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Philip Sharp has written the following After Action Report for his 1904 Russo-Japanese War campaign that can be downloaded from the Battlefront.com Repository here:



I hope you enjoy his report that follows, and please give the campaign a try! :)







I have decided to play out this campaign as Imperial Japan since they have the most moving parts and the overall burden of the offensive. Japan starts the war mostly scattered in their peace time garrisons. Because of this, it is important to form an overall strategy to get your forces in motion and set up the process to bring this about. I have set a series of objectives to prosecute the opening phases of the war.

1. It is imperative that the fleet keep the Russian fleet bottled up at Port Arthur

Japan’s Army must cross the ocean to fight in Manchuria. If Russia’s navy gets a free hand, it could cause havoc on the war effort. The fleet is currently in strength to face the Russian fleet. Its sole task right now is to keep the transports safe and permit the Army to deliver its forces to fight the Russians on the main land. The rest of Japan’s Navy will secure key passage ways with their auxiliary cruisers against possible activity from the smaller Russian naval force at Vladivostok.

2. The Army must be assembled and delivered to the fight in Manchuria

Some units will be railed or shipped, and closer units will march to save cost. The ports of Tokyo, Hiroshima, Shukishima, Sasebo, and Osaka are the primary ports of assembly to collect and transport the Army.

3. Secure Chemulpo Bay and Korea

The Russian cruiser Varyag covers the port of Chemulpo and the Japanese 12th Division had just been landed to initiate the war. Destroy this vessel and move the 12th Division north protect Japan’s Korean possession.

These shots show the progress of this opening plan:




A Division from northern Japan was railed to Shukishima and the Division near Sasebo will march to that port.


There is a division already at Hiroshima. Another one is railed there from further north and another is scene marching to that port.


At Osaka there is a division. It is built up as well as the cavalry unit nearby. The division to the east is set to march to that port.



Edited by Bill101
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Tokyo has a number of forces to start with. Here I already began to transport the Guards Division and Kureki HQ, with the intent of sending them to Korea. I continue to add replacements to the understrength units to bring them up to war footing.

While forces are assembling and the fleet keeps watch, the fight begins in Korea.


The Varyag is engaged and the 12th Division is moved north. Movement of the hot air balloon begins towards Korea via Idzuhara in the Korean Straights. The Varyag is destroyed. The next phase is to build up forces in Korea to face the Russians lurking to the north. Transports were gathered and by 24 February 1904 a force had been assembled just south of Korea protected by auxiliary cruisers covering the Korean Straights.


In the mod I posted, the Russian fleet is very aggressive and you will have to fight them to protect your forces. In this scenario, I had placed parameters to have the Russian navy behave more historically (keeping to the safety of its harbor). Admiral Makarov arrived and put the fight back into the Russian Navy, but somehow that did not replicate in my design. The Russian Navy never came out to fight as a result. This was not intended, though in the posted mod you will certainly face that fleet.

The force assembled for Korea was safely delivered by 7 March.


The 12th Division had pushed up to the town of Anju past Ping Yang by this time, therefore the Korean reinforcements were landed at the port of Chinampo since it was closer.

At this point it is important to clarify the overall strategy of the campaign by listing key objectives. I am following the strategic pop up with its advice and will explain it further.


There is a three point axis of advance into Manchuria.

1. The army assembled in Korea will advance north to the Yalu River, the border with Manchuria.
The Russian forces will be engaged there to hold them in place and hopefully defeat them. Upon a victory, be prepared to advance further into Manchuria.

2. An army will be landed by amphibious assault to secure the port of Takushan.
This army will turn the flank of Russian forces on the Yalu and if possible secure Fenshui Pass for future operations.  

3. An army will be landed by amphibious assault to secure the port of Pitzuwo.
This army will sever the lines of communication with Port Arthur and the Russian main army. Then its objective is to take Nanshan Hill, secure Dalny as a base of operation, and place Port Arthur in a state of siege.  


As you can see, one of the amphibious armies was assembled in south Japan by 24 February.

While these forces were assembled and moved to their objectives, the operations in Korea were beginning to unfold.


The Russians were dug in along the Yalu River and had committed forces to advance into Korea, seizing the town of Seng-Cheng. As you can see, Japan had just developed and advancement in Infantry technology and one of the divisions had been upgraded. At this point, 19 March, the landings are not yet taking place at Takushan and Pitzuwo, so the army in Korea will initially fight the Russians head on without backup. However, it won’t be like that for much longer.


Both objective ports are seized simultaneously on 23 March without opposition. More Russian forces have arrived at the Yalu as the Japanese army in Korea begins its efforts to retake Seng-Cheng.


Edited by Bill101
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16 April: There was a tough fight with Russian forces along the Yalu River. The army landed at Takushan was desperately needed to help in the fight. Eventually the tide turned in Japan’s favor. All that remained at this point was to secure fortified positions along the Yalu. During the fight, Fenshui Pass was secured and fortified by a cavalry force.

The army landed at Pitzuwo was advancing on Port Arthur during this time.


By 18 May, Nanshan Hill and Dalny were secure, a HQ and further artillery landed at Dalny, and forces deployed to begin the daunting task of taking Port Arthur. Things are now in place to further persecute the war in Manchuria.


While the effort to take Port Arthur is underway, the rest of Japanese forces are poised to advance onto Liaoyang, their first large objective. By 10 May, additional forces had been landed (an effort that must not be overlooked and tended to efficiently), and began moving towards Haicheng. Forces from Korea begin their march towards Motien Pass to advance on Liaoyang from that direction. The Russians have dug in a defensive line to cover Liaoyang and have secured Motien Pass with and entrenched Cossack Division.


By 22 May, the battle for Liaoyang is fought. Japan succeeds in breaching the center of Russia’s defenses. For some reason, the AI had the Russians entrenched facing the opposite direction. There may have been a different result if this were not the case. Liaoyang is taken, the army refitted, and the advance towards Mukden began.


By 23 June, Japanese forces are revived and pushing on Mukden. Russian forces seem sparse at this point, though I hold out the possibility of their reinforcement. I am concerned at his point to see that Russian Infantry could now be upgraded to level 2, whereas my troops were only at level one. I could potentially face a more powerful Russian army in the turns to come.  

There is good news though! After a bloody affair, Port Arthur had been seized. All that remained was to mop up the remaining Russian forces and this army could be sent north to reinforce the fight up north.

Not long after this, Mukden falls quickly. The Russian Army just did not reinforce it. It seems the AI did not make use of rail movement effectively and the space of Manchuria made their marching detachments ineffective in a timely manner. The game was quickly ended after this, as it was apparent that is was over for Russia.

I hope this gives insight to those who asked for this AAR.





Designer Notes
To conclude, let me make the following points. This is generally the historical route taken by Japan during the war and not the only option. Nonetheless, Japan must assemble its army, protect it, and bring it to its objectives. Otherwise, Russia will win. Russia obviously does not have to set and let Japan do this.


The fleet in Vladivostok can be used to be a real nuisance that will either cause harm or draw away Japanese ships to deal with them. The fleet in Port Arthur can be powerful, but the Japanese Navy is slightly superior.


You may not be able to defeat the Japanese fleet, but you can sure make their task difficult and even cause some upsets. Historically, Russia bided its time in order to assemble forces large enough to fight with.


In this scenario, the Russians committing extra forces to the Yalu only allowed me to destroy them between two armies. I used a garrison event to build a defensive line at Liaoyang, but it seems extra forces are still flung at the nearest enemy. This is a frustration in many mods I am working on. It seems the AI will blindly attack, even to great disadvantage, simply because it is the closest target.


Philip Sharp


You can download this mod here:


Edited by Bill101
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