Before the battle
Events before 13.49 of the day were described in detail earlier, just to remind you that both Pearl and Emerald were in the main forces and were not removed from the reconnaissance squadron. There were three main reasons for this:
1. Intelligence makes sense only when it allows the enemy fleet to be detected and monitored before the meeting of the main forces. The 2-th and 3-Pacific cruiser squadrons were too small and weak for reconnaissance operations and could not solve this problem;
2. Regardless of the reasons for paragraph 1., The reconnaissance attempt could have been made, but given the direction the main Japanese forces were expected to approach from (north), there were strong cruiser Japanese forces that would lead to battle of cruisers unequal for us conditions. In this case, the Russian cruiser detachment would have squandered its combat capability even before the start of the battle in which it was to guard the transports, and, apparently, could no longer protect them;
3. The key reason for the rejection of cruise intelligence, according to the author, was the plan for the battle Z.P. Rozhestvensky, who meant rebuilding into battle order in view of the main forces of the enemy. For the success of this plan, there was no need to either conduct reconnaissance or prevent the enemy’s reconnaissance ships, since the Japanese commander should have known that the Russians were marching and building a plan of attack for the main forces of the Russian squadron on this basis.
Pearl Actions to 16.00
At the beginning of the battle, the Russian squadron fought on the left, "Pearls" and "Emerald" were from the right, fulfilling the duties of repetitive ships, and in addition, they had to cover the main forces from mine attacks and give help to the beaten out ships. As it was described in the previous article, “Pearls” did just that, but, mistakenly assuming that the Japanese were crossing over to the right side of the squadron, cut through its system in order to be on the left flank and thus pleased right between the fighting columns. Then he, as it were, “descended down” to the terminal ships of the Russian squadron, and again went over to its right side. However, not wanting to interfere with the volleyball of the coastal defense battleship, the "General-Admiral Apraksin" slowed down, causing the submarine "Ural", which had almost lost controllability, made a pile on the "Pearl", and in the "Urals" believed that " crushed "" Emerald. " After that, Pearl tried to move forward, but saw the damaged battleship, and approached it, believing that it was the flagship Prince Suvorov, although in reality it was Alexander III. At this time, Russian destroyers passed by the “Pearls”, one of which saw the flag officer Z.P. Rozhdestvenskogo Clapier de Colong, hence the assumption that the entire headquarters, and the admiral is also on the destroyer. The Japanese battleships approached Alexander III, and the commander of Pearls, P.P. Levitsky, having no chance to support the battleship (the only mine apparatus that the cruiser could use in conditions of agitation was damaged during the collision with the "Ural"), of course, retreated. “Pearl” went after the destroyers, believing that the admiral would wish to go to the cruiser outside the fire zone, but this did not happen, and later, around 16.00, “Pearl” joined the cruiser detachment of Rear Admiral OA Enkvist, taking part in the protection of transports from the attack of Japanese cruisers. What did the Emerald do at this time?
Emerald actions from 13.49 to 16.00
This cruiser, under the command of Baron Vasily Nikolaevich Ferzen, by order of Z.P. Rozhestvensky performed the same functions as the Pearls, but with the 2 armored detachment headed by Oslyabye, while the Pearls with the 1 consisted of Borodino-type battleships. With the beginning of the battle of the main forces, the Emerald pulled away over the trawls of Oslyabi, and for a while nothing interesting happened to him.
The cruiser made its first active actions soon after Oslyabya completely lost its combat capability. As is known, the latter in 14.45 failed with a strong trim on the nose and a roll on the left side, turned on the countercourse to the squadron (that is, on 180 hail) and stopped the cars. Nevertheless, the commander of the Emerald did not consider that the flagship of the 2 armored squadron needed his help. But the Oslyab roll quickly grew while the main forces of the Russian squadron passed by the battleship, and when the Oslyabya turned out to be in front of the end 3 of the armored squad, it unexpectedly quickly turned over.
According to the report V.N. Ferzen, he sent the "Emerald" to the dying armadillo, when he saw that Oslyabya was in distress: perhaps it was about the moment when the latter began to roll over. In addition to the "Emerald" to the site of the tragedy, the 4 of the destroyer, including "Violent" and "Bravy", also went. They were the first to have time and saved people with might and main when the Emerald approached: from the last one they threw beds, buoys and one whaleboat without rowers, the cruiser itself stopped.
What happened next is not entirely clear. So, for example, V.V. Khromov points out that the Emerald carried out the rescue of people until he saw the ships of the 3 armor unit approaching him and then had to depart in order not to interfere with the battleships. However, the author of this article is not clear how this could be: a similar interpretation does not coincide too much with the possible maneuvering of units in battle. Most likely, dear V.V. Khromov was guided by the report of V.N. Ferzen, but I must admit that in this part he is very suspicious. Here is how the commander of the Emerald cruiser saw this moment of the battle:
“A few moments after stopping at the site of Oslyabya’s death, I noticed that I was disturbing the maneuvers of the battleships marching on me; when and how they turned - I do not know. I saw the battleships of the 3 squadron head, and behind them the 3 battleships of the 2 squadron; the first armored detachment, being on the sidelines, defended the “Suvorov”, which had masts, the trumpet and all the upper superstructures, and on which there was a strong fire ”.
Most likely, the events described occurred closer to 16.00, when the Borodino squadron led: by this time, the structure of the Russian ships was really pretty mixed up. Borodino was the first to go, the Eagle followed him, and then Sisoy the Great, but the latter, having been damaged, went out of order, so that its place was taken by the Emperor Nicholas I. He was followed by all three battleships of coastal defense, and only then by him in the wake, the Navarin, the Admiral Nakhimov, and the returned Alexander III. Probably, it was these ships V.N. Fersen took the battleships of the 2 squad to be the battleships - and was, in general, not far from the truth.
Pearls and Emerald after 16.00
And so, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, it turned out that the armored detachments of the "wards" with "Pearls" and "Emerald" left only two ships, and the flagships in the other detachment failed. What happened next? Unfortunately, sources do not give a definite answer to this question. So, A.A. Alliluev and M.A. Bogdanov argues that approximately in 16.00, Pearl and Emerald joined the cruiser detachment defending the transports, while others (VV Khromov, for example) indicate that O.A. Enkvist was joined only by the "Pearl".
In order to understand how things were in reality, let us briefly consider what the cruiser detachment of the Russian squadron was doing at that moment. Their maneuvers and combat is a topic for a large separate work, so it makes sense to confine ourselves only to the most general description of cruising combat.
It all started with "Izumi", who made an attempt to get closer to the transports and bombard them with "Vladimir Monomakh" when the latter entered the battle. Rear Admiral O.A. Enquist, apparently thought of destroying the Japanese cruiser, since he went to the Oleg with the Aurora and Dmitry Donskoy to the rescue — Izumi fled. However, then the 3 and 4 combat troops of the Japanese appeared: “Kasagi”, “Chitose”, “Otova” and “Niitaka” under the command of Vice Admiral Deva and “Naniwa”, “Takachiho”, “Akashi” and “Tsushima” Under the flag of Vice Admiral Uriu. In 14.30, the battle began, and the Japanese were twice as good as the number of pennants. In 15.10, OA Enquist turned on 16 points (180 grad.) In order to disperse with the Japanese countercourse, passing between them and the transports (probably, by that time the Russian cruisers were far from the last), but the Japanese repeated the Russian rear admiral. And after only 10 minutes, three more Japanese cruisers approached 15.20: Suma, Chiyoda and Akitsushima, making the aspect ratio unprofitable for Russian ships.
Flagship cruiser OA Ankvist "Oleg" before leaving to the Far East
However, the Japanese fire was not very accurate, as O.A. Enquist, and our cruisers could hold. Moreover, when the disastrous situation of “Prince Suvorov” was discovered at 15.35, the rear admiral led his cruiser and Aurora to the rescue, leaving only Vladimir Monomakh and Dmitry Donskoy to cover the transports - but seeing that the Russians Armadillos move in the direction of "Suvorov", returned to the transports in order to continue the unequal battle. According to O.A. Enquist looked like this:
"About 4 hours" Oleg "and" Aurora ", seeing the squadron approaching to help Suvorov and noticing the dangerous position of the transports, which were on the side of the enemy armored cruisers, with the signal from" Oleg "," Vladimir Monomakh "and" Dmitry Donskoy ", went to rapprochement with the enemy; turning to the right, “Pearls” and “Emerald” also joined the cruising detachment, the presence of which in the battleships could not bring any benefit ”.
The commander of the "Pearl" described this moment of the battle in a similar way, but still a little differently. P.P. Levitsky saw the situation in such a way that "Oleg", "Aurora", "Dmitry Donskoy" and "Vladimir Monomakh", moving in the wake of a convoy, fight 10 with enemy light cruisers (the term PP Levitsky was written in his report , and this is the correct figure, since “Takachiho”, as a result of hitting the Russian projectile that damaged the steering wheel, was forced to leave the battlefield for a while) at a distance of the order of 20-25 cables. Apparently, PP Levitsky, as well as O.A. Enquist, considered that his continued stay with the battleships of the main forces would not help anything, and preferred to support the cruisers. He himself described his decision:
“Seeing that the enemy cruisers were pushing ours away, I entered the wake of Vladimir Monomakh to take part in the battle, assist our cruisers and give the crew the opportunity to shoot at a visible enemy.”
Thus, the "Pearl" really joined the ships O.A. Enquist, but there are some doubts about the Emerald. Of course, in his report, the Rear Admiral directly stated that the cruiser VN Ferzen joined his ships, but the phrase of P.P. Levitsky: “Izumrud also joined the cruisers:“ Almaz ”and“ Svetlana ”also took part in this battle” can also be understood that the accession of “Izumrud” was that he engaged in battle with the same enemy, as the OA cruisers Enquist The most important thing is that the commander of the Emerald VN. Fersen did not say a word in his report that he had joined his ship to the cruisers. As a matter of fact, his description of the events in the 16.00 area is as follows:
“At the time of building cruisers and armadillos of the 3-th and 2-th units merged; I attached myself outside the circle of this system, against the interval between the Nakhimov (front) and Oleg, and supported the fire on the enemy cruisers. Ahead of me, next to the next interval, also outside, was the "Almaz"; at that time, part of the squadron, to which I joined, was fired at by the enemy main forces on the right, and by cruisers — on the left. It was very difficult to follow the course of the battle, since all our attention had to be paid to controlling the cruiser, so as not to encounter any of the transports that had lost any order, and the destroyers, who continually cut through the line: they had to repeatedly rear or stopping of the car, thanks to which it was necessary to poison the steam in the refrigerators, by which the latter were blown up and subsequently allowed to flow. ”
In other words, it seems that closer to 16.00, when Russian battleships as a result of a series of maneuvers seemed to return to the transports they had left earlier, it turned out that the latter, following rather chaotically, found themselves between Russian battleships and cruisers, and into this heap and pleased "Emerald". He did not join anyone, but “all the time he kept firing at enemy ships coming to the corner of shelling” (according to VN Ferzen). Apparently, the best armored cruisers of the Japanese were visible from the Emerald, which created the illusion that this cruiser was attached to the ships of O.A. Enquist
"Emerald" in the campaign to Tsushima. In the foreground - the destroyer "Grozny"
In any case, it should be noted that after 16.00 and, approximately, before 17.15, when the battle, in the words of the compilers of the official stories Tsushima battle "a few verse", "Pearls" and "Emerald" had to participate in a fierce battle. It would seem that from 16.10 to 17.15 the position of “Oleg”, “Aurora”, “Vladimir Monomakh” and “Dmitry Donskoy” improved a little because they were also supported by “Pearls”, “Izumrud” and “Svetlana” with “Almaz” so the ratio between the armored cruisers was already 10: 8 in favor of the Japanese, if, of course, we considered the “Diamond” with its 4 * 75-mm guns for a real cruiser. But in fact, no improvement occurred, since the ships of Rear Admiral OA Enquist came under crossfire. According to the report of Rear Admiral: “Next, in order to lie parallel to the Japanese cruisers, our cruisers began to lean to the left. During these turns, the cruiser detachment was under crossfire from one side of the armored cruisers, on the other - the Nissin and Kasuga. And O.A. Enquist noted that it was at this time that his head “Oleg” and “Aurora” received the most sensitive injuries. Which, however, is completely unsurprising: the Japanese tried to translate their best gunners into armadillos and armored cruisers, so that they fired much better than armored cruisers.
However, both Japanese and Russian armored cruisers received support - Admiral Kataoka came to the aid of the Japanese from the Chin-Yen and three Matsushima, and in addition, the armored cruisers H. Kamimura caught up with the Russian squadron. But the ships and O.A. Enquist received support from their battleships not connected in combat with the 1 th combat detachment of H. Togo. I must say that in this episode, the Japanese "armored massacrers" got the hardest: the forces were forced to leave Kasagi and Naniwa, and the affairs of Kasagi were so serious that Cheetos had to accompany him to the Bay of Aburadani. "Naniwa" managed to quickly fix it, and soon returned to his squad.
In this episode of the battle, the active participation of Pearls, and, most likely, Emerald, ended even before 17.00, since the Japanese cruisers, having been damaged, retreated and went beyond the effective fire of cruisers. As for the mutual position of the cruising and armored detachments, the cruisers along with the “Pearls” were somewhat behind the battleships, and then were forced to catch up. Near 120, the wake column of cruisers caught up with the main forces and settled in the 17.30-12 (according to various sources) cable from them, while the “Oleg” was going abeam the “Emperor Nicholas I”. So, there is no doubt that "Pearls" all the time the battle was with the cruisers, following the "Vladimir Monomakh" all this time. But what Emerald was doing at that time is unclear, but judging by the description of V.N. Ferzen did not enter the column of cruisers, and closer to the 15 his cruiser was abeam the Emperor Nicholas I, that is, he was between this battleship and the flagship cruiser O.A. Ankvist "Oleg".
By this time, the armored cruisers of the Japanese returned and the cruising battle resumed, and both the Pearl and the Emerald took an active part in it. At the same time, the “Pearl” kept the cruisers OA Enquist, though, perhaps, did not follow them in the wake of the wake, and the Emerald was fighting in starboard, while being in the battleships. The battle of the cruisers, however, did not drag on, continuing to a maximum of 18.00 or even less.
On this day the battle for "Pearls" ended, but the team "Emerald" still had a thrill. In 18.30, it was observed that a flame between the chimneys appeared on the Alexander III, and it went down: it quickly tilted and turned over.
"Emperor Alexander III" as part of the 2 th Pacific Squadron
The Emerald immediately went to the crash site. Approaching the overturned ship (the keel of the “Alexander III” was above the water), the Emerald stopped, and began to throw bunks, circles and other tackle, which the drowning people could hold onto, and in addition began to launch the rowing boat, because whaleboats at that time were either damaged or filled with water on the eve of the battle and could not be used. But at that time, the 2 combat squadron approached the site of the death of the “Alexander III”: the 6 of the armored cruisers of H. Kamimura, including the returned Asama. Of course, the Japanese ships immediately opened fire on the cruiser standing in place, and the Russian squadron could not cover the Emerald, as its terminal ships were already in 2 miles from it, and the distance to the enemy exceeded 40 cables. To honor V.N. Ferzen, the Emerald remained in place until the distance to the nearest Japanese cruiser decreased to the 23 cable, and only then ordered to give full speed. Since, of course, this could not be done all at once, the Emerald was moving closer to the Japanese ships before the 20 cable before it could break the distance and retreat to the main forces of the Russian squadron.
At this point, the participation of "Pearls" and "Emerald" in the 14 May Day battle can be considered complete. What can be said about the actions of these cruisers?
Unfortunately, participation in the Tsushima battle of Russian armored cruisers of the 2 rank in Tsushima in the most accessible sources (V. V. Khromov, A. A. Alliluev, M. A. Bogdanov) is described very sparingly. According to him, it seems that the Russian cruisers did not really fight, but were only present during the defeat of the Russian squadron, and meanwhile, this is absolutely not the case. The period of passive waiting, when "Pearls" and "Emerald" did not try to get involved in the battle, playing the role of "repetitive and anti-mine vessels", assigned to them by Z.P. Rozhdestvensky, continued from 13.49 to 16.00. Yes, and it turned out to be a “diluted” dashing “Pearl” raid between the wake columns of fighting squadrons, even if it was made by mistake. And then, from about 16.00 to 18.00, both Pearls and Emerald fought an intense and hot battle with the Japanese armored cruisers.
Novik’s actions at Port Arthur on 27 on January 1904, when the small cruiser “attacked” the Japanese squadron, moving closer to the 15-17 cables, deservedly received the most enthusiastic reviews. But the "Pearl" with the "Emerald" also often found themselves in close proximity to heavy Japanese ships. “Pearls”, moving to the left side of the squadron, dangerously approached Nissin and Kasuga, being on 25 cable or less from them, and then, approaching Alexander III, was only 20 cable from Japanese battleships. What does Baron V.N. Ferzen, his attempt to save the crew of the Alexander III, for which he allowed the Izumrud standing in place (!) To approach the Japanese armored cruisers on the 20 cable, is worthy of the highest praise, although it should also be noted that the cruiser was not hit only by miracle
What damage have received while Russian cruisers? According to A.A. Alliluyeva and M.A. Bogdanov "Emerald" in a day battle received hits 3 shells that did not cause him special damage. But in the reports of the commander and officers of the cruiser the number of enemy hits is not indicated, and the figures given by the above authors may be erroneous. The fact is that A.A. Alliluev and M.A. Bogdanov reported 17 hits to Pearls, but this is a clear mistake, because in the report, OA Enquist Pearl damage is reported in detail, and their list includes 17 points:
1. Broken middle chimney and its casing.
2. The front chimney was pierced by shrapnel blasts.
3. The fan is broken in several places.
4. Broken command entrance hatch.
5. The bulwark at the entrance commander's hatch is broken.
6. Concave and pierced bulkhead bath.
7. The commander's entrance ladder is broken.
8. The upper wooden and iron deck was pierced near the 120-mm gun №1.
9. The upper and living deck is pierced near the entrance commander's hatch.
10. Concave right gunwalk on the poop.
11. The whaleboat No.1 and the rowing boat No.1 are broken.
12. Spread the gunwalker on the bridge.
13. The bed grid of the 120-mm gun №1 is broken.
14. The right screw is bent.
15. Flowing steering oil seal.
16. Two water cisterns were pierced with splinters.
17. The upper deck is spoiled in many places.
Obviously, some of these damages may be the result of the same hit, and vice versa - screw damage is generally not associated with enemy fire, but was caused by the pile of the Ural on the cruiser’s stern. Thus, the data on 17 hits in “Pearls” should be considered obviously erroneous, and is it worth while unconditionally trusting the information on 3 hits in “Emerald” from the pen of the same authors? As for the losses among the crew, then on the "Pearls" all 12 people died, including 2 officers. Baron Wrangel, the midshipman of Tavastshorna, Konkov's conductor and 8 of the lower ranks fell directly in battle. Another sailor subsequently died from his wounds. The injured were 22 people, including the conductor Shorokhov and the 7 of the lower ranks, the midshipman Kiselev, the ensign Spadowski and the 12 of the lower ranks easily. There were no dead at Emerald, and there were 4 people injured.
In terms of ammunition consumption, Baron V.N. Ferzen pointed out that during the battle, “Emerald” shot about 200 shells with an 120-mm caliber, and 47-mm cannons did not shoot beyond the range. As for the “Pearl”, its commander, P.P. Levitsky, found it difficult to specify the consumption of projectiles, but it can be assumed that such was not less, if not more than that of Emerald.
Did the Russian 2-class cruisers do any harm to Japanese ships? It is extremely difficult to answer this question: the author has to admit that he has not studied enough the history of the Tsushima battle to make any reasonable assumptions on this matter. But Nissin and Kasuga received at least 5 hits of projectiles of unknown caliber, one of which could easily “fly” from Pearl when it went to the left side of the squadron, thus being between two fires. In addition, Russian shells hit the armored cruisers. The author managed to find information about two hits of 120-mm projectiles, one of which hit Akashi, and the second - to Tsushima. Strangely enough, the commander's premises suffered on both cruisers, and 7 people were killed on Akashi (one at once, and another six died of wounds) and two were injured, and on Tsushima only two were wounded. But this success cannot be unequivocally attributed to the Pearl or Emerald gunners, since 120-mm guns were also installed on the armored cruisers Vladimir Monomakh and Dmitry Donskoy, who also fought with the Japanese cruisers at the time of receiving their respective hits. It is also possible to get into some other Japanese ships, because in many cases we do not know either the time of the hit, or the exact caliber of the projectile.
With this, the author finishes the description of the 14 May Day battle of 1905, and will continue to consider further the events of the night on May 15 and subsequent events.
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