Russo Japanese War
Battle of Chemulpo Bay
Postcard displaying the Battle of Chemulpo Bay
1904 Feb 9

Battle of Chemulpo Bay

Incheon, South Korea

Chemulpo also had strategic significance, as it was the main port for the Korean capital of Seoul, and was also the main invasion route used previously by Japanese forces in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894. However, Chemulpo, with its wide tidal bore, extensive mudflats, and narrow, winding channels, posed a number of tactical challenges for both attackers and defenders.

The Battle of Chemulpo was a military victory for the Japanese. Russian casualties on the Varyag were heavy. All of Varyag's twelve 6 in (150 mm) guns, all of her 12-pounders, and all of her 3-pounders were out of action, she took 5 serious hits at or below the waterline. Her upper works and ventilators were riddled, and her crew had put out at least five serious fires. Of her crew with a nominal strength of 580, 33 were killed and 97 wounded. Most serious cases among the Russian wounded were treated at the Red Cross hospital at Chemulpo. The Russian crews—except for the badly wounded—returned to Russia on neutral warships and were treated as heroes. Although severely damaged, Varyag—not blown up—was later raised by the Japanese and incorporated into the Imperial Japanese Navy as the training ship Soya.