In Russian literature, traditionally blame for the death of the "Pearl" on his commander, Baron I. A. Cherkasov, referring to the uniform mess that this aristocrat made when he entered command of the cruiser. Indeed, reading about what was happening at the “Pearl”, one involuntarily begins to doubt that I. A. Cherkasov was, as they say, in his right mind and sober memory. We quote V.V. Khromov:
“From the very beginning of the voyage, Baron Cherkasov established a“ resort ”mode of service for the team. When ships appeared on the horizon, combat alert was not played. There was no rest schedule for the team, the servant was not at guns at night. Mine devices were not charged. When parked in the port, lights out and anchor lights turned on, the signal watch did not increase. Unauthorized persons had the opportunity to visit the cruiser, while they went down to any premises. ”
The unwillingness to somehow ensure the safety of the cruiser reached the point of absurdity. So, for example, anchoring in the port of Blair (Andaman Islands), where the "Pearls" arrived in search of the "Emden," I.A. Cherkasov went ashore, directly forbidding to keep watch on the guns, "so as not to irritate the tired team." That is, not only does the commander leave the ship entrusted to him, located in a completely unprotected port, in the area where the enemy cruiser can be located, so he still does not allow his gunners to be on the alert! To the regime of secrecy I.A. Cherkasov was just as ignorant as he was to everything else. Once he ordered to send to Askold a radiogram with the coordinates of the Pearl in plain text. The objections of the officers, the ship commander retorted with a "murderous" argument: "Nobody knows the Russian language anyway."
There is one extremely unpleasant version, which nonetheless was supported by the former navigator of the squadron battleship “Eagle” L. V. Larionov. As was subsequently established, I.A. Cherkasov informed his wife in letters and via telegraph about the Pearl route. This was done so that the wife had the opportunity to follow the steamboats to the ports where the cruiser would call and meet her husband there. So, according to the version mentioned above, it was these radiograms intercepted by Emden that caused the death of the Pearl.
However, A.A. Alliluyev together with M.A. Bogdanov, and after them the author of this article, believe this version is erroneous. The fact is that, as far as the author of the article knows, there is no mention in German sources that the radiograms of I.A. Cherkasov was “led” by the commander of Emden to the Pearl, and the Germans didn’t have the slightest sense of hiding it. Of course, from the point of view of our compatriots I.A. Cherkasov was allowed a blatant and shameful sloppiness, negligence, inconceivable in a combat situation. But for the Germans, such a “radio intelligence” would be a brilliant tactical find, which someone would definitely mention in reports or memoirs. However, there is nothing of the kind. Moreover, Lieutenant von Myukke, who served as Emden’s senior officer, directly indicates that according to the “newspaper reports” of the Allies, the French cruisers “Montcalm” or “Duplex” could have appeared in Penang, and that it was them who Carl von Muller chose as the target of his attack. Myukke doesn’t mention about “Pearls” at all, and after all, being “second after God” on “Emden” he could not have known about him. Thus, according to the author, Emden, while planning his raid on Penang, did not expect to find a Russian cruiser there.
Without a doubt, I.A. Cherkasov was completely inconsistent with his position. In addition to the opinions of Russian historians, there is one more proof of this. The fact is that on the fact of the death of the “Pearl” an investigation commission was created and a trial was held based on the results of its work, to which the commander of the “Pearl” I. A. Cherkasov and senior officer of the cruiser N.V. Kulibin. So, the naval court of the times of the Russian Empire (I’d like to say: “the most humane court in the world”), which was usually very loyal to its defendants, did not find any clue to justify it. I.A. Cherkasov was found guilty of neglect of service and sentenced to deprivation of the nobility, ranks, orders, "expulsion from the naval service" and to be sent to the correctional-detention department of the civil department for a period of 3,5 years. And in the event that there are no places in it - to the prison of the same department for the most difficult work. However, Nicholas II “Bloody” did not ratify the sentence, so in the end, I.A. Cherkasov was demoted to sailors and sent to the Caucasian front. There, as usual, he distinguished himself, was introduced to the George Cross, restored to the rank of ...
In other words, the incompetence of I.A. Cherkasov as the commander of the cruiser is undeniable. And yet, despite all of the above, an impartial analysis of the events of those distant years shows that the culprits of the death of the "Pearls" should be considered not his commander, but Vice Admiral T.M. Jerram and the commander of the French destroyer "Mousquet". However, Vladivostok’s engineers should probably be added to them ... And even more higher authorities. The thing is that, if by a wave of a magic wand in 1914, in the place of I.A. Cherkasova turned out to be an exemplary, experienced and proactive commander, who sacredly observes the letter and spirit of the charter, this still could not save the "Pearl" from death.
About the technical condition of the cruiser
To begin with, let us recall the reason why the “Pearl" generally needed to go to Penang. The fact is that the ship needed cleaning and alkalization of the boilers, that is, a procedure in which the cruiser a priori cannot be fully combat-ready. And then the question immediately arises: why was it for the cruiser, who in the second half of May did “rebuild cars and clean the boilers” in Vladivostok, already in the first decade of October of that year, the boilers needed to be alkaline? What kind of workmanship did the artisans of Vladivostok have?
It was somehow still possible to understand (with difficulty) if the cruiser was torn from the hardships of service, constantly participated in chases, chasing its power plant, as they say, "in the tail and mane." But there was nothing like it! Ordinary service, calm sea-ocean crossings, escort of slow transports, etc. etc. And after four months of such a service - the need to clean and alkaline boilers?
Recall that after the repair of 1910, the cruiser developed “19-20 knots. and more". Why not put 24 knots to him under the project? Why not reached 23 trials in trials? The cruiser, in essence, new - transferred the fleet in 1904 Yes, I had to serve and participated in the war, but then what prevented us from making high-quality repairs? The naval composition of the Russian Imperial Navy during the Russo-Japanese War was extremely reduced. In fact, of the large ships in the Far East, we only had 2 cruisers left, the rest went to the Baltic, and the country was quite capable of ensuring their high-quality repair. But, apparently, they did not provide.
In other words, we have every reason to assume the unsatisfactory technical condition of the Pearl at the beginning of the war, and blaming the newly-made commander for this is hardly possible.
Penang instead of Singapore
Of course, I.A. Cherkasov knew about the need to clean the boilers, and he turned to the commander of the allied squadron T.M. Jerram for permission to do the job. But, according to A.A. Alliluyeva and M.A. Bogdanova, I.A. Cherkasov asked T.M. Jerram send "Pearls" to alkalize boilers not to Penang, but to Singapore.
The author of this article does not know what motives guided I.A. Cherkasov, striving precisely to Singapore. It is possible that he simply wished to be with this wife in this city - the Asian pearl of the British crown. But Singapore had a harbor well protected from the sea, where it was completely impossible to fear the attack of enemy cruisers, but Penang, alas, did not have any serious defense. However, the British vice admiral refused I.A. Cherkasov and sent him to Penang. I.A. Cherkasov tried to insist on his request and appealed to the commander with his request again. But T.M. Jerram rejected her again: Penang, period!
Certainly, "gagging" is perhaps the easiest epithet that can be described as the command of Baron I.A. Cherkasova cruiser. And it is more than likely that the desire of the baron to lead the cruiser to Singapore was not dictated by the interests of the service. But still, regardless of the motives that guided I.A. Cherkasov, he would not have taken the "Pearl" to Penang on his own initiative - he was ordered to do this.
Now consider the chronology of the tragedy.
Russian cruiser before the attack
The "Pearl" arrived in Penang on October 13, 1914, and his team immediately began repair work. It would seem that there is more than enough reason to strengthen vigilance: for the time of repair, the cruiser should have completely lost its course, being in a harbor unprotected from attack. But, apparently, I.A. Cherkasov didn’t even think about meeting the enemy and thought the cruiser’s trip was a kind of entertaining cruise: he did literally everything to reduce the Pearl’s combat efficiency to near-zero.
Firstly, the Pearl commander organized the case in such a way that 13 boilers were dismantled at once, and of the rest, only one was left under the pairs. Alas, this single boiler was not enough to provide the right amount of power. In fact, on the night of the attack, neither the projectile elevators nor the drainage facilities could operate on the cruiser.
Secondly, the baron ordered the ammunition to be removed from the deck in the cellar, since the shells were very hot due to the high temperature. In fact, if this order had been fulfilled, the “Pearl” would have appeared completely unarmed in the face of the enemy, but the senior officer of the cruiser N.V. Kulibin urged the commander to leave two 120-mm guns loaded and to keep 5 shells each in the fenders of the first shots. In other words, the cruiser could fire 12 shells at the enemy and ... everything, because the shots from the cellars would have to be carried by hand, and there could not be time for that in a short-lived battle.
Thirdly, I.A. Cherkasov did not take any additional security measures. He did not strengthen the watch service, and although the team was allowed to sleep on the upper deck, but without observing the combat schedule. It is noteworthy that, despite the war and the presence of a German cruiser in the region, life in Penang flowed by the pre-war standard. No one even thought of putting out lighthouses, entrance and door lights at night to extinguish. I.A. Cherkasov, of course, did not pay any attention to this and did not see any reason for increasing vigilance. Moreover - he did not even order to put out the lights on the Pearl itself!
And finally, fourthly, on the day after the arrival of the "Pearl" in Penang, the wife of I.A. Cherkasova. Therefore, the commander announced his malaise and went ashore to the hotel Eastern and Orientel.
Fight and death of "Pearls"
And what was Emden doing at this time? The German cruiser appeared at Penang in the morning of October 15 with the expectation of entering the harbor at dawn. At this time of the day, it was already possible to navigate well in the passage leading to the rather narrow harbor of Penang, but it was still dark enough to easily recognize the Emden. The latter turned out to be all the more difficult since Mueller “decorated” his cruiser with a fourth chimney. All British cruisers operating in this area were four-pipe, so the appearance of a three-pipe ship could become a reason for Müller's suspicions completely unnecessary. In addition, as you know, dawn sleeps best ...
However, not everyone slept. At the entrance to the harbor, the Emden almost sank fishing boats, and only the helmsman's art allowed avoiding such an unpleasant event. It can be stated that fishermen from the local population of Penang did not sleep that morning for sure. But as for the crew of the destroyer "Mousquet", which was supposed to patrol the entrance to the harbor, the author of this article has very big doubts ...
According to A.A. Alliluyev and M.A. The French watchman let Emden enter the harbor completely unhindered to Bogdanov. V.V. Khromov points out that the French nevertheless made a request, but Emden did not give an answer. If we turn to Myukke’s memoirs, he reports that they didn’t notice any destroyer at all from the German cruiser, but, entering the harbor, they saw “a flash of bright white light lasting about a second”. Mücke considered this to be a signal from a “patrol or guard boat,” while “we did not see the boat itself.” Remember that the Emden did not notice the French destroyer at all - we will return to this moment a little later. In the meantime, we note that the Mousquet did not fulfill its mission at all: it did not “clarify” the warship entering the harbor and did not raise an alarm.
At 04.50:XNUMX, the Emden entered Penang Harbor - at about this very time the first dawn rays of the sun appeared, but visibility was still very poor. In the dawn dusk, the sailors of the Emden tried to make out warships, but they did not see them. Mukke writes:
“Everyone already decided that the expedition failed, when suddenly ... a dark silhouette appeared without a single spark. This, of course, is a warship. In a few minutes we were already close enough to make sure that this was indeed so. Soon we saw 3 white lights at an equal distance from each other (that is, the lights on the "Pearl" still burned! - Approx. Aut.) just in the middle of this dark silhouette. All decided with one voice that it was, apparently, three fighters moored side by side. But when we were even closer, we had to abandon this assumption: the hull of the ship was too high for the fighter. The vessel stood stern right on us with the stern, and it was impossible to recognize its type. Finally, when the Emden passed at a distance of 1 cab under the stern of the mysterious ship and went to traverse it, we finally established that it was the Pearl cruiser.
According to Myukke, “Pearl” at that moment reigned “peace and silence”, while in the dawn beams it was clearly visible what was happening on the cruiser - visibility was improving every minute. From "Emden" did not see any watch, or signalmen. Nevertheless, according to A.A. Alliluyeva and M.A. Bogdanova, watch officer A.M. Sipailo found a ship that he clearly could not identify, and sent a watchman to notify the senior officer. Moreover, "according to some sources," they even managed to request "Emden" from the "Pearls" and received the answer: "Yarmouth", arrived for anchoring. " However, von Myukke does not mention anything like this in his memoirs.
According to the author, the German cruiser was actually found on the Pearl when it was already nearby. If the shift officer would testify that the watch “hadn’t overslept” the appearance of a warship in the immediate vicinity of the Russian cruiser, then some fraud could still be suspected. But the fact is that A.K. Sipailo died in that battle, so he could not tell anyone about what had happened. So, someone else told about this episode, who obviously had no self-interest to mislead anyone. Consequently, most likely the watchmen “Pearls” nevertheless found “Emden,” but the information about the request for “Emden” is most likely erroneous, since the Germans did not confirm anything like that.
As soon as the Russian cruiser was identified on the Emden (this happened at 05.18), they immediately fired a torpedo at it and opened fire from artillery shells. Moreover, the torpedo hit the "Pearl" in the stern, and the cannon fire concentrated in the bow. Among the sailors sleeping on the upper deck, panic broke out, some of them jumped overboard into the water. But others still tried to answer.
On the deck appeared a senior officer N.V. Kulibin and artillery officer Y. Rybaltovsky, who tried to restore some order. The commandants stood up to the airborne guns, but they had nothing to shoot, and some of them were immediately killed by enemy fire ... As a result, only the bow and stern guns, which received “from the bounty of the commander” as many as 6 shots, were answered. The bow was pointed by midshipman A.K. Sipailo, but it could fire either one or two shots. The first was absolutely certain, but the second coincided with a direct hit by a German shell, which destroyed the gun, killing the midshipman as well, and the crew. Is it possible to say that this shot really was, or was it confused with the burst of a German shell? Y. Rybaltovsky stood up to the stern gun and managed to make several shots from it.
According to Russian eyewitnesses, the first shot of A.K. Sipailo hit and caused a fire at Emden, and Yu. Rybaltovsky was sure that he had hit Emden twice. Myukke confirms the fact that the Pearls opened fire, but reports that in that battle not a single enemy shell hit the Emden.
In response to the shots from the Russian cruiser Emden, who was at that moment about two cable from the Pearl, turned around with cars and, without ceasing artillery fire, launched a second torpedo. She hit the "Pearl" in the bow, and caused his death, causing an explosion in the nasal shell cellar. Some minute after the strike, the Russian cruiser lay to the bottom at a depth of 30 meters, and only the very end of the mast with a rake towered above the water - like a cross over the grave. Midshipman A.K. Sipailo and 80 lower ranks, later seven more died from wounds. Another 9 officers and 113 sailors were injured of varying severity.
About Spreading Cranberries
What happened next? According to Mukka, simultaneously with the "Pearls" on the "Emden" French warships opened fire. Although the senior officer of Emden did not know who was shooting at his cruiser, he claimed that fire was fired at him from three sides. It is possible, however, that there was nothing of the kind - the fact is that according to the testimony of the same Mukke, after the destruction of the "Pearls" on the Emden, they no longer saw the warships of the enemy and stopped shooting, and the return fire also died down. It is clear that the Emden gunners could not shoot without seeing the target, but what prevented the French from continuing the battle?
Further description of those distant events is already completely contradictory and strange. And, surprisingly, domestic sources give an extremely logical presentation. So, according to V.V. Khromov, Emden discovered a French gunboat, and wanted to deal with it, but at that time the signalmen found an unknown ship approaching from the sea. Fearing that it might be an enemy cruiser, Emden retreated, drowning the destroyer Mousquet rushing at him along the way. It seems to be clear and understandable, right?
Another thing is the description of the senior officer of Emden von Myukke. During the reading of his memoirs, the author constantly recalled the famous joke of military historians: "he lies like an eyewitness." However, judge for yourself, dear readers.
According to Mukkke, shortly after the ceasefire, the French gunboat, who was surrounded by commercial ships, was about to attack her at Emden, but at that moment they saw a fighter in the sea rushing towards the harbor in full steam. The harbor, as mentioned earlier, was very narrow, maneuvering in it was difficult and it would be difficult to avoid a torpedo. Therefore, according to Myukke, "Emden" took full swing and went to the exit from the bay to meet the enemy destroyer on the outer roadstead. All this seems to be logical, but ...
From a distance of 21 cables, Emden opened fire on the destroyer. He immediately turned to the right, and ... unexpectedly turned out to be a "large English official steamboat". Myukke assures that the whole thing was in refraction, especially strong in those latitudes. Well, let’s say that this is how it really happened - which is not what the sea can imagine! Of course, the fire was immediately stopped and the Emden turned towards the harbor - to "deal" with the French gunboat.
But then another commercial steamboat appeared, going to the harbor and (according to Myukke!) The commander of Emden decides to seize it first, and only then go destroy the gunboat - they say that she still will not run away. At "Emden" they raised the signal "stop the car, take the boat" and sent a boat with a prize lot to the transport. But when the boat had already approached the transport, they found on Emden the third ship in a row approaching from the sea to the harbor. As soon as this third one was discovered, the Emden recalled the boat back, managed to pick it up, and only after that went to meet the enemy.
The enemies could not be considered for a long time: at first they decided that it was a cruiser, then - that it was a commercial steamer, and only then they recognized the fighter in the approaching stranger. And when the distance to it was reduced to 32 cable ones, the French flag was finally dismantled at Emden. Accordingly, when the distance was reduced to 21 cables, Emden turned left and opened fire on the enemy with the starboard side. According to Myukka, now only on the French destroyer they realized who they were facing, turned and gave full speed, trying to escape, but too late! With a third salvo, Emden made five hits at once, and the destroyer was badly damaged. The French still managed to open fire from the bow gun and fired 2 torpedoes (according to domestic data, by the way, only one), but both of them did not reach the Emden for about 5 cables, and the artillery was quickly suppressed, and the destroyer sank.
The German cruiser approached the place of his death, and began to pick up the survivors, from whom the Germans later learned that they had sunk the destroyer Mousquet. But at the end of this rescue operation on the Emden, they again found ... another French destroyer! But this time, coming not from the sea, but leaving the harbor. Moreover, this destroyer, no matter how much, heroically rushed to the Emden.
The Emden fled just as heroically into the open sea. From a single destroyer, yes. According to Mukke, the commander of the cruiser was afraid that the Allied cruiser might be nearby and therefore chose to retreat. After some time, the pursuing Emden, the destroyer hid in the rain and was no longer visible. “The plan of our commander to lure him into the open and then attack and sink did not succeed,” Mukke stated with sadness.
On the authenticity of Germanic memoirs
Let's try to analyze what von Myukke told the astonished reader. The version that the Emden left the harbor in order to fight the enemy destroyer, which in fact turned out to be a merchant ship, looks quite realistic - the sea is extremely deceptive for the observer. But then what? The commander of Emden Muller is letting go of this British steamboat, which could very well be his next prize. For what? To return and attack the French gunboat. It seems to be logical. But then another steamer appears, and Mueller does what? That's right - it puts off the gunboat attack to capture vehicles! That is, the commander of the Emden makes first one, and then the exact opposite decision. What is it like? “To remove orders, to be held in prison, to return, to forgive, to give orders ...”
Then, on the Emden, they again see some ship, which may even be a cruiser. Muller orders the return of the boat with the landing, and rightly so - here, after all, it seems, a mortal battle on the nose. But the return of the boat and its boarding require a certain time, then the Emden goes forward and only then, after some time, the distance between it and the enemy ship decreases to 32 cable, that is, more than 3 miles. And in fact, this ship is the destroyer "Mousquet"! Which, according to Myukke, was from the sea!
Attention, the question is: how did the Mousquet destroyer, which seemed to patrol the entrance to Penang harbor, miraculously end up in the open sea an hour and a half later, many, many miles from the coastline? After all, they didn’t see the destroyer from Emden while leaving the harbor, while explaining the destroyer, which in fact turned out to be a transport, while turning back, until they noticed another transport, while they sent a boat with a landing to it ...
The author of this article came up with only one explanation: that the Mousquet was actually patrolling not the harbor entrance, but the distant approaches to the harbor. Then all this can still be somehow explained. That the “Mousquet”, perhaps, did not notice at all the “Emden” coming up to Penang, that, having heard the rumble of shots and explosions, the destroyer rushed back and ran into the German cruiser who had left the harbor ... True, there were sarcastic questions. It turns out that the French, on the one hand, did not care at all about the accessibility of Penang harbor at night, they didn’t even put out the lights, and on the other, considered the situation so dangerous that the destroyer was sent to a distant night watch? But still, albeit with great difficulty, the owl seems to be starting to pull on the globe ... If not for von Myukke's memoirs.
The fact is that this worthy officer Kaiserlichmarine states the following. According to the rescued sailors, they saw “Emden” on “Mousquet”, but confused it with the British “Yarmouth”. And then he reports: “It is very possible that the white flash that we saw at the entrance to Penang was made with“ Mousquet! ” That is, von Myukke sees absolutely nothing shameful in that the “Mousquet” was, in fact, to be in two different places at the same time!
Now put ourselves in the place of the French sailors. They are watching. At dusk a certain four-pipe cruiser appears, the visibility is frankly poor (recall that the Germans themselves could later identify the "Pearls" only by getting close to him at a distance of 1 cable!) But they, instead of requesting his identity, do nothing at all, and calmly miss this cruiser on. Is that how they patrol, even the farthest, even the nearest? But that’s okay, this can even be explained by sloppiness.
But the exit from Penang of the second French destroyer and his valiant pursuit of the Emden in general are not amenable to any logical explanation.
Not a single source known to the author mentions that a certain French destroyer was trying to pursue the Emden. Of course, it would be interesting to study French reports about this battle, but alas, the author of this article does not have such capabilities. Again, it can be assumed that the pursuit of the Emden sailors only seemed to occur - I repeat, sometimes everything is seen on the sea. But why did the whole German cruiser flee from one destroyer ?! Myukke’s explanation that Müller was afraid of the arrival of enemy cruisers would not hold water, and that’s why.
If the commander of Emden was afraid that the French were about to appear “in grave powers” and drown him, why then had he started to mess around a little earlier with the prize? After all, to drown or to take away transport with you, you need time, and considerable. It turns out that when Muller sent the prize to the ship, he did not think about the French cruisers, but how did the fighter appear - he remembered right away, so what?
Further. If Müller was afraid of the appearance of the enemy, then all the more it was necessary to "remove from the tail" the destroyer, so inappropriately bogged down behind him. The fight with Mousquet clearly demonstrated that this could be done very, very quickly. Instead, according to Myukke, his commander started some tricky game with luring an old fighter into some space there, to destroy it later ... What prevented Emden from doing this right away?
It’s your will, but somehow the ends do not meet.
A bit of conspiracy
If we consider the matter impartially, the commander of Emden, who decided on a very dangerous raid, behaved extremely valiantly, and, having sunk the Pearl, achieved remarkable success. But what happened after that? In fact, Emden was in full control of the situation - the old French ships were no match for him. The same "Mousquet", in fact, was nothing more than a fighter of the Russian-Japanese war with a displacement of less than 300 tons and with weapons of 1 * 65 mm and 6 * 47 mm guns.
And now this ship, an experienced German headman at first took for a cruiser, and then for a transport ship
The two other destroyers and gunboats that were on the raid, apparently did not even have time to get ready for battle.
In other words, Emden could fully enjoy the fruits of his victory - it would not be difficult for him to finish off the remaining French ships, and then he had at his disposal a whole harbor of merchant ships, plus a coal station for the French cruisers. All this, if desired, could be put to fire and a sword.
What did Emden do? He was running.
For the majority of Russian-speaking readers interested in naval historyCarl von Muller, commander of the famous Emden, is a symbolic figure worthy of all respect. Muller is perceived by us as an exemplary commander of a cruiser, who superbly commanded his ship and achieved great success at sea. Without a doubt, that was exactly what he was.
But the fact is that in the top leadership of Kaiser Germany, the exploits of Emden were perceived a little differently. No, the crew was carried almost in the literal sense of the word, but with the commander of the ship, everything was not so clear. Although von Müller was presented with the highest military award, the head of the Naval Cabinet objected to this, Admiral von Müller (namesake), who believed that the commander of Emden should be held responsible for his erroneous decisions that destroyed the cruiser entrusted to him. True, in March 1918, the Kaiser nevertheless approved the award.
So, Myukke’s memoirs were published in 1917. It is known that Müller enjoyed not just respect, but the love of the team (according to the author - more than deservedly!). But could it be that the senior officer decided to slightly embellish reality in favor of his commander, whose exploits some had the audacity to doubt?
By the way, for that matter - can we, in light of the foregoing, completely trust von Myukke’s statement that during the battle in Penang Harbor, no enemy (read Russian) shells hit Emden? Shortly after the events in Penang, the German cruiser was intercepted and destroyed, so there is no way to establish the truth.
Of course, all this, by and large, is conspiracy theology. It can be assumed that von Myukke did not try to mislead anyone, but honestly talked about how he saw those events. Yes, what was stated by the senior officer of Emden is very illogical and in many respects contradicts common sense - but who knows, maybe he took it that way.
In this case, the lesson we can learn from Myukke’s memoirs is that even an experienced naval officer (and we have no reason to suspect the German senior officer of Emden for lack of professionalism) can, in certain circumstances, confuse the destroyer and the long-distance transport 3 miles and see enemy warships where they are not and were not. Perhaps this example will help us to be more careful with the testimonies of Russian naval officers, and not necessarily look for unprofessionalism or malicious intent in cases where their observations diverged from the real situation.
But back to the Pearl.
So what is Baron I.A. to blame for? Cherkasov? The crucible commander is clearly innocent of the fact that the Pearl boilers required cleaning only four months after the repair: this is a question of the quality of work of the artisans of Vladivostok. The fact that the ship in need of repair was sent to an unprotected port, A.I. Cherkasov is also not visible - he twice asked to send the "Pearl" to Singapore, but British Admiral T.M. Jerram ordered him to go to Penang. The fact that the Mousquet missed the enemy cruiser into the harbor, the baron, again, is impossible to blame.
And you need to understand that even if all the precautions had been taken on the cruiser and the service was carried out exemplary, even in this case nothing could save the Pearl after Emden entered the raid. Having found in several cable ships that the patrol service had already missed, it was impossible to immediately open fire, it was necessary to "explain" it first. This took a certain amount of time, for which the Emden would nevertheless come closer to the distance of a guaranteed hit by a torpedo. In other words, there was no way to save the “Pearl” anchored from the German raider, walking in several cable and fully ready for battle (unless the guns were probably deployed). But then what is the fault of I.A. Cherkasov?
According to the author, his fault is that, as a result of the mess that he organized at the Pearl, the cruiser lost the opportunity to cause significant damage to the enemy.
Imagine for a second that a sensible commander turned out to be some miracle at the Pearl. And so, on the night of October 15, the ship anchors without lights, but with double watch and crews sleeping directly at the guns. There are just enough boilers left under the steam to ensure unhindered operation of artillery and drainage facilities. What then?
As mentioned above, although the first Emden torpedo hit the Pearl, it still couldn’t disable the latter - the cruiser stayed afloat and was able to open fire, which could not be suppressed with volleys of 105-mm guns of the German raider. Accordingly, Emden had to turn around with cars in order to deploy a torpedo tube from another side.
Consequently, from the beginning of the German attack to the death of the second torpedo, the Russian cruiser had some time, but how was it used? In reality, "Pearl" was able to release in response only a few shells - no more than 8, and most likely even less. But if on I.A. Cherkasov’s insight dawned and he prepared the ship for a possible battle as it should, all this time the Emden would have been under dagger fire at the focus of five 120-mm guns. It is doubtful that this could destroy the German raider, but to inflict heavy damage on it, after which the Emden would become easy prey for the Allied cruisers - completely.
Could the Pearl be saved if the Mousquet had raised the alarm? In the state to which I.A. brought his ship Cherkasov, probably, is still not there. But if the service on the "Pearl" was carried out according to the charter, then the cruiser had time to get ready for battle and meet the approaching raider with the fire of his stern guns. It cannot be argued that in this situation the Pearl would have been guaranteed to survive, but it was quite possible, and the chances of causing serious damage to Emden increased many times over.
Thus, the author concludes that the death of the "Pearl" is to blame primarily for the commander of the French destroyer "Mousquet", who missed the "Emden" in the harbor of Penang. But you need to understand that if it were not for the technical condition of the Russian cruiser and not the order of TM. Jerram, the "Pearl" would not have been in Penang at all. I.A. Strange as it may seem, Cherkasov, despite all his many shortcomings and omissions, was not to blame for the death of the cruiser, but because of his negligence, he missed a great chance to cause serious damage to Emden and thereby interrupt the brilliant career of the German raider.