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Battle of Shaho
Part of the Russo-Japanese War
Battle of Shaho.jpg
ukiyoe "In the Battle of the Sha River, a Company of Our Forces Drives a Strong Enemy Force to the Left Bank of the Taizi River" by Yoshikuni, November 1904
Date5–17 October 1904
LocationSouth of Mukden on the Sha River, Manchuria
Result Indecisive; Russian retreat
Belligerents
 Empire of Japan Russia Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Oyama Iwao Alexei Kuropatkin
Strength
120,000 210,000
Casualties and losses
3,951 killed
16,394 wounded
5,084 killed
30,506 wounded
4,869 MIA[1]

The Battle of Shaho was a land battle of the Russo-Japanese War fought along a 37-mile (60 km) front centered at the Sha River on the Mukden–Port Arthur spur of the China Far East Railway just north of Liaoyang, Manchuria.

Background[edit | edit source]

Japanese General Kuroki Tamemoto and British Officier Sir Ian Hamilton

As the situation for the Russian forces in the Far East after the defeat at the Battle of Liaoyang became increasingly unfavorable, the Tsar became determined to both save Port Arthur, and, more importantly, save face for the Russian Empire. He directed General Alexei Kuropatkin, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armies in Manchuria to reverse the tide of the war. Kuropatkin was reinforced by fresh troops brought in by the newly completed Trans-Siberian Railroad and counter-attacked the Japanese armies, commanded by Field Marshal Marquis Oyama Iwao at Sha-ho River.

Battle[edit | edit source]

On 5 October 1904, the Russian armies, totaling 210,000 men attacked in a general offensive north of Liaoyang, with the main advance coming through the mountains to the east. The Russian attacks on the left flank slowly gained ground as Russian forces wrested the initiative from the Japanese.

The Japanese forces consisted of the 1st Army commanded by General Kuroki Tametomo, the 2nd Army commanded by General Oku Yasukata, and the 4th Army commanded by General Nozu Michitsura, totaling 170,000 men. On the evening of 10 October 1904, General Oyama ordered a major Japanese counter-offensive to strike the Russian right flank. By 13 October, the Japanese halted the Russian advance in the mountains to the northeast of Liaoyang, and threatened the Russian center south of the Sha River.

Combat continued for the next four days, with both sides unwilling to back down. It was not until 17 October 1904 that General Kuropatkin called off the costly attacks, and withdrew his forces north towards Mukden.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

After two weeks of fighting, the battle ended inconclusively. Despite opportunities created with the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway, Kuropatkin was unwilling to carry on regardless of casualties, and pulled back towards Mukden. The battle ended in a draw, as the Japanese were unable to take advantage of the pause in the action.

Total Russian casualties totaled 44,351 killed, wounded, captured or missing in action. Japanese casualties totaled 20,345 killed, wounded, captured or missing. As a result, the Japanese advance on Mukden was paused, but not halted, and both sides dug in to prepare for the next battle at the Battle of Sandepu (Heikoutai).

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Russian Main Military Medical Directorate (Glavnoe Voenno-Sanitarnoe Upravlenie) statistical report. 1914.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Connaughton, Richard (2003). Rising Sun and Tumbling Bear. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-36657-9
  • Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. Scarecrow. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5
  • Nish, Ian (1985). The Origins of the Russo-Japanese War. Longman. ISBN 0-582-49114-2
  • Sedwick, F.R. (1909). The Russo-Japanese War. Macmillan.

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