Military Review

Was the Japanese attack on Russia sudden?

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Was the Japanese attack on Russia sudden?



The myth of the unexpected start of the Russian-Japanese war was created even before its end, to justify the failures of the tsarist army in the Far East.
In the Soviet Military Encyclopedia (BOO) the article devoted to the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war 1904 – 1905 was literally saturated with the refrain of “surprise”. The Japanese "suddenly attacked", "treacherously attacked", "began military operations without warning." But this “suddenness” was invented by non-military experts of the SVE, it first appeared in 1905 year. Tsarist propaganda tries so to explain the continuous defeat in the Far East. Later, in the Soviet era, the “surprise of the Japanese attack” migrated to the military reference books of the Bolsheviks. And even now the beginning of the war on Wikipedia is described as “sudden.”

“The thought of war has always been relegated to the background as unpleasant”

Already at the end of the 19th century, for all conscientious military analysts of Russia and abroad, it was clear that the Japanese empire was very carefully and consistently preparing for a military redistribution of spheres of influence in the Pacific. The Russian squadron of the Mediterranean Sea, commanded by Rear Admiral Stepan Makarov, was sent to the Pacific Ocean in the 1895 year to strengthen Russia's naval forces, in view of the expected clash with Japan.

With the arrival in Vladivostok, at the request of Admiral Sergey Tyrtov, commander of the Pacific squadron, Makarov began preparing ships for military operations. At that time, Russian ships were mainly in the ports of the Sea of ​​Japan. In his 1896 report on the presence of squadron ships in the Pacific region, Makarov points to the inevitability of an armed struggle against Japan: “The circumstances are such that the Japanese now consider Russia to be the enemy for the natural, in their opinion, development of the country. The war with Russia will be extremely popular in Japan and will cause the full tension of its forces from the very first minute. ”


Stepan Makarov.


On the pages of the book “Discourses on the issues of naval tactics”, published in St. Petersburg in 1897, Admiral Makarov inevitably justified the war with Japan in the geopolitical context: “No one can be a prophet in politics, but it would be careless to think that the great migration of peoples it will not happen again, and if the movement of the yellow race starts from east to west, then we will be the first to stop this flow with our bosom. Prudence requires advance and fully prepared to prepare for such events, and these preparations can do no harm; they will only contribute to the mass of the Russian people the necessary spiritual rigidity, i.e. just what the Romans had so much under their rule and the loss of which led to the fall of this world empire. ”

Becoming a member of the state commission on armament of fortresses, Makarov since the summer of 1896, “bombarded” the Naval Ministry with proposals to prepare Port Arthur for a long all-round defense. Later, he again, time after time, returns to this initiative. “The fall of Port Arthur will be a terrible blow to our position in the Far East. To prevent this from happening, Port Arthur must be made impregnable and supplied with provisions, gunpowder and coal in such quantities as to withstand a very long siege until reinforcements arrive, ”he wrote in March 1900 in a memo to Maritime Ministry manager Admiral Paul. Tyrtov.

In response, the ministry blames Makarov for not reasonably considering the Russian squadron in the Far East "zero." Pavel Tyrtov was convinced that the “valiant Russian fleet” would not allow the Japanese to bring heavy siege weapons to the port-arthur fortress by the sea.

Four years later, Port Arthur was taken exactly from land. Siege weapons were delivered from Japan by sea and unloaded unloaded in the port of Dalny.

Warnings Makarov remained unanswered. Already 11 in November 1902 of the year in a note on the shipbuilding program for 1903 – 1923 years he reiterates the possible actions of the Japanese in the Far East, specifying that “the gap will follow from Japan, not from ours. And all Japanese people, as one, will rise in order to achieve success. ”

“I want to live in Russia, but in a European way”

The Russian nobility at the beginning of the 20th century turned out to be unprepared for war. “I want to live in Russia, but in a European way,” the young lieutenant Nikolai Yazykov wrote sincerely to 1902 in the year to his friend, “I want to love the Motherland, but without a religious sacrifice, moreover, I even dislike the thought of it.”

Japanese officers - people from samurai families - thought differently. The well-known modern historian Anatoly Utkin cites in his monograph “The Russo-Japanese War. At the beginning of all the troubles "excerpt from the diary of Yosihara, the captain of the Japanese destroyer. “What the Russians call“ the fear of death ”is not clear to anyone here on the ship, but I know something about it from their books. To me, this feeling seems like an ordinary stupidity, stemming from their stupid religion. Fortunately, our politicians did not introduce it to us, and their half-crazed missionaries failed to make us lunatics. The Japanese do not have the fear of death if they are fighting for the interests of their country. ”


French sailors rescue survivors from the sinking cruiser “Varyag” in Chemulpo. Image: Ann Ronan Pictures / Getty Images


In 1908, the book “Spirit and Discipline in Our navy". It was written by Prince Alexander Lieven, chairman of the commission on the description of the Russo-Japanese War, commander of the cruiser "Diana" (of the same type with the famous "Aurora"), awarded the gold saber "For Courage" for the battle on July 28, 1904 in the Yellow Sea.

“The idea of ​​war has always been relegated to the background as unpleasant,” thought Lieven, “and all our aspirations were directed towards its avoidance. The propaganda of the ideas of universal peace found an especially supportive ear in Russia. We built armadillos and at the same time we hoped with this fleet not to defeat the enemy, but to maintain friendly relations with him. Who did not see that we have demonstrations and maneuvers are fake, that the shooting was too rare, that the officers missed the armed reserve and so on. And all this is one root cause. We did not realize that we were a military people. ”

"Do not listen, I ask you, this Cassandra, - she would only howl ..."

These words were uttered, as witnesses testify, Admiral Fedor Avelan, Director of the Naval Ministry of the Russian Empire, when one of the naval staff officers "baked" him with his questions about the alarming assessments of Makarov about the real state of the Russian fleet in the Far East. Avelan was a brave and experienced naval commander, but a man of his class, and most importantly, a trusted functionary of the Russian bureaucratic machinery.

Vice Admiral Makarov sincerely sought to serve in the Far East in order to prevent the impending defeat of the Russian fleet.

“They're not sending me there,” the admiral wrote bitterly in the autumn of 1903 to his friend, Baron Ferdinand Wrangel, “until the accident happens there; and our position there is extremely disadvantageous. ” And this time Makarov was right: he was sent to the Far East only after the catastrophe that had occurred, when it was already impossible to change anything drastically.

In the summer of 1903, the War Minister, General Alexei Kuropatkin, inspected the troops of the Far East and especially carefully familiarized himself with the defenses of Port Arthur. Of course, he saw the true situation - the almost complete absence of military training, but upon returning to St. Petersburg he reported exactly what the king and his entourage wanted to hear.

“... Now you can not worry if even a large part, for example, of the Japanese army falls upon Port Arthur. We have the strength to defend Port Arthur, even while fighting alone against 5 – 10 enemies. Further work will provide an opportunity to find a safe haven throughout our Pacific squadron. Already now this squadron can safely measure its strength with the entire fleet of Japan with the hope of complete success. Thus, Port Arthur, supplied from the sea and from land, equipped with a strong garrison and supported by a powerful fleet, represents a completely independent force, ”wrote Kuropatkin, who later lost to the Japanese land campaign.


Siege of Port Arthur by Japanese troops.


When the 25 of December 1904 of the break of diplomatic relations was published in the St. Petersburg newspapers, Admiral Makarov could not stand it and, despite mutual hostility, wrote a personal letter to the manager, Abelaine.

“The stay of ships in the open roadstead,” predicted Makarov’s catastrophe with amazing accuracy, “gives the enemy the ability to make night attacks. No vigilance can prevent an energetic enemy at night to fall upon a fleet with a large number of destroyers and even steam boats. The result of such an attack will be very difficult for us. ”

Makarov further claimed that it was precisely the location of the Russian squadron on the outer roadstead of Port Arthur that would provoke Japan to the start of the war, for it afforded a rare opportunity to weaken the Russian fleet with a sudden night attack. The end of the letter is literally prophetic: “If we didn’t put a fleet into the inner basin of the Port Arthur harbor now, we will be forced to do this after the first night attack, paying dearly for the mistake.”

In fact, everything happened in Port Arthur exactly as Makarov had foreseen: on the night from 26 to 27 in January 1904, the newest battleships Retvisan and Tsesarevich, and also the cruiser Pallada got on board the Japanese torpedo and were the period of the Russo-Japanese War disabled.

"I forbid to put the fleet in a defensive position, so as not to provoke the Japanese ..."

In early January, 1904, the vicar of His Imperial Majesty in Vladivostok, Admiral Yevgeny Alekseev, awaiting an attack by the Japanese, appealed to Tsar Nicholas II to allow an announcement of the mobilization of troops in the Far East. A few days later, there was a response in which it was allowed to declare the fortresses of Port Arthur and Vladivostok on martial law and prepare a detachment of troops to be sent to the Yalu River, to the border between China and Korea.

At the request of Alekseev to put the fleet into the sea to counteract the landing of the Japanese army in Chemulpo, Nicholas II replied with a telegram after a five-day pause: “It is desirable that the Japanese, rather than we, should launch military operations. Therefore, if they start actions against us, then you should not prevent them from landing in South Korea or on the East Coast, up to Genzan, inclusively. ”

Even at the operational level, the Russo-Japanese war did not come "suddenly." The Russian naval attaché in Japan, second-rank captain Alexander Rusin, promptly sent an encrypted dispatch to St. Petersburg to prepare the Japanese for the start of the war. 22 January 1904 of the year he reiterates the recently purchased armored cruisers Nissin and Kassuga, which had recently bought armored cruisers from Singapore to Japan, categorically claiming that the war will begin in the very next few days. Indeed, on this day (February 4 1904 in a new style) in Japan a general mobilization was announced. Two days later, Japan broke off diplomatic relations with Russia and the Japanese fleet consisting of six battleships, 14 cruisers and over 36 squadron destroyers took to sea.

According to historians, Nicholas II was excellent at getting along with mediocrity, one of them was the governor of the tsar in Vladivostok, a member of three round-the-world trips, Admiral Yevgeny Alekseev. Having received the “valuable” instruction of the emperor to control the Russian troops and fleet in the Far East in such a way that “the Japanese, not we, opened hostilities”, Alekseev began to consistently carry out the order.

The commander of Port Arthur in 1904, Oscar Stark, kept all his life written with a special green pencil nominal order of Alekseev, which was strictly forbidden to put the ships of the Russian fleet in the protected position of the internal raid of Port Arthur, hang out anti-torpedo networks, etc. Stark repeatedly besieged Alekseeva with similar proposals and ultimately achieved the receipt of a personalized, written and absolutely suicidal order for the Russian fleet: "I forbid putting the fleet in a defensive position so as not to provoke the Japanese."

Stark, a good professional in maritime affairs, but a deeply law-abiding officer, also formed the command personnel of the Pacific squadron to match himself. One of the officers closest to him was the chief of staff of the port-arthur squadron, rear admiral Wilhelm Vitgeft. Later, Admiral Nicholas von Essen characterized him this way.


Wilhelm Witgeft. Photo: TSGAKFFD


“Wilhelm Karlovich Vitgeft was an honest and well-intentioned man, a tireless worker, but, unfortunately, his work was always stupid and always all his orders were based on all sorts of misunderstandings and even misfortunes. After serving for many years in the navy, Admiral Vitgeft was not a seaman at all, much less a military man. As a child, as he himself told, his father intended him for missionary work. Vitgeft got into the naval service as if by mistake, and his entire service was somehow a complete misunderstanding. ”

On the eve of the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Witgeft is holding an officer meeting on the flagship battleship Petropavlovsk 26 in January 1904. According to eyewitness testimony, naval officers conferred for a long time and pointlessly, since the leitmotif of the entire meeting was to find out “how to do something so that it is completely imperceptible”. On 23.00, Vitgeft closed the meeting with the phrase: "Sirs, there will be no war."

Exactly half an hour later, the outer raid of Port Arthur shuddered with fifteen powerful explosions. This Japanese admiral of Togo ordered to attack extremely conveniently located Russian ships.

“This is incredible! - Admiral Alekseev responded. “They can shoot even at night!” A little later he issued an order for all Russian armed forces in the Far East, in which, among other things, were the following words: “Everyone must remain calm in order to fulfill their duty in the most efficient way possible, believing in God's help. ”
Author:
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http://rusplt.ru/policy/byilo-li-napadenie-yaponii-na-rossiyu-vnezapnyim-9838.html
24 comments
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  1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
    Andrei from Chelyabinsk 19 May 2014 09: 39
    +5
    Witgeft got into the maritime service, as it were, by misunderstanding, and all his service was somehow a complete misunderstanding.

    I would say that the entire article by the author is a complete misunderstanding.
    "Was Japan's attack on Russia sudden?" The author asks and ... writes anything, but not about the question he raised.
    “The fall of Port Arthur will be a terrible blow to our position in the Far East. To prevent this from happening, Port Arthur must be made impregnable and provided with enough provisions, gunpowder and coal to withstand a very long siege until reinforcements arrive. ”

    And evil, narrow-minded courtiers, parquet admirals respond
    In response, the ministry accuses Makarov of unreasonably counting the Russian squadron in the Far East as “zero”

    и
    Four years later, Port Arthur was taken exactly from land. Siege weapons were delivered from Japan by sea and unloaded unloaded in the port of Dalny.

    Emotionally and strongly. But for some reason, the author of the article leaves behind the scenes a simple fact like mooing - when the war began, Port Arthur lasted 5 months without any supply of ammunition and equipment from the side, and also provided the base for the rather large 1 Pacific squadron. General Feet laid over 90 thousand people at the walls of Arthur. If this does not indicate that Port Arthur was provided with supplies for glory, then I do not know.
    Warnings Makarov remained unanswered. Already 11 in November 1902 of the year in a note on the shipbuilding program for 1903 – 1923 years he reiterates the possible actions of the Japanese in the Far East, specifying that “the gap will follow from Japan, not from ours. And all Japanese people, as one, will rise in order to achieve success. ”

    Funny.
    The author apparently does not know that the Russian Empire began to concentrate the fleet in the Pacific Ocean already from the 1895 of the year, which, according to the instructions of Nicholas II, the "Special Meeting" in December 1897 decided recognize the Far East as the main theater of possible military operationsthat the tsar-father made a very surprising decision to strengthen the Pacific fleet at the expense of the Baltic, limiting himself exclusively to coastal defense in the Baltic, that due to the emergence of the "Pacific factor" an additional shipbuilding program of 1898 was adopted, which in order to speed up its implementation in every possible way, The Russian Empire placed part of the orders in France and the USA, since their shipyards were loaded to capacity with new warships, which ... well, okay, in my opinion, that's enough :)))
    Apparently, all this happened in a parallel universe, and in the author’s universe, it all started at the end of the 1902 year with Makarov’s warning, to which the tsar didn’t dream of a distant messenger ...
    1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
      Andrei from Chelyabinsk 19 May 2014 09: 39
      +4
      Everyone knew about the danger of war. Prepared for it, and prepared seriously. But Japan (behind which the best British shipyards stood) managed to complete the fleet earlier, as a result of which there was a temporary superiority in forces in favor of the Japanese. Russia then did everything to delay the war (the implementation of the 1898 program would lead to the superiority of the Russian fleet over the Japanese). Japan, seizing the moment, attacked WITHOUT ANNOUNCEMENT OF WAR, yet yes, all of a sudden.
      In general, strategically, the war was no surprise to anyone. But tactically, the Japanese were able to achieve surprise
      1. Blackgrifon
        Blackgrifon 19 May 2014 23: 18
        +1
        Quote: Andrey from Chelyabinsk
        the entire article of the author is a kind of continuous misunderstanding


        Home-grown dilettantes have already been fed up with such articles - how long can you try to instill in us some kind of inferiority complex. This author's entire article boils down to the following: "Oh! What we are so-and-so! Oh, what a bad country, army, population, etc. we had." It would be better to really study the sources, and not place THIS verbiage.
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. strannik1985
      strannik1985 25 May 2014 12: 31
      0
      What was the degree of readiness of the defenses for the outbreak of war? fifty%?
      How many of the planned guns were in the fortress?
      According to pre-war plans, the PA was to fight in isolation for six months.
      The point of maintaining a military base in the performance of a combat mission, inflicting superior losses on the enemy is certainly good, but it is secondary.
  2. Leader
    Leader 19 May 2014 10: 18
    +5
    Everything - as always with us.
    Over the past 200 years, all our wars have begun ...
    "Getting ready!" - but so as not to provoke.
    "Ready to meet the enemy!" - but we are late.
    "All heroes!" - but due to circumstances.
    "Talented generals!" - but became so, having previously killed a lot of soldiers.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. The comment was deleted.
  3. Cristall
    Cristall 19 May 2014 10: 33
    +2
    All the Russian command knew ... Measures were taken to forestall a surprise attack. The same booms and mine nets were discussed ... With the district of the envoy of Japan, the threat loomed even more. And although many believed that this was pressure, Petersburg saw the inevitability of a war-Union with Great Britain (sharply strengthening the fleet) Financial union with the United States (military loans), the repurchase of all possible ships for the urgent formation of the Navy! Aggressive rhetoric of Japan against the backdrop of the war with China, dissatisfaction with Port Arthur (Japan then took it by storm from China and was forced to "cede" it to Russia under an agreement)
    So maybe the attack itself is very similar to the port of the Arthur destroyers, without signals and with the complete carelessness of the Russian squadron in the external raid, but the situation and manner of attacking Japan without official notification was familiar.
    I believe that the war is from the category of "scored to the war in St. Petersburg" and fatal bad luck. I can even argue that the second was more important. Because there were forces, there were the right people who could turn the course of that war (even if not a victory but a stalemate) ... But by a strange coincidence, fate got rid of them ...
    By the way, why did Lieven get a medal? For leaving in a neutral port? And Grammatchikov? Askold, Novik did much more ... Diana did not correspond at all to that war ... Dasha Broadsword .. the goddesses were very lousy ships ..
    In general, Port Arthur had worse conditions than Sevastopol (complete blockade, famine, squadron, epidemics ..) and did not give up even after transporting 11 inch artillery ...
    Even after the surrender, they found food supplies and shells in it .... probably in the Naval Department ..
  4. parus2nik
    parus2nik 19 May 2014 11: 39
    +1
    We wanted the best, but it turned out as always ..
  5. Denimax
    Denimax 19 May 2014 11: 49
    +1
    Quote: Cristall
    In general, Port Arthur had worse conditions than Sevastopol (complete blockade, famine, squadron, epidemics ..) and did not give up even after transporting 11 inch artillery ...

    Interestingly, they tried to conduct counter-battery fire?
    1. smile
      smile 19 May 2014 12: 41
      +3
      Denimax
      Yes, the struggle was conducted very actively, just the superiority in artillery was on the side of the Japanese.
      1. Denimax
        Denimax 19 May 2014 12: 56
        0
        I am interested in 11 inches. Did they fight against them somehow? There was no more than 10 km. I think a position in the open could be detected.
        1. smile
          smile 19 May 2014 17: 43
          0
          Denimax
          They tried. Even search groups were sent. But there is mountainous terrain. And detect and hit hard. In addition, our large-caliber coastal guns weren’t enough.
          1. Denimax
            Denimax 19 May 2014 18: 03
            0
            Then they were called hunters, and actions sorties. I think that the Japanese mortars were not far from the High Mountain, if they could conduct accurate shelling on individual ships. And not any opposition.
            Well, yes, what a command, such is the mood in the army.
            1. smile
              smile 19 May 2014 21: 33
              +1
              Denimax
              I completely agree. Although when the Japanese reached Mount Vysokaya and were able to adjust the fire on the ships, the defense was already agonizing. And they fired from closed positions.
              And about the true names. :))) That's right, but we’re talking now, you can still blame me for the fact that I don’t use it and I don't. :))).
            2. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
              Andrei from Chelyabinsk 20 May 2014 08: 16
              +2
              Quote: Denimax
              I think that the Japanese mortars were not far from the High Mountain, if they could conduct accurate shelling on individual ships. And not any opposition.
              Well, yes, what a command, such is the mood in the army.

              Of course, if you were there, then in spite of the significant superiority of the Japanese in the number of one left, all mortars would crumble. The Japanese, they are such fools, it would not have occurred to them in life to cover artillery positions with infantry!
    2. Azzzwer
      Azzzwer 19 May 2014 12: 50
      +2
      Quote: Denimax
      Interestingly, they tried to conduct counter-battery fire?
      tried it!
    3. Bersaglieri
      Bersaglieri 19 May 2014 15: 53
      +1
      Cross-firing with 11-12-inch guns of the battleships of the First Squadron from the Port Arthur raid.
  6. Azzzwer
    Azzzwer 19 May 2014 12: 49
    +1
    An objective article on the causes of defeat in the Russo-Japanese War!
  7. RomanN
    RomanN 19 May 2014 15: 36
    +1
    From the literature read in various literature, the conclusion suggests itself - if it were not for the death of General Kondratenko, there would have been no fall of the fortress. According to Japanese data, the assault during which Kondratenko died during the fire preparation was the last active attempt to take a second defensive line. In case of failure, it was ordered to stop active combat operations under p-arthur, since the loss of manpower during the siege was outrageous for 112yps. besides, the 1st squadron was sunk in the raid and was no longer a threat.
    1. Denimax
      Denimax 19 May 2014 16: 44
      +2
      A turning point could be created - wait for Port Arthur's second squadron. For this, activity was needed. He essentially surrendered with a reserve in defense.
  8. Pilat2009
    Pilat2009 19 May 2014 16: 53
    +3
    Keeping the squadron in off-road raids risked blocking the fairway

    "The battleships Retvizan and Tsarevich, as well as the cruiser Pallada, received a Japanese torpedo on board and were disabled for the entire period of the Russo-Japanese War."
    and who then fought in the Yellow Sea?
  9. Kibl
    Kibl 19 May 2014 20: 01
    0
    Undermining the battleship "Petropavlovsk", the death of Makarov and his headquarters put an end to the entire Russian-Japanese company.
  10. Denimax
    Denimax 19 May 2014 22: 14
    0
    Quote: smile
    Although when the Japanese reached Mount Vysokaya and were able to adjust the fire on the ships, the defense was already agonizing.

    I agree with this, time was lost. For a long time I was interested in the question, what could be done to cause damage to the enemy in the ships, something to improvise? For example, in the American Civil War, the battleship Merrimack and the Hanley submarine were built. In Port Arthur, by the way, they also tried to build an underwater minzag.
    1. strannik1985
      strannik1985 25 May 2014 12: 37
      0
      To begin with, to organize the normal interaction of the army and the navy, to ensure the normal defense of the Jinzhou zone, the PDO of the Far and several other bays.
  11. bandabas
    bandabas 20 May 2014 05: 36
    0
    And I like Stepanov's Port Arthur.
  12. Takashi
    Takashi 21 May 2014 08: 58
    0
    read the article and for some reason inspired by allegory
    "Was Japan's attack on Russia sudden?" - "Was Germany's attack on Russia sudden?"


    ?????
    1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
      Andrei from Chelyabinsk 21 May 2014 15: 21
      +1
      the same picture - they knew that an attack was inevitable, but the timing was wrong.