Military Review

Battle for the "Port Arthur Gate". Fight jinzhou

May 26, 1904 there was a battle at Jinzhou (Kinzhou), a battle on the distant approaches to Port Arthur. At the end of April 1904, the Japanese 150nd Army under the command of Lieutenant General Yasukat Oku was landed in Bizzyvo (about 2 km north of Port Arthur). The Japanese moved to the Jinzhous Isthmus, which blocked the only path of attack on the main base of the Russian fleet in the narrowest part of the Liaodong Peninsula (between Jinzhous Bay and Hunueza Bay). The defense on the Jinzhou isthmus was held by the 5th regiment from the 4th Division of General Fock.

The situation before the battle

The strategic consequences of a defeat on the Yalu River (Battle of the Yalu River) and the deaths of Admiral Makarov were enormous. 1-I imperial army under the command of General Kuroki was on the Manchurian bank of the Yalu River and received operational space for its further advance towards Kvantun. The road to southern Manchuria was cleared. Strategic initiative in the war passed to the Japanese command. Now almost the entire southern coast of the Liaodong Peninsula was free for the landing of Japanese troops.

The war began to develop according to the scenario of the Japanese military-political leadership. The Japanese command, even before the start of the war, planned to land troops on the eastern shore of the Liaodong Peninsula, near the city of Bitszyo. The Japanese knew these places well, as they had already landed here during the war with China. By 17, April, the 2 Army of Baron Oka composed of 1, 3 and 4 infantry divisions, a separate artillery brigade (total of about 40 thousand people with 200 guns and 48 machine guns) was immersed in the Korean Port Cinarath. 83 transport. The landing of the army at Bitszyvo passed without problems.

Following the 2 Army from the sea, General Xoga’s 3 Army, which was formed specifically for the siege of Port Arthur, was landed on the coast of Liaodong. The landing and deployment of the 3 Army covered the 2 Army. At the same time, west of the mouth of the Yalu River, in the port of Dagushan (Takushan), the 4 Army commanded by General Nozu (Notsu) began landing.

During the transition by the Yellow Sea to the Liaodong Peninsula, the Japanese airborne armadas with many tens of thousands of soldiers, hundreds of guns and many tons of military cargo and equipment, met absolutely no opposition from the Russian Pacific Fleet. The death of Makarov almost completely paralyzed the activities of the Port Arthur Squadron. Although Vice-Admiral Kheykhatiro of Togo seriously feared the actions of the light forces of the Russian squadron - detachments of high-speed destroyers and cruisers. Togo was afraid that the Russian fleet’s bearing forces would strike at transport convoys. For a closer blockade of Port Arthur, he transferred an armored battleship to the Elliott Islands. The Japanese established a closer naval blockade of Port Arthur and decided to carry out a third operation to block the Russian fleet.

Before the operation, a maritime reconnaissance was carried out. For the operation allocated 12 steamers-barriers. The operation began on the night of May 3. In Port Arthur, around one o'clock, an enemy destroyer was spotted from Golden Mountain on the sea, and then several more. The fleet and coastal forces raised the alarm. The first steam-laying vessel (brander) appeared at 1 hour 30 minutes of the night. Despite the heavy artillery fire of coastal batteries and ships, he was able to bypass the booms, was blown up by the crew and sank. The next brander exploded and drowned before reaching the boom. Other ships followed the first ships. They tried to break through to the passage to the raid, where they were blown up or to the bottom of the Russian artillery fire. The crews were leaving in boats, they were waiting for the destroyers, who fired on ships and coastal fortifications. 10 Japanese steamers (two did not reach their destination) drowned in the area of ​​the passage from the harbor to the outer roadstead. In general, the operation was well prepared and carried out. However, this time the Japanese did not succeed in blocking the Russian fleet.

However, the fears of the Japanese command were superfluous. Rear Admiral V.K. Vitgeft and Commander-in-Chief in the Far East, Admiral E.I. Alekseev (he would flee from Port Arthur under the threat of his blockade from the land) and did not think about active actions in the open sea. Alekseev switched all the forces of the fleet to defense. Means to guard the raid were strengthened, mines were tracked, guns and machine guns began to be transferred from ships to coastal fortifications, etc. All this led to a drop in the morale of sailors, confusion and despondency reigned in the fleet. The fleet did not go to sea, even with limited objectives.

When 4 received news of the appearance of Japanese airborne forces in the Bitszyo area in May, Admiral Alekseev hurried to leave Port Arthur and transferred the squadron command to the head of his hiking headquarters, Rear Admiral Vitgeft. At the same time, he instructed him not to undertake active operations of the fleet, limiting himself to the search for cruisers and destroyers, while "not putting them at risk." After Alexeev’s departure, Vitgeft held several meetings.

From the very first days the admiral- “official” abandoned the principle of unity of command and introduced collegiality into the system — all decisions were made by voting, on which the passive tactics of the fleet was finally approved. Indecision gripped the commanders of most ships. Even the destroyers decided to keep in the inner harbor and protect. The ships decided not to send to the Bitszyvo area, having found many excuses - from the enemy’s blocking fleet, mines and the distance to the poor state of the ships and the lack of confidence that the landing of troops could be prevented. In addition, they continued to strengthen the defense of the fortress at the expense of ship artillery. The systematic disarmament of ships began. The fleet quickly lost its combat capability. 8 May at the general meeting of the naval and land chiefs, Lieutenant-General Stoessel made a general decision: "... the fleet should all contribute to the land defense, both people and weapons, in no case dwelling on half measures."

Although during this period the Japanese fleet suffered serious losses. 2 (15) of May 2 of Japanese battleships ran into Russian mines and died (Hatsuse and Yashima squadrons sank). As a result, Admiral Togo had only four squadron battleships of the 1 class, and in Port Arthur there were six remaining after the repair was completed. In addition, at night, the Japanese Kasuga 1-class armored cruiser was rammed by the light cruiser Yoshino, which after a few minutes was filled with water, rolled over and disappeared under water. 32 officer and 300 lower ranks died during this disaster. "Kasuga" received significant damage and was sent for repairs. Japanese losses in May were not limited to the death of these ships. May 12 and May 14 killed a destroyer and an advice note (a small ship that serves for reconnaissance and communications purposes). May 16 gunboat Agaki rammed and sank cannon Oshima. May 17 on Russian mines exploded and sank the Akatsuki fighter, half of the crew died.

These days were called “blacks” of the Japanese fleet. In a relatively short time, the Japanese fleet suffered heavy losses, as if they had been defeated in a naval battle. The Japanese fleet was seriously weakened. Only there was no one to take advantage of it. The command of the Port Arthur Squadron did not use the opportune moment to strike at the Japanese or simply to break through to Vladivostok. There was no admiral like Makarov. Witgeft held collegial meetings and continued to disarm the fleet. With the beginning of the siege of Port Arthur from land 1-I Pacific squadron was under threat of total death or surrender.

Battle for the "Port Arthur Gate". Fight jinzhou

Drowning battleship "Yashima"

The landing and movement of Japanese troops

On the evening of April 21, Russian patrol boats (“hunters”) found Japanese ships in Bitszyvo. The equestrian hunting team included only 60 people. The commander of the patrol staff captain Voight reported this in Port Arthur. However, the Russian command did not intend to counteract the landing of the Japanese troops. This was not thought of either before or after the war. Neither Alekseev, nor the command of the Port Arthur fortress did not lift a finger in order to organize the coastal defenses or to throw the enemy’s landing forces into the water.

After four Japanese armies landed on the mainland, the commander of the Russian Manchurian army, General of Infantry A.N. Kuropatkin, had the opportunity not to allow the blockade of Port Arthur from land, or at least to delay it for a considerable time. By the end of April, the Russian Manchurian Army 1904 was significantly strengthened by the units of the Amur Military District and the Trans-Baikal Region. The Trans-Baikal, Amur and Ussuri Cossack troops, the Irkutsk Cossacks and a separate corps of the Zaamur border guards were fully mobilized. Soon they awaited the arrival of the 4 Siberian Corps (from Siberia) and the 10 and 17 Army Corps from the European part of the Russian Empire. A possible counterstrike from the Manchurian army could put the Japanese forces in a very difficult position.

There were no plans to disrupt the Japanese troops. Only on the night of April 22 a battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rantseva headed for Bitszyvo. Early in the morning of April 22, several Japanese transports approached the coast. The gunboats covering them opened fire on the shore. In 7, the landing of units of the 3 Division began in the morning. The sentinels of Vojta and the battalion of Rantsev could not prevent the landing of the Japanese troops.

It is necessary to note the conditions in which the Japanese made the landing. The sea in the area chosen for the landing of amphibious forces is very shallow. And the Japanese transports were forced to stop at a distance 7-10 versts from the coast. At low tide, a stretch of sea stretched to a width of two miles. And at Bitszyvo this strip represented something like a swamp, where people fell through to the waist. When landing at low tide, Japanese boats could reach a distance of 1,5-2 versts on the coast. The rest of the distance the Japanese soldiers had to overcome to the waist in cold water and mud. Therefore, on April 22, the Japanese were only able to land the infantry battalion 8,5, the engineer battalion, and the 1-2 cavalry squadron. None of the guns could not be unloaded. Japanese advanced forces remained without artillery support. The Japanese sent one battalion to capture Bitszyo and, having set off guard, began to dig in. They were waiting for the Russian attack.

But it was not. Small Russian forces left Bitszyo without a fight. April 23 weather conditions deteriorated. There was great excitement at sea, and on this day the Japanese did not land a single soldier. The day was perfect for a Russian counterattack. The Japanese advanced forces had no artillery. And the ships could not support them with fire. Shooting at a distance of 8-10 versts with gunboats was ineffective, and in conditions of excitement, meaningless. Closer the Japanese ships could not come.

Thus, the Russian command did not take measures for the advance anti-landing preparation of Bitszyvo, although the terrain was ideal for countering the enemy. The moment was not used for the counterattack, which could lead to the destruction of the advanced Japanese detachment. The command of Port Arthur did not take measures to counter the enemy from the sea. The commander of the 4 Division, Major General Fock, who had his division in the landing area, remained in the role of the spectator, without showing any independence and initiative. The commander of the Manchurian army, General Kuropatkin, to counter the Japanese troops, sent a detachment of seven battalions under the command of Major General Zykov. But the detachment did not reach the landing site and did not make a single shot at the Japanese. This is not surprising, especially given the order Zykov received from Kuropatkin. It said: "The most important task ... to protect its troops from losses and in no case get involved in a decisive battle."

24 April, the Japanese began the landing of units of the 1 division. The landing was slow and was accompanied by great difficulties. Only 28 on April was unloaded 4-th division. April 30 ended the unloading of the last parts of the 1 and 3 divisions. Thousands of soldiers (40 infantry battalions and 36 cavalry squadrons) were unloaded to the coast to 9 with 214 guns. 2-I Japanese army landed without loss.

28 On April, Japanese forces interrupted Port Arthur’s railway connection with Mukden. General Oku's army moved towards Port Arthur in three columns. The right column included the 4 Division, which was heading for Jinzhou and the port of Adams. The middle column - 1-division, adhered to the railway. The left column included the 3-division, which was heading along the coast of the Korean Gulf.

The landing of the 2 Japanese Army on the Liaodong Peninsula

To be continued ...
Articles from this series:
Battle for the "Port Arthur Gate". Fight jinzhou
Battle for the "Port Arthur Gate". 2 part
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  1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
    Andrei from Chelyabinsk 26 May 2014 10: 11
    All this is strange. The author writes:
    26 May 1904 year, there was a battle at Jinzhou (Kinzhou), the battle on the far approaches to Port Arthur. At the end of April 1904, a Japanese 150 army was landed in Bizzyvo (approximately 2 km north of Port Arthur) under the command of Lieutenant General Yasukat Oku.

    And I agree with that. But further
    As a result, Admiral Togo had only four squadron battleships of the 1 class, and in Port Arthur there were six of them left after the repair was completed.

    Let's clarify. If my memory serves me, the caissons from the "Retvizan" and "Tsarevich" were removed on May 23 and 24, exactly before the battle on May 26 and much later after the Japanese army landed at Biziwo.
    Thus, to counteract the landing, Vitgeft could put 4 battleships into the sea - 2 Sevastopol and 2 Peresvet. This is despite the fact that the battleships of the Oslyabya type (which are Peresvet and Pobeda) were actually created as ocean raiders, corresponding in their combat power to the British second-class battleships. Therefore, even in official correspondence, they were called either battleships-cruisers, then armored cruisers, or even simply cruisers. And even though "Peresvet" was listed as a squadron battleship, it certainly was not equal to the "Sikishima".
    Thus, even if we assume that on the day the Russian squadron came out, Kamimura with 4 of his armored cruisers left to chase the Vladivostok cruisers, and even taking into account that Kasuga went for repairs, Vitgeft would have had 2 battleships + 2 battleship-cruisers + armored cruiser ( Bayan) against 4 first-class Japanese EBRs and 3 armored cruisers, much more powerful than the Bayan. This is not about superiority, it is not about equality of forces. However, in theory, one could take the risk.
    But in practice, you just need to put yourself in the place of Wittgeft and remember that the reference literature on the REE has not yet been written, and the Internet has not been extended to Port Arthur. It is necessary to compare not the forces actually available to Him, but rather what, according to Witgeft forces, the Japanese had. And here everything is very bad.
    2 (15) on May 2 of the Japanese battleship ran into Russian mines and died (the squadron battleships "Hatsuse" and "Yashima" sank).

    the author writes, only the Russians knew ABOUT ONE dead battleship. The second went to the bottom on the way home, and the Japanese for a long time hid his death
    In addition, at night the Japanese armored cruiser 1 class Kasuga was rammed by the light cruiser Ioshino, which after a few minutes was filled with water, rolled over and disappeared underwater.

    Alas, Witgeft did not know about this either. Moreover - he had nowhere to know that Kamimura with the 4 armored cruisers left on April 16 to catch the wok!
    1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
      Andrei from Chelyabinsk 26 May 2014 10: 11
      Thus, Vitgeft expected that to intercept his 2 EBR + 2 battleship-cruisers + Bayan (which was designed as an armored reconnaissance officer in the squadron and could not stand in the line, twice yielding firepower by Asama-class cruisers), 5 full-fledged EBRs would come out and 4 to 8 armored cruisers
      In general, one can only regret that Witgeft and his comrades were passive and did not try to attack the landing with light forces, sending the destroyers and cruisers in a night raid to the place of Japanese landing. But blaming him for the refusal to perform a thrust is not very reasonable.
      1. Barboskin
        Barboskin 26 May 2014 11: 42
        It was under the command of the limp Witgeft that the Russian sailors set mines on which two Japanese battleships died. Witgeft died as befits a combat commander on the bridge of his flagship, led by a squadron. He was not ready to command the fleet, but he did what he could, not for us to judge him. Bright memory to him.
  2. Cristall
    Cristall 26 May 2014 12: 15
    Strange, you calculated something that Vitgeft could withdraw ALL armadillos ...
    And I think that he could not ... In general, all the battleships of 1TE were not worth 2 - the Tsarevitsa and Retvizana. And they were just being repaired ...
    Retvizan generally conducted cross-shootings .. he was removed from the caissons and the repair was never completed. I’m afraid to assume that in the attempt to break through, he walked after being not fully repaired. Cesarevich similarly ...
    I think it was the incomplete repair of the 2 best Russian armadillos at that time that played a big role. Although the landing could be covered precisely by the destroyer fleet and the cruising detachment ... But in the destroyers the Japanese exceeded 2 times the Russians ..
    Although I do not condone the passive, almost treacherous bossy management .... Makarov died and everything ... there were no more decisive ...
    1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
      Andrei from Chelyabinsk 26 May 2014 12: 49
      Quote: Cristall
      .Kill Makarov and all ... there are no more decisive left ...

      Well, there was Essen, only now, disgusting, the rank at that time did not come out ...
      1. Cristall
        Cristall 26 May 2014 17: 52
        Quote: Andrey from Chelyabinsk
        Well, there was Essen, only now, disgusting, the rank at that time did not come out ...

        Yes, Essen generally only began to command an armadillo (old Sevastopol) and Makarov had just removed him from Novik (at that time)
        Do not forget that there was still Shesnovich (whose report would not have been in the way for an article on Retvisan's readiness for combat load as part of a squadron)
        There was Boisman (Peresvet is the same "battleship")
        In general, half of the commanders of the battleships were more decisive than the headquarters.
        I am silent about the commander of the cruising detachment. Which was not afraid to take responsibility and withdraw the most high-speed ships (except Bayan being repaired) from Arthur. It was he, under the rod, who was not afraid of Yakumo, and although Novik supported him, Askold successfully coped with the task.
        In general, the conclusion is that the junior team was ready for decisiveness but did not have the authority. The senior staff, the old, were afraid of any responsibility.
        The exception is Makarov. But that war killed all "Russian exceptions" in the first place - Makarov, Kondratenko, Arthurian Totleben ...
        1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
          Andrei from Chelyabinsk 26 May 2014 21: 29
          Quote: Cristall
          Do not forget that there was still Shesnovich (

          Quote: Cristall
          There was a Boysman

          It is, of course, but still Essen on the Novik is something :) But it's hard to judge, let's take Viren for example - he commanded the Bayan very well, but go
          “The fleet will remain in Arthur, forming an indivisible whole with it, but divide the vessels into those that will go on the raid, and others that remain in the harbor, will end the campaign, and their entire team will go ashore and take part in the defense of Arthur.” After the death of Witgeft in the battle in the Yellow Sea, it was Viren who was appointed head of the Port Arthur detachment of ships and continued to disarm the squadron.

          Or Essen, who, eh-ee, would have gone to a breakthrough on one "Sevastopol" and with hardly a third team, if it had not been blown up.
          Quote: Cristall
          I am silent about the commander of the cruising squad

          Reicenshtein? Very worthy commander.
          Quote: Cristall
          But that war killed all "Russian exceptions" in the first place - Makarov, Kondratenko, Arthurian Totleben ...

          Which, generally speaking, is somehow ... strange from the point of view of probability theory.
  3. Denimax
    Denimax 26 May 2014 13: 30
    Quote: Barboskin
    It was under the command of the limp Witgeft that the Russian sailors set mines on which two Japanese battleships died.

    It would be possible to repeat the operation with mines. Go to sea with a squadron and lure into a minefield, preferably in the evening. To do this, make special floating mines-extensions. That is, to connect two mines with a strong line of 100 meters long, and the self-destruction mechanism in the form of a sugar plug on a floating hull. Before the appearance of the Japanese squadron, several destroyers could quickly drop these mines in front.
    1. Andrei from Chelyabinsk
      Andrei from Chelyabinsk 26 May 2014 14: 10
      Quote: Denimax
      To do this, make special floating mines-extensions. That is, to connect two mines with a strong line of 100 meters in length, and a self-destruction mechanism in the form of a sugar plug on a floating hull. Before the appearance of the Japanese squadron, several destroyers could quickly drop these mines in front.

      Well yes. And you can also process the mine with a file so that it is not round, but in the form of a disk, tie it to the destroyer by the molts, accelerate towards the Japanese fleet, turn sharply, and the mine would fly like a pancake into Japanese ships, while making terrible black-and-white sounds -black! " And you could also drop mines from kites. Remove boilers and cars from "Diana" and "Pallada", add them to those available on Askold and get the world's first speedboat cruiser (it will just be able to launch kites for mines). Rebuild the "Tsesarevich" into a submarine, and "Sevastopol" into a parotank, and let Nogi do seppuku. wassat
      Anyway - you can think of so many things ... laughing
  4. Gray 43
    Gray 43 26 May 2014 21: 04
    This war, in my opinion, was waged by the incompetent supreme command of the Russian troops, talented commanders could not convince the authorities that Japan, in fact, a serious power of the troops of which are trained, equipped and financed by the enemies of Russia and is not at all like those Kuropatkin described. Most Russian officers did not see much of a difference between the Japanese and Chinese; the reckoning for such carelessness was bloody, as shown by the siege of Port Arthur and Tsushima. In this war, such legendary personalities as Essen, Kolchak and others showed themselves. Their talent and experience proved to be invaluable when the fleet was revived before the WWI.
  5. Cristall
    Cristall 27 May 2014 11: 23
    Quote: Andrey from Chelyabinsk
    Or Essen, who, eh-ee, would have gone to a breakthrough on one "Sevastopol" and with hardly a third team, if it had not been blown up.

    Essen, recall, truly hesitated to sit in the Port of Arthur's Puddle ...
    After a festive execution of 11 inches of the port — when the entire squadron (except Sevastopol and a couple of others) lay on the ground (and the authorities assured that it would be better since they would be raised by the Russians after the deblockade) —he decided to make a breakthrough. Prior to this, the breakthroughs were successful (fogs and withdrawal of the squadron TOGO - he already had nothing to do, 1TE lay at the bottom of the bay)
    But the last attack of destroyers and mine boats - blew up Sevastopol and the canal boat. The remnants of 1TE were over. To the credit of Essen, he flooded Sevastopol so far that the Japanese could no longer lift it.
    Ehh ... well, heavenly forces could not once and appoint Essen commander of the squadron ... He was not Schegolev to jump through the ranks ... and a huge jump was needed here.
    Viren - he is a formalist, a good servant but the same cautiousness.
    Sheshnovich and Essen, well, maybe Ivanov .. that’s who could go into battle near the Shatung and withdraw 1TE from Arthur. Or maybe TOGO do something-what the Russian should and could do the whole war at sea.
    That 1TE was the best marine connection. Having Retvizan and Tsesarevich at the head, they had to decide something. 2TE and 3TE are ships not prepared for the theater.
    Yes, and the strength of 1 TE was enough! It was necessary to send not armadillos to help, but cruisers and destroyers. Better still, orders to appoint a decisive man ...
  6. Denimax
    Denimax 29 May 2014 11: 08
    Quote: Andrey from Chelyabinsk
    Anyway - you can think of so many things ...

    Hacking is not worth it. Seriously, what were the capabilities of the Arturovites to inflict damage on ships? You must admit that the Japanese fleet was the main obstacle in achieving victory.