Japanese propaganda represented the Russian sailors in the form of pirates. Russian destroyers sink a Japanese merchant ship. Illustration from the Japanese newspaper 1904 of the year
27 May marks the anniversary of our Tsushima shame. It would seem that a lot of literature was written about this event, what else can you tell? Indeed, many historians have dedicated their research to this event. The leader of the world proletariat, as the official propaganda of the Bolsheviks called Lenin, compared the Russian squadron with a herd of savages, and wrote in superlatives about the enemies: "The Japanese fleet, superbly armed and furnished with all the means of modern defense." These stereotypes have survived many historians. But if you look at the list of references to which these historians refer, then it is clear that there are no references to the Japanese archives. therefore история The Tsushima battle is still waiting for its true historical research. Here, in the framework of a newspaper article, I want to only outline the misconceptions that exist regarding this battle, as well as identify the reasons for the defeat of fleet. So, first, about the main misconceptions.
ERROR FIRST: ABOUT THE EXCELLENCE OF THE JAPANESE FLEET
There is an opinion that the Japanese shot at a greater distance than the Russian gunners. This is not so, since it is not confirmed by the course of the sea battles of this war. Both in the battle in the Yellow Sea, in the Korean, and in the Tsushima Straits, the main battle was fought at a distance of 20 – 40 cable. To shoot at long distances only occasionally tried both we and the Japanese. And unsuccessfully, which is quite natural, since perfect range-finders have not yet been created, which allowed the First World War to successfully shoot 60 – 90 cable.
There is an opinion that Russian artillery fired more slowly in combat than the Japanese. This was reported by the surviving officers of the 2 th Pacific Squadron. It would seem that the opinion is more than authoritative and therefore true, but the English observers, who were on the Japanese ships during the battle, wrote the opposite. What follows from this? And the fact that these are only subjective opinions of the participants. And how could they determine the rate of fire, if, in contrast to the First World War, Russian-Japanese ships were fired not by volleys, but by guns. Every second round shells that did not constitute any separate volleys fell around the ship, try counting the rate of fire here. If we turn to reports available on the battle (our officers and British observers) and look at the ammunition left on the ships after the battle, it turns out that the Russians spent it even more, which means they were fired more often. Although the Japanese are likely to just hide the true data, so as not to disclose its accuracy of fire. Again, need Japanese archives.
There is an opinion that Russian artillerymen were worse trained and could not shoot as accurately as their opponents. To determine the accuracy of shooting, you need to know the number of shells and the number of hits. And if the number of shots of Russian ships on the basis of disparate data can still be somehow obtained, then the number of hits without the Japanese archives is in any way. Now only the data of the British observers and the open part of the Japanese report are known, but according to these sources the final conclusion cannot be made. And, of course, it should be remembered that, thanks to the correct leadership of the battle, Admiral of Togo managed to cover the head of the Rozhestvensky wake column. Therefore, with the squadron of Togo 27 (14) in May for five hours, only five Russian battleships of the main battle were fighting. The ships of the 2 and 3 of the armored detachment of the Rozhdestvensky squadron, closing the column, fired from the 25 – 40 cable, that is, at the limit of effective shooting, while the entire Japanese fleet fired at the 1 armored detachment from the 15 –– distance 25 cable. In such a situation, the average accuracy of shooting Japanese artillery, of course, was higher. But is it the gunners who are to blame?
It is believed that the Russian ships were overloaded at the time of the battle, so their armor belts were under water, and instead of gradually sinking, they instantly turned over. Indeed, the Russian battleships (for example, take the newest type of Borodino) had a construction overload of 600 tons, but then it was a general misfortune for world shipbuilding. So, “Mikasa” had extra tons of 782, “Sikishima” - 510 tons. Was there an overload? Before entering the ships of the 2 Pacific Squadron, additional supplies were loaded, but little was left from it. The supernumerary ammunition was also loaded, but he was shot during training in Madagascar. The ships were often loaded with supernumerary and coal, but during the last bunkering of 23 (10) in May, on the eve of the battle, they did not. It is noteworthy that the investigative commission, which accused Rozhdestvensky of everything she could, did not impute an overload to him. Well, finally, there are photos of Russian battleships that surrendered to 28 (15) of May, which clearly shows that the Russian battleships had no significant overload during the battle.
Then why did the Russian battleships roll over? Yes, because they received such damage, in which, according to the experience of the First and Second World War, it is simply impossible not to roll over. Four torpedoes hit the Navarin and Suvorov, and all were on the same side. Borodino died as a result of an explosion of a kruyte-chamber of an average 152-mm tower located below the waterline. That is, "Navarin", "Suvorov" and "Borodino" turned upside down due to strong asymmetrical flooding. Oslyabya received for 40 minutes about 100 high-explosive shells in caliber 305 – 152 mm. Almost all the shells hit the unarmored nose, and both of the nasal compartments turned to mush. The requirements for the unsinkability of warships of the beginning of the 20th century allowed the death of a ship when two compartments were flooded. Therefore, having lost two compartments, the battleship began to sink with its nose and turned over the same way as half a century later - Novorossiysk.
Guards battleship "Emperor Alexander III" during the battle received a huge number of hits (roughly more than 120 shells caliber 305 – 152 mm). At the time of the death of the battleship was all engulfed in flames. The unarmored freeboard was broken, water poured into the hull through it, the spardek was burning, but the remaining guns were firing! The Guards battleship was dying the way the Guardship of the Russian Imperial Navy should die - all the 867 Guardsmen were killed in their combat positions. With such damage, it is not surprising that the ship overturned. For example, having received an exorbitant number of hits, the German ships also turned over: the armored cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in the battle of the Falkland Islands, the Blucher at Dogger-banks.
ERECTION TWO: ABOUT TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ON RUSSIAN SHIPS
There is an opinion that the mechanisms of the ships of the 2 Pacific squadron were worn out as a result of a long journey, and this was fatally affected in battle. Indeed, the squadron of Rozhestvensky passed 19 220 miles, but then Admiral Togo did not stand still. Until mid-December 1904, the entire Japanese fleet blocked Port Arthur, and then the Japanese had only five months to repair the machines and clean the boilers. It is difficult to say how the Japanese coped with this task during the development of shipbuilding at that time, but in the Tsushima battle of Togo, even at a decisive turning point, there was only an 15-knot junction, although at that moment each additional node brought the Japanese closer to victory. And in the Yellow Sea, catching up with the 1 Pacific Squadron, the Japanese were able to develop only 16 nodes. And where are the vaunted 18,5 nodes? It turns out that in a real battle, the Japanese battleships could give only 86% of the declared speed. Here you have the perfect state of Japanese mechanisms.
And what about us? According to the mechanics of the 2 and 3 of the armored units, their battleships could go at a speed of 13 nodes, that is, the same 86 – 87% of the full turn. The Emerald 28 (15) of May, breaking through to Vladivostok, was able to develop the course into the 21 node, that is, the 87,5% of the full turn obtained in the tests. It turns out that the wear of the main mechanisms was, but it was the same both in us and the Japanese, and therefore could not lead to defeat in battle. Not detected on the Russian ships during the battle and failures of auxiliary mechanisms, as well as drives weapons.
It is believed that the 2-I Pacific Squadron was formed from various types of ship personnel, and this was one of the reasons for the defeat of the Russian fleet. The fact that heterogeneity is bad, no one argues, but the heterogeneity of heterogeneity is different. In order to make a single combat line out of ships, they must have similar speeds and firing ranges. If all ships meet these requirements, then none of them will be a burden, and everyone will be able to contribute to the victory. On the Russian ships all the main-caliber guns could fire at a distance of 50 cable. I remind you that the battle was fought at a distance of 15 – 35 cable. Consequently, all ships were fit for artillery combat.
The Japanese squadron of Admiral Togo in Tsushima could squeeze the maximum 15 nodes. We - 13 – 13,5 nodes, could no longer give the battleships of coastal defense. During the battle in the Yellow Sea, the situation was the same: the Russian squadron was 13-th units, the Japanese - 16-th, and Admiral Togo did not have enough speed to cover the Russian column. And if it were not for the drama on the "Cesarevich", Rear Admiral Wilhelm Witgeft, who is the senior flagship and commander of the 1 Pacific Squadron, could possibly break through to Vladivostok. As we see, the diversity of the Russian squadron could not lead to defeat in the Tsushima battle.
ERROR THREE: ABOUT RUSSIA'S OCCUPATION IN SHIPBUILDING
There is an opinion that Russian shipbuilding could not build ships equivalent to the battleships and armored cruisers that were built for the Japanese fleet by advanced maritime powers - Britain, Italy, Germany and France. It is clear where the legs of this legend grow from. 70 years told us about Lapotnaya Russia. But even now there are historians who write the following: “The military-technical shortcomings of the Russian squadron are related to the backwardness of Russia in the field of military shipbuilding as a whole: ships lost in squadron speed, booking, artillery and projectile quality, logging construction, range finder accuracy, radio communication reliability and even in the coloring of the ships (black with yellow pipes). "
Let's see. The battleship Borodino had a full speed of the 17,8 node, and the Mikasa 18,6. The difference in one knot is insignificant. The somewhat slower speed of the Russian battleships was a consequence of their shorter length, and not the quality of the mechanisms.
Russian newest battleships had a smaller relative area of the armored side: 48% versus 67% in Mikasy and 58 – 59% in the rest of Japanese battleships. Less was the maximum thickness of armor: 194 mm (Borodino), 229 mm (Mikasa). But it's not about the backwardness of the domestic industry. Borodino had a larger freeboard than the Japanese battleships, and, as a result, a smaller relative booking area. But the high board provided the best seaworthiness. What is better - greater security or the ability to use weapons with greater excitement - is an open question to this day. And a smaller thickness of armor can not be reproached domestic shipbuilders. Armor is needed to hold the projectile, and what armor-piercing projectile could hold 229-mm armor at a distance of the 15 – 35 cable shot? Only 152-mm and below, but also true for 194-mm armor. It turns out that a little more than the thickness of the armor of the Japanese battleships did not give tangible advantages.
Talk about the backwardness of the Russian artillery, in comparison with the Japanese (English), have no basis. Russian naval artillery absorbed all the best of French, German and Russian military-technical thought. Neither in range, nor in the rate of fire, nor in the energy of a shot, were the Russian cannons inferior to English. They even surpassed them, which can be found evidence in many domestic publications devoted to naval artillery. As for the quality of domestic shells, this requires a special conversation, and we will discuss this later.
Russian ships were indeed painted with darker paint. But the darker color better hid the ships at night, protecting torpedoes from the destroyers. Of course, the lighter gray coloring of the Japanese ships was better in the daytime artillery battle, but at those combat distances at which the Tsushima battle was fought, this was not decisive.
We have reasons for pride. The placement of medium caliber in the towers allowed Borodino to have large sectors of shelling. The placement of the average caliber on the "Mikas" can not be considered successful. From 14 152-mm guns 10 was on the bottom of the battery deck, which made it impossible to use them in fresh weather, when firing against the waves. Another drawback of the design of the Japanese (English) battleships was the presence of doors in watertight bulkheads, down to the second bottom. While on Russian battleships and on modern warships, the doors in the watertight bulkheads were only above the main deck (bulkhead decks).
But, of course, do not think that the Russian battleships had no flaws. The one who does not build is not mistaken. The Achilles' heel of the Russian battleships were their battle cuttings. Here we must recognize the complete superiority of the Japanese (English) battleships. No less sad was the towers of medium caliber. Their design, thoughtlessly adopted by the French fleet, turned out to be worse than that used earlier in the Russian fleet. New towers jammed from falling under the fragments.
So, we have considered the main misconceptions associated with the Tsushima tragedy. Now consider its real causes. There are four of them. We will consider in ascending order, from lesser evil to greater.
The stern flag of the Aurora cruiser after the Battle of Tsushima is evidence of the valor and glory of Russian sailors
CAUSES OF INFECTION OF OUR SQUADS
The first reason - "myopia." Russian-Japanese relations were slowly but surely slipping into war. Japan built a fleet in European shipyards, and no need to be Nostradamus to understand why she did it. But the military-political leadership of the Russian Empire, not believing that Japan would dare to start a war, did not notice this. They realized only in 1899, and, as a result, they were two years late with the completion of the shipbuilding program. Therefore, the newest battleships of the Borodino type had to be brought into battle, without waiting for the completion of the acceptance tests, with all the ensuing consequences.
The second reason is mistakes in planning a war. The military planning of the Russian Empire of the late XIX - early XX centuries was, to put it mildly, not up to par. The main naval headquarters (GMSh) still considered England to be the main adversary. Therefore, in the framework of the seven-year shipbuilding program adopted in 1895, three “raiders” are laid out - armored cruisers of the “Peresvet” type, designed to fight in English communications, and not for a decisive squadron battle. It is completely incomprehensible where they would be based during the war with England, and it is also unclear how three raiders could inflict significant damage on British shipping? But it is quite obvious that the construction of three battleships-cruisers, instead of three squadron battleships, weakened the linear forces of the Russian fleet.
But the “adventure” with “Peresvet” is not the main puncture of the GMG. By the beginning of the war, Russia had 11 squadron battleships (excluding the forces closed to the Russian ships of the Black Sea), but only seven of them managed to become part of the 1 of the Pacific squadron. Of course, for various reasons, it was impossible to collect all the battleships in Port Arthur by the beginning of the war, but this does not in the least justify the GMG. 1-I Pacific squadron was preparing not for war, but to demonstrate the force that was supposed to keep Tokyo from the war. And for this, according to the General Staff, seven battleships and four armored cruisers were enough. That was the mistake. Instead of keeping the entire fleet in the Baltic in readiness for the march to the Far East, they began to frighten Japan with a weaker squadron than its fleet. If the GMG had left the fleet in the Baltic and waited for all five new battleships to enter, and then gave time to prepare the squadron, then it could leave Libava approximately at the beginning of 1905 of the year and arrive in Tsushima in late May. Then Rozhestvensky would have 16 squadron battleships and five armored cruisers against six battleships and eight armored cruisers of the Japanese fleet. That is, Rozhestvensky would have overwhelming superiority. To break the Russian fleet in parts, and also, using for its own benefit the insufficient carrying capacity of the Trans-Siberian Railway, to beat in parts and the Russian army — that was the Japanese plan of war. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that if the Russian fleet in full force were in the Baltic Sea 1904, then Japan would not dare to start a war.
The third reason - mistakes in the leadership of the battle. The above errors deprived Rozhdestvensky of the ability to break up Togo, but did not rule out the possibility of a breakthrough to Vladivostok. It was only necessary to have a squadron course of 13 nodes, and then Togo, which had only 2 extra nodes, would not have been able, as before, in the Yellow Sea, to cover the Russian squadron. But instead, Rozhdestvensky takes with him transports, reducing the squadron’s move by four knots, condemning the squadron to defeat. Although it would be logical after the last bunkering to send transports to neutral Manila. Why didn't he do that? The supply of Vladivostok for the basement of the 2 Pacific squadron there was insufficient. The squadron would have to stand idle in Vladivostok, increasing its combat capability as supplies progressed. And so, in order not to “wait for the weather by the sea,” Rozhestvensky decided to take with him supplies. What is better - to stand in Vladivostok or sink in Tsushima? The answer, perhaps, is obvious.
The fourth reason and the main - shells. Through the efforts of Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov, an armor-piercing cap invented by him appeared on Russian armor-piercing shells. The cap, on average, increased the armor penetration rate of the projectile by 14% (at a distance of 30 cable), and this is the merit of Makarov. But on this superiority of the Russian projectile ended. About Makarov usually accepted to write either well or very well. But this approach is not true. We will not understand the role of Makarov in the death of "Petropavlovsk", we will talk about the shells.
Russian shells are rightly blamed for underweight. Indeed, they were lighter than any foreign projectile of equal caliber. But at the same time, they somehow forget that Makarov was the ideologue of "relief", remaining until the end of his days a supporter of the "light" projectile. Before 1892, Russian shells were among the heaviest. For example, the Russian 305-mm armor-piercing projectile weighed 454 kg (versus 385 kg of English), and became the lightest, the same Russian 305-mm projectile began to weigh 332 kg. A light projectile has a more flat trajectory, which increases the accuracy of shooting at a distance to 15 cable. And it was relevant for the end of the XIX century, but by the beginning of the Russian-Japanese war optical scopes appeared, and the firing range increased at least twice. At a distance of 30 cable "light" shells have already lost their superiority. However, Makarov and the Marine Technical Committee (MTC) remained true to the concept of a “light” projectile. The price of relief was a reduction in BB. In the Russian 305-mm "light" armor-piercing projectile contained only 4,3 kg of explosives, and in the old "heavy" - 9 kg. And this situation was with all Russian shells, they were all "light."
Such an important indicator as a high-explosive fragmentation impact was simply not given due attention. For example, in the Russian fleet there were no real high-explosive shells, that is, shells with an instantaneous fuse. Even 75-mm projectiles were only armor-piercing. A high-explosive projectile is effective against unarmored targets, that is, destroyers, therefore, it was mine artillery that suffered from their absence in the first place.
But this is not all the troubles. Russian shells were supplied with Brink's double-caps fuses. It is clear that the fuse is a very important element of the projectile, but, despite this evidence, there was no proper attention from the ITC. The funds of the Russian State Archive of the Navy have an interesting correspondence relating to the year 1904. In it, the director of a state-owned plant producing fuses complains to the chief inspector of naval artillery about the violation of production technology. And instead of clearly stating its position, MTC simply keeps silent. Looking through the MTC magazines, one can quite often find examples of fuse failures. Thus, during the 16 of February on the 1904 of the year at the artillery firing range, of the eight new 152-mm armor-piercing shells launched, five did not explode due to the fault of the fuses.
The British naval attache in Tokyo, Captain William Pekinham, who was on the battleship Asahi during the Tsushima battle, reports that every third Russian projectile did not explode.
MARINE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE: BAD, VERY BAD
Unfortunately, this is not all. At that time, in all foreign armor-piercing shells, gunpowder was used, since the other explosives were not suitable, since they detonated in contact with the armor. The Russian armor-piercing projectile was loaded with pyroxylin, and so that it did not detonate when penetrating the armor, it was moistened with 30 – 35%. Undermining such a moistened pyroxylin is in itself a difficult matter, and here it is also the moistening of the fuse itself. Fuse because in the armor-piercing shell bottom. When fired, the water that had moistened pyroxylin was collected in the bottom part of the projectile, the fuse was moistened and not detonated at full strength, due to which moist pyroxylin could not detonate. So, during the Gull incident, an 75-mm projectile hit the Aurora cruiser, and the shell was only torn off the bottom, otherwise it remained intact. That is, the fuse worked, but not explosives. After the end of the war, the MTC fought off the press, defending the honor of the uniform and wet pyroxylin. In the 1906 year, hastily and almost secretly reloaded shells for smokeless powder, and in the second half of the year they already poured TNT (tol).
There is a more terrible testimony in the journal MTC. 18 – 20 of September 1906 of the year at the artillery range was subjected to comparative testing of armor-piercing shells with moistened pyroxylin and gunpowder. And then a terrible thing opened up: shells with gunpowder were given 3 – 4 times more fragments than with pyroxylin. In the margins of the test report, there were records in pencil opposite the data on the breaks in pyroxylin shells: “bad” and “very bad”. Very correct, but, unfortunately, already too late evaluation. So you think what Sir Packinham meant when he wrote that two-thirds of the Russian shells still exploded. But if they were torn in the same way as in the Gull incident or as in the course of testing, then it would be the same as they did not. So try to fight with such shells.
It's a shame, because we correctly did that we only fired at armored vessels with armor-piercing shells, while the Japanese, according to the English military regulations, used only high-explosive shells. In the Tsushima battle, in order to sink the battleship, it took more than 100 hits of high-explosive shells 305 –152 mm. For comparison: during World War I, 10 – 15 armor-piercing hits will suffice, and that is why only armor-piercing shells will be used in linear combat.
If only our shells were torn! And what if they really rushed? For the first 30 minutes of the battle, Mikasa got to 10 305-mm and 22 152-mm armor-piercing shells. The 305-mm Russian armor-piercing projectile hit the Fuji's main caliber aft turret, but the explosion was so weak that the eight cards in the tower and six shells almost did not suffer. Many Japanese ships were hit in the casemates of medium caliber, but in one case there was no detonation of ammunition located there. But in the Japanese kruyt-chambers were charges of explosive English cardit - the culprit of the explosions of the British ships in the battle of Jutland.
Now imagine that the MTC does not imitate, but performs its duties. Therefore, they would have returned to the old heavy shells, taking them from warehouses, but TNT had already equipped them, and the quality of the fuses was brought to the level of the Russian fuses of the First World War. Then, based on the experience of the Battle of Jutland, it can be argued that already in the first forty minutes of the battle, after Mjasa, Mikasa would follow, and then Fuji, and maybe another Togo squadron. It is unlikely that the Japanese would continue after this naseat. Most likely they would have retreated, and then only the destroyers would attack the Russian squadron under cover of night. But the main part of the core of the 1 Pacific squadron would still reach Vladivostok. And now we would remember about Tsushima not as a shameful defeat, but as Pyrrhic, but still a victory.
It would be correct to confirm with field test the unsuitability of the “Tsushima” shells, conduct an investigation and identify the perpetrators, checking at the same time whether English or Japanese intelligence was unaware of the unsuitability of the Russian shells, and, finally, it is necessary to get acquainted with the Japanese archives.