96 pages, 7¼ x 9¼ inches, softcover
Often called the biggest naval battle of the 20th century, the battle at Tsushima was a combination of good planning and luck. The Russo-Japanese war of 1904/05 was as much a grab for land and power in the Pacific by the Russians as it was anything else (sound familiar?). The Russians had an ice-free port at Port Arthur that they had snagged from the Chinese and were eyeing the Korean peninsula.
This wasn't sitting well with the Japanese as they considered this part of the world to be fully within their sphere of influence. In order to prevent the Russians from taking over Korea, the Japanese made a deal (one they couldn't refuse sort of deals) with the Koreans and moved troops into the country. The result of this was a war.
The first thing the Japanese had to do was to reduce the Russian fleet, most of which was at Port Arthur. After a somewhat undecided battle in late 1904, the Russians moved their ships into the harbor. The small cruiser squadron at Vladivostok was fairly well cut off from any action as the Japanese controlled the waterways between the two major Russian bases.
The Japanese went on the offensive and blockaded the Russians at port Arthur after mining some of their ships and forcing the rest into the inner harbor, where it was easy to blockade them. Eventually the Japanese Army, which had landed on the peninsula where the Russian port was located, managed to get their big guns close enough to pretty well sink all the ships left in the harbor.
Before that happened, the Russians decided to send their Baltic fleet to the far east to help. This took time and allowed the Japanese to repair damage from the 1904 engagement. The long, slow trip also allowed the Japanese Army to close in and wreck Port Arthur. By the time the Russians arrived, their ships were worn from the long journey. The Japanese soon turned a battle into a one-sided disaster for the Russians.
This latest book in the Campaign series provides a lot of the details of why things happened the way they should. The Russians should have easily defeated the Japanese, but circumstances and a lack of aggression on the Russian part enabled the results to be quite different than what was expected. Though I've read several other books on the events of the time, this one has to be the best of the lot. Combine the great photo selection, the superb art work and a good story telling style of the author and you have a real winner in this one. I suggest you snag this one when you can.
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