Military Review

The battle on the river Yalu. Part of 2


The ratio of forces. The Eastern detachment of the Manchurian army under the command of General Mikhail Ivanovich Zasulich at the turn of the river Yalu consisted in the battle attitude of selected military units. It included the 3 and 6 East Siberian rifle divisions with their artillery brigades (2 Siberian Army Corps) - 20 rifle battalions and 62 field guns. In addition, the detachment included the Trans-Baikal Cossack Brigade, the Argun and Ussuri Cossack regiments (there are hundreds of 24 Cossacks in total), the engineer company and the telegraph team. Total detachment consisted of 20-23 thousand people.

The Japanese 1 army under the command of General Kuroki consisted of three divisions: 2-I and 12-I infantry divisions and guards. The divisions included 48 battalions, 15 squadrons and 180 guns (according to other sources - 128 guns). In total, more than 60 thousands of Japanese soldiers were concentrated in the area of ​​the city of Yingzhou (Yizhu). In addition, the army Kuroki constantly replenished. When the army was also more than 16 thousand. Porters (they replaced the military transport). The 1 Army was faced with the task of pushing Russian barrage forces from the border and opening the way to South Manchuria.

At the same time, the Japanese 2nd Army under the command of Yasukata Oku was in the Tsinampo area in full readiness for the passage by sea and landing on the Liaodong Peninsula. The army was waiting for the order of Commander-in-Chief Marshal Iwao Oyama. The commander-in-chief could give such an order only if the 1st Army successfully broke through the Yalu River and blocked the Russian fleet in Port Arthur.

The location of the troops. On April 18, the commander of the Eastern detachment, General Zasulich, received an order from the Manchurian army commander Kuropatkin to make it difficult for the Japanese troops to cross the Yalu and further advance through the Feishunlin mountain range. In addition, it was necessary to find out the purpose and direction of the Japanese. At the same time, Zasulich had to avoid a decisive battle with superior enemy forces and, with strong pressure, retreat to the main forces of the Manchurian army against Liaoyang. Thus, the Russian command underestimated the strategic importance of the line on the Yalu River. The Japanese army was not going to stop at a convenient turn for defense. So, the river Yalu did not have fords, it could be forced only on watercrafts. There was a ford on the tributary of Yalu River, the Eijo (Ayhe), but only the cavalry could cross it. And the Japanese cavalry was a weak point.

The lack of reliable information about the disposition of the enemy’s forces did not allow Zasulich to calculate the direction of the main strike of the 1 Army and correctly position the Russian troops. Zasulich's eastern squad was scattered almost on the 100-kilometer stretch. In the place where the main forces of the Japanese army were concentrated, about half of the Eastern detachment was located. Thus, 10 battalions, 5 equestrian hunting teams, 32 guns and 8 machine guns held defenses at the Sakhodzy - Turenchen position. A regiment with 6 guns, which advanced a battalion with 1 guns to Chingou 4, was stationed in the Potetynzy area. The right flank was covered with cavalry. Behchitsky detachment was located behind the left flank of the position, at the mouth of the Ambihe River, and then the Yalu River was equipped with horse patrols. Tenzy had a reserve near the village - 5 battalions and 8 guns. The remaining parts were stretched north along the river.

The Russian position on the right bank of the Yalu River was very convenient for defense. The right, mountainous shore towered above the lowlands of the left bank. With a sufficient number of troops and good engineering equipment, these positions could become unapproachable for the Japanese or extremely difficult for a breakthrough. However, here the contempt of the generals for military innovations fully affected. Opportunities to strengthen the position, which gave nature, were not used. Contempt for the trenches led to the fact that they built only a few mouths. In addition, they were almost not disguised and open, not protected from shrapnel fire. The guns were located openly on the mountain slopes facing the enemy. This gave the Japanese the opportunity to visually detect the Russian artillery positions even before the start of the battle. Artillery reconnaissance did not hold. The soldiers did not mask their presence, and the Japanese could easily identify the Russian positions. Due to the stretching of forces, the depth of defense was low. Moreover, because of the lack of roads, forested mountains and ravines, the maneuver of the troops was difficult. In such circumstances, the connection was of great importance. But the Japanese interrupted the telegraph communication established along the stretched front of the Eastern detachment at the first contact.

Assessing the situation, General Kuroki decided to strike with all his might on the Turenchenskiy plot. Japanese intelligence agents and agents (the Japanese widely used the Chinese and Koreans for espionage) found that above the mouth of the Eijo River, which flowed into Yalu, the Russian command only monitors with equestrian trips. The crossing here of significant forces allowed to cover the Turenchen position of the Russian detachment from the flank. Therefore, in this direction, two divisions were advancing - Guards and 12. The bypass maneuver should have been done by the 12 Division. After the first success, Kuroki hoped to go to the rear of the Russian detachment, cut him off from the main forces of the Manchurian army and destroy, and then move to Fynghuanchen, ensure the landing and deployment of the 2 Army Oka in Bitszyo. The Japanese were able to keep secret the main direction of the strike and ensure complete superiority in forces. For the offensive on the Turenchensk area, the Japanese command created a fivefold superiority in the infantry and threefold in artillery.

The battle on the river Yalu. Part of 2

The battle. On the night of April 26, Japanese troops captured the islands of Kiuri and Xiamalindu. The Russian hunting teams that occupied them were ousted. By April 29, the Japanese completed the construction of several crossings and placed on the islands a few strong artillery batteries, which provided for the crossing of troops. Japanese gunners had maps with Russian positions on them on the other side of the Yalu River. The right-flank 12 Division was advanced to the Eihe River, west of Husan. She received the task to cover the left flank of the Russian squad.

On the night of May 1, the main forces of the Japanese army crossed the river. It must be said that the crossing took place with complete silence on the Russian batteries, which surprised the Japanese very much. From the Russian position did not make a single shot. The Japanese thought that the Russians were withdrawing or wanting to launch a volley into the support. Only after the Japanese began to build a pontoon bridge, did the Russian gunners try to prevent this. However, their positions, which were completely open, quickly covered. Russian batteries were silent.

Early in the morning the Japanese artillery conducted a strong artillery preparation. The fire led 20 howitzers and 72 field guns. Many guns fired on the opposite shore, aimed fire, on previously identified Russian positions. Then all three Japanese divisions went on the attack. They lined up in columns, covered with thick chains of shooters. On the front, in the 10 km, there were only 5 infantry battalions and 2 hunting teams with 15 field guns and 8 machine guns. The Japanese attacked in thick formations, and only because of the weakness of the enemy’s rifle-artillery fire and the lack of mountain artillery among the Russians, they suffered rather small losses.

By 8 hours, the Japanese forces forced the Russians to retreat from Turenchen, and another hour later the forces of the Guards Division occupied Petytonza. At the same time, the 12 Division forced Eihe and cut the only road to Chingou, covering the left flank of the Russian position. The Russian cavalry detachment, which covered the left wing of the Russian position on Yalu, instead of trying to strike at the flank and rear of the enemy forces, retreated for no apparent reason. General M.I. Zasulich, and not thinking about the counterattacking actions (he showed extreme confusion that day) and, under the threat of encirclement, gave the order for the general retreat of the Eastern detachment.

To cover the retreating troops, two battalions and 8 guns of the 11 East Siberian Regiment were advanced from the reserve. They occupied the height of 84. The fighters of the 11 East Siberian Rifle Regiment covered themselves with eternal glory that day. Allowing other troops to get out of attack, the 11 th East Siberian Regiment stood to death and was surrounded. The field battery and machine-gun company fought to the last and "lay bones." The brave commander of the regiment and almost the entire 3 battalion fell to death. Correcting the mistakes of command, two battalions of Siberian riflemen half a day held back the onslaught of almost two Japanese divisions. The remnants of the regiment in the 4 hour of the day went to break through the ring of encirclement and hit the bayonets. The Japanese did not accept hand-to-hand combat, and the Siberian riflemen were able to break through into the mountain gorge. The enemy pursued Russian soldiers, but ran into an ambush, lost many people and withdrew. Only a few dozen soldiers and two company commanders remained from the regiment.


The Eastern detachment retreated in disarray to the Fenshulylinsky Range, losing most of the guns. The Japanese troops, following in the wake of the Eastern Detachment, advanced into the Fynhuangchen area. The Croek 1 Army completed its initial combat mission.

Zasulich’s squad lost around 2780 people (according to other sources, 55 officers and 2122 soldiers) killed, wounded, captured and missing. The 21 field gun and all 8 machine guns were lost. The guns could not be taken out of positions, as the sledge horses were killed by enemy fire, and the gunners brought the guns down. Japanese troops lost 1036 people (according to their data). Apparently, the Japanese losses are somewhat underestimated.

The defeat of the Russian troops was caused by several reasons. Poor intelligence was established. Positions were not prepared in engineering. Zasulich did not use Kuroki’s slowness and excessive caution to regroup his forces, he was mistaken with the main direction of the opponent’s strike - he was waiting for him at Sakhoza. The Eastern detachment was stretched for a long distance, and only about 25 thousand people fought against the strike force of the Japanese army in 30-8 thousand. When it turned out the direction of the main strike of the enemy, the Russian command did not try to tighten all forces to the threatened sector and go to the counteroffensive, use cavalry for strikes in the flank and rear of the enemy. Zasulich did not create a number of rear and intermediate positions, relying on which it was possible to use the tactics of the mobile defense, inflicting serious damage to the superior forces of the enemy (this tactic was used by the Boers in the war with the British). In addition, Zasulich’s initiative was suppressed by the commander of the Manchurian army, Kuropatkin, who gave a lot of instructions, often very petty. As a result, Zasulich acted extremely indecisively, sluggishly and passively (he also acted in the future).

The defeat on the Yalu River was of strategic importance. The Japanese 1-I army overturned the Eastern detachment and broke into operational space. The Japanese cleared a convenient route to southern Manchuria and took the first step to seize the strategic initiative on the land theater. Now, almost the entire southern coast of the Liaodong Peninsula was open for the landing of landing forces. The Japanese command had the opportunity to proceed to the siege of Port Arthur. Having advanced to Fynhuangchen, Kuroki’s army bound Kuropatkin’s Manchurian army and fully ensured the landing and deployment of 2 and 3 of the Japanese armies.

In addition, the first victory on land, albeit over insignificant Russian forces, greatly raised the morale of the Japanese army. The Japanese had not yet encountered the Russians in battle (they did not fight with the first-class European army), and this experience played a large positive role for further hostilities.

At the same time, the first defeat on land undermined the morale of the Russian army. On the one hand, it was positive that the Russian command ceased to suffer hats and moods. The Japanese showed themselves to be a skilled and dangerous adversary. An understanding of the advantages of fire over bayonet strikes, the need to construct field fortifications and the location of artillery in closed positions has come. On the other hand, it was bad that now the Russian command began to overestimate the enemy. Mania flank rounds became the scourge of the Russian command.

Articles from this series:
Battle of the Yalu River
The battle on the river Yalu. Part of 2
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  1. nnz226
    nnz226 14 May 2014 13: 34
    The tsar is responsible for the stupidity of the tsarist generals! Therefore, after 13 years he flew off the throne! Like shovel dung! And there is nothing to lament about the "innocent murdered!"
    1. KOMA
      KOMA 14 May 2014 16: 09
      I fully agree with the previous speaker!
  2. Free wind
    Free wind 14 May 2014 17: 07
    Pontoon ferry !!!!!!! I had never thought that they already existed then. our people perished, and it’s very bad that the commanders idiocy.
  3. navigator
    navigator 14 May 2014 21: 06
    It is interesting. Unfortunately, the Russian Empire has an extremely low level of training of command and personnel. Cossack units have historically not been distinguished by combat qualities — punitive and partisan operations — their profile. It is very difficult for them to fight with a regular army.
  4. Beck
    Beck 15 May 2014 01: 26

    And there were good relations between Russia and Japan.

    The port of Vladivostok, in those days and even now, was not year-round; in winter it froze for 3-4 months. Therefore, in the winter months, the Pacific Fleet of Russia stood in the ice-free waters of the port Nagasaki.

    After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, the port of Lushunkou (Port Arthur), on the Kwantung Peninsula, passed to Japan. But due to the Triple Intervention, Russia, France, Germany in 1895, Japan gave the port to China. In 1897, taking advantage of China's weakness after the war with Japan, Germany and Russia, by secret agreement, set up their bases. Russia introduced its ships to Lushunkou and from that moment Russian Port Arthur appeared. The Germans occupied Qingdao.

    By the beginning of the 20th century, Japan had become so strong that it began to claim colonial division. By that time, Manchuria was a dependent Russian territory. Japan proposed to divide the spheres of influence - northern Manchuria remained with Russia, while the southern one was supposed to become dependent on Japan. Russia rejected repeated offers.

    This was the reason for the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. The division of spheres of influence between the colonial powers.
  5. Ross
    Ross 15 May 2014 11: 57
    Quote: navigator
    It is interesting. Unfortunately, the Russian Empire has an extremely low level of training of command and personnel. Cossack units have historically not been distinguished by combat qualities — punitive and partisan operations — their profile. It is very difficult for them to fight with a regular army.

    As for the Cossack units, you are wrong! In the First World Cossack units proved to be extremely excellent. Plastunks of Denikin terrified the Turks in the Caucasus and elsewhere on the front, the Cossacks showed themselves in battle from the best side.