Konstantin Smirnov

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Konstantin Nikolaevich Smirnov
Smirnov K N-1.jpg
Konstantin Nikolaevich Smirnov
Born (1854-05-19)May 19, 1854
Odessa, Russian Empire
Died November 9, 1930(1930-11-09) (aged 76)
Pančevo, Yugoslavia
Allegiance  Russian Empire
Service/branch Russian Imperial Army
Years of service ?–1908
Rank Lieutenant General
Unit Imperial Russian Army
Battles/wars Russo-Japanese War

Konstantin Nikolaevich Smirnov (Russian: Константин Николаевич Смирнов), (19 May 1854 – 9 November 1930) was a general in the Imperial Russian Army.


Smirnov was born in Odessa to a family of minor nobility originally from the Minsk Governorate of the Russian Empire. He graduated from the Mikhailovsky Artillery School and the General Staff Academy, and served as commandant if the Odessa Infantry Cadet School from 1986-1898. He was chief of staff of the Warsaw Fortress in 1899. In 1900, he was transferred to the Far East to command the Imperial Russian Army’s Second Infantry Brigade.[1]

With the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Smirnov was appoint commander of the fortress of Port Arthur, Manchuria with a total of over 50,000 men on 4 March 1904. Occupied by the Russians since 1897, the defenses of Port Arthur had been heavily enhanced and modernized in the intervening years, and its position was considered one of the most heavily fortified in the world. However, the previous commander, Anatoly Stessel, chose to interpret the orders to mean that Smirnov was assigned as his subordinate, and remained at Port Arthur, countermanding Smirnov's orders and denying his requests for supplies and reinforcements, and sending misleading telegrams to the Tsar blaming Smirnov for any setbacks. He also ignored orders from General Aleksei Kuropatkin direct orders to leave Port Arthur by a destroyer on 3 July 1904.[1] Stessel's command of the Port Arthur defenses was ineffective throughout the Siege of Port Arthur. Port Arthur was surrendered to the Japanese to the Japanese on 1 January 1905 by Stessel and his close crony General Alexander Fok without consultation to other senior Russian staff, including Smirnov.

After the end of the war, Smirnov published a condemnation of the events, charging Stessel, Fok and others of cowardice and dereliction of duty. He also testified at the court-martial which sentenced them to death on 7 February 1908.[1] This sentence was later commuted to ten years imprisonment. For the charge of cowardice, he was challenged to a duel by Fok, and was wounded in the stomach.[2]

Following the October Revolution, Smirnov emigrated to Yugoslavia, where he eventually died of pneumonia at Pančevo, in what is now Serbia.



  • Connaughton, R.M (1988). The War of the Rising Sun and the Tumbling Bear—A Military History of the Russo-Japanese War 1904–5, London, ISBN 0-415-00906-5.
  • Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5. 
  • Jukes, Geoffry. The Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905. Osprey Essential Histories. (2002). ISBN 978-1-84176-446-7.
  • Warner, Denis & Peggy. The Tide at Sunrise, A History of the Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905. (1975). ISBN 0-7146-5256-3.


  1. ^ a b c Kowner, Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War, p. 359-360.
  2. ^ "Women Watch Duel of Russian Generals," NY Times, March 19, 1908.