This action pitted three Russian armored Cruisers of the Russian Imperial Navy (IRN) based out of Vladiastok against four Japanese armored cruisers that had been dispatched to intercept them. The Russian cruisers originally were suppose to support the main effort and link up with the Russian fleet in the Sea of Japan after the broke out from Port Arthur. Due to communication errors and lack of readiness the squadron departed late and missed the battle of the Yellow Sea in which the the Russian First Pacific Squadron was crushed by the Japanese.
Not knowing the First Pacific fleet had already been soundly beaten the Russian command ordered Admiral Jessen to sortie and join the rest of the fleet in the Sea of Japan. Admiral Jensen sailed with the three Russian Armored cruisers Rosia, Gromoboi and Rurik sailed south to link up with the Russian First Pacific fleet he thought was sailing from Port Arthur.
Jessen sailed south, but the fleet had not been sighted by the morning of August 14th 1904. As the Russian squadron approached Busan, Admiral Jessen informed his captains that he had no intention of attempting to pass Tsushima Straits, and ordered the squadron back to Vladivostok. It was a fateful decision.
The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was made up of more modern armored cruisers Izumo, Azuma, Tokiwa, Iwate, and two protected cruisers Naniwa and Takachiho which were under the command of Vice Admiral Hikonojo Kamimura who had just recently passed very close to the Russian squadron in the dark on opposite courses but neither was aware of the other. The two protected cruisers while there did not engage in the battle that ensued.
In the early morning hours of 14 August 1904, Vice Admiral Kamimura had been heading back from his night patrol area on a course that took him directly to the Russian squadron. When Admiral Jessen started to turn back to Vladivostock, he sighted the four IJN armored cruisers.
The situation was ideal for the Japanese. It was dawn on a fine summer day, and the enemy was as far from Vladivostok as it was possible to be in the Sea of Japan, with the IJN between themselves and their distant base.
On the easterly run the Japanese ships took some hits, but nothing comparable to what they inflicted. It would be assumed that when the Russians steered away, Admiral Kamimura would have pressed his advantage closer. Inexplicably, this did not happen. Kamimura oddly held his course during the IRN turn, and when the IJN turned a few minutes later, it was to a new tack that actually lengthened rather than narrowed the range.
|Sinking of Rurik|
Battle of Ulsan Refought
This is one of my favorite Pre-Dreadnought sceanrios to game as it is quick and excellent for teaching a new player the rules. As many already know my naval rules of choice for this time period are Naval Thunder-Rise of the Battleship.
My friend Mike and I have played this one out a few times to include NAVCON 2010. In the hands of skilled players the results are usually fairly true to history, but every once in awhile rolling dice will result in a few quirks.
Below is an account of one such egagement:
Russian Admiral Jesson's cruisers patrolled the Northern approaches to the Tsushima strait in hopes of finding the IRN First Pacific Fleet. The IJN Cruisers under Admiral Kamimura set an intercept course closing to a range of 17,000 yrds as the battle opened.