"Brevity is the soul of wit"
After reading the nine parts of the article "Cruiser" Varyag ". The battle of Chemulpo 27 January 1904 of the year ”, I thought it necessary to briefly reveal a few questions that are most important for understanding the events described in the article.
1. Tasks of the stationary cruiser. Powers and duties of its commander.
2. Actions captain 1 rank VF Rudneva after Japan broke off diplomatic relations with Russia. Consideration of possible options for its actions and their consequences.
3. The results of the shooting of Russian ships in the battle 27 January 1904.
1. In the capital of Korea, Seoul, there was a Russian diplomatic mission headed by an envoy (in a modern way - ambassador) A.I. Pavlov. In order to ensure its activity and its protection, if necessary, in the port of Chemulpo, closest to Seoul, it was decided to keep the station cruiser and the gunboat as a messenger ship.
In the Port Arthur squadron, there was a schedule of duty for cruisers and gunboats as stationers in the port of Chemulpo.
It is known that “Varyag” came to Chemulpo to replace the cruiser “Boyarin”, which served there as a stationary officer for a certain time. And if the war with Japan had not started, in a month another cruiser, the Diana or the Pallas, would have replaced the Varyag.
The choice of a cruiser class ship stationary was not accidental - this was in accordance with the rank of the envoy of the Russian Empire.
The commander of the stationary cruiser followed the instructions of the governor in the Far East, E.I. Alekseev and the envoy in Korea A.I. Pavlova and had no authority to independently determine the need for the outbreak of hostilities.
Moreover, before leaving Port Arthur at Chemulpo, the commander of the Varyag received instructions from the governor, who were instructed: to maintain good relations with foreigners, not to interfere with the landing of Japanese troops, if it happened before a declaration of war, and not to leave Chemulpo without ordering .
2. After the meeting of 25 in January 1904 of Mr. Rudnev with envoy Pavlov in Seoul, it was decided to send the gunner "Koreets" to Port Arthur.
This decision suggests that neither Rudnev nor Pavlov were aware of all the criticality of the position of the Russian ships in Chemulpo. They were in their understanding of the current situation and, in principle, nothing was too critical.
Be vf Rudnev is a more shrewd and more determined military, he could even in an ultimatum form get Pavlov permission for the immediate departure of ships to Port Arthur.
If the Russian ships had already left 25 on January 1904 from Chemulpo, they could have slipped past the Japanese squadron of Admiral Uriu and arrived at Port Arthur. After all, the Japanese squadron gathered near Chemulpo in Asanman Bay only in the morning of January 26.
However, another, simpler, "unhurried" decision was made, and the "Koreans" left Chemulpo’s raid only in the afternoon of January 26, when the Japanese squadron had already blocked the exit from Chemulpo.
As a result, the Japanese did not let the Korean out at sea and attacked with torpedoes. The Koreans were lucky, the torpedoes didn’t get into it, and he had to return to Chemulpo.
Having received a report from the Koreans commander on the attack of his ship and, thus, the actual start of hostilities, what VF did. Rudnev?
He ordered to prepare for a possible battle, but remained anchored without vapors, even without changing the parking place to a more advantageous one for the battle.
Although the author of the article, Andrei from Chelyabinsk, is moaning, as if “the torpedo attack of Russian ships with probability 99,9% foreign stationary would not consider a violation of neutrality ... Well, two Russian ships suddenly exploded, who knows what the reason? But in fact, the Japanese admiral did not dare, in the presence of other foreign stationery, and before declaring war on attacking Russian ships on a neutral raid - the rest of January day 26 and the following night the Russian and Japanese ships stood against each other without any attack. Apparently, the Japanese admiral had a different understanding of Andrew’s opinion about the consequences of shooting on a neutral raid, about the reaction of other stationaries and their governments.
Having landed troops, in the morning of January 27, the Japanese squadron left the neutral raid Chemulpo also without any provocations.
In the morning 9.30 27 January V.F. Rudnev received an ultimatum from Admiral Uriu, demanding to leave the raid, or the Japanese will attack the Russian ships in the raid.
And Rudnev made the most wrong decision: to leave the raid and take the fight in a deliberately hopeless situation.
After all, it was known beforehand that the Japanese squadron surpasses two Russian ships several times in artillery power. What will have to go on a narrow winding fairway without the ability to maneuver and fire all overboard. That the maximum course of the detachment will be all 13 nodes and it will not be possible to break away from the Japanese ships under any circumstances.
There was, of course, a much more advantageous option: to take the fight in the raid, deploying the "Varyag" across the raid and blocking the entrance to it. The Japanese squadron could go to the raid only in two columns, and only two lead ships could lead the battle, and then only nose cannons. In this case, the "Varyag" could fire all overboard, and the "Koreyets" with their nasal 203-mm guns. Thus, the advantage in artillery passed already to the Russian ships.
In addition, in the event of damage to the leading Japanese ships, they could lose speed or control and block the way for the rest of the squadron’s ships, which would be knocked off in a heap, strewed by volleys of Russian ships for a short distance.
The variant of the effective attack of the Russian destroyers by the Japanese destroyers is also under great doubt, since in the daytime the attack of ships ready for battle from a distance of less than 3 cable (this is the range of torpedoes of that time at maximum speed) would hardly have been possible.
In general, both the contemporaries of the Russo-Japanese War, and current authors-historians, tend to greatly exaggerate the danger of a torpedo weapons of that period. The tactical and technical characteristics of the torpedoes of that time allowed them to shoot only almost at close range (from the 1-2 cable course) and at night. At least for the entire Russian-Japanese war in the daytime, not a single torpedo hit by both sides was achieved.
3. The most mysterious moment of the 27 battle of January at Chemulpo is still the question of the results of the time firing of Russian ships.
To get a more or less reliable answer to this question can only be from the Japanese archives, which are now declassified.
And if the author of the article (Andrei from Chelyabinsk) possesses such information from the Japanese archives, then he can reveal to us the most mysterious result of the described battle.