Russo Japanese War
Battle of Sandepu
Battle of Sandepu
1905 Jan 25 - Jan 29

Battle of Sandepu

Shenyang, Liaoning, China

After the Battle of Shaho, the Russian and Japanese forces faced each other south of Mukden until the frozen Manchurian winter began. The Russians were entrenched in the city of Mukden, while the Japanese occupied a 160-kilometer front with the Japanese 1st Army, 2nd Army, 4th Army and the Akiyama Independent Cavalry Regiment. The Japanese field commanders thought no major battle was possible and assumed that the Russians had the same view regarding the difficulty of winter combat. The Russian commander, General Aleksey Kuropatkin was receiving reinforcements via the Trans-Siberian Railway but was concerned about the impending arrival of the battle-hardened Japanese Third Army under General Nogi Maresuke to the front after the fall of Port Arthur on 2 January 1905.

The Russian Second Army under General Oskar Gripenberg, between 25 and 29 January, attacked the Japanese left flank near the town of Sandepu, almost breaking through. This caught the Japanese by surprise. However, without support from other Russian units the attack stalled, Gripenberg was ordered to halt by Kuropatkin and the battle was inconclusive.

As the battle ended in a tactical stalemate, neither side claimed victory. In Russia, the Marxists used the newspaper controversy created by Gripenberg, and by Kuropatkin’s incompetence in previous battles, to drum up more support in their campaign against the government.