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THE JAPANESE ADVANCE ON NANSHAM
The Battle of Nansham, 24-26 May 1904, was fought across a two-mile-wide defence line covering the approaches to Port Arthur. Japanese General Oku began with a prolonged artillery barrage followed by infantry assaults from three divisions. One of the nine assaults is described below.
Two interesting facts about the battle are:
1. The Japanese fired 34,000 artillery shells during the battle, more than had been expended during the entire First Sino-Japanese War.
2. The Japanese fired 2.19 million rifle and machine gun rounds in one day of fighting, more than the number fired by the Prussians during the entire Austro-Prussian War.
‘The first infantry attack upon Nasham was delivered by one of the battalions of the 1st Division. Deploying, it pushed forward by short rushes over fields of green barley, receiving a terrific fire from the Russians. Under this it staggered, as officers and men went down, and survivors were compelled to throw themselves flat on the earth. The pause in the advance was only for a few minutes. Then the bugles sounded through the dreadful turmoil; the line of men arose, and recommenced its heroic advance. Once mote the storm of bullets caught it and it split into two halves. One half reeled backwards and took shelter in a depression, the other half dashed forwards towards the Russian entanglements. These checked its progress, and, before the few survivors could extricate themselves, they were shot down almost to a man by the Russian rifles, while, as the crowning horror, the gunboat Bobr began to throw her great 9-in. shells among them, and the Russian naval guns on Hoshang to fire rapidly upon them. The battalion was practically annihilated, though the rest of the 1st Division was thrown into the battle to its support.’
The Japanese finally took the defences, losing a total of 6,198 men.
Source. ‘Japan’s Fight For Freedom’, Vol 2, H.W. Wilson, Amalgamated Press, 1906