Russia has fewer troops and more draggons, MG and fieldguns in Manchuria in 1904

Nov 2017
OTL russia had a huge force with a ridiculous number of MG and fieldguns. For example in the battle of the Yalu River (the fisrt major land battle of the war), there were a ridicuolous 62 Russian fieldguns guarding an extremely long front of over 130 miles. This was one of the few battles in which the Russians had a much smaller force than the Japanese.

Similarly, during the decisive Battle of Mukden (the largest battle after Leipzig and Koenniggraetz, yet often neglected), the much larger Russian force had fewer dragoons and fewer than half as many MG as the attacking Japanese (80 Vs 200 MG), defending a long front. Since the Japanese could concentrate their more numerous MG in the attack points, Japanese MG firepower was overwhelming, yet the Japanese incurred extremely heavy losses in primitive banzai charges against MG positions. In this battle the Russians had nearly 18 times more fieldguns than in the Yalu River and in a shorter front! but without enough MG, they were not defensible.
Throughout the war, the Japanese payed local porters and food producers handsomely, while the Russians had payed extremely meagerly for years and during the war. This ensured much better Japanese supplies and contributed to victory.

The Tsar lost the war, over 110,000 casualties,prestige and popularity only because he did not realize what the Japanese did, mobility (dragoons and local porters and farmers), MG and artillery were far more important than troop numbers and static defenses.

ATL the Tsar has 3,000 MG, 15,000 Dragoons, 300,000 troops and 2,800 fieldguns in Manchuria. He pays good prices to minimize surplus food in Korea and Manchuria and to ensure local support.

When the IJA attacks, it incurs unsustainable casualties in banzai charges against cross fire from nearby MG positions and its supply lines are periodically attacked by dragoons and MG nests placed in high points. After losing half its forces in 8 months (while Russia loses only 16%), Japan withdraws to Korea and sues for peace, conditioned on Japan gaining control of Korea and admitting Russian control of Manchuria, as originally proposed by Japan. The Tsar conditions peace to major compensation for the loss of the Russian navy (half the Japanese fleet and money), which Japan accepts, in order to avoid losing Korea and the remaining half of the IJA, short of officers.

The Tsar becomes extremely popular. Russian generals have gained invaluable experience in modern warfare (the only European army to have fought a major modern battle in decades). They realize the value of logistics, mobility, MG, barbed wire, mines, reflectors and artillery.
Russia speeds up construction of the Trans Siberian RR and starts a parallel line.

When Germany exposes the fact that France and Britain aided Japan with advice, weapons, financing, intelligence, etc, the Tsar forms a coalition with the central powers, rather than with France, conditioned on Germany, A-H and Italy (at the time an ally of A-H and Germany), invading weak and vast Turkey jointly with Russia and sharing it.

France and Britain simply cannot afford to defend Turkey against the strong coalition and simply accept its disappearance.