During the course of the naval operations off Tsingtao, the British Royal Navy (RN) attached the China Station's pre-dreadnought HMS Triumph and the destroyer HMS Usk to the IJN. The British warships were integrated into the Second Squadron with few problems. According to a German press report following the siege, the Triumph was damaged by German land batteries. The Japanese squadron consisted of mostly obsolete warships, though did briefly engage a number of more modern vessels. These included the dreadnoughts Kawachi, Settsu, the battlecruiser Kongō and the seaplane carrier Wakamiya, whose aircraft became the first of its kind in the world to successfully attack land and sea targets. These planes would also take part in another military first: the first night-time bombing raid.
The 18th Infantry Division was the primary Japanese Army formation that took part in the initial landings, numbering 23,000 soldiers with support from 142 artillery pieces. They began to land on 2 September at Lungkow, Shandong, which was experiencing heavy floods at the time, and later at Laoshan Bay on 18 September, about 18 miles east of Tsingtao.