On the 20th, the army had reached the environs of Port Arthur, but the siege guns had not arrived.
Continuing The Sino-Japanese War,
our selection from A Concise History of the War between Japan and China by Jurichi Inouye published in 1895. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in 3.5 installments, each one 5 minutes long.
Previously in The Sino-Japanese War.
Time: November, 1894
Place: Port Arthur, China
Major Akiyama, who was in command of the first cavalry battalion, advanced at 10 a.m. on this day * at the head of a single company to the east of Toochingtse, when he encountered about three thousand of the enemy’s cavalry and infantry from Shwytsehying. The Japanese at once charged upon the Chinese, who, being reinforced, completely surrounded them. The Japanese, after severe fighting, succeeded in cutting their way through to Shwang- tai-kow. The first battalion of the Third Regiment, under Major Marui, sent a company to their aid; but these were hard pressed by the enemy, and were compelled to retreat with the cavalry. The battalion came at 12.20 to the aid of its hard- pressed companies, but the enemy had planted four field-guns on an elevation two thousand meters distant and began firing. The battalion also was compelled to retreat. The artillery of the advance-guard next came to the field, but when the guns were un- limbered for the fight, the enemy had retired more than two miles. The Chinese infantry alone exceeded three thousand in the battle. The Japanese losses were Lieutenant Nakaman and eleven subofficers and men killed, and Captain Asakawa and thirty-two subofficers and men wounded. The Chinese losses were not ascertained. Lieutenant Nakaman was surrounded by the enemy, was fatally shot, and fell from his horse. His servant cut off his head and brought it back to the army, and it was buried with honors.
[* 11/19/1894 – JL]
On the 19th the army staff reached Toochingtse, while the division arrived at Mehotun, and the combined brigade, after passing through Shwangtai-kow, entered Chenheatun. The scouting cavalry, by the skirmish at Toochingtse, had cleared the road for the main army. The latter advanced very cautiously in expectation of more skirmishes, but without further engagement reached Mehotun, about seven and a half miles northeast of Port Arthur.
Thus, on the 20th, the army had reached the environs of Port Arthur, but the siege guns had not arrived. As, moreover, the 21st had been fixed upon for the general attack, Marshal Oyama summoned the officers of the army to a rendezvous on the north west of Liheatun, and discussed the plans of the following day’s operations. When the council of war was over, the officer s re turned to their respective camps; and presently Chinese flags of various colors were seen to move in the valleys between them and the enemy’s forts. Scouts reported that the enemy had made a sally. General Yamaji gave orders for instant preparations, and the army was soon ready. The Chinese approached a hill south of Shihtsuytse, occupied by a regiment under Colonel Iseji, and surrounded it on three sides. When they were within range, the Japanese fired their mountain guns and field-pieces, while the infantry also opened fire. The Chinese were taken by surprise and fled in confusion. They numbered upward of three thou sand, and their losses exceeded one hundred, while only two Japanese privates were wounded.
The siege guns of the First Regiment of the heavy artillery in the meantime had only arrived at Liushootun, in Talienwan, on the 15th, and reached Toochingtse on the night of the 20th. At 2 a.m. on the 21st the army prepared for battle by torchlight and advanced to their respective positions. With difficulty, the whole field artillery was ranged on a high hill northwest of Shwytseying, a company of engineers rendering great assistance. General Nishi took a circuitous road to the west and came out upon the left flank of the Etse forts. General Yamaji followed close with the reserve.
At dawn the artillery opened fire; and a regiment of infantry came out immediately under the most westerly of the forts. The enemy replied spiritedly, and the forts of Sungshoo and Hwang- kin assisted the Etse forts. The Japanese fire was more effective than the Chinese; and Major Marui with a battalion assailed the forts, and by a sudden charge carried them. At the same time the forts of Ngantse Hill and Wangtai also fell. During the attack on Talienwan, the Hoshang forts, Seuhea forts, and the Laolung and Hwangshan forts were captured. The Third Regiment then attacked the strongest of the Port Arthur land defenses and carried them. These successes rendered the eventual surrender of the other defenses a foregone conclusion.
Near Fong-heatun, a little village southwest of the Etse forts, General Nogi, with the First Regiment, encountered the Chinese fugitives from the west, upward of a thousand strong, whose flight was being covered by the guns of the Mantow Hill forts. In thirty minutes, they were routed and pursued; and the Japanese squadron off the port also opened lire and cut off their retreat, and they took refuge at Laotee Hill on the extreme edge of the peninsula.
The Twenty- fourth Regiment was ordered to attack the Ur- lung forts simultaneously with the assault on the Sungshoo forts. On the evening of the 20th, the third battalion of the Twenty- fourth Regiment encamped on the farthest extremity of a mountain range running south of Toochingtse, with a battery of artillery, while the second battalion was at Changtsun, east of that battalion, and the first on a hill to the rear. They all advanced under cover of night. The artillery took possession of a hill south of its position of the previous evening. After the forts had been captured the regiment advanced, and the first battalion and artillery were at nine o’clock close to the third battalion, while the second found itself exposed to flank attacks from two forts on the left, and it was ordered to assault the forts east of Urlung. The assault began at 9.45. At first the regiment was concealed behind a hill; but at length it came upon an open field which exposed it to the fire of the forts. Still it advanced until it was too near for the guns, when the enemy’s small-arms began to play upon it. The whole regiment was now in a single column; and its distance to the Urlung forts was six hundred meters. The second battalion became the object of the enemy’s fire; and though the other two battalions were ready to storm Urlung, a company was first detached to reinforce the hard-beset battalion. The eastern forts were captured at 11:30. As the two battalions charged up Urlung Hill a mine was fired, but the explosion took place before they reached the spot and was consequently harmless. The enemy also fired the magazine before their flight. The Japanese battalions were in possession of Urlung Hill at 12:30, the fall of Sungshoo having demoralized the enemy.
We want to take this site to the next level but we need money to do that. Please contribute directly by signing up at https://www.patreon.com/history