Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 9. Respite and resumption of combat
Approximately at 14.50, the distance between the Japanese 1 squad and the 1 Pacific squadron became too long even for large-caliber guns, and soon after the Yakumo, passing under the stern of the Russian squadron, got hit, the shooting stopped. The Russian squadron moved along the course of SO80, following Vladivostok, and no one blocked her path, but it was clear that Heyhatiro Togo would not let the Russians go without a new battle. 5 hours still remained before dark, so the Japanese had time to catch up with the Russian squadron and fight it: Wilhelm Karlovich Vitgeft had to draw up a plan for the coming battle.
Immediately after the skirmish with the main forces of H.Togo, V.K. Vitgeft requested damage to the squadron ships: it soon became clear that no battleship or cruiser was seriously injured. This inspired certain hopes, and Wilhelm Karlovich discussed with his headquarters the tactics of further squadron operations. The officers spoke on two issues: is it possible to deprive the Japanese of their advantageous position relative to the sun, and which squadron position would be most advantageous for the renewal of the battle.
As for the sun, here, in the unanimous opinion, it was impossible to do anything, because in order to put a squadron between the sun and the Japanese, it was necessary to be south-west of the battleships X. Togo, but such a situation could not be allowed: taking into account the superiority Japanese speed, such a maneuvering would only lead to the fact that the Japanese squadron again blocked the way of the Russians to Vladivostok. But on the part of the position of opinion divided.
Senior Flag Officer, Lieutenant MA Kedrov offered to take the fight to the withdrawal, deploying battleships front of the system. At the same time, he proceeded from the fact that in this case the Japanese would also have to catch up with the Russians, turning to the front and then the Russian squadron would have a definite advantage in the number of guns capable of fighting. There is even a calculation according to which the Japanese had 27-caliber 8-12 inches and 47 6-dm caliber in a side salvo in battle in the wake columns, and the Russians 23 and 33, respectively. But in battle, the Russians would have 12 cannons 10-12 dm and 33 six-inch against 8-m 12-dm, 6-and 8-dm and only 14-and 6-dm cannon (here, by the way, it was, by the way, it was, by the way, it was, by the way, it was by the way, Russian, and only 2-and XNUMX-dm cannon (here, by the way, was, by the way, it was, by the way, it was the same since the Kasuga's nose turret did not have an eight-inch XNUMX, but one ten-inch gun).
Chief of Staff Rear Admiral N.A. Matusevich proposed to rebuild the squadron in the bearing system (the ships turn successively to 8 points to the right, and then “all at once” to 8 points to the left), and then, as the Japanese approach, try to get closer to them. According to N.A. Matusevich the Japanese are afraid of short distances and they are worse at shooting, which is why the Russian squadron could have an advantage.
VC. Witgeft rejected both of these proposals. Until now, H. Togo did not show a desire to enter into a close combat and there was some hope that this will continue. V.K. Witgeft did not want to come closer together, based on the following considerations:
1. A short-distance battle would entail severe damage, which many ships of the squadron could not take at all to Vladivostok, and of those who could, some would not be able to do this in a large way (by the standards of the Russian squadron). , that Vladivostok will break through far fewer ships than it could.
2. In the course of a battle at short distances, there will be great damage among the unprotected artillery armor (here we mean guns of 75-mm and below, usually standing openly and not in the casemates). This will certainly weaken the ability of ships to withstand attacks by enemy destroyers, and those of the Japanese, according to V.K. Witgefta, pulled at least 50.
In general, the plan of V.K. Witgefta looked like this: he hoped to avoid the decisive 28 battle of July in order to escape at night with intact ships and a fairly high squadron speed. At night, he expected to break away from the Japanese squadron, and in the evening to go east east of. Tsushima Thus, according to the Russian commander, the squadron will overcome the most dangerous section of the path at night.
Squadron battleship Retvizan
In other words, V.K. Witgeft tried to execute exactly the order of the governor "to go to Vladivostok, avoiding the battle if possible," but this, in fact, was the only way to break through if not all, then at least most of the squadron. So far, H. Togo has acted quite cautiously and has not climbed into close combat; it is possible that this will continue to be the case. Who knows, maybe the commander of the United fleet decided not to get involved in a decisive battle, but wants to first weaken the Russians with night attacks of destroyers, and only the next day to give battle? But this option is also beneficial for the Russian commander: at night he will try to evade mine attacks, and if it doesn’t work, then the squadron will meet enemy units with intact artillery. In addition, on the night of July 28-29, numerous numbered Japanese destroyers will burn coal and can no longer pursue the Russian squadron, therefore, even if a decisive battle cannot be avoided on July 29, the next night will be much less dangerous for Russian ships.
Thus, the decision of V.K. Witgefta, if possible, to avoid fighting at a short distance should be considered quite reasonable. But it should be borne in mind that everything will have to happen the way the Japanese commander decides - X. Togo had a speed advantage and it was he who determined when and at what distance the battle would be resumed. Let's try to evaluate the proposals of the officers V.K. Witgefta in view of this moment.
Unfortunately, it must be admitted that the idea of a movement by the systems of the front is no good. Of course, if H. Togo suddenly accepted the “rules of the game” offered to him by the Russian commanders, then this would lead to some advantage of the Russians, but why should the Japanese be so substituted? Nothing prevented the 1 combat unit from catching up with the Russians without deploying the front, as Lieutenant MA had expected. Cedar, and following the wake column, and in this case, the 1-I Pacific immediately fell under the "stick over T" and defeat.
The proposal of Rear Admiral N.A. Matusevich much more interesting. Led by a ledge, the Russian squadron was given the opportunity to make a turn "all at once" and would rush to the attack on the non-expecting Japanese. Such an attack could lead to the fact that X. Togo hesitated, and the right battle would turn into a landfill in which the Russian squadron, which had the destroyers and cruisers at hand, could have an advantage.
Of course, the Japanese commander had the opportunity to avoid this, take advantage of his superior speed and avoid too close contact with Russian ships. But nevertheless it could turn out in every way, and in any case for some time the distance between the Japanese and Russian squadrons would be greatly reduced.
To evaluate the plan N.A. Matusevich we will return at the end of the description of the 2 phase of the battle and counting the effectiveness of the Russian and Japanese fire - without these figures, the analysis will not be complete. Now we note that the proposal of the Chief of Staff V.K. Witgefta was a decisive battle plan, in which, of course, and regardless of the winner, would be very much for both sides. But the problem was that such a combat style directly contradicted the breakthrough task to Vladivostok: after the dump at the “pistol” distances, the surviving, but obviously badly damaged, Russian ships would only have to return to Arthur or go to the neutral ports. It was possible to go to such things if it was impossible to break through to Vladivostok (die, so with music!), But the situation was just the opposite! After the main forces of the Japanese fleet broke the distance in 14.50 from the Russians, it seemed there was a chance. So why not try to use it?
In addition to all the above, you need to consider something else. Plan N.A. Matusevich meant to put everything on a single chance, and if this chance does not work, then the Russian squadron will most likely be defeated. The fact is that the long absence of the practice of joint maneuvering had a negative impact on handling and difficult maneuvering (formation of the ledge, turns “all of a sudden” toward rapprochement with the enemy) would most likely lead to the collapse of the 1 Pacific Pacific Squadron. In this case, the Japanese, in whose abilities there was no reason to doubt, could attack defeated ships and quickly achieve success. And V.K. Vitgeft accepted the most conservative option - to go further by a wake column, and if the Japanese take the risk of drawing closer - to act according to circumstances.
And so it happened that the Russian squadron continued to go to Vladivostok in the same order. The cruisers stayed in the wake column to the left of the battleships approximately 1,5-2 miles away, while the Askold was walking on the left side of the Tsarevich, and the destroyers were going to the left of the cruisers. Rear Admiral V.K. Witgeft gave his last orders. He gave a signal to N.K. Reizzenshteynu:
It is difficult to say why this signal was given. Wilhelm Karlovich, even before the breakthrough, notified his flagships that he was going to rely in battle to rely on the instructions developed by S.O. Makarov, in which the cruisers were explicitly allowed to act at their own discretion in order to put the enemy in two fires, or to repel a mine attack - for this they should not have expected the commander's signal. Maybe V.K. Vitgeft was dissatisfied with the passive behavior of N.K. Reizzenshteyna in the first phase of the battle? But what could make a detachment of armored cruisers in the battle of battleships who fought at long distances? Most likely, it was only a reminder-permission to take the initiative.
More V.K. Witgeft summoned the chief of the 1 th detachment of the destroyers, and when Vyazlivy approached the Tsesarevich at a distance of voice communication, he turned to the captain of the 2 rank E.P. Eliseev asked if he could attack the Japanese at night. E.P. Yeliseyev answered in the affirmative, but only if he knew the location of the enemy battleships. Having received such an answer, Wilhelm Karlovich, nevertheless, did not give any orders, and this caused bewilderment of many researchers of the July 28 battle of 1904.
However, the author of this article does not see anything strange in this. The Russian admiral did not know what the battle would turn into: whether X would catch him up in an hour, or in three, whether the Japanese commander would prefer to keep a long distance, or risk a short break, or a squadron would face a long fierce battle, where will H. Togo lead his squad when dusk comes, etc. Under these conditions, any order would probably be premature, so that VK. Witgeft, making sure that nothing prevented the night mine attack, postponed the final decision to a later date. Probably that is why he also ordered that the “destroyers stay at the battleships at night” in order to have the last ones at hand in the twilight.
Another Russian commander gave several orders concerning the actions of the squadron in the dark: "Do not shine searchlights at night, try to keep the darkness" and "Watch the admiral with the sunset." These were perfectly sound indications: as the whole showed story Russian-Japanese war, battleships and cruisers, reaching at night in blackout, were much more likely to avoid mine attacks than those who unmasked themselves with the light of searchlights and desperate shooting.
In general, V.K. Witgeft gave the correct orders, but they still made 2 errors. First, he did not inform the commanders of the ships of the gathering place on the morning of July 29. The squadron was preparing to leave at night, and it was very likely that the battle with the Japanese would resume and continue until dark. At night, V.K. Vitgeft intended to perform several sharp cuffs in order to confuse the enemy, and besides, mine attacks were expected: under these conditions, one would expect that some ships would lose their place in the ranks, to be repulsed from the squadron. Therefore, it was necessary to appoint a collection point, so that in the morning of July 29 it would be possible to attach to the main forces at least some of the stragglers, as well as the destroyers, if they were to be sent to the night attack.
The second mistake had far more serious consequences. VC. Witgeft made a very logical and theoretically correct decision - in the upcoming battle to focus fire on the flagship battleship H. Togo "Mikas", and therefore ordered to report the semaphore along the line:
The Japanese had to catch up with the Russian squadron, and Heyhatiro Togo could hardly have avoided the need to substitute the Mikas under the fire of the entire Russian line (as we shall see later, the way it happened). But the problem was that while concentrating the fire of several ships, their goal was completely hidden behind the pillars of water from near falls, and the gunners did not see their own hits, and they could not distinguish the fall of their own shells from the shells from other ships. All this sharply reduced the accuracy of shooting, so the Japanese fleet had a rule according to which, if the ship could not effectively hit the target indicated by the flagship, he had the right to transfer the fire to another enemy ship. VC. Witgeft did not make this reservation, which is far from the best effect on the accuracy of the shooting of the Russian battleships.
In the meantime, the main forces of the Japanese were approaching - slowly but steadily, they were catching up with the 1 Pacific squadron. The second phase of the battle in the Yellow Sea began.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the second battle is a great mystery, because eyewitness accounts and official documents directly contradict each other and comparing them absolutely does not clarify anything. The time of the resumption of the fight is unclear, the speed of the Russian ships is unclear, the position of the Japanese and Russian squadrons at the time of opening the fire is unclear
Official documents say the following - after 14.50, when the 1 th phase of the battle, V.K. Witgeft led his ships at a speed of either 14 or “near 14 nodes”. For the old battleships, this turned out to be too much, therefore, as reported by the “Report of the investigating commission on the July 28 fight”:
“Poltava” lagged “very strongly” for an understandable reason - in the 1 phase, Russian ships did not receive critical damage, but a fragment of a projectile on the “Poltava” hit the machine bearing, which caused it to warm up and had to be reduced, which was confirmed by many sources . In addition, in this matter the official point of view is confirmed by the memories of the senior officer of Poltava, S.I. Lutonin:
Further, S.I. Lutonin follows the description of the battle of “Poltava” with all the forces of the Japanese 1 battle squad, and it began like this:
In response to our call from all the left side of seven battleships, a volley of “Poltava” rang out, but he did not do any harm, because he was frustrated prematurely. There was a mass of fountains between us and the enemy, Togo was probably prepared with a volley on the 30 cable, and therefore the shells, without reaching the cable for two, sprinkled us with a bunch of fragments. ”
The case seems to be clear. In the 1 phase, the 152-mm tower of the midshipman Pchelnikov was jammed in a position almost on the traverse (that is, perpendicular to the ship's course) but slightly in the stern. S.I. himself Lutonin writes that this tower could only rotate within 2,5 degrees. Therefore, the midshipman Pchelnikov is not that caught the moment - he just, seeing that the Japanese flagship is about to go beyond the reach of his guns, launched a volley at him, being guided by the natural desire of the naval sailor to cause damage to the enemy.
It is difficult to say whether the midshipman got into Mikasu or not. On the one hand, the Japanese side does not record hits in X. TOG’s 16.15 flagship or some close to this time, but on the other hand, the time of hits of several six-inch (and unidentified caliber, which could well be six-inch) projectiles is fixed. So we can say that Japanese sources do not confirm and do not refute the hit of midshipman Pchelnikov. These hits, or simply the fact that “Poltava” opened fire, made the Japanese nervous and strike prematurely. It is quite possible that the Japanese really tried to knock out the Poltava with one accurate volley of all the ships of the line (similar methods of shooting were also provided by the old Russian instructions on naval shooting), but they fired ahead of time and missed it.
The fact is that the “Conclusion of the investigative commission on the July 28 fight” does not at all confirm the words of S.I. Lutonin on opening fire in 16.15. It reads
Even if we assume that the “fifth hour outcome” is 16.45, then even a half-hour difference with the data of S.I. Lutonin, but the most important thing is that midshipman Pchelnikov could not shoot at Mikas when the latter was on the beam of Peresvet, because by that time the flagship battleship X. Togo had long been beyond the reach of his tower!
Let us assume that the battle nevertheless began precisely at 14.15, at the moment when Mikasa was on the beam of Poltava. But “Poltava” defended from “Sevastopol” on the 2 miles, and even if we assume that the regular interval 2 of cable cable was kept between “Sevastopol” and “Peresvet” and then “Poltava” separated from Peresvet (taking into account the length of Sevastopol, approximately 22,6 KBT. Not to get to Peresvet’s trawls not by the end of the fifth hour, but at least to 17.00 Mikasa had to overtake Poltava "On 22,6 KBT, i.e., to go at a speed on the 3 node faster than VK Vitgeft went, and if the Russian squadron did indeed go with about the speed of 14 nodes or at least “around 14 nodes”, it turns out that the battleships of X. Togo flew forward on 17 nodes? !! And if the Russian squadron did not fight before 16.45, then what did it do then? Poltava "And how excellently well-trained Japanese commanders for half an hour of one-gate battle could not knock out the battleship who fought alone against seven? And why not in some memoirs (including S.I. Lutonin) we do not read anything like that?
But the quite official “Russian-Japanese War 1904-1905” (Book III) adds intrigue, describing the beginning of the battle like this:
The Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905 does not indicate the exact time of the resumption of the battle, but it is clear from the context that this happened after 16.30. Let's say it's true. But why, then, did the Japanese not start the battles, attacking the heavily lagged Russian battleship, and opened fire only after they took to the Perezvet traverse, ie, when even the terminal "Yakumo" has long passed the traverse of "Poltava"? Why V.K. Vitgeft, who had previously proved himself a good commander in battle, left Poltava to be eaten by the Japanese, leaving her two miles aft of Sevastopol? And what - it turns out that the memoirs of S.I. Lutonin is completely unreliable, because in this case all his records about the resumption of the battle are false from beginning to end?
Squadron battleship "Poltava"
Without insisting on his point of view, the author of this article suggests the following version of those distant events.
The Russian squadron after 14.50 had a turn of 13 nodes (Vl. Semenov, by the way, writes about 12-13 nodes). "Sevastopol" was in the ranks, but the damaged "Poltava" gradually lagged behind. Then, according to the “Russian-Japanese War 1904-1905” (by the way, contradicting itself):
It is possible that it was because of this “More Move” signal that the very “14 nodes” or “about 14 nodes” emerged about which we read in the official battle descriptions, although the speed was increased for a while and soon again reduced to 13 nodes. But during this increase in speed, the line was stretched and the lag was not only of “Poltava”, but also of “Sevastopol” (a description of which we see in the “Report of the investigating commission”). However, later the speed was again reduced to 13 nodes and closer to the beginning of the battle, the backward battleships managed to catch up. It can be assumed that by the beginning of the battle "Sevastopol" took its place in the ranks (2 KB from the stern of "Peresvet"), and "Poltava" lagged behind the "Sevastopol" cable on 6-7. The Japanese caught up with V.K. Witgefta with a speed not lower than 15 nodes. The battle resumed exactly as S.I. Lutonin - at the moment when Mikasa was crossing the traverse of Poltava, but this happened not in 16.15, but closer to 16.30. Japanese ships hit Poltava, but unsuccessfully and for some time fired at him, but their heads, overtaking Poltava, quickly transferred the fire to Peresvet, because the latter was flying the flag of the junior flagship, and therefore was a more attractive target. . At the same time, the Russian battleships hesitated with the discovery of fire, and started the battle either in 16.30 or a little later, but still not when “Mikasa” went abreast of “Peresvet” but a little earlier.
The above version explains most of the logical inconsistencies in the sources, but this does not mean that it deserves more confidence than other possible hypotheses. Perhaps it is more logical, but logic is the enemy of the historian. Too often, historical events do not obey its laws. How many times already happened: according to the logic it should be so, but in fact it happened for some reason quite differently.
Only one thing can be reliably asserted: the Japanese 1 combat detachment that had attached the Yakumo slowly walked along the line of the Russian battleships, and near 16.30 the shot of Poltava began the second phase of the battle in the Yellow Sea.
To be continued ...
- Andrei from Chelyabinsk
- Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 1: Wilhelm Karlovich Vitgeft and Kheyhatiro Togo
Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 2. Squadron received by V.K. Vitgeft
Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 3: V.K. Witgeft takes command
Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 4. Armadillos in the ranks, or altercations about the fate of the squadron
Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 5. Last preparations
The battle in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part 6: The beginning of the battle The battle in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. The part 6: The beginning of the battle
Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 7: The amazing maneuvers of the Japanese admiral
Fight in the Yellow Sea 28 July 1904 g. Part of 8. Finishing the 1 phase
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