Siege of Tsingtao, 1914

SIEGE OF TSINGTAO – WWI

31 October – 7 November 1914

SUMMARY

In the first engagement between Japanese and German forces, 20,000 Japanese troops with 140 artillery pieces allied with 1,500 British troops and naval support to attack 4,000 German marines and sailors at the Chinese port of Tsingtao.  It was the first Anglo-Japanese operation of the war, the first air attack launched from a ship, and the first night-time air raid.

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BACKGROUND

In 1897, Germany built the port city of Tsingtao, as part of its lease from China in the Kiautschou Bay Concession, and established it as a base for the East Asiatic Squadron of the German Navy.  When war broke out, Japan demanded that Germany remove its fleet from the Chinese and Japanese waters and surrender Tsingtao to Japan.  When Germany refused, Japan declared war.

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LOCATION

Tsingtau, Kiautschou Bay Concession, China

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ALLIED POWERS

IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY

18th INFANTRY DIVISION

BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

2nd BATTALION, THE SOUTH WALES BORDERERS

36th SIKHS

 

Led by

Major-General Mitsuomi Kamio

Major-General Nathaniel Walter Barnardiston

Kamio and Barnardiston, September 1914, UK National Army Museum-Public Domain

Vice-Admiral Sadakichi Kato

Kato, Official Japanese Navy Photo, date unkown, Public Domain

Captain Maurice Fitzmaurice (HMS Triumph)

Fitzmaurice, UK National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain

Lieutenant-Commander Wellwood George Courtenay Maxwell (HMS Usk)

Supported by

IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY 2nd FLEET

Imperial Japanese battleship Suwo, flagship of 2nd Fleet, Naval Historical Center, NH 101761-Public Domain

BRITISH ROYAL NAVY CHINA SQUADRON’S

HMS TRIUMPH

HMS Triump, from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 2107-01)-Public Domain

HMS USK

HMS Usk, pre-1919, photo by Allan C. Green 1878 – 1954, State Library of Victoria-Public Domain

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IMPERIAL GERMAN NAVY

III SEEBATAILLON

MATROSENARTILLERIEABTEILUNG

AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN NAVY

SMS KAISERIN ELISABETH

SMS Kaiserin Elisabeth, date unknown, www.history.navy.mil-Public Domain

Led by

Captain and Governor Alfred Meyer-Waldeck

Meyer-Waldeck, 1911, BildNr 018-0081-26 aus dem Bildbestand der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft in der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main-Public Domain

Captain Richárd Makovicz (SMS Kaiserin Elizabeth)

Supported by

OSTASIATISCHES MARINE-DETACHMEN

CHINESE POLICE FORCE

German defenders at Tsingtao, from The Project Gutenberg eBook, The New York Times Current History: the European War, February, 1915.
URL http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18880-Public Domain

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RESULT

A military victory for the Allies

HMS Triumph firing at Tsingtao, Oct 1914, Naval Institute Press-Public Domain
Tsingtao under seige, German Federal Archives-Public Domain

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CONSEQUENCE

Japanese forces suffered 733 killed in action and 1,282 wounded.  British forces suffered 12 KIA and 53 wounded.  The Germans suffered 199 KIA and 504 WIA with 4,700 taken prisoner of war.  The Germans held their position for 2 months before surrendering on 7 November 1914.  Japan occupied Tsingtao until returning it to Chinese control in 1922.  After the war, 170 of the German POWs chose to remain in Japan.

German POWs at Tsingtao, November 1914, UK National Army Museum-Public Domain

Dramatic cinematographic reenactment of the Siege of Tsingtao

BBC documentary on Tsingtao

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