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Author Topic: 27 MAY 1905: TSUSHIMA  (Read 35 times)
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« on: May 27, 2020, 07:37:52 am »

It changed the balance of power in the Far East, heralding the rise of a new major power, and contributed directly to the decline and ending of another. It set in stone a naval doctrine that would eventually destroy the victor, and one of its participants would eventually lead the victor to its greatest victories, and its greatest defeats. It was the naval battle of Tsushima, the decisive confrontation between Imperial Russia, and Imperial Japan.

The Russo-Japanese War started in 1904, over, of all things, Korea and Russian ports and leases in China.It began with a Japanese sneak attack [destroyers and torpedo boats] against the Russian Pacific fleet in Port Arthur [a smashing-no pun intended-success], which was followed up by a land invasion.

The Czar then sent his northern fleet from the Baltic, through the channel, around Africa, and across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to relieve the russian troops under attack.

The voyage did not go smoothly. The Russians fired on some British fishing boats in the North Sea. Britain denied the Russians access to their coaling facilities along the route. France would not offer any aid. Several [at least] of the Russian squadron's ships were in poor conditions, old and slow.

Awaiting them was the Imperial Japanese Navy, composed of new ships with crews and officers trained by the British, under the command of Admiral Togo.

Togo put out a screen of scout ships that spotted the Russians making for Korea via the Inland Sea, and radioed the fleet of the Russians' location. Battle was joined on 27 MAY 1905, with Togo crossing the Russian fleet's "T". By the time the battle was over, approximately 75% of the Russian ships were sunk or captured. The Russian fleet commander was wounded [as was a Japanese ensign who lost two fingers, named Isoroku Yamamoto].

The loss meant the eventual surrender of the Russian land forces, the loss of Port Arthur and other areas, led to the riots of 1905 in Russia, and the Portsmouth Treaty that ended the war, and netted President Theodore Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize.

But many in Japan were unhappy with the Treaty, feeling their sacrifice should have resulted in greater gains, both financial and territorial, and unhappy with the U.S. for hosting, and steering, the negotiations. It was the first step toward Japan seeing the Americans as their principal enemy. And Tsushima became the bedrock of the Japanese theory of the "Decisive"[Naval] battle in Home waters that led, some 37 years later, to the defeat at Midway, with Isoroku Yamamoto commanding the IJN.

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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