During the end of the 19th century, tensions between China and Japan were increasing over the control of Korea.  China, though large in terms of land
and population, lacked a strong central government and in actuality was controlled by powerful provincial leaders.  Their military had a similar structure
which made coordination next to impossible and diminished its capabilities and effectiveness. By contrast, Japan had a strong central government and
military structure. Japan’s military was also more modern, which gave them a clear edge.

A peasant rebellion proved difficult to quell so the Korean government asked China to send troops to help stabilize the situation.  Japan saw an
opportunity to gain a foothold in Korea and sent troops to help establish a puppet government in Seoul. China’s objections to Japan’s meddling lead to the
Sino-Japanese War of 1894 and 1895. The superior Imperial Japanese forces were too much for the Chinese. The Japanese army routed Chinese ground
troops on the Liaodong Peninsula. The Japanese Navy enjoyed a similar success by nearly destroying the Chinese Navy in the Battle of the Yalu River.
China capitulated and according to the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the Liaodong Peninsula and the island of Taiwan was ceded to Japan. The
terms of the treaty were not good for the colonial ambitions of Russia, Germany, and France. Their influence forced Japan to withdraw from the
Liaodong Peninsula.  Germany built the Tsingtao fortress on Jiaozhou Bay and based the German East Asia Squadron there. The Russians followed suit
by occupying the Liaodong Peninsula, building the Port Arthur fortress and using it as the base for their Pacific Fleet. This move by the Russians started
the chain of events that lead to the Russo-Japanese War the following decade.
Sino-Japanese Naval War 1894-1895 is the latest book in the Mushroom Model Publications Maritime Series. As the title states, this soft-covered 228
page book focuses on the naval war between China and Japan during this conflict. The opening chapters cover the political and military structures of
both countries in the years leading up to the war. The following chapters cover the various combat operations and battles during the war. The text by
Piotr Olender is well written and the subject matter well researched. As good as the writing is the maps left something to be desired in my opinion. The
maps offer only focused battlefield views and are helpful. However there are none that provide a wider view of the theater of operations which would
add some much needed geographical reference.

This book is really a detailed history of the naval battles (though key land battles are covered as well) and really not a reference on the ships in both
navies. However, modelers are treated to a very good selection of sharp and clear photos of the ships involved in this conflict. The last sections of the
book include several pages of nicely done 1:350 scale profile drawings of ships from both the Chinese and Japanese navies.  I wish that some plan views
were also included which would have added more value to a modeler.
This conflict is rather obscure and overshadowed by the Russo-Japanese War. However, it is an important event in the history of the Pacific and the first
step in Japan’s military and geographic expansion in the region that culminated in World War II. This book is recommended to anyone who is interested
in the subject matter. My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy.
Felix Bustelo