As a mixture of the tragic and the farcical, the 1904-5 voyage of an antiquated Russian fleet halfway around the world, only to be destroyed by Japan at the battle of Tsushima, is hard to beat in the annals of military incompetence. The squadron, under Admiral Rojdestvensky, set off from northern Russia with orders to locate and sink the Japanese. However, their first inglorious encounter was with a group of British fishing vessels near the Dogger Bank in the North Sea. The Russians mistook the peaceful trawlers for Japanese warships and opened fire, damaging the boats and almost causing war with Britain. When the Russians eventually reached the Far East they were attacked and destroyed within a few minutes by modern Japanese firepower at the battle of Tsushima – rightly seen as ushering in hi-tech 20th century naval warfare, and the arrival of Japan as a major power. This book is based on the posthumous letters to his wife of Eugene Politovsky, Engineer-in-Chief to the Russian fleet, who was killed in the battle. They give a graphic account of life in the chaotic Russian fleet. Tsushima presaged the crushing defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War which touched off the 1905 Revolution – a dress rehearsal for 1917.
FROM LIBAU TO TSUSHIMA A Narrative of the Voyage of Admiral Rojdestvensky’s Fleet to Eastern Seas
An inside account of the tragic voyage of the Russian fleet to its doom at the the hands of the Japanese at the Battle of Tsushima – based on the letters home of the Chief Russian engineer who was killed in the battle.