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The Official Version
of the Japanese General Staff
The Discovery of the Russian Fleet.
The commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, had collected his units in the Korean Straits, and was watching the movements of the reinforcing fleet of Russia. They left Madagascar in the middle part of March, and, after a stay on the coast of Annam, gradually cruised north. Togo, making battle preparations since the middle part of May, awaited this fleet, which at last, on the dawn of May 27, arrived. At this time, the greater part of the first and second divisions were at Katoku Channel, on the southern coast of Korea. A greater part of the third fleet were at Ozaki Bay. The third division was cruising northwest of Shirase Island. The converted cruisers America Maru, Sado Maru, Shinano Maru, and the Manshu Maru were distributed west of Shirase. The Akitsushima and the Izumi were to the eastward, close at hand to the above four ships. At 2:45 a.m. the Shinano Maru, while cruising northeast, and at a point 40 sea miles north and ½ sea mile west of Shirase, discovered to port, lights of a steamer cruising to the eastward. Drawing near, she made out three lights (white, read, and white) on the mizzen mast. As the moon was in the eastern sky, and as the Shinano Maru was to the eastward, it was impossible to distinguish the stranger. Then the Shinano Maru, increasing her speed, crossed astern of this ship, to her port side. At 4:30 a.m., drawing closer, she found her to be a ship of three masts and two stacks, which, from her appearance, seemed to be the Russian converted cruiser Dneiper, but on closer examination, found that she has no battery. While the captain of the Shinano Maru was conjecturing as to whether she was a hospital ship or not, he perceived that she was making signals with electric lights to him, evidently taking his ship for a companion ship. He at once knew that there must be other ships at hand, but as it was not yet dawn, and the mist hung heavy, he was unable to make out any other ships. Deciding to make a closer examination of the stranger, he drew nearer, and while doing so, discovered several trails of smoke, then the outline of a number of ships, heading northeast, at a distance of less than 1500 meters and on the port bow. He at once realized that his ship was in the center of the enemy's fleet. He quickly changed course, and at the same time reported the appearance of the enemy. The time was just 4:45 am, May 27. He also reported that the enemy was on a course about ENE., which would take them through the eastern channel of Tsushima. On account of the mist, at 5:20 a.m. he lost sight of the enemy, and at 6:05 a.m. again picked them up, and kept in close contact until he changed course to avoid a destroyer, at which time he discovered smoke to the southward. Changing course, he proceeded in that direction. The Izumi receiving the Shinano Maru's report, changed course and went in search of them. At 6:45 a.m. she picked them up at a point Lat. 33 degrees N., Long. 128 degrees 50/ E. From this time the Izumi relieved the Shinano Maru, keeping in contact with them on a parallel course, at a distance of five sea miles to the southward of them, and reported the number and the movements of the ships. Admiral Kataoka, with the third fleet, was at Ozaki Bay, and when he received the report, transmitted it to the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo. At the same time he ordered his command to prepare for action. The sixth division (Suma and Chiyoda-the Akitsushima and Izumo were absent), and the tenth and fifteenth torpedo-boat flotillas, under the command of the division commander, Rear Admiral Togo got under way at 5:44 a.m. Admiral Kataoka, with the fifth division (dispatch boat Yaeyama added), the eleventh and twentieth torpedo flotillas, the seventeenth and eighteenth torpedo flotillas (attached to the Takeshiki Naval Station) and the Shirataka, of the sixteenth flotilla, followed, and attempting to ascertain the course of the enemy, cruised to the southward of Kinzaki. Admiral Kataoka then ordered the division commander, Admiral Yamada, with the seventh division, to proceed to that cape, and if possible, to ascertain the strength of the enemy. At 9:55 a.m., when 7 1/2 sea miles S. by E. of Kinzaki, he discovered the enemy's fleet to the southward. Admiral Kataoka ordered the torpedo craft and the Yaeyama to take shelter for a while in the vicinity of this cape until he found out the enemy's movements. At 10:00 a.m. he ordered the fifth division to cruise northeast to a position four or five sea miles on the port bow of the enemy, and keep in close contact. Then he ordered the Suma, Chiyoda, the Akitsushima of the sixth division, the Yaeyama, the tenth, fifteenth, and five other flotillas to join. Up to this time the enemy had often changed course and there was some apprehension that they would be lost from view. At ten minutes past noon Admiral Kataoka, detaching the sixth division, ordered them to take position ahead of the enemy and keep in contact. The conditions were constantly reported to the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo. The third division (Kasagi, the flagship of Admiral Dewa, Chitose, Niitaka, and the Otowa) by means of the report of the Shinano Maru, knew of the enemy's appearance. In order to get in contact with them, Admiral Dewa, increasing speed, cruised to the southeastward at 5:50 a.m., discovered a hospital ship of the enemy, and from that time cruised to the southward. At 7 a.m., from the report of the Izumi, he knew that the enemy's ships were to the northward. He cruised with great speed for more than three hours to the northeastward, and at last, about 15 sea miles south of Kinzaki, picked them up in the mist. Keeping them on his starboard beam at a distance of about four or five sea miles he cruised along. At 11:42 a.m., he exchanged fire with the enemy for a while, then took at position ahead of the enemy.
General Account of the Battle.
On this day the commander-in-chief, Togo, was on his flagship, the Mikasa, in Chinkai Bay; the first, second, and fourth divisions, etc., were in Katoku Channel. At 5:05 a.m., the commander of the second fleet, when he received the report, ordered his command to get under way. The first division (dispatch boat Tatsuda added), the second division (dispatch boat Chihaya added, the Asama detained, joining at 10 a.m.), the fourth division, the first, second, third and fifth destroyer flotillas, as well as the ninth, fourteenth and nineteenth torpedo flotillas, one after another got under way. (The fourth destroyer flotilla, intending to join the third division, was in Ozaki Bay on this date.) The commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, sent a message from Chinkai Bay to the Imperial headquarters, telling of the appearance of the enemy's fleet, and his intention to engage and destroy them. The weather this day was fine, but the sea was high. At 6:34 a.m., leading in a grand array of more than forty-six ships, he left for the scene of action. From reports received often, he knew the strength, formation, and course of the enemy's fleet. He determined to attack in the vicinity of Okinoshima. From the channel, taking a suitable course, he headed for his objective. At this time the surface of the sea was enveloped in mist and the range of vision did not exceed 4 or 5 sea miles. A WSW wind with a strength of 4 or 5 was blowing. The sea being high, the cruising of the torpedo craft was difficult. Therefore the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, ordered the torpedo-boat flotillas to take shelter in Miura Bay, and to join the fleet when the opportunity arose. Continuing on his course with the destroyers and larger ships, he arrived north of Okinoshima at noon. From the reports of Admiral Kataoka he knew that the enemy's fleet was cruising NE by E., about 12 sea miles north of Wakamiya Island, off Iki Province. Changing course often, he picked up the third division at 1:15 p.m. bearing SW. by W., and saw the fifth and sixth divisions to the westward. At 1:39 p.m. he was about to make out the enemy's fleet at a great distance to the southwestward. Hereupon orders were given to open the engagement. In order to attack the enemy's fleet on the left flank, at 1:40 p.m. he ordered the first and second divisions, constituting the main strength, to change course to NW. by N. On the forward bridge of the Mikasa, the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, surrounded by his staff, watched the enemy with field glasses. The enemy at that time was about seven sea miles southwest of the Mikasa. The starboard column of the enemy consisted of four battleships of the Borodino type. The division, consisting of the Oslabaya, Sissoi Veliky, Navarin, and Admiral Nakhimov, formed the port column, and was followed by the Nikolai I, and three coast-defense battleships. Two ships, the Zhemsthug and Izumrud, were situated between the columns, guarding the front. In the rear, and hidden by the mist, were the Oleg and Aurora, and a division of second and third-class cruisers, as well as the Dmitri Donskoi, Vladimir Monomakh, special service ships, etc. At this point the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, changed his course to the west and made signal which read: "The fate of the Empire depends upon this battle; let every man do his utmost." At 2:02 p.m. the main fleet changed course and cruised SW by S. Apparently at first it was intended to run a counter course with the enemy, but at 2:25 p.m. the Mikasa suddenly changed course to ENE. The ships of the first and second divisions following, attempted to cross ahead of the enemy. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth divisions, standing to the southward, seemed to operate against the enemy's rear. At this time the leading ship of the enemy, which was running NE. by N. at a distance of 8000 meters southeast of the Japanese fleet, when she saw the Mikasa change course, thinking it a good opportunity, opened fire, and several other ships followed. The Japanese at 2:10 p.m. at a range of about 6000 meters, first opened fire. The Mikasa fired upon the Suvorov and Oslabaya, the leading ships. The Mikasa was followed by the other ships. Previous to this the right flank of the enemy advancing, running parallel to the left, seemed to be about to form single line ahead, but now both columns, changing course to the eastward, formed an irregular single line and seemed to intend to cruise parallel with the Japanese fleet, which also at times changed course. The Japanese destroyer flotillas were operating at discretion outside the enemy's fire. The first and second divisions increasing the attack, the Oslabaya took fire, and black smoke poured from her. As both fleets drew in to about 5000 meters, the Japanese fire increased in violence. The Suvorov, the leading ship, and the Imperator Alexander III, the second ship, both caught fire. The other ships one after another met the same fate. On account of the smoke and mist the Japanese at times ceased firing. The damage to the Japanese fleet was considerable. The steering gear of the Asama was damaged by a shell and this vessel for a time left the line for repairs, but continued to fire. Later she again joined the line. The main fleet, while continuing the attack, ran to the southeastward and took position ahead of the enemy. The enemy suddenly changing course to NE., and crossing astern of the Japanese fleet, it was feared that they might escape. The first division turning about at 3:06 p.m., formed a line ahead, the Nisshin leading, and cruised WSW. The second division for a time followed, but as it was discovered that the various ships of the enemy were again about to cruise eastward, the main fleet again resumed its original course, increased its speed and advanced directly. At this time, the Suvorov left the line. Several other ships did the same. At 3:07 p.m. the Oslabaya sank. The various ships of the enemy in a confused condition changed course to SE., but the second division, expecting them to stand to the westward, at 3:08 p.m. changed course 16 points to port, and opened fire with their port batteries while standing to the westward. The fifth destroyer flotilla advancing, attacked the Suvorov, which was isolated. The dispatch boat Chihaya drawing near also discharged a torpedo. The first division which was cruising WNW in inverse order, on a counter course, opened a fierce fire with their port batteries. Then as the enemy again changed course, increasing the range, at 3:36 p.m. they changed course to port, made a complete turn and at 3:49 p.m. formed line ahead in regular order, cruised to the northeast and pressed the enemy which was then to the southeastward, later turning to the northward. The second division, changing course to starboard, took position ahead of the first division. Both fleets steamed NE. the enemy seeing it impossible to advance directly, gradually changed course to starboard and seemed to escape to the southward. Hereupon the second division, followed by the first division, changed course to the southward. The distance becoming greater, the second division turned to starboard, and took position on the bow of the first division, then from about 5 p.m. they cruised south together. The first destroyer flotilla attacked the Suvorov, which was isolated. The first and second divisions on account of smoke and mist lost sight of the enemy's main body and engaged in slow fire on the cruiser and transport divisions which now and then appeared. About 5:27 p.m. the first division again changed course to the northward and searched for the enemy's main fleet. The second division knew by the sound of gun-fire that the third division was engaged with the enemy's cruiser division and changed course to the southward. Thus these divisions had separated and operated independently. The first division, which was cruising on a course NNW., attacked the enemy (which now and then were picked up), with their port batteries. At about 5:50 p.m. they sank the converted cruiser Ural which was close at hand. Turning more to the northward, they discovered several ships of the enemy on the port bow. These ships appeared to be escaping to the northeastward, and drawing near, when on parallel courses they pressed the enemy hard. The enemy gradually easing off to port, ran to the northeastward. The Japanese coming out ahead of these ships directed a severe fire upon them. As a result of this, the Imperator Alexander III left the line and dropped astern. The Borodino, the leading ship (the enemy at this time it was said was cruising in the following order: Borodino, Orel, Nikolai I, Appraxin, Seniavin, Ushakov, Navarin, Sissoi Veliky, Nakhimov) took fire and at 7:23 p.m. suddenly sank. At this time the sun had nearly set. The Japanese torpedo craft from the northeastward and southward gradually closed in on the enemy. The commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, at 7:28 p.m. (sunset) ordered all ships to cruise north and gather at Utsuryoto by the next morning. The first division ceased firing and changed course to the eastward. The second division, which had separated from the first division, cruised to the westward and pursued the enemy for a while. Knowing that it would be impossible to overtake them, and as it was sunset, and not wishing to get too far away from the first division, at 6 p.m. they proceeded north to where they would most likely find them. At 6:30 p.m. the second division attacked the enemy's fleet, which again appeared on the port bow, and at 7 p.m., observing the Alexander III to sink, ceased firing and at 8:08 p.m. joined the first division. This concluded the operations of the main fleet for the first day. At 2 p.m. when the first and second divisions opened fire on the enemy's main fleet, the third, fourth, fifth and sixth divisions, in order to attack the transports, and the Oleg, Aurora, Svietlana, Almaz, Dmitri Donskoi, Monomakh, and the other craft, separated from the first and second division and stood rapidly to the southward. The third and fourth divisions opened fire on the enemy's cruiser division at 2:45 p.m. on a counter course, then turning and attacking their rear, passed to starboard and engaged them on a parallel course. With superior speed changing front at will they appeared on either flank whenever they so desired. The movements greatly confused the enemy and about 4 p.m. their formation was disorganized. At about 4:20 p.m. the fourth division attacked a transport (thought to have been the Rus) and inflicted great damage on another ship (thought to have been the Irtish). The ship sank on the 28th off Hamada, Iwami Province. About this time the fifth and sixth division joined. (The sixth division, before joining, overtook two hospital ships which were turned over to the Manshu Maru and the Sado Maru for detention.) About 4:40 p.m. four ships, thought to be battleships or seacoast defense ships, which were attached to the main fleet of the enemy, steamed south and joined the cruiser divisions. The Naniwa was damaged on the port quarter at the water line. She for a time avoided the engagement and made repairs. The Kasagi, about 3:08 p.m., receiving a shell in her port coal bunkers, made water rapidly and Admiral Dewa ordered the Niitaka and Otowa of his division to report to the first division. He, at 6 p.m., with the Chitose as convoy, took the Kasagi to Aburadina Bay. At 5:50 p.m. the second division coming from the northward, attacked the enemy's cruiser division and caused great confusion in their line. The greater part of these ships escaped to the northward, pursued by the fourth, fifth and sixth divisions. On the way they came across the Suvorov, which had become unmanageable, and the repair ship Kamchatka. The fourth division, while running north, opened fire on these ships, and the fifth and sixth divisions completed their destruction. The Kamchatka sank at 7:10 p.m. The 11th torpedo flotilla, operating with the fifth division, took part in the destruction of the Suvorov which sank at 7:20 p.m. As orders had been received to proceed to Utsuryoto, firing was ceased and all headed north. The special service ships proceeded to the scene of action to pick up any of the enemy's ships which had become unmanageable. The seventh division on this date took no active part. The commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, sent a telegram to the imperial headquarters and later reported in detail the operations of each division.
Detailed Account of the Battle Operations
of the First Division.
The Mikasa, flagship of Commander-in-Chief Togo, the Shikishima, the Fuji, the Asahi, the Kasuga, and the Nisshin and the dispatch boat Tatsuda, in a single line ahead, (the Tatsuda to port), followed by the second division, at 1:39 p.m., May 27, when cruising 10 sea miles northwest of Okinoshima, discovered in the mist to the southwest the enemy's fleet, which was then on course NE. by N. The Japanese fleet fixed their course at 2:02 p.m. SW. by W., showing an intention to cruise on a counter course with the enemy, but after about three minutes, quickly changed course to ENE and attempted to cross ahead of the enemy. At this time the enemy was about 8000 meters southeast of the Japanese fleet. The right column advanced slightly ahead of the left and seemed about to form line ahead. At this time, 2:08 p.m., the Shikishima, the second ship, turning took a new course. The Suvorov, the leading ship of the enemy, opened fire at 7000 meters and was soon followed by the other ships. The fire was concentrated upon the two leading Japanese ships and shells fell everywhere around them. The Japanese ships did not reply. At 2:10 p.m. the Mikasa, estimating the Suvorov's range at 6400 meters, opened fire. She was followed by the other ships. The Shikishima, the second ship, at 2:10 p.m., at an estimated range of 6800 meters concentrated on the Oslabaya. The third ship, the Fuji, at 2:11 p.m., at an estimated range of 6200 meters, also concentrated on the Oslabaya. The fourth ship, the Asahi, at 2:12 p.m., at an estimated range of 7000 meters, concentrated on the Suvorov. The Kasuga, the fifth ship, at the same time, at an estimated range of 5800 meters, concentrated on the Oslabaya. The sixth ship, the Nisshin, at 2:15 p.m. at an estimated range of 7000 meters, also concentrated on the Oslabaya. A WSW wind blowing, the sea was high. The ships rolled considerably and the guns on the main deck to windward were often submerged and aiming was very difficult. At 2:12 p.m., drawing in to about 5500 meters, the enemy gradually changed course to starboard and cruised nearly parallel with the Japanese ships in an irregular single line. The range at this time becoming greater, the first division at 2:15 p.m. changed course to E. by S. in order to decrease it. The battle now was at its height and the splash of the shells often reached to the upper bridges. At 2:18 p.m., at a range of about 5400 meters, the first division changed course to NE. by E. ½ E. and cruised parallel with the enemy. At a range of 4600 meters a quick fire was opened with all guns including the 12-pounders. The second division followed the first. The first division, keeping their formation, whereby the third and fourth ships were abeam of the leading ship of the enemy, concentrated on the Suvorov and Oslabaya. The remaining ships concentrated upon others of the enemy. The enemy fought bravely, but their lines became disorganized and on account of ships catching fire their hulls were enveloped in smoke. The Mikasa was struck by ten large caliber shells and all the other ships received more or less damage. At 2:24 p.m. the first division changed course slightly to starboard and at 2:35 p.m. headed true east and pressed harder on the enemy's front. The enemy unable to stand such a severe attack, at 2:35 p.m. changed course to E. by N. and then to E. ½ S. showing an intention to escape. The first division, keeping at a range of from 5000 to 6000 meters, hung on the enemy's front and continued to fire. At times the firing was stopped on account of the smoke. At 2:43 p.m. the first division changed course to ESE and then to SE ½ E., and together with the second division gave the enemy a raking fire. The enemy's ships were greatly confused and damaged. The flagship Suvorov and the Oslabaya had lost their stacks, their masts were destroyed and their hulls were enveloped in flame and smoke. The Oslabaya listing to port, down by the head, left the line and went out of range. Again turning to port and leading the other ships, she showed intention to attack the Japanese center. The first division, fearing they would escape to the northward by crossing astern, made an 8-point turn to port at 2:58 p.m., and separating from the second division, steamed NE. At 3:05 p.m. the first division ceased firing and again turning 8-points to port, formed a single line ahead with the Nisshin as leading ship, the Tatsudo to starboard, and stood WNW.
The Second Phase.
The enemy in the first phase had received great damage. The Oslabaya had sunk and the Suvorov had left the line. The first division of Japanese ships which had previously changed course 16 points to port, and were on course WNW., led by the Nisshin, at 3:07 p.m. opened severe fire on the enemy's front with their port batteries, at an estimated range of 5000 meters. The enemy with no semblance of formation were in great distress. The Japanese taking advantage of this, increased the severity of the attack at a range of from 2000 to 3000 meters. A torpedo attack was also carried out. At 3:24 p.m. the Japanese passing entirely though the enemy's lines had them on the port quarter. The enemy changed course and, as the range increased, were soon lost in the smoke and haze. The first division ceased firing, changed course 4 points to port, then making a second change of 8 points to port, assumed the original formation. The Mikasa leading with the Tatsuda on the port side, they ran NE. The enemy's flagship had already left the line and the second ship, Imperator Alexander III, became the leading ship. Leading the Borodino, Orel, Sissoi Veliky, Nakhimov and the other ships, she turned gradually to starboard. At about 4 p.m., being lost to view, their condition and formation were not known. The only thing that could be made out was the fierce attack of the Chiyoda and destroyer flotilla on the Suvorov about 7000 meters to the eastward. At about 3:58 p.m. the enemy was picked up to the eastward and southward at about 7000 meters distance. The Mikasa at 4:01 p.m., at a range of about 6500 meters, opened fire with her starboard battery. The other ships followed. At 4:04 p.m. the course was changed to NE. and at 4:15 p.m. was again changed to ENE with the intention of drawing nearer the enemy. The enemy's fire gradually slackened and their line was in a desperate condition. The Suvorov presented a pitiful sight. All her upper works were swept away and black smoke covered her hull and gushed from the gun ports. The enemy gradually changed course to starboard and were followed by the Japanese ships. The Mikasa at a range of about 2000 meters discharged a torpedo, and at 4:24 p.m. took a course to the eastward. The enemy turning more and more to starboard, there was some doubt whether they would cross astern of the Japanese ships or escape to the northward. In order to command their course the first division at 4:35 p.m., making a turn of 8 points to port, and forming line abreast, stood to the northward, but as the enemy showed an inclination to run south, the first division turning 8 points to starboard, formed a line ahead and stood SE. by E. This time the destroyers were ordered to attack. The enemy's whereabouts became unknown on account of the fog and smoke. The first division at 4:51 p.m. changed their course to the southward and, being led by the second division, searched for the enemy until 5 p.m. At 5 p.m. they picked up bearing W. by S. two ships of the Borodino type cruising on a counter course, and at a range of about 6000 meters exchanged fire with them. Then after an attack on the converted cruiser Ural, which appeared to the westward and southward, at a distance of 5000 meters, this division cruised south in search of the enemy's main fleet.
The Third Phase.
The first division, while cruising south, led by the second division, bombarded the enemy's cruisers. After pursuing the enemy's main fleet for about one half hour, they lost them in the smoke and mist. The first division, concluding that the enemy must be to the northward, at 5:28 p.m., separating from the second division, changed course to NNW., the Tatsudo taking position to starboard. The converted cruiser Ural, which was drifting alone, was sunk by a torpedo and then great damage was inflicted on the repair ship Kamchatka. At 5:52 p.m. the enemy's destroyers were discovered, and changing course to WNW the first division gave chase to them but they escaped to the northeastward. The enemy's fleet was now discovered bearing WNW., and at a range of 6300 meters fire was exchanged. At 6 p.m. the course was changed to NNW. The main strength of the enemy, which had escaped to the southward at the close of the second phase, had now joined with a part of the cruiser division which had escaped after their engagement with the third Japanese division, and it seemed that they had formulated a plan of escape. At 6 p.m., at the opening of the engagement, the first division concentrated on the enemy's leading ship. At 6:25 p.m. the Mikasa was abeam of the leading ship at a range of 5500 meters. The shooting became more accurate as the mist and smoke lifted and the fire was concentrated on the Orel, the second ship. The enemy at first were on course north but gradually changed to northwest. On account of this the range became greater and at 6:42 p.m. it was about 6600 meters. Although the range was great the hits were numerous. The number one ship of the enemy had her mainmast shot away and fire was raging aft. (At 7:30 p.m. an explosion, which seems to have occurred in the magazine, took place and this ship sank.) As darkness was approaching and as the range had become greater, at 7:10 p.m. the Mikasa, followed by the other ships, ceased firing and at 7:20 p.m., changing course to the northward, moved to her assigned position for the night. At this time the sun had sunk into the sea and darkness came on. The Japanese torpedo craft from the north, east and south took up the chase. In the first day's fighting, although the Japanese had wrought great havoc to the enemy, they themselves sustained great damage. The flagship Mikasa, the main target of the enemy, was hit more than 30 times. The inside of the forward conning-tower was damaged. Both bridges were struck and damaged. All the members of one gun's crew were either killed or wounded. Stacks were pierced and one gun was destroyed. The casemates and decks were damaged. Killed: 8 seamen. Wounded: 6 officers, 1 petty officer and 98 seamen. The second ship, the Shikishima, was struck ten times. All of one gun's crew were either killed or wounded. Tops were pierced and upper and lower decks damaged. Killed: 1 officer and 12 seamen. Wounded: 4 officers, 1 midshipman and 20 seamen. The third ship, the Fuji, was struck 11 times. Her hull and guns were damaged. Killed: 8 seamen. Wounded: 5 officers, 1 midshipman, 1 petty officer and 17 seamen. The fourth ship, the Asahi, was struck several times. Killed: 1 officer and 7 seamen. Wounded: 1 officer and 22 seamen. On the fifth ship, the Kasagi, several seamen were killed and 1 officer, 1 midshipman and 18 seamen wounded. The sixth ship, the Nisshin, often the leading ship, next to the Mikasa, received the most damage. A fragment of a shell struck and damaged her bridge. Three main battery guns were destroyed. About 4 p.m. a fragment of a large shell which exploded on the forward turret entered the conning-tower, wounded Admiral Misu and killed 1 officer, 3 seamen, and 1 ship's writer. The wounded were 3 officers, 1 midshipman, 1 petty officer and 85 seamen. The Tatsuda was struck by fragments of shells, but suffered no great casualties.
Battle Operations of the Second Division.
The Izumo (flagship of Admiral Kamimura, second fleet), the Azuma, Tokiwa, Yakumo, Asama, (flagship of Admiral Shimimura), under the command of Admiral Kamimura, with the Chihaya and the fifth destroyer flotilla to starboard, followed in wake of the first division. At 2:05 p.m. the first division in order to attack the head of the enemy's column, quickly changed course to ENE. From SW. by S. When fire was opened the second division at 2:09 p.m. changed course slightly to starboard, keeping distance with the first division, and after several minutes changed course to port. At 2:15 p.m. the Izumo, at a range of 8000 meters opened fire on the fifth ship, the Oslabaya. The second ship, the Azuma at 6000 meters, concentrated on the first ship, the Suvorov. The third ship, the Tokiwa, at 2:17 p.m., at a range of 5500 meters, opened fire on the Oslabaya. The fourth ship, the Yakumo, at 2:22 p.m., at a range of 5400 meters, fired on the Oslabaya. The fifth ship, the Asama, at about 2:20 p.m. opened fire. The sixth ship, the Iwate, at 6000 meters, fired upon the Nikolai I. At 2:20 p.m. following the first division, course was changed to ENE. The range becoming shorter, hitting was more accurate, each ship changing her target as the circumstances warranted. At 2:26 p.m. the Oslabaya and Navarin were discovered to be on fire. At 2:35 p.m. the Suvorov appeared on the starboard beam of the Izumo at a range of 5000 meters, and becoming a good target, the fire was concentrated on her. As a consequence this ship took fire, and black smoke enveloping her hull, aiming became difficult. At this point the second division shifted their fire to the second and third ships. The range now was from 4000 to 4500 yards and the hits made by exploding shells could be easily distinguished. At 2:50 p.m. the Oslabaya withdrew from the line. The formation of the enemy was becoming gradually confused and the Japanese ships were more or less damaged. At 2:27 p.m. the steering gear of the Asama became jammed by being struck by a large shell and she withdrew from the line. About 2:58 p.m. the first division was about to follow when they discovered that the leading unit of the enemy seemed about to change course to starboard, and in order to cut off their escape to the southward, the second division ceased this movement and, increasing their speed, passed astern of the first division, which was now on line abreast, headed towards the enemy and opened fire on the leading ship at a range of about 3000 meters. At this time a great many of the enemy's ships were afire, and under cover of the black smoke they gradually changed their course to starboard. The enemy had become more and more confused. At 3:10 p.m. the Oslabaya listed to starboard and sank. The second division on course southeast crossing ahead of the enemy forced them to change course starboard, the range becoming greater, and at 3:10 p.m. the second division counter marched to port and opened up with their port batteries. The despatch boat Chihaya of this division, which had, since the opening of the engagement, followed the Iwate, the rear ship, opened fire at 2:20 p.m. At 2:25 p.m. taking advantage of the enemy's confusion, she drew near them and at 3:06 p.m. discharged two torpedoes at the Borodino, which was 2500 meters distant on her starboard beam.
The Second Phase.
The second division (the Asama had not yet returned to the line), about 3:10 p.m. made a change of front of 16 points to port and about 3:16 p.m. set course about WNW and closed on the enemy who were running north in a confused condition, and at 3:20 p.m. they opened fire with their port batteries. At this time the enemy's fleet was situated a little forward of the port beam of the second division. The distance was about 6000 meters but at 3:26 p.m., closing to a range of 3100 meters, they increased the fire. The enemy was in a confused condition and it was discovered that the leading battleship was listed to port. The mist becoming dense, and mingling with the smoke, made the enemy's whereabouts unknown. As it was difficult to distinguish their own ships, the second division for a time reduced their fire, but being guided by the flags flying at the mastheads, kept up a slight fire. About 3:34 p.m. the Suvorov appeared suddenly from out of the mist enveloped in flames and smoke. The second division attacked her at a range of about 2000 meters and the Yakumo also fired one torpedo. The Suvorov was greatly damaged. Her masts, stacks, bridges and all articles on the upper deck were entirely destroyed and she seemed to have lost her fighting power, occasionally firing her after small caliber guns only. At this time the second division ceased firing. The fifth destroyer flotilla now taking up the fight under a severe fire from the enemy's main fleet attacked the Suvorov. The Chihaya, which previous to this had followed the second division and was standing off northwest, discovering the Suvorov's inability to move, at 3:39 p.m., at a range of about 1600 meters, discharged two torpedoes and observed smoke and pillars of water alongside of that ship. The Chihaya, being struck by three shells, took water in her coal bunkers, and she was forced to leave the line to make temporary repairs (this ship joined the second division after sunset). The enemy's main fleet which had been lost in the smoke and mist, seemed to have escaped to the northward by crossing astern of the second division. The first division, which had been cruising WSW., went about and the second division, at 3:47 p.m., changing course to starboard, took position on the port bow of the first division. Both divisions then pursued the enemy on a northeast course (at this time they came across the Suvorov on the starboard hand, but did not attack her). At 4:02 p.m. the distance of the enemy's main fleet, which was on the starboard bow, was about 5000 meters. The second division opening fire, gradually changed course to starboard, and with the first division planned to draw near and cover the enemy. The enemy at this point seemed to change course to the southward and at 4:30 p.m. they were again lost to sight. The second division changed course to starboard and at 4:35 p.m. changed course to southeast, and at 4:42 again changed course to southwest. The range not only became greater, but the first division standing to the northward, it was feared that the divisions would become separated; therefore at 4:47 p.m. the second division, turning to starboard, ran northwest with the intention of joining the first division. At this time gun-fire was heard to the southward, and knowing that part of the enemy's fleet was in that direction, the first division changed their course to the southward, and the courses of the two divisions crossed. The second division changed to starboard and cruised south. About 5 p.m., by direction of the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, the second division took position ahead of the first division, on the port bow, and together they ran south, being guided by the sound of the gun-fire. After a short time they discovered one or two of the enemy's ships dimly outlined in the mist ahead. Standing toward them, they discovered them to be special service ships, but on account of the severe firing on the starboard bow, Admiral Kamimura knew that the Japanese cruisers were engaged, and without engaging these two ships he separated his command from the first division, stood quickly towards the direction from which the sound of firing came, and discovered the third and fourth Japanese divisions engaged with a unit of the enemy. The second division, at a range of 7000 meters, opened fire. At this time the fifth and sixth divisions happened on the scene. When the range became about 5700 yards, the enemy again changed course to starboard and attempted to escape to the westward. At 5:31 p.m. the second division, at a point about 7 sea miles southeast of Okinoshima, changed course to about WNW and vigorously pursued the enemy. The Asama, which had previously left the line, returned at 5:05 p.m. and became the rear ship engaged in the fight. Previous to this the Asama, at 2:34 p.m. finished repairs to her steering gear and followed after her companion ships at full speed, but owing to the mist she lost sight of the first and second divisions and became isolated. Receiving the concentrated fire of the enemy's ships, she was for a time in great danger. Later the first division happened along steaming in line ahead in inverse order. At 3:15 p.m. the Asama, taking position at the head of the column, engaged in the first division's movements. At 3:50 p.m. she discovered the second division on the port bow. At once increasing her speed she passed on the lee side of the first division, and set out to join the second division, but on account of the damage she had previously received aft she made considerable water and her stern settled about 5 feet. Her after stack having been struck by a shell, greatly impaired the draft and her fires would not burn well. At 5:05 p.m., however, she was able to join the second division. By about 6 p.m. the enemy's fleet had been scattered in all directions. The second division pursued for a while, and not wishing to lose the first division, at 6:03 p.m. they ceased firing and cruised to port.
The Third Phase.
The second division, which ceased to pursue the enemy at 6:03 p.m., turned to port and at 6:07 p.m. changed course to about ESE., when they discovered the sixth division closing in on the Suvorov and the repair ship Kamchatka, which were on the port bow, and in order not to hinder the movement, at 6:15 p.m. they headed north to join the first division. About 6:30 p.m., in a position about 11000 meters to starboard they picked up several of the enemy's ships with the Nakhimov in the rear. These ships were standing to the southward, being pursued by the first division. The second division changed course to about northwest and discovered that the first division had opened fire. At 6:40 p.m. again changing course to NE., they opened fire at 6:50 p.m., when the range had decreased to 7500 yards. The enemy again changing course to the northward, the second division, in order to keep in touch, executed a turn of 4 points to port at 7:04 p.m., and again turning 4 points to starboard at 7:10 p.m., returned to line ahead. At 7:15 p.m. they set course NNW., and at a distance of 7000 or 8000 meters opened up a slow fire on the enemy. Previous to this at about 7 p.m. the second division discovered on the port beam a battleship which was bottom up (this was said to be the Alexander III), and a ship of the Zhemsthug type went alongside of the above ship. The second division fired on her and she escaped. As the sun entirely set the second division finished this day's engagement at 7:30 p.m., and having ordered the torpedo craft to attack, followed the first division, which was ahead. In this day's engagement the flagship Izuma received seven or eight shots. The ship's hull and upper decks were damaged. Killed: 3 seamen. Wounded: 1 midshipman, 1 yeoman and 25 seamen. The Azuma, the second ship, was struck more than 10 times. Her hull was pierced, and one main battery gun and several small caliber guns were destroyed; also a casemate was demolished. Killed: 10 seamen, 1 officer. Wounded: 1 midshipman, 1 petty officer, 27 seamen. The Tokiwa, the third ship, received nine hits, but as they were only small caliber shells or fragments of larger shells, the damage was not great. Killed: 1 seaman. Wounded: 14 seamen. The Yakumo, the fourth ship, received about seven hits. The upper deck was greatly damaged and one stack and the foremast were pierced. Killed: 3 seamen. Wounded: 9 seamen. The Asama, the fifth ship, while repairing her steering gear, received a severe fire from the enemy and was struck nine times. A large shell striking below the water line damaged the captain's cabin and several storerooms in the vicinity of it and she made much water. Killed: 3 seamen. Wounded: 1 carpenter and 12 seamen. The Iwate, the sixth ship, through a hole in her hull, made water which rose to about 2 feet in the compartments. In addition to this she was hit 16 times. The captain's cabin was greatly damaged and her stacks were pierced, but there was no loss of life. 1 carpenter, 12 seamen and 2 yeomen were wounded. The despatch boat Chihaya was hit three times, and although she made some water, no great damage was done. 4 seamen were slightly wounded.
The Battle Operations of the Third Division.
The Kasagi (flagship), Chitose, Otowa, Niitaka, of the third division under command of Admiral Dewa, in the early morning of May 27 were to the northwestward of Shirase, when they received report of the appearance of the enemy. At 10:42 a.m. the enemy's fleet was discovered 15 sea miles south of Kinzaki, and keeping in touch with them, and having them 4 or 5 sea miles on the starboard beam, they steamed north through the Eastern Channel. At 11:40 a.m. the range was 8000 meters and at 11:42 a.m. the enemy opened fire, which was at once answered by the Japanese ships. As the range of the enemy's guns was effective the third division for a time withdrew from the fire zone. Keeping a distance of about 9000 meters by increasing or decreasing the speed, they closely watched the enemy's ships. At about 1:20 p.m. the third division observed the first and second divisions appear from out the mist in the northeast. These two divisions took charge of the operations and the third division, passing astern of the enemy, stood to the northward. At this time the first destroyer flotilla joined the third division, but on account of the weather Admiral Dewa ordered this flotilla to operate independently. The third division at 2:10 p.m., increasing speed, cruised outside of the first and second divisions and placed themselves astern of the enemy. At 2:50 p.m. the Kasagi, at a range of 7000 meters, opened fire on the cruisers Oleg, Aurora, Dmitri Donskoi, Admiral Nakhimov, and the special service ships. The Chitose at 2:55 p.m., the Otowa at 3:07 p.m., the Niitaka at 3:18 p.m., all at an estimated range of 8000 meters, opened fire. On account of the high seas the movements of the ships were greatly hampered. Especially when steaming into the head seas, the seas coming aboard prevented the operation of the bow guns. The crews of the guns engaged were forced to wear rain clothes. The third division by this time had crossed astern of the enemy's ships to their starboard side. Joining with the fourth division cruising on a course parallel with the enemy at a range of about 5000 meters, they continued the fight. At this time the enemy's cruisers took position on the starboard quarter of the main line of battleships. The converted cruisers and special service ships seemed to follow the cruiser division. After firing for a short while the rear units, especially the special service ships, became greatly confused. Some became unmanageable and others took fire. The Oleg, Aurora, and the Donskoi, in order to aid them, changed course, and for a time ran to the westward. Hereupon the third division commanded the front of these ships and in order not to hinder the movements of the main fleet, which was operating to the northward, at 3:35 p.m. turning their bows 18 points to starboard, opened fire with their starboard batteries on the Oleg and the others and caused them to take fire. At high speed, circling the enemy, about 4:07 p.m., they again ran to the eastward, and took up the fire with their port batteries. The enemy's formation was now greatly disorganized. The repair ship Kamchatka seemed to be sinking. One converted cruiser of two masts and two stacks lost power to move. A special service ship with four masts and one stack, and one converted cruiser of the Ural type were on fire and all the other ships appeared to be somewhat damaged. Each ship separating from the line, there was no formation visible. The third division at 4:30 p.m., decreasing their speed and uniting with the fourth division, pursued the remaining ships of the enemy. The enemy's main fleet, which was running to the northeastward, suddenly came out of the mist to the northward and, covering the cruisers and special service ships, opened fire on the third and fourth divisions. Both these divisions were more or less damaged, and therefore increasing speed, they changed course four points to starboard and headed east about 5 p.m. At 5:08 p.m. again making the same movement, they formed line ahead and cruised north. The first and second divisions, cruising south in pursuit of the main strength of the enemy, passed between the third and fourth divisions and their opponents. The third division at 5:25 p.m. changed course to southeast and followed the first and second divisions. Previous to this the Kasagi, the flagship of the third division, at about 3:08 p.m. was struck below the water line and a shell entered the coal bunkers. Making water rapidly the boiler room was flooded and the fires were extinguished. Admiral Dewa shifted his flag to the Chitose and at 6 p.m. disbanded his division and ordered the Otowa and Niitaka to report for temporary duty to Admiral Uryu of the second division, and Kasagi and Chitose to leave the line. As the Kasagi's condition became dangerous, Admiral Dewa on the Kasagi, convoyed by the Chitose, at 6:20 p.m. left the scene of battle and at 8:30 p.m. arrived at Aburadani Bay. At 9:50 p.m., flying his flag on the Chitose, he returned to the scene of battle ( the Kasagi joined at 11 a.m. the 28th). The injury to the Kasagi was in a port coal bunker 12 feet below the water line, and on account of its location the leak was difficult to stop. In addition to the above injury the Kasagi was struck in several other places. 1 seaman was killed and 1 surgeon and 8 seamen were wounded. The second ship, the Chitose, was hit twice. 1 gun was destroyed and 2 men were killed and 4 wounded. The Otowa, the third ship, received no damage but the Niitaka, the fourth ship, was hit once before joining the fourth division and 1 seaman was killed and 4 wounded.
The Battle Operations of the Fourth Division.
The Naniwa (flagship), the Takachiho, Akashi, and Tsushima, led by Admiral Uryu, on the morning of May 27, receiving the report of the enemy's appearance, left Chinkai Bay. Operating at first with the first and second divisions, at 1:30 p.m. they separated from the first and second divisions when the enemy was discovered in the mist in the southwest. Then changing course to port they steamed north, and at 2:10 p.m. again changed course to northeast, intending to join the third division and to co-operate with them. At this time the leading ship of the enemy was about 8000 meters to port. Fire was opened and at 2:25 p.m. course was changed to south. The Naniwa at 2:50 p.m., at an estimated range of 6500 meters, opened fire on the enemy's cruiser division. The other ships followed as follows: The Takachiho at 2:47 p.m., at a range of 6000 meters; the Akashi at 3:10 p.m., at a range of 6000 meters; the Tsushima at 3:08 p.m., at a range of 6200 meters. From now on this division, taking position inboard of the third division, worked in unison with that division. Discovering a ship of the Aurora type at a range estimated to be between 4000 and 6000 meters, they drove her off. Gradually on courses from southeast to east, they passed astern of the enemy and continued the attack. At 3:10 p.m. the fourth division was to starboard of the enemy's cruiser line on a parallel course. At a distance of about 5000 meters on the port bow several destroyers of the enemy were discovered, which were driven off. At about this time the special service ships which brought up the rear were thrown in great confusion by the fire of the third and fourth divisions. The Oleg, Aurora and several other ships went to their aid. At 3:28 p.m. the Oleg and other ships were forced to change course by the Japanese fire at a range of 4000 meters. At about 3:38 p.m. the fourth division, turning to starboard, stood to the westward and with their port batteries delivered a slow fire against the enemy's cruiser division. During this time the Japanese ships were often hit. The second ship, the Takachiho, on account of jammed steering gear, was forced to leave the line and head to the southward. At 4:10 p.m. the remaining three ships, the Naniwa, Akashi and Tsushima, changing course to the east, opened fire with their port batteries. At about 4:30 p.m. they discovered an isolated special service ship (thought to be the Rus), and cruising to within 8000 meters of her, inflicted great damage on her. From then, estimating the range from 4000 to 5000 meters, they concentrated their fire upon the enemy's cruisers and converted cruisers, especially the Oleg, Izumrud and the special service ship Irtish. At 4:50 p.m. course was changed to northeast but the severe fire from several of the enemy's ships, at a range of 4000 meters, caused more or less consternation. These ships of the enemy which had come from the north, were of the Russian main fleet. The fourth division then at 5 p.m. changed course and again at 5:10 p.m. to northeast and avoided the fire. At this time, meeting the second division which was in pursuit of the enemy, the fourth division followed the movements of the second division. At 5:20 p.m. course was changed to the westward. Previous to this at about 5 p.m. the Naniwa was struck on the port quarter at the water line. Making water rapidly decreased her speed at 5:40 p.m., but after making temporary repairs she continued in pursuit of the enemy. At 6:10 p.m. the course was changed to the northward and at this time the Otowa and Niitaka temporarily joined the fourth division. The Takachiho, which had previously left the line, at 6:20 p.m. returned and became the rear ship following the Niitaka. With six ships in line ahead at 6:30 p.m., at a range of 3000 meters, fire was opened on the Kamchatka, which had now become greatly listed, and at the same time upon the Suvorov, which had lost her stacks and masts. At 6:50 p.m. they ceased firing, and cruised towards the main fleet of the enemy, but before they again became engaged the sun had already set and the operations closed. In this day's engagement the flagship Naniwa was struck several times. One shell caused her to leak badly, another shell pierced the upper deck, but caused no great damage. 1 officer was killed and 9 seamen were wounded. The second ship, the Takachiho, was struck twice. Her steering gear was jammed. 11 seamen were wounded. The Akashi was struck about five times. Her hull was pierced and her stacks were damaged. 3 seamen were killed and 7 wounded. The Tsushima, the fourth ship, was struck six times, one hit causing a leak in her compartments. The Otowa and the Niitaka, of the third division, received no damage.
The Battle Operations of the Fifth Division.
The Itsukushima (flagship of Admiral Kataoka), the Chinyen, the Matsushima, the Hasidate (flagship of Admiral Taketomi), and the despatch boat Yaeyama, on the morning of May 27, when they received the report of the enemy's appearance, left Ozaki Bay under the command of Admiral Kataoka. At 9:55 a.m., in company with the eleventh, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and twentieth torpedo boat flotillas, they met the enemy's fleet at a point 7 1/2 sea miles southeast of Kinzaki. Admiral Kataoka ordered the Yaeyama and the five flotillas to take shelter at Kinzaki until he made sure of the enemy's movements. The fifth division, shaping their course northeast, took up position 4 or 5 sea miles on the port bow of the enemy's fleet. While keeping contact with the enemy, he fell in with the sixth division (the Izumi absent) and the tenth and fifteenth torpedo boat flotillas. At this time he ordered the Yaeyama and the five flotillas to join. As the enemy often changed course and it was probable that they might either lose sight of the enemy or come within too close a range, the sixth division was ordered to cover the front of the enemy. It then became clear that the change of course was made for deception. The course of the enemy was approximately northeast. At 1:30 p.m. as the main fleet of the Japanese was observed to the eastward and southward, Admiral Kataoka considering the opportunity to open the engagement at hand, hoisted the battle flag at 2 p.m. and at the same time made signals to encourage the fleet, then changed course to the eastward towards the main fleet. At about 2:10 p.m. the engagement was opened. The fifth and sixth division were ordered by the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, to attack the enemy's rear. Admiral Kataoka ordered the sixth division to operate at will, while he himself cruised quickly towards the enemy's rear but was unable to discern their ships on account of the thick mist. Being guided by the flash of the gun fire he changed course many times in search of the enemy. At 3:15 p.m., about 5 sea miles ENE, he discovered the enemy's cruiser division, composed of the Oleg, etc. The enemy at once opened the engagement, but the Japanese refused to reply. Often changing course, at 4:10 p.m. he discovered the third, fourth, and sixth divisions in the northwest. Drawing near, and changing his course from NE to ESE, at 4:45 p.m. he was situated at a range of 8000 meters. Hereupon the Itsukushima, on a counter course, opened fire upon the enemy with her port batteries. The Chinyen, the second ship, about 4:50 p.m., at a range of about 8000 meters, opened fire. The third ship, the Matsushima, at 5:08 p.m. opened fire at an estimated range of 7000 meters. The fourth ship, the Hashidate, at 4:55 p.m., at an estimated range of 7000 meters, attacked a ship of the Oleg type. At 5:30 p.m. the fifth division ceased firing and changed course to the northeast. The third ship, the Matsushima, left the line because of a jammed steering gear. At this time the first and second divisions came from the northward, pursuing the enemy. The Itsukushima and the other ships changed course in the direction taken by the first and second division. At about 6:30 p.m. the Kamchatka and the battleship Suvorov were seen on the port bow and at 6:48, at a range of between 3500 to 4500 meters, these ships were attacked. The Kamchatka had a bad list to starboard and appeared to be unmanageable. Only the stump of the mizzenmast of the Suvorov remained above decks and the hull was almost invisible. Flames and smoke poured from her gun ports, but she continued firing with one or two of her after guns. Sheering to port and starboard, it appeared as if she were trying to escape. About 7 p.m. the Kamchatka listed to starboard and sank. As the Suvorov was still able to move, Admiral Kataoka ordered the eleventh torpedo flotilla, which happened along at this time, to attack her. The Suvorov sank at 7:25 p.m., at a place 13 sea miles northeast of Okinoshima. The fifth division now ceased firing and cruised north, being joined later by the Matsushima. The movements of the fifth division this day were of short duration compared to the other divisions; consequently the damage was very small. The Hashidate, the fourth ship, was struck twice and 1 midshipman and 6 seamen were wounded. On the Matsushima 1 seaman was slightly wounded by a fragment of a shell. The despatch boat Yaeyama at 9 a.m. took the duty of guiding the eleventh and other flotillas and at 10 a.m. was ordered to separate from the fifth division and to lead the flotillas to Kinzaki, but at 10:53 a.m. was again ordered to join the fleet. Increasing her speed, she cruised to join the fifth division which she joined at 1:28 p.m. From that time, leading the flotillas, she took up position on the protected side of the division. At 4:30 p.m. the tenth and fifteenth flotillas joined and at 6 p.m. all flotillas, by the order of Admiral Kataoka, were ordered to prepare for attack. At 7 p.m. the Yaeyama, at a range of from 3400 to 4200 meters, delivered an attack on the Kamchatka and Suvorov. At 7:08 p.m. she ceased firing and at 8:05 p.m. joined in the rear of the fifth division.
The Battle Operations of the Sixth Division.
The Izumi, attached to the third division, on the morning of May 27, was about 20 sea miles northwest of Shirase of the Goto group. The Akitsushima was 20 sea miles off the Korean coast and both ships were engaged in watching the enemy. The Suma (flagship), the Chiyoda and the torpedo craft were in Ozaki Bay. When the report of the enemy's appearance was received the division commander, Rear Admiral Togo, with the Suma, Chiyoda, and the tenth and fifteenth torpedo flotillas, left Ozaki Bay at 5:44 a.m. The Izumi and Akitsushima were ordered to rendezvous at Kinzaki. At a point 3 sea miles south of Kinzaki they joined with the fifth division and watched for the enemy. Later, following the fifth division, they stood through the East Channel. At 11:45 a.m. the shells of the enemy directed against the third division fell very close to this division, and by the command of Admiral Kataoka course was changed to the northward. At 11:15 a.m. they occupied a position 1000 meters astern of the fifth division, but at ten minutes past noon an order was received to get in contact with the enemy, which was on the bow. At once placing themselves to starboard of the fifth division, they drew near the head of the enemy. About 2 p.m. the main fleet was observed abaft the starboard beam and course was changed to the eastward. Both the main fleets opened fire. The fifth and sixth divisions decided on an attack on the enemy's rear, but at 2:25 p.m. the sixth division received orders from Admiral Kataoka to attack the enemy's transports, which appeared to the southward. Heading towards these, they were found to be their own converted cruisers, and changing course, they were about to rejoin the fifth division when orders were received to operate at discretion. Discovering a ship of the enemy to the southward they increased speed, drew near and found it to be a hospital ship. This ship was turned over to the Sado Maru and the Manshu Maru. On account of the wind and seas the division commander, Rear Admiral Togo, feared the flotillas would hinder the movement and he ordered them to attach themselves to the Yaeyama and to operate with the torpedo craft of the fifth division. The Izumi, which had been engaged in reconnoitering the enemy since the morning, at 7:45 a.m. received an order from Division Commander Togo to proceed to the rendezvous and join the other ships of the division, but Captain Ishida, thinking that his was the only ship in contact with the enemy, determined to continue his duty. He took position to the southward of the enemy and continued on a parallel course. Later he received an order from Division Commander Togo to proceed to the rendezvous he drove off a ship of the Zhemsthug type, which seemed to be harassing the merchant ships connected with the Japanese column. At 12:40 he warned the Doyo Maru by signal that her course was carrying her within the enemy's lines and diverted her to the south. At 12:50 he discovered the Kagoshima Maru, which was carrying soldiers, on the starboard bow. As this ship was proceeding to a dangerous locality, he hoisted warning signals, but these were unheeded. After signaling her many times, with no effect, the Izumi drew near to hailing distance, warned her of her danger and diverted her to the southward. At 2:10 p.m. gun-fire was heard on the port bow. Shortly after, at a range of about 7000 meters, and at a point 8 sea miles WSW of Okinoshima, the Izumi received a severe attack from the rear ships of the enemy and escaped to the southward. At 2:40 p.m. the Izumi made a threatening attack on the rear of the enemy and cut off a hospital ship from the main fleet. At 3:40 p.m. the Izumi joined the Suma and other ships to the westward of Okinoshima and became the rear ship of the division. As previously stated, the sixth division ran south for the purpose of attacking the enemy's transports. At 3:45 p.m. for the first time they discovered the fourth division and other ships engaging the enemy on the port bow. The sixth division joined for a time, but at 4:20 p.m. discovering a special service ship of the enemy, attacked and sank her at 4:35 p.m. At this time the main fleet of the enemy, running on a counter course, appeared from out of the mist, on the port bow. The cruisers Oleg, Aurora, Vladimir Monomakh, and Dmitri Donskoi were cruising on the left flank. The sixth division concentrated chiefly on the cruiser division at a range of about 5000 meters, and also fired on the battleship line at a range of 6000 to 8000 meters. The fight at this stage lasted about 30 minutes. At 5:25 p.m. the sixth division changed course to SW in order to attack a ship of the enemy which had lost power to move, but before fire opened, she sank at 5:51 p.m. This ship was undoubtedly the converted cruiser Ural. The Kamchatka and the Suvorov were drifting helplessly in the vicinity, and attacking the Kamchatka at 5:05 p.m., at a range estimated to be from 4000 to 6000 meters, they later shifted the fire to the Suvorov at a range estimated to be from 1200 to 4000 meters. The Kamchatka sank at 7 p.m. The torpedo craft were ordered to attack the Suvorov, but as the fifth division had not yet ceased their fire and fearing that sight of the main fleet would be lost on account of gathering darkness, the division commander, Rear Admiral Togo, collected all his torpedo craft and proceeded in the direction of the main fleet. At 8 p.m. the flotillas were dispatched to carry out the attack and the sixth division proceeded to the rendezvous. In the engagement of this day the sixth division suffered but little damage. The Izumi had 3 men killed, 7 wounded. The Suma, 3 men wounded. The Chiyoda and Akitsushima each had two men wounded.
The Day Attack of the Destroyer Flotillas.
The first, second, third and fifth destroyer flotillas at 6:30 a.m., May 27, one after another left Chinkai Bay. The first and third flotillas taking position on the port quarter of the first division, and the second and fifth flotillas taking position on the starboard quarter of the second division, proceeded to the vicinity of Okinoshima. At 1:50 p.m., picking up the enemy on the port bow, the first and third flotillas changed position to the protected side. At 2:30 p.m. orders were received from the commander-in-chief, Admiral Togo, for the destroyer flotillas to operate at discretion outside of battle range. From that time the first and third flotillas, about 5000 meters on the protected side of the first division, and the second and fifth on the protected side of the second division, were watching for a chance to attack. At 3 p.m., the formation of the enemy becoming disorganized, the battleship Suvorov left the line and was isolated. As the second division passed about 2000 meters from the Suvorov, the commander of the fifth destroyer flotilla deemed it a good opportunity for attack. The Shiranubi (flagship of the flotilla commander), the Murakuma, the Yugiri and the Kagero passed ahead of the second division and ran rapidly in the direction of the Suvorov through the high seas. Drawing in to a distance of 400 to 800 meters on the port side of the enemy on a parallel course, each ship discharged a torpedo and apparently at least two of them hit. The four boats together then steamed out of range. During this attack the main fleet of the enemy drew near to the Suvorov and concentrated a heavy fire on the destroyers. The Shiranubi was hit twice. 4 seamen were killed and 6 wounded. The Asagiri (flagboat of the flotilla commander), the Murasame, the Asashio and the Shirakumo of the fourth flotilla, had been reconnoitering to the southward with the third division for several days, but now, on account of the strong wind and high seas, were anchored at Ozaki Bay. On the early morning of the 27th, receiving the report of the appearance of the enemy, they steamed out of the harbor, and cruised south to join the third division. At 9 a.m., discovering the enemy to the eastward, they drew near and took position about 7000 or 8000 meters on their port bow and kept in contact with them. At 9:41 a.m. they joined the fifth division south of Tsushima. At 10:00 a.m. they picked up the sixth division and the attached torpedo flotilla and at 11:30 a.m. fell in with the third division. At 2:10 p.m. the engagement commenced, and they again moved to a point about 1000 meters on the protected side of the third division and cruised along. At this time the second ship, the Murasame, received a ricochet shell in her hull and made water. Although temporary repairs were made, she was not able to make much speed. At 1:35 p.m. the third division, at a high rate of speed, stood up to windward and the fourth destroyer flotilla was not able to follow on account of the wind and waves (at this time Admiral Dewa ordered the fourth destroyer flotilla to operate singly but the command was not understood). The fourth flotilla, now separating from the third division, changed course to leeward, which placed them on the protected side of the second division. At 4:43 p.m. the despatch boat Chihaya brought orders for the destroyer flotilla to attack to enemy. The fourth destroyer flotilla at once headed towards the Suvorov, which was on fire and isolated. That ship at this time had already lost her foremast and smokestacks and was enveloped in smoke. However, she was able to steam at a speed of about 10 knots and was using one stern gun. When the Suvorov perceived the movement of the fourth destroyer flotilla she changed course to starboard in an endeavor to escape the torpedo attack. Hereupon the flotilla maneuvered to cut off her escape. At 5:05 p.m. the Asagiri, Murasame and Asashio on a parallel course at a point distant about 600 meters delivered a torpedo attack. Then the Asagiri and the Murasame made another torpedo attack on a counter course at a range of 300 meters. One torpedo appeared to strike on the port quarter of the Suvorov, a column of sea water rose up and the ship at once listed about 10 degrees. The rear ship, the Asashio, also drew nearer to the enemy, but realizing her condition, did not discharge any torpedoes. The flotilla then passed out of range. During this maneuver the main fleet of the enemy, covering the Suvorov, concentrated a severe fire on the flotilla. The Asagiri was hit once, which caused her to make water, but temporary repairs were soon made. One seaman was wounded. The third destroyer flotilla, waiting for the fourth destroyer flotilla to finish the assault, was on the point of attacking the Suvorov, but just at that time one group of the enemy's fleet fired on the flotilla at a range of 3000 meters and the operations ceased. This group of the enemy's fleet came from out of the mist. Thus the Suvorov, the flagship of the enemy, having met with a severe fire from the main Japanese fleet, and an attack by the destroyer flotillas, although greatly damaged, still remained afloat. The commander of the eleventh torpedo flotilla received an order from Admiral Kataoka to attack the Suvorov. Torpedo-boats No. 73 (flotilla flagboat), No. 72, No. 74 and No. 75 headed for the Suvorov and crossed her bow from starboard to port. At 7:20 p.m. approaching about 300 meters, the four boats delivered a torpedo attack and saw at least three torpedoes hit. The Suvorov wrapped in black smoke and flames, turned turtle, and for a while floated bottom up, but at 7:30 p.m. her bow rising high in the air, she suddenly disappeared below the surface of the sea. Smoke, drifting over the water, was all that was visible.
The Movements of the Cruisers and Special
The first cruiser division of Russia following in the rear of the third battleship division in the following order: The Oleg (the flagship of Admiral Enquist), the Aurora, Dmitiri Donskoi, and Vladimir Monomakh at 1:20 p.m. on the 27th of May received an order from the commander-in-chief, Admiral Rozhestvensky, that the cruisers and special service ships would take positions on the starboard side of the battleship fleet. The Oleg and Aurora leading, the Donskoi and Monomakh and the other ships increasing their speed, took the indicated position. When the engagement opened at 2:10 p.m. the flying shells often grazed the sides of the cruisers. At 2:40 p.m. the Izumi, appearing from the south, attacked the starboard quarter of the special service ships. The Oleg and Aurora, increasing their speed, drew near to the Izumi and returned the fire. At about 2:50 p.m. the third and fourth Japanese divisions appeared. The Oleg and Aurora, cruising to meet them on a counter course, engaged them at a range estimated at 8000 meters. About 3 o'clock the Japanese divisions, crossing astern of the Russian special service ships, and coming out on the starboard hand, attacked them. The Oleg and Aurora attempted to cover these. At 3:30 p.m. the Russian main fleet was defeated by the Japanese first and second divisions. The Oslabaya had been sunk and the Suvorov greatly damaged and isolated. Admiral Enquist, in order to aid the Suvorov, with the Oleg and Aurora changed course to port and cruised full speed toward her. On the way he discovered that the converted cruiser, Ural, had hoisted a signal of distress and that the crew were lowering the boats. He ordered the transports Anadyr and Svir to pick up the crew of the Ural. The Oleg and Aurora then continued towards the Suvorov, but at this time, seeing the Russian battle fleet drawing near the Suvorov, Admiral Enquist again engaged in the covering of the transport division. During this time the Russian special service ships received the concentrated fire of the Japanese third and fourth divisions. Some of the ships were afire and unmanageable. The Donskoi and Monomakh, together with the second cruiser division endeavored to cover these, but received the fire of the fifth and sixth divisions. The Russian fleet, in an irregular formation, headed northeast. About 4:30 p.m. the Oleg and other ships of the first cruiser division joined with the part of the Russian battle fleet which came from the northward. Being on the port bow of the battle fleet, course was changed to starboard and about 4:40 p.m. they exchanged fire with the third, fourth, fifth and sixth Japanese divisions on a counter course at a range of from 5000 to 8000 meters. Later they gradually changed course to the northwest. On this day the Oleg and Aurora received the concentrated fire of the Japanese divisions and were often set afire. The Oleg was hit more than 10 times. Twelve men were killed and 31 wounded. The Aurora had a great hole four feet long and three feet wide near the water line. The captain and 14 seamen were killed and the executive officer and 89 seamen wounded. The Donskoi and Monomakh were hit often, but the damage was slight. The Svietlana, Almaz, Izumrud and the Zhemsthug comprised the second cruiser division under the command of the captain of the Svietlana. The Svietlana and Almaz became the leading ships, together with the Ural. The Zhemsthug and Izumrud were on the flanks. On the morning of the 27th the Svietlana, Almaz and Ural were ordered to take up position astern of the special service ships and at noon occupied this position. About 2:40 p.m. these three ships opened fire on the Izumi, which made a threatening movement on the starboard quarter of the special service ships. At about 3 p.m. the Zhemsthug, discovering the plight of the Suvorov, stood toward her, but was driven off by a severe fire from the Japanese ships. At 4:30 p.m. the second cruiser division, joining a part of the battle fleet which came from the northward, took position on the port side. Changing course to starboard, they joined the first cruiser division at 4:40 p.m. in an attack on the Japanese third, fourth, fifth, and sixth divisions. Then gradually changing course to northwest the Svietlana, Almaz and Zhemsthug cruised on a parallel course with the first cruiser division on the port hand. The Izumrud dropping astern was now engaged in despatch duty. At around 7 p.m. the Alexander III sank. The Izumrud proceeded to the spot in order to pick up the crew, but was forced to give up her mission on account of the Japanese fire. At sunset following the movement of the battle fleet, all ships stood southwest. The various ships of the second cruiser division this day were somewhat damaged. The Svietlana, at the beginning of the fight, received a shell in the bow under the water line which caused the magazines and dynamo rooms to be flooded. The ship's head settled greatly, causing her speed to be reduced to 15 knots. The damage above the water line was slight. The Almaz had 5 killed (1 officer included) and 10 men wounded. The Zhemsthug had 12 (3 of them of warrant officer rank) killed and 22 men wounded. The Izumrud had 12 men wounded. The Biedovy and the Buistry, attached to the first destroyer flotilla, were close at hand to the Zhemsthug, which was the leading ship of the starboard column. The Bravy and the Buiny were close at hand to the Izumrud, leading ship of the port column. The Grozny, Gromky, Vodry, Blestiasthy and the Bezupretshny followed astern of the first cruiser division, but about noon of the 27th, when the battle formation was taken up, the first destroyer flotilla took position astern of the Zhemsthug on the starboard side of the battle fleet. The second destroyer flotilla took position between the first cruiser division and the special service ships. The Biedovy and the Buistry had orders to stand by and remove Admiral Rozhestvensky and his staff to another ship in case the flagship Suvorov was forced to leave the battle line or became unmanageable. The Buiny and the Bravy were detailed to perform like duties in connection with the Oslabaya, and the boats of the second destroyer flotilla with the Svietlana and Oleg. On account of the severe Japanese fire and the continual confusion in the Russian lines, the destroyers were unable to keep their assigned positions. At 3 p.m., when the Suvorov left the line of battle, it was reported that there were no destroyers present, but the Buiny and Bravy seem to have been in touch with the Oslabaya at all times. At about 3:10 p.m. when the list of the Oslabaya became dangerous, the above boats ran close aboard and when she sank, under a heavy fire, engaged in picking up her crew. The Buiny rescued more than 200, while the Bravy rescued over 170, but the fire from the third and fourth Japanese divisions becoming very severe, the destroyers were forced to abandon the rescue work and join the fleet. At this time the Bravy was hit by a shell, which damaged her boiler and reduced her speed to about 11 knots. The killed and wounded numbered 13. About 5 p.m. the Buiny, discovering the Suvorov in flames, in a high sea stood near her and picked up Admiral Rozhestvensky and his staff, as well as 20 of the Suvorov's crew. This destroyer also was forced to reduce her speed on account of damages received. As Rozhestvensky was wounded, it was intended to proceed to Vladivostok. The Buiny at first followed the battle fleet, and meeting the destroyer Bezupretshny, the commanding officer of this boat was ordered by the commander of the Buiny to proceed to the Nikolai I and inform Admiral Niebogatov to proceed to Vladivostok in command of the Russian fleet. The Buiny and Donskoi later overtook the fleet and followed their movements. The Biedovy, which was following the Donskoi, was ordered by Admiral Rozhestvensky to proceed to the Suvorov and pick up the remainder of his staff. The Biedovy proceeded to carry out this order, but being unable to find the Suvorov, returned. The Grozny at about 5 p.m., discovering the converted cruiser Ural in a precarious condition, went alongside and picked up nine of the crew. The condition of the other destroyers was not known. However, among the nine boats, none was lost nor had become unmanageable and at sunset they appeared to be cruising after the fleet. The special service ships led by the Anadyr, and the Irtish, Korea, Kamechatka, Rus, Svir in line ahead (order not known), followed her. With their flanks protected by the cruiser division, they followed on the starboard quarter of the battle fleet. The converted cruiser Ural, with the Svietlana and the Almaz, on the morning of the 27th were situated on the quarter of the special service ships. At 2:40 p.m. the special service ships were fired upon by the Izumi and at 2:50 p.m. received the fire of the Japanese third and fourth divisions. The fire was becoming very severe at 3:30 p.m., the Russian first and second cruiser divisions endeavored to protect them. The special service ships suffered great damage. The ships attempted to escape singly. The Rus especially was greatly damaged, and leaving the line about 4:30 p.m., and drifting about for a while, at last sank. Her crew was picked up by the Svir. The converted cruiser Ural was damaged to such an extent that she became unmanageable and at 5:50 p.m. was sunk by the Japanese first division. Previous to this the crew abandoned the ship and more than 330 of her crew were picked up by the Anadyr. Others drifted to the shores of Nagato and Iwami on the 28th. (About 12 sea miles to the west of Hamada Harbor, Iwami Province, 1 officer and 22 seamen landed. In the harbor of Susa, Nagato Province, 3 officers and 30 seamen landed.) The Kamchatka, leaving the line at about 6 p.m., was finally sunk at about 7 p.m. Fifty-six of her crew arrived at Mishima, Nagato Province, and 8 arrived at Koshigahama of the same province in small boats. The Anadyr, Irtish, Korea and Svir appeared to have suffered no damage. At sunset of the 27th they continued to follow other ships. Previous to this the hospital ships Orel and Kostroma, at the commencement of the engagement, were several sea miles astern of the special service ships, and at 3:30 p.m. they were turned over to the Japanese converted cruisers Sado Maru and Manshu Maru and were detained in Miura Bay.
The Operations of the Russian Fleet.
Admiral Rozhestvensky, with the Russian fleet, intending to pass through the Korean Straits in order to go to Vladivostok, on the dawn of May 27, arrived at a point about 50 sea miles to the westward of the Goto group. This day the wind was stirring and the sea was high, and on account of the mist the limit of vision was not very great. At 6:30 a.m. the Nakhimov discovered the scout ship Izumi on the starboard beam, (The Russian fleet seemed not to have been aware that they were previously discovered by the Shinano Maru.) Moreover they knew that their formations were being reported by wireless. The Russian commander-in-chief, in order to protect the rear of the transports, caused the advanced guard ships, the Svietlana, the Almaz and Ural, to take positions to the rear of the above-mentioned ships. The Ural, which was equipped with a very powerful wireless outfit, requested permission to break in on the Japanese messages, but this permission was denied by the commander-in-chief. Without heeding the contact kept by the Izumi, Rozhestvensky cruised directly for the Eastern Channel. At 9 a.m. the fifth and sixth divisions of Japanese ships were discovered on the port beam and the Russians knew that the time for opening the engagement was near at hand. The Izumrud, the guard ship of the left flank, took position in the rear of the Zhemsthug, the leading ship of the right flank, and was followed by the first destroyer flotilla. At 11 a.m., the Japanese third division being discovered on the port quarter, the Vladimir Monomakh took position to protect the right flank while the cruiser division protected the left flank of the special service ships. Rozhestvensky's orders to the fleet were as follows: If the Japanese ships appeared in the rear the battleship fleet would face these and the cruisers and special service ships would continue on the course. In accordance with this order, the first and second battleship divisions increased speed, made a general turn, 2 points to port and were about to change formation when at 11:30 a.m. they discovered the Japanese third division at a distance of about 9000 meters on the port side. The Ushakoff opened fire on the Kasagi and the other ships of the left flank followed her. The commander-in-chief, Admiral Rozhestvensky, ordered them to cease firing in order not to waste ammunition. When parallel to the southern end of Tsushima, they changed their course to north 23 degrees east. At this time the Japanese third division, accompanied by the fourth destroyer flotilla, appeared ahead of the Russian fleet and was about to cross their front. Admiral Rozhestvensky wished to attack these ships in a formation of a single line abreast and the first battleship division was to make a change of front 8 points to starboard, and then by a general turning of 8 points to port make a single line abreast. The Alexander III, at this time mistaking the movement, followed after the first ship, and the third and fourth ships followed after the second ship, and as a result the first division made, with the second and third division, two lines in line ahead formation. At about 1 p.m. the commander-in-chief discovered the Japanese main fleet crossing from the starboard to port obliquely ahead of the Russian fleet. In order to return to the battle formation he ordered the second division to follow after the first division, and the cruiser division to protect the special service ships. The first battleship division, increasing the speed to 11 knots an hour, changed course slightly to port and the second division, in order to fall astern of the first division, decreased their speed and sheered to starboard. When the leading ship, the Oslabaya, was nearly in position, the flagship Suvorov opened fire on the Mikasa at 2:08 p.m. at a range of about 7000 meters. Rozhestvensky perhaps thought, when he saw the quick change to port made by the Japanese main fleet, that it was a good opportunity for attack, in spite of the fact that his formation had not yet been completed by the maneuver. The following ships then concentrated their fire on the Japanese leading units, which fire was returned about 2 minutes afterward by the Japanese ships. Both fleets at a distance of from 5000 to 6000 meters cruised on a parallel course to the northward. After a short time, the Russian fleet turning to starboard headed eastward, the Suvorov being abreast of the center ship of the Japanese fleet and the Nikolai I, the leading ship of the third fleet, almost parallel to the rear of the Japanese second division. In this way the Suvorov and the Oslabaya became the center on which the Japanese fire was concentrated. The Oslabaya, on account of her nearness to the Japanese fleet and also on account of her size, made an excellent target for the concentrated fire from seven or eight of the Japanese ships. One of her turrets was damaged, her mainmast and stacks destroyed and from a hole on the water line she made water. Fires broke out in many parts of the ship and dead bodies were scattered over the blood soaked deck. The Suvorov, next to this ship, received the most damage. Thirty minutes after the battle commenced, the condition of the Russian fleet was most unfavorable. The third division, because of inferior speed, was forced to drop astern. The Japanese first division ahead and the second division on the bow, delivered a fierce fire. A shell striking the conning tower of the Suvorov, caused damage to the steering gear and wounded Admiral Rozhestvensky in the head. The Suvorov, sheering to starboard, left the line. The Oslabaya, which also had left the line, was enveloped in black smoke. With a list of 15 degrees to port, and down by the head, at 3:10 p.m. she at last sank. Only 380 of the 900 in the crew were rescued by companion ships, it is reported. When the Oslabaya left the line, fire was concentrated on the other ships. The Sissoi Veliky, which took the place of the Oslabaya, was greatly damaged and for a time had to leave the line. In the first division the Alexander III which took the place of the Suvorov, received the concentrated fire of the Japanese ships and was set on fire. She left the line and her place was taken by the Borodino, but the formation at this time had become entirely disorganized. The captain of the Borodino decided to escape to the rear of the Japanese fleet. Changing course about 8 points to port, he shaped his course north, but on account of a movement of the Japanese fleet, changed his plans and swung back to his former course. About this time the Alexander III, extinguishing the fires which had occurred on board, reentered the line, and taking the lead, changed course to starboard and cruised south, thereby separating the first division from the Japanese fleet. The first phase at this point ended. The time was about 3:20 p.m. From that time until 4 p.m. the enemy's position was not clear, but taking advantage of the cessation of hostilities they rearranged their formation and fixed their course for Vladivostok. At 4 p.m. the Japanese first division, cruising northeast, discovered the main strength of the Russian fleet to the northeastward at a distance of about 6000 meters to starboard. Hereupon from 4:04 p.m. both fleets opened the second phase, fighting at a range of 6000 meters on parallel courses. From now on the damage to the Russian ships increased greatly. Their firing became weaker and some of the ships were in flames. The Alexander III was again forced out of the line and the Borodino again took her place. Gradually turning to starboard the Russian fleet cruised south and from 4:43 p.m. the Alexander III was lost in the mist. The Suvorov, which had left the line at 3 p.m., was being handled by her engines only. From 3:20 p.m. she received the concentrated fire from the Japanese first and second divisions at a range from 2000 to 3000 meters for about 20 minutes. All her upper works were destroyed and her hull was battered out of shape. As above mentioned, the Russian ships, which had become lost in the mist, cruised south for about 30 minutes and then two ships of the Borodino type seemed to change course to starboard and to cruise north. About 5 p.m. on a counter course they exchanged fire with the Japanese first division for a short time. One part of the Russian fleet, thought to be the third division, at 4:50 p.m. joined the cruiser division, which was cruising from the west, pressed by the Japanese third division. On a counter course these ships engaged the third, fourth, fifth and sixth Japanese divisions and inflicted considerable damage to the Japanese ships. At 5:05 p.m. they changed course to the northwestward. The Russian fleet, now taking advantage of a cessation of fire for about 30 minutes, collected the various units; the Orel, Nikolai I, Appraxin, Seniavin, Alexander III, Ushakoff, Navarin, Sissoi Veliky and the Nakhimov, forming line ahead, the Borodino leading with the cruiser division and the special service ships on the port side, they shaped their course for Vladivostok. About 6 p.m. the Japanese first division suddenly appeared on the starboard quarter and opened fire, the Russian ships changing course to about NNW and running parallel to the Japanese fleet on their starboard side. Thus the third phase opened. The Borodino and the Orel, which were in the lead, received the concentrated fire. The hull of the Borodino was wrapped in flames, and as almost all her commissioned officers were killed or wounded, there was no one to direct the movements of the ship. The Alexander III left the line about 7 p.m. When that ship left the line, other ships seemed to follow her. One unit, with the Nakhimov as the rear ship, changed course with the intention of escaping to the southward but this move was not executed. At this time the sun had set, but the firing had not yet ceased. The fire on the Borodino was very great. The flames reflected upon the evening skies and with the second great explosion she sank beneath the waves. At about 5:30 p.m. the Buiny picked up Admiral Rozhestvensky who was in a semi-conscious state. His head and feet were severely injured. When questioned by his staff as to what orders he wished carried out, he replied, "Niebogatov," "Vladivostok," "North 23 degrees E.," etc. His chief-of-staff, surmising his wishes, sent word by the Brezupretshny to Admiral Niebogatov, on board the Nikolai I, that the command had been handed over to him. The Buiny then followed and overtook the cruiser division. The Brezupretshny at once overtook the Nikolai I and sent her message, turning over the command to Niebogatov. The Suvorov was again attacked after Rozhestvensky was removed and fought for a time with one small caliber stern gun, but a t 7:20 p.m. she sank. During this engagement the Russian Navy lost four of the five latest type ships which formed the backbone of the Russian fleet. The Orel only remained, and she suffered considerable damage. The third division, composed of the Nikolai I, Seniavin, Appraxin, and the Uskakoff, led by Admiral Niebogatov, at the opening of the first phase has dropped astern, but joined again at the close of the second phase. At 7 p.m. Admiral Niebogatov made a signal which read, "Follow me, course N. 23 degrees E." Heading for Vladivostok, they were pressed on the starboard side by the Japanese fleet, and course was changed to NW. At 7:20 p.m., freeing themselves from the Japanese fleet, they were about to resume course to the northeastward when they encountered the Japanese destroyer and torpedo-boat flotillas, and changing course to SW., escaped in the darkness.
Attack By The Destroyer and Torpedo-Boat Flotillas.
The enemy's fleet was entirely defeated in the engagement from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the 27th. The commander-in-chief, Admiral Rozhestvensky, had been severely wounded, and the command was passed over to Admiral Niebogatov. Four new ships of the enemy had been destroyed and the remaining ships were badly damaged. Admiral Niebogatov at sunset, collecting the scattered ships, and attempting to cruise to the northward, was forced by the Japanese fleet to change course to the northwestward. At this time the Japanese torpedo craft gradually drew near the enemy. At 7:30 p.m. the first destroyer flotilla which had been during the day on the protected side of the first division, crossed the bow of that division and at 7:30 p.m. were north of the enemy's fleet. The second destroyer flotilla during the day were on the protected side of the second division, and at about 6 p.m. they cruised northward of the enemy's fleet. The ninth torpedo flotilla in the morning, for a time, entered Miura Bay, and departing about 2 p.m., overtook the fleet at 6 p.m., and again separating from their division took position north of the enemy. All together commanded the enemy's front in the northward. The third destroyer flotilla, which during the day were on the protected side of the first division, at 5 p.m. made an unsuccessful attack on the Suvorov; then working singly they discovered the enemy about 7 p.m. on the port bow to the northeastward. The fourth destroyer flotilla at 5 p.m., after having attacked the Suvorov, fell in astern of the second division and cruised to the westward. The fifth destroyer flotilla at about 3:50 p.m. attacked the Suvorov and then joined the second division. Together these ships operated against the enemy's flank from the eastward. The first torpedo flotilla (these boats were engaged in reconnoitering), departing from the eastern Bay of Kinzaki at 6:30 p.m. joined the fifth division and cruised northwest. The tenth torpedo flotilla during the day followed the sixth division and at 6:50 p.m. they were ordered by Rear Admiral Togo to attack the Suvorov, but as the eleventh torpedo flotilla was already engaged in that duty, the tenth ceased the movement. Separating from the sixth division they proceeded north. The fifteenth torpedo flotilla during the day followed the sixth division, but later cruised towards the enemy. The seventeenth flotilla, on the morning of the 27th, followed the fifth division. After leaving Ozaki Bay under the lead of the Yaeyama they separated from that division. At 7 p.m., separating from the Yaeyama, they headed for the enemy. The eighteenth flotilla on the morning of the 27th left Takeshiki and falling in with the fifth division, steamed along with it. Afterwards, separating from that division, they cruised after the Yaeyama. At 6:50 p.m., separating from the Yaeyama, they headed towards the enemy. The twentieth flotilla operations were the same as those of the 18th. These ships intended to attack the enemy's rear from the southward. All together they surrounded the enemy on three sides. The sun had set and darkness covered the sea. The wind had slightly abated, but the sea was high. The roll of the boats was from 50 degrees to 60 degrees. The compasses on account of this had become useless and the telescopes, being soaked in sea water, could not be used. The first division at this time had withdrawn and changed course to the northward. The enemy's fleet, knowing of the presence of the torpedo craft ahead, and wishing to avoid them, changed course to port and stood to the southwestward. About 8 p.m., when it became dark, Admiral Niebogatov changed course to north 23 degrees east. The Nikolai I leading, was followed by the Orel, Appraxin, Seniavin, and separated by a short interval these ships were followed by the Ushakoff, Navarin, Sissoi Veliky and Nakhimov; the Izumrud was on the starboard beam of the Nikolai I. All were headed for Vladivostok and were steaming at a speed of about 12 knots. The Japanese torpedo craft, which had been waiting for the chance to attack, now approached from three directions. Some of the enemy's ships using their search-lights made it easy for the Japanese torpedo craft to pick them up. The Oboro (flotilla flagboat), Ikazuchi, Inazuma and Akebono, of the second destroyer flotilla, which were now north of the enemy's fleet, at 8 p.m. stood towards the leading ship of the enemy. The enemy concentrated fire on this flotilla and shells dropped around them like hailstones, but the Japanese flotilla drew nearer and at 8:10 p.m., running on a counter course the Oboro discharged a torpedo at a range of between 500 and 600 meters, being followed by the other three ships. The second ship, the Ikazuchi, received damage to her main steampipe which greatly reduced her speed. Coming within the searchlight rays of the enemy, she received their concentrated fire. Three of her stacks were pierced and 2 officers, 1 artificer engineer, 1 petty officer, and 9 seamen were wounded. After being under the enemy's fire for about 8 minutes she passed out of range. The destroyer proceeded along to Takeshiki. The third ship, the Inazuma, was struck by two shells, but received only slight damage. After the attack the Inazuma drew near the Ikazuchi, and being informed by that ship that she could proceed under her own power, the Inazuma left her. The fourth ship, the Akebono, seeing the steam issuing from the Ikazuchi, attempted to take her in tow, but losing each other, the Akebono joined the Oboro and Inazuma. At this time the Oboro had 1 yeoman killed, 1 doctor and 4 seamen wounded. The Akebono had 1 petty officer and 3 seamen wounded. This was the first attack of the night. The Harusame (flotilla flagboat), Fubuki, Ariake, Arare and Akatsuki (the former Russian destroyer, Rieziastchy which was captured at Chefoo) of the first destroyer flotilla, which was also to the northward of the enemy, closed on the enemy following the second destroyer flotilla. The commander of the flotilla ordered the second section (the Ariake and Arare) and the third section (the Akatsuki) to operate singly, and he himself with the first section (the Harusame and Fubuki) advanced at full speed. About 8:40 p.m., when the chance to make the attack was almost at hand, the Harusame collided with the Yugiri of the fifth destroyer flotilla and a hole 1 meter long and 900 millimeters wide was made at the water line. The Fubuki also, in avoiding a collision with a torpedo-boat, became separated from the Harusame. From that time both boats operated singly searched for the enemy, but did not succeed in finding them. The Harusame then proceeded to Takeshiki for repairs and the Fubuki fell in with the converted cruiser Shinano Maru. The Akatsuki, of the third section, having collided with the torpedo-boat No. 69 of the first torpedo flotilla, received damages along the water line and filled her second compartment. As the attack was finished she arrived at Takeshiki the next morning. The Ariake and the Arare only of the second division came in contact with the enemy. At 9:08 p.m. they attacked the enemy at a range between 300 and 500 meters, then finishing the attack, proceeded to Utsuryo Island. In this attack the Arare had 1 seaman wounded. The Shininome (flotilla flagship), the Usugumo, the Kasumi and the Sazanami, of the third destroyer flotilla, came in contact at 8 p.m. with the main fleet of the enemy, but as the enemy changed course to southwest the third destroyer flotilla passed astern of the enemy and coming out on the starboard side, took the same course. At 8:40 p.m. the enemy was observed to the eastward. Wishing to cross ahead of the enemy's fleet to the port side in order to make a counter course attack they changed course to the southward. At 9:02 p.m. the Shinonome, running west by north, attacked the enemy on a parallel course to starboard at a range of 500 meters. The second ship, the Usugumo, barely escaped collision with a ship of the enemy, and then taking a parallel course with this ship, under a heavy fire from the machine guns, she discharged a torpedo at a range of between 200 and 400 yards. The third ship, the Kasumi, followed the Usugumo, and, although she was struck three times, she was able to discharge a torpedo at a range of 300 meters. The rear ship, the Sazanami, attacked the enemy alone at a range of 400 meters and then proceeded to Urusan. At this place she met the three other boats. The Usugumo had 1 seaman wounded. The Shiranubi (flotilla flagboat), Murakumo, Yugiri and Kagero of the fifth destroyer flotilla, closed in on the enemy with the third destroyer flotilla from the eastward. Shortly after sunset the boats separated from each other and operated independently. The first boat, the Shiranubi, at 10:30 p.m. attacked a ship of the enemy and then proceeded to Miura Bay to turn over the men who had been killed and wounded during the day's fight. The second ship, the Murakumo, about 8:30 p.m. received a severe fire from one of the enemy's ships, one shell lodging in the coal bunkers and starting a fire, and for a time she went out of range. Again returning she searched for the enemy, but was unable to find them. The third ship, the Yugiri, at 8:30 p.m., at a range of 600 meters, delivered an attack on one of the enemy's ships. Colliding with the Harusame of the first destroyer flotilla, her bow was bent to starboard, and she made much water. Temporary repairs were made, but her speed did not exceed 3 knots. The next evening she entered Sasebo. The rear ship, the Kagero, at 8:30 p.m., at a range of 500 meters, discharged a torpedo at the enemy, then cruised to Urusan harbor. The Asagiri (flotilla flagboat), Murasame, Asashio and Shirakumo, of the fourth destroyer flotilla, coming from the east, attacked the enemy. As beforehand arranged, this flotilla was to await the finishing of the attacks of the other flotillas, but as the enemy often changed course, they lost contact with it. The second ship, the Murasame, had a bad leak which was caused during the day's engagement, and being separated from her companions, she proceeded to Takeshiki. The other three boats searched for the enemy with no success. About 2:30 a.m. on the 28th, while proceeding to Urusan harbor, they suddenly came across two of the enemy's ships and, after delivering attack, proceeded on their way. The Aotaka, (flotilla flagboat), Karigane, Tsubame and Hato, of the ninth torpedo flotilla, also approached the enemy, and by the searchlights of the enemy they were able to pick them up. This flotilla, on account of the rough sea, in the morning entered Miura Bay in company with the fourteenth and nineteenth flotillas and remained in that bay until the afternoon. The first boat, the Aotaka, at 9:20 p.m. discharged a torpedo at the rear ship of the enemy at a range of 800 meters. The second boat, the Karigane, attacked the same ship. At the time of retreating the Karigane discovered that torpedo-boat No. 69, of the first flotilla, was in need of aid and attempted to tow her, but with the water entering that boat rapidly, the Karigane knew the attempt would be useless. On account of the high seas it was difficult to come close aboard. At 10:45 p.m. No. 69 sank, and 25 of her crew were picked up by the Karigane. The third boat, the Tsubame, about 9 p.m. lost the ships ahead of her and on a counter course with the enemy's ships at 9:10 p.m. delivered an attack alone at a range of between 400 and 500 meters. The Hato, also, at a range of 600 meters, delivered an attack alone. The four boats later joined at Miura Bay. The Tsubame had 1 seaman wounded. The first, tenth, fifteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth torpedo flotillas searched for the enemy from the southward but at sunset had not come in contact with them. Later, hearing gun-fire, they headed in that direction. Shortly after sunset the enemy, using their searchlights, betrayed their position to the flotillas. The flotillas, taking advantage of this, immediately proceeded to attack. No. 69, (flotilla flagboat), No. 68, No. 70 and No. 67 of the first flotilla, after sunset, stood to the northwestward and at 9:05 p.m. discovered the enemy on the port bow. When at a range of from 1200 to 1300 meters from the enemy No. 69 collided with the Akatsuki, of the first destroyer flotilla. Her bow was bent about 3 meters to starboard and she made water rapidly. Becoming unmanageable she asked the Karigane, of the ninth torpedo flotilla, to tow her, but as she filled rapidly, it became apparent that she would soon sink. At 10:45 p.m., lowering her flag, she sank. The crew, with three "banzai" for the Empire, threw themselves into the sea. The commander and 25 others were picked up by the Karigane, but the whereabouts of 2 seamen was unknown. The commander, 1 artificer engineer and 4 seamen were wounded. The second boat, No. 68, about 9:10 p.m., becoming separated from the flotilla flagboat, operated alone and approaching the starboard quarter of an enemy group consisting of four ships, at 9:15 p.m. attacked one at a range of about 300 meters. Her boiler being struck by a shell, she stopped under a severe fire of the enemy, to make temporary repairs. She was struck about 30 times (small caliber shells). Her forward compartments were filled and 4 seamen were killed and 1 petty officer and 5 seamen wounded. At 10:30 p.m., having completed temporary repairs, she cruised to Takeshiki at slow speed. The third boat, No. 70, jammed her steering gear and lost the leading boats. Drifting about for 30 minutes, she finished the repairs and then went in search of the enemy, but being unable to find them, she proceeded to Miura Bay. The fourth boat, No. 67, was separated from the other boats. Alone she drew near to the starboard side of one of the enemy's ships on a counter course and at a range of between 200 and 300 meters, discharged a torpedo, then proceeded to Miura Bay. No. 43 (flotilla flagboat), No. 40, No. 41 and No. 39 of the tenth torpedo flotilla, attacked the enemy from the southward. After sunset they steamed toward the enemy, guided by their searchlights. At 9:20 p.m. they discovered more than five of the enemy's ships standing northeast in an irregular column. They then prepared for attack. At this time the attack by the Japanese torpedo craft was most severe. The enemy's ships were completely surrounded by destroyers and torpedo-boats and the danger of collision with each other was very great. No. 43 at 9:30 p.m. drew in to a distance of about 800 meters, and was about to attack when she collided with the Sagi, of the fifteenth torpedo flotilla, and severely damaged her bow. Her forward compartments filled and her steering gear becoming jammed, she was unable to carry out the attack. She then returned to Takeshiki. The second boat, No. 40, becoming separated, running on a counter course, discharged a torpedo at a range of 500 meters, and then proceeded to Takeshiki. The third boat, No. 41, and the fourth boat, No. 39, becoming separated from the leading boats, carried out an attack and then proceeded to Takeshiki. The Hibari (flotilla flagboat), the Uzura, the Hashitaka and the Sagi, attacked the enemy from the southward on course west. About 9:00 p.m. they saw two or three searchlight beams on the starboard bow, and they knew that the course of the enemy was about NNE. Determining an attack on a counter course, they changed course to north gradually, intending to cross ahead of the enemy. At 9:30 p.m., discovering the enemy to port, they changed course in that direction. The Hibari, at 9:40 p.m., was on a counter course with the enemy, but on account of the high sea, she was forced across the enemy's line and came out on their port side. At 10:10 p.m., on a parallel course, at an estimated range of 600 meters, she delivered an attack on one ship and then proceeded to Urusan. The second boat, the Uzura, and the third boat, the Hashitaka, at 9:44 p.m., separating from the leading boat, searched for the enemy, and not being successful, cruised to Urusan. The rear boat, the Sagi, about 9:30 p.m. drew near the enemy but in maneuvering she collided with No. 43, of the tenth torpedo flotilla, and had a great hole stove in the port side of her engine room. She filled rapidly and listed to port and only by the greatest effort she kept from sinking. Steaming slowly, she arrived at the southern part of Tsushima and later entered Takeshiki. No. 34 (flotilla flagboat), No. 31, No. 32 and No. 33, of the seventeenth flotilla, attacked from the southward. About 8 p.m., observing searchlight beams they gradually changed course to the southward, and ran towards those lights. About 9:05 p.m. they discovered six of the enemy's ships standing to the northeastward. Crossing ahead of the enemy, they came out on the port side, with the intention of running on a counter course, but on account of the high sea the boats did not handle properly. The flotilla commander wishing to fulfill his object by crossing through the enemy's lines, ordered the boats to follow his movements. No. 34 cruised towards the third ship, which was displaying her searchlight. At 9:10 p.m., crossing the enemy's line at an estimated range of 250 meters, he attacked two ships at the same time. His forward boiler was struck by a shell which caused great damage on the port side. Another shell struck the forward torpedo tube and severed the rudder chain. As she became unmanageable, she received the concentrated fire of the enemy, and 7 men were killed. One officer, 2 petty officers, 8 seamen and 1 yeoman were wounded. Making water rapidly, the forward boiler room filled and the bow settled. About 10 p.m. she was met by No. 61 and requested aid. As that ship was drawing near, the stern of No. 34 rose suddenly, and she sank. All the crew were picked up by No. 61. The second ship, No. 31, followed No. 34, and at an estimated range of 600 meters, attacked the enemy. While searching for No. 34, at 10:20 p.m., she met No. 35, of the eighteenth flotilla, which had her boilers damaged, and was in need of assistance. Although she attempted to tow No. 35, on account of a bad leak she listed dangerously and was given up as hopeless. No. 31, lowering her small boats, picked up the commanding officer and 20 men and then proceeded to Takeshiki. The third ship, No. 33, arrived at a point between 1200 and 1300 meters on the starboard side of the enemy. Being detached from the other boats she approached the enemy's line. At 9:30 p.m., to starboard of the enemy on a counter course, at a range of 500 meters, she discharged a torpedo and then proceeded to Takeshiki. The rear ship, No. 32, at about 9:23 p.m., approached to within 250 meters of the enemy. One shell struck her torpedo tube and in addition she was struck several times by small caliber and machine gun shells. Later she proceeded to Takeshiki. One officer was killed and 7 seamen wounded. No. 36 (flotilla flagboat), No. 60, No. 61 and No. 35, of the eighteenth flotilla, attacked the enemy from the southward. At 8:15 p.m. they discovered to port a group of the enemy's ships heading north. At first, wishing to cross ahead of them, they gradually approached, but the third ship, No. 61, had her steering gear damaged. The other boats, coming within the zone of the enemy's searchlights, were forced to separate. No. 36 kept her course, and crossing ahead of the enemy, came out on the starboard hand, then on a counter course prepared to attack, but ceased operations on account of the other flotillas being on the point of opening an attack. She later proceeded to Takeshiki. No. 36 was struck by a shell which wounded 1 officer and 3 men. The third ship, No. 60, when she was about to cross the enemy's bow, became separated from No. 36. Coming to port of the enemy and running on a parallel course, she attacked a ship at a range of 450 meters and then proceeded to Takeshiki. The boat, No. 61, having her steering gear jammed, separated from the other boats and a t 10 p.m., when the repairs were completed, cruised in search of the enemy and discovered No. 34 of the seventeenth flotilla in a sinking condition. Giving up her search she picked up the crew of No. 34 and proceeded to Miura Bay. From this place she later proceeded to Takeshiki. The rear ship, No. 35, ran towards the enemy alone and under a severe fire drew so near that the men on the enemy's decks were visible. She discharged one torpedo. During this attack she was hit many times. Again attempting an attack, a shell damaged the main steampipe and the high pressure cylinder and she lost her power to move. Two seamen were killed and 2 officers and 7 seamen were wounded. Hoisting her break-down signal, she separated from the other boats; one part of her crew engaged in plugging up the leaks while the other part were engaged in shifting the torpedoes from the fixed tube to the revolving tube. Later meeting No. 31, of the seventeenth flotilla, she requested assistance, but on account of the high sea the low lines broke, and she was forced to anchor. Unfortunately the anchor chain fouled the propeller of No. 31, which also became unmanageable, but cutting the chain and reversing her engine, she cleared the obstruction. Knowing that No. 35 would surely sink, the crew were taken off, and with her battle flag flying No. 35 went down. The fourteenth, sixteenth and nineteenth torpedo flotillas were sheltered in Miura Bay that day, as well as the twentieth flotilla, which, accompanying the fifth division, searched all night for the enemy, but as the enemy had extinguished all lights at 10:30 p.m., their whereabouts became unknown. As above mentioned, the torpedo attack of the Japanese craft about 9 p.m., the 27th, was a severe one. About 40 destroyers and torpedo-boats were engaged. The enemy, after the hard day's fight, were in a deplorable condition. With no semblance of formation, each ship singly was attempting to escape. During this time the main fleet under Admiral Niebogatov at full speed ran to the northward. At midnight, when the torpedo attack ceased temporarily, only the Orel, Seniavin, Appraxin, and Izumrud could follow the Nikolai I. The battleship Navarin had sunk. The Sissoi Veliky, the cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, as well as the Vladimir Monomakh, were greatly damaged. (On the following day, the 28th, these three ships sank.) The damage to the Japanese ships was as follows: No. 69, of the first flotilla, No. 34, of the seventeenth, and No. 35, of the eighteenth, were lost. Besides that several ships had received more or less damage from gun-fire and collision.
At 10:15 a.m. the 28th the second fleet under Admiral Kamimura approached the enemy's fleet, which consisted of Nikolai I, flagship, the Orel, the seacoast defense ships Appraxin and Seniavin and the cruiser Izumrud. At 10:34 a.m. the Kasuga, followed by the other ships, opened fire, but received no response from the enemy. They, instead, half-masted the battle flag, showing their intention to surrender. The Japanese representatives went to the Nikolai I, and meeting Admiral Niebogatov, informed him that Admiral Togo wished him and all officers to wear their swords and to report on the Mikasa. Admiral Niebogatov, wearing full dress, accompanied by his staff, came on deck, and addressed his crew. He told them that as he was an old man of 60 years, he cared nothing for himself, but he felt keenly for all the others, who were so young. He told them to persevere and work hard to restore the navy and work for their country. He informed them that he would take the whole responsibility of the surrender. He then proceeded to the Mikasa and agreed to the following terms: All ships would be handed over to the Japanese and all the crew would be captives of the Japanese. Officers would be permitted to retain their side arms. Both admirals then drank a toast to the end of the fight.
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