The Russo-Japanese War was a major conflict between two emerging powers in the Far East; Russian rail and trade expansions would have to contend with Japanese imperial ambitions in Manchuria and the Liaodong Peninsula . Despite wielding the largest military in the world, Imperial Russia’s poorly-led and ill-disciplined army lost several major engagements, while its navy was of little match to the well-drilled Imperial Japanese Navy. The Tsarist regime was forced to surrender in September 1905.
The picture above depicts an assault on the 2nd East Siberian Rifle Regiment during the Battle of Liaoyang in late-August 1904; Japanese troops generally took heavy losses against their dug-in opposition, but were drilled to complete their objectives, no matter the cost. Trying to take Russian trenches was a near-suicidal task, as troops would have to contend with artillery, barbed wire, machine guns and bolt-action rifles: Grim foreshadowing for the ‘Great War’ that would come ten years later.