At Russian time in 07.30, the Germans discovered smoke, and at the same time they themselves were spotted by the Bogatyr cruiser, the third in a column of Russian ships. I. Karth immediately turned to the west, in the direction of the Swedish territorial waters, increased the course to full and called on the radio "Roon" and "Lübeck". Five minutes later, in 07.35, on the flagship Admiral Makarov, I. Karth's ships were identified as the Augsburg, a cruiser of the Undine type (sometimes there is a mention of a Nymph-type cruiser, but both are of the same type ships, which in Russian historiography is called cruisers like "Gazelle") and the three destroyers. As soon as the German ships were “clarified,” M.K. Bakhirev immediately turned around, leading the enemy to the course angle 40 degree, and went to intercept him.
German sources do not indicate the speed of the German detachment at the time of contact with the Russians, but, apparently, it was 17 knots. This is precisely the speed that Augsburg kept, returning after completing the task, which I. Karff reported in his radiogram, and Rengarten relayed this information to M.K. Bahirev. No source mentions radiograms in which the Baltic Communications Service fleet would indicate a change in the speed of the German detachment. It follows that the rate of interception at Admiral Makarov was calculated based on the seventeen-node speed of the enemy, and, since M.K. Bakhirev was able to intercept the Germans, it can be assumed that they continued to support 17 knots before the start of the battle.
As for the 1 th squadron of cruisers, before they discovered the enemy, they marched on 19 nodes, but in battle they seemed to be holding 20. Such an “addition” of only one node looks somewhat strange, and it can be assumed that the Russian cruisers did not increase speed after meeting with the enemy. Perhaps, going to intercept, M.K. Bakhirev developed the maximum squadron speed, which, as you know, is slightly lower than the maximum speed of a separate ship in the detachment. And that for the 1 th squadron just had to make 19-20 nodes.
It is not entirely clear how much Admiral Makarov opened fire. Most likely, it took two or three minutes from the moment of identifying the enemy (07.35) to the moment of opening the fire, or perhaps more, because it took the order to change course and execute it, raise the banners flags. Thus, most likely, the guns of the flagship of M.K. Bakhirev spoke at the earliest somewhere in 07.37-07.38, although the Germans (G. Rollman) believe that it was in 07.32. However, such a discrepancy in a few minutes in a combat situation is more than explicable, especially since, as can be judged from the reports, they often constitute a “rounding” of time. The gunners of the flagship Russian ship believed that the distance between the “Admiral Makarov” and the “Augsburg” at the time of the opening of the fire was 44 cable.
Sources say that after three minutes (this is obtained in 07.40-07.41), “Bayan” joined the battle, and “Oleg” and “The Athlete” started shooting at 07.45. At the same time armored cruisers shot at the “Augsburg”, armored decks - at the “Albatross”. Having found out that he was confronted by four Russian cruisers and having fallen under their dense fire, I. Karf turned to 07.45 more to the right on 2. Judging by the maneuvering schemes, M.K. Bakhirev discovered the enemy's turn and turned himself, continuing to keep the German ships on the course angle 40.
But in the next 15 minutes of the battle, from 07.45 to 08.00, quite a few events occurred, the exact time (and even the sequence) of which cannot be established. As we have said, the German detachment was in full swing, but it was different for all German ships. Mainz-class cruisers, to which Augsburg belonged, were developed on tests up to 26,8 nodes. The minelayer "Albatross" had a maximum speed of 20 knots. and probably was able to develop it - it was a relatively young ship that went into service in the 1908. The destroyers of the series, to which the G-135 belonged, showed 26-28 ties, and the S-141 and S -142 »- 30,3 knots Nevertheless, G. Rollman argues that their speed was 20 knots. the "G-135" and a little more - the other two destroyers. Such an assessment is highly questionable for two reasons. Firstly, it is completely unclear why relatively unwary German destroyers (“G-135” went into operation in January, and the other two destroyers - in September 1907) such a drop in speed occurred. Secondly, an analysis of the maneuvering of the parties shows that the destroyers actually went faster than on 20 nodes.
Flagship I.Karfa - light cruiser "Augsburg"
Unfortunately, the author of this article does not have information about the exact position and courses of the German and Russian troops, on the basis of which the determination of the speed of the German ships would be reduced to solving a not too complicated geometric problem. We only know that I. Karth indicated in his report an increase in the distance from 43,8 to 49,2 cables, but G. Rollman does not give an exact time when the distance was 49,2 KBT., Saying only that such a distance was between opponents at the start torpedo attack. If we assume that the torpedo attack took place somewhere between 07.50 and 07.55, which looks the most likely, then it turns out that the German ships managed to increase the distance between them and the pursuing Russians on 5,4 cable for 15-20 minutes. This means that the distance between Augsburg and Admiral Makarov increased with the speed of the 1,6-2,2 node. Why not faster, because the “Augsburg” surpassed the Russian cruisers in speed of knots by six? Obviously, the Russians did intercede with the Germans, as well as the forced maneuvers of the “Augsburg”, who had to “zigzag” on the course in order to avoid coverings.
Thus, the gap between 07.45 and 08.00 looks like this - the Augsburg and the destroyers, giving the most complete advance at the beginning of the battle, continued to break away from the less fast-moving Russian cruisers and from the relatively low-speed Albatross, which naturally fell behind with the description of the battle G. Rollman). But if I.Karf seemed to be thinking only about his own salvation, the destroyer battalion commander considered himself obliged to try to help out the Albatross and therefore raised the signal of a torpedo attack.
In fact, and without any doubt, the German commanders on the destroyers understood the suicidal nature of such an attack and were not at all torn into it. In order to have at least a shadow of a chance to hit the Russian cruisers with torpedoes, you had to get close to them with the 15 (the ultimate range of outdated German torpedoes with which the destroyers were armed was about 16 KBT.), And in an amicable way - with 10, and a similar approach with four cruisers, was, of course, deadly for three destroyers. The maximum that they could achieve with their attack and at the cost of their death was to force the Russians to turn away from Augsburg and Albatross for a time in order to shoot the destroyers at rest, and then continue the pursuit of the cruiser and minzag. Nevertheless, they attacked, and they did it without orders from above.
According to the author of this article, the destroyers went on the attack somewhere around 07.50 or a little later, rushing to cross the course of Russian ships, and got close to 08.00 with Admiral Makarov to about 33-38 cable (as they say Russian sources). In fact, the most probable is the 38 cable count, and the 33 cable figure most likely originated from the book by G. Rollman, who indicates that the German destroyers were fighting (shot at Russian cruisers) in this period and before leaving the battle from the 38,2 distance -32,8 cable. It should be assumed that the smallest distance between the ships of M.K. Bakhirev and the destroyers were later, when they turned away after the "Augsburg" and crossed the Russian course, therefore, at the moment we are talking about 38 cable. On Russian cruisers in 07.55, they even "saw" traces of torpedoes that had passed between Admiral Makarov and Bayan.
Mikhail Koronatovich Bakhirev responded to the attack exactly as it should. He did not turn off the combat course and did not order to transfer 203-mm or at least 152-mm artillery fire to the destroyers - only three-inch armored cruisers "worked" on them. The Russian commander evidently saw that the Augsburg was breaking the distance, and tried to give its gunners as much time as possible to hit the German cruiser. Three-inch shells did not pose a great threat to more than 500-ton German destroyers. In the Russian-Japanese war, weapons of this caliber could not be stopped even by 350-ton ships, nevertheless their fire "hinted" that the actions of the destroyers were noticed and to a certain extent unnerved their commanders. Again, once again, during the Russian-Japanese war, effective reflection of mine-bearing attacks was obtained only with 120-152-mm caliber guns, the range of the German torpedoes on Russian ships could not be known, and the fact that M.K. Bakhirev continued to hold the enemy on the course angle 40 grad., He went against the path of I. Karfu and did not use his six-inch to repel the attack, indicates anything, but not about the timidity or excessive caution of the Russian commander.
But I. Karth, it seems, simply ran, waving his hand at the direction of the battle. He did not order the destroyers to go on the attack, but did not cancel it when they went into it. Instead, around 07.55, shortly after the start of the attack, apparently making sure that he had broken away enough from the Russian cruisers to slip under their noses to the German coast, I. Karf turned his ship to the north and gave a radiogram order to the Albatross »Break into neutral Norwegian waters.
Honestly, the author of this article has the feeling that from the very beginning of the discovery of Russian cruisers, I.Karfa was seized with panic, and he simply fled headlong to the territorial Swedish waters. And then, seeing that his destroyers went on the attack, he realized that the perfect moment had come to turn to the south, passing under the nose of the Russian cruisers, while they were busy repelling the mine-bearing attack. This feeling of the author, no doubt, is not and cannot be a historical fact. But there is indirect evidence to support this point, we will consider them below.
So, after the start of the attack of the destroyers, the “Augsburg” went against the Russian course and gave the order to the Albatross to break into neutral waters. And here there was another mystery of that distant battle. The fact is that domestic sources describe that after the signal of “Augsburg” on “Albatross” the German destroyers refused to attack, turned behind “Augsburg” and put a smoke screen, which for a time covered both “Augsburg” and “Albatross” from the fire of the Russian ships. Then M.K. Bakhirev ordered the 2 cruisers' semi-brigade "to act according to their discretion," after which the Bogatyr and Oleg that made it turned north. As a result of this maneuver, the Russian cruisers dispersed - the Admiral Makarov and Bayan continued to pursue the Germans in the same course, and the Bogatyr and Oleg went north, as if taking the enemy into ticks.
The Germans describe this episode differently. According to them, when the Augsburg began to lean to the left and sent the Albatross radiogram to the Swedish waters, the Russian cruisers turned north. Then the commander of the battalion of the destroyers, seeing that his flagship was running, and the Russians changed course, considered their duty fulfilled, refused the torpedo attack and turned after Augsburg. That is, the difference in the German and Russian versions seems to be small - whether the German destroyers stopped the attack after turning the Russian cruisers to the north, or before it. At the same time, the 1 brigade of cruisers, as we know, did not turn to the north, but the Bogatyr and Oleg went there about 08.00, which (theoretically) might have seemed to the Germans, like turning the whole brigade to the north.
According to the author of this article, the Russian version of events causes much more confidence than the German version, and here's why. The fact is that at the moment when the Germans abandoned the attack and started putting up a smoke screen, they had until about the intersection of the Russian course about 25 KB. Why so much? The fact is that when “Bogatyr” and “Oleg” turned north (approximately in 08.00), they left the smoke screen and saw “Albatross” only in 08.10. The cruisers went on 19 or 20 nodes, and taking into account the turnaround time, they had to go 10 minutes from the beginning of the maneuver about two and a half to three miles to the north. And this means that it was there (that is, two and a half or three miles to the north) that the edge of the smoke screen began, therefore, at the time of its production, the German destroyers were there.
Just in case, we will give a scheme taken from the book by MA Petrova "Two fights"
By and large, for the attack of the destroyers, it was completely unimportant whether the Russian cruisers turned to the north or not. Roughly speaking, the Russians went east, the Germans went across the line from north to south. Did Russians turn north? Fine, it was enough for the destroyers to turn east, and they would again go against the Russian course. Around 08.00, Russian cruisers and German destroyers appeared to be on the opposite tops of the square, and no matter what side the Russians went to, the Germans had the opportunity to attack, following the course of the enemy. Thus, the turn of the Russian cruisers “to the north” of the Russian cruisers to the north did not prevent the torpedo attack at all.
Nevertheless, the commander of the destroyers flotilla refused to attack. Why? What changed? Only one thing - he learned that the commander of the operation, I. Karf, decided to quit the Albatross. It was completely clear from the fact that the Augsburg went across the path of the Russian cruisers and gave a radiogram with an order to the Albatross to go to Swedish waters. But in a report it is not so easy to write a rationale for the decision to stop the attack: “my immediate superior ran, and the worse for me?”. Moreover, an interesting nuance arose: of course, the commander of the German destroyers had a certain autonomy and had the right to act at his own discretion. But after he raised the signal "Torpedo attack", Commodore I. Karf did not recall him. And this means that the commodore agreed with the decision of his subordinate and believed that a torpedo attack was necessary. The commander of the flotilla made the decision to stop the attack on his own, and it turns out, as if contrary to the opinion of his commander expressed earlier ... Of course, tacit approval is not an order, but it would be nice to find other reasons to stop the attack. And the fact that the Russians, just about that time, seemed to have turned to the north - why not? Well, yes, in fact, they turned a little AFTER the German destroyers got out of the battle, and not before ... But in the report it turned out great: we rushed into the attack, the enemies turned away, and then suddenly the flagship retreated, well, we followed suit.
Please understand correctly - all this, of course, conjecture and nothing more. But the fact is that all the contradictions of the German reports and the description of the battle of Gotland 19 June 1915, made by G. Rollman, just fit perfectly into the version that:
1) German destroyers made themselves die heroically and rushed into a suicide attack;
2) Then, seeing that their flagship is running, they chose to follow his example;
3) Subsequently, they “hesitated” their retreat and tried to give their actions to reports ... eghkm ... let's say, more "tactical brilliance".
The author of this article went through many other options, but the version of the deliberate distortion of reality in the German reports seems to be the most reasonable. Well, let's say, the Germans imagined that the Russians were turning north and the destroyers turned away, but only Bogatyr and Oleg went north, and Admiral Makarov and Bayan continued to follow the same course. And what, the Germans did not notice this, being from Russian cruisers less than four miles away? By the way, Mr. Rollman has “brilliantly” beat this episode - the fact is that after the “Augsburg” radiogram on Albatross, it is quite sensible to try to use any chance, no matter how illusory, he would radio “I ask you to send underwater attacks boats. And so, according to G.Rollman, the Russians, frightened by these very boats, dashed to the north, but then, after some time, their armored cruisers turned back to the east, and the Bogatyr and Oleg continued to move in the same direction ...
Suppose, in fact, reality is distorted not in German reports, but in Russian reports, and in fact M.K. Bakhirev, afraid of the mine-bearing attack, turned away to the north and maneuvered as shown by G. Rollman. But, if he saw such a significant threat in them, then why did he not order to shoot at least six-inch guns at German destroyers? And if ordered - why the Germans do not celebrate this?
Thus, we will dwell on the version that, after the German destroyers attacked, the Augsburg walked along the same course for some time, and then turned to the south-west, interrupting Russian ships and ordered the Albatross to break into neutral waters. German destroyers stopped the attack and went for their flagship, putting a smoke screen. In response, M.K. Bakhirev continued to move forward, but ordered “Bogatyr” and “Oleg” to act at their own discretion, and they turned to the north ... by the way, why?
This act in the national historiography is also traditionally criticized. They say, instead of "decisively moving closer" to the enemy and "rolling it out", they started a difficult maneuvering and useless coverage from both sides. They also summed up the rationale — the envelopment and staging of the enemy “two fires” was a classic tactical device, as was the coverage of the head of the enemy column. And now the Russian commanders, being timid dogmatists of a close mind, became shy, did not take the initiative, but instead acted with a pattern, “according to a textbook” ....
Let's put ourselves in the shoes of the commander of the 2 cruisers brigade.
Where was he going? He could, of course, continue to follow the armored cruisers of the 1 second half-brigade, "Admiral Makarov" and "Bayan" (in the diagram - the 1 variant), but why? On the Bogatyr and Oleg they would no longer see the Albatross they shot at, and what the German ship is doing behind a smoke screen no one knows. Well, how, taking advantage of the invisibility that the chimney gave him, he will run north, break the distance and disappear into the fog in order to try to leave for Libau or make an attempt to break through to the German coast? Look for his fistula then. And besides, if M.K. Bakhirev would like his armored cruisers to follow him; he would not raise a signal to allow them to act independently. What else? Turn right into the smoke screen (2 version)? And if the German destroyers, seeing a similar stupidity of the Russian commander, turned around and met the Russian cruisers shortly, when they entered the smoke?
Here, by the way, the double standards of some domestic authors are well traced - the same A.G. No bad word was said about the British commander of the Mediterranean fleet, E. B. Cunningham, when he did not dare to lead his squadron into the smoke supplied by the Italians in the battle of Calabria (World War II). This battle is also called the “battle of one projectile,” since after a single hit in the flagship battleship the Italians fled from the battlefield. But if the British admiral did not waste time bypassing the smoke screen, then the Italians could hit more than one projectile, but a few more.
Nevertheless, the Englishman acted absolutely correctly - the enemy had enough destroyers to arrange a real Tsushima in heavy smoke for the British ships. And in exactly the same way, the commander of the 2 th cruiser semi-brigade in the battle of Gotland 19 Jun 1915 r acted right when he led his cruisers around the smoke curtains. He could, of course, risk and win some distance to the Albatross, but was it worth the risk of losing the Bogatyr or Oleg? Each of which was more than twice the size of the Undine-class cruiser, which, according to the Russian commander, he was chasing? At the same time, domestic sources, cursing the commanders of cruisers, did not seem to notice that they were leading the path of rapprochement with the Albatross through a smoke screen set by the destroyers. Actually, turning to the north, bypassing the fumes, was at that moment a reasonable and quite optimal decision, the commander of the 2 th half-brigade accepted him, and M.K. Bakhirev subsequently agreed with him completely.
The only point that categorically does not want to fit into the above reconstruction of events - domestic sources claim that the "Augsburg" and the destroyers crossed the course of Russian cruisers at 08.00. If M.K. Bakhirev kept the enemy on the course angle 40 degrees, then this is impossible geometrically. The point is that the moment of the beginning of the mine action attack, the mutual position of Admiral Makarov and Augsburg can be easily described with the help of a simple right triangle, one angle of which is 40 degrees, and the hypotenuse (the distance between Russian and German flagship ships) is 49 cable .
Obviously, wherever German attackers started their attack from, in order to cut the course of the Russian ships in 08.00, being at the same time in 33 cable from them, they would have to be at least a third faster than the Russian cruisers (that is, to develop 24,7-26 bonds), even if they went directly with Augsburg and moved the shortest route to the desired point. But they did not go like that, because they first tried to go on the attack, that is, as quickly as possible get close to the Russian cruisers. As a matter of fact, from this position it is basically impossible to cut the course of Russian ships in 33 cable from them without having an advantage in speed, which means that the information that G-135 could not go faster than 20 nodes is false. In addition, if the German destroyers would have placed the smoke curtain close to the intersection point of the Russian cruisers, then the Bogatyr and Oleg turned north would not need that much time (until 08.10) in order to turn north shooting at the Albatross.
After the start of the production, the smoke screens (around 08.00), first the Albatross, and then the Augsburg, were hidden for some time from the Russian artillerymen. Then at some point in time (perhaps 08.10 08-15 or so), the Augsburg and the destroyers cut off the course of the Russian ships. At that moment, the destroyers separated the 33 cable from the Admiral Makarov, and the Augsburg from the cable 50. Then the German ships went to the left shell of the Russian cruisers and in 08.35 the opponents completely lost sight of each other.
In principle, closer to 08.00, shooting at the “Augsburg” lost its meaning - it went across the path of the Russian cruisers between 07.55-08.00 and now, to continue to hold it at a constant 40 course angle, Mikhail Koronatovich Bahirev would have to turn away from the hidden behind the smoke screen of the Albatross. At the same time, the Augsburg was at the limit of visibility - it was shared with the Russian cruisers of the 50 kbt order, in addition, it was hidden behind a smoke screen. No matter how sad it was to admit it, but the “Augsburg” still managed to leave impassively, and all that remained now was to destroy the Albatross. "Admiral Makarov" and "Bayan" followed (roughly) to the east, "Bogatyr and" Oleg "- to the north. At about 08.10 ("Admiral Makarov" a little earlier), they all rounded the German smoke screen and saw the Albatross. Alas, it is not known exactly at what distance he was at this moment from the Russian cruisers, but it was unlikely to be more than 45 KB.
In 08.20, two significant events occurred in their own way. After 10 minutes after the opening of fire (08.10), the first Russian projectile finally hit the Albatross, damaging the upper deck and the board in the stern, after which it hit the German minelayer regularly. The second event G. Rollman describes as follows:
"Augsburg" from 08.20 to 08.33 (time changed to Russian - auth.) I had the opportunity to fire the flagship again from long distances, for which I turned on him to divert attention from the Albatross and call for a chase. But, taking into account the variable visibility, which ranged from 5 to 7 miles, the commodore in any case adhered to a cautious course of action. ”
It is rather difficult to agree with the first statement of G. Rollman, if only because nothing was observed from the Russian ships, and the German historian did not even consider it necessary to mark the heroic turn of the Augsburg towards the enemy in the scheme given in the book. But the second statement concerning the cautious course of action of I. Karth, without any doubt, is quite true. “Augsburg” shot the Russian flagship 13 minutes so carefully that the Admiral Makarov didn’t notice the shelling.
Most likely, it was like this - while the “Augsburg” scammed all the blades, it was covered by the destroyers of the destroyers, so that it lost sight of the Russian cruisers. Then the light cruiser entered the fog band, or in some other weather conditions that reduced his visibility, and lost the Russians to 08.20. After that, “Admiral Makarov” (or “Bayan”) noticed I. Karf’s flagship and opened fire on him as they retreated - the distance between the opponents quickly increased and they stopped seeing the enemy in 08.33 on Augsburg. This correlates very well with the Russian data - on the armored cruisers, the Augsburg and the destroyers in 08.35 stopped seeing. The difference in a couple of minutes is more than explainable by the features of visibility (in one side of the horizon you can see worse than the other) or by simply rounding up the time in the report. At the same time, the shooting of the “Augsburg” did not deserve to be marked separately - well, the enemy cruiser ran, of course, that at the same time it was shooting, so what? The questions here arise only to Commodore I. Carf, who, apparently, and here slightly "embellished" his report, issuing a gunfight at retreat for a heroic attempt to divert the enemy to himself.
Anyway, around the 08.10, the Russian cruisers focused their fire on the Albatross. Absolutely all the authors: both domestic and foreign, did not find good words for the Russian gunners. In their opinion, the shooting was poorly organized, the Russian commanders were inept, and in general, the shooting of the Albatross turned into a big embarrassment. Let's try to figure out what really happened.
Продолжение следует ...