NATURE OF DEFENCES.
EIGHT MILES OF MINES
The Japanese War Office announces that tho gen-era I bombardment of
Tsing-tau commenced to-day
The above item, which will bo found among to-day’s cable nows, is most iniportant in view of the Kaiser’s recent instruction that the port was to be defended to tho last man. “Do or die” was really the Royal Command. ' _ When Japan, avowedly in accordance with tho terms of tho Anglo-Japanese Alliance, declared war on Germany, and expressed her determination to drive that country out of Kiao-chatt, the world assnmedit an affair between Japan ami Germany, arid had suspicions of Japanese aggression in China, wrote the Tokio correspondent of tho ‘ Sydney Morning Herald’ early in September. Now it turns out that tho taking of Kiao-eliait is being participated in by all tho 'Allies--* Russia, Franco, Britain, mud Japan, so that Japanese predominance in the outcome is to a large extent precluded. In fact, tho first shot of tho attack on Tsingtau was fired by British guns, when the British torpedo* flotilla from Wei-hai-wei stole into tho entrance of Tsing-tau Harbor on the night of August 23, and would have don© considerable damage had it not been detected and shelled by the forts. The next attack was by the Japanese fleet, when Vice-Admiral Kato blockaded the entire coast of Kiao-chau and hurled a few projectiles towards tho forts, tho distance being too great to permit any effect. Tho Germans replied with similar results, and for the same reason of distance. The Germans, as soon as trouble threatened in Europe, mined the harbor of Tsing-tau and approaching waters, so jhat no ships of any size could really get within firing distance of the place. The only safe distance at present approachable is yet eight miles off Tsing-tau. Since the blockade the Japanese have been busily engaged in clearing the sea of mines., —Sweeping the Sea.—
These mine-clearing operations are regarded by the Japanese as among the most terrible in naval warfare. Small superannuated craft, wtih wire nets of some 300 yds length stretched between them, sweep the sea, an extremely dangerous proceeding, as the mines thus caught knock together and explode, with terrible results if "they happen to be near either of the ships engaged. Aa tjeon as this hazardous operation is completed, and larger ships may safely venture withiip range of the forts, it is expected that Tsing-tau will suffer a combined. attack from warships of the four Allies. The Germans, however, do not view the attack from the sea with as much concern as that from the land side. They have sunk their big floating dock, the largest in tho Far East; anil the only two warships in tho harbor, small gunboats and the Austrian cruiser Kaiser in Elizabeth, they have dismantled, using the guns for laud defences. These land defences are something to cause the Allies much thought. Indeed, they axe far more formidable than at first supposed. The fact that combined attack of the four nations is expected against the land defences proves the truth of this assumption. The onslaught from land will bo a task of extreme difficulty and danger, resembling the difficulties the Japanese had to meet during the siege of Port Arthur. ■ —Garrison of B,OCO. —
Tsing-tau, the capital of tho Germ an colony at Kiao-chuu. is a beautiful city some milts from the border of the leased ten in . It has wide, modern streets, many ~..e public buildings, and wellattended schools. Both from land and sea it is situated safely from attack, tho defences are not taken by the. enemy. On tho land side it is protected by three lines of powerful defence works.' Approaching these defence works and between them the forests and fields are everywhere mined. Even stray Chinese who have wandered into this zone have been blown to atoms, several auoh accidents having already happened. Thus tho whole region for a radius of eight miles by land and sea is thoroughly mined, with innumerable barbed-wire entanglements charged with electricity as well, and the whole commanded by the most powerful guns of modern warfare, and a garrison of expert fighteis. It was at first assunuxr in Japan that the garrison at Tsing-tau did not amount to much, and that its fall would be a matter of only a few weeks. This is now discovered to bo a mistake. \ot only is the place unusually well fortified, but there are at least 8.000 trained soldiers, of whom at least 6,000 are experts with rifle and gun. For weeks thousands of Chinese coolies have been pressed into service by the Germans, strengthening still further the defence's. The neutrality of surrounding districts has been practically ignored in bringing into Tsing-tau all manner ot contraband of war, especially in tho way of provisions. —The Kaiser’s Message.— For some time it was hoped that tie Germans, in the face of such hopeless odds, would make an ear ly capitulation, but since the arrival of William ll.’s message, ordering the colony at Tsing-tau to hold out to the last man, this hope has been abandoned. The Japanese are indignant at tho attitude of tho German Emperor, which they regard as a grave example of inhumanity. In fact, the vernacidar Press is loud in condemnation of the examples of German brutality which are being teleraphrd here from Europe. The Japanese ate counting the siege of Tsing-tau lasting' at least two months. The preparations at that place indicate tlmz the Germans expect to hold out much longer than that. Ihe German ladies at ising-tau are preparing to nurse the wounded. The ladies of the Japan lied Cross Society are likewise preparing, and a batch of'lled Cross nurses and physicians has already been despatched to a destination that must not be named, though all can guesa where. Mobilisation for the Jam! attack on Kiao-chau is going on so quietly that the public are quite unaware of it. A few, however, are becoming conscious of the fact that tho night here is busier than the day. Tho people, too, are whispering of leave-takings with sens and sweethearts, and saying that the men aro going to another place, the name of which even the soldier himself does nob know. The war is now the universal topic of conversation, ever, in the remotest country village. With just what country the nation is at war most of the folk have but a faint idea. 'They are told that it is to the country which insulted Japan by driving her out of Port Arthur, and that now this country has attacked Britain, Japan’s ally, and Japan is going to punish her, and kill two birds with the one stone. The Imperial Diet has met and asked an appropriation of 53,C00,000yen to carry on the war. All tho population aro looking forward with enthusiasm to the nations victories; and special messengers have been despatched by the Imperial Government to tho great shrines -of tho nation to inform the spirits of the ancestors that Japan is at war, and their invisible assistance _ is besought, aa in the crisis with i Itnatva. It live interest and sympathy of a whole nation of more than 50,000,000, ' and the help of spirits of the greater millions departed, can bring glory to a nation’s arms, then Japan will come out of her struggle with Germany bearing flying colors.
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KIAO-CHAU, Evening Star, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914
KIAO-CHAU Evening Star, Issue 15639, 2 November 1914
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