« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
to the conclusion that the Jap- is no doubt, however, that the anese had shunned the plain premises of this attempt against because they felt their inferior- Oyama's flank were, at the outity on the level. This thought set, conducted with considerable was set fast in his mind when skill—that is to say, they were he designed the abortive opera- conducted with secrecy, and tions at Hei-kou-tai, and after secrecy in war is synonymous that disaster it was this belief with skill. which caused him to
On the night of the 23rd the 20,000 of his reserves at Fu- Russians' second army, conshun as & counterpoise to the sisting of the 8th and 10th combined movement which he Army Corps, plus Stackelapprehended Kawamura and berg's Siberians, concentrated Kuroki would make against his between Chang-tan and Tu-tileft flank. It must be allowed, fang on the Hsin-min-ting-Liauhowever, that the development yang road, about twenty-five of the final closure of the battle miles south-west of Mukden, of Hei - kou - tai is an enigma and five miles to the rear of even to this moment. The mili- the defences on the Hun-ho. tary student can understand the weather still remained favthe object of Gripenberg's orig- ourable, as far as a Manchurian inal movement, -his desire to winter can be favourable for turn the Japanese on the flank military operations. On the on which he believed their mili- night of the 24th Gripenberg tary resistance to be the weak- moved his army southwards, est. One can even understand and crossed the frozen Hun in his selecting European troops, two places, at Han-chiao-pu and for the most part unblooded, to Chi-tai-tzu. Having made the engage upon this enterprise passage of the river at dayover the frozen plains. Also, break, the Russian brigades it is easy to understand why, formed for attack, and were as a matter of precaution, the launched against an echelon of well - tried 1st Siberian Army fortified posts, which furnished Corps under General Stackel- the Japanese left. Of these berg was withdrawn from the the San-de-pu position was the left, and sent to stiffen the new most important. It is essential phalanxes from European Rus- that the military reader should sia. The order which the mut- at this moment fix in his mind inous and sore-headed Gripen- the character of the terrain in berg claims to have in his pos- which the fighting took place. session, in which Kuropatkin The Times of February 4 asks him to unmask the situa- has given the following extion of the chief masses of the pressive picture :Japanese force beyond the Sha
“San-de-pu, like all the other nuho, is also easy of comprehen- merous villages around, is a collection sion.
But, beyond this point, of farmsteads, with a caravanserai for there is little that the student winter travellers. Each farmhouse or historian can unravel or con- dried bricks, well plastered with
is surrounded by high walls of sunscientiously understand. There loam, mixed with chopped straw. These walls can be neatly loopholed, once. He immediately threw are about 3 feet thick, and form a in the 1st and 9th Divisions, splendid defence against bullets. The houses and farm-buildings bave
while the attacking line of the all their windows and doors opening 8th and 10th Army Corps deinto the large courtyards; the gables ployed on his left. On the and rear walls are very thick, and right of our old friends the built of the same materials as the compound walls; with rare exceptions
Siberians, it looked as if a every house is thatched. "The mili- great dark mantle were being tary would, however, especially the unrolled over the wide expanse Japanese, probably cover the thatch of spotless snow. This movevery thickly with mud or earth to ment was due to the deployprevent fire. The roofs are of heavy timbers resting on posts, and thus ment of the two Cossack divican support great weights. All sions which were working on buildings are low and one-storeyed. Gripen berg's right, and which The country round San - de - pu is had orders to push straight quite level and open, excepting for the villages and burial-places, where through to the Hsin-min-tingthere were groves of trees, which Liauyang road.
What a wonhave now largely been burned for derful panorama must have fuel. The villages are roughly about presented itself to those who two miles apart, and vary from 20 to 100 families. The Russians seem
were privileged to witness this to have been driven over the Hun, gigantic struggle! To a very which flows at this season beneath considerable extent this sudden ice over 3 feet in thickness, and over debouching of huge Russian which carts weighing, when loaded, columns from beyond their left five tons, can safely travel, and much heavier loads can be carried if straw
came as a surprise to the Japanor millet stalks are laid over the ice.
Even before the heads of The Hun flows in this region in a the great grey columns of Ruswell - defined bed, with steep and sian infantry shook out into adoften overhanging banks from 15 feet to 20 feet above the level of
vance guards, the Japanese outthe ice."
posts were falling back hurried.
ly upon the intrenched villages. Lord Brooke endorses this Rapidly over the frozen snow view, for he refers to the land- the Russian attack developed : scape on this very morning as there was yet no need for guns “a wide flat plain with many to unlimber, - the weight of villages and a good deal of surprise and numbers swept timber, while low sandy hills through village after village diversified the landscape, still which the Japanese had held in its white mantle of snow." as outposts. Here and there
Although the 1st Siberian there would be a little desperate Army Corps had been sent as fighting in Chinese courtyard
V a support to the 2nd Euro- and Manchu tomb, but for the pean Corps, yet Gripenberg time being the resistance was was wise enough to place the as a drop in the ocean, and the seasoned troops in the van- overwhelming and annihilating guard, and at daybreak Stackel- of these isolated
these isolated groups of berg found himself within a staunch Japanese outposts mile of the Japanese villages, whetted the lust for victory with instructions to attack at which successive defeats had
not yet extinguished in Stackel The élan died out from the adberg's inimitable Siberians. vance. Masses of grey-coated
As the red sun forced its way infantrymen heaped and teemed up through the grey winter upon the
snowy reverses of the atmosphere, the crackle and sand-dunes, or jostled in thoucrash of musketry on the left sands behind such cover as the of the Siberians told how the walls of captured villages would Kharkov and Odessa reservists vouchsafe them. Then, for the were being blooded : on the far first time, the commanders of right, too, the cavalry were corps realised that although meeting with success. A jubi- they had turned the first line lant staff officer canters up in the Japanese defence and with the information that Mis were now advancing directly chenko's swashbucklers have upon theleft rearof the principal captured a
company flank defences, yet they had of Japanese infantry, and miscalculated. They had been squadron is marching them ignorant of the second line of back to Chang-tan. Then, above defences. They had simply the wicked ring of the bursting “butted in,” to use an eloshrapnel and the steady deton- quent Americanism, between ation of the field-guns in action two held parallels, and now on the Hun-ho, comes the dull had neither the information reverberating boom from the nor the direction to grapple north. The turning movement with a situation
the success has been successful. Koulbars or failure of which depended in the centre and Linievitch on upon the active co-operation of the far left are co-operating. Kuropatkin's centre and left, At last the great white Czar's or a magnificent effort on the inexorable will is to be exercised part of the Cossack divisions upon the armies of the yellow on Gripenberg's right.
We The peaceful calm of a now know that the three sucsnow-wrapt winter morning ceeding days brought no real. has disappeared. For the isation of the elements essential moment the season is nothing, to success. On the night of and the grey-coated thousands January 25, although in the swallow up walled village after detail of fierce fighting there village, leaving behind them a
diminution of the dismal wreck of human frames, struggle, yet all chance of suca miserable pattern on the cess was gone. virgin snow. Then the enemy
Space will not allow us to began in earnest to shell the fill in detail step by step all the heads of the many Russian rigorous attacks and counterattacking columns. It seemed attacks which marked Gripenthat the head of the attack had berg's desperate efforts to seize pushed itself into a semicircle some point in the Japanese of live artillery. So rapid and échelon which would give the accurate was the shrapnel fire necessary leverage to turn his that the effect of the attack attention upon the Japanese ing columns was instantaneous. second line of defence, which
VOL. CLXXVIII. —NO. MLXXIX.
he now discovered followed the The advance divisions and regcourse of the Shili-ho. The ular reserves held in hand at Russian divisions had pushed Liau-yang had been immediup to within striking distance ately marched up to the line of of the walled villages of San-de- the Shili-ho. They were in pu and Hei-kou-tai, which were position on January 26. For the two main keys which pre- the time being Nogi considered vented the actual turning of the it expedient to halt them. Japanese first line of defence, San-de-pu was holding its own. facing the Hun-ho and Sha-ho The longer that the Russians rivers. Here the Russian in- halted, the more decisive, comfantry were brought up sharply plete, and overwhelming would to the halt. Both villages, and be the Japanese counter-stroke especially San-de-pu, had been when it was struck. We have placed into a perfect state of many sketchy accounts of the preparation. The 33rd Regi. desperate efforts with which the ment of Siberian Rifles flung 33rd and 34th Siberian Rifle itself out into the assaulting Regiments toiled to make good line, and staggered up into the the footing which was gained in blaze of magazine and machine- the outskirts of San-de-pu. On gun fire, which the Japanese the 26th the Russian artillery brought to bear upon it from was massed against the defences their skilfully prepared defences. in the village: it was hoped The gallant effort was made that the rain of shrapnel would with success against the lesser so wear down the defenders that citadel, but failed in front of by evening Stackelberg's inSan-de-pu. With this failure fantry might be able to struggle came the night. Now there into possession of the coveted was no question of a snug position. In this futile attempt and comfortable zemlianke.1 Stackelberg's 9th division was
During the night of January practically annihilated. Again 25 the Japanese were suffi- had the wretched Russian ciently conversant with the troops, now almost starved, to Russian intentions to make the lie out and face the intense necessary precautions to turn rigour of a Manchurian winter. the initial success on their left The weather had changed, and into a disaster. The advance all through the day the 9th divisions of Nogi's corps had division had advanced to death already arrived from Port and annihilation in the teeth Arthur, and even before Gripen- of a blinding snowstorm. Only berg established his advance, those who have experienced an this army had been allotted Arctic winter can realise what the left flank of Oyama's front. it must be to lie out in a wind
1 Zemlianke is the Russian term for underground shelters, in which practically the whole army was housed during the inactivity of trench life. Each zemlianke generally held from eight to sixteen men. Lord Brooke describes them as having earthen floors and sides covered with mud. However cold it was outside, it was always beautifully warm in these dug-outs.”
against which blanket, desperate array, launched batsheepskin, or fur is proof. For talion after battalion against the strong and healthy it was Hei-kou-tai. The moment was awful; what then must have ripe to turn the Russian effort been the state of the many into disaster, and Nogi threw thousands of poor wretches who his Port Arthur veterans in had been struck down in the sledge-hammer attack against snow,
whom no ambulance Hei-kou-tai. All through the could reach, no doctor succour? night the desperate assaults Imagination will not reproduce were continued ; time after the horrors of such a situation. time the head of each attack
On the 28th Gripenberg to ing line was swept away by some extent made progress
the sleet of Russian fire poured that is, he forced the Japanese into it. But the men who had from the high ground to the carried Erh-lung-shan, and who south of San-de-pu, and prac- had formed part of the army tically isolated the village which had 203 Metre Hill to which the Japanese had held its credit, were not be so stubbornly. But as long as denied, and at nine o'clock on San-de-pu held firm, the moment the morning of the 29th a must arrive when Nogi would mass of half - demented infanbe able to loose his war-dogs trymen, climbing over the dead
counter - attack. Also on bodies of their comrades, planted this day it must have occurred the Rising Sun above the to the veteran Gripenberg that highest gable in the village. something was very wrong in the moment of disaster had the management of the whole arrived. Hei - kou - tai lost,
Beyond the Gripenberg ordered his army fitful boom of an occasional to retire, and Nogi launched gun fired from the Russian his 30,000 fresh reserves in centre, there was no evidence pursuit. Worn, emaciated, and of Koulbars having moved a beaten,
fine European finger to aid him. The mo- troops in whom St Petersburg ment would now soon be passed had placed such faith, and who when co-operation could help six days before had proudly him, and we can imagine the crossed the frozen Hun and urgent messages that he des- advanced to the attack with patched to the Commander-in- all the panoply of medieval Chief begging and praying that war, were now hurled back he would carry out his part of across the ice—a broken and the contract. Of the evasive defeated rabble. St Petersanswers which he received we burg and the Grand Ducal have as yet no knowledge. But party had asked for a victory this we know, that by the even- or a counter-irritant. Far be ing of the 28th the Japanese, in it from us to say that a victory
1 It is officially stated that the thermometer on the occasion of the San-de-pu fighting was ten degrees below freezing.