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Lessons from the Russo-Japanese War

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Guest

Can anyone tell me;

1. Is there a definitive list of the British Officers who were observers in the Russo-Japanese War? I only know of Hamilton and Brereton and (possibly) Yate. I assume there were many more.

2. Does anyone have a copy of "Reports from British Officers attached to the japanese and Russian Forces in the Field (3 Vols)

3. Does anyone have any of the books on the attached list click. If so, do any go into the detail of the 'lessons' or provide a summary?

There are plenty of snippets on the alleged lessons of the Russo-Japanese War. I am curious to understand what was actually written by the British Officers who observed the war and how their observations may have impacted British Army doctrine. The context is to try and establish if these lessons were put into practice prior to the Great War.

I am particularly interested in the tactical lessons of Infantry, artillery and machine-guns. Thanks MG

Edit: Hamilton's "A Staff Officer's Scrap-book During the Russo-Japanese War" Does not go into specifics (online copy here click)

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seaJane

I'd suggest having a look at http://www.archive.org/ for online versions of the older texts.

sJ

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Ron Clifton

You could have a look at these files in class WO33 at Kew:

349 1904 Extracts from General Kuropatkin's instructions to commanders of the Russian Army in Manchuria
350 1904 Reports on the campaign in Manchuria in 1904, with photographs
351 1905 Estimated strength of Russian troops east of Lake Baikal, and Order of Battle
391B 1906 Report on the defence of Vladivostok
407 1906 General report on the Japanese system of military education and training
419 1907 Military resources of the Russian Empire
425 1906 Extracts from diaries of officers attached to the Japanese Army
432 1907 Extracts from diaries of officers attached to the Japanese Army
448 1908 Extracts from diaries of officers attached to the Japanese Army
473 1908 Handbook of the Japanese Army
Ron

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14276265

Major Mockler and Captain Holman are two other officers. Their report in two parts can be found here:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C11042515

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C11042516

Section II of Part 1 might be the most useful.

SECTION II.
Cavalry
Field artillery
1902 Pattern Q.F. field gun
Mountain artillery
Heavy artillery
Employment of artillery
Artillery entrenchments
Ammunition in the field
Quality and nature of ammunition
Machine guns and automatic rifles
Infantry
All arms in co-operation
Order to the troops of the XVIIth Army Corps, dated 6th July 1905

265

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Guest

I'd suggest having a look at http://www.archive.org/ for online versions of the older texts.

sJ

Thanks SeaJane... I have trawled the archive and some books did come up. MG

You could have a look at these files in class WO33 at Kew:

349 1904 Extracts from General Kuropatkin's instructions to commanders of the Russian Army in Manchuria
350 1904 Reports on the campaign in Manchuria in 1904, with photographs
351 1905 Estimated strength of Russian troops east of Lake Baikal, and Order of Battle
391B 1906 Report on the defence of Vladivostok
407 1906 General report on the Japanese system of military education and training
419 1907 Military resources of the Russian Empire
425 1906 Extracts from diaries of officers attached to the Japanese Army
432 1907 Extracts from diaries of officers attached to the Japanese Army
448 1908 Extracts from diaries of officers attached to the Japanese Army
473 1908 Handbook of the Japanese Army
Ron

Thanks Ron...looks like I will be busy net time I visit Kew... MG

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MartH

Martin

This is large topic, and many officers where involved, some secretly including Grierson. A good place to start is the Russo Japaneses War Research Society here http://www.russojapanesewar.com/ Wikipedia has a good piece on the observers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_attach%C3%A9s_and_observers_in_the_Russo-Japanese_War

If you are referring to Green Volumes, I have those, and most of Grierson's secret Red ones .

There where two official histories produced, the big blue one by Wavell, Swinton and Dawny, Full complete sets cost several thousand pounds, are are huge, and probably the finest Official Histories produced in the Twentieth Century.

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Maureene

As seaJane said, Archive.org is a source. Regarding the Reports, I can only see Volumes II and III on archive.org, but Volume I is available on the Hathi Trust Digital Library.

http://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044019543073?urlappend=%3Bseq=7 Volume I

https://archive.org/details/russojapanesewar02lond Volume II

https://archive.org/details/russojapanesewar03lond Volume III

There also appear to be volumes of the Official history on Archive.org, together with many other titles.

Hathi Trust and the Digital Library of India also have some titles.

Cheers

Maureen

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MartH

As seaJane said, Archive.org is a source. Regarding the Reports, I can only see Volumes II and III on archive.org, but Volume I is available on the Hathi Trust Digital Library.

http://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044019543073?urlappend=%3Bseq=7 Volume I

https://archive.org/details/russojapanesewar02lond Volume II

https://archive.org/details/russojapanesewar03lond Volume III

There also appear to be volumes of the Official history on Archive.org, together with many other titles.

Hathi Trust and the Digital Library of India also have some titles.

Cheers

Maureen

These are different works.

The First Volume is Gierson's Volume 1 Reports From Officers attached to Japanese Forces in the Field, I think 6 pairs text and maps volumes in total.

The Second and Third Volumes are Reports From British Officers attached to Japanese and Japanese Forces in the Field, 3 text volumes and 2 map volumes.

The firsts are bound in red and the second in green.

Like I said a large topic, and confusing.

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rbrauerei

Colonel W.H.H. Waters was British military attache in Russia and Germany 1890-1917. His book "Secret and Confidential: The Experiences of a Military Attache" has quite a bit about his time as an observer in Manchuria with the Russian forces during the Russo-Japanese War.

(And I do have a copy.)

Edited by IrishGunner

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Guest

Many thanks all

I am aware of the publications that have been digitised - apologies for not making that clear - but useful to have them highlighted on the thread. Thanks. The online publications I have seen don't provide summaries of the tactical lessons.

I am really trying to find someone who is familiar with the literature of the British Military Observers and whether any of the book provide a chapter or a summary of the tactical lessons. The 'Secret' volumes soud as if they might be the best hunting ground. I am simply trying to avoid having to buy scores of books in order to find the one book I do need to buy...if that makes sense...

So...do any of the books mentioned provide any content in summary form of the tactical lessons?

MG

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MartH

Martin I will look tonight at some of the volumes I have for tactical lesson summaries, and report back. I suspect it's the Volume 5th or 6th of the Grierson work. Grieson's work was reprinted several years ago and the full incomplete set cost stupidly over a thousand pounds.

This was published: Reinventing Warfare 1914-18: Novel Munitions and Tactics of Trench Warfare, https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CwK4H1rRqPEC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false and might help.

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Guest

As seaJane said, Archive.org is a source. Regarding the Reports, I can only see Volumes II and III on archive.org, but Volume I is available on the Hathi Trust Digital Library.

http://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044019543073?urlappend=%3Bseq=7 Volume I

https://archive.org/details/russojapanesewar02lond Volume II

https://archive.org/details/russojapanesewar03lond Volume III

There also appear to be volumes of the Official history on Archive.org, together with many other titles.

Hathi Trust and the Digital Library of India also have some titles.

Cheers

Maureen

The first volume of the links shown above is interesting reading. Searchable too.

Interestingly the Machine Guns appear to have been the Hotchkiss and not Maxims. Very surprising. MG

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The Ibis

Hi,

I'm not sure this is exactly what you're looking for but both Bruce Menning's Bayonets Before Bullets: The Imperial Russian Army and John Steinberg's All the Tsar's Men: Russia's General Staff and the Fate of the Empire, 1898-1914 cover the war itself (though not in extensive detail) and then address Russia's attempts to learn the lessons of the war to be ready for the next conflict.

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clive_hughes

Major-General Sir Thompson Capper (1863-1915) commanded the 7th Division during First Ypres 1914. He had seen active service in Chitral 1895, the Sudan and Boer Wars, and as a Lieut-Col. he was given a post as Professor at the Staff College Camberley during 1902-04 (Brevet Colonel Dec. 1904). He then moved to the Quetta Staff College as Colonel and Commandant until 1911.

I don't know whether he went out to the Russo-Japanese conflict from India, but he certainly absorbed and preached at Quetta the lessons learned; including an emphasis on "attacking dash" in order to capture entrenched positions. He was also impressed with the defensibility of trenches when sited on a forward slope and given strong overhead cover.

This rebounded however at Ypres 1914, when he ordered his troops to dig in on forward slopes, as with the 1st RWF at Zandvoorde. In slit trenches with no overhead cover, the result was that they took a hammering from enemy artillery which could clearly see them.

His own sense of dash and duty led him to get much further forward then he should have been during the Battle of Loos, personally urging his troops into the attack (I think he joined in with a platoon of the ?Worcesters, unbeknownst to its officer), and he fell victim to a sniper.

Clive

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Guest

I thought this was interesting. Page 215 of Vol III on Maureen's post #7 published in 1907


And....

post-55873-0-45854600-1449591998_thumb.j

post-55873-0-05082200-1449592066_thumb.j

post-55873-0-16962700-1449592077_thumb.j

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MartH

Martin, I've looked at the green volumes Reports From British Officers Attached to the Japanese and Russian Field Forces in the Field.

Volumes 1 and II are a narrative of the military operations

Volumes III pages 106 to 301 are the tactical lessons learned.

Will look at Red ones if I get a chance latter tonight.

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MartH

I have started looking at the Red Grierson Volumes: Reports From Officers Attached to the Japanese Officers in the Field.

I believe 150 copies where produced of each volume.

Volume III

Has 387 pages on battlefield narrative 367, mainly the battle of Mukdin, each chapter is a different observer.

Pages 388 to 581 are tactical and organization lessons such as:

Russian Cavalry Reconnaissance on the Japaneses left Flank

Russian Notes on Japanese Tactics from captured Russian Documents

Night Attacks

Japanese Field Artillery

Japanese Cavalry

Ammunition Supply

Japanese Clothing

So each volume has lessons learned

More to follow

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Guest

thanks MartH... if you spot anything with regards to MGs and particularly Maxims it would be useful. I of course don't have the red books.MG

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MartH

Martin Just come back to this with Volume 1, of the Grierson ones. Similar layout as before, narrative to page 291, then specialist reports.

We have for example:

Training in Attack of the Japanese Infantry Company

Machine guns, uses in the Japanese Army and Description 3 pages...

Apparently only the Calvary where the only units armed with them, but one of their own lessons learnt was to deploy them with the infantry. Which his next report say they did, Hotchkiss tray fed models, 6.5mm, air cooled. It says the Japanese particularly disliked Russian Machine guns on the flanks.

Must review more volumes then scan.

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MikB

Ernest Troubridge - then Captain but later Rear-Admiral - was present at Chemulpo Bay and Port Arthur actions. He was court-martialled in WW1 for failing to engage SMSs Goeben and Breslau, allowing them to escape to Constantinople. Had he done so, he might well have failed to damage them anyway - Goeben outranged his armoured cruisers and both were faster. How much damage his squadron suffered would mostly have depended on whether the German commander, Souchon, decided to fight or evade; and since delivery to Turkey was already planned he'd probably have turned away.

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MartH

MartH pointed out in post 8 that the online Volume I quoted in my post 7 is in fact the Volume I Grierson book, which is one of the red books. This has a Preface by Grierson.

http://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044019543073?urlappend=%3Bseq=7

Cheers

Maureen

Life is a bit fraught here, and Maureen is right, one is online. I will continue to research and scan bits when completed. I am being to think the Red volumes are extremely important, and Martin is best paced to use them

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seaforth78

Can anyone tell me;

1. Is there a definitive list of the British Officers who were observers in the Russo-Japanese War? I only know of Hamilton and Brereton and (possibly) Yate. I assume there were many more.

Yes. I have "The Military Side of Japanese Life' by Captain Malcolm Kennedy, Scottish Rifles, which has a list of all the British Officers who were observers at that time. And yes, Yate was there translating Japanese war reports for the WO. Also see this:

https://books.google.com/books?id=bjUwAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR2&lpg=PR2&dq=CAL+Yate,+japanese+reports&source=bl&ots=Jwbh7aeo-n&sig=l-fS6sxryM0A72SxrcDfvzGMD5g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjb2bSIidPJAhWJ5yYKHRPGAYkQ6AEIRzAH#v=onepage&q=CAL%20Yate%2C%20japanese%20reports&f=false

On page 1043 Yate has an essay on the merits of the 4 company system and after this immediately an essay written by a Frenchman who was an observer, comments on Japanese tactics.

If you would like an entire list of BO's I'll get it out to you tomorrow some time. For starters, Brigadier General Arthur Synnot-Hart was an observer with Yate and was later badly wounded commanding 6th Infantry Brigade in 1918 losing both legs. Ironically, his half Japanese son from an earlier union with a Japanese woman while studying Japanese in 1903-4, died in a Soviet Prisoner of War camp in 1946.

Hope this helps,

S78

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seaforth78

Here is the list. For just three years since the start of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance there was a remarkable number of British Officers who passed the exacting Japanese exam.

00000378.tif

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MartH

Martin

Search on "British observers of the russo japanese war philip towle" you will find an interesting article. He is the expert and has written extensively on the subject.

I personally don't think you will get a full list of the observes until we compile it ourselves, I am amazed how the bibliographic references and learned articles do not include the 2 Official Histories, and one not published, the 2 published sets of reports, (I've often wondered if there was a restricted report on the Russian Side), the medical and sanitary reports etc. God know what else was produced, Simla printing presses where very active at this time. Oh and don't forget the Admiralty reports, that has been reprinted too.

The research and writing on the Russo-Japanese War where not just done but the British and Indian Army, but US, German, French, etc.

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