Japan’s first unit of railway engineers was created in the wake of the first Sino-Japanese war (1894–95) when the Japanese army’s supply lines serviced by horse-drawn cart proved too inefficient to support the six divisions in Manchuria. In 1900, one company of Japanese railway engineers took part in restoring and operating the badly damaged railway between Beijing and Tianjin during the Boxer rebellion, and the performance of the Japanese railway company was highly regarded by the allied armies. Japan’s railway construction on the continent developed further during the early twentieth century as Japan’s empire expanded. During the Russo-Japanese war (1904–5), one railway battalion composed of three companies moved to Korea and surveyed and supervised construction of a standard-gauge (1435 mm) railway between Seoul and Uiju on the Yalu river and then built a light railway from Antung (Andong) towards Mukden (Shenyang) following the advance of the Japanese army. The construction of the Antung railway through rugged terrain involved a work-force of three railway companies (800 men), two transport corps (400 men), 500 Japanese civilian craftsmen and about 1,000 local workers (coolies). By early February 1905, approximately 172 kilometres of track had been completed, close to the front line, and ammunition and food were forwarded by train eight times a day.
KeywordsSouthern Line Supply Depot Command Group Japanese Army Wooden Bridge
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- 5.Hiroike Toshio, Taimen Tetsudo (The Burma—Thailand Railway), (Tokyo, Yomiuri Shinbunsha, 1971), pp. 111–12.Google Scholar
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- Azuma Kunihiko (ed.), Senpan Saiban no Jisso [The Truth about the War Crimes Trials] (Tokyo: Maki shobo, 1952) for examples of these views.Google Scholar