SIEGE OF TSINGTAO – WWI
31 October – 7 November 1914
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.
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.
Tsingtau, Kiautschou Bay Concession, China
18th INFANTRY DIVISION
2nd BATTALION, THE SOUTH WALES BORDERERS
Major-General Mitsuomi Kamio
Major-General Nathaniel Walter Barnardiston
Vice-Admiral Sadakichi Kato
Captain Maurice Fitzmaurice (HMS Triumph)
Lieutenant-Commander Wellwood George Courtenay Maxwell (HMS Usk)
IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY 2nd FLEET
BRITISH ROYAL NAVY CHINA SQUADRON’S
SMS KAISERIN ELISABETH
Captain and Governor Alfred Meyer-Waldeck
Captain Richárd Makovicz (SMS Kaiserin Elizabeth)
CHINESE POLICE FORCE
A military victory for the Allies
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.
Dramatic cinematographic reenactment of the Siege of Tsingtao
BBC documentary on Tsingtao