We have a photo book on this war inherited from my grandfather somewhere back home. I used to browse through it a lot when I was little without ever understanding what it was about. The main thing that sticks out in my mind is that there were a lot of photos of Japanese soldiers on bicycles – it seemed that was the major mode of transportation at the time.
“The Russo-Japanese War stands as one of the key events that ushered in the twentieth century. At the time it was widely understood to be a racial conflict and an epochal confrontation between East and West. In terms of the weaponry utilized, the level of casualties, and the political ramifications, the actual conflict itself, lasting from February 1904 until the signing of a peace treaty in early September 1905, was arguably the first modern war.”
“Through a series of major battles (at, for example, the Yalu River in May, 1904) the Japanese established dominance on land as well as at sea. In August, 1904 the Japanese undertook the siege of Port Arthur, which was heavily fortified and protected by electrified wire, entrenched defensive positions, and even planks filled with protruding nails. The trench warfare and Japanese frontal assaults in the face of heavy artillery fire, machine guns, and grenades—often under the bright glare of spotlights–were extraordinarily costly. Approximately one mile of territory separated the outer defenses from the city itself; 100,000 Russian and Japanese soldiers would be wounded or killed in the next 5 months, as the Japanese inched forward. Russian forces in Port Arthur surrendered on January 2, 1905.”
This page contains a “chronologically arranged gallery of cartoons that offers one sort of timeline for the Russo-Japanese War.”
The entire gallery is worth taking a look at, and I recommend the following as a soundtrack (if the music starts and stops during playback, try pausing it for a little while before playing to let the file partially pre-load):