Sunday, January 16

1890: Japanese Develop 'War Tubas'

The Seinan Sensō (Southwestern War) was the last major revolt by a feudal Japanese domain against the Meiji Empire. Whilst the war only lasted nine months in 1877 it was the first time that aerostat where employed for military purposes on the Japanese mainland.

The key Battle of Tabaruzaka saw the Satsuma Domain rebels suffer terrible losses to a surprise bombing attack by the small Meiji fleet (commanded by French officers from Lieutenant-Colonel Antoine's military mission) and the impact of this attack led the Japanese to lead the way in the development of acoustic location devices which would perform a vital role in the Great War 1890-91 and subsequent European conflicts.

Unlike the fixed concrete mirrors that became popular in Britain and the Continent, the Japanese focussed their efforts on a mobile resource (derisively dubbed 'war tubas' by European observers), using them to great effect against the Chinese at the Battle of Jiuliancheng.

Following this success most European powers looked to develop their own mobile 'war tuba' units including the Russian Empire who positioned them on top of buildings in Port Arthur and Vladivostok during the Russo-Japanese War.


  1. Spooky - this exact photo showed up on QI last night!

  2. What an amazing coincidence! :-)


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