November 30

As portrayed:

Fighting to the death on 203 Metre Hill, 30 November 1904, Russo-Japanese War

Throughout the past two months General Nogi’s Japanese divisions have battered themselves bloody all along the line of Russian defenses protecting Port Arthur; there have been some local successes, but at a terrible cost, forcing the Japanese commanders to decide on a new course of action – launching concerted attacks against 203 Metre Hill on the western flank of the Russian fortifications.

If the hill falls it will allow Japanese guns to target every part of the city and the remaining Russian ships in the port, and thus the struggle over its possession has been intense and especially hard-fought.

The day is bitterly  cold and the ground is iron-hard. More than once this morning the Japanese have broken through and captured trenches and breastworks of the left redoubt, only to be ejected by determined Russian counter-attacks, such as the one developing here.

A small band of men from the 7th Division have fought their way into a Russian position once again, though their proud display of a regimental battle flag over their new conquest has enraged the Russians; a motley group of soldiers together with a lieutenant from the 5th East Siberian Rifle Regiment have stormed back into the position, determined to drive the Japanese out once and for all.

They are led by an officer who  is conspicuous due to the fine quality and relative cleanliness of his uniform in comparison to those of the bedraggled men who follow him; he has fallen wounded, but his men charge on regardless, engaging the Japanese at bayonet-point in a vicious mêlée that will offer no quarter.


Winter Uniforms – Japanese Troops in Korea during the Russo Japanese War, c. 1904

I’ve been in Korea in the winter and it’s as cold as a stepmother’s kiss. And that’s no lie. Cold as a witch’s tit.


  1. One of histories amazing stories- the rise of a feudal society with 1500’s technology to a world class power capable of defeating a modern European military. In 40 years.
    Pretty accurate paintings- the Arisaka’s and Naval mounted katanas and Mosin Nagants etc all clearly recognizable.

      • Their inflexibility and punching above their weight when it came to the US was their undoing.

        Don’t get me wrong, the Imperial Japanese Navy was better than the US navy in most respects, better tactics, effective ships, well trained crews – when the war began. But they had no legs. Three years later the US Navy had 600 warships in the Pacific, excellent aircraft and the kinks had been worked out.

        • And Yamamoto knew this would happen. He told his government he could “Run wild for six months, and then…?”

          Midway was six months after Pearl Harbor. His “Sleeping Giant” quote was coming to fruition.

  2. My dads brother Pete was in the Aleutian islands in WW2. The US Army was not as astute as the Japanese about their winter gear. He declared he would never be cold again, and moved to Scottsdale Az before it was engulfed by Phoenix. After his wife passed away he would spend the summers in Kansas where the rest of his family still lived, but if it hit 50°, even on the Fourth of July, his ass was on a plane back to Arizona!

  3. Who was it that funded the 1904 war? Surely they’re not an influence now.

    To get past the freezing cold of the Texan steppe I’ve made steak pie.

  4. Of course the wonderful and so honourable Japanese never bothered with declarations of war, sneak attacks all the way. This was true in the Sino-Japanese war, the Russo-Japanese war, and of course Pearl Harbour. My father, who was in Coastal Forces (gunboats) saw friends who had been captured by those yellow bastards and came home weighing 65 pounds! He got over the Germans, to his dying day he never forgave the japs.

    • War is a racket.

      There are rules, I guess. Small room for forgiveness.

      The Japanese and Germans behaved in ways most sadistic.

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