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 Post subject: Battle of Tsushima
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:35 pm 
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Before the Battle of Tsushima, the Russian Second Pacific fleet had sailed over 18,000 miles to reach the far east to relieve Port Arthur. The demoralizing news that Port Arthur had fallen reached the fleet while at Madagascar. Admiral Rozhestvensky's only hope now was to reach the port of Vladivostok. There were 3 routes to Vladivostock, La Perouse, Tsugaru, and Tsushima. Admiral Rozhestvensky chose Tsushima, being the shortest and simpliest route, the other two requiring the fleet to sail east of Japan. Admiral Togo, based at Pusan, Korea also believed Tsushima would be the preferred Russian course.

The Japanese Combined Fleet, which originally consisted of six battleships, was down to four (two had been lost to mines), but still retained its cruisers, destroyers, and torpedo boats. The Second Pacific Squadron contained eight battleships, including four new battleships of the Borodino class, as well as cruisers, destroyers and other auxiliaries for a total of 38 ships.

Admiral Togo’s plan was to cross the ‘T’ of the Russian fleet, a plan used by Lord Nelson earlier in history

The Russian fleet travelled at night so they might not be discovered. Unfortunately for the Russians, one of their hospital ships, the Orel, exposed a light, which was sighted by the Japanese armed merchant cruiser Shinano Maru at 2.45am.

The Orel mistook the Shinano Maru for another Russian vessel and did not attempt to notify the fleet — instead, she signaled to inform the Japanese ship that there were other Russian vessels nearby. The Shinano Maru then sighted the shapes of ten other vessels in the mist. The Russian fleet had been discovered, and any chance of reaching Vladivostok undetected had disappeared.

At 4:55am, Captain Narukawa of the Shinano Maru radioed to Admiral Togo in Masampo that "Enemy is in square 203". By 5am, intercepted radio signals informed the Russians that they had been discovered and that Japanese scouting cruisers were shadowing them. Admiral Togo received the message at 5:05am, and immediately he began to prepare his battle fleet for a sortie.

Admiral Togo on the bridge of Mikasa, at the beginning of the Battle of Tsushima in 1905. The signal flag being hoisted is the letter "Z", which was a special instruction to the Fleet.

At 2:45 p.m., Togo crossed the Russian 'T' enabling him to fire broadsides, while the Russians could only reply with their forward turrets.

The Russians sailed from south-southwest to north-northeast; the Japanese fleet from west to northeast. Admiral Togo ordered the fleet to turn in sequence, which enabled his ships to take the same course as the Russians, though risking each battleship in turn, this move going down in history as the aptly named ‘’Togo’s turn’’. This U-turn was successful. At 14:08, the Japanese flagship Mikasa was hit at about 7,000 metres, with the Japanese replying at 6,400 metres. Superior Japanese gunnery then took its toll with most of the Russian battleships being crippled. As naval engagements traditionally began at a considerably closer range, Togo immediately gained the advantage of surprise.

Russian loses during the battle were heavy

The Knyaz Suvorov, Imperator Aleksander III, Borodino and the Oslyabya were lost during the daylight battle on 27 May. The Navarin was lost during the night action, on 27-28 May, while the Sissoi Veliky, Admiral Nakhimov and Admiral Ushakov were either scuttled or sunk the next day. Four other battleships under Rear Admiral Nebogatov were forced to surrender and would end up as prizes of war. This group consisted of only one modern battleship, Orel, along with the old battleship Imperator Nikolai I and the two small coastal battleships General-Admiral Graf Apraxin and Admiral Senyavin. The small coastal battleship Admiral Ushakov refused to surrender and was sunk by Japanese armoured cruisers.

The Vladimir Monomakh and Svyetlana were sunk the next day, after the daylight battle. The cruiser Dmitri Donskoy fought against six Japanese cruisers and survived; however due to heavy damage she was scuttled. The Izumrud ran aground near the Siberian coast. Three Russian protected cruisers, Aurora, Zhemchug, and Oleg escaped to the US naval base at Manila and were interned. The armed yacht classified as a cruiser, Almaz was able to reach Vladivostok.

Destroyers and Auxiliaries
Five destroyers the Buiny, Buistry, Bezupreshchny, Gromky and Bleshyashchy were sunk on 28 May, the Byedovy also surrendered that day. Bodry was interned in Shanghai. Two destroyers the Grosny and Bravy reached Vladivostok.
Of the auxiliaries, the Kamchatka, Ural and Rus were sunk on 27 May, Irtuish ran aground on 28 May, Koreya and Svir were interned in Shanghai and the Anadyr escaped to Madagascar. The hospital ships Orel and Kostromo were captured with the Kostromo released afterwards.

The Russians suffered 4,380 killed and 5,917 captured, including 2 admirals and 1,862 interned

The Japanese on the other hand lost only three torpedo boats (Nos. 34, 35 and 69), 117 killed and 500 wounded.

The battleship Mikasa, Admiral Togo's flagship at the battle of Tsushima, preserved as a memorial in Yokosuka, Japan

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 Post subject: Re: Battle of Tsushima
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:37 pm
Posts: 1672
The West until this time had niot rated Japan in terms of a naval power , it was an eye openner to say the least from which not much was learned.
December 7th and the loss of Force Z would stand as witness to that.

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