Military attachés and observers in the Russo-Japanese War

Military attachés and observers in the Russo-Japanese War
Western military attachés and war correspondents with the Japanese forces after the Battle of Shaho (1904): 1. Robert Collins; 2. David Fraser; 3. Capt. Adalbert Dáni von Gyarmata; 4. Capt. James Jardine; 5. Frederick McKenzie; 6. Edward Knight; 7. Charles Victor-Thomas; 8. Oscar Davis; 9. William Maxwell; 10. Robert MacHugh; 11. William Dinwiddie; 12. Frederick Palmer; 13. Capt. Berkeley Vincent; 14. John Bass; 15. Martin Donohoe; 16. Capt. ____; 17. Capt. Carl von Hoffman; 18. ____; 19. ____; 20. ____; 21. Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton; 22. ____; 23. ____; 24. ____; 25. ____.

Military attachés and observers in the Russo-Japanese War were historians creating first-hand accounts of what was arguably the world's first modern war.[1] They helped to create primary-source records of this war between Imperial Russian forces and Imperial Japan forces, which has been characterized by some as a rehearsal for the First World War.[2]



The multi-national military attachés and observers who took part in the Russo-Japanese War were expressly engaged in collecting data and analyzing the interplay between tactics, strategy, and technical advances in weapons and machines of modern warfare. For example, reports evaluating the stationary battle at Port Arthur and the maneuver battle at Mukden demonstrate the lethality of modern warfare and foreshadow the combined effects of hand grenades, mortars, machine guns, and field artillery in World War I.[2]

Japanese Minister of the Navy, Admiral Yamamoto visiting the captured city of Dalny, just north of Port Arthur in December 1904. Accompanying the Minister were several Western observers, including Italian naval attaché Ernesto Burzagli who photographed the inspection tour.

Military and civilian observers from every major power closely followed the course of the war. Most were able to report on events from a perspective somewhat like what is now termed "embedded" positions within the land and naval forces of both Russia and Japan. These military attachés, naval attachés and other observers prepared voluminous first-hand accounts of the war and analytical papers. In-depth observer narratives of the war and more narrowly-focused professional journal articles were written soon after the war; and these post-war reports conclusively illustrated the battlefield destructiveness of this conflict. This was the first time the tactics of entrenched positions for infantry defended with machine guns and artillery became vitally important, and both were factors which came to dominate in World War I.[2]

Map showing movement of the Japanese 3rd Army.

From a 21st century perspective, it is now apparent that tactical lessons which were available to the observer nations were disregarded or not used in the preparations for war in Europe and during the course of World War I.[2]

In 1904-1905, Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton was the military attaché of the Indian Army serving with the Japanese army in Manchuria. Amongst the several military attachés from Western countries, he was the first to arrive in Japan after the start of the war.[3] As the earliest, he would be recognized as the dean of multi-national attachés and observers in this conflict. From this select group of military men would rise such well-known figures as British Field Marshal William Gustavus Nicholson, 1st Baron Nicholson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff; U.S. General of the Armies John J. Pershing, head of the American Expeditionary Force in WWI; U.S.General of the Army Douglas MacArthur; and Marshal of Italy Enrico Caviglia.

Press coverage of the war was affected by restrictions on the movement of reporters and strict censorship. In all military conflicts which followed this 1904-1905 war, close attention to more managed reporting was considered essential by the Japanese.[4] These concerns were considered inessential by the Russian command. The Russian press frequently revealed information deemed crucial by the opposing commanders; and the Japanese profited from the lack of military censorship on the Russian side. Information gathered from Russian newspapers was telegraphed by the Japanese military attaché in the Japanese embassy in Berlin; and it was received by the Japanese armies in Manchuria within six days.[5]

The Russian war artist Vasili Vereshchagin was invited by Admiral Stepan Makarov to observe the war aboard Makarov's flagship Petropavlovsk. On April 13, 1904, the war ship hit mines near Port Arthur; and nearly all aboard were killed. Vereshchagin's last work was recovered. The salvaged canvas depicted a council of war presided over by Admiral Makarov.[6]

Selected military attachés serving with Russian forces

Russian Imperial Army

  • Sydney Cloman, U.S.[7]
  • William Voorhees Judson, U.S.[8]
  • Capt. Carl von Hoffman, Germany.[9]
  • Montagu Gerard, U.K.[10]
  • _____ Reichman, U.S.[11]
  • Colonel W. H. W. Waters, U.K.[11]
  • Major J. M. Horne.[12]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel C. V. Hume.
  • G. H. Mockler.[10]
  • _____ Holman.[10]
  • Capt Nils Edlund, Sweden[13]
  • Capt Oskar Nyqvist, Norway[13]

Russian Imperial Navy

  • Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe, UK (1904–1905).[14]

Selected military attachés serving with Japanese forces

Japanese Imperial Army

Japanese General Kuroki Tamemoto and his staff were photographed with Western military attachés and war correspondent observers after the Battle of Shaho (1904). The most senior of the military attachdés, Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, center, stands with left hand in a coat pocket and a stick tucked under his right arm.
American observers
British observers
French observers
German observers
Austro-Hungarian observers
  • Adalbert Dáni von Gyarmata [31]
  • Erwin Franz [32]
Italian observers
Swedish observers
  • Peter Hegardt, Sweden [13]

Japanese Imperial Navy

Italian naval attaché Ernesto Burzagli aboard a Japanese naval vessel at Yokohama en route to Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War (1904).

War correspondents


  1. ^ Lone, Stewart. (1994). Japan's First Modern War: Army and Society in the Conflict with China, 1894-1895.
  2. ^ a b c d Sisemore, James D. (2003). "The Russo-Japanese War, Lessons Not Learned." U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
  3. ^ Chapman, John and Ian Nish. (2004). "On the Periphery of the Russo-Japanese War," Part I, p. 53 n42, Paper No. IS/2004/475. Suntory Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Walker, Dale L. "Jack London's War." World of Jack London website.
  5. ^ Harmon, Ernest N. (1933). "Study of the Japanese intelligence service during the Russo-Japanese War," p. 5.
  6. ^ "State Historical Museum Opens 'The Year 1812 in the Paintings by Vasily Vereshchagin'," Art Daily, March 11, 2010; "War Lasted 18 Months ... Russian Miscalculation," New York Times. August 30, 1905
  7. ^ Russo-Japanese War Research: Circum-Baikal Railroad
  8. ^ Newbury Library: William Voorhees Judson; Sisemore, p. 109.
  9. ^ Hoffman, Carl von. (1936). "Jottings from an Explorer's Notebook," The Empire Club of Canada Speeches 1935-1936. pp. 253-264.
  10. ^ a b c d Towle, Philip. (1998). "Aspects of the Russo-Japanese War: British Observers of the Russo-Japanese War," p. 23. Paper No. IS/1998/351. STICERD, LSE.
  11. ^ a b McCullagh, p. 99.
  12. ^ Great Britain War Office, General Staff. (1908). The Russo-Japanese War: Reports from British Officers Attached to the Japanese and Russian Forces in the Field. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
  13. ^ a b c Åselius, Gunnar (1991) Militärattachéerna i St Petersburg. From Militärhistorisk tidskrift 1990. Stockholm p.22
  14. ^ Rickard, J. (2007). Somerset Arthur Gough-Calthorpe.
  15. ^ Arlington National Cemetery: Granville Roland Foretscue
  16. ^ a b c d e Sisemore, James D. (2003) "The Russo-Japanese War, Lessons Not Learned," p. 109. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
  17. ^ Arlington National Cemetery: Arthur MacArthur
  18. ^ Scharf, Frederick A. (2001). "Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)," National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
  19. ^ State of Nebraska: Pershing w/Gen. Kurohi, 1904-1905.
  20. ^ University of Birmingham, Centre for First World War Studies: Richard Bannatine-Allason
  21. ^ a b c James, Lionel. "The Japanese will stand no more shillyshallying," The Times (London). January 30, 1904.
  22. ^ General Staff, Great Britain War Office. (1908). The Russo-Japanese War: Reports from British Officers Attached to the Japanese and Russian Forces in the Field, p. 148; Towle, Philip. (1982). Estimating Foreign Military Power, p. 131. at Google Books
  23. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography: John Charles Hoad; see also, Australian Military Attaché
  24. ^ Great Britain War Office. (1906). The Russo-Japanese War, p. 138; Anglo-Boer War: Jardine bio -- n.b., Capt. Jardine DSO, 5th Lancers.
  25. ^ Hitsman, J. Mackay and Desmond Morton. "Canada's First Military Attache: Capt. H. C. Thacker in the Russo-Japanese War," Military Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 1970), pp. 82-84; "Report No. 14,", Directorate of History, Canadian Forces Headquarters, 8 September 1967.
  26. ^ Towle, p. 26.
  27. ^ Great Britain War Office, p.280.
  28. ^ de Négrier, François. (1906). Lessons of the Russo-Japanese War. London: Hugh Rees.
  29. ^ Bertin, Charles-Émile. (1914). Guerre russo-japonaise: Liao-Yang :six mois de manoeuvre et la bataille; Släktträdet, Charles-Émile Bertin
  30. ^ Sisemore, p. 109.
  31. ^ Stephan Kurz, Die Wahrnehmung des russischen Offizierskorps durch k.u.k. Offiziere in den Jahren 1904-1906
  32. ^ Erwin Freiherr von Franz: Erinnerungen aus dem Russich-Japanischen Krieg 1904-05 (Druck des VII. Korpskommandos, Temesvar, 1911)
  33. ^ Senato della Repubblica: biographical summary
  34. ^ Towle, p. 24.
  35. ^ Strachan, Hew. (2001). The First World War: To Arms, p. 646.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Roth, p. 267; n.b., died during the war.
  37. ^ Mosley, Charles. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (Vol. 3), p. 3324; Baring, Maurice. (1906). With the Russians in Manchuria, p. vi.
  38. ^ "Outdoor Men and Women; Heroes of the Camera," Outing Magazine. Vol. 46 (1905). ppp. 732-733.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Mikado Honors Americans; Order of the Crown Bestowed on Nurses and War Correspondents." New York Times. July 4, 1907.
  40. ^ a b Roth, Mitchel P. and James Stuart Olson. (1997). Historical Dictionary of War Journalism, p. 267.
  41. ^ a b c d McKenzie, Frederick. (1905). From Tokyo to Tiflis: Uncensored Letters from the War, p. 114.
  42. ^ a b c McCullagh, Francis. (1906). With the Cossacks, p. 371. at Google Books
  43. ^ McCullagh, p. 79. at Google Books
  44. ^ Francis Brinkley, see paragraphs 6-7.
  45. ^ Roth, p. 67; McKenzie, p. 114.
  46. ^ Baring, p. 149.
  47. ^ a b McCullagh, p. 285. at Google Books
  48. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography: William Donald
  49. ^ Baring, p. 111.
  50. ^ a b Baring, p. 14.
  51. ^ Baring, pp. 51, 138.
  52. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark): Factsheet Denmark, "Mass Media," p. 3. January 2007.
  53. ^ a b c McCullagh, p. 327. at Google Books
  54. ^ Baring, p. 139; McCullagh, p. 4. at Google Books
  55. ^ McKenzie, Fred Arthur. (1905). From Tokyo to Tiflis: Uncensored Letters from the War, p. iii.
  56. ^ Repington, Charles à Court. (1905). The War in the Far East.
  57. ^ Dava, Valerie. "World Traveler, Explorer, Photographer; James Ricalton brought the world to his Maplewood students," Matters Magazine.
  58. ^ Baring, p. 60.
  59. ^ Victor-Thomas, Charles. (1906). Trois mois avec Kuroki, p. vi.
  60. ^ McKensie, p. 115.
  61. ^ Great War in a Different Light: Villiers bio


See also

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