Japanese Offensive against Russia, 1920
By Jamie Bisher
Nikolsk-Ussuriisk -- A Strategic Location
The strategic location of Nikolsk-Ussuriisk (modern day Ussuriisk) ensured that the small city on the Suyfun River would not escape bloodshed during the Civil War. It was a coal-mining center of about 30,000 people, but its strategic value radiated from the railroads that coupled on the outskirts of the city. One pair of rails led sixty miles south to the docks of Vladivostok, and the others stretched 5,000 miles west to Moscow, to Europe, and to the world beyond. Not far from Nikolsk, the westbound rail lines split up, as the Trans-Siberian line bore northwest through the taiga to Khabarovsk then looped around Manchuria, hugging the Russian frontier along the mighty Amur River before darting into Transbaikalia. The other railline became the Chinese Eastern Railway as it took a shortcut through China's Heilongkiang and Kirin provinces, cutting across the Manchurian and Transbaikalian steppes to mate with its partner at Karymskaya, a serious little railroad town 61 miles east of Chita, from whence the double-tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railroad continued their march across the continents. The shorter and faster Chinese Eastern route was preferred by most travelers.
Copyright 2016, Jamie Bisher