Connaughton s book is a good ,comprehensive history of Russo Japanese war Both were expansionist powers.
So confrontation seemed inevitable Budding Japanese nationalism collided head on with Russian imperialism Creeping Russian expansion into Korea posed a threat Japanese national interests Tokyo reacted violently.
On February 6,1904 Admiral Togo launched a pre emptive strike on Russian fleet that lay at anchor at Port Arthur Though Togo failed in destroying the fleet , he succeded in crippling its movements Japanese landed troops on the west coast of Korean peninsula and soon effected a crossing of river Yalu This marked the beginning of demise of Russian power in the Far East.
Here I wish to make a few comments which a student of War History may find it enriching Russian withdrawl from Yalu together with its failure to fall back upon Liaotung peninsula unbarred the road to Port Arthur which came to be besieged by Japanese forces Subsequent Russian attempts to relieve the siege were foiled However the striking feature of these campaigns were Japanese inability to gain decisive victory Japanese armies often managed to pierce or outflank Russian positions but failed in enveloping it Russians refused pitched battles and effected tactical retreats into the depths of Manchuria.
Author has argued Russo Japanese war as harbinger of First World War machineguns, barbed wire entanglements, artillery, Japanese use of arsenic smoke during the siege of Port Arthur I endorse this view Coming of machineguns bestowed lethal firepower on defending forces making massed frontal assaults suicidal and costly This led to emergence of no man s land which gradually widened separating combatants making decision increasingly difficult Japanese came to depend on artillery overwhelmingly to suppress enemy fire zones which at that time were not too deep It sound ironical experience derived from this war was not incorporated into the training manuals of Western armies As a result, European had to re learn this experience painfully during Great War Equally significant was the importance of troop morale in war.
Japanese morale was superb Japanese soldier never shrank from courting death He knew only one thing ,advance,Advance despite all obstacles strewn across the path Victory at all costs The above combined with a fanatical respect for authority personified in the form of Emperor transformed Japanese soldier into formidable fighting machine.
Regrettably , this was a war ignored by historians and academics though this cause a tectonic shift in forces which drastically re arranged world affairs What were they It stimulated revolutionary tendencies in Russia which for a long time was gnawing at its vitals.
By removing Russian threat it helped Kaiser s Germany to focus efforts in the West.
This altered balance of power in Europe In order to restore equilibrium Britain ended her policy of isolation and entered into an alliance with France.
But biggest impact of Japanese victory was felt in Asia, Africa It infused confidence and boosted the morale of peoples who were struggling to free themselves from European tyranny In India ,the effect was profound During wintry nights people sat in circles and spoke about Japanese victories while passing huqqa.
Finally, it sowed the seed of future confrontation with US Covert American support emboldened Russians turn down Japanese demand for war reparations Tokyo now started viewing Washington with suspicion, hostility and distrust.
Author was unable to attach sufficient importance to the above aspects Be as it may,the book is an essential reading for history buffs and layman alike.
There aren t NO footnotes to this Cassell edition of this important book It is indeed sad and very unprofessional that an otherwise very good book of this level of narrative detail would omit its reference sources Additionally, the narrative detail is degraded by the poor quality of maps provided The maps in this book are of such extremely poor quality, they provide barely enough detail to orient yourself to the flow of combat As a result you cannot adequately envision a lot of of important details regarding the conduct of operations If you can locate some independent maps, the narrative detail is much meaningful Most people are highly ignorant regarding the importance of this war in regards to the military operations througout the 20th Century Both of these significant inadequacies no sources and poor maps in this edition only exacerbate our lack of knowledge regarding this important war.
A very good look at the Russo Japanese war The Russian ground forces had many chances to win but poor training with even worse leadership threw them away The Russians were good at defense but it was a case of almost won This war in fact started the downfall of the military that fell in world war one They were not ready for the next war This war started Japans case of victory fever that ended in world war two A good book on a little known subject.