The most interesting thing is that Russia, after the defeat in the Eastern War, was intensively preparing for a cruising war. True, she was preparing to strike not at Japanese maritime communications, but at English. England also depended on shipping, and her colonial empire held on to supremacy in the oceans. Moreover, England was many times more powerful opponent than Japan. In Russian shipyards, special armored cruisers were built, which were supposed to smash the enemy's sea communications. With state funds and voluntary donations in 1878 created the so-called Volunteer Fleet. Initially, three ocean freight passenger ships were acquired from the well-known German shipping company of the Hamburg-American Joint-Stock Company: Golzation, Thuringia, and Gammon. After arriving in Kronstadt, these vessels were added to the list of military vessels fleet as the cruisers "Russia", "Moscow" and "Petersburg". In addition, the Saxony steamer was purchased, which became Nizhny Novgorod in honor of the Nizhny Novgorod province, which was in third place in fundraising after St. Petersburg and Moscow. A little earlier, Friedrich Krupp purchased artillery for these ships - three 210-mm, six 170-mm and ten 150-mm guns. Volunteer fleet cruisers were included in the Pacific squadron.
In peacetime, the ships of the Volunteer fleet transported civilian and military cargo, passengers, and in the military they were to be used for the transfer of troops, military materials, and also as auxiliary cruisers (raiders) on enemy communications. By the end of 1903, the Volunteer Fleet had a rather impressive power: the 74 steamer with a displacement from 900 to 15 thousand tons. Russia could easily convert part of the steamboats of the Volunteer Fleet into supply vessels, coal miners. It was possible to charter coal miners in other countries, for example, the Germans, to create secret supply depots on numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean, which at that time were mostly deserted or poorly populated. Create a supply base on Sakhalin and Kamchatka. Moreover, given that China was a semi-colony by 1904 and was highly decentralized, it was obvious that local Chinese authorities would always be happy to supply Russian ships with food and coal for good money.
In addition, Russia had a sufficient number of old battleships and cruisers who could not fight in a linear battle with modern Japanese squadron battleships, but were quite suitable for a cruising war. These were battleships of the type "Emperor Alexander II" - "Emperor Alexander II" and "Emperor Nicholas I". Alexander II arrived in Kronstadt after a long Mediterranean march and was being renovated by the beginning of the war with Japan. In December, the 1903 of the year replaced the boilers, replaced most of the artillery. The ship was quite combat-ready, could lead cruising operations. "Emperor Nicholas I" was included in the Separate detachment of ships under the command of Rear Admiral Nikolai Nebogatov and capitulated during the Tsushima battle. Both battleships could not fight with modern Japanese squadron battleships, but could sink an enemy armored cruiser and guaranteed to destroy Japanese coastal defense ships.
In the Baltic there were other ships suitable for cruising war: armored cruisers of the type “Dmitry Donskoy” - “Dmitry Donskoy” and “Vladimir Monomakh” (both cruisers were killed in the Tsushima battle); armored cruiser "Admiral Nakhimov" (also died in the "Tsushima Battle"); armored cruiser "Admiral Kornilov"; armored cruiser "Memory of Azov". There were also several smaller tonnage vessels that could be used as raiders. The Almaz cruiser, which also participated in the Tsushima battle and was the only cruiser to break through to Vladivostok. The imperial yacht “Polar Star”: it was designed as a “cruiser yacht” and under the project after mobilization it could carry artillery weapons, including eight 152-mm guns. The Imperial yacht “Standart”: in 1930-e, it was converted into a minelayer.
It is necessary to take into account the fact that the Russian treasury in 1904 was full, and the empire could afford the purchase of dozens of ships. It was possible to dramatically increase the combat capabilities of the fleet, and moreover in a short time. There was a resource for the personnel of the new auxiliary cruisers: Russia could mobilize the crews of merchant ships, as well as use thousands of well-trained commanders and sailors from the old warships of the Baltic and Black Sea fleet (coastal defense battleships). In addition, the Black Sea Fleet could become a source of supply for dozens of 152-, 120- and 70-mm cannons, hundreds of shells, torpedo tubes, torpedoes, mines and thousands of well-trained sailors, gunners and miners. The Russian Empire had every opportunity to emerge victorious from the war and bring Japan to its knees.
However, all these opportunities were ineptly missed. The government of Nicholas II in general can be called a record holder for missed opportunities and undermining the defenses of the state. Various private businessmen and high-ranking military figures, such as the governor-general in the Far East, Admiral Yevgeny Alekseev (illegitimate son of Alexander II) did virtually everything to make Russia lose the 1904-1905 war.
Several dozen Russian cruisers and raiders could have brought Japan to the brink of an economic catastrophe (she came to her already, but by the end of the war) even before the march of the 2 Pacific squadron and the fall of Port Arthur. The forces of the Japanese fleet were to guard the Russian squadron in Port Arthur, and having allocated for this purpose the main forces in order to be able to fight in line with the Russian ships, guard the Vladivostok Cruiser detachment, and also provide communications between Japan, Korea and Manchuria, where the Japanese armies were . Therefore, the Japanese command was not able to allocate sufficient forces (both in qualitative and quantitative terms) to counter Russian cruisers. Russian ships could not only destroy and seize ships from Japan and Japan, but also strike at ports, industrial enterprises, land tactical landings, sabotage detachments, put minefields on Japanese communications.
The cruiser "Dmitry Donskoy".
Exit 2 th Pacific squadron was accompanied by rumors that a detachment of Japanese destroyers made their way into Western Europe, and the Japanese plan to attack Russian ships while passing the Danish Straits or in the North Sea. The idea sounded pretty fantastic, but they believed in it. It was truly unstructured management, when rumors forced government agencies to react in the direction needed by the enemy. The sources of these rumors are still unknown. Sources of misinformation could make the Japanese intelligence and the British intelligence service. They wanted to tighten and complicate the exit squadron Rozhestvensky, winning time. In addition, the expectation of an attack could have caused some incidents, disrupting the march of Russian ships.
The Russian Maritime Office already in April 1904 of the year appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the organization with its help of active undercover intelligence through diplomats in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, England and other states. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the request of the fleet, and the ambassadors requested refused to undertake the organization of undercover intelligence work in "their" countries. Then the Maritime Ministry entered into negotiations with the Ministry of the Interior and its Police Department. The head of the Police Department, Lopukhin, entrusted the organization of the protection of the route of the 2 Pacific Squadron in the Danish, Swedish-Norwegian and German waters to the head of the Berlin Russian political agency collegiate councilor Garting (Heckelmann). Garting was a former revolutionary recruited by the "secret police". Garting reported that he organized a wide network of observation posts in Denmark and Sweden, and he chartered the Ellen yacht and other vessels for operations at sea. Garting reported on the organization of a wide agent network in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany. At these events he received several hundred thousand francs. In fact, all these activities were "bogus", Garting deceived the authorities. In fact, his activity was misinformed by the naval command.
As a result, the squadron commanders were nervous, and they saw Japanese destroyers everywhere. Given the fact that England, without entering the war, supported Japan, the fears seemed real. The destroyers, who were part of the Second Pacific Squadron, were ordered at night not to allow any ship to cross the path of the squadron and approach a distance less than the 4 cable; give a warning shot under the nose of the approaching vessel, indicate to him the course of exit from the restricted area or wait until the Russian ships pass; in the event of the vessel’s failure to comply with these requirements, open fire. The order to open fire could give and watch the chief. In the North Sea, the Kamchatka transport, due to damage in the mechanisms, fell behind and opened fire on unknown ships. The flagship squadron battleship "Prince Suvorov" received a report from "Kamchatka" about the attack "from all sides by the destroyers." On the night of October 22, 1904 of the year in the Dogger cans area, on the flagship, found silhouettes of small vessels marching without lights. Shooting began, with the guns of both sides. "Suvorov" supported by other ships. Even their own cruisers, “Dmitry Donskoy” and “Aurora”, which were taken for enemy ships, came under attack. 5 shells got into the Aurora, the ship's priest was seriously wounded (he died soon after).
Later it turned out that the English fishing vessels had taken over the enemy destroyers, which for an unknown reason were marching without lights. One ship was drowned, five were damaged, the fisherman 2 was killed, 6 was injured. Fishing vessels had a port of registry Hull, so all this история received the name of the Gull incident. The British authorities launched a hysterical campaign in the press and even began to threaten with retaliatory measures. The Russian squadron of Rozhestvensky was called the “squadron of a rabid dog”, and the incident itself was called “an act of open piracy”. Admiral Rozhestvensky demanded to bring the military tribunal to trial. What is interesting is that when 1894, the English ship Coaching, was destroyed by the Japanese ship Naniwa, England was silent. Although the Japanese sank the ship of the British shipowning company "Jardin and Matcheson" under the British flag before the declaration of war to China, and the captain of Togo ordered the shooting of drowning people.
The question of the mysterious destroyers, which the fishermen saw, remained a mystery. Russian destroyers were far ahead of the squadron. The British authorities threatened to assemble a fleet of 28 battleships and 18 cruisers and destroy the Russian squadron. But it was an empty threat. Technically, such a fleet could only be assembled for a long period of time by transferring ships from the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the Mediterranean Sea. Several English cruisers approached the Russian squadron. Admiral Rozhestvensky wrote to his wife: “The British either built the incident, or were involved by the Japanese in a position from which there is no easy outcome ...”. The situation was threatening. But then Berlin intervened in the conflict, which at that time was clearly leaning towards St. Petersburg. London abruptly changed the tone. The case was settled by diplomatic means. The Russian government paid British fishermen 65 thousand pounds sterling.
The British remained true to themselves and meanly revenge. In order to compensate for the consumption of shells, a transport with ammunition was sent for the squadron. Chartered an English steamer. Waited for him in Madagascar - did not come, did not appear in the Kamran Bay. In Manila, the ship finally got stuck, as Japanese agents promised to destroy it. As a result, the Russian squadron was left without an adequate supply of shells and in the battle was supposed to save ammunition.
Japan could not win the war without relying on Anglo-American capital. British bankers funded military training in Japan. Japan entered the American money market during the war. Before the war, it could not be reached. Despite the support of the American president and bankers of the City of London. In April, 1904, a Jewish banker, Schiff, and the large banking house, Kun, Loeb, and the company, together with a syndicate of British banks, including Hong Kong-Shanghai, presented a Tokyo loan of 50 million dollars. Half of the loan was placed in England, the other - in the United States.
In November, 1904, Japan placed a new loan in England and the United States - for 60 million dollars. In March, 1905 of the year was followed by a third loan - already for 150 million dollars. In July, 1905, Japan placed its fourth loan - again on 150 million dollars. These foreign forces covered more than 40% of the Japanese Empire’s military spending, which reached 1730 million yen. Without British and American money, Japan would not have been able to wage war for a long time. We must not forget that without financial assistance from England and the United States, military technical assistance, the outcome of the war would have been different. Japan was just a tool in better hands.