March 1926: Naval activity

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Jerry Asher
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March 1926: Naval activity

Post by Jerry Asher » 12 Nov 2013 03:30

Frankly I cannot determine who was or were the decision makers for what I consider to some of the finest naval activity of Chinese forces in the first half of the 20th Century. On March 1st, the Hwa chia and either 2 or 3 other transports sailed from Qingdao in company with the Haichi, Haishen, Chuyu and Yung Hsiang. The arrived off Daku on evening of the 3rd. On the 7th the cruisers were exchanging fire with the reoccupied Daku fort, men were landed opposite the fort and one cruiser was left in support. Two cruisers moved seven miles to the north to supervise a second landing. Landings did not collapse defenders however and by the 10th are withdrawn. Meanwhile defenders notify Boxer Protocol signers that 10 electronically controlled mines have been planted and the channel to Tianjin is closed--which sets off a diplomatic/naval incident. Separately from entanglement of Boxer Protocol a Russian freighter, the 1,377 ton Oleg was seized by these naval forces about a week later( I have March 16 or 17th) setting off a diplomatic incident with the Russians. The seizure of the Oleg meant to return the Russians, crew quickly Capt held for months--which means there must be something clarified--dispute over cargo(weapons/timber), name of intercepting ship?

By now there should be in Chinese a more precise account. Was it 2 or 3 unnamed transports, which ship stayed to engage at Daku, which sailed the few miles north, which ship captured the Oleg? Finally what human beings made what decision? In general naval
forces aligned with Zhang Zuoling, but situation is fluid and loyalties up for royalties.

There was a distinct 3rd incident where the Japanese DD"S Fuji and Suzuki were fired upon from the Daku fort on Maarch 12th.

Many thanks in advance.

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Re: March 1926: Naval activity

Post by YC Chen » 12 Nov 2013 10:05

It seems that this operation is quite less-known even in China... I knew about the incident involving Japanese destroyers but didn't know about this one.

Perhaps Chen Yue's new book Warships of Republican China 1912-1937(民国海军舰船志1912-1937) can shed some light on it - it devotes a whole chapter to Hwa Chia class warships.

As for the Oleg I remember I have read something on it in an old(1929?) English book in our local library and made some notes. I will try to find it.

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Re: March 1926: Naval activity

Post by YC Chen » 26 Nov 2013 11:08

Sorry the Russian ships I read in the old English books were destined to Woosung not Taku. Apologies for bad memory.

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Re: March 1926: Naval activity

Post by Jerry Asher » 26 Nov 2013 16:24

Thank you YCChen: I deeply appreciate your efforts. May I offer a revision: It seems the events were set in motion on December 23rd, 1925 when the Guominjun secured Tianjin. Apparently by February 6th, the Russians working with the Guomijun have decided to open a sea route for arm shipments via Vladivostok to Tianjin. The Oleg is loaded and sails at some unkown date. By then, the Zhangs,the younger and older, have decided are preparing counterattack and mobilizie/hire/enlist the available naval flotilla. The flotilla 4 warships and 3/4 transports departs from Qingdao on the 1st. It is possible that simply sailing up the Peiho to Tianjin was contemplated. In any case by the 8th, it has turned to raids covering the coast from the Peiho north, by the 10th, raids are stopped but several of the warships are out hunting for the Oleg. Radio communication, or lack of, may have played a role, for the Russian the following year erect radio transmitters near Vladivostok. In addition to the Zhangs, I wouldn't be surprised if British agents didn't play an intelligence role.

YC, do you recall the name of the Russian ship going to Wusung? date. etc? Every voyage has a purpose.

Windward: Can you help?
Many thanks to all in advance.

Jerry Asher
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Joined: 06 Aug 2006 02:48
Location: California

Re: March 1926: Naval activity

Post by Jerry Asher » 26 Nov 2013 16:24

Thank you YCChen: I deeply appreciate your efforts. May I offer a revision: It seems the events were set in motion on December 23rd, 1925 when the Guominjun secured Tianjin. Apparently by February 6th, the Russians working with the Guomijun have decided to open a sea route for arm shipments via Vladivostok to Tianjin. The Oleg is loaded and sails at some unkown date. By then, the Zhangs,the younger and older, have decided are preparing counterattack and mobilizie/hire/enlist the available naval flotilla. The flotilla 4 warships and 3/4 transports departs from Qingdao on the 1st. It is possible that simply sailing up the Peiho to Tianjin was contemplated. In any case by the 8th, it has turned to raids covering the coast from the Peiho north, by the 10th, raids are stopped but several of the warships are out hunting for the Oleg. Radio communication, or lack of, may have played a role, for the Russian the following year erect radio transmitters near Vladivostok. In addition to the Zhangs, I wouldn't be surprised if British agents didn't play an intelligence role.

YC, do you recall the name of the Russian ship going to Wusung? date. etc? Every voyage has a purpose.

Windward: Can you help?
Many thanks to all in advance.

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Re: March 1926: Naval activity

Post by YC Chen » 29 Nov 2013 13:45

So you are also interested in those Russia ships went to Woosung?

My info is from A Short History of Shanghai by F.L.Hawks Pott published in 1928.

"Russian Cadets

A Russian fleet of 27 ships under the joint command of Admirals Stark and Bezoire left Vladivostok towards the close of 1922, on the incoming of the "Reds". They had on board some 8,000 people, whose main idea was to flee from the red terror. At first they took refuge at Gensan, but were requested by the authorities to quit Japanese waters. Some of the vessels, owing to lack of coal and food, were obliged to remain at the port, with 6,000 on board. The remaining 15 vessels had sufficient coal and food to reach Fusan, but were not allowed to anchor. After encountering a violent storm, in which one vessel was lost, they sought refuge in the Yangtze and anchored off Woosung." (P267-268)

"In succeeding years the Russian refuge problem continued to cause considerable anxiety. The arrival off the Chusan Archipelagp of the 'Eldorado' from Gensan on July 1st, 1923, with 700 fighting Russians on board, and quantities of arms and ammunition, caused a sensation. It was found that the real purpose of 'Eldorado' is gun running. Captain Kearny, an American, was arrested for complicity, tried and sentenced to pay a large fine.

On September 19th three more ships under Lieutenant General Gleboff put in an appearance at Woosung, carrying some hundreds of fighting men, but the Chinese authorities refused them permission to enter the harbour." (P268-269)

Jerry Asher
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Re: March 1926: Naval activity

Post by Jerry Asher » 03 Dec 2013 01:38

Thank you YC. Your willingness to assist is remarkable. You are a nice guy. I had a citation from a Korean website (I think) about Captain Kearney and some day will pursue that approach, if I join Miramar will do Eldorado--but that is so common a word in English, let alone Spanish, that second by second, one could get lost. Again, many, many thanks.

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