results.
One of the means of striking our enemy, who possesses an astonishing amount of tenacity and energy, was to carry out raids against his trains and communications, raids which always presented great difficulties and many risks. One of the most brilliant of these raids was executed by Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff in Korea.
The principle object of this raid was, in a general way, to reconnoitre the north-eastern part of Korea. In order to effect this result it was necessary to advance on the trains of the Japanese army commanded by General Kuroki, who was concentrating on the Yalu River, to penetrate as far as possible into southern Korea, to reconnoitre the lines of defence chosen and fortified by the enemy and to do him as much harm as possible by attacking his convoys and destroying his provisions.
Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff's detachment was composed only of mounted troops, viz:
The 6th Sotnia of the Ussuri Cossacks; one sotnia of volunteer Caucasian Cossacks ; two groups of mounted infantry, one from His Majesty's 1st East Siberian Rifles and one from the 15th Sharpshooter Regiment ; finally, 50 mounted Khounhouses who were charged exclusively with transmitting information to headquarters; say, in all, 500 cavalrymen.
The train was composed only for pack animals. The detachment, including its commander, had 13 officers, all chosen with the greatest care, with one surgeon, two assistant surgeons and a few hospital attendants.
At the end of the month of March, 1904, the detachment left Mukden, after participating in divine service, en route for Kouanjensian where it remained three days. Having learned that there were no Japanese on the road they were to follow, the raiding party started to ford the Yalu which it crossed without opposition at Vanzygooumyn, and enter Korea.
From there, Second Captain Bobroff, commanding the mounted group of the 15th Sharpshooter Regiment, started with the latter and the Ussuri troops in the direction of Pyanghchang to reconnoitre. The enemy had already passed through Pyanghchang, going towards the Yalu. Bobroff succeeded in capturing 1500 lbs. of rice which he burned."
The same day, the Caucasian sotnia, commanded by Lieutenant Girs, was sent towards Wiwon for the same purpose. Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff's detachment was well received by the Korean population and by the municipality of Tchkhosan which it entered after crossing the Yalu."
The garrison of the town consisted of 100 soldiers who were under the command of a colonel. As the latter and mayor of the town had received them well, Colonel Madritoff offered them a banquet. These two functionaries ate a great deal, drank still more and, the repast at an end, fled the town."
The same night the bivouac of the detachment was attacked by the Korean troops who were received by volleys fired by the main guard. The Korean soldiers fled, throwing away their arms and ammunition. Not content with these perfidous proceedings, the Koreans directed their fire upon several points of the town.
Madritoff, having disarmed the garrison, continued on his way towards Kasngkia. The Korean soldiers and several incendiaries captured by the Cossacks declared that the hostile attitude of the authorities towards the Russians was due to the influence of the Japanese, that the garrison of the northern regions of the country had Japanese officers for instructors and that these garrisons had together about 5,000 Korean volunteers who were prepared to resist the Russian invasion.
It was likewise learned that the Headquarters of the Korean partisans was at Kingkia. In fact, the Caucasian Cossack troops sent to Wiwon were fired upon by Koreans troops in ambush there. The latter were dispersed with great loss. The Cossacks had only one killed and five wounded. Madritoff, astonished at the attitude of the population to whom no harm had been done, hesitated a moment as to the line of conduct that he should follow: on one hand, in order to carry out his mission, it was necessary to push as rapidly as possible to the south: on the other hand, he wished to chastise the Korean as they deserved. He decided to set the latter aside for the time being, to leave their chastisement until his return, and to carry out his principle object. As Pyanghchang was in the zone of Japanese activity, the detachment marched due East, from Chungsung to Kangkia and from there towards Boudjii.
In the meantime, the Japanese had learned that the Russian patrols had made their appearance on their rear. Consequently, Madritoff left the road and struck into the mountains and followed the narrow and almost imperceptible trails in Indian file.
After a long and difficult march, the detachment reached a road that crossed the Cheng-chen-gang River not far from Boudjii, and started south towards the town of Kai-chen. A patrol explored the above mentioned river which was noted as being the second line of defence for the Japanese (the first being the Yalu). This patrol reported that the river mentioned was not definitely prepared for defense at the time and that were no Japanese on its banks.
Kai-chen was no longer occupied by the Japanese but it contained a large amount of supplies for men and horses. These supplies had been collected upon the order of the commander of the Kai-chen district.
The detachment seized all the supplies, distributed part of them among the destitute inhabitants and the remainder was burned or thrown into the river.
Other reconnaissance showed that the Japanese line of communication to the rear was open and undefended, and that all of their troops were directed toward the Yalu.
Evidently a division of Russian cavalry would have been enough to cause much harm and embarrassment to the Japanese.
The inhabitants informed Madritoff that a large battle had been fought on the Yalu (that of Kiulien-cheng) and that more than 2,000 Japanese had been killed. In support of this assertion the inhabitants declared that Koreans had been hired to transport boxes containing the remains of Japanese soldiers who had been killed and that the said boxes had been dispatched to Japan. The inhabitants added that the number of Japanese wounded was at least 6,000."
Profiting by this circumstance that the rear of the Japanese army was absolutely open, Madritoff resolved to advance on their principle line of communications, that of Wi-ju-An-ju-Pyangyang. These towns, as well as Suk-chen, Yong-ben, Pak-chen, Sak-chu, Piongsan and others, were fortified by small forces varying form 200 to 600 soldiers. Some points even had artillery, but never more than two pieces.
The reconnoitering patrols likewise learned that the Japanese would no longer debark their troops in Korea, but at Tatoungoou, Dagouchen and Pi-tsu-wo.
The Korean population continued to show themselves hostile towards the Russians. They would give only vague information concerning the Japanese and made it difficult. if not impossible, to obtain rations for forage. In fact, the inhabitants buried their provisions in the ground, chased their cattle into the mountains or hid them in gorges surrounded by virgin forests at great distances from the roads .
As there were no Japanese at Kai-chen, it was possible to advance still further, and Madritoff resolved to make a reconnaissance in force on the town of An-ju which was one of the points on the enemy's line of communications.
Instead of following the road leading directly from Kai-chen to An-ju, which would have permitted his detachment to be discovered and its line of retreat cut off, Madritoff decided to advance toward the south-east over the mountains through Tak-chen and Kai-chen.
The detachment arrived at Kai-chen on the 9th of May one hour before sundown, and after a rest of four hours they continued their march on An-ju. While enroute they learned that this town had received quite important reinforcements the day before. This caused Madritoff to renounce his first plan of attacking the town at once; he wished to assure himself beforehand that the garrison had really been reinforced.
During the night march the advance guard was formed of Caucasian Cossacks who destroyed the military and state telegraph lines over an extent of six versts. Madritoff had to act with the greatest circumspection because he had received orders not to engage in serious combat, in order that he might not be embarrassed by the wounded. For this reason, when within 5 versts of the town, Madritoff sent Second Captain Bobroff and a mounted infantry detachment ahead to reconnoitre the town when within 5 versts of it.
Bobroff's instructions were to gallop across an exposed strip in sight of the town and occupy a crest 500 paces from the walls and draw the fire of the garrison which, on the unexpected appearance of the Russian troops, would not fail to show its entire strength.
Bobroff carried out the first part of his instructions perfectly; he crossed the exposed strip rapidly without any losses under the lively but badly directed fire of the Japanese, dismounted, occupied the crest and opened fire. From the appearance of the enemy's fire Bobroff concluded too hastily that they were not more than 200 men and his own small detachment could very easily finish them. He brought up all his reserves and said to his men: ' Brothers, you see how badly the enemy are shooting. Make the sign of the cross and follow me.
The whole party, proceeded by its three officers, advanced to the assault, cheering. The Japanese received the charge by a disordered fire, which soon became inefficacious. But when they arrived within about 200 paces from the walls they were received by volleys. The gallant Captain Bobroff was mortally wounded, his two officers were badly wounded and the party had 30 men hors de combat.
The Russians were obliged to stop; they retreated in rear of the crest, lay down and in their turn open fire on the enemy. While the group of mounted infantry attacked on one front the Cossack sotnia was sent to another side, dismounted at 150 meters from the walls of An-ju and also opened fire, getting ready to make a charge in concert with the detachment of mounted infantry. But, having been informed of the failure of the latter, and estimating the strength of the garrison as 500 men, Madritoff decided to beat a retreat.
This senior officer ordered Lieutenant Piounovskii to go take command of the mounted detachment, to bring in their dead and wounded and withdrawal.
Piounovskii sent eight men to bring in the dead and wounded but at the moment they got to them they were almost all killed by the murderous fire of the Japanese. Madritoff then ordered Lieutenant Linevitch (son of General Linevitch) , to take with him a platoon of the mounted infantry detachment of the 1st Rifles , as well as part of the Caucasian Cossack troop, and to take position on the left of another part of the same troop commanded by Lieutenant Girs. Lieutenant Linevitch was ordered to execute a well directed fire and draw the attention of the garrison upon himself.
In fact, the Japanese did reply to his fire and the men of the mounted infantry detachment took advantage of it to approach toward the wounded, but they were almost all struck down themselves.
Ascertaining that every effort made to carry off the wounded would result only in occasioning more losses, Madritoff ordered everybody to hold their position until nightfall when, under the cover of the darkness, they might gain the spot where the dead and wounded lay and carry them off.
Such was the situation at 9.00 A.M.: the detachment therefore had the prospect of lying in position for at least 12 hours.
About 9.30 A.M. a company of Japanese infantry preceded by a cavalry patrol was seen on the other side of the river approaching a bridge. A part of the Ussuri Cossack troop galloped towards the bridge and opened fire on it. Nevertheless, the Japanese rushed forward in a body towards this bridge. The Cossacks fired volleys into them, put them to flight and they did appear again that day. They continued to exchange shots with the An-ju garrison until 3.00 P.M. At this moment the detachment was reinforced by Sub-Lieutenant Eilers who had been sent with a patrol on the Ping-Yang road and had destroyed the telegraph wires for a distance of 12 versts. This officer reported that a column of about 600 Japanese foot soldiers were approaching from a direction of Ping-Yang. In fact, two companies soon appeared, one of which was directed on An-ju while the other advanced on the left flank of Madritoff's detachment. Lieutenant Linevitch, who was on the extreme left flank, had not more than 17 men on the firing line; the situation was becoming critical."
Having made a change of front, Linevitch opened fire on the enemy's company which advanced by successive rushes, and, shortly afterwards Captain Bodiske took position behind him with the mounted detachment of the 1st Rifles. Linevitch was then able to carry away the dead and wounded, and he began to withdrawal.
Bodiske allowed the Japanese to approach within a very short distance and then fired several volleys into them when not more than 60 paces a way, so close that the commands of the officers could be distinctly heard. Our volley firing mowed down the first lines of Japanese who, with great losses, gained the walls of the fortress.
The fusillade continued until nightfall; our losses were as follows: One officer killed and two wounded; nineteen men killed and forty three wounded.
At 2.00 o'clock in the morning the detachment withdrew.
After going 15 versts, Madritoff allowed the detachment some repose. Our soldiers, exhausted by the long and spirited fighting, had not finished installing themselves in bivouac before the vedettas arrived at a gallop and reported that they had seen the Japanese who were evidently pursuing the detachment. Immediately, all of the wounded were started out under the protection of a half troop of Cossacks and the detachment took up a position in a defile. After deducting litter bearers, escorts for the wounded and horse holders, there were not more than 150 men available for fighting.
Two companies of Japanese made their appearance about noon and occupied a position about 200 paces from ours. Friends and enemies remained thus faced for two hours without firing; then the Japanese withdrew. The latter probably mistook our detachment for an advance guard of a strong column. They could not have supposed that such a weak detachment would have the audacity to venture alone upon the rear of an entire army.
After having destroyed all the train that would have delayed the march of the detachment, Madritoff withdrew towards Tok-chen via Kai-chen.
The wounded were carried by requisitioned Korean bearers. While marching, a sotnia was sent out under the command of Lieutenant Girs to reconnoitre the east coast between Jensen and Ham hung.
At 60 versts from Gensan, Girs learned that this town was occupied by 2,000 Japanese having artillery; and that the third line of the enemy's defence, Gensan-Pinghang, was not entrenched.
Girs then marched towards Hamhung, which was garrisoned by 600 Korean soldiers who received him by firing volleys on him. In order to punish the inhabitants, Girs fired the town and in three hours it was completely destroyed.
Girs detachment then proceeded, in light of the flames toward Tchentchjine and joined Madritoff at the village of Bemouri just at the moment when he was having a quite a lively skirmish with the Koreans who had occupied a defile with the view of cutting off the Russian retreat. After dispersing these Koreans, the column, on May 23rd, passed through Tchentchjine which had been abandon by its inhabitants and buy its Korean garrison which had withdrawn to the fortress of Koui.
On May 27th, Lieutenant Linevitch was sent to the front with half a sotnia to the village of Tchoumack-Kori with orders to hold the place at any price until the arrival of the column.
Madritoff had taken this measure because the road led from this river northwest to the Yalu and the Koreans might have been able to block it with important forces. Linevitch, having been fired upon, rushed to the attack, chased the Koreans from the village and held until the arrival of the column. He had only one Cossack wounded and three horses killed.
Madritoff, who had come up rapidly, dislodged the Koreans from a new position which they had occupied on the heights and pushed them in the direction of Kangkia.
There was no further reason for attacking this latter place, since Madritoff had gained all the information that was necessary. he consequently fell back toward the Yalu after having burned forty eight Korean villages whose inhabitants had gratuitously attacked him.
"On June 1st, the detachment recrossed the Yalu; it was ceaselessly harassed by the Korean garrison at Kanhia which had fired at it unintermittingly, even while it was crossing the latter stream.
After crossing the river the detachment marched in the direction of Kounjensian where it learned that there were Japanese infantry and cavalry with four guns. Lieutenant Colonel Madritoff's detachment, including all wounded, then joined the left wing of the Russian army. The raid lasted two months."
From May 1st to June 11th. After the fight at Kulien-chen, the second Japanese army, under General Oku, and the 1st Cavalry Brigade  were disembarked at Pi-tsu-wo. The Russian cavalry did nothing to prevent this disembarkation. From the line Pi-tsu-wo - Port Arthur, the Japanese pushed the heads of their columns northwards. Small detachments of Russian cavalry then had many encounters with the Japanese squadrons, but were afterwards obliged to fall back before the Japanese infantry that followed after the cavalry.
On May 26th, the Second Japanese army, under General Oku, captured the position at Kin-chau , defended by the 4th Division of Rifles  and, from that time on, Port Arthur was cut off from the rest of the Russian army and blockaded by land and sea. The nature of the terrain prevented the cavalry taking part in the battle of Kin-chau. The 1st Cavalry Brigade belonging to the Second Japanese Army (Oku) was at Wa-fan-gou, and the three regiments of divisional cavalry  of this same army had been divided into a number of detachments which were sent north to insure the service of security. These were the detachments with which the Russian cavalry had the numerous skirmishes mentioned above.
As for the First Japanese Army (Kuroki), it remained at Feng-wang-cheng from the 6th of May until the middle of June. Heavy Japanese reconnaissance detachments turned the strong Russian position near Fenchoulieng and pushed forward to within 30 kilometers of Liao-yang. Other Japanese reconnaissance parties went as far as Chinmuchen (about 215 kilometers southeast of Haichen) and ascertained the location of important Russian forces.
At the same time, the Japanese debarked the Fourth Army at Tagushan (the army which invested Port Arthur was known as the Third Army). The Fourth Army advanced on Siu-yan.
After crossing the Yalu by Kuroki, the Cossack Brigade under General Mitshenko was charged solely, until the middle of May, with reconnaissance duty along the front of the First Japanese Army which gradually been extended for more than 100 kilometers. In the second half of May, the Russian cavalry operating along the first line were strongly reinforced. On the right wing, on the Kai-ping ----Siu-yan line, was the Ussuri Cavalry Brigade and the Siberian Cossack Division under General Samsonoff. From these forces patrols were sent out as far as the Liao-Tong Peninsula. These patrols had many skirmishes with the mixed advance guards of the Japanese Second Army Corps, as mentioned above.
Mitshenko's brigade performed the reconnoitring duty to the west of the Hai-chen - Siu-yan road as far as the Liao-yang--Feng-wang-chen road, while the Transbaikal Cossack Division, under General Rennenkampf, performed the same service from this latter road to the Russian left wing. General Rennenkampf's cavalry was supported in the mountainous region of this wing, where there are many defiles, by the infantry stationed in the neighborhood of the defile of Fen-chouling. Strong fractions of this general's detachment occupied Saimatse and the defile at Motlienling.
It goes without saying that the Japanese cavalry were not able to penetrate the heavy screen formed by the Cossacks. In spite of that, the Japanese staff, thanks to the Chinese spies and Khounhouses, was already exactly informed as to the positions, movements and intentions of the Russians.
In the second half of May, Russian's Southern Manchuria Army , which had received reinforcements from Siberia, numbered about 140,000 men . But these troops were concentrated; they were scattered about in the following manner: one part occupied all the roads coming from the south, southeast and east leading to the line Kaiping---Liao-yang; the other part watched the seacoast. Kuropatkin consequently had only a small reserve at hand. Besides, after the news of the defeat at Kin-chau, General Stakelberg  undertook his unfortunate raid towards the south. This attempt to raise the siege at Port Arthur would have had no chance to succeed as long as Stackleberg did not have a greatly superior numerical force to that of the Japanese.
This general could not with 36,000 men, including 20 squadrons or sotnias, and 94 cannons, successfully fight the Second Japanese Army numbering 42, 000 men, 19 squadrons and 200 cannons.
After several small skirmishes with the heads of the advance guards of the Second Japanese Army, the Russian cavalry came into conflict with the Japanese squadrons at Wa-fan-gou .
General Samsenoff with 13 squadrons, one mounted infantry detachment and a Cossack battery repulsed the 1st Japanese Cavalry Brigade consisting of 8 squadrons. In this fight of cavalry against cavalry, the Cossack lances played an important part. After their success, Samenoff was obliged to retire before two battalions of Japanese infantry supported by six or eight machine guns.
After a second fight on the 4th of June the heads of the Japanese advance guards were forced to the south of Wa-fan-tien, where Stakelberg's advance guard arrived on June 11th, while the main body of his troops remained 6 kilometers to the south of Wa-fan-gou.
Before continuing these general descriptions of the operations as a whole, it appears to be useful to study the successive details of it:
1st: The role of Mitshenko's brigade from
the 18th to the 28th of May.
The Role of Mitshenko's Brigade from the 18th to the 28th of May, 1904.
We have said above that General Mitshenko had to insure the service of reconnaissance between the Hai-cheng-Sui-yen road and the Liao-yang-Feng-wang-chen road.
This was a heavy task considering that Mitshenko had at his disposal at that time only the Transbaikal Cossack Brigade (the 1st Verkhne-Udinski and the 1st Chita Cossack Regiments). Nevertheless, by May 28th Mitshenko had accomplished his mission, thanks to the information that he had been able to gain by causing incessant reconnaissance to be made for six consecutive days.
In order to obtain this information, Mitshenko sent a large number of small patrols and eight officer patrols from 40 to 60 kilometers in advance of the main body of his brigade. The officer's patrols had orders to penetrate the Japanese lines, to endeavor to see what was taking place in the enemy's rear and to keep in touch with General Rennenkampf's Cossack Division on the left, that is to say to the east of Mitshenko's brigade. Besides, there were cases when this general sent entire sotnias and even his whole brigade on reconnaissance.
Here we will quote Captain Olginski, the military correspondent of the Nova Vremya, who was attached to the staff of the Manchurian armies:
"At the outset I consider it my duty to say a few words regarding the eight officers who penetrated the Japanese lines with the mission of endeavoring to push forward to the following localities: Séliouthjan, Feng-wang-cheng, Piamyne and Tonsantchentse.
These brave men were: Second captain Potatskii, Cornet Tokmatov, First Lieutenants Sierikov and Saraev, Lieutenant Sviatopolk-Mirskii, Second Captains Braunschwig and Ijevekii of the cavalry, and Cornet Pitschev. The first two of these officers, accompanied by 18 Cossacks, succeeded in gaining Piamyne, penetrating a continuous line of guards and sentinels. Sierkov, Saraev and Mirskii sent back their Cossacks and horses and then continued on foot. Sierkov was able to get within three kilometers of Feng-wang-chen. Saraev and Mirskii were not able to penetrate the third line of Japanese outposts and were obliged to turn back, bring back more of less important information nevertheless. They were constantly exposed to danger and had to proceed through the mountains without food and without shelter.
These officer patrols were sent out to the front on May 18th while General Mitshenko's brigade was bivouacked near the village of Povatziho. The general situation on this day was as follows: the 3rd sotnia of the Chita regiment was charged with the mobile telegraph station between the passes at Daline and Padzahe; the 2nd and the 4th Sotnias of the Verkhne-Udinski [Cossack] Regiment  were one hundred kilometers away at the village of Standalone marching to join the detachment. The 2nd Sotnia of the Chita regiment had been pushed forward in reconnaissance towards Khabaline; the 4th Sotnia had been sent for a like purpose towards Selizai; the 6th Sotnia was advanced to Acutchitan to reconnoitre the Selizai-Fengwangcheng road. The 3rd Sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski Regiment had been sent in the direction of Laounmaio, Pandouhan and Dagouchan.
General Mitshenko had directly under his command only the 1st and 5th Sotnias of the Chita regiment. The patrols of the 2nd Sotnia of the Chita regiment (at Khabaline) reported that the pass Khouantchi (two kilometers from Khabaline) was occupied by the Japanese infantry and by one squadron. This sotnia was located in the Hot Springs valley and had to reconnoitre the Pynouza road on the 19th; at this time the 4th sotnia of the same regiment was occupying the village of Salizai.
Early on the morning of the 19th, the 1st and 5th Sotnias of the Chita regiment left under the command of Colonel Pavlov to support the 2nd Sotnia just at the time when the latter, without waiting for reinforcements, was setting out; it encountered a reconnoitring party consisting of 50 Japanese cavalry at 2 or 3 kilometers from the village of Pynouza. The Japanese halted for the purpose of utilizing the cover offered by the terrain which was mountains and badly cut up, but as soon as they saw that two platoons of the cossacks were turning their left flank, they turned and rode back at a gallop. Being excited by the pursuit, the cossacks did not notice the Japanese cavalry, by falling back, were drawing them upon the infantry which was in ambush on the wooded slopes and the irregularities of the mountains. A volley of musketry obliged the cossacks to halt and withdrawal a ways. To dismount and take cover behind the rocks on the opposite mountain was but a matter of a moment, and three platoons of cossacks opened fire upon the Japanese. Seeing that night was approaching, the sotnia ceased firing and commenced to withdrawal upon Dzioudianouzou. In this skirmish we had two killed and one wounded. The Japanese lost nine killed and one wound.
"They had just driven their picket pins where their tired horses could graze, the bivouac fires of dry gaolian were crackling and the cossacks were squatting around making tea, when the vedettes at the rear reported that three Japanese squadrons were advancing on the village of Dzioudianouzou. Again they had to mount their horses. Just at this moment the 6th Sotnia of the Chita regiment dashed out of the Hot Springs valley in the direction of the firing. Covering themselves by patrols, the two sotnias advanced on Toinzou, where, on the following morning, they joined Colonel Pavlov who had traversed the Todagoou and Toukhogoou valleys."
At 5 o'clock in the evening, upon the order of General Mitshenko, who wished to concentrate upon our left a force strong enough to suddenly envelop the enemy's flank, the 6th sotnia of the Chita regiment joined Colonel Pavlov. Between 4 and 5 o'clock in the evening, the commander of the 4th Sotnia reported that a Japanese squadron, supported by infantry, was approaching him from the direction of Khabaline toward Selizai.
Late events had indicated sufficiently well that there was bivouacked in the vicinity of Khabaline-Khouantchi the entire infantry division of the Guard (with a regiment of cavalry, likewise of the Guard), which had left the Feng-wang-cheng road with the probable purpose of reorganizing itself after the battle of May 1st, and at the same time of covering the train (the Chinese estimated that this division had been reduced in action from 12,000 to 9,000). General Mitshenko therefore resolved to reinforce the 6th Sotnia by sending to it the 1st and 5th Sotnias of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment under the command of Colonel Matsievskii. Having on his left flank the four sotnias of Colonel Pavlov's regiment and with himself the 2nd and 6th Sotnias of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment, the general determined to accept the fight, reckoning on pulverizing ad dispersing the enemy by suddenly hurling Pavlov's sotnias upon his flank.
In accordance with this decision, the 3rd Sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment, received orders to start immediately for Padzihe. Closely pressed by the Japanese infantry, and also fearing for its left flank, the 4th Sotnia began to retire under the heavy but badly aimed fire of the Japanese, but was joined by Colonel Matsievskii, who had bivouacked during the night near the village of Maouhe, in the immediately vicinity of the enemy. While pushing forward on Selizai, the Japanese were at the same time marching through the mountains in such a way as to outflank the left of Colonel Matsievskii who, for this also, had fears for this flank. In reality, this turning movement was most desirable, for the Japanese were exposing their flank to Colonel Pavlov; this was all that General Mitshenko asked.
It was learned late at night that the 3rd Sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment had received orders to join the detachment; the commander of this sotnia had resolved while enroute to reconnoiter Dagouchan and the Sin-yen road. It must have been that the commander of this sotnia did not reckon on an encounter with a detachment of more than seventy men, based on information given by the Chinese. But this was just at the time of the debarkation at Dagouchan when the infantry and cavalry were camped in the woods and villages a short distance from Senkhoutshenzy. About 9 o'clock in the evening, when it was already almost black dark, this sotnia was marching along the road near this village observing every requirement of the service of security, that is to say, it had an advance guard, covering patrols and flankers. On account of the darkness it did not observe a Japanese sentinel who was hidden in the underbrush. The sotnia quietly continued its march with its two officers at the head of the column. Suddenly, in the midst of the profound stillness of the night there resounded the rifle shot of the sentinel at the rear of the column. There was a moment of hesitation, then came a point blank volley from fifty paces in front of the sotnia.
Without losing his presence of mind, the commander of the sotnia commanded: 'Draw saber, Charge,' and then led the charge, followed by his Cossacks .But those faithful companions of the cossacks, the small Trans-Baikal horses, found themselves in a marshy rice paddy, stumbling, falling on their knees and rolling on the ground Another volley resounded; then from three sides there crackled a rolling fire of musketry. One of the first volleys mortally wounded Second Captain Beklemishev, the commander of the sotnia. In falling, this officer gathered all his strength and shouted to his men: 'Brothers, push forward on the right.' On account of the obstacle that had thrown their ranks into disorder, the cossacks dispersed. Some succeed in getting through the enemy in spite of their murderous fire. The Japanese were so stunned by this rash and audacious charge that, in their confusion, they fired into one another.
The courage of the cossacks in this moment of danger was demonstrated by the following particular: although receiving shots from nearly all directions, the Cossacks made three attempts to reach the stop where Beklemishev's body lay, but being received each time with a murderous fire, they were forced to retrace their steps. Nevertheless the greater part of the cossacks were able to get past the Japanese and gain the mountain where they assembled in small groups and rejoin the regiment. Many of them who had lost their horses returned on foot, without maps, across rocky mountains that were devoid of roads. They did not know the language of the country and had no guides to lead then through a region where Japanese patrols were traveling in all directions and they were consequently obliged to be in hiding in hole and ravines. Some of them, betrayed by the Chinese, held out in short struggles against the Japanese patrols. They were famished and exhausted, but in this condition they managed to make over 70 kilometers; not a single man abandon his carbine or saber. Many of them still found the means to gather quite valuable information concerning the enemy.
The sotnia lost 26 men (7 killed and 19 wounded) and its three officers (1 killed and 2 wounded). The others rejoined the regiment.
The news of the repulse of the 3rd Sotnia arrived at a late hour at night. At dawn, the general ordered one half of a sotnia forward to the Senkhoutchenzy road to protect the cossacks who were seeking to rejoin the regiment. But just at this time the Japanese made an energetic attack after deploying a heavy line of skirmishers. It was then 6.30 o'clock A.M.
One patrol, commanded by First Lieutenant Tcheslavskii, disclosed a movement of the Japanese. This officer had six wounded in an encounter with a battalion of Japanese infantry. The losses of Japanese were not known. Colonel Matsievskii's sotnias commenced to withdrawal slowly without replying to the volley firing and the murderous rapid fire of the Japanese skirmishers. Colonel Matsievskii followed the valley of the Daniho river, which is nothing but a dry bed of a small tortuous water course with very wide and gently sloping sandy banks, until he came in sight of the village of Paoutzihe, about 8 o'clock in the morning. Instead of advancing on Talenkhou, according to the general's previous instructions, Colonel Pavlov received orders to wait at the village of Paoutzihe. And, in order to cover him as he would debouch from the valley a sotnia was immediately deployed on foot along the Daniho.
Towards 11 o'clock the heights east of Paoutzihe, on the left bank of the water course, were occupied by the Japanese who at once open fire with well direct volleys.
After having sent the pack animals and the sick and wounded forward on the Sin-yen road, General Mitshenko ordered Colonel Matsievskii's sotnias which were in reserve in rear of the village to also move forward on this road. They were followed by Colonel Pavlov who was delayed while the 5th Sotnia was assembling its patrols. In order to cover this movement the 2nd Sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment was deployed along the stream. This was a little past 2 o'clock .The 2nd Sotnia of the Chita regiment arrived at the trot, dismounted and took position on our left flank.
The Japanese made a feeble attempt to cross to the right bank with a patrol of cavalry and a platoon of infantry. But being received by a heavy fire these units had to withdrawal with considerable loss. Their attempt to turn our left flank was consequently not crowned with success. Acting under the order of the chief of the detachment, a half sotnia of the Chita regiment made a skillful attack upon the infantry which was hidden in the woods on our left flank, and, having dispersed it, obliged it to withdraw to the right bank. The detachment having crossed and having the time to withdraw on the Sin-yen road, the Cossacks of the 2nd Sotnia commenced to withdraw slowly, leaving post of observation on the crests of the mountains. About 10 o'clock in the evening they joined the detachment which bivouacked near the village of Sedizai.
This affair, although insignificant in itself, still made it necessary for the enemy to deploy two battalions and confirmed the supposition that units of the Japanese Guard were on the line Khabaline-Khouantchi-Selizai.
Unfortunately, the plan elaborated by the chief of the detachment, a simple but very ingenious and audacious plan, which, could not be carried out due to the reasons given above.
The next day, after having sent patrols to the southeast of Siu-yen, the detachment commander decided to allow a day of rest and to take advantage of it to send all of the wounded and the men and horses that were tired out through the Dialine pass. Late in the afternoon information began to in concerning the enemy. In spite of the general's great desire to allow his horse to rest, it was dangerous to keep the men at Sendzian, because this village is situated in a wide but short ravine, enclosed on all sides by mountains and having only two passes as means of egress; one, on the Sedschohe side, that is to say at the rear of the detachment, where patrols of the enemy had already been seen (in the village of Paoutzihe which was occupied by us the evening before,) and the other towards Siu-yen.
If this defile had been occupied by only a small body of the enemy, the detachment would have been able to get out of this sack only by the perilous and difficult mountain trails. Consequently the prudent commander decided to advance in the direction of Siu-yen and bivouac on the Daline road on the other side of the first pass leading out of Siu-yen. No more favorable spot could have been selected; for from there the detachment could easily reconnoiter the two roads by means of patrols; the Selizai road and the Dagouchan road. In case it became necessary he could leave with all of his brigade or with only part of it.
The detachment set out at a late hour in the evening and maintained the greatest silence in order that its movement might not be betrayed. A half sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment had to act as a flank guard; the detachment followed a trail to the right of the main road. The rear guard was composed of the 2nd and 6th sotnias of the Verkhne-Udinski regiment. The route was very difficult. The trails were almost perpendicular where they passed over abrupt precipices
It was far past midnight when the rear of the column began to arrive in bivouac. Fires were at once lighted and the men, tired and numbed by the dampness of the night, hastened to make the tea which a Trans-Baikal Cossack cannot do without and which, for him, takes the place of dinner and supper. The horses were picketed but there was no forage for them as it was impossible to find it in the darkness of the night. Generally speaking, the question of forage and of provisions is a very grave one here; it is complicated by the fact that the Tifangouan of Siu-yen is very hostile to the Russians and has closed all the store houses of the town and forbidden any thing being sold to us whatever. The general who is very patient and humane did not wish to use force in this matter; but when the Tifangouan began to incite the population against us the general was obliged to have him arrested and sent to Liao-Yang. It is said that the Tifangouan was greatly frighten by the Japanese who had already ordered him to prepare a certain amount of forage and provisions.
Another reason is that on account of the continual movements of the column the intendancy is not able to supply forage and provisions, so that one is obliged to have recourse to requisitions. Now this method of resupply presents difficulties although the detachment pays a good price for everything that it requisitions. The inhabitants sell us their provisions quite against their will, because they have very little and will end by having nothing for their own use. While operating in mountainous regions the situation is still more difficult, for the inhabitants themselves have nothing to eat.
The patrols sent towards Ooulaassou (on the Dagouchan road) having reported the presence of the enemy's patrols near that village, General Mitshenko resolved to make a reconnaissance with his entire brigade as far as Ooulaassou with a view of gaining immediate contact with the enemy. On the 11/24 of May the brigade was set in march, leaving at the bivouac the sick, the non effective and three sotnias to cover the rear.
A long halt was made at a village of Schitosan, where seven officer patrols were sent out to the right and left We started at 5 o'clock on the morning of the 16th Upon arriving at the village of Ooulaassou the column halted, and just at this moment a Cossack came in at a gallop and reported that one of the our patrols had been fired upon. The Cossacks advanced at a trot in the direction of the firing and a half an hour later they came to a narrow gorge at the other end of which two ravines debouched at right angles. At the intersection of the two and on the bank of the stream was a large inn which was occupied by the Japanese and from which they maintained a well directed fire on the first ravine. In spite of this fusillade, the Cossacks of the 6th Sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski Verkhne-Udinski Regiment pushed to the front under the command of their audacious chief, Second Captain Semenov. After approaching quite closely the 6th Sotnia dismounted two platoons and opened a well directed volley fire at 2,000 paces. After the first volley there was great confusion in the ranks of the Japanese squadron which ceased firing and fled in the greatest disorder. It was dangerous to pursue; for in a half an hour a line of Japanese skirmishers appeared in the direction in which the Japanese had fled. After resting for a short time and gaining some very valuable information for the inhabitants, the brave 6th sotnia returned through the pass and joined the brigade at 3 P.M. At 4 P.M. the brigade returned to its bivouac. The brigade marched through the town of Siu-yen to the music of the band of the Chita Regiment.
On the 27th, the troops rested in honor of the anniversary of the coronation of the czar."
The operations of Rennenkampf's Cossack division from the 1st of May to the 2nd of June.
The role played by General Rennenkampf's division  from May 1st to June 2nd was a very important one and cannot be passed over in silence. Captain Pletse, attached to the general staff, sent to the Nova Vremya a detailed account of this part of the operations which we reproduce here in full.
"After General Kuroki's army had crossed the Yalu it was natural to ask what it was going to do .
It was evident that the problem of discovering the plans of the enemy, while at the same time hiding our own, could be solved only by the cavalry. The commander of our army intrusted this very important and very difficult mission to General Rennenkampf, who had three regiments at his disposal. The complement of officers in these regiment was filled by volunteers from the cavalry regiments of the Guard .As for the Cossack officers of these regiments, they left nothing to be desired in whatever concerns professional knowledge and devotion to duty. They had General Rennenkampf at their head. He had shown his capacity in the late campaign in China; he knew the country as well as the Japanese did and combined exceptional bravely with coolness in fighting.
The men composing these regiments were good; many had already been under fire, and, if they were not as well disciplined as their comrades in the other Cossack regiments, it was due to their different manner of life. However, one could feel assured that by appealing to their hearts, one might confront any enemy whatever with them.
The horses left much to be desired; they were small poorly bred Siberian horses, many of which had just been taken from the plow and they did not promise much in the way of endurance."
Just before the departure of the regiments, which were concentrating at Liao-Yang, the skirmishers and engagements began with the Japanese in Korea and on the Yalu. Our heavy loses in officers proved to us that the Japanese were good marksmen and that their best shots had orders to shoot exclusively at those whom they recognized at a distance as officers by their uniforms. Consequently, in the Transbaikal Cossack Division. The shoulder belts and cartridge boxes were abandoned; they were good looking but they were too unsubstantial for field service. The varnished leather belts were replaced by others of fair leather, and the officers, as well as the Cossacks, were reuniformed with gray blouses which were les visible than the light colored ones.
Equipage was reduced to the barest necessities; General Rennenkampf forbade his officers their field cots, and they had to get along with the bourka (the Cossack coat).
At early dawn of May 1st (new style)  the regiments started out singing. They had the honor of being escorted by the commander of the army, accompanied by his staff, who wished General Rennenkampf and his command success in their operations.
The column first followed the Feng-wang-cheng road and, having arrived at Lanshaigouan, it changed its direction for Sai-ma-tse where it arrived on May 5th.
"This locality was chosen as a base of operations; for, being midway between the Liao-Yang--Feng-wang-cheng road and the Mukden--Feng-wang-cheng road, the column could observe both routes simultaneously.
The detachment remained at Sai-ma-tse until May 10th. General Rennenkampf made a reconnaissance in force along an extended front. By this reconnaissance, General Rennenkampf ascertained that the main body of the Japanese forces were concentrating at Feng-wang-cheng where they were busily throwing up works with the probable intention of making that locality the principle point of support for its intermediate base, which appears to be the Yalu.
After convincing himself that this was the state of things, General Rennenkampf resolved to go to Kouandensian, with the purpose of gaining the enemy's right flank or rear if this locality was not occupied by him.
According to information given by the Chinese, Kouandensian was occupied by the Japanese.
Cornet Baron Wrangel , of the Argoun Cossack regiment, received orders to reconnoiter Kouandensian. This officer penetrated the town and ascertained that, until then, no important forces had been there except a few exploring patrols. Baron Wrangel came and reported this information to General Rennenkampf who had reached Sydzoumine pass with his division, by passing through Ayan-yamine. From there the general detached five sotnias which advanced toward Kouandensian with an advance guard of two sotnias of the Argoun regiment and one of the Nertchine regiment, under the command of Captain Prince Karageorgevitch (the brother of the King of Serbia). This detachment left on May 11th, at 5 o'clock A.M. and arrived at Kouandensian about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Upon entering this town they learned from the inhabitants that a Cossack of the Argoun regiment had been killed by a Japanese patrol and buried near the city wall.
The corpse was exhumed in order it might be interred according to the orthodox ceremonial. Upon examining the body, the surgeons ascertained that the wounds that cover it had been made after death.
The obsequies were fixed for 4 o'clock in the afternoon in order that the general, who arrived in the afternoon, might assist in them. But the funeral services had hardly begun than they were interrupted by volleys fired from outside the town. It was necessary to abandon the unfortunate Cossack, mount and gallop away.
The Cossack vedettes returned at a gallop and reported the approach of Japanese foot soldiers and cavalrymen who seemed desirous of enveloping our right flank.
There were about one battalion and one-half a squadron of the enemy.
One sotnia of the Argoun regiment was immediately dismounted and deployed as skirmishers. Another sotnia remained mounted and was ordered to ford the Daopou-ho river and take position beyond some hills which rose two versts west of the town.
The remaindered of the detachment advanced I the same direction in order to draw the Japanese their way. But the latter halted at Kouandensian and did not go any further.
Our detachment concentrated at Ayan-yamine.
We had only one Cossack wounded and two horses killed in this affair.
The Japanese losses were likewise insignificant, although somewhat higher than ours.
General Rennenkampf having learned what he wanted to know, that the disposition of the enemy's forces also included Kouandesian, left Ayan-yamine and returned to Sai-ma-tse, where he remained until May 24th.
On May 12th, three sotnias of the Ussuri and Argoun regiments were sent under command of Colonel Kartsev into the Tsao-ho valley where they passes the night five versts beyond a mill. Having learned from the Chinese of the presence of large forces of the Japanese, Colonel Kartsev returned to Sai-ma-tse where he left the Cossacks of the Argoun regiment and started with the Ussuri Cossacks for Lanshaigouan to assure himself that the enemy was not making any demonstration at the rear of our detachment. On May 14th, the Argoun regiment was sent southward into the valley of the Tsao-ho. On May 16th, General Rennenkampf started southward, through the Badac-ho valley, with the other regiments. He sent two sotnias of the Nertchine regiment into the Ai-ho valley. In this way General Rennenkampf began to keep in touch with the enemy in the direction of Feng-wang-cheng.
The two sotnias of the Nerchinski regiment traversed the Ai-ho valley without incident and joined the detachment five versts north of Vendziatoun. Upon arriving near this place, our cavalry were received by shots fired from behind the walls of the town. One sotnia of the Nertchine regiment (Captain Nelikov), one sotnia of the Argoun regiment (Captain Vlasov), and another one of the same regiment (Captain Pieskov) quickly dismounted. These three sotnias advanced to the attack under the command of Prince Karageorgevitch. The Japanese were driven from Vendziatoun and withdrew two versts to the southward. Our battery did not fire upon them.
The enemy took up another position and again opened fire. The 3rd and 4th Sotnias of the Argoun regiment immediately dismounted, while the 5th sotnia of the same regiment set out on horseback to turn the left flank of the Japanese.
The fight was of short duration. The Japanese again withdrew. We had nine Cossacks killed.
"But our cavalry soon had to beat a retreat in its turn, for the enemy was reinforced by a battalion and a battery and at once took up a strong position. Rennenkampf's divisions returned to Sai-ma-tse where it remained till May 18th to allow the horses to rest. It may be said that the latter did not have enough forage; they had nothing to eat but the gaolian (Straw) with which the houses I the Chinese villages are thatched.
In spite of the difficulties they had in feeding the horses, General Rennenkampf retained possession of Sai-ma-tse because that town, as I mentioned at the commencement of this article, was a very important strategical point for us.
Five sotnias commanded by General Lioubavine were once again sent in the direction of Daoziandtse and Shiaoutchen via Ayan-yamine. Their mission was to see if the enemy had changed his dispositions. This column was covered by a sotnia of the Argoun regiment commanded by First Lieutenant Prina-Magalov. When this sotnia arrived at the above mentioned village at 6 o'clock in the evening a wood fire and signal station were seen upon a hill near by. A platoon of Cossacks was immediately sent to the summit of this hill. Upon closely examining the imprints left in the sand by the shoes the Chief of the Platoon became convinced that the Japanese had just recently left the place and that there must have been about a dozen of them. Two sotnias of the Argoun regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Khroulev, were sent toward Shidziapoutsa, and Cornet Baron Wrangel went forward to the Ai-ho.
A Chinaman was sent to Shitaoutchen and he returned wit the news that this village was occupied by only a mounted patrol of thirty men. Baron Vrangel likewise ascertained that the village of Dalou (Darou) was occupied by one battalion and one battery, that two companies were posted in a pass, and confirmed the information brought by the Chinaman concerning the presence of a mounted patrol at Shitacutchen. Besides, he discovered that the Japanese were intending to advance that same day upon Shitaouchon. Baron Wrangel carried all this information to the village of Shidzioapoutsa where General Rennenkampf had already arrived. Upon learning this news, the latter started for Shitacutchen, while Colonel Kartsev started with two sotnias to turn the Japanese. Unfortunately, this officer arrived too late and thus permitted the latter to withdraw toward Darou.
Our cavalry which followed the Japanese were fired upon by volleys from the village of Shidziapoutsa; First Lieutenant Oulagoi was grievously wounded in the breast, as well as two Cossacks, one of whom died shortly afterwards.
The fight at Shidziapoutsa lasted about three hours and then, as the Japanese were reinforced by two and one-half battalions, our troops were obliged to withdraw. The division passed the night near Laoubayangoou.
The next day the division made a forced march of thirteen hours, through the rain, in order it might gain the right flank of the Japanese, at Shaogoou (not far from Kouandenzian); men and horses were excessively fatigued. A half sotnia of the Argoun regiment were fired upon while on the way to relieve an outpost. Cornet Barbash was wounded.
The rifle shots made a garland of fire against the dark background and the mountains reverberated the noise of the fusillade.
General Rennenkampf lead the attack at the head of a platoon and, taking a Cossack's carbine, fired sixty shots with it. The sotnias galloped up in succession to their places in the fight and deployed as skirmishers. The fire became very strong; it seemed as though an elf had suddenly prepared an illumination amidst the mysterious volleys. This fusillade lasted for three quarters of an hour; then it came time to load the pack animals. The sotnias began to withdraw under a hailstorm of bullets while the trumpets sounded and all the Cossacks sang Boje Tsaria khrania (God shield the Czar)."
Our losses were as follows: Cornet Barbash and two Cossacks wounded; two horses wounded. In addition, five other horses fell from exhaustion.
On May 23rd, Rennenkampf's division entered Ayan-yamine and remained there the 24th.
On the 25th, the outposts signaled the approach of the Japanese. Six platoons of the argoun regiment deployed as skirmishers and open fire upon the assailants. Captain Shoundieev who commanded these six platoons was wounded almost at once in the leg and was relieved by Second captain Gregory."
First Lieutenant Toulzakov was seriously wounded in the abdomen.
Baron Wrangel who had been sent to the right to avoid a turning movement by the enemy, surprised a mounted Japanese patrol and placed several of their men hors de combat while the rest fled at a gallop. The Japanese infantry immediately began firing volleys at 2,000 yards.
Our sotnias then began to withdraw under the protection of the half sotnia commanded by Baron Wrangel who dismounted his men.
We had two Cossack killed and eleven wounded.
Having returned to Sai-ma-tse, General Rennenkampf remained there three days; lack of forage obliged him to withdraw to Tsiantchan (sixty kilometers north of Sdi-ma-tse), where he found everything he needed for his men and horses. But the Cossacks had hardly prepared a bivouac that they might take a well earned rest after a month of marching and skirmishing than Cornet Shiekhert arrived at dawn of the 31st of May, with orders from the Commanding General to drive out Sai-ma-tse the 3,000 Japanese that were understood to be assembling there.
General Count Keller, commanding the column
of the East, was also ordered to advance upon the Sai-ma-tse, setting
out from Liaushai-Gouan with strong forces of infantry.
The regiments under the command of General Lioubavine advanced from Tsaishan toward Sai-ma-tse. Having arrived at the Fengshouline pass, the Cossacks halted and bivouac beneath the crest, which was occupied by one sotnia.
On June 1st, General Liobavine's column advanced through this unlucky pass towards Sai-ma-tse. The advance guard, commanded by Colonel baron Dollingshausen, of the Guards Dragoons, comprised two sotnias of the Nertchine regiment and one of the Argoun regiment. This commanding officer was so prudent that he detached dismounted scouts on the flanks who followed the summits of the mountains. When the scouts became tired, they were relieved by others.
In this part of southern Manchuria where one meets with nothing but mountains, ravines and passes, and where, it may be said, there are no roads, the cavalry were only able to march in column of files. Furthermore, during the third and even the greater part of the way, they had to lead their horses by the bridle up and down the slopes.
It was impossible to procure rations for the men and forage for the horses at any price, whatever. The officers lived largely on rice cakes and took their tea without sugar. The Cossacks subsisted upon roots, and upon grain, which they crushed with stones; and instead of tea they drank hot water.
Before me I have a letter that I received an hour ago from Sai-syr; I will cite a few extracts from it which depict clearly all the difficulties in the cavalry service:
I write you from the most picturesque spot that exists between Liao-yang and Sai-ma-tse, not far from the Sagooline pass.
Rocks heaved up in the greatest variety of forms, some rose colored, some green, and accessible only to eagles, border a narrow ravine through which runs a noisy mountain torrent. The flora presents every possible variety; Chinese lilies, vine clad oaks, orchids, acacias and jasmines.
Before me is a small pass at the top of which is posted a sentinel with his carbine. In the pass winds a road shaded by birch, poplars, lilacs and hawthorns. The evening atmosphere is impregnated with perfume that lull one like opium. It is fresh during the day in spite of the hest. The horses are resting in the shade f the trees and the Cossacks, who have been on outpost or patrolling duty during the night, are stretched out upon the ground ..
I will now describe to you the typical young Cossack officer waging war in the midst of the Manchurian deserts; he wears the fur cap or helmet according to circumstances but not according to the seasons; a blouse that is rather new; trousers of some dark color; fair leather boots; neither shoulder belt nor cartridge box; a fair leather strap serves for a belt and to it are hung the meal bag, the tobacco pouch and the field glasses. In rear hangs the revolver in a dirty holster. The pipe is thrust into a boot-leg. Finally a tattered map is carried in the blouse over the breast.
Add to this the Nagaika (a small Cossack whip) and torn gloves that have more holes than fingers and you have the portrait of an officer serving at the front in our army .
Such are the conditions under which General Rennenkampf's division is operating; the general sets an example to his officers in everything; he rises at 5 o'clock in the morning, is always on the firing line during the fighting and is accompanied by a flag that draws upon him the whole of the fire of the enemy.
In studying the operations of Rennenkampf's division it must be remembered that it has wholly accomplished its mission; it did not permit a single Japanese patrol to approach Liao-yang, and it hid the dispositions and the concentration of our forces from the enemy. At the same time, Rennenkampf's division was able to report that the Japanese had no intention of advancing upon Mukden and Liao-yang with any important forces, which was the important thing for us to know."
From June 12th to July 16th, 1904.
On June 12th General Oku's army left Port Arthur for Port Adams in three columns, advancing northward. Although Samsonov's cavalry brigade reconnoitred on Stakelberg's right wing, this general was not informed of the vast turning movement that the left Japanese column was executing to the westward.
On June 13th, Oku deployed his center and right columns against Stackelberg advance guard at Wa-fan-gou, but without attacking, his purpose being to give his left column time to execute its turn movement.
On June 14th, Stakelberg's advance guard finding itself in the presence of numerically superior forces, withdrew on the main body; there was an engagement between Oku's center and right columns and Stackelberg's left wing and center, the Russians maintaining their positions.
On June 15th, Stakelberg's left wing attacked Oku's right wing. The Japanese general having refused this right wing, the attack of the Russians, instead of being a flank attack as they had expected, was in reality but a frontal attack. Stakelberg ordered an infantry brigade to execute a wide turning movement so as to outflank the Japanese right, but this brigade was stopped by the fire of the 1st Japanese Cavalry Brigade which dismounted. This Japanese cavalry brigade was, it is true, immediately obliged to withdraw, but it had nevertheless accomplished its mission for it had discovered the movement of the Russians and had been able to check it for awhile by its fire.
The Russian cavalry, although numerically superior to the Japanese cavalry, did not take part in this struggle. It is possible that Samsanov's sotnias, which were on the Russian right, might have been prevented from entering the struggle on account of the obstacles of the terrain. But then the Russian cavalry ought to have been on the left wing where it would have been able to act against the 1st Japanese Cavalry Brigade which had weakened by the engagements of may 30th and June 5th. The Russian cavalry must also be reproached for not noticing the turning movement executed by the left column of the Japanese.
The unexpected arrival of this column upon the battlefield and the superiority of the Japanese artillery obliged Stakelberg's troops to withdraw in spite of their bravery. This general was able to beat a retreat without being harassed by the Japanese and he rejoined the main body of the Russian forces.
During these events, the 4th Japanese Army, which was concentrated around Siu-yen, was placed in march on June 16th, toward the Hait-cheng---Ta-shi-tchao line. It was divided into four columns directed respectively on the Daline, the Fenchouiline, the Tchipanline and the Vatseline Passes. These passes were occupied by troops belonging to the 2nd and 4th Siberian [Corps]  and by General Mitshenko's Cossack brigade.
On June 25th, the 1st Japanese Army (Kuroki) began to advance in three columns with the following objectives; the right, upon Fenchouiline Pass; the center, upon the Kodouline Pass; the left, upon Haitcheng.
The Russian detachment commanded by General Keller and the fractions of General Rennenkampf's Cossack division occupied the Fenchouiline and the Modouline passes; while at the extreme left, the main body of Rennenkampf's division, reinforced by infantry, guarded the Anping---Sai-ma-tse road, the Anping---Mukden road and the Kiantchang---Sai-ma-tse road.
The 2nd Japanese Army (Oku), which had slowly followed Stakelberg's forces, had these troops in front of it at Dashitchao where they had joined the main body of the Russian forces, as was stated above. Kuropatkin, being really disturbed by Stakelberg's retreat, had advanced the troops which remained at his disposal from the region north of Liao-yang southward to the neighborhood of Antchantchouan. We pass over in silence the series of combats, which ended with the Japanese holding all the passes on July 1st, which were previously occupied by the Russians.
As we have said above, Samsanov's cavalry brigade , Simonov's Siberian Cossack Division and the Orenburg Cossack Division, which had recently arrived on the theater of operations, were on the Russian right wing. These last two cavalry divisions preformed nothing striking, although the terrain gave them the opportunity to act more efficaciously than they did against the 2nd Japanese Army (Oku). As for Samsanov's brigade, it was with Stakelberg's corps.
Likewise, Mitshenko's cossack brigade , which was in the Russian center, maneuvered very well; in spite of the mountainous region that it occupied, it often stopped the Japanese and inflicted serious losses upon them by its fire.
Rennenkampf's Cossack division was, as our readers know, on the Russian left wing. This division number 24 sotnias, but General Rennenkampf had only six or sight of them directly under his orders; all the others were scattered and employed on reconnaissances. Under such conditions, this general could not undertake any serious operations. He had received strict orders to not advance in any case beyond Raimatse, which was only about thirty kilometers from General Keller's main position.
As for the reconnaissance service performed by the cossacks in the mountainous region occupied by General Keller, it was absolutely without results. General Keller, on account of faulty information, entered into several useless and murderous combats, like that of July 19th, in which the sotnias under Rennenkampf's orders took part, and in which General Rennenkampf was seriously wounded, and like that of July 16th.
From July 16 to August 24, 1904.
During the second half of July, the three Japanese armies, then under command of Marshal Oyama, continued their offensive concentric march against the advance detachments of the Manchurian Army, the main forces of which were south of Liao-Yang.
In the fights which took place during the second half of July, the advance detachments just mentioned covered the retreat of the main body of the Russian and of the administrative, sanitary and other services, upon Liao-Yang. In spite of the few partial successes to the credit of the Russians, the Japanese did not continue their offensive march any less methodically. The heads of the advance guards of the three Japanese armies were already enveloping the detachments of Russian Cavalry with charged with the service of security, and the Japanese front was reduced from 200 to 100 kilometers. This contraction of the Japanese front prevented Kuropatkin from successfully taking the offensive against one of Oyama's corps. Bensihou, a point of crossing of the Tai-tse-ho, situated 50 kilometers eats of Liao-Yang, was already occupied by a mixed Japanese detachment including a large number of cavalry. The Russian line of retreat on Mukden was menaced, but Rennenkampf's cossack division could do nothing about it; its commander was wounded, and its few sotnias which still remained together were withdrawn to the west after the evacuation of Fenchouiline pass by General Keller.
Kuropatkin, fearing that he would have his left wing turned, reinforced the eastern line of his outposts. Then followed the important actions of July 31 and August 1st respectively, in the Yansaline and Yanshouline Passes, situated about 40 kilometers east of Liao-Yang.
On account of the unfavorable nature of the terrain, the Russian cavalry again found that there was no possibility of taking part in those fights.
The Japanese contented themselves with slowly following their retreating adversary to the Lan-ho.
On the south front, the outposts of the two sides were in such close proximity after the middle of July that the Russian cavalry was withdrawn behind the right wing. Although the Russians cavalry was in great numerical superiority, it was not able to profit by the favorable field of action offered by the Liao-ho valley. The reconnaissance service was performed by detachments of mounted infantry.
On July 25th, the 1st Japanese Cavalry Brigade occupied Ying-kou, where at the end of the same month, the transports debarked troops and supplies. The numerous Japanese cavalry did nothing to prevent the landings of these troops.
The 4th Japanese Army still continued its offensive march in order that the 1st Army, that is to say, the right wing, might be permitted to turn the Russian left and cut their main line of retreat on Mukden. Until August 24, Marshal Oyama was solely occupied with preparing the continuation of the continuation of the concentric march of his forces upon Liao-Yang.
The principle Russian outposts were, on the southern front, at Anchantjouan; in the center, at Tangoyen; and, on the eastern front, at Anping behind the Lan-ho.
Kuropatkin's main forces were bivouacked, with the greatest portion of the cavalry, and to the south of Liao-Yang.
Kuropatkin had been able to concentrate 180,000 men for the battle of Liao-Yang, including the 5th Siberian Corps, which arrived at Mukden a shout time before the beginning of the battle, and which was sent toward the Yentai mines to protect the left flank. The 17th [Army] Corps and the main body of the cavalry had been kept at Liao-Yang, north of the Tai-tse-ho, to apparently also protect this flank.
Kuropatkin wished to await the Japanese at his strongly intrenched positions and he hoped to then pass to the offensive.
Marshal Oyama did not resume his march against these positions until August 25th.
The Russian cavalry should have been able to profit by these three weeks check of the Japanese armies to carry on reconnaissance, or to take enterprises against their flanks and their rear, or to annoy their reserves. It did nothing of the kind.
During the Battle of
When the Japanese resumed their offensive march on August 24th, with the intention of enveloping the two wings of their adversary, the Russian outposts were driven in only on the east front. On the 26th, the Japanese advanced along the entire front and the Russian outposts withdrew during the night of the 26th and 27th to the principle entrenched position; numerous fights with the rear guard took place. This time, the Japanese kept in touch everywhere with the retreating Russians.
On the evening of August 27th, the Japanese troops whose mission was to turn the Russian right, reached the Sha-ho and bivouacked in the valley of this stream. General Samsanov's Siberian Cossack Division, which was on this wing, was, unfortunately, too weak (19 sotnias and 6 cannon). It is true that it informed the commanding general, in opportune time, of the approach of the Japanese columns charged with the turning movement, but it could not prevent the latter crossing the Sha-ho. On the 29th, this same division of Samsanov's considerably retarded the advance of the Japanese column just mentioned, and obtain also this result, at least, that the appearance of the said column was not a surprise to the Russian staff.
It is evident that a considerable body of cavalry, supplied with sufficient artillery and machine guns, ought to have been able to support the right wing. But the Ussuri Cossack Brigade, commanded by General Grekov (14 sotnias and 6 pieces) , was on the north bank of the Tai-tse-ho; it consequently could not join Sansanov's division and take part in the struggle.
During the day of August 29th, the Japanese made their last dispositions for the great struggle; they began to envelop the Russian left wing at the same time they were maneuvering to turn the right, as we have mentioned above.
We are obliged to state that the Russian cavalry did not notice any of those movements.
On August 30th, the Japanese infantry made a general attack along the entire front. This general attack was prepared by the artillery. The Japanese were repulsed, and the Russian center even took the offensive. The Russian right wing, which was vigorously attacked by the turning column of the Japanese, was able to resist only when strongly reinforced from the general reserve which was held at Liao-Yang. As for the Russian cavalry, it did not intervene.
On August 30th, the Japanese infantry made a general assault along the entire front. This general attack was prepared by the artillery. The Japanese were repulsed, and the Russian center even took the offensive. The Russian right wing, which was vigorously attacked by the turning column of the Japanese, was able to resist only when strongly reinforced from the general reserve which was held at Liao-Yang. As for the Russian cavalry, it did not even intervene.
During these events,, a considerable part of the 1st Japanese Army had crossed the Tai-tse-ho at Sakan and at Kvantoun. The Transbaikal Cossack Division (Rennenkampf's, who was in an ambulance)  which was about fifteen kilometers from the point of crossing did nothing to prevent it. This division reported the crossing of the Tai-tse-ho by the enemy only when his columns were not more than 7 kilometers from the Russian reserves. Note that the first information regarding the crossing of the Tai-tse-ho by Kuroki at Sakan and Kvantoun arrived at headquarters only on the 31st!
On the 31st, the tactical situation was almost similar to that of the 30thm, and the large masses of Russian cavalry still remained inactive.
Kuropatkin, upon receiving the information mentioned above, realized the danger which menaced his left wing and his line of retreat to Mukden; he consequently gave the order on the night of August 31-September 1st to those troops which were, until then, successfully defending themselves, to evacuate their positions and withdraw upon the permanent works of Liao-Yang defenses.
These works had to be protected in a passive manner by the 2nd and 4th Siberian Corps against the 2nd and 3rd Japanese Armies; while the units available from the 1st and 3rd Siberian Corps, as well as those from the 10th [Army} and the 5th Siberian Corps which had recently arrived upon the theater of operations, had to cross the Tai-tse-ho upstream and hold themselves in readiness, under Kuropatkin's directions, to take the offensive against Kuroki. The 17th [Army] Corps was charged with covering these concerted movements with the Transbaikal Cossack Division.
General Orloff advanced toward the Yenati mines with an infantry division  to outflank Kuroki's extreme right and compel him to halt.
On September 1st, the Russians evacuated the above mentioned positions without molestation. There was no heavy fighting except by the rear guard of the right wing, around Maietoun. This time again, the Russian cavalry, although finding itself in a level country, did nothing to facilitate the retreat of the infantry withdraw under Kuropatkin's orders. The Russians, in order to excuse the inaction of their cavalry at this time, said that this arm was hindered in its movements by the fields of gaolian  which covered the plain.
During these events, General Kuroki advanced in a menacing manner on the north bank of the Tai-tse-ho, repulsed the troops of the 17th [Army] Corps, and then occupied the heights of the Yentai mines by echeloning his reserves behind the extreme right.
On September 2nd, the Russians again attempted to repulse Kuroki; it was then that Orloff's division was dispersed, as one knows, causing Kuropatkin's plans to miscarry. This division was collected by Samsanov's Cossack cavalry (19 sotnias and 6 guns) which, having taken position on the heights, retarded the march of the Japanese by its musketry and artillery fire.
The defeat suffered by Orloff's division determined General Kuropatkin to order the retreat on Mukden on September 2nd.
General Mitshenko's Cossack brigade was established on a very good position and maintained communications between the 2nd and 4th Siberian Corps and the 17th [Army] Corps, and for two days it prevented the Japanese from breaking through this part of the Russian line which was but feebly occupied. This brigade withdrew only when it received the formal order to do so.
Rennenkampf's division, which was in position north of the Yentai mines, checked the Japanese wit the fire of its artillery and its cavalry, which had dismounted, and thus permitted the Russian right wing to withdraw to the north.
Kuropatkin ordered Liao-Yang to be abandoned on the night of September 3-4. After those supplies which could not be carried away had been burned, the rear guard left the town at 9 A.M. without being disturbed by the Japanese. It is evident that if the masses of cavalry on the right wing had acted vigorously, the victory of the Japanese would have been turned into a defeat.
On the evening of September 7th, the main body of the Russian army was concentrated south of Mukden. As for the rear guard, it remained south of the Houn-ho and occupied one f the bans of the Sha-ho.
The Russian cavalry again formed a wide net in front of the army; The Ussuri brigade guarded the Mukden-Liao-Yang road; Mitshenko's brigade, the Mukden-Yentai road; Samsanov's division, the Mukden-Pianioupoutsa road; and Rennenkampf's division, the Fouchon-Pianioupoutsa road. The main body of the cavalry remained in the rear of the front. Some very strong infantry detachments and groups of mounted infantry acted as supports to the cavalry.
From September 7th to October 2nd, 1904.
From September 7th to October 5th, the date upon which the Russian army took the offensive, there was almost complete calm which the two sides took advantage of to reorganization themselves. This calm was broken only by a reconnaissance in force carried out by Samsanov's and Rennenkampf's Cossack divisions. This reconnaissance was met near Pianioupoutsa by strong Japanese forces and had to withdraw to the north.
During this month of calm the Russian cavalry made no attempt to act against the rear of the Japanese armies and destroy their lines of communications.
The Russian cavalry was reinforced by the Cossack Division of the Don "of the 2nd tour" (Quotation marks supplied by the translator, meaning not clear H.T.)  and by two horse batteries, which brought the number of General Kuropatkin's sotnias and squadrons up to 207.
During the Battle of Sha-ho (October 10-18, 1904).
On October 2nd, the Russian commander-in-chief published his famous order of the day announcing to the troops that they were going to take the offensive, but it was only on October 9th that the heads of the western Russian columns pushed the Japanese outposts back upon their main body.
As the attitude of the Chinese was rather dubious, the extreme Russian right was covered by a detachment sent to the Liao-ho valley toward Sinmintine. Another detachment advanced upon Tchantan on the right bank of the Han-ho.
The principle Russian forces were divided into four groups: 1st. The west group (General Bilderling), comprising three fourths of the 10th and 17th Army Corps and one division of cavalry composed of 22 sotnias or squadrons, were to march along the railroad and the mandarin road.
2nd. The central group, comprising General Maou's detachment, units of the 31st Division of Infantry and a brigade of cavalry consisting of 16 squadrons or sotnias, were to advance on the Yentai mines, marching east of the mandarin road, and insuring communications between the west group and the east group, acting in concert with Mitshenko's cossack brigade, which covered the front;
3rd. The east group (General Stakelberg), comprising the 1st and 3rd [Siberian] Corps and fractions of the 2nd, 4th and 5th Siberian Corps, plus one brigade of cavalry 15 squadrons strong, as well as Generals Samsanov's and Rennenkampf's divisions, were to outflank the Japanese right which was supposed to be between the Mandarin road and the Mukden-Pianioupoutsa road.
4th. The reserve (under the Cavalry General Myendorf), comprising units from the 2nd and 5th [Siberian] Corps, three fourths of the 4th and 6th Siberian Corps, and the remainder of the cavalry (38 squadrons or sotnias), were to follow the groups of the first line between the Mandarin road and the Mukden-Pianioupoutsa road.
The extreme Russian left was covered by detachments sent in the direction of Kiautshang and Sinkine.
When it was learned that Kuropatkin was taking the offensive, it was generally though that his cavalry, numerically superior to that of the Japanese, was finally going to play an important part, all the more so as the plain upon which the right Russian wing maneuvered offered a vast field of operations for this arm. This hope was again shattered.
The breaking up and scattering of the Russian cavalry prevented it from profiting by its numerical superiority. Without considering the independent cavalry under command of Generals Mitshenko and Rennenkampf, 143 squadrons or sotnias remained available to Kuropatkin as a strong reserve. But out of these 143 squadrons, 91 had been distributed among the different groups, and 52 others had been assigned to the army corps (at least 7 to each corps). Now, those 52 squadrons were not available for fighting as they furnished platoons as escorts to the staff, were used as mounted orderlies, etc ..
No better explanation for inactivity of the cavalry can be given, considering that the army corps had groups of mounted infantry at their disposal.
In spite of a four week calm, the Russian cavalry had not succeeded in furnishing the commander-in-chief with any exact information concerning the disposition of the principle Japanese forces. All information having any value was received by Kuropatkin from emissaries; this was so far the case that, upon the morning of the day upon which he commenced his offensive march, he learned of the disposition of the principle forces, intelligence which upset all the plans he had made!
Marshal Oyama had very ably concentrated his three armies on the Tschantaitse-Yentai Mines-Bensihou-Pianioupoutsa line. His flanks were protected by the troops of the transportation and of the supply departments.
The three Russian groups marching on a front of 60 kilometers opened up three fights that lasted several days.
On the 8th and 9th of October, the cavalry of the west group drove back Oku's outposts. But this cavalry, not being followed up by the main body, was in its turn repulsed on the 12th by Oku who had taken the offensive.
On October 11th, and during the night of October 11th and 12th, the west group repulsed Oku's stubborn attacks. But on the morning of the 12th Bilderling asked for immediate reinforcements. In this case again a large body of cavalry would have been very useful. In spite of the arrival of the 6th Army Corps from the reserve, Bilderling's right wing had to withdraw. In the evening this general's center and his left wing were obliged to conform to this retreating movement.
Bilderling's defeat on the 12th made it necessary for Kuropatkin, on the one hand, to withdraw the center group and the east group which was already pushed well to the south, and, on the other hand, to charge Bilderling with defending as energetically as possible the line of the Sha-ho, so that these groups could be evacuate the mountains and assemble I the rear if it. Bilderling carried out his mission; he remained south of the Sha-ho on the 12th,and on the 13th he vigorously cannonaded Oku who was advancing.
On the 14th, Bilderling lost 24 cannon, and Shahapou, the center of his position, was taken by the Japanese. The efforts of the Japanese to obtain full possession of the right bank of the Sha-ho were finally shattered by the Russians, but without their cavalry being brought into the action, as it should have been.
On Bilderling's right wing the Japanese likewise driven back. However, they remained masters of Linshinpou, situated on the north bank of the Sha-ho.
On the night of the 14th and 15th, Kuropatkin caused the village of Shahopou, retaken by the Japanese, to be evacuated; he was satisfied to hood part of the south bank east of this village, leaving troops on what is called Lone Tree Hill.
Kuropatkin had also reinforced the center group by adding to it three fourths of the 4th Siberian Corps and had placed it under the command of General Zaroubaeff.
On October 10th, this group had reached the heights that rose to the east of Panlisantse. Mitshenko's Cossack brigade had to maintain communications with Stackelberg and cover Zaroubaeff's left flank.
On October 11th, Zaroubaeff was attacked in front and menaced on his right wing by the Japanese forces under Nodzu and Kuroki. General Zaroubaeff was obliged to withdraw during the night of the 11th and 12th to the heights rising north of the Shili-ho, while Mitshenko's cavalry division was continuing to perform its mission. This cavalry struggled with Kuroki's troops on the 12th of October and succeeded in preventing them from carrying out their turning movement against Zaroubaeff's left wing.
Although Zaroubaeff was attacked in front on the 12th by numerically superior forces and had his two wings menaced, he nevertheless succeeded in holding the entire line.
On the evening of the 12th, Zaroubaeff received the news of Bilderling's repulse and of Kuropatkin's order to withdraw to a position situated further north.
On the evening of the 13th, as we mentioned above, the center group having been reinforced, took position to the rear, on a line with Bilderling, and repulsed the attack of the Japanese on the 14th. During the day of the 13th, Mitshenko's cavalry, which had dismounted, likewise checked the Japanese.
On October 14th, Stakelberg's principle forces reestablished their communications with the other forces. In this east group, the 1st Siberian Corps was advanced Fouline, situated 8 kilometers east of Mukden, toward the south, on Pianioupoutsa; the 3rd Siberian Corps and fractions of the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Siberian Corps were directed from Fouchoun toward the Houaline pass via, the Gaoukouline pass. Samsanov's Cossack division was northwest of Pianioupoutsa and Rennenkampf's division  was at the Vanfouline pass.
Rennenkampf received orders to cross the Tai-tse-ho above Bensilou and to attempt to cut the communications in Kuroki's rear, between this locality and the southern region. At the same time, Rennenkampf's mission was to cooperate directly in the attack carried out by Stakelberg against the east wing of the Japanese.
To this end, there was sent him a detachment composed of troops of the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Siberian Corps. This detachment had, until then, remained at the Daline pass.
General Rennenkampf executed his task remarkably well. On October 9th, he had already crossed the Tai-tse-ho with his cavalry and his horse artillery and had effectually cut the communications in the rear of Kuroki for several days; his cossack division was advanced along the south bank of the Tai-tse-ho to Bensihou, but it was not able to force the passage of this water course in the presence of large numbers of Japanese infantry. As for Rennenkampf's infantry, it was advanced along the north bank of the Tai-tse-ho and likewise won a few victories.
Let us see what Stakelberg's troops had been doing. The 3rd Siberian Corps had arrived at Kaoutaitse on October 8th and had deployed in front of Houaline Pass, while the 1st Siberian Corps arrived at Pianioupoutsa only on the 9th and deployed in front of Tschansaline.
On October 10th, the Russians were not able to win any success against the Japanese positions. The attack executed by Rennenkampf's detachment against Bensihou was likewise unfruitful and a new attack which was attempted on the south bank of the water course by his Cossack division was repulsed.
On October 11th, Stackelberg continued his attacks. Rennenkampf had some success with his detachment, which had been again reinforced by a division of the 3rd Siberian Corps. The day of the 12th passed under nearly the same conditions as the 11th; Rennenkampf's infantry made an unsuccessful attempt to gain the north bank of the Tai-tse-ho.
Stackelberg's intention was to renew his attacks along the front during the night of the 12th-13th; but on the evening of the 12th he received Kuropatkin's order to withdraw is left wing to the rear. This measure was made necessary by the retrograde movement that the center forces had to make following Bilderling's defeat.
Rennenkampf's Cossack division had likewise been obliged to withdraw, under orders from higher authority, toward the northeast and halted in front of Kiautshang.
The Japanese, being exhausted, did not pursue; they were satisfied to occupy Pianioupoutsa.
The great battles that took place between the 15th and 18th of October were purely frontal, and the cavalry took no part in them. And, not withstanding, the plains upon which the troops of the Russian right wing were acting ought to have allowed this arm to operate successfully.
Unfortunately, Rennenkampf and Samsanov, two of the most energetic cavalry chiefs, were in the mountains with their divisions, and Mitshenko had been withdrawn in rear of the front on the 14th.
After the battle of the Sha-ho on the 18th of October, the two sides remained in complete inactivity for a long period.
The Ying-kou Raid (January 8 to 18, 1905).
The retaking of the offensive by the Russians was marked by a cavalry raid by General Mitshenko upon the left flank and the rear of the Japanese forces in the region between the railroad and the Liao-ho river. The objective of the raid was Yin-kou, where the Japanese had established important supply depots.
The troops placed at Mitshenko's disposal comprised about 70 sotnias and squadrons, 22 pieces of horse artillery, 2 sections of machine guns and 4 detachments of mounted infantry, in all about 10,000 men .
The regular cavalry was represented by 15 squadrons of dragoons. We all add that this imposing mass of cavalry was unfortunately encumbered with convoy of 1500 pack animals.
This raid gave no results worth mentioning. The columns (three), weighted down by the convoy, marched exceedingly slow. It is true that the Russians destroyed the railroad and the telegraph line at several places, even put to flight several Japanese convoys and came into contact with their screening forces, but nothing more.
In general, the Russian cavalry did not, except on January 10th,encounter any serious obstacle; they traversed Niou-Chouang without striking a blow and arrived within sight of the railway station at Ying-kou on the evening of January 12th.
After a cannonade of short duration, the result of which was to set fire to a few supply depots, several sotnias were dismounted to assault the railway station, but they had to withdraw under the order of General Mitshenko who was informed of the approach of important reinforcements for the enemy.
The three columns beat a retreat to join the main body of the Russian army.
During this retreat, they were surprised and attacked on the 14th by a Japanese detachment composed of all three arms, but they succeeded in continuing their retreat without further obstacle and reentered the Russian lines on January 18th.
This raid cost the Russians 7 officers killed and 32 wounded, 71 cavalrymen killed and 257 wounded.
Among the officers killed was Lieutenant Burtin, a Frenchman, who had entered the service in a Cossack regiment.
Such was the substance of the Ying-kou raid.
While General Mitshenko was making this raid, General Rennenkampf 's cavalry was resting on the Russian left flank in the mountains. Small detachments of cossacks patrolled northern Korea on the east coast but obtained no appreciable results.
We will mention the battle of San-de-pu (January 25-29), in which General Grippenberg sacrificed a part of his cavalry in order to avoid a disaster. On January 27th and 28th, the Russian cavalry made a successful charge upon the Japanese north of Landounge.
We will pass over in silence the role of the Russian cavalry during the battle of Mukden (February 19-March 14, 1905), which was a negative one, and we will terminate this study by the brief recital of a new raid carried out by Mitshenko in May, 1905.
General Mitshenko's Raid (May 17-24, 1905).
After the battle of Mukden, the only military event in Manchuria worthy of notice was the second raid carried out by General Mitshenko.
On May 17th, General Mitshenko's cavalry detachment was placed in march; it comprised: the Ural and Transbaikal Cossack Division , and the Mixed Caucasian Division, with 6 field pieces.
The Japanese outposts were driven southward and an advance of was made on the village of Sin-loun-tchjouan, situated about 25 kilometers north of Tchan-tou-fou. While one part of the detachment made a demonstration before Sin-loun-tchjouan, the other part turned the Japanese positions on their left flank and continued its raid toward the south.
On the 18th, the sotnias of the advance guard of the detachment succeeded in destroying quite a long stretch of the enemy's telegraph line and burned a depot of supplies. On the same day, the other sotnias fought and dispersed several strong bands composed of Khounkhounses and Japanese, who attempted to surround Mitshenko's detachment.
Continuing his turning movement on the 19th of May, the detachment took the road leading from Pakoumyne to Shi-fou-tse, a village situated on the left bank of the Liao-ho, on the Pakoumyne-Mukden road, at about 45 kilometers northeast of Sinmintine. On the heights which rose south of Pakoumyne, the Japanese had posted a detachment and, along the Shi-fou-tse road, they had established strong outposts furnished with machine guns.
General Mitshenko, after having cannonaded the strongly intrenched position, assaulted it. The Japanese withdrew in disorder without having made much resistance.
Two Japanese companies were sabered and a third were all made prisoners. In one of the posts evacuated by the enemy more than 100 Japanese corpses were found. Marching in trace of the assailing units, several sotnia of the Chita regiment succeeded in gaining the road which leads to Sinmintine skirting the right bank of the Liao-ho. While portions of the sotnias made a reconnaissance in the direction of Sinmintine and destroyed the telegraph line, another portion pursued and destroyed a strong Japanese supply convoy 7 kilometers long not far from Shi-fou-tse. On this occasion the cossacks took several prisoners and captured a hundred horses.
Upon it's return, General Mitshenko's detachment again dispersed several bands composed of Khounkhouses and Japanese, and returned to its old position on the 24th of may, bringing with it 234 Japanese prisoners, of which number 5 were officers. Several machine guns and quite a number of horses.
This raid cost the Russian: 3 officers killed and 10 wounded; 35 cossacks killed and 141 wounded. From this time until the end of hostilities, nothing occurred but a few skirmishes which were of too little importance to be mentioned.
In closing this study, we believe it our duty to say that if the Russian cavalry had to fight in a European war where it would not encounter the same difficulties of terrain as in Manchuria, it is certain than when commanded by such energetic chiefs as Rennenkampf, Mitshenko and Samsanov, it would be able to cover itself with glory and render valuable service to the commander-in-chief.
(signed) Captain Serge Nidvine
It appears from Captain Serge Nidvine's articles that the Japanese found it advantageous to employ strong infantry patrols in cooperation with the supports and contact troops of their cavalry screen.
Sources consulted for footnotes
The following sources were used in correcting or providing addition insight to Captain Nidive's account.
The Armed Strength of Russia 1886,
German Official Account of the Russo-Japanese War, 8 volumes, Berlin1908-1914. Cited as GOA in the footnotes.
Handbook of the Russian Army 1914, Sixth Edition, London 1914 (Battery Press reprint 1996)
My Experiences at Nan San and Port Arthur with the Fifth East Siberian Rifles, Lieutenant General N.A. Tretyakov, London 1911. Cited as MEPA in the footnotes.
The Official History of the Russo-Japanese War, 5 volumes, London 1906-1910. Cited as BOH in the footnotes.
The Official History (Naval and
Military) of the Russo-Japanese War, 3 volumes, London 1908-1920.
Cited as BNM in the footnotes.
2. In Russia, regular cavalry (guard and dragoons) were organized into squadrons, while Cossack cavalry was organized into sotnias. This is a culture distinction; these are equivalent units with nearly identical structure and missions.
3. Russian mobilization was organized into classes (or lines). Cavalry of the 1st Line were those units maintained in peacetime and filled with the youngest conscript classes performing their active color service. Cavalry of the 2nd Line were reserve units that would be mobilized during war and filled with the conscript classes that had completed their color service within the last seven years. Cavalry of the 3rd Line were reserve units mobilized as the 2nd Line, but would be manned with the oldest conscript classes that had completed their color service over seven years prior
4. The Frontier Guard was a border patrol force with internal police duties in Russia's distance provinces. The Frontier Guards generally recruited soldiers that had completed their color service. Because of good pay and service conditions, these units were comprised of long term soldiers and tended to well trained and equipped. In February 1904, there were 55 companies of infantry, 55 squadrons of cavalry and 6 batteries of artillery, mostly equipped with mountain guns.
8. It was common within the Russian Army to 'second' officers from their regiments to serve with another regiment during this war. All the officers listed in this paragraph were assigned to regiments that remained in Russia. These officers were 'loaned' to serve as special staff officers, supernumeraries or replace causalities within the regiments fighting in Manchuria.
9. This is General Peter Kranssoff, a Don Cossack who eventually commanded the 3rd Cavalry Corps in WWI. He wrote a novel, 'From Double Eagle to Red Flag', an historically accurate account of his military experiences.
15. Each Russian infantry regiment had an okhotniki detachment of 40-60 men. These men were volunteers and wore the volunteer orange piping on their pogonyi. The East Siberian regiments normally mounted their okhotniki if horse were available. See footnote 7. MEPA footnote pg 2.
19. Lieutenant-General Nicholas Linevitch commended the Russians forces during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. He commanded the Ussuri Forces (including the fortress of Vladisvostok until January 1905, when he took command of the 1st Manchuria Army. He replaced General Kuropatkin as CinC of the Manchurian Forces in March 1905.
23. This is the 4th East Siberian Rifle Division. In reality, the Nanshan position was held only by the 5th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, two companies and a Scout Detachment from the 13th East Siberian Rifle Regiment, and two companies and a Scout Detachment from the 14th East Siberian Rifle Regiment. The vast majority of the 4th ESRD (12 battalions and 4 batteries), although available, was never committed to the battle. MEPA pages 32-61 and 303.
29. It is unlikely the 4th Sotnia of the Verkhne-Udinski Cossack Regiment participated in these operations. The 4th Sotnia was part of the Port Arthur garrison, which was permanently cut-off by the 2nd Japanese Army by 16 May (actually, no Russians troops entered Port Arthur after 6 May). BOH v.II pg 12-13 & v.III Appendix C.
30. Major General Pavel Rennenkampf commanded the Transbaikal Cossack Division consisting of the 2nd Chita, 2nd Verkhne-Udinski, 2nd Nerchinski, and 2nd Argun Cossack Regiments, with the 3rd and 4th Trans-Baikal Cossack Horse batteries. All of these units are of the 2nd Line.
31. New style refers to the Julian Calendar. During the war, the Russians used the Gregorian Calendar, which was 13 days behind that of the Julian. This passage means that the author has already changed the days for his European audience.
33. This is a very powerful image. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Soviets banned three items that were despised by the people from their use in the army as they were considered symbols of imperial power; the porgonyi (the Russian shoulder boards with rank), the Sam Browne belt with two shoulder straps as worn by Russian officers, and the most hated of the three, the Cossack Nagaika.
37. This is incorrect. Major-General Grekov commmanded the 2nd Brigade of the Orenberg Cossack Division. The Ussuri Cossack Brigade was attached to Lieutenant General Stakelberg's I Siberian Corps. The position given is correct for the Ussuri Cossack Brigade. GOA v.III Appendix I and Sketch I.
43. This force consisted of the Combined Dragoon Division (Primorski, 51st, and 52nd Dragoon Regiments), 4th Don Cossack Division (19th, 24th, and 26th Don Cossack Regiments), 2nd Caucasian Cossack Brigade (Terek-Kuban and the 2nd Dagestan Cossack Regiments), Ural Transbaikal Cossack Division (1st Verkhne-Udinski, 1st Chita, 4th & 5th Ural Cossack Regiments). Additionally there were 5 scout detachments and 4 Frontier Guard Sotnias, all supported by 4 horse batteries. GOA v.5, appendix I.
44. Ural and Transbaikal Cossack Division (4th & 5th Ural Cossack Regiments, 1st Verkhne-Udinski & 1st Chita Cossack Regiments ) and the Mixed Caucasian Cossack Division (2nd Regiments of the Chernomorski, Tamanski, Voljski, Kizlyar-Grebenski Cossack voiskos). Two sotnias of the 2nd Dagstan Cossack Regiment also participated.
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