Battle of Te-li-Ssu

On 14 June 1904, General Oku, advanced his forces northward toward the entrenched Russian positions near the village of Telissu.

General Stakelberg had reasonable prospects for victory that day. The Russians had possession of the high ground and field artillery. However, rather than cooperating with the defenders by charging straight up the valley into the Russian defenses, General Oku advanced the 3rd and 5th Divisions along the center as a feint, while maneuvering the 4th Divisions rapidly to the west in order to envelop the Russian right flank. Although Russian outposts detected this move, misty weather prevented them from using their heliographs to warn General Stakelberg in time.

The battle began with an artillery engagement, which demonstrated the superiority of the Japanese guns not only in number but also in accuracy. The new Russian Putilov M-1903 field gun was first introduced in this battle but was ineffective due to lack of training of the crews and the outdated conceptions of the senior artillery officers. The better Japanese artillery seemed to have a significant effect throughout the battle.

As the Japanese divisions in the center commenced skirmishing, the General Stakelberg judged that the enemy threat would come against his left flank, rather than his right flank, and thus committed his main reserve in that direction. It was a fatal mistake.

Skirmishing continued until late night, and General Oku decided to launch his main assault at dawn. Likewise, General Stakelberg had also determined that the morning of 15 June 1904 was the time for his own decisive counter-stroke. Incredibly, Stakelberg issued only verbal orders to his field commanders and left the actual time of the attack vague. Individual commanders, not knowing when to launch the attack, and without any written orders, did not take action until around 0700. As only about a third of the First East Siberian Rifle Division under Lieutenant General Aleksandr Gerngross committed to the attack, it surprised the Japanese 3rd Division but did not prevail, and soon collapsed in failure. Before long General Stakelberg received panicked reports of a strong Japanese attack on his exposed right flank. The Russians began to fall back, abandoning their precious artillery as General Oku's 4th and 5th Divisions pressed their advantage. General Stakelberg issued the order to retreat at 1130, but fierce fighting continued through 1400. Russian reinforcements arrived by train just as the Japanese artillery was targeting the train station. By 1500 General Stakelberg was facing total annihilation, but a sudden torrential rainstorm slowed the Japanese advance and enabled him to extricate his beleaguered forces towards Mukden.

The only Russian offensive to relieve Port Arthur thus came to a disastrous end for Russia.