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THE CAVALRY 



IN THE 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 



LESSONS AND CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS 



BY 

COUNT GUSTAV WRANGEL 

(AUSTRIAN CAVALRY) 



TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY 

J. MONTGOMERY 

LIEUTENANT 3RD HUSSARS 



LONDON 

HUGH REES, Ltd. 

XI 9, PALL MALL, S.W. 
1907 

ALL XXGMTS RBSBSVBD 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 

rilHE translation of this work was under- 
taken in the hope that it might be of 
some use to those British officers who feel 
interested in the work of the cavalry arm 
in the Russo-Japanese War. The scope 
and purpose of the work appear in the 
author's introduction. 

Thanks are due to Herr Von Donat for 
his kind assistance in revising the proofe. 

J. M. 



CONTENTS 

\ 

I 

PAOH 

Introducjtion - - - - - - 1 

II 

Thb Performances of the Cavalry in the Busso- 
Japanese War - - - - - 5 

m 

Conclusions - - - - - -64 



THE CAVALRY 
IN THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 

LESSONS AND 
CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS 



INTRODUCTION 

IT appears almost as if the poor performanoe of 
the cavalry in the Busso- Japanese War has 
exercised a paralysing effect on the pens of those 
who are qualified to criticize it. 

Though the literature of the late campaign, in 
a general way, already shows quite a considerable 
library, in its purely cavalry branch it is still very 
b^ilTpro^^ fo^ tTi. a decided negl J 
which, according to our idea, in the interests of 
the future of cavalry, should be redressed as soon 
as possible. 

The common talk about the complete inaction 
of the cavalry arm during the Manchurian cam- 
paign has brought to light a series of erroneous 

impressions, which have recently been revived. 

1 



2 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

It is the intention df this work to combat these 
decisively, before they are disseminated further. 

Our conviction that a strong cavahy, now as 
f ormerly, forms an absofaitely necessary fighting 
force for every modem army is supported by a 
powerful ally. According to the latest reports, 
it is tibe intention of the leaders of the Japanese 
army to form not less than eight divisions of 
cavalry in the course of the impending reorgani- 
zation of the army. This means a doubling of 
the cavalry force which was hitherto available. 

Now, the Japanese have without doubt proved 
that they are an eminently practical people. They 
are certainly proof against the reproach that out 
of a love of obsolete tradition they wish to 
maintain expensive and useless troops for show 
purposes. If tibey increase their cavalry, there is 
no doubt that they do so with the full recognition 
that the small nxunbers of this arm prevented 
them from reaping the full measure of their suc- 
cesses in the late war. 

It is not only in order to at once be able to con- 
tend with the arguments against a diminution or 
transformation of the cavahy that the specialist 
should study the cavaby operations of the late 
campaign. 

Sins of omission, with their drastic results, 
frequently ofier more convincing lessons than the 
most successful feat of arms. 

Even if the debatable points in the tactics of 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 3 

cavalry have received no clear answer through 
the experiences of the war in the Far East, yet 
this arm can partly apply to itself the new clues 
which were obtained there as far as concerns the 
two other principal arms. 

The employment of cavahy, in battle especially, 
must be managed in quite another way, in face 
of the much greater extent of fighting front, the 
long duration of battles, and the artificial strength- 
ening of positions. 

As no large cavalry actions were really fought, 
there can be no decision as to the relative ad- 
vantages of line versus group tactics, of sword 
versus lance. 

On the other hand, in the execution of a few 
very interesting raids, one is able to recognize 
the f imdamental principles in the carrying out of 
which success may be achieved. As far as the 
reconnoitring of both combatants is concerned, 
BO far only can the outline of the whole picture be 
determined. Before the parties themselves con- 
cerned have spoken, and the respective general 
staff works have thrown more light over the many 
details of which the duty of reconnaissance is 
compounded, no final judgment can be passed. 

In due time this final judgment is sure to modify 

in several instances the hypothesis, estabUshed by 

too hasty critics, that the cavalry on both sides 

was a complete failure. 

We wiU limit ourselves in this work to the 

1—2 



4 CAVALRY IN RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 

diBcnssion of the following questions (leaving out, 
for the present, discussion of details which are as 
yet not sufficiently established) : 

1. What has been done ? 

2. What ought to have been done ? 

3. To what causes are the sins of omission to be 
attributed ? 

4. Is sufficient care taken that our cavalry, if 
put to the test, could carry out their duties 
better ? 

Only by giving a completely impartial reply 
to the last point are we able to turn to proper 
account the experiences of the campaign, and be of 
some real use to the cavalry arm. 



II 

THE PERFORMANCES OF THE CAVALRY IN 
THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 

(a) The Bussiaks. 

THE immense respect with which the whole 
of Europe regarded the empire of the Czar 
before the war with Japan, arose in the first 
instance from the high esteem in which its military 
power was held. 

There was really little justification, from all we 
had previously heard and seen of it, for the esteem 
in which the Russian army was held. Numbers 
were too much thought of, otherwise it would have 
been scarcely possible to forget that the Russian 
army, in spite of her almost inexhaustible resources, 
neither specially excelled in the Crimea nor in 
tibe Turkish campaign of 1877-1878. 

In the former she was unable to save Sebastopol ; 
in the latter, if it had not been for the timely help 
of the Roumanians, she would have been defeated 
at Plevna. 

The first-rate qualities of her soldiers — obstinate 

bravery, blind obedience and attachment, physical 

5 



« THE CAVALRY IN THE 

endurance — were severely handicapped by the 
defects in leadership and administration, and by 
the passive character of her people. 

Indeed, it cannot be denied that in Russia the 
years of peace from 1878-1904 have been used to 
get rid of, as far as possible, the shortcomings in 
all branches of the army which came to light 
during the Turkish campaign. For example, the 
administration, in the Manchurian theatre of war, 
worked without a hitch. 

Nevertheless, all the improvements and reforms 
were not able to raise the spirit and morale of 
the army sufficiently high to engage success- 
fully in a war against such an opponent as 
Japan« 

The causes why the moral qualities of the 
Russian army leave much to be desired are rooted 
deep in the whole system. It would carry us 
too far if we were to lay them all bare here. For 
our purpose it is sufficient to state that a lax 
discipline, aversion to responsibility, rivalry, and 
inordinate longing after pleasure in the higher 
ranks, want of enthusiasm and martial ardour in 
the army generally, led much more to defeat 
than the mistakes of the much-censured Com- 
mander-in-Chief. 

The critics of the campaign have frequently 
forgotten to take into consideration, in favour of 
the much-abused General Kuropatkin, a psycho- 
logical fact which doubtless weighed upon him 



RUSSO^APANESE WAR 7 

heavily. This accompliBhed soldier abeady knew 
the Japanese soldier before the outbreak of the 
war. The enormous difference in morale between 
the two armies was no secret to him from the 
very beginning* 

The first encounters, specially the storming of 
the heights of Kintschou, must have strengthened 
him in this knowledge. !EVom the feeling of 
inferior quality of his own forces must have sprung 
to a great extent the want of initiative and 
hesitating leadership with which he has been so 
much reproached. 

Also, in criticizing the power of initiative of 
the Russian cavalry Generals, we must not forget 
to consider the above-mentioned psychological 
fact. 

The quintessence of all admiration and esteem, 
bestowed upon the army of the Czar by the public 
opinion of Europe before the commencement of 
the campaign, was without doubt apportioned to 
the Russian cavalry. 

When, about twenty years ago, the political 
sky became overcast, Germany and Austria beheld 
in spirit their frontier provinces already overrun 
with numberless hostile mounted hosts. Even 
the leading military authorities suffered under this 
delusion. When the clouds which covered the 
sky of peace had cleared, there still remained 
respect for the great superiority of the numbers of 
the Russian cavalry, their warlike training, their 



8 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

diBmotlnted attack, their excellent material, and 
their immense endurance. 

Some few specialists, however, possessed a deeper 
insight even then. 

They did not allow themselves to be deceived 
as to the true state of affairs by the numbers on 
paper, the bayonet attack of dismounted cavalry 
regiments, the distance marches by ice and 
snow, and the different equestrian tricks of the 
Cossacks. 

The ;;>mall value of the Cossack organizations 
for a modem war, the insufficient intelligence of 
the officers and men of the cavalry of the line, 
and the one-sided training of the whole of the 
cavalry, was no secret to them. Yet even these 
exact judges of the situation did not doubt that 
the Japanese cavalry, weak, and by repute of 
inferior quality, must be beaten out of the field. 
Afterwards it would not be difficult for the Russian 
cavalry divisions to prepare the greatest diffi- 
culties in the Manchurian plains for the advance 
of the opposing hosts. 

Though, as a matter of fact, it turned out 
quite differently, nevertheless we must not be 
misguided in condemning the whole of the Russian 
cavalry off-hand. 

The contingent that was told off to the Man- 
churian field army (at Mukden Kuropatkin had 
at his disposal over 149 squadrons and sotnias) 
appears more than ample for the execution of the 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 9 

duties apportioned to cavalry. However, as far 
as their quality was concerned, scarcely two-thirds 
of them can be looked upon as efficient mounted 
troops. Only three regiments — Guards and 
line Dragoons — ^belonged to the regular cavalry, 
of which two (51st and 52nd Dragoons) only 
arrived with the 17th Army Corps at the theatre 
of war at the end of July, 1904. 

The 4th Division of Don Cossacks arrived still 
later at the field army — ^the end of October, 1904. 

Of the Orenburg, Ural, and difierent Asiatic 
Cossack organizations, which formed the main 
body of the Russian cavalry in Manchuria, more 
than half consisted of troops of the second and 
third class of reserves. 

The disillusion, which the activity of the 
Russian cavalry in general has prepared, must 
to a great extent be put to the charge of these 
irregular Cossack corps. 

Even before the outbreak of the campaign, in 
foreign military circles it was no longer any 
secret that the Don Cossack regiments, which were 
apportioned to the European cavalry divisions, 
at most only answered half the requirements of 
modem cavalry. 

For years a perceptible want of horses has made 
itself felt in all Cossack districts. 

The men who were coming up to serve, and 
whose duty it was from time immemorial to 
bring horses and weapons with them, had not 



10 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

been for a long time in a position to comply with 
this demand. Remount duty had, therefore, to 
be taken over by the Government. Owing to 
this there were such difficulties to overcome that 
the mounting of the Cossack troops, especially 
those of the second and third class of reserves, left 
very much to be desired. The normal estab- 
lishment was seldom or ever really attained. 

The want of horses, the insufficient pay, the 
increased demands for military efficiency, probably 
conduced to make unpopular a service which 
formerly was considered especially honourable. 
The seething discontent which was present in the 
whole of the Russian Empire had penetrated to 
the steppes of the Don, the Urals, and the Volga. 

Many people avoided military service. Deser- 
tion in Cossack regiments was quite an everyday 
occurrence. 

Also, the officers of these troops were quite 
incapable of raising the deteriorating spirit of 
their men. 

Among all his comrades in the huge army of the 
Czar, the Cossack officer stands morally and in- 
tellectually on the lowest rung. 

In this respect little superior to his men, in 
general he is united to them in a good patriarchal 
relationship. Nevertheless, he is not suited to be 
a shining example and pattern, which is able to 
call forth self-sacrificing deeds in difficult positions. 

When the insufficient performances of the 



RUSSO^APANESE WAR 11 

Cossack troops made themselves uncomifortably 
felt at Idle commencement of the campaign, the 
War Office determined, as a means of raising the 
quality of their officers, to transfer a great number 
of cavalry officers of the Guard to them. 

In personal intelligence, courage, and initiative, 
it is certain that these gentlemen were not lacking. 
But in service experience, and, above all, in 
appreciation of the peculiarities of their new 
subordinates, they left much to be desired. 

Their appearance at the front, therefore, had 
no appreciable influence on the usefulness of the 
Russian cavaky. 

Improvisation is nowhere so useless as by the 
cavahy arm. This arm must be exactly equipped 
in peace as one expects to use it in war. 

Of the higher leaders which fate placed at the 
head of the Russian cavalry during the war in 
the Far East one can give a decidedly better 
testimony than that placed to the account of their 
subordinates. Especially in Rennenkampf is the 
stuff of which an excellent cavalry leader is 
made. 

Even Mischtschenko and Ssamsonow would 
proba.bly have shown themselves in a more 
advantageous light provided the material they 
had to work with had been better. 

Indeed, they enjoyed the confidence of their 
troops^ but knew their weaknesses too well to 
engage in bold and independent enterprises. The 



12 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

few really clearly defined strategical tasks which 
were given the cavalry leaders by the chief of the 
army were, however, adequately solved — ^thus, 
the guarding of the passes in the Fonschuiling 
Mountains against the armies of Kuroki and 
Nodzu ; the guarding of the flanks of their own 
army at laaoyang (Kuroki's crossing over and 
outflanking movement was reported at the right 
time to Kuropatkin by the brigade of Dragoons 
of the 17th Army Corps) ; and, finally, Bennen- 
kampf's raid against the extreme right wing of 
the Japanese at Bonsihu in the battle of Yentai- 
Shaho. 

What confidence the Russian commander had 
in the last-mentioned cavalry leader is shown 
best by the fact that at Mukden he transferred 
him as quickly as possible from the right wing 
to the left as an independent commander, imme- 
diately the attack of the Japanese seemed to be 
directed on that wing. 

In one respect, however, we can draw a con- 
clusion from the deeds of the Russian cavalry, 
deficient as are their records up to date. The 
fault for the sins of omissions — ^that many such 
were committed there is absolutely no doubt — 
are not to be attributed entirely to the leadership^ 
but also to the troops themselves. 

Most difficult of all is it to give an exhaustive 
and just answer to the very interesting and 
important question : ** Has the Russian cavalry 



RUSSO^APANESE WAR 13 

carried out to the full its duties and obligations 
in the service of reconnaissance ?" Our own peace 
experiences alone ought to prevent us from giving 
here a too hasty judgment. 

To foreign opinions one should not give a too 
unqualified belief before the Russian cavahy it- 
self has spoken in its own justification. 

What the arm performs in reconnaissance is a 
series of small moves, which form the basis for 
the important resolves and decisions. 

Should fortune favour their own army, the 
difficult detail work which has been performed by 
the cavalry will be forgotten in the genius of the 
commander and the deeds of valour of the other 
arms on the battlefield. On the other hand, if 
the tide of events go against it, one is only too 
inclined to make a scapegoat of the cavalry for 
its insufficient or negative reports. 

As far as concerns the Russian cavalry, it has 
to defend itself against an indictment emanating 
from a very important quarter. In a general 
order, published shortly after the battle of liadyang. 
General Kuropatkin accuses the arm ^^ of having 
left him in ignorance of the numbers and inten- 
tions of the enemy.'' A few critics, doubtless 
biassed by this and similar judgments, have seen 
fit to lay the blame for the defeat at Mukden to 
a great extent on the shoulders of the cavalry 
which was apportioned to the westerly wing of 
the Russian army. 



14 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

They are said not to have reported the great 
turning movement of the 3rd Japanese Army 
under General Nogi. 

If this is the case, it is without doubt a too 
inexcusable crime. Not to discover, in a com- 
pletely open country, three and a half infantry 
divisions^ with numerous artillery, of the ad- 
vancing enemy the cavalry must have been indeed 
struck with blindness. 

To the honour of the whole cavalry be it said, 
such a monstrous case in reality never took 
place. 

On February 27th — ^that is, one day after the 
commencement of the turning movement — ^tbe 
presence of a strong Japanese force of infantry at 
Tawan, on the laaoho (the left-wheeling wing of 
Nogi's army), was ascertained by the Caucasian 
cavahy brigade, and duly reported. Cossack 
patrols also reported the occupation of Sinmintins 
by the Japanese cavalry, whereupon the mixed 
Russian brigade of Biirger was sent in that 
direction. 

It is therefore inadmissible to saddle the 
cavalry of the Russian west wing with the respon- 
sibility for the mischief which was caused by the 
turning movement of the Japanese. By a more 
correct grouping of his forces (shorter, more 
massed front, strong reserves well in rear) it 
would have been easily possible for Kuropatkin 
to make the necessary dispositions in plenty of 



RUSSO^APANESE WAR 15 

time for a successful defence, in accordance with 
the reports which were received. 

However, this does not alter the fact that, 
in our opinion, the Russian commander could 
and ought to have been better served here. 

Not only the advance, but the preparations 
for Nogi's movement behind the left wing of 
the enemy, should have been discovered and re- 
ported a long time before. The great weakness of 
the enemy's cavalry, and the shallowness of the 
Japanese front, considerably lightened this task. 

A strategical reconnaissance in the cavalry sense, 
with contact patrols and detachments pushed 
well out to the front, appears neither immedi- 
ately before the battle of Mukden, nor at any time 
on the part of the Russians, to have taken place. 
No such reproach can be levelled against the 
Japanese cavalry. Their own leaders were always 
informed well and correctly about the movements 
of the Russians. 

In lay circles to-day one is still inclined to 
ascribe the merit of this fact exclusively to a 
widespreading, weU - organized system of es- 
pionage. In our opinion, the reputation of the 
Japanese cavalry unjustly suffers through this 
assumption. 

That at times important news through especially 
clever spies may have been brought in is not to 
be denied. But to keep the chiefe of the army 
continuously and reliably informed of the opera- 



16 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

tions of the Russians, it is impossible that the 
intelligence of the material of which the Chinese 
spies were composed could have sufficed. Without 
a correct eye for tactics and a certain constructive 
talent it is impossible to perform such a service 
for any length of time. 

In the service of reconnaissance it is not only 
in their self-sacrificing devotion to duty, but, 
above aU, in their intellectual qualities, that the 
Japanese cavalry have won their greatest triumph. 
On the other hand, the performances of the 
Cossacks in the service of reconnaissance were 
essentially impaired by the low average mental 
standard of this force. 

By a comparison of the relative strength of 
the two cavalries in the Manchurian theatre of 
War, owing to the enormous superiority of the 
Russians, a double reproach must be levelled 
against them — ^firstly, that in many cases they 
saw too little; secondly, that they did not 
sufficiently hinder their weak opponent from 
seeing. 

In order to prevent any misunderstandings, we 
will at once solemnly state that we are in no way 
upholders of the so-called screen tactics in the 
sense in which so many imagine as being the chief 
r&le of cavahy. Viewed in the current manner, this 
duty contains an avowed defensive and passive 
character quite contrary to the spirit of the 
arm. 



EUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 17 

Quite irrespective of this, the idea of a thin 
cavahy screen surrounding their own army, either 
on the march or in camp, for protection against 
view of the enemy, is very fallacious. An 
energetic enemy, full of enterprise, will easily 
pierce this thin web with his scouts. Only an 
active screen can be of any use, which really, 
in practice, is no longer a screen only, but is 
coincident with the true offensive reconnaissance. 

He who advances regardlessly into the hostile 
reconnaissance zone, and attacks the cavalry 
detachments of the enemy with determination 
wherever they are found, gives the death-blow 
to the information apparatus of the enemy. His 
patrols and detachments, robbed of their sup- 
ports, are soon useless. They, like their reports, 
only in the fewest cases are able to reach their 
destination. 

At any rate, one can give certain excuses for 
the Russian cavalry divisions having never used 
an active screen. The mountainous and roadless 
character of the country in a great part of the 
theatre of war, and also the roads in the plains, 
during a great part of the year covered either 
with deep mud or with snow and ice, were little 
favourable to a bold decisive advance. Another 
thing is, the Japanese cavahy seldom committed 
themselves willingly to shock tactics, but chose 
for defence dismounted action, at the same time 
assuring themselves in a cautious manner always 

2 



18 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

good positions and, generally, the support of their 
own infantry* 

Frequently, however, the Russian squadrons 
were quite strong enough not to let slip the oppor- 
tunity of attacking the few companies or even 
battalions of the mixed Japanese reconnoitring 
detachments. 

With justice the Hungarian Honved-Hussar, 
Captain Spaits, in his highly interesting book. 
With the Cossacks in .Manchuria, specially in 
connexion with the psychology of this memorable 
war, says : " Besides military training, above all, 
the Russian cavalry failed in the firm resolve to 
sacrifice themselves, and perhaps this was their 
greatest fault." Even the manner in which the 
cavahy of Kuropatkin used the long pauses in 
the operations, which were characteristic of the 
campaign in Manchuria, did not show that fervid 
activity which should always be one of the chief 
attributes of the arm. Neither the losses which 
they suffered in the three great battles nor any 
other circumstances can justify the complete in- 
activity of the Russian cavahy during the months 
of September, November, and December, 1904, 
and further in April, May, June, and July, 1905. 

Immediately after the days of laaoyang, at 
which time it can be accepted that a certain 
amotmt of disorder prevailed on the Japanese 
lines of communication, and that no attack on 
them was expected, this was, in our opinion. 






RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 19 

the time to carry out a great raid against the 
stretch of railway liaoyang-Haitschon. 

^At that time the roads were still passable, even 
if the crossing of the not yet frozen river courses 
had demanded a certain amount of time and 
trouble. However, the suddeimess of the move- 
ment, on which, in the first place, the success 
of a raid is dependent, should have been taken 
into account at this period instead of in January, 
when it was at last resolved to make an effort. 

It is certain that to General Kuropatkin one 
must give a certain amount of the blame for the 
long inactivity of his squadrons. Should the 
necessary initiative fail them, then the (Commander- 
in-Chief must give the necessary impulse. Finally, 
at any rate, by his orders the great raid of General 
Mischtschenko was let loose. ' 

We must notice that the above-mentioned order, 
in only containing the general instruction to carry 
out a raid in rear of the Japanese army, was per- 
fectly correct. The time, as well as the manner 
of carrying it out, was left to the discretion of 
General Mischtschenko. The forces placed at his 
command were ample. Sixty-six squadrons, five 
and two-thirds batteries, four machine-guns, and 
four companies of mounted iaf antry (selected from 
different infantry regiments), assembled on 
January 8th at 1 p.m. at Sukudiapu, 20 kilometres 
south-west of Mukden, to start out on their ride 

under the command of their popular cavahy leader. 

2—2 



20 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

An engineer detachment, a pontoon-bridge detach- 
ment, and four eotnias of mounted Frontier 
Guards were added to it. The beet cavahy 
regiments of the Russian Manchurian army — 
three regiments of Don Cossacks and three of 
dragoons — ^belonged to the raiding corps, a cir« 
cumstanoe which must not be overlooked when 
judging of l^e performances of Mischtschenko. 
The leader of every military operation must have 
some definite objective in his mind's eye, the 
attamment of which he must in the first instance 
strive after. 

This, without doubt, holds good for cavalry 
raids, only with this difference — ^that here an un- 
deviating adherence to the intention which is 
once formed must in no way be made the rule. 

A cavalry raiding force should occasion as much 
loss as possible to the enemy by means of un- 
pleasant surprises. 

The where and how is inmiateriaL If it does 
not succeed by the means at first projected, well 
then, the leader must possess a mind of fertile 
resource, and try and carry it out in some other 
way. The principal thing, however, is to appear 
as unexpectedly as possible on the flanks and rear 
of the enemy, and to be a nuisance to him as long 
as is feasible. 

It cannot be maintained that General Mischt- 
schenko, either in the planning or execution of 
his raid, took into consideration these principles. 



BUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 21 

His plan, in^the first instance, was to fall upon 
the Japanese depot of Inkau (since the harbonr 
there was frozen over — ^this the Russian cavalry 
General appears to have been unaware of — ^the 
whole of the enemy's supplies went by Dalny). 
The destruction of the raUway-line Port Arthur- 
liaoyang appeared to him only a matter of minor 
consideration. 

These two ideas ought to have been decidedly 
looked at the other way about. It was exactly 
the above-mentioned railway which was the weak 
point of the Japanese, from which it ought to 
have been presumed that the transport of Nogi's 
army to the north was going forward at this time. 

The unfavourableness of the country — ^roads 
covered with slippery ice, and hard, frozen 
ploughed fields — ^was indeed a fact to be deplored, 
but, at the same time, not to be altered. So much 
the more ought General Mischtschenko to have 
taken care on account of this to avoid anything 
which would hinder the quick advance of his 
troops, one of the most essential factors to success. 

From this point of view, the taking with him 
1,600 baggage animals for the conveyance of 
provisions was a great mistake, for which he paid 
a corresponding penalty. 

During a raid the cavaby must live on the 
country, or, still better, from the rations which 
they are able to take from the enemy. In the 
cultivated, rich plain to the west of the railway-lii 



22 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

Haitschon-Iiaoyang the first, at least, was quite 
possible. With the exception of the ammunition- 
waggons, during such an undertaking no wheeled 
transport of any sort should be taken. Notwith- 
standing the fact that the Russian advance was 
hindered by bands of Chunchuses and small 
Japanese infantry detachments (half a company, 
which had occupied a small trench, kept back 
Mischtschenko's middle column, more than a 
division strong, three hoturs at Kiliho), and pro- 
ceeded very slowly (average march 29 kilometres 
daily), when they arrived before Niutschwang 
about noon on January 12th, the situation was 
not at all unfavourable. 

It was without doubt possible to advance 
during the same day direct on Haitschon, which 
was supposed to be occupied by 1,500 Japanese, 
artillery and infantry. 

Eight thousand five hundred sabres with thirty- 
four guns certainly ought to have risked an attack 
on this weak force. If Haitschon fell into the 
hands of the Russians, and if the railway-line, 
together with the bridges, had been destroyed, a 
brilliant success would have been obtained. 

But even if one wished to avoid the losses 
which the capture of a fortified place would have 
entailed, at least Mischtschenko's columns should 
have been pushed forward against other places 
as far as the railway, for the more successful 
destruction of the same. Instead of which, keeping 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 23 

to his original plan, the side-issue to Inkau 
was undertaken. The railway-station was suc- 
cessfully stormed by twelve dismounted sotnias 
of Cossacks (all from different regiments), and 
several buildings and magazines were burnt to 
the ground. 

Meanwhile, on the railway - lines Inkau- 
Daschitsao and Daschitsao-Haitschon strong 
officer patrols carried out some inconsiderable 
demoUtions. 

These were the entire results which were carried 
out on this raid by such considerable forces. 
The Russians did not dare to attack Inkau in 
the dark, so that the twp Japanese militia 
battalions which garrisoned it were left in undis- 
turbed possession. 

The sudden retreat of Mischtsohenko — ^really 
owing to the report that different hostile infantry 
colunms were advancing direct on them — cannot 
be looked upon by the critic as satisfactory. 

In this open neighbourhood there could be no 
question of cuttmg off their retreat. 

They had decidedly up to this time performed 
too little to leave the country in rear of the enemy. 

It is maintained (a foreign attach^ who accom- 
panied the raid is Captain Spait's authority) that 
General Mischtschenko wished to spare his troops 
for the battle of Sandepu, and, in order to take 
part in this battle, wished to arrive in his own 
lines in time. 



24 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

Such reservations are no good; they only 
prevent the leader from putting his whole soul and 
spirit into the business in hand. 

If one puts aside the fact of the severe winter 
cold and the slippery ice^ the conditions were 
without doubt specially favourable for Mischt- 
«d»pko'. nud. ie hJbetore him a long. .en»- 
tive> and weakly occupied hostile line of 
communications, the road to which led through 
an open, cultivated country with rich resources. 
Defiles, by which the advance could be stopped 
or the retreat aidangered, were non-existent, 
and, last but not least, the hostile cavalry as a 
factor in the situation — ^in the face of his own 
strength — had not to be reckoned with. 

It is a great pity that this opportunity was not 
made better use of to refresh the— alas ! — rather 
fading laurel crown of the cavafay arm. 

It was not only during the pauses between the 
operations, but also during the days and weeks 
of the great decisive battles, that the Russian 
cavafay showed no desire for action in which we 
recognize the first and most important attribute 
of our arm. 

On the other hand, a just critic, without any 
further ado, must admit that the prevailing condi- 
tions made it extraordinarily difficult for the 
oavaby masses of Kuropatkin to play the part of 
cavafay in battle. Indeed, we do not mind 
openly declaring that, in our opinion, no other 



BUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 25 

European cavalry, supported by the principles of 
the cavalry tactics of the day, would have been in 
a position to perform anything of note on the 
Manchuriaa battlefields. 

Every sensible cavalryman willingly allows that 
the time for an attack in masses on infantry 
which is still in the hand of their leaders is past. 

In the campaign of 1870-1871 such death rides 
were risked by several self-sacrificing squadrons — 
•\e., Bredow's brigade, Beichshoffen Cuirassiers, 
and Margueiitte's division at Sedan. But since 
the battlefield has been ruled by the magazine 
rifle, and now with the spade as an ally, such 
attempts are not to be thought of for one instant. 

A possible object of attack will be offered the 
victorious cavalry only on infantry which have 
bee. we^ied ^. pu^uing Bre. Jd which have 
been driven out of their positions in disorder. As 
long as the two battle fronts are struggling with one 
another the cavalry arm is obliged to respect, un- 
restrained, the emptiness of the modern battlefield. 
As the lion-hearted Japanese infantry never gave 
the Busdan dragoons or Cossacks the pleasure of 
retreating in disorder in order to exemplify the 
last-mentioned principles, it remained only for the 
latter to seek out the hostile cavalry. This also 
the Bussian cavalry divisions did not succeed in 
doing — ^whether through their own fault remains 
for the present undecided. At Wafangku the 
mixed division of Simonow and the Ist Japane^ 



26 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

cavalry brigade of AMjama were on opposite 
Wings* 

At liaoyang we find on the west wing of the 
Russians two and a half cavahy divisions (Ssam- 
sonow, Grekow, and Mischtschenko's brigade). 

Curiously enough, one of them (Ssamsonow) was 
kept far back in the rear in the second line of 
defence. However, it was quite possible for the 
senior cavalry General to have united the above- 
mentioned forces on August 29th for combined 
operation* What this operation should have been 
we reserve to ourselves to discuss more minutely 
later on. 

The opportunity which was lost at Liaoyang of 
performing something on the battlefields did not 
present itself to the Russian cavalry in such a 
favourable manner during the later phases of the 
campaign. Neither on the Shaho, nor at Mukden, 
did the dispositions of the Commander-in-Chief 
allow them to appear in such strength at one 
point in the battle front. In both engagements 
their force was so ingeniously scattered that it 
would have required unusual energy and initiative 
on the part of the cavalry leaders to perform any- 
thing with their arm. 

So we find that, during the advance against the 
Japanese positions at the beginning of October, 
1904 (battle of Yenkai-Shaho), the Orenburg 
Cossack division of Grekow was on the extreme 
right wing on the liacho ; both Mischtsohenko's 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 27 

brigades were in the centre with General Man's con- 
necting detachment ; the Siberian Cossack division 
of Ssamsonow was on the east wing under Stackel- 
berg ; and, finally, the Transbaikal Cossack division 
of Rennenkampf, with a mixed brigade of in- 
fantry, was employed as an independent group on 
a wide turning movement against the Japanese 
right flank on the upper Tai-tseho. Thus, of the 
149 squadrons of the Russian field army, at no 
point on the battle front were more than 24 
available for combined action. 

The grouping of the forces by the Commander- 
in-Chief at the battle of Mukden was nearly as 
great a sin against the cavalry arm as at the battle 
on the Shaho. 

Only with the Western Detachment was there a 
solid body of 36 squadrons (at first under General 
Rennenkampf , consisting of the Ural-Transbaikal- 
Cossack division and the Caucasian cavalry 
brigade). The remainder of the great cavafay 
force was again split up along the battle front. 
The 17th Army Corps in the centre, and the 
3rd Siberian Corps on the left wing, had been pro- 
vided with a strong corps of cavalry — quite out of 
proportion to their strength; for what reason it 
is hard to discover. 

The former had a brigade of dragoons, and the 
latter 18 sotnias of Siberian Cossacks. 

Forty-one squadrons more we find distributed 
among the remaining infantry, and, finally, 16 



28 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

Botnias of Transbaikal Cossacks with Alezejew's 
force (later Bennenkampf s). 

The whole division of Don Cossacks vtm ordered 
far away to the north for the protection of the 
railway, therefore it has nothing to do with the 
battle of Mukden. 

But the thirty-six squadrons on the exl^eme right 
wing of the Russians represent always a force 
which, in some way or other, should have made 
their presence felt during the decisive battles which 
took place there. After the transfer of Benn^a* 
kampf to the eastern wing they appear, however, 
to have been neither well handled nor employed 
for united action. All we discover about them 
is that they were constantly driven back by the 
weak Japanese cavalry division (16 squadrons), 
and that they neither prevented the capture of 
Sinmintin nor the successful attack on their own 
brigade of Biirger. 

The behaviour of the Russian cavalry at 
Mukden leaves one with the impression that their 
power of fighting had suffered considerably through 
tiie battles and fatigues which they had already 
gone through. 

The extraordinary weak condition — scarcely 
100 men per squadron — ^with which they com- 
menced this battle appears to justify the accept- 
ance of this view. 

May certam authorities of our army recognize 
here an exhortation not to assess too low the 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 29 

untiring peace aetivity of our brave and able 
regimental squadron commanders! That which 
these industrious men promote and produce — 
%.e.j order, discipline, well-trained horses, good 
riders who possess the cavalry spirit and love for 
their horses^-these are the factors which alone in 
war assure the fighting virtues of the cavahy arm. 

The right umdoubtedly belongs to the Russian 
cavahy, with whose battle performances we have 
declared ourselves not at all in agreement (allow- 
ing, however, extenuating circumstances), to put 
to us this question : '^ Well, then, how ought we 
to have done it ?" 

We can give an answer short and to the point : 
A bold offensive in every case in which they were 
given the duty of protecting the flanks ot their 
own army. 

A cavahy corps of several divisions — ^as many 
as this could have been combined at liaoyang, 
on the Shaho, and on the westerly wing at 
Mukden ; and if it was not done, then the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the army was to be blamed — 
has no business to remain passive and waiting 
until it suits the enemy to attack or turn the 
flank which it is their duty to guard. Otherwise 
it degrades itself to the level of an ordinajy 
contact patrol. If the enemy does not come, 
then they have performed nothing ; if he appears, 
then, in the face of his masses of infantry, there is 
nothing left but to retreat. 



30 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

It appears to be far more correct to accept the 
adage that ^* prevention is better than cure/' and to 
solve the duty of protecting the flanks by one's 
self gaining the flanks and rear of the opposing 
enemy. 

Naturally, this must be done by taking in a 
sufficiently large extent of ground to meet the 
corresponding conditions, and at the same time 
sending out patrols far away in aU directions. 

The principal thing is that the cavalry divisions, 
provided with machine-guns, horse artillery, and 
all other technical resources, should be conscious 
of their strength, and should scorn to rely con- 
stantly on their own infantry for support. 

Being entirely "on their own" should in no 
way embarrass a cavalry corps. 

The army of Nogi operated at Mukden ten to 
twelve days separated from their base. 

So much the more must an independent cavalry 
do this during a " battle raid " {Schlachtenraid), 
as we here suggest, throughout a few days. 

If the enemy intends an enveloping or turning 
movement on the flank, which we ride round in 
the manner in which we have already mentioned, 
then we meet his columns half-way. 

One's own army hears of the threatening danger 
in time to make the necessary dispositions for 
defence. Our cavalry, cleverly handled, will find 
the opportunity to make a flank attack on the 
enemy himself. This should undoubtedly have 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 31 

taken place by the eighty to ninety Russian 
squadrons which could have been concentrated 
at Mukden on the western flank. 

It was their duty to hang on like a bull-dog 
to the left wing of the Japanese turning army, 
in order to make their march as hard as possible 
in every conceivable manner. We have not in 
our mind's eye, it goes without saying, attacks 
with the a/rme blanche as the most suitable means, 
but the making use to the utmost of our mobility 
and of the ground ; to appear suddenly again and 
again, and to disappear as suddenly ; to be always 
first where the fire effect of carbines, machine-guns, 
and horse artillery could be used with the greatest 
execution. 

Having once gained touch with the enemy, he 
should never have a chance of rest again. Ex- 
haust him, and make his advance slower — ^in any 
case, become like a gnat to him, and at times 
give him hornet stings. 

A manoeuvre Uke that we have just described, 
the Russian cavalry could naturally only play at 
Mukden after they had completely beaten the 
Japanese cavalry division out of the field. 

By their great superiority of numbers this was 
in no way a difficult task. 

For the operations which we have here pro- 
posed it is, of course, an essential condition that 
we should have obtained a decisive victory over 
the hostile cavalry which was to be met with on 



32 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

this battle wing. This is, above all, the first 
thing to be aimed at. To attain this we must 
be able to evedastingly gallop, attack with deter- 
mination, and use our weapons with effect. 

If the ^' battle raid '' of a cavalry corps does 
not meet with the advancing hostile forces, then 
it must be pushed, well spread out, right in the 
rear of the enemy's fighting-line. 

To see the opposing reserves having to advance 
into action is already something achieved. 

From the moment that the force has success- 
fully reached the rear of the enemy's lines the 
greatest demands on the power of judgment and 
resolution are required of the leader. 

It then rests with him to decide when the 
moment for an attack, regardless of all conse- 
quences, has arrived. It is only in the fewest 
cases that his own commander is in a position to 
inform him of what is going on, and to cause him 
to attack at the right time, in spite of the best- 
organized service of information, telephone, wire- 
less telegraphy, and flag-signalling. 

In his isolated position, he will therefore, as a 
general rule, have to discern from the most 
scanty signs, but with a fine tactical instinct, the 
near approach of the crisis. 

If it appears that this turns against the enemy, 
it is his line of retreat which is the magnet by 
which our cavalry corps should be irresistibly 
attracted. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 33 

Towards the end of the battle of Mukden (about 
evening of March 9th, 1905) the Japanese cavaby 
found themselves in just such a favourable 
situation. 

Unfortunately, they proved unequal to the task 
(was it weariness ? was it the breakdown of their 
horses ?) and were prevented from so acting. Later 
we shall return to this interesting episode. 

On the other hand, should the decisive attack 
decide in favour of the hostile army, then it 
becomes the duty of our cavalry divisions, who 
will have pressed forward to the rear of the enemy, 
to prevent and hinder to the utmost the advance 
of the hostile reserves to complete the victory. 
On August 31st, 1904, between the hours of seven 
and eight in the evening, the attack, with the aid 
of the last troops intact (three reserve brigades) 
of the 2nd and 4th Japanese armies on the principal 
lines of defence south of liaoyang, failed. 

Terribly decimated and totally exhausted, the 
storming columns of Oenerals Oku and Nogi 
retreated to their own positions. 

We have already seen that a Russian cavalry 
corps of three divisions could have easily been 
concentrated on their own extreme right wing at 
the beginning of the battle. 

If this mounted mass had employed the days 
of August 28th to the 31st to ride round the hostile 
wing in a large arc to reach the railway-line some- 
where in the neighbourhood of Shaho Station, they 

3 



34 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

could have employed the moment just described 
in an attack on the retreating hostile infantry. 

Whether here a decisive success was to be 
obtained against the Japanese infantry one cannot 
say. At any rate, the situation quite justified 
the attempt of winning honour once again for the 
arme blanche. If the attack had succeeded, then 
Oku could certainly not have carried out his 
attack during the night. And it is hardly likely 
that Kuroki's weak turning movement on the 
east flank would have caused Kuropatkin to give 
up his south front. liaoyang would have been a 
defeat for the Japanese. 

In like manner, in the last stages of the battle 
on the Shaho, we are convinced that an enter- 
prising Russian cavalry leader would certainly 
have found the opportunity in rear of the Japanese 
for a successful attack on the thin hostile lines, 
which were tired to death owing to the battle 
which had lasted day and night. However, we 
do not in any way maintain that the activity of 
the Russian cavalry ought to have been developed 
exactly in the manner in which we have indicated ; 
for that the details of the different fights are much 
too meagre. 

Concerning the " when," " how," and " where," 
one can certainly still argue. On the other hand, 
it is certain that such considerable cavalry masses 
ought to have done something to relieve their 
infantry and artillery during the decisive battles. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 35 

As this did not take place on any single occasion, 
Kuropatkin's cavalry cannot remain free of the 
reproach that they entirely failed in the necessary 
spirit of self-sacrifice. This does not at all mean 
that for this failure the troops themselves alone 
were answerable. They would have in all prob- 
ability willingly done what was required of thenu 
The dislike of risking a big stake — a characteristic 
of the whole Russian leadership in the Far East — 
had worked its infection from above, and also 
influenced strongly the operations of the cavalry. 

The few praiseworthy exceptions to the general 
inactivity of the Russian cavalry are bound up 
with the name of Gleneral Rennenkampf . 

In the battle of Yentai--Shaho he led his detach- 
ment (24 squadrons, 16 battalions, 8 batteries) 
with remarkable enterprise over the moxmtain 
passes against the Japanese communications on 
the upper Tai-tse-ho. For days he energetically 
attacked there the hostile positions in front of 
Bonsiku. 

The tough defence of the opposing Japanese 

reserve brigades, reinforced by the cavalry brigade 

of Kanin, and the ill-success of the remaining 

Russian columns, compelled him, notwithstanding 

the fact he had done his utmost, to retreat. 

Wherever he commanded, something, at least, was 

always done. After the battle of Sandepu he took 

over command of the Russian Western Division 

in the place of the wounded General Mischtschenko. 

3—2 



36 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

In the middle of February, shortly before the 
battle of Mukden, he started on a raid upon 
Liaoyang, in the rear of the Japanese, with the 
thirty-six squadrons which he had available. 

Unfortunately, the details of this operation are 
still considerably shrouded in obscurity. Most 
of the historians of the campaign pass it over in 
complete silence. 

We obtain our knowledge of this event from 
the book of the Royal Hungarian Honved-Hussar, 
Captain Spait, which we have favourably men- 
tioned before. 

Without doubt certainly more would have been 
heard about the cavahy of the Russian west wing 
if Rennenkampf had not been taken suddenly, 
during the first phases of the debacle at Mukden, 
to command the Eastern Army, which Kuropatkin 
considered to be especially threatened. 

Likewise here we see signs of his inspiriting in- 
fluence. Immediately after his arrival his eighteen 
sotnias of Transbaikal Cossacks carried out an 
offensive reconnaissance to ascertain exactly the 
extent of the Japanese attacking front. As a 
respectable performance of the Russian cavalry 
the defence of the coal-mines of Yentai during 
the battle of liaoyang is worthy of notice. 

The Siberian Cossacks of Ssamsonow's Corps, 
through their fire, brought to a halt the Japanese, 
who were pressing on after the defeated division 
of Orlow. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 37 

These scanty specks of light on a dark back- 
ground, which we have here given at the end for 
the purpose of having as propitious a close as 
possible to our rather sad tale of the inactivity of 
the Russian cavalry during the campaign, may 
be supplemented at a future time from data not 
yet to hand. 

But it is certain that the whole picture, which 
we have described here in its outlines, cannot to 
any great extent be altered. 



(6) The Japanese. 

Provided with insufficient means, a great task 
was given the Japanese cavahy in the war in the 
Far East. 

Although the cavahy did its very best to solve 
that task, it cannot, of course, satisfy an impartial 
critic. 

Also the Japanese cavalry arm has had to suffer 
frequently from the common talk about its com- 
plete fiasco in the latest campaign. Too weak 
and badly mounted to engage in brilliant attacks 
against the hostile squadrons, or to prepare a 
disaster for the retreating hostile hosts, it had to 
confine itself to more modest performances. 

The faithful carrying out of their duty in small 
affairs is, however, completely put into the shade 
by the brilliant fan\e which has been won by the 
other arms of the Japanese army. 



38 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

We would like to bring to the remembrance of 
those gentlemen, the critics, who find no word 
of recognition for these brave men, who were so 
badly equipped by their own Grovemment, the 
general prognostication which was current in 
miUtary circles at the commencement of the 
campaign : " The Japanese cavalry, which are of 
little use, will be simply swept out of the field by 
the Russian cavahy masses " ; and, further : ** The 
JapM>e« oommSr ^ on thfa acoomit, be in 
a very bad position. Reliable information will 
fail him about his opponent, and his communica- 
tions will be continually cut." Nothing of this 
sort, however, occurred. The Japanese Generals 
were always completely informed of the movement 
of the Russians; their cavalry maintained the 
field, and, in spite of their weakness, always kept 
touch with their opponents. Their own line of 
communications enjoyed, for the most part, 
perfect security. The inactivity of the Russian 
cavalry is chiefly to blame that the course of 
events took such a favourable turn for the Japan- 
ese mounted troops. 

However, without able and bold leadership 
in the face of the superior numbers of their 
opponents, they would never have succeeded in 
developing such a useful reconnoitring activity. 
In another place we have already mentioned that 
the Japanese leaders, for the best of their informa- 
tion, had to thank, without doubt, the reconnais- 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 39 

sauces of their cavalry, and not, as is generally 
believed in lay circles, their Chinese spies. " In- 
telligence and an absolute contempt of death," so 
says a prominent historian of the latest war 
(Major Immanuel of the Prussian General Staff), 
" are the qualities mostly required of the modem 
soldier." 

Now, the Japanese cavalryman possessed these 
in as full a measure as his comrades of the other 
arms ; and, therefore, he has proved himself to be 
an excellent scout and dispatch rider in spite of 
his want of good horsemanship and his slow and 
badly trained horse. 

In every J»p«,e» soldier-the o»v«lrym«i in- 
eluded — existed the firm determination to conquer, 
cost what it might. This spirit admitted of no 
inactivity, but, on the contrary, produced an over- 
powering eagerness for the offensive. As we shall 
see, the latter found expression in the cavalry, as 
far as it lay within their power. 

From this let us obtain this maxim, which we 
justly consider one of the advantages of our organi- 
zation, training, and horse material — ^never to 
neglect to foster the moral elements and spirit 
of our men. For, in the end, it is these factors, 
be it either in the cavalry charge, infantry fight, 
or artillery duel, which will be decisive. 

The cavalrymaa who takes the trouble to f oUow 
attentively that which the Japanese cavalry 
performed in a small way will experience a sincere 



40 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

regret that they did not enter the campaign better 
equipped. 

If this had been the case, they are certain, 
following the example of their indomitable 
infantry, to have resuscitated the dead-letter of 
our cavalry drill-books to a living truth. Then, 
perhaps, we could with the more certainty main- 
tain, given a brave heart and a strong arm, that 
the era of the sword, as well as that of the 
bayonet, is not passed. 

It appears to a certain extent strange that the 
administrators of the modem Japanese army, 
who otherwise, in every other particular, may be 
BO proud of their work, dealt in such a niggardly 
manner with the cavalry arm. 

Perhaps it was that they did not foresee that 
Japan within a few decades would have to 
measure her strength against an opponent who 
had a mighty cavalry at his disposal on the, 
generally speaking, level fields of Manchuria. 

It is for this reason only that one can under- 
stand the neglect of a strong, well-mounted 
cavalry. Indeed, the conditions in Japan for the 
use of this arm are highly xmf avourable : a path^ 
less, mountainous country on the one hand, on the 
other an extremely highly cultivated country, allow 
them scarcely any freedom of movement. 

The breeding of animals is everywhere but little 
developed in the Island Ejngdom. 

Quite irrespective of the difficulty to provide 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 41 

extensive grazing-ground in this overcultivated 
countryv the strongly-salted land produces but a 
very indifferent green fodder. Even before the 
war the extraordinarily weak Japanese cavahry 
coxdd not be provided with the necessary horses 
home-bred, but had to be mounted almost entirely 
on Australian ponies little suited to cavalry work. 

The creation of a strong and modem cavalry 
arm presents, by the further increase of the Japan- 
ese forces, the first and most difficult problem. 

Under all circumstances a solution must be 
found. The experiences of the battle of Mukden 
alone prove this to be essential. There was only 
wanted here a few cavalry divisions to gather the 
completely ripe fruits from the tree, which the 
infantry, tired to death, were unable to reap. 

A peace such as the Japanese nation wished 
and deserved would probably have been the 
result of an energetic cavalry pursuit. 

Eyewitnesses (Captain Spait amongst others) of 
the retreat of the 2nd and 3rd Russian armies, 
which took place in the greatest disorder, entirely 
confirm this view. 

As it is a question of laying the necessary 
foundations for the reorganization of the cavalry, 
now as good as non-existent, it is imperative to 
advise the Japanese Government to dispatch a 
number of officers to Austria, Germany, and 
France to study the remount question. 

Above all, provincial attempts must be made 



42 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

to improve the quality of the native horse by means 
of judicious crossings. Without consideration of 
the cost, they should build at once the necessary 
number of runs for mares and foals to bring the 
native horses, not only in quality but in quantity, 
to the necessary standard. 

As the Japanese, in a physical respect, are little 
adapted to riding, and as, therefore, the cavalry 
recruit should undergo a specially careful train- 
ing, they should not hesitate, even after the 
victories they have won, to call in a number of 
prominent foreign cavalry officers as instructors. 
In spite of the various valiant deeds which the 
Japanese cavalry carried out during the course of 
the campaign, they failed to a great extent in the 
correct technical employment of the arm. 

By this means only can performances which wiU 
influence a campaign be carried out by the arm. 

In the interest of the cavalry student it is much 
to be regretted that, neither on the side of the Rus- 
sians nor that of the Japanese, is any record kept 
of the number of the horses which, in the course 
of the campaign, were rendered unfit for service. 

One will not be far wrong when one places the 
numbers on both sides as very considerable ; for 
the Japanese cavalry also are said to have saddled, 
bitted, and looked after their animals badly. At 
the commencement of the campaign Japan had 
at disposal one guard and sixteen line cavahy 
regiments. The former carried^ besides the sword 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 43 

and carbine, the lance, which, however, was left 
at home. 

Each of the thirteen infantry divisions had 
apportioned to them as divisional cavalry one 
regiment of three squadrons. The cavalry regi- 
ments of the line, Nos. 13, 14, 15, and 16, each 
consisting of four squadrons, formed two inde- 
pendent cavalry brigades. 

In the battle of Mukden these, which formerly 
had been apportioned to different armies, were 
formed into a division. The reserve infantry 
brigades (divisions) which were formed later had 
at disposal only a reserve squadron. 

In consideration of the great want of cavalry, 
the head-quarter staff of the Japanese army, by 
the apportionment of a whole cavalry regiment to 
each infantry division of the field army, committed 
an act of great waste. 

It would have been decidedly preferable to 
employ only one or two squadrons for this purpose. 
Then, instead of only two, at least twice that 
number of independent cavahy brigades could 
have been formed, which, concentrated, would 
have been far more able to carry out a great 
strategical or tactical task. 

Thus it is that the Japanese cavalry only under- 
took one single raid at any distance, and then only 
with a weak force, whick, however, was accom- 
panied with quite phenomenal success. 

Shortly before the battle of Mukden two 



44 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

Bquadrons succeeded in getting to the rear of the 
Russians, and partly blowing up the railway-bridge 
of Guntschuling, which was protected by fortifica- 
tions. 

Resting by day and marching by night, this 
weak raiding force succeeded in pressing forward 
quite close to the object without being perceived. 

Here they dismounted to fire, in order to attract 
the attention of the garrison at the bridge-head ; 
while a few specially selected men, in spite of the 
drifting ice, succeeded in reaching the middle arch 
of the bridge, where they laid the charge. As this 
exploded, and a great part of the roadway of the 
bridge flew into the air, both squadrons quickly 
disappeared in the darkness. 

In spite of a zealous pursuit from the enemy, 
they succeeded in getting safely back to their own 
troops. 

This bold stroke produced a sort of panic in the 
Russian head-quarters. Kuropatkin became so 
anxious about his rear communications that, 
besides the Frontier Guards, which were meant for 
this duty, he ordered an infantry brigade (2nd 
of the 41st Division) and the whole of the division 
of Don Cossacks to the north for the defence of 
the railway-line. 

This brave deed, therefore, of the two squadrons 
rendered useless during the decisive battle about 
8,000 of the best troops of the enemy. Truly a 
good example in refutation of all those who main* 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 45 

tain that the day of cavahy in modem warfa^e^ 

As the historian of the campaign has nothing to 
relate of any other raids of the Japanese cavahy, 
let us turn to their activity during battle. 

On the Yalu and by the storming of the heights 
of Kiutuscho they did nothing of importance. 

On the other hand, the movements of the 1st 
Independent Cavalry Brigade (Major-General Aki- 
jama), before and during the fight at Wafankou, 
are full of lessons, and very interesting. 

As far as we can ascertain from the scant means 
at our disposal, the leading of this brigade seems 
to have been a very able one. Sent by General 
Oku from Pulantien to reconnoitre Wafankou, 
they carried out, supported by two machine-gun 
detachments and two infantry battalions, a suc- 
cessful fight against the mixed Russian brigade of 
Ssamsonow. Here arose a hand-to-hand fight, 
which in this war seldom took place, and where the 
lances of the Cossacks are said to have been very 
useful. 

When General Akijama a few days later was 
driven back by the superior advance guard of 
Stackelberg, he retreated slowly, still keeping 
touch with the enemy in a south-easterly direc- 
tion. 

In the battle of Wafankou he appeared on the 
battlefield just in time (actmg on his own initia- 
tive) to bring to a standstill the attack of the 



46 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

2Qd Brigade of the 35th Russian Infantry Division 
(Major-General Glasko). 

He thereby freed the 3rd Japanese Division, 
which stood in imminent danger of having their 
right flank turned by this hostile advance, from an 
extremely critical situation. 

As the whole east wing of the Russians was 
obliged, by the general position of the fight, to 
retreat very soon, the Japanese cavalry brigade 
pursued energetically, and even drove back the 



enemy's rear-guard as far as his own fortified 
position at Tsuitsjatun, carrying this out dis- 
mounted, and with quite remarkably small losses. 

In the battle on the Shaho the 2nd Independent 
Cavalry Brigade, under Prince Kotohito-ICanin, 
helped the weak reserve troops to drive back 
Rennenkampf's attack on Bonsiku, which was 
carried out with far superior forces. 

At Sandepu the cavalry of Akijama defended 
this place the whole day against the violent attack 
of the Russian infantry. It is worthy of notice 
that they used their blasting cartridges as hand 
grenades. 

At Mukden what the Japanese cavalry actually 
performed is quite insignificant compared with that 
which they could have done with stronger forces. 
But in justice we must say once more that, under 
the circumstances prevailing, the two independent 
cavalry brigades of Akijama and Tamura (since 
March 3rd formed into one weak cavahy division) 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 47 

performed their duty to the best of their abiKty, 
also in the decisive battle. 

In the first phases of the long fight they pushed 
forward on the extreme left wing of the Japanese 
turning army in an extraordinary quick and ener- 
getic manner, driving the superior Russian cavalry 
of the Western Detachment before them. On 
February 27th Tamura's Brigade had already 
reached the west bank of the liaoho at Takou. 
Their patrols had scouted as far as Sinmintin. 

Through this arose the false report of the occu- 
pation of this town by a considerable Japanese 
force, which alarmed the enemy. Kuropatkin 
dispatched with all possible speed the mixed 
brigade of Biirger (8 battalions, 1 machine-gun 
detachment, and 3 batteries), together with the 
Ural-Transbaikal Cossack Division of the West 
Army, in this direction. 

This force, during the return march from Sin- 
mintin, on March 3rd was surprised by the 
Japanese cavalry, supported by two battalions, 
defeated, and cut off from their own army towards 
the north-east. 

On the above-mentioned day the advance-guard 
of Oyama's cavalry had already reached the rail- 
way-line Mukden-Tjelin. From this moment, 
when it appeared as if they were on the threshold 
of a great success, their activity almost ceases. 
The causes are not far to seek. The single cavalry 
division felt itself too weak to separate itself 



48 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

entirely from Nogi's army, to which it was 
attached, and to advance alone right away to the 
north and throw itself against the Russian line 
of retreat. Besides, Nogi, in his battle ord^ 
(published on the evening of March 3rd), had 
expressly entrusted them with the protection of 
his left flank. 

The huge Japanese turning movement which 
was planned, but in the end carried out with too 
small a force, resulted, during the days of 
March 4th to 9th, in a series of the fiercest frontal 
attacks. 

Perhaps the Japanese cavalry, after they had 
proved themselves to be too weak to carry out the 
great task which they had hoped — i.e., the pre- 
vention of the retreat of the enemy — ^took part 
in the above-mentioned fight with the carbine. 
Anything further about this is not yet known. 
At any rate, the main body of the Japanese 
Cavalry Division did not advance any further than 
to Tasintun up till March lOth (somewhere about 
25 kilometres north of Mukden, and 10 kilometres 
west of the railway-line Mukden-Tjelin). 

It is strange that the latter did not seize the 
opportunity even once, during the Russian retreat 
which followed, of bombarding from suitable 
positions the columns which were retreating in 
disorder. 

The single Japanese battery which produced, 
through a well-directed fire, such a panic in the 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 49 

Russian transport did not belong to the Cavalry 
Division. 

The Japanese cavahy, as well as their infantry, 
appeared at this time to have arrived just about at 
the end of their tether. 

What three to four well-mounted, cleverly-led 
cavalry divisions, equipped with aU modem re- 
sources, could have accomplished on the side of the 
Japanese, even the wildest imagination can scarcely 
conceive. 

Even if the detached Russian troops to the 
north of Mukden — General Kuropatkin himself 
in the last stages of the battle could not spare 
another man — ^had been in a position to prevent 
the occupation of the defile of Tielin, an ener- 
getic pursuit parallel to them must have caused 
the total dispersion of the 2nd and 3rd Russian 
armies. 

The probable long duration of the battles of 
the future is, without doubt, a feature which, if 
properly reckoned with, should prove extraordi- 
narily favourable for the employment of cavalry. 
It ensures for the cavalry arm the possibility, 
while preserving to the utmost its own strength for 
the final act, to approach the point where it wishes 
its word to be heard in the decision. 

The Japanese cavahy, scarcely without excep- 
tion, carried out their performances with the 
carbine, and in close touch with their own infantry. 

To this circumstance, without doubt, we have to 

4 



50 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

ascribe the prinoipal reason why there has been 
hesitation among military critics in giving full 
recognition to their activity. A certain narrow- 
mindedness obstructs the means used to gain the 
end, which in no way is inclined to further the 
interests of the arm. 

" To be victorious is the chief thing." Under 
all circumstances this will remain our motto. 

If we do not succeed with the sword or lance, 
then let us try firearms. 

If we are too weak to gain success alone, then let 
us only be too thankful, and accept without scruple 
the help of our infantry. 

Accordingly, on these principles the Japanese 
cavalry consistently acted. 

To reproach them because of this is extremely 
unjustifiable. Besides, it must not be forgotten 
that they, as the weakest force, had the manner 
of fighting dictated to them by their opponents. 
And one thing more. The irresistible pleasure of 
charging home with the sword at the quickest 
pace on an enemy who is cautiously firing from 
cover will only fall to the lot of that cavalryman 
who is mounted on a fast-galloping and at the 
same time manageable horse. This is also the 
condition which, over ground not too unf avour- 
able, offers a chance of success to a dashing 
charge against dismounted cavalry. 

One can well offer excuses for the Japanese 
cavahy, with their slow and stubborn ponies, that 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 61 

they evinced no desire to suffer useless losses, but 
preferred, following the example of the enemy, to 
use dismounted fire tactics. 

A typical example of the manner in which both 
cavalries fought in the campaign in the Far East 
is offered us by the action at Tsohondschu, in 
Northern Corea (the first of the whole war, on 
March 28th, 1904). 

Six sotnias of Mischtschenko's Cossack Brigade 
were sent forward from the Yalu to carry out a 
reconnaissance against Kasan. 

As the advance guard — two sotnias — ap- 
proached the town of Tschondschu, which, in the 
manner of the country, was surrounded by a high 
stone wall, they were suddenly fired upon. Both 
the squadrons thereupon galloped back in order 
to dismount behind a suitable hill to use their rifles. 
The mam body meanwhile, coming up, hurried 
to follow their example with three sotnias. Only 
one remained mounted in reserve. During this 
time the Japanese cavalry regiment of the guard 
from Kasan arrived to reinforce the Japanese 
pickets which were in Tschondschu (one squad^ 
ron and one company of infantry). 

This likewise at once dismounted two squadrons 
on the edge of Tschondschu for rifle-fire. 

The third, which tried to ride round the place, 
with the intention of prolonging the skirmishing- 
line, was compelled by the fire of Jthe Cossacks to 

retire. 

4—2 



62 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

After about a two-hour skirmish, which caused 
few losses (the Russians lost 5 officers and 15 
men ; the Japanese 3 officers and 17 men in 
dead and wounded), a Japanese infantry battalion 
arrived in Tschondschu at the double. General 
Mischtschenko now broke off the skirmish, and 
returned to his former night station, scarcely 
followed. The behaviour of both cavahy detach- 
ments by this first collision of the war may justly 
surprise us. In no way does it correspond to the 
spirit which we try to instil into our cavahy. 
Especially the Russians, who at the commence- 
ment were far stronger, whose task it surely was 
to penetrate as far as possible into the hostile zone 
of advance, ought certainly not to have allowed 
themselves to be held at Tschondschu. That the 
two advanced sotnias dismounted to fire in order 
to give their scouts time to reconnoitre the 
hostile position and ground we may allow to pass. 
The main body, however, ought not to have 
hesitated on their arrival to ride round Tschond- 
schu somehow. 

As the town did not lie in a defile, this was 
certainly possible. 

The manoeuvre which we have here proposed 
would have led to a collision with the Japanese 
cavalry regiment of the guard. 

The opportunity to establish cavalry superiority 
by a dashing attack ought at any price to be 
sought for during the first fights of a campaign. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 53 

That side which maintains the field has after- 
wards the confidence of victory as a mighty moral 
factor on its side. 

It does not seem beyond the bounds of possi- 
bility that if the six Cossack sotnias had obtained 
a brilliant result against the Japanese cavalry 
regiment of the guard with the arinfie blanche, the 
sleeping offensive spirit of the whole Russian 
cavalry would have been awakened. 

To oux mind, the Japanese cavalry would have 
acted more correctly if it had taken advantage of 
Mischtschenko's mistake in using his whole force 
for dismounted action by trying a mounted attack 
against one of the hostile flanks. 

The possibility of this manoeuvre was, of course, 
dependent on whether there was somewhere 
ground over which they could advance unseen 
agam^t the Russian position. 

As Tschondschu is situated in a moimtainous 
district, one can accept the fact that this was the 
case. 



Ill 

CONCLUSIONS 

THE course of the reconnoitring fight which 
has been described at the end of the last 
chapter brings home to us a great question : 
Which instinct, taking into consideration the ex- 
periences of the late campaign, is the right one for 
the cavahyman ? 

Should he, on getting a sight of the enemy, put 
spurs to his horse, draw his sword from its scab- 
bard and charge, or dismount, take cover and 
fire? 

The outspoken impulse in one or other of these 
directions must, without doubt, be engendered 
during peace-time in the leaders quite as much as 
in the men. 

At all events, the former should also have learnt 
to think, so that, when necessary, the voice of 
reason may have a chance of modifying or stifling 
the first impulse. 

Our cavahy behefs are in no way altered owing 
to the experiences of the war in the Far East. 

As formerly, we are convinced that cavahy 

which prefers shock action to dismounted action 

54 



CAVALRY IN RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 56 

will carry out the duty incumbent upon it better 
than where the opposite is the case. 

The ideal would perhaps be for them to do 
each equally willingly — t\e., to be equally efficient 
with the carbine as with the arme, hlanche ; in this 
we include, besides sword and lance, horseman- 
ship. The attainment of this ideal is, in our 
opinion, practically impossible. Not only on 
account of the short service, which scarcely is 
sufficient to make a man at one and the same 
time a clever rider, swordsman, and shooter, but 
also because the sword and the carbine are such 
different masters that the cavalryman simply 
cannot serve both with the same love. 

It requires quite a different temperament to 
ride to the attack with drawn sword at the gallop 
than it does to wait for hours placidly aiming in a 
fire position. 

As long as we lay principal stress on good 
dashing horsemanship and the clever handling of 
the arme blanche, and relegate training with the 
rifle to the second place, so long shall we foster 
the offensive spirit of our cavalry. 

On this stands and falls the whole activity of the 
cavalry arm. 

That this is the case was proved sufficiently in 
the late war by the Russian cavalry, who, it is 
well known, gave the preponderating care to the 
training for dismounted action. In a European 
campaign it will be the first duty of each cavalry 



66 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

to measure its strength with a cavahry of approxi- 
mately the same strength. 

Only after the question is decided by this fight 
will the victor be able to display a really successful 
activity in reconnaissance, in raids against the 
enemy's communications, and, finally, by operations 
against the flank and rear of the hostile battle front. 

The duel between the two cavalries will, without 
doubt, be in favour of that one who is imbued 
with the greater offensive spirit. 

Cavahy, which seeks its salvation in the rifle, 
easily loses the impulse to charge home on the 
enemy. 

On the other hand, it is the greatest advantage 
of the arme blanche that this riding home at any 
price forms the essential sine qua rum for its use. 

Grood reconnaissance means to see as much as 
possible. 

That, however, will only be attained through 
seeking to get to close quarters with the enemy. 

The Austro-Hungarian cavalry, owing to their 
traditions, their excellent mounts, their recruits, 
who are specially suited for riding, are in an 
exceptionally favourable position, in our opinion, 
to choose shock tactics as the preferable means of 
attack. 

In spite of a powerful opposition, principally 
fostered by the so-called intelligence of the army, 
our methods of training are still being carried out 
on these lines. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 57 

In our opinion, there is in principle no fault 
to find with this method. 

At the most, a few small working details might 
be made to agree better with the end in view. 

Without detracting in the smallest degree from 
the training of the horses or the mounted instruc- 
tion of the men, perhaps it were better if, for 
example, a few useless figures in the riding-school 
and on the square were done away with. 

More time, by this means, would be gained for 
more important things. 

The exercises for wielding and handling the sword 
and lance are carried out in too pedantic a manner. 

Riding, hours long, with drawn sword, where a 
uniformity which is scarcely attainable is insisted 
upon, is, to say the least, quite superfluous. 
Likewise, pointing at dummies on the ground, and 
fighting on horseback with masks, uses up more 
time in accustoming the horses in proportion to 
the good done for war purposes. 

Reliance on the sword and lance, and power and 
cleverness in their handling, can be just as well 
taught the man by instruction on foot in all essen- 
tials. 

Given a good seat and a handy horse, a few 
lessons on horseback will suffice to teach him the 
use of the sword mounted. 

On the other hand, a man who has no seat or is 
mounted on an unhandy animal, will practise for 
hours cutting and pointing in vain. 



68 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

An obedient, well-balanced horse is the first 
essential for the proper performance of cavalry 
duty, whether it be patrol work, attacking, or 
raiding. Therefore the breaking of remounts is, 
and must without doubt always remain, the most 
important part of individual training. 

Our cavahy certainly does its utmost to remain 
true to this principle. 

The very good results which are obtained at the 
remount schools could certainly be changed for 
the better by working on a more uniform system. 
That is unfortunately not yet the case. 

Our celebrated regulation concerning the train- 
ing of young horses, on account of its shortness, 
is expressed far too laconicaUy. 

An addition is decidedly wanted here, together 
with aU the latest principles of horsemanship. 

A pronounced influence on the fostering of the 
noble art of riding should be allowed to its apostles 
in our arm — t.e., to the officers and sergeants who 
have been through the military riding institutes. 

The justifiable complaint over the ridiculously 
small peace establishment of our infantry com- 
panies becomes always louder ; as far as the cavahy 
is concerned, the general military opinion seems 
to be apparently quite satisfied. This arm is, 
indeed, so they reason (with the exception of the 
horse for the pay-sergeant), during peace akeady 
on a war establishment. 

The squadron leader is therefore able to hold 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 69 

suitable field practices even during the winter 
with the men of the second and third years' 
service, as prescribed in the regulations. 

This is without doubt extremely necessary. 
But he who gets a glimpse behind the scenes 
knows that there is a good deal amiss. 

Even under the most favourable circumstances 
a squadron leader can at the most get only fifty 
men together for field exercises during the winter 
months, not counting the recruits. 

This is decidedly too small a number to carry 
out any instructive exercise with the squadron. 

In the first place, there is a want of horses. 
About 64 remounts, 20 still half-trained horses, 
and 16 horses away in the regimental non-com- 
missioned officers' school, with the pioneer troop, 
the brigade riding-school, and other institutes, 
have to be deducted from the 149 which is laid 
down as the establishment. 

Sufficient men to bring the above-mentioned 
detachment up to 50 fully-trained horsemen are, 
as a rule, always present, as we all know that the 
establishment is 171. 

However, the great number of men on detached 
duty for two-thirds of the year (25 to 30 per 
squadron) forms a great drawback to the efficiency 
of our cavalry. 

As often as the introduction of the two years' 
service is raised by the representatives of the 
people, so often from the side of the military is 



60 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

the objection made that this period is too short 
for the proper training of the mounted arm. 

But it must be allowed that in reality we of the 
cavalry arm can only reckon on a two years' 
colour service. 

During the months from October to May 
generally nearly the whole of the third year's 
soldiers are away on detached duty, or absent for 
some reason or other from their units — t.c, on 
account of leave owing to excess of establishment. 

Also in the second year's service it will become 
the turn of every man to perform somewhere for 
three months mounted orderly or staff service. 

It is absolutely necessary t9 free the squadrons, 
if possible, from this vicious system of detailing 
men and horses from their squadrons. For this 
duty, men transferred last to the reserve and 
horses of men on leave should be called up. 

For duty with the squadron there should be 
at least 70 trained soldiers available at all times. 
This is the minimum number with which the 
squadron can attempt to do anything worth doing 
in the way of drill and training in the open 
country. This detailing gave easy-going squadron 
leaders hitherto a favourite pretext to excuse the 
idling of their old men during winter in the small 
manege. 

The efficiency of our cavalry would gain much 
if the cause for this pretext were done away with. 

Before the Russo-Japanese War the possibility 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 61 

of a winter campaign appeared to us somewhat 
remote. Now, one will certainly have to reckon 
with it. What proved itself to be possible in the 
icy fields of Manchuria is in the European climate 
certainly much more possible. 

That means that in peace-time man and horse 
should be thoroughly accustomed to the condition 
of the country and the weather at that rough 
season of the year. 

That this should really be the case, the higher 
generals should look upon it as their duty to 
inspect the old soldiers during the winter months, 
not only in the riding-school, but in the open 
coimtry as well. 

The patrol rules which are laid down are not 
sufficient for this purpose. 

That our cavalry, as soon as they begin to train 
themselves seriously for the demands of a winter 
campaign, must, above all, receive suitable clothing, 
which at present they have not got, goes without 
saying. We reserve to ourselves to return to this 
point later on. 

By a study of the great raid of General Misoht- 
schenko at the beginning of January, 1905, the 
question instinctively forces itself on us. How 
would a number of Austrian squadrons have stood 
the same test ? 

Now, our conviction is that the answer to most 
points can be given in a quite satisfactory manner. 
The advance of our cavalry would have been 



62 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

certainly much faster than that of the Bussian^ 
in spite of the ice and frozen ploughed fields. 

Our leaders would have, in all probability, 
grasped the aim of the raid in a much clearer 
manner than General Mischtschenko. The secon- 
dary undertaking against Inkau would not have 
taken place. Our pioneer troops, properly sup- 
ported by the main body, would have un- 
doubtedly completely destroyed the railway-line 
Daschitsao-Haitschon. 

The advance of different Japanese infantry 
columns would not have been the cause of a too 
early retreat of our squadrons. 

Only on one point are we doubtful. How would 
our men and horses have stood the icy cold of the 
Manchurian winter nights during ihe march and 
in the bivouac ? 

Frozen limbs of the men, little inured, and 
clothed in an impractical manner, horses suffering 
from complaints of the respiratory organs, or 
refusing the foddeir, would have to be counted, 
we fear, in considerable numbers. 

It appears not to be beyond the boimds of 
possibiUty that our squadrons would have made 
their appearance at Mukden with still weaker 
forces than the Russians did. 

If we could decide to renounce, in peace-time, 
the cultivation of round croups and shining 
summer coats in the winter season, then, without 
doubt, we should find ourselves in a position to 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 63 

await with greater tranquillity the fatigues of a 
winter campaign. 

The great importance of a proper training for 
active service has been thoroughly appreciated 
for some time by oux cavalry. We are, of course^ 
somewhat hampered in this by the low standard 
of education of our men, as well as of a great por- 
tion of our non-commissioned officers. 

We endeavour to make up for this deficiency by 
the especially thorough training of our young 
officers for their duty as leaders of reconnoitring 
patrols. 

That, as far as it goes, is all right, but this 
decidedly shoxdd be extended to the ireserve 
lieutenants and the cadets. 

Taking into consideration the fact that, even 
at the commencement of a war (during the cam- 
paign the proportion will become worse), more 
than half the subalterns' commissions of the field 
squadrons must be filled up by officers from the 
reserve, we decidedly behave very much like the 
ostrich. 

The last-named officers come up to serve 
their twenty-eight days with their units mostly 
in the months of May and June. Just at this 
period, when inspections are so many, the 
squadron leader is fully occupied with training his 
conmiand to gallop and manoeuvre in the short 
time he is given for that object. No wonder, then, 
that the much-plagued man does not greet the 



/ 



64 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

summer lieutenants with especial joy, or that he 
does not look upon his task with them in the 
light of producing an article thoroughly trained. 

So that these gentlemen shall spoil nothing 
(which would be a useless waste of valuable 
horseflesh), they are allowed to simply trot about 
the square, or at drill to hack about in the rear. 

Joyful exceptions, produced by specially con- 
scientious squadron commanders or by specially 
suitable reserve officers themselves, it goes without 
saying there are. 

However, as a rule, the thing in practice works 
out as we have described. 

Reserve lieutenants and cadets can only a very 
few times lead patrols during their service as one- 
year volunteers and during their later trainings. 

This is a want which, in war, may reap its own 
reward. 

It is essentially our cavalry, which has only 
available a limited number of really intelligent 
non-commissioned officers, that should especially 
take care to build up a reserve of officers as useful 
substitutes for the regular officers in the duty of 
reconnaissance. 

The numbers of the latter are not sufficient, 
even in the first days of a campaign, for patrol 
and detachment leaders, much less later on. 

An improvement in the present conditions could 
be obtained by calling up the reserve officers and 
cadets, as a rule, only during the manoeuvres. 






RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 65 

During that time the superior officers should 
take a keen interest in the employment of these 
gentlemen in the field. 

Better that the reserve lieutenants should ride 
badly in the front and lead a patrol well than it 
should be the other way about. 

It is also highly desirable that the duration of 
their biennial training should be fixed at eight 
instead of four weeks for the cavahy, as it is, for 
example, in Germany. 

The greater number of our cavalry reserve 
officers doubtless have sufficient means not to 
feel too much the additional burden. 

In connexion with the above-mentioned 
measure, we would propose stiU further to divide 
our non-commissioned officers into two strictly 
separate classes, as far as their usefulness for 
reconnaissance is concerned. 

For the first class — ^the more intelligent — ^the 
demands of a theoretical instruction should be 
increased ; for the second, on the other hand, they 
should be essentially decreased. With indepen- 
dent tasks the latter could, anyhow, not be 
trusted. 

The difficulty of cavalry reconnaissance is, as 
is well known, not so much the art of seeing 
aright and reporting, but, above all, of sending 
back at once and safely to the correct place a 
report of what has been seen. 

According to the universal opinion of the 

5 



66 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

different foreign officers who were attached to the 
Russian cavahry divisions, in this particular it 
struck them as very bad. 

Quite irrespective of the fact that the reports 
frequently were inaccurate or quite wrong, a great 
number never reached the hands of the addressees. 

In intelligence — ^partly, also, in the necessary 
discipline and devotion to duty — ^the Cossack 
troops were quite lacking. On the other hand, 
the Japanese carried out the dispatch duty, like 
every other, with the greatest keenness and un- 
stinted devotion. 

Our cavalry takes a great deal of trouble and 
care in the training of clever and trustworthy 
dispatch riders. 

In spite of this, in most cavaJry regiments it 
is only a smaU percentage of the men who acquire 
the qualification for this most important duty. 

He who knows can easily make the observation 
that, taking, for example, one troop during the 
manoeuvres, it is always the same two or three 
men who are the deliverers of any really impor- 
tant news. 

In the case of verbal reports, if anything, 
the number of trustworthy men is still more 
limited. 

Modem infantry tacticians are never tired of 
reiterating how the training of each single skir- 
misher in independence of thought and action is 
the first and highest aim of their whole training. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 67 

In a still higher degree the cavalry arm has 
reason to keep this precept in its mind's eye. 

Every cavalryman, indeed, may be in the posi- 
tion of having to bring through miles of country 
occupied by the enemy a report, the arrival of 
which at the right time might influence the whole 
course of the war. 

Even the best and most zealous schooling would 
never make a man who is lacking in the necessary 
inteUigence a clever dispatch rider. 

The sad experiences which the Russians had 
with their Cossack troops should cause us to pay 
increased attention to the selection of our cavalry 
recruits. 

As long as the often expressed wish of the 
cavalry to have a representative on the " Assent- 
ing Commissions " is not carried out, the cavalry 
will not receive those recruits which are most 
suitable. 

With reference to a war this is much to be 
deplored. 

"The use of cavalry dismounted is only ex- 
ceptional" — ^with these words is introduced the 
section about dismounted service in our regula- 
tions (Part II.). 

Agreed ! We have already given our reasons 

in another place why, in spite of the experiences 

of the Russo-Japanese War, we hold fast to the 

view that the sword is the principal weapon — 

the ultima ratio — of cavalry. 

6—2 



68 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

In spite of a true persistence in the principle 
laid down, it woidd never occur to-day to any 
thinking cavahyman to dispute "that the 
exceptional use of cavahy dismounted " of which 
the regulation speaks will be in a future war, so 
to say, our daily bread. 

A good cavalry ought to have decidedly learnt 
in peace-time to feel themselves at home in the 
firing-lme. 

The command '* With rifles, dismount !" must not 
mean anything out of the common. 

The Atistro-Hungarian cavalry practises the 
fight dismounted with that traditional con- 
scientiousness which it brings into every detail 
of the service. 

When one takes into consideration the time 
and trouble expended, it appears to us that the 
results obtained still leave much to be desired. 

Many of oiur detachments, so active on horse- 
back, betray, as soon as the carbine is in their 
hands, a certain clumsiness and helplessness. 

This is to be observed both during field prac- 
tices as well as on manoeuvres. 

The cause is due to the fact that the in- 
structors — i.e., in the first place, the ofl&cers — ^for 
the most part are wanting in the necessary 
infantry routine. 

As the idea of the thing is more or less strange 
to them, they generally cling much too anxiously 
to the forms laid down in the drill-books. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 69 

Where are our young oflBlcers to obtain a 
familiarity with the rules and appearances of the 
modem infantry fight ? 

At any rate, the students of the Neustadt 
Academy, who practise for two years under suit- 
able instruction the practical duty of infantry, 
cotdd acquire an idea of it. The candidates for 
cavalry at that Academy, however, as a rule, 
think it below their dignity to expend the neces- 
sary interest on these matters. 

In most cases they do not carry away with them 
to their regiments an appreciable understanding 
of musketry. 

It is still more unfavourable in this respect 
with the cavalry cadets and the one-year volim- 
teers who are appointed regular ofGlcers. 

They can learn only the formal part of the 
infantry training from their yro tern. instructOTS, 
as the latter do not know much more themselves. 

The " further courses " at the Army Musketry 
School, to which every year a few older cavalry 
officers are sent, have more the purpose of increas- 
ing their technical knowledge than the practical 
side of their training. This does not help much 
to train the men in fire action. 

Our opinion is that the best means of getting 
rid entirely of this evil would be to attach a 
sufficient number of officers and non-commis- 
sioned officers of the infantry as instructors to 
cavalry regiments. The officers and non-com- 



70 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

missioned ofl&cers would only require to be 
taken away from their own arm during the 
afternoon, so far as it is a question of the same 
garrisons. 

The proposed means must obtain during two 
different periods: Firstly, during the individual 
instruction of the recruit ; secondly, at the time 
of squadron training. For the present it would 
be advisable that the musketry field practices 
should take place everywhere under the direction 
of infantry officers. Devotion to duty and the 
zeal of our cavalry officers answer for it that in 
a few years, following the plan described, they will 
have acquired the necessary routine which is now 
failing them, and will be able to dispense entirely 
with the help of the infantry. 

Of course our regulation, which always must 
form the first rule as far as the fight dismounted 
is concerned, must undergo a revision accord- 
ing to the modem idea. For many of the ideas 
laid down are absolutely discredited by the 
experiences of the Russo-Japanese War — for 
example, the volley, to which such a decisive 
importance is ascribed, and, during the attack, 
the advance of the whole squadron at the same 
time, etc. 

The lessons of the late campaign have shown 
that in the future only a strong cavalry, equipped 
with all the appliances of modem science, will be 
able to carry out their allotted duty. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 71 

In theory, therefore, the demand for a con- 
siderable addition to the strength of our cavalry 
is justified. 

Its strength in proportion to the other arms 
is at a greater disadvantage than in any other of 
the armies of the Great Powers. 

However, on account of the financial and 
political condition of our monarchy, all reform 
in this respect, unfortunately, is as good as 
impossible. 

Instead of advancing useless proposals, let us 
try something more practical, and see whether at 
least other means cannot be taken which may 
strengthen our cavalry equally welL 

Above all, let us ask for a suitable war organiza- 
tion for this arm. 

The divisional cavalry played less than a modest 
part in the Russo-Japanese War. There is no 
deed of arms by the divisional cavalry worth 
recording either on the side of the Russians or 
the Japanese. 

At the most we see them prolonging the infantry 
firing-line with the few rifles at their disposal at 
different times — as, for example, in the fight at 
Wafankou, the 3rd Japanese cavalry regiments 
on the right wing of the 3rd Division. 

The cavalry attached to the Japanese infantry 
at the battle of liaoyang were put to a peculiar 
use. It had to cook the food for the infantry 
fighting in front, and carry it into the firing-line — 



72 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

perhaps a very practical use, but scarcely corre- 
sponding to the rules laid down for the employ- 
ment of this arm. We will not reproach the 
divisional cavahy, forced into the entrenched line 
of battle which stretched for many miles, that 
during the battle they could not perform anything. 

An opportunity for divisional cavahy to act, 
as is suggested in our regulations, will at best 
occur in the future if it is employed with an 
infantry division fighting on a flank. 

On the other hand, it must appear strange that 
the divisional (army corps) cavalry, strong as 
they were on both sides, cotdd not even perform 
their proper duty — i.e., local reconnaissance — 
without the help of others. With the Russians, 
the mounted scout detachments of infantry regi- 
ments were used for choice. 

With the Japanese, detachments composed of 
infantry and cavalry took over the duties of the 
necessary reconnaissance. 

In the face of these facts, can we maintain that 
the apportionment of a whole cavalry regiment (of 
three squadrons) to each Japanese infantry division 
was not a great mistake on the part of the C!om- 
mander-in-Chief T The small strength of the 
cavalry available (fifty-five squadrons) in no way 
justifies such a waste. By a more careful appor- 
tioning, which, certainly, would have produced no 
disadvantage that could be felt — ^f or example, half 
a regiment to an infantry division — another com- 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 73 

plete independent cavalry division could have 
been formed. 

That its existence at Mtikden wotdd have been 
everything in the scale there is no doubt. 

On the side of the Russians we find no divisional 
cavahy in the real sense of the word. 

On the other hand, cavahy was apportioned in 
varying strengths and organization to the army 
corps, according to what was wanted (or fancied !). 

At Mukden, for example, the 1st Siberian Army 
Corps had available over 6 squadrons ; 17 th 
European, over 12 ; 3rd Siberian, over 18. 

This, again, is an unjustifiable weakening of 
the independent cavahy. On the other hand, the 
principle of apportioning cavahy entirely to the 
army corps, and not to the divisions, is certainly 
correct, so far as the great army masses are con- 
cerned. 

The battle organization of our field army 
shows the same fault with which we have just 
reproached the Japanese. 

We as well, with our relatively weak cavalry 
force, have no reason to distribute it excessively. 
Three squadrons for each infantry division means 
a superfluous luxury which we decidedly cannot 
allow ourselves, becaiise, for the three or four 
field armies which we place in the field in the 
event of war, the five or six independent cavalry 
divisions are too few. 

We have altogether fourteen army corps — ^we 



74 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

cannot include the 15th (Bosnian) for special 
reasons — ^to provide with the necessary cavalry. 

One of our six squadron regiments placed at 
the disposal of the corps commanders would be 
quite enough for this purpose. 

This gives, on an average, 2 squadrons for every 
one of the 42 regular and Landwehr infantry 
divisions ; therefore a saving of 42 squadrons 
from the organization at present in force. 

Remaining still to form the independent cavalry 
divisions would be 264 squadrons (including the 
imperial and royal Landwehr and Honved forma- 
tions). 

From these cotild be formed 11 divisions of 
24 squadrons, STifGlcient to give to each army a 
cavalry corps of from 2 to 3 cavaby divisions. 
Sooner or later it will have to be decided — 
analogous to the Germans and French — ^to form 
our army corps out of only two infantry divisions. 

Hand in hand with this regulation must then 
take place the change in the organization of our 
cavalry which is so much to be wished for — i.e., 
4 squadron regiments. Eighty-seven of such 
would be formed in this manner, of which 21 would 
be army corps cavalry, and the remaining 66 
would be able to be formed into independent 
cavalry divisions. 

Then it would be a matter of opinion whether 
one should make them 6 or 4 regiments strong. 
As logically more correct, we prefer the latter. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 75 

Then, by these means, we should obtain the 
imposing number of 16^ divisions. 

Then the force of cavahy would really become 
an independent unit for all cavalry enterprises. 
By the continual growth of modem armies the 
army corps has practically become the strategical 
unit in the place of the division. 

Prom this follows the logical necessity of placing 
the reconnoitring machine at the disposal of the 
former instead of the latter. 

Should one of its infantry divisions receive an 
independent mission — be it only as advance- 
guard, flank-guard, or something of the same sort — 
then the corps commander has with him the 
necessary oavidry to give. Under these circum- 
stances he would give the whole cavalry regiment 
which was at his disposal. 

According to our practice at manoeuvres at 
the present time the divisional cavalry — ^with the 
exception of the legendary three information 
patrols — ^really forms a reservoir from which is 
provided a number of small detachments to the 
different infantry columns, mounted orderlies, and 
messengers for all the higher commanders. 

What then remains after this mischievous 
splitting up is far too weak to give any sort of 
energy to local reconnaissance. Trotting ahead 
within proper distance of the infantry advance- 
guard, there is nothing left to the small force, 
when sighting the head of the hostile infantry. 



76 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

but to retire to one of the wings, and there in all 
modesty to wait to the end of the fight. 

Here and there the slumbering desire for action 
is given vent to by some heroic deed, such as an 
attack on hostile artillery, which in actual war 
could never have taken place. 

The army corps cavahy ought to be employed 
on quite different principles. 

In order to carry on with a united force, and 
regardless of extraneous calls on them, their 
principal task, reconnaissance, they should be 
spared at other times. 

Their extremely small volume of fire, in com- 
parison with the infantry, would' be better 
employed during the fight only m cases of 
necessity. 

On the other hand, the final act of the fight 
should find them ready, side by side with the 
independent cavalry, to reap the result of a victory, 
or to hinder the hostile cavalry firom converting 
the defeat of their own army into a rout. 

However much we protest against the splitting 
up of the cavalry corps for minor duties, we at the 
same time recognize that the infantry divisions 
should not be left without cavahy for patrolling 
locally, for security on the march, and, finally, 
for providing messengers and orderlies. 

However, they can, and must, manage this duty 
with two troops of " stafE cavalry." 

This could more easily be managed if bicycle 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 77 

detachments were formed, like the Prussian 
Colonel Gaedke has repeatedly proposed. 

Our ingenious organization of country horses 
and the abundance of cavalry reservists make it 
possible to organize an increased number of ^' staff 
troops/' as well as to keep them at their full 
strength. One will decidedly have to reckon with 
the wastage of a great number of these detach- 
ments. 

It would be a good thing if the higher infantry 
commanders were accustomed in peace manoeuvres 
to treat more economically and carefully the 
cavalry which they are give,: Now the divii<mal 
cavalry is often treated in a manner which, in 
real war, would certainly cause its complete dis- 
appearance in the course of a few days. 

If our independent cavalry is to play in future 
wars the important active and independent r61e 
for which we hold it to be absolutely predestined, 
then the peace organization has still to take steps 
for this ideal : 

1. That the cavalry divisions, which it is in- 
tended to form, shall be organized in exactly the 
same manner in which they will enter the field. 

2. That the horse artillery shall be correspond- 
ingly increased. 

3. That a machine-gun detachment of four 
pieces shall be formed for each division. 

To the first is still to be added : It appears to 
be especially necessary to avoid as far as possible. 



78 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

in the event of mobilization, the formation of new 
regiments or organizations by the cavaby arm. 

In war it is a matter of daily occTirrence for 
every cavalry leader to have to trust subordinate 
detachments with independent duties of the most 
different kinds. 

It is therefore of the greatest importance that 
he should know his subordinates thoroughly well 
in peace — ^not only what their service capabilities 
are, but also as regards their character. 

As this requirement was not met when trans- 
ferring guard and line cavalry officers en masse 
to the Cossack regiments of the Manchurian 
Field Army, the measure did not meet with the 
success which the staff of the Russian army had 
expected. 

To the second : As Austria-Hungary, according 
to its organization, only possesses 8 horse battery 
divisions, each of 12 guns, therefore by the creation 
of 11 (or 16) cavalry divisions 6 (or 16) new horse 
batteries require still to be formed. 

Twelve guns are the least with which a horse 
division can do. 

To the third : Not a moment should be lost in 
the creation of the necessary machine-gun detach- 
ments (11 to 16). 

The opinion of experts, who had an opportunity 
of observing quite close the working of this new 
weapon, is that machine-guns are most suitable 
for increasing the volume of fire of troops — ^but 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 79 

only in the case where the latter have a thorough 
knowledge of their tactical use. 

Correctly posting them at the commencement 
of a fight is one of the chief arts of using them ; 
for to undertake a change of position is, in most 
cases, a difficult manoeuvre. Above all, the loca- 
tion of the machine-guns too early by the enemy 
is a great drawback. 

As the number of gunners serving them must 
always be fairly limited, it is of the greatest im- 
portance that the cavalry on emergency should 
be in a position to replace them. 

Everything demands that, in peace-time, cavalry 
every year should be thoroughly exercised in the 
use of machine-guns. Till now, unfortunately, 
only a few of our regiments have had this oppor- 
tunity during the Kaiser manoeuvres. 

It is self-evident that cavalry leaders should 
have the opportunity during the manoeuvres of 
practising the tactics of the battle raids which we 
have sketched. The relatively short time the 
fights at the manoeuvres last, however, forms a 
great obstacle in this respect ; for the slow develop- 
ment of the modem battle, lasting for days, is an 
essential preliminary to the carrying out of oiur 
tactical proposals. 

At peace manoeuvres one has to be content, in 
most cases, with only indicating the extensive 
movements which have been planned. At all 
events, one will have to finally discard the 



80 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

passive manner of guarding the flanks. That 
we are on the high road to it is shown by the 
fervid activity of the cavahy divisions which 
took part the other day in the Silesian Kaiser 
manoeuvres. 

If the spirit of initiative is really present, it is 
certain to fix itself in the right grooves in war. 

We, as well as our German aUies, shall have to 
disaccustom ourselves to attacks in masses against 
victorious advancing infantry "to relieve the 
pressure on our own infantry." 

They are undertaken at manoeuvres mostly for 
show only. 

The well-known, and, as regards the cavalry 
arm, exceptionally clear-thinking Prussian military 
writer. Colonel Gaedke, justly remonstrates against 
this practice, which might eventually find in war 
such a fatal imitation. 

Nothing is further from us than to propose to the 
cavalry that they should take anxious care to pre- 
vent great losses. The difficulties of filling up their 
ranks again give them, on the other hand, not only 
the right, but the duty, to see by all their opera- 
tions whether the loss and the results obtained are 
commensurate with one another. In this respect, 
however, in the last war, the balance is decidedly 
too much in favoiur of their own preservation. 
The extremely small losses of both cavalries in 
the Busso-Japanese War in comparison with the 
other arms makes a cavalry officer somewhat 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 81 

ashamed. A cavalry which is thoroughly conscious 
of its duty will, in every war, be in that position 
where it must stick at nothing, even if it should 
sufiEer the greatest losses. 

This will, above all, happen where it is a question 
of obtaining at any price a knowledge of the hostile 
manoeuvre zone. 

As seeing is often not possible without going 
quite close to the enemy, it appears to be of the 
greatest importance to avoid carefully anything 
which might lead to an early discovery. This 
recognition ought to decidedly cause a thorough 
reform in the clothing and equipment of the 
cavahy. Especially we Austrians ought not to 
hide from ourselves the fact that the uniform of 
our cavalry is conspicuous, can be seen from a 
long distance, and therefore is v^ry unpractical. 

The red riding breeches, the bright braided 
slung jacket, the light blue ulankas and tunics 
(the latter frequently covered with glaringly 
coloured facings), the glittering Dragoon helmets, 
the sparkling sword scabbard and buckles, the 
gold cross-belts of the officers — this is not at all 
suitable for war. 

At the commencement of the campaign the 
Japanese also were wearing red riding breeches 
and timics braided in a similar manner. 

Within a short time, however, they were obliged 
to hide the red colour with a covering of khaki 
colour. We Austrians cannot take our stand upon 

6 



82 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

tradition as an excuse for retaining the bright 
cavahy uniforms as, for example, the Germans 
do with a certain amount of right. For our 
authorities had abready, after 1866, broken with 
all tradition when they altered the time-honoured, 
historical white tunic of the infantry, which, as 
is well known, was not taken into the field, and 
changed the really tasteful dress of the Lancers, 
Hussars, and Cuirassiers. The introduction of a 
khaki-coloured or grey field uniform, with quite 
inconspicuous rank and regimental badges, should 
be adopted without delay. All which makes an 
officer conspicuous at a distance should be done 
away with. 

A patrol which comes into range of the enemy's 
fire should not stand the chance of losing their 
leader first of aU. 

In the place of the heavy Dragoon helmet. 
Lancer caps, and Hussar busbies, which are 
beyond measure so unpractical, and which would 
in a very short time lose all their ornaments, they 
could wear a lighter felt hat. 

All shining buttons, buckles, and other such- 
like parts should share the fate of the helmet. 

The heavy riding-boots, which after a few 
marches and bivouacs are scarcely to be got on, 
should be replaced by ankle-boots and gaiters of 
some waterproof material. 

Further, strap spurs should replace box spurs. 
A cloak to hook on made out of coarse cloth, and 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 83 

for the winter a fur coat reaching to the knees, 
felt overshoes, fur gloves, and on the head-dress 
a covering which should have a protector for the 
ears, should complete the equipment. Now we 
must hasten to aUay the secret fears of young 
officers over the unomamental uniform which 
we have described. Perhaps we shall succeed 
in doing so by declaring that we are aU for retaining 
a suitable and efiective peace uniform, in addition 
to a suitable campaign dress, which is only to 
meet practical requirements. 

In military questions we must give quite a 
serious amoimt of thought to psychological facts. 

We must also take into consideration human 
weaknesses. The Austro-Hungarian cavalry 
officer especially must not be grudged the little 
halo that still surrounds the arm he has chosen, 
if we consider how much he is sufiering from bad 
garrisons, hard service, and material frugaUty. 

An elegant and effective uniform consoles young 
men in many privations and gives them self- 
respect, a quaUty which decidedly promotes the 
desire to distinguish one's self in battle. The 
ordinary cavalryman also, who in peace has to 
perform a more fatiguing service, accompanied 
with greater bodily risk, than his comrade in the 
infantry, deserves a uniform in which he can " cut 
a dash." Let us retain as parade and walking-out 
dress the one we have now, or, better still, that 
which was in vogue before 1866. 

ft— 2 



84 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

But for all other occasions let us introduce as 
soon as possible the campaign uniform sketched 
above. 

Although all the other arms have made a trial 
of such a uniform^ it is to be regretted that the 
cavalry are still an exception. 

In Germany it appears that they are also guilty 
of the same neglect. Whoever, at the manoeuvres 
there, has seen each cavalry detachment betrayed 
too early by the white straps, the Ught tunics and 
slung jackets, and the gHttering weapons, can only 
wish such fine-looking regiments were not compeUed 
to appear thus clad before the enemy. 

If it is really wished to Umit as much as 
possible the visibility of our cavalry, the disap- 
pearance of grey horses from the ranks is a measure 
that caai no longer be avoided. 

Whoever has led a reconnoitring patrol will 
certainly remember with pleasure cases where, 
at a great distance, on a mountain slope or top, 
a grey horse suddenly appearing has put him on 
the right scent, and in this way been the initial 
cause of an excellent report. 

We would sooner not make it so easy for the 
enemy. Austria-Hungary is rich enough in horses 
to be able to refuse greys as cavalry remounts. 

The Japanese cavahy, in spite of smaU numbers 
and bad material, thanks to the splendid spirit 
which inspired them, did their duty to the best of 
their abiUty. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 85 

This fact conceals an important lesson for 
us, who look upon the undeniable tactical and 
technical advantages of our cavahy with a certain 
amount of self-satisfaction : let us not prize too 
low, in the face of the splendid achievements 
attained in peace-time, the worth of the moral 
qualities, and never let us neglect fostering 
them. 

In the greater part of our men exists stiU at 
bottom a healthiness neither weakened by the 
spirit of the times nor by national dispute. From 
this kernel of healthiness we can discern, perhaps 
not all, but surely a great proportion of, the 
splendid soldierly virtues with which their religion 
and ethics imbue the Japanese. Our ofl&cers must 
always be equal to this high task. A high-minded- 
ness, self-sacrificing devotion to duty, and love of 
the profession must never be lost. This demand 
is easy to assert but — do not let anyone be 
deceived — difl&cult of fulfilment. 

The position and material existence of the 
ofl&cer is to-day scarcely such as to make him 
especially the upholder of a departing ideal. 

Our higher ofl&cers, who, as regards this point, 
spring from a more favourable period, should 
always remember this. They should consider it 
one of their chief duties to lighten the struggle 
for existence of their younger comrades as far as 
the interests of the service will allow. 

A slavish submission of junior ofl&cers should 



86 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

never be permitted, but a willing obedience 
should always be required which does not 
restrain the development of their own individu- 
ality. 

Who has not the courage of his own opinions 
in peace-time, in war will certainly not be brought 
to that sense of responsibility which should be the 
attribute of every cavalry ofiGicer. The worry of 
insignificant work, from which our subalterns and 
indeed squadron leaders, on accoimt of pressure 
" from above," frequently and without necessity 
suffer, uses up too early their best powers, limits 
their horizon, and makes them ill-humoured and 
incapable of independent enterprises. 

Only officers trained in aristocratic and sympa- 
thetic principles will make the right sort of in- 
structors for oiu* men. 

The old military truth, " What is not inspected 
will not be practised," in a certain sense applies 
equally well in the psychological province. 

The spirit which animates a unit should have 
more weight in the judgment of a commander 
than purely military performances. 

It is certainly not easy in peace-time to get a 
clue for ascertaining the moral worth of a body of 
troops. 

A superior who is a Uttle psychological, and has 
his heart in the right place, will, by a number of 
small signs, even in this respect be able to come 
to a right conclusion. 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 87 

In the first place, regimental commanders ought 
to start the moral education of their men on the 
right lines. 

A colonel who is lacking in high-mindedness 
and sympathy, in our opinion, is imsuited to his 
position, even should he be a cavalry officer of 
the first rank. 

Unfortunately, with us it sometimes appears as 
if our authorities were not quite of that mind. 

Field officers, who have really nothing more 
in their favour except that they are so-called 
" good soldiers '' and have the whole of the regu- 
lations at their fingers' ends, are very often given 
the all-important charge of a regiment. 

A not quite unobjectionable interpretation of 
the conception " good soldier '' has been adopted 
by us during the course of the long peace. He 
is found embodied in a personality which accom- 
modates itself to circumstances, never worries its 
superiors, and which guesses the intentions of each 
superior officer, and, with true fanaticism, pro- 
ceeds to carry them out. 

If such a ^' good soldier " becomes a colonel, 
he naturally demands from those under him the 
same blind obedience which he himself has always 
practised. 

To gain laurels at inspections is his highest 
dream. The inner consciousness of having doipte 
his duty to the best of his ability does not satisfy 
him. 



88 THE CAVALRY IN THE 

In order to obtain the longed-for recognition 
from above, he becomes distracted, wishes to do 
everything himself, and drives his subordinates to 
desperation. 

Soon these latter do, their duty no longer with 
pleasure and love of their profession, but indifiEer- 
ently and mechanically. The spirit of the officers 
deteriorates and the better elements retire. 

This in no way disturbs the strict colonel. So 
long as the duty is performed from morning to 
night, according to regulation, he does not care 
about the spirit. A firm rule of conduct for his 
manner of thinking and acting is entirely lacking. 

For him the question is always, " What will the 
general or inspecting officer say to it ?" 

If in the above we have painted, in somewhat 
drastic colours in order to emphasize it, an evil 
which is without doubt present, there is a fact 
which cannot be denied — ^namely, that many 
good men, who are eminently suited as cavalry 
leaders, retire as captains. 

The ideal which they sought in their profession 
is not fulfilled. Sooner than have their individu- 
ality forced from them in this way they prefer 
to retire. 

Our friend the "red-tape" colonel will pass 
it over with the much-beloved platitude that 
nobody is irreplaceable. 

We in no way agree with him. 

Leaders in the Russian cavalry were decidedly 



RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 89 

wanting who were known to possess intelligence, 
tactical knowledge, and desire for action, combined 
with the moral courage for responsibility, without 
which the former attributes are useless. 

Whether we ought not more energetically to 
put a stop to the vicious aspiring and cringing 
in our ranks, so as to obtain a better record in 
this respect when, at some future time, it shaU be 
our turn, may be left unanswered. 

The leaders of great infantry masses will, in 
wars of the future, as far as physical comfort is 
concerned, have quite a bearable time. Even the 
fatigues of the day of battle will, as a rule, not be 
particularly severe on them. 

For more than ever, in order to prevent a dis- 
turbance in the widespreading and complicated 
service of information and reports, are they bound 
to a fixed place far behind the fighting-line. 

It is otherwise with the cavalry general. He 
cannot take with him luxurious carriages and 
collapsible houses made of wood or asbestos. For 
him it means sharing all physical exertions equally 
with tbe youngest soldier, and then being capable 
aftermrds of brainwork. 

It it therefore a necessity, even if a cruel rule, 
that the older cavalry captains, who have used up 
their |hysical activity during a long and worrying 
service as squadron commanders, should have to 
retire at the rank of major. 

Another question is, whether we ought to imperil 



90 CAVALRY IN RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR 

physicaUy our most qualified experts by wearing 
them out in the rank of captain owing to a too 
slow promotion. 

We answer it with a decided " No." 

The last campaign, again, proved that the con- 
ditions of modem war make it almost harder to 
produce a Seydlitz, Murat, or Stuart, than a 
Moltke. 

Herein hes the warmng for cavahy officers 
to cherish and promote with unceasing care those 
physical and moral qualities which make up a 
cavalry leader. 

If this succeeds, then we need not fear for the 
future ; for the machine is good. 



THE END 



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BILLXNG AlTD SONS, liTD., P&ISTBB8| OUILDTOBD 



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