The route of Russian Baltic Fleet in Russo-Japanese War

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,818
Dispargum
#11
Thank you for your replies. Rgearding the naval warfare of this war and period, what kind of ship formations / naval tactics were used in battles such as Port Arthur, Ulsan, Tsushima? I am not familiar with naval tactics of this period, I am more familiar with naval warfare of 18th century and early 19th century, but I guess Napoleonic era is far from this period, where ships were arranged in line formations and very close to the enemy fleet. However, in this war, with a wide variety of ship classes: Battleships, armored and protected cruisers, destroyers, torpedo boats, my guess is ships in line formations were no longer feasible.
Line tactics were still used. It was the easiest way for an admiral to command his fleet by simply telling the other ships "Follow me and do what I do." Ships could bring more of their guns to bear by shooting at a target off to the side rather than a ship dead ahead or astern. At Tsushima Admiral Toga executed every admiral's dream tactic of crossing the Russian T. Togo's ships were the cross bar of the T while the Russians were the stem. Togo's ships could therefore bring all their guns to bear while the Russians could only engage with their forward guns.

There were new weapons coming into use besides just guns. At Tsushima both the torpedo and the mine sank ships. Scout ships used radios to inform Togo of Russian movements beyond visual range from the flag ship. Electric search lights were used in night fighting. Gun ranges had increased significantly since Trafalgar. At Tsushima, some of the biggest guns were able to fire 14 km.
 
Jul 2009
9,770
#12
Thank you for your replies. Rgearding the naval warfare of this war and period, what kind of ship formations / naval tactics were used in battles such as Port Arthur, Ulsan, Tsushima? I am not familiar with naval tactics of this period, I am more familiar with naval warfare of 18th century and early 19th century, but I guess Napoleonic era is far from this period, where ships were arranged in line formations and very close to the enemy fleet. However, in this war, with a wide variety of ship classes: Battleships, armored and protected cruisers, destroyers, torpedo boats, my guess is ships in line formations were no longer feasible.
Ships with the heaviest gun power were still used in line ahead formation. The Japanese had lost two of their six modern battleships early in the war (mines), so armored cruisers were added to the IJN's line. Torpedo boats and destroyers were used as fast strike assets (as at Port Arthur - attack w/o declaration of war). DDs also screened the line against opposing torpedo attacks.

The naval tactic of "crossing the T" was still valid, but in more situations in modern naval combat the ranges were much greater due to the range of naval artillery. The ranges at Yellow Sea and Tsushima for example were an "unheard of" 10-12 miles, and also closer at a still considerable 8 miles. The IJN trained to deliver a faster rate of fire in order to maximize its effects. The IJN had better British range finders as well. That was a force multiplier as was the effect of the newer shimosa high explosive shells that wreaked destruction and uncontrollable fires aboard the Russian ships.

Japan also saw in the torpedo another weapon that could be used aggressively as their doctrine came to include and emphasize it.

EDIT:
@Chlodio,

Well, you aced me out as I was getting lunch. However, I see we are mostly on the same page. :)
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,570
Eastern PA
#13
Line tactics were still used. It was the easiest way for an admiral to command his fleet by simply telling the other ships "Follow me and do what I do." Ships could bring more of their guns to bear by shooting at a target off to the side rather than a ship dead ahead or astern. At Tsushima Admiral Toga executed every admiral's dream tactic of crossing the Russian T. Togo's ships were the cross bar of the T while the Russians were the stem. Togo's ships could therefore bring all their guns to bear while the Russians could only engage with their forward guns.

There were new weapons coming into use besides just guns. At Tsushima both the torpedo and the mine sank ships. Scout ships used radios to inform Togo of Russian movements beyond visual range from the flag ship. Electric search lights were used in night fighting. Gun ranges had increased significantly since Trafalgar. At Tsushima, some of the biggest guns were able to fire 14 km.
Every time that I read about the advantage of "crossing the T", I am reminded how Nelson was hailed as a tactical genius at the Battle of Trafalgar. Go figure.
 
Mar 2019
884
Kansas
#14
Thank you for your replies. Rgearding the naval warfare of this war and period, what kind of ship formations / naval tactics were used in battles such as Port Arthur, Ulsan, Tsushima? I am not familiar with naval tactics of this period, I am more familiar with naval warfare of 18th century and early 19th century, but I guess Napoleonic era is far from this period, where ships were arranged in line formations and very close to the enemy fleet. However, in this war, with a wide variety of ship classes: Battleships, armored and protected cruisers, destroyers, torpedo boats, my guess is ships in line formations were no longer feasible.
In terms of tactics. Crossing the T was the holy grail of the era......and well into WW2. What was extremely important was the impact the battle had on ship design. At the time battleships had a crazy mix of guns, each designed to do specific jobs, and the expectation was that battles would be fought at very close range.

The Americans and British looked at the battle and realized the thing to do was put as many of the biggest guns you could on a ship rather than mix them up. Let the battleships sit at long range and slug it out. Cruisers took care of cruisers, destroyers handling destroyers etc etc.

And from the concept came the Dreadnought class of ships, which effectively became the design plan for all future battleships right up to the end of WW2
 
Jul 2009
9,770
#15
I would mention that the concept of the all-big-gun ship was underway, though not yet realized, before Tsushima (1905). The Italians had broached the subject with an naval architect's article in Janes before the Russo-Japanese War. The idea had been around in the R.N. since the 1890s. Adm Fisher had design and engineering proposals prepared and decided upon in 1904, and HMS Dreadnought was on the stocks with pre-ordered material a few months after Tsushima.

The R-J war was, however a pre-dreadnought naval war, and it has its level of interest on its own. (I really like pre-dreadnought battleships and other pre-WW I steel ships. Very interesting.)
 
Last edited:
Likes: xander.XVII
Mar 2019
884
Kansas
#16
I would mention that the concept of the all-big-gun ship was underway, though not yet realized, before Tsushima (1905). The Italians had broached the subject with an naval architect's article in Janes before the Russo-Japanese War. The idea had been around in the R.N. since the 1890s. Adm Fisher had design and engineering proposals prepared and decided upon in 1904, and HMS Dreadnought was on the stocks with pre-ordered material a few months after Tsushima.
Yeah I think everyone was headed that way. The US had been tinkering with the idea since 1901 About the only country caught with their pants down was the Germans.
 
Jul 2009
9,770
#18
Tojo's flagship, the Mikasa ("My House"...) is still available to visit in Yokosuka, Japan.
As all the other early Japanese BBs Mikasa was built in Britain (John Brown? or Thames I.W.?, not sure). A very serviceable design like the HMS Majestic and HMS Formidable classes. Great ships.

She was sunk after the R-J war by a magazine explosion; raised and repaired. Only second line duties after that, and was demilitarized after the Washington Treaty.
 

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