Incheon or red sunset over the Yellow Sea

In South Korea, there was an important event related to military history Russia. During the November visit of President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev to this country, the flag of the legendary Russian cruiser Varyag was handed to him in a solemn atmosphere. The ceremony took place in Seoul at the Russian embassy. The flag from Varyag was handed over to Dmitry Medvedev by the mayor of the city of Incheon, where some relics from the cruiser were kept in the local museum. The cruiser became a legend after an unequal battle with the Japanese squadron near Incheon during the Russian-Japanese War 1904 of the year - severely damaged, it was flooded by its team, but did not surrender to the enemy.

The presentation of the Varyag flag to the Russian president gives reason to return again to the feat of the Russian sailors, to his famous and little-known pages. Moreover, the waves of time erode the details of this feat and not everyone today has a clear idea about it, especially the youth. Even some news agencies, reporting on the transfer of relics, argued that the cruiser was then dead. But is it?

From the Vladivostok station, the final destination of the longest Trans-Siberian railway in the world, you can easily reach the main street, Svetlanovskaya. The heroes of the wonderful novel “Cruiser” by Valentin Pikul, dedicated to the Russian-Japanese War, once walked around it. Her battles raged on land and sea exactly a hundred years ago. Here, in Vladivostok, the Far Eastern outpost of Russia, there are a lot of memorable places related to the history of the development and protection of the borders of a distant, but our region. Although the city itself of sailors, fishermen and border guards is quite young by historical standards. It was founded by Russian servicemen in 1860, when the Russian-Chinese border in the Far East was secured by the Beijing Additional Treaty.

In the international contractual plan, this document completed the territorial delimitation in the Ussuriysk Territory and in Primorye, confirming the main provisions of the Treaty of Aigun, concluded two years earlier. But Russia's peaceful consolidation on the Pacific frontiers did not like Japan as it gained strength. After the so-called Meiji revolution (1868 year), the Land of the Rising Sun came out of isolation and began to flourish along the capitalist path, at the same time increasingly claiming hegemony in the region.


So, if from one of the symbols of the city - the monument to the fighters for the liberation of Primorye, which is near the high-rise building of the regional administration - turn north towards the university, then along Ocean Avenue and then by bus you can reach the most interesting sights related to the Russian Japanese war. Or rather, with the events of that war already distant, in which, by the will of fate, the sailors of the cruiser Varyag and the gunner Koreate were involved.

We are talking about the Sea Cemetery, where the remains of 14 seamen from the Varyag are buried. Their ashes were transported to Vladivostok in December 1911 from the port of Chemulpo (now Incheon, South Korea). An obelisk of gray granite is installed on the grave of the heroes. On its faces, the Slavonic script is carved the names and the names of sailors who fell in an unequal battle. The inscription leaves no one indifferent: “The centuries will pass, and new generations of Russian sailors will proudly carry in their hearts a fond memory of those who, in an ominous hour for the Fatherland, did not bow their heads to the enemy.”

In general, much is known about the feat of the Varyag crew, although the general public is far from all. And although the feat - more than a hundred years, new facts have opened in recent years. Anyway, if it makes sense to remind this to our readers. For example, that same Svetlanovskaya street and the shores of the picturesque Golden Horn Bay 21 in March 1916 witnessed thousands of citizens coming here to greet the legendary cruiser Varyag and three more ships returning from Japan. How they got there will be discussed below. When the cruiser moored to the pier, the heavy sky Khmar suddenly seemed to evaporate, and a bright sun shone over the picturesque bay. And pigeons flew to the port, nesting at the Sea Cemetery. Old-timers say it was a sign ...

The cruiser of the 1st class “Varyag” was one of the best in the domestic navy. The ship entered its composition in 1901. Not everyone knows that the Varangian was commissioned by the Russian government was built a year earlier in America, at a shipyard in Philadelphia. Why?

The fact is that it was American steel at that time that was considered one of the best in the world. And during the construction of the ship was used a lot of technological innovations. It is enough to say that for the first time in the world practice all the furniture on it was made of metal, however, it was painted under the tree. The tactical and technical data of the Varyag class cruiser 1 are as follows: the length is the longest 129,56 m; width (without trim) 15,9 m; displacement design 6500 t; the cruising range of the 10 hub with a full supply of coal about 6100 miles; 24,59 full speed node. The king liked “Varyag” so much that he included him in the convoy of the imperial yacht “Standart”.


8 January 1904 (new style) war began with Japan. It began with the insidious attack of the Japanese squadron on the Russian ships that were stationed at Port Arthur. At this time, the Koreyan cannon (commander captain 2 of the rank Belyaev) and the cruiser Varyag (commander captain 1 of the rank Vsevolod Rudnev) were in the Korean port of Chemulpo (now Incheon). They received an order to urgently connect with their own forces. But at the exit from the port, the 15 of the Japanese ships blocked the way. The squadron commander Rear Admiral Sotokichi Uriu conveyed an ultimatum to Varyag:

"To the commander of the cruiser" Varyag "of the Imperial Russian fleet.

Sir! In view of the outbreak of hostilities between Japan and Russia, I have the honor to respectfully ask you to leave, with all the ships under your command, the port of Chemulpo before noon 27 in January 1904 of the year. Otherwise, I attack you in the port. I have the honor to be your most respectful servant.

Sotokichi Uriu, Rear Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy and commander of the Japanese squadron on the roads in Chemulpo. ”

One of the reasons that Uriu demanded to leave the neutral port was the presence of warships of other countries in it. The commanders of the French cruiser Pascal, the English Talbot, the Italian Elba and the American gunboat Vicksburg received a notice from the Japanese Rear Admiral Uriu about the impending attack of his squadron on the Russian ships.

At the military council, it was decided to fight their way out of the port. By the way, in principle, the chances of a breakthrough were given the fighting and speed characteristics of the Varyag. In addition, the cruiser commander Captain 1 of the rank Rudnev was a brilliant naval officer. But he could not throw in the low-speed "Korean". Concepts of honor among officers of the fleet have been highly respected since the time of Peter the Great. There could be no question of surrender - this is not in the tradition of Russian sailors. "There can be no questions about surrender - we will not surrender the cruiser, nor ourselves, and we will fight to the last opportunity and to the last drop of blood." With these words, Rudnev turned to the crew. The sailors met these words with a burst of enthusiasm. As Vsevolod Fyodorovich himself recalled later, “it was gratifying to see a manifestation of such ardent love for his Fatherland.”

9 January 1904 in 11 hours 20 minutes "Varyag" and "Koreyets" headed for the exit from the raid. Sailors from foreign ships gave honor to our ships, and the Italians played the Russian anthem. “We saluted these heroes, who walked so proudly for certain death!” Later wrote the commander of the French cruiser Pascal, captain 1 of the rank of Senes.

The Japanese were waiting for "Varyag" and "Korean" in the skerries. The enemy opposed the Russian armored cruiser and the outdated gunboat to fifteen combat units: the Assama armored cruiser, the Naniwa, Takachio, Chiyoda, Akashi, Niitaka, armored cruisers, the Chikhaya and eight minas, and eight minons, and eight minons. Four 203-mm, thirty-eight 152-mm guns and forty-three torpedo tubes were preparing to fire against two Russian 203-mm and thirteen 152-mm guns and seven torpedo tubes. It was more than triple superiority!

The battle began with the superior forces of the Japanese. In 11.45, “Asama” from a distance of 7 – 8 km opened fire. Two minutes later, the guns of the Varyag rattled and a merciless artillery battle began to boil, which, according to one data, lasted exactly an hour, according to others - 45 minutes. Of the twelve 152-mm guns on the Varyag, only two remained, and of the twelve 75-mm - five, all 47-mm guns are disabled.
Incheon or red sunset over the Yellow Sea

But the worst thing was that almost half of the crew on the upper deck dropped out. “I will never forget the terrific spectacle that presented itself to me,” recalled the captain of the 1 rank Senes, who boarded the Varyag immediately after the fight, “the deck is covered with blood, corpses and body parts are everywhere.”

On the Varyag more than half of the guns were disabled, the steering was seriously damaged. The ship received a roll on the left side, which prevented the firing of serviceable guns. Rudnev ordered to place the wounded and the crew on foreign ships, and to destroy the “Varyag” and the “Koreyets” ...

The battle of "Varyag" is full of not only dramatic episodes, but also examples of the unparalleled courage of Russian sailors. Wounded in the back of the helmsman, Snegiryov, bleeding profusely, continued to stand at the helm until the end of the battle. The orderly commander of the cruiser Chibisov, wounded in both hands, did not go to the infirmary, saying that while he was alive, he would not leave his commander for a minute. The engineer Krylov, who received several wounds, served shells from a powder magazine until he lost consciousness. Of the 570 crew members, the cruisers killed the 30 sailors and one officer.

The Japanese, despite the great numerical superiority over the Russian ships, failed to sink them, much less capture them. Captain 1 of rank Rudnev had every reason to report later to the command that the vessels of the detachment entrusted to him “with dignity supported the honor of the Russian flag, exhausted all means for a breakthrough, prevented the Japanese from winning, caused many losses to the enemy and saved the rest of the team.”

27 On January 1904, the Korean gunboat was blown up in 16.30. Then, with tears in their eyes, the heroes of "Varyag" left their ship. The cruiser commander was the last to leave him, carefully carrying in his hands a ship's flag, which had been cut by shrapnel. In 18.10, the crew flooded their undefeated cruiser. The sailors switched to the French and Italian cruisers (only the Americans refused to be naval solidarity). A sunset was burning over Incheon Bay ...

Admiral Uriu and other Japanese senior officers were amazed at the courage of the Russian sailors. Uriu gave the command to assist the wounded in the hospital Chemulpo along with the Japanese and ordered not to consider them prisoners. Later, the crew was taken by sea to Russia. On the whole route of the native country - from Odessa to the capital - the heroes were solemnly honored by compatriots ...

Admiral Uriu then triumphantly reported that he had no casualties. Until now, the Japanese have not officially reported anything about them. But in fact, the enemy suffered significant damage. 1105 shells released for this truly historic hour of the Russian cruiser, causing, according to our data, serious damage to "Asame" and "Takachio". Later it became known that after the battle, five Japanese ships had to be sent in for repair. It is not surprising that Uriu didn’t like to recall that fight.


Researchers have calculated that about fifty songs were composed of the feat of the Russian sailors. The most famous begins with the words: "Up, you, comrades, everything is in its place." She is considered popular, but she has authors. And it is striking that the author of the poetic text is not at all Russian, but a German - Rudolf Greins. This song, as well as the feat of "Varyag", is already more than 100 years old.

Greyntz wrote it under the impression of detailed reports of German newspapers about the battle of the Russian cruiser and gunboat with the superior forces of the Japanese. Indeed, at that time, at the beginning of the last century, there were good relations between Germany and Russia. The translation was made by the Russian poetess Elena Student, and the music was written by the musician of the 12 th Astrakhan Grenadier Regiment Turishchev. For the first time, the song was performed at a reception in honor of the sailors-heroes, which was organized by Tsar Nicholas II in April 1904.

But back to the fate of the cruiser. In 1905, the Varyag was raised by the Japanese. It is noteworthy that he came to the Land of the Rising Sun under its own power! Almost 10 years the ship served as part of the Japanese fleet called "Soya". And the Japanese from the “Varyag” wheel were placed on the memorial ship - the battleship “Mikasa”, dug into the ground on the territory of the maritime museum in Iokosuka. The Japanese cadets, the future officers of the imperial fleet, were inspired by the example of the Varyag about how to fulfill their military duty. As a sign of respect for the courage of the crew of the Russian cruiser, the naval command even left at its stern the original Russian name - “Varyag”.

In 1916, the Russian government bought the cruiser from Japan. It was then, in March, that he made a call to Vladivostok, where he was enthusiastically greeted by city residents, soldiers, sailors and officers of the local garrison. It was decided to send the "Varyag" to the flotilla of the Arctic Ocean, but the ship needed to be repaired. So he ended up in England. But after the October Revolution 1917, the new government refused to pay the royal debts. "Varyag" and the sailors who served him were abandoned to the mercy of fate. The British authorities confiscated the Russian ship and sold it to a German company for scrap. However, during towing to the place of breakage, the cruiser hit the cliffs and sank off the coast of Southern Scotland. Until recently, it was believed that in the 20-s, the British completely disassembled it directly into the sea.

On the eve of the 100 anniversary of the feat of “Varyag”, the TV channel “Russia”, with the support of the command of the Navy, organized a unique expedition to the shores of Scotland, to the place where the remains of the legendary ship rest. On the preparation of the expedition to the place of death of the cruiser in the Irish Sea took almost a year. However, the chances of success were few. Archival documents about the last days of the legendary ship neither in Russia nor in Great Britain have survived. In addition, members of the expedition learned that a German company engaged in cutting a cruiser into scrap metal blew up its hull in 1925 to facilitate its work.

The explosion literally swept away fragments of the ship in a large area. Scottish fishermen could only roughly indicate the area where 82 a year ago sank the Varyag. But with the help of local residents, we managed to find the place where, in 1922, Varyag ran into the rocks. It is located 60 miles south of Glasgow and only half a kilometer from the coast.

Finally 3 July 2003 of the year in 12.35 local time, one of our scuba divers discovered the first fragment of the “Varyag”. It was a wooden rail nasal superstructure. Some fragments of the cruiser that survived the explosion in the 1925 year are at a depth of 6 – 8 meters. At this place under the water no one ever took off. Now, for the first time, there was an opportunity to see the remains of the legendary cruiser Varyag. Unfortunately, not much survived. But preserved brass and bronze parts. And even steel: under a thin layer of rust in American steel even preserved shine.

The porthole and the brass plate of an American factory that supplied steam pumps and drives to the Varyag became the most sensational find of the Russian expedition. At the site of the detonation of the ship, the grandson of the cruiser commander Nikita Panteleimonovich Rudnev dived. He was born in 1945 in France, where the whole Rudnev family was forced to leave after the revolution. Nikita Rudnev flew specially to Scotland from France to see fragments of the Varyag with his own eyes ...

In February, the Varyag Guards missile cruiser, the Koreets small anti-submarine ship, so named after the heroic ships of the Pacific Squadron, and the Admiral Tributs BOD, left the Golden Horn Bay, where nine decades earlier Vladivostok had been enthusiastically greeted by the legendary cruiser , and headed for South Korea. The ships visited Incheon, and then the Chinese port city of Lushun, which at the beginning of the last century bore the proud Russian name of Port Arthur. Pacific sailors visited there to pay homage to the feat of Russian sailors.

To commemorate this, on the shores of Incheon Bay, our sailors installed a large Orthodox cross brought from Vladivostok. An early red sunset was burning over the bay. As then, in nine hundred and fourth ...

A meeting with Russian naval sailors attracted widespread local attention. Indeed, until now many residents of Incheon consider the battle of the Russian cruiser with the superior enemy forces to be the most important event in the centuries-old history of their city. This event had such a strong emotional impact on the Incheon that some of them converted to Christianity.

According to local legislation, cultural property from South Korea can be exported only for exhibitions and for a period not exceeding two years. Therefore, the flag from “Varyag” was transferred to the Russian side for an indefinite lease. The head of the Russian state expressed gratitude to the South Korean authorities for their decision. According to him, during the state visit, it looked particularly symbolic.
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