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Tsushima, Battle of

P. MASSON and A. W. H. PEARSALL


Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.x


Extract

(27–28 May 1905) In the late nineteenth century, Russian ambitions in the Far East clashed with those of Japan. War broke out in 1904, and went badly for Russia. The Russian Baltic Fleet, under Rozhdestvensky, was dispatched to restore the position. After a long and arduous voyage, the fleet met the waiting Japanese Fleet, under Togo, at the mouth of the Straits of Tsushima. A running battle followed, as the Russian line continued, though with some evasive turns, to make for Vladivostok. Japanese gunfire concentrated on the head of the line was effective; night torpedo-boat attacks accounted for other ships. Out of 8 Russian battleships, 6 were sunk and the other 2 captured. Of 37 other vessels, 22 were lost, 6 surrendered and 6 were interned in neutral ports. Only 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers managed to reach Vladivostok. The impact of the battle was enormous and Tsushima may properly be compared with the Battle of Trafalgar fought a century earlier. On the tactical level, the battle rehabilitated the use of the ‘line ahead’ formation and concentration of fire. It also demonstrated the superiority of heavy artillery and persuaded Lord Fisher in Britain to build the Dreadnought type of all-heavy-gun ship. It further proved the value of torpedo-boats, especially against disunited and damaged vessels. The strategic consequences were no less important. It put an end to the Tsarist ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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