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Report to the Adjutant General, Philippine Department
June 15, 1914 Fort McKinley, Philippine Islands
Report of visit to Manchurian battlefields,
1. I am making the following report in compliance with Par. 62, A. R., 1913,1 and with the special object of pointing out the material professional advantages to be derived from a visit to the Manchurian battlefields, the relatively small expense of such a trip, the great desirability of formally ordering large parties of our officers to make this tour as illustrated by the practice of the English Army in this respect, and the most desirable route to be travelled.
2. On April 1, 1914 I mailed to our Military Attache in Tokio, an itinerary of the trip I desired to make, giving hour of arrival and departure at each place, portions of each battlefield I desired to see, etc., I requested that such assistance be secured for me from the Japanese War Office as practicable. On April 14, 1914, the War Office notified Colonel Irons that they had arranged for assistance to be given me in securing guides, hiring horses, etc., but that it was impracticable to furnish me a non-commissioned officer at each place and there were too few army horses in the district to provide me with a mount.2 However, as will be seen later, I was furnished an army mount at each place, except Port Arthur where they provided a two horse carriage for me, and a commissioned officer accompanied me on my daily trips.
3. My original itinerary contemplated the following trip: . . .
4. Captain M. C. Kerth, 15th Infantry, Tientsin, China had cabled me to arrange for this same trip for him, he to meet me at Dairen. However, when I arrived at Dairen I found a telegram from him stating that his Colonel had cancelled his leave owing to the Mexican crisis.
5. I purchased a first class circular tour ticket from Kobe, Japan, to Moji by rail, thence by boat to Dairen; thence by rail through Telissu, Liao-yang, Mukden and Antung to Fusan, Korea; thence by express boat to Moji or Shimonoseki; and thence by rail to starting point—Kobe. The ticket cost $41.50 gold, not including about $12.50 for berths and de luxe express fares. It did include meals and berth on each boat on which the service was very good. The trains throughout, especially in Manchuria and Korea are splendidly equipped and served. This same ticket can be purchased so as to start and finish the trip at Tokio, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Shimonoseki—the difference in fare for the varying distances being very slight. Ticket is good for 60 days. You can also arrange to go from Kobe to Moji or the reverse by boat.
6. I landed at Dairen at 5:30 a. m., April 28, 1914, and was met at the dock by a porter from the Yemato (Government) Hotel, who informed me that the unexpected hour of the arrival of my boat had prevented the proper official from meeting me, but that a room was engaged for me at the Hotel. At 7:00 a. m. Dr. Uyeda, Secretary to the President of the South Manchurian Railroad, (Government affair,) called upon me and submitted a schedule of trains, including passenger and goods trains, for my trip. The news of the Mexican crisis was so disturbing that I felt called upon to shorten my trip, and Dr. Ueyda assured me that he could arrange for any changes that I cared to make by telegraphing to the army and railroad officials at each point. I therefor decided to shorten my stays at Port Arthur, Liao-yang and Mukden by one day each, and to omit the stops at Telissu as no express would be going through there on the day I would pass and there was no place for me to spend the night.
7. Having rearranged my schedule I made the following trip:-
April 28, 1914: Left Darien at 9:45 a. m., arriving at Chin Chou, (Nanshan station) about 11:00 a. m. Visited battlefield accompanied by an officer of the civil administration, returning to Darien via goods train at 4:00 p. m. Station master at Chin Chou entertained me with tea and many attentions. He had been notified to expect me and see that my visit was a success. The same was the case with each train master. The Yamato Hotel provided me with a lunch or tiffin for this trip.
April 29, 1914: Left Darien at 7:55 a. m., arriving at Port Arthur at 9:20 a. m., I was met at the train by Lieutenant Fujita, 30th Infantry, and conducted to the Staff Headquarters where I called upon the Governor General, General Baron Fukushima and had tea. General Fykushima was most cordial, talking to me for more than a half hour, and incidentally reading me his special bulletin of Mexican despatches.
Lieut. Fujita then took me to 203 Metre Hill, Akasayama, 174 Metre Hill and Fort Itzushan. We used a carriage hired by the Staff Office. After tiffin we visited the War Museum, Charnel Shrine and top of Battle Monument on Quail Hill, looked over the harbor and returned to the Hotel, (Government) at 5:30 p. m.
That evening a representative of Baron Fukushima called upon me expressing regrets that the Imperial mourning forbade my being entertained at dinner.
April 30, 1914: Lieut. Fujita called for me at 7:15 a. m., and we drove to Fort Sungshushan and visited each fort and battery in turn around to the east coast. We had carried our tiffin out and ate it in the ditch of North Fort. We returned to the Yamato Hotel at 5:45 p. m.
Lieut. Fujita spoke English and had made a special study of the fighting around the most important forts. He was very companionable, instructive and made my stay at Port Arthur unusually interesting and pleasant. Owing to his night language classes he could not accept an invitation to dine with me.
May 1, 1914: Left Port Arthur at 6:55 a. m. Lieut. Fujita was at the train to see me off. Arrived at Darien at 8:30 a. m., breakfasting at the hotel and left one hour later for Telissu and Liao-yang, taking a tiffin box from the hotel.
Mr Mullet-Merrick, English adviser to the President of the South Manchurian Railroad did much to make my stay in Darien pleasant, and accompanied me to the train on this morning. The American consul was also very considerate.
The train master took special pains to make my trip north comfortable and interesting. He had tea served to me at amusingly frequent intervals and pointed out many important lines of the Telissu battlefield.
I arrived at Liao-Yang at 6:30 p. m., and was met at the station by Lieutenant General Akiyama’s Chinese and English Interpreter—an officer. we [sic] immediately decided upon the next days trip and I proceeded to the Ryoto Hotel, a Japaneese [sic] Inn, where I had to furnish my own blankets and pillow and was served plain foreign food. The proprietor had been notified to expect me and see that I was made comfortable.
May 2, 1914: Left at 6:15 a. m., on Yentai coal train with Interpreter Shimidzi, dropping off train at a siding about 18 miles from Liao-yang (On this same caboose were all the officers and non-commissioned officers of a company on their way out in the country for a day of field firing. They put their paraphenalia in an empty gondola car.) We walked across fields and through villages nearly six miles to Manjuyama and Hill 131, eating our tiffin lunch on Manjuyama. In the afternoon we walked 12 miles to the Yentai mines and had a Japanese bath there and took a coal train for Liao-yang.
Upon my return to the inn I found that General Akiyama had sent me a present of several bottles of wine. I called upon him in General Kuropatkin’s old quarters, and was served tea, cakes and champagne and had a most interesting talk with the General about the cavalry operations during the Mukden campaign.
That night I dined with Dr. Alex MacDonald Westwater, an English missionary, who has lived in Liao-yang for 33 years. He was most entertaining regarding his experiences during the war and those of the various military observers and war corespondents who had stayed with him.
May 3, 1914. General Akiyama provided me with the horse of Lieut. General Morikawa and with the interpreter on a machine gun horse. We started off at 7:30 a. m. for Shoushan pu and the Tassu Brook positions, carrying our tiffin with us. We returned to the hotel at 5:40 p. m., having visited three redoubts or forts of the inner line on our way out and in.
I left at 6;30 p. m., arriving at Mukden at 7:50 p. m. There I found Major Shirai, Captain Hirano and Lieutenant Takahaski, of the 56th Inf., at the train to meet me and accompany me to the Yamato Hotel, (Government) We immediately arranged for the next day’s trip and they then left.
May 4, 1914: At 7:15 a. m. Capt. Hirano and Lieut. Takahashi called for me at the hotel with an officer’s mount and a mounted orderly. We rode 6 miles west of the railroad to the scene of the desperate night attack at Yukuantun, and from there followed the battle line north and north east for 17 miles. We inspected the scene of the celebrated night attack by Hirano’s former regiment, 28th, at the north west corner of the Pei-lie Forest or Royal Hunting Park, rode through the forrest to the North Tomb, followed along the scene of the confused fighting across the Simintun high road, and finally rode through the walled city of Mukden, and reached the hotel at 6:00 p. m. (A 32 mile ride.)
That night Major Shirai, Capt. Hirano and Lieut. Takahashi dined with me and accompanied me to my train when I left for Korea after midnight.
May 5, 1914. I arrived at Antung on the Yalu River at 8:30 a. m., having had a hurried view of Hamatan. I had a half hour in which to gather an idea of the terrain involved in the Battle of the Yalu. I then continued on to Seoul, Korea.
8. Throughout the trip I was continuously the recipient of many courtesies. All train masters, station masters and hotel proprieters with whom I came in contact seemed to have been advised to expect me and make an effort to smooth the way. The officers were invariably pleasant and interesting and made an excellent pretense of enjoying their day’s excursions with me. They talked freely, had large scale special maps of local incidents in the fighting and gave me many thrilling descriptions of the troop leading of regiments, battalions and companies.
I was told that as far as they knew I had seen more of the Mukden Battlefield than any foreign officer who had visited it during their stay in Manchuria. Interpreter Shidmidzi had been in the Liao-yang fight and Capt. Hirano had been badly wounded on the top of 293 Metre Hill in the November 30th assaults. I met many officers on the trains and had interesting conversations with them. At Liao-yang at the scene of Major Tashibano’s (?) death, just west of Shoushan pu, I met 11 officers of the 58th Infantry lecturing to their non-commissioned officers on the details of the heroic death of Tashibano. _who has been deified as one of their few war gods. In this connection I learned the interesting fact that an heroic death does not make a great hero for the Japaneese unless the previous life of the man has been one of complete and austere dedication to duty. In speaking of this Major’s life they remarked, among many other things, that he always had gone to his daily duties at 4:00 a. m. and daily engaged in bayonet combat with his men.
9. Some years ago I made a staff ride over a number of the battlefields of the Civil War, but in spite of that experience I was astonished at the amount of valuable professional knowledge I apparently acquired on this recent trip.
While a student of the Army School of the Line and the Staff College and later when I was instructor there I had made a serious study of the events of the Russian-Japaneese War. Since then I have continued my studies of the War with considerable energy. In preparation for this trip I made special studies of the battlefields I was to visit, and during the trip I devoted every free hour on the trains, boats and at the hotels to study. Yet I found that a few hours on the actual field apparently did more to instruct me in the details of troop leading and the larger phases of tactics than years of theoretical study. I came away with a new idea of those fights and entirely different ideas as to the proper methods to follow in peace training. In this connection I had dozens of opportunities to watch the Japanese troops at work, and the officers I went about with told me of changes they had made in their system of training since the war—and why they had made them. I was particularly impressed with the following things.
(a) Bayonet Combat: The battlefields in Manchuria demonstrate the certainty of the bayonet being called upon to decide the issue at the crucial points in every large battle. As a result I saw the Japaneese Infantry working at bayonet combat at all hours of the day from 7:30 a. m. until 5:00 p. m., We have bayonet fencing. They have bayonet combat. Where our men, as a natural result of the spirit of the new manual, spar and dance about with efforts to make clever feints and thrusts, the Japaneese rush at each other and one opponent is more than likely to land violently on his back. They do not rush in a blind bull like manner—it is done with great skill and involves parries, etc.—but the entire spirit of their instruction involves first of all the utmost use of the momentum of the man. I do not think that THE FEATURES of our complicated attack and defense, without great stress being laid on the momentum of the man as the most important feature of the system, will succeed for one instant on the parapet in battle.
(b) Night Attacks: It was plain at Liao-yang and doubly so at Mukden that almost every important point in a great battle must be assaulted at night if success is to be hoped for. I had studied over the night attacks many times, but not until I actually visited the ground and had the details of the local troop leading of companies, battalions and regiments explained did I really absorb or comprehend the true necessities in this sort of work. We have orders requiring night exercises, but with the sole exception of two night exercises I heard of being conducted by a brigade at Texas City, I have never participated in or learned of a night exercise being conducted in our army along the lines that would of necessity have to be followed in delivering a night attack in a large battle. We have night marches, outposts, partial deployments, etc., but we do not practice the formations that seem to be necessary in order to initiate and carry home a night assault, nor do we familiarize our officers and men with the devices utilized at such times—such as phosphorescent compasses, magnesium fire balls, star rocketts, etc. To attempt to utilize formations and devices for the first time on the battlefield and in darkness will lead to but one result according to all studies in psychology of warfare—that is total failure, if not route and panic.
(c) Hand grenades: Because of the decisive results obtained by the constant use of hand grenades in the Russian-Japaneese War, the soldiers of the Japaneese infantry are very carefully trained in the different methods of throwing hand grenades. The defense of Corregidor against landing parties or of any fortifications that may be built on Mariveles Mountain, would inevitably involve the promiscuous use of hand grenades by both attackers and defenders. I doubt if there is a private in the ranks of the infantry forming the mobile defensive force for Corregidor who has ever heard of a hand grenade. A little training along this line would probably prove much more valuable than the constant training received in individual signalling.
10. English Army Officers from Hongkong, Indian and other Far East garrisons frequently visit the battlefields in Manchuria. At intervals they have sent large parties of officers on such trips, just as our War College and Staff College classes go over Civil War Battlefields. As some high ranking officer is in charge, usually a brigade general, the Japaneese officials do much to assist in making an instructive success of these trips, that they could not afford to do for the unofficial visits of one or two officers, as in my case.
I inquired particularly about the visit of one party of thirty English officers sent out from India by General Lord Kitchener. A Brigade General was in charge and one officer who had been an observer during the war and spoke Japaneese—the Captain Vincent so frequently mentioned by General Sir Ian Hamilton in his book—accompanied the party to assist in the instruction and promote harmonious relations with the Japaneese. Cooks, tents and a mess outfit were brought to Manchuria, one officer acting as Quartermaster of the expedition. They stayed at the Yamato (Government) Hotels at Darien and Port Arthur and camped at other points. They were entertained everywhere by the Japaneese Generals in command. Japaneese General Staff Officers were specially detailed to accompany the party and lecture on the various fights at each point visited in the field, and usually an officer who had actually participated in the local combat being studied was sent along to give more color to the descriptions.
The party visited Nanshan, Port Arthur, Telissu, several of the smaller battlefields which occured between Telissu or Takushan and Liao-yang. From the latter place they rode east and south east over the route of General Kuroki’s advance from the Yalu, touching especially on the forcing of the Motieling Pass.
The Japaneese could not furnish horses for so large a party, but they gave the necessary assistance in arranging for the hire of ponies, mules and carts. Incidentally the party failed to advise the local Chineese officials east of Mukden and Liao-yang of their proposed movements, and they were fired on by Chineese huntz hutzies (?) east of Motieling.
11. The location of so many of our officers in the Philippines and China, within easy access of Manchuria, the monthly trips of the transports to Nagasaki, and the frequent trips of the “Warren” to China, make it possible to give a great many selected officers the great professional advantage of studying the battlefields of the war upon which the tactics of the immediate future are bound to be based. Even if the government will not permit the expenses of such an expedition to be paid out of federal funds, the officers need not be placed upon a leave status; they can be sent on transports with the proper tentage, and the arrangements with the Japaneese War Office can be made by the proper authorities.
12. As every foreigner’s movements in Manchuria are closely watched by Japaneese officials and as all preliminary arrangements are made and carried out with rigid exactness, it is essential in planning such a trip to notify the War Office several months in advance, giving a most detailed itinerary of the trip it is desired to make, and then to comply rigidly with the approved itinerary. Colonel Irons informed me that some of our officers had made request to the Japaneese War Office for certain courtesies and then failed to appear at the appointed place. Such actions react in a most unfortunate manner on individuals or parties who follow later, and constitute to the Japaneese an unexplainable and unpardonable breach of etiquette.
13. The last week of April and the first part of May afford about the best season for visiting Manchuria. At that time the temperature is pleasant there is little or no rain and a minimum of the frequent and trying dust and wind storms. The English Officers took entirely too much baggage, according to the accounts I heard.
An officer should not be favored with a specially arranged visit to Manchuria unless he can give assurance that he has studied the campaign seriously—which means eight or ten months study at the least. In organizing a large party I consider that officers should be allowed to compete in an examination of their knowledge of those portions of the campaign which are to be visited. It is a great waste of time to visit those battlefields if one has merely read over the accounts several times.
The British General staff account of the war is the best authority to study—more recent and complete than the German General Staff account. Other good books to study in preparation: General Sir Ian Hamilton’s Staff Officers’ Scrap Book; Colonel Tetrahof, (?) 5th Siberian Regiment, account of Nanshan and Port Arthur, (he had charge on 203 Metre Hill.) Human Bullets by Lieutenant Sakurai (gives the best idea of the spirit of the troops at Port Arthur;) the reports of our military observers, particularly Major Kuhn’s on Port Arthur and Captain March’s description of Manjuyama at Liao-yang; our translation of the Russian study of the effects of the siege of Port Arthur on fortifications.3
14. In closing I wish to report again on the extreme courtesy and kindness of the Japanese army and railroad officials who assisted me during my visit in South Manchuria.
[1st Indorsement: Captain Ezekiel J. Williams, Company F, June 15, 1914.]
. . . 3. In the case of this officer attention is invited to the special excellence of the above report, and to the further fact that he bore the expense of the trip out of his own private funds and devoted time out of his ordinary leave to the making of the study and securing of the information on which it is based.
[2d Indorsement: Colonel George W. McIver, Thirteenth Infantry, June 19, 1914.]
1. Forwarded concurring in remarks contained in 1st indorsement.
2. Referring to paragraph 9(c) of the report the importance of grenades as one of the elements of the defense of Corregidor has not been entirely overlooked as may be seen from the fact that an expenditure of rifle and hand grenades is allowed for the two (2) infantry regiments assigned to duty on Corregidor and in case of the 13th Infantry at least some instruction in the use of these missiles was given in both the 1913 and 1914 maneuvers on Corregidor. The allowance at present inadequate, should be made sufficient for the instruction of a complete squad in each infantry company of the Corregidor garrison.
3. The professional interest of this report is so great that Lieutenant Marshall has been directed to prepare a lecture on the subject of his visit to the Manchurian battle fields for delivery to the assembled officers of the 13th Infantry, the report to be expanded into lecture length through the addition of details and observations of possible interest not included in the report, and through the amplification of paragraph 9 of the report with the idea of showing more in detail how our own methods of infantry training may be improved upon.
[3d Indorsement: Brigadier General Eli D. Hoyle, Fort McKinley, June 20, 1914.]
1. This interesting report is such as might have been expected from Lieutenant Marshall, who has made, and is making, a serious study of tactics and strategy. Specially endowed by nature he avails himself of every opportunity for professional improvement, and with marked success. The points he emphasizes, under (a), (b), and (c) . . . are worthy of serious consideration.
2. I will arrange for the attendance of all the officers of the post at the lecture to be delivered by Lieutenant Marshall, referred to in paragraph 3, 2d indorsement.
Document Copy Text Source: Marie M. Singer Papers, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Author-typed report.
1. This regulation states: “An officer of the Army visiting foreign countries, whether on duty or leave, will avail himself of all proper opportunities to obtain military information, especially such as pertains to his branch of the service. He will report the results of his observations to The Adjutant General of the Army on his return to duty, or sooner if practicable.”
2. Colonel James A. Irons (U.S.M.A., 1879) was military attach