Friday, 31 January 2014

Oskar Gripenberg, a Finnish general who commanded a Russian army in the Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905

General Oskar Gripenberg (1838-1916)

General Oskar Ferdinand Gripenberg was one of the Finnish officers, who served in the Imperial Russian Army during the Russo-Japanese war 1904-1905. (Finland was at that time an autonomous Grand Duchy under Russia). From 29 September 1904 to 29 January 1905 Gripenberg was the commander of the Russian Manchurian army.

This was the development that caused Gripenberg to resign as commander of the Manchurian army:

The Russian Second Army under General Oskar Gripenberg, between 25 and 29 January, attacked the Japanese left flank near the town of Sandepu, almost breaking through. This caught the Japanese by surprise. However, without support from other Russian units the attack stalled, Gripenberg was ordered to halt by Kuropatkin and the battle was inconclusive. The Japanese knew that they needed to destroy the Russian army in Manchuria before Russian reinforcements arrived via the Trans-Siberian railroad.

The commander in chief, general Kuropatkin refused to give Gripenberg the support he had asked for, and in addition Kuropatkin ordered the Manchurian army to withdraw against the its commander's will. Military historians consider Kuropatkin's indecisiveness and organizational deficiencies in directing large-scale military operations as a major element in the Russian defeat.

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