Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eighteen miles of trenches through the plain...

This stereographic card from 1905 is a companion to "NO. 72. MANCHURIAN SMALL BOY ORPHANS," which I featured and discussed back in April 2013. It is another image from the Russo-Japanese War.


No. 58. Scene in the Japanese Trenches.
Copyrighted, 1905, by T.W. Ingersoll.

The text on the back of the card states:
"Late in October Mr. Barry made a trip down through the Japanese trenches clear to the front parallel within less than two hundred feet of the Russian lines, and this is one of the pictures which he made on this trip. The Japanese dug eighteen miles of these trenches through the plain before the Russian forts, surrounding Port Arthur."
It's possible that the "Mr. Barry" referred to in the text was Richard Barry, a war correspondent for the Eastern Illustrated War News.

An interesting fact about the Russo-Japanese war is that, in addition to being covered by journalists, it was witnessed by military observers from nearly every country. According to an article on Wikipedia, it was practically a rehearsal for the First World War. But not a rehearsal that taught anyone much of anything:
"The multi-national military attach├ęs and observers who took part in the Russo-Japanese War were expressly engaged in collecting data and analyzing the interplay between tactics, strategy, and technical advances in weapons and machines of modern warfare. ... Military and civilian observers from every major power closely followed the course of the war. Most were able to report on events from a perspective somewhat like what is now termed "embedded" positions within the land and naval forces of both Russia and Japan. ... [However] from a 21st-century perspective, it is now apparent that tactical lessons which were available to the observer nations were disregarded or not used in the preparations for war in Europe and during the course of World War I."

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