Experiences of Admiral Rozhdestvensky

The first letter to his wife Olga Nikolaevna Antipova is dated September 4, 1904 from Reval (Tallinn).

Here’s what the commander notes:

“In Revel, the week passed unnoticed, but it cannot be said that it was very successful: constant breakdowns of cars, electric motors, disturbances on ships and the often choppy sea interfere with learning much that was planned …

Our position is very bad and will not get better. The Japanese will give you more than we are able to …

One governor Alekseev raised his head, that they took, he says, appointing independent leaders: the army and the navy.

Now I step into my rights and ask you to explain to me exactly how you intend to get out of the situation you have created. Where is your squadron – what is it?

Don’t move until I give my thoughts and orders. ”

The admiral describes two problems – technology and dual power.

The technique does not allow to fulfill the plan of the exercises in its base. And instructions from several instances do not allow you to act according to your plan.

Teachings (I will humbly note) were. If you look not only at letters – and shooting (artillery and torpedo), and maneuvering.

After 16 days Zinovy ​​writes:

“I will be whole, you will pay for all the insults. And I will gladly accept your apology

but I’ll go for a walk where Makar didn’t chase calves — it’s like a tablecloth;

I’m not much use now;

and I myself am completely at peace for you, and for Lelya, and for all my loved ones …

Even though we are still quite peasants, it is impossible to learn a lot neither in Reval, nor in Lyubava, anywhere else in the Gulf of Finland …

Yes, and we missed all the best times for the passage of bad places.

If they left on September 1, then in wonderful weather they would have reached the southern latitudes by this time. ”

I remember the words of Bukhvostov:

“We will all die, but we will not surrender.”

The assessment is sober – preparation is weak, the weather will not allow further studies, a hike through Biscay in October is really dangerous …

All the people in the squadron understood. They understood, but they went.

Because – an oath and a duty.

Another question is that one cannot expect success with such and such moods. But the problem was far from mood.

1 october again:

“Every day there are minor breakdowns, even during stops, so what to expect on the way, and even in October weather, which came into their own here.

They see us off very kindly.

The more shameful the failure will be. “

And about the same – there is no chance.

Separately about the Hull incident in a letter from 15 october:

“The British have either set up the incident, or are drawn by the Japanese into a situation from which there is no easy way out.

Without a doubt, the Anglo-Japanese alliance provides for armed assistance when it is needed.

The need has obviously arrived.

And the pretext is the most correct, from their point of view. ”

The opinion is biased, but well-founded.

Rozhdestvensky’s intelligence intimidated precisely with such scenarios – either by an attack by Japanese destroyers on the way, or by an attack by the British. We are smart now, but then …

The commander saw the situation through the eyes of the Foreign Ministry and intelligence.

But what these organizations saw was a matter of serious research. On the topic of what it was: sabotage, corruption or impenetrable stupidity?

In four days:

“We have become weak everything is at the root, and with such general painful weakness the extravagant enterprise of our renowned 2nd squadron it’s hard to count on chance even.

I live – I see

and now we will crawl on ships that are capable of moving in calm weather no further than 1500 miles;

we will puzzle over how to step over stations with them in 2000 and 2300 miles long. “

Highlighted would be in stone and on walls.

And, by the way, about coal transshipments.

Well, that’s why they filled all the premises with coal? Why is that?

Fools probably …

October 24:

“I have thirteen ships in service.

We go like this: Kamchatka, Suvorov, Meteor, Emperor Alexander III, Anadyr, Borodino, Malaya, Oryol, Korea, Oslyabya, Nakhimov, Enquist’s flag, Dmitry Donskoy, Aurora.

At night, this herd is sometimes crowded, running over each other, so that there is a danger of collision, then it stretches so that you are afraid of losing some sheep.

Breakdowns happen on everyone. ”

And again the technical condition.

Well, and a complete inability to keep the formation, which, given the lack of sailing and different maneuverable characteristics, in fact, is not surprising.

Two questions run like a red thread through all the letters – breakdowns and intelligence reports that the Japanese are literally around the corner.

Next letter at the end of November and again:

“The machines of our ships, meanwhile, wear out and break down every day, now at one, now at another.

And it is impossible to enter any port, not only for repairs, but also for the bulkhead of only cars.

And this is with a squadron, which, including transports and destroyers, recruits up to 50 ships and 12,000 people. ”

From Madagascar, the admiral answers why around Africa, and not the Suez Canal:

“Of course, they will say: it was a fool’s freedom to choose a roundabout way – deliberately delaying the voyage.

And these will lie.

Because half of them were sent by the shortest route, and they also did not stand anywhere else, but should come and, I hope, will come to the connection only three days before me.

And this half could not have come so soon if it had to wait for the passage of my large detachment by the Suez Canal, from which every ship before entering the canal would have to completely unload, and after the passage again be loaded.

They will say, and chose the point of connection of the detachments to the side of the direct path in order to prolong the voyage.

And they will also lie, because on the straight path there is not a single hole where you can stick yourself: everything is English;

but the British can’t rub their glasses: they will prevent the squadrons from stopping in their waters by force. ”

And he adds:

“After all, the sailors even wrote that the passage of the squadron from Kronstadt to Port Arthur takes sixty days, and when I first said six months, they goggled.

But we have been going for the third month and have not made another half of the way. ”

Separately about the parking in Nossibeisk:

«Jan. 7… The Germans changed at the most decisive moment …

I don’t know how to get out, especially with Fyodor Karlovich, whom the chancellery ate completely …

And for us any delay here is disastrous, it allows the Japanese to make extensive preparations.

We ourselves find ourselves in a period of hurricanes, which can destroy half of our ships without any participation of the Japanese.

An evil fate hangs over the Russian fleet.

Do not get in the way of our Headquarters, our diplomatic offices were not in a panic, do not shout like that at all crossroads … ten days ago we would have started on our further journey.

I don’t know what will happen next, but now the matter is shameful …

He sent the most energetic appeals to Petersburg.

Will they not move?

But even if they do move, the answer here to the telegrams will have to wait ten days.

And now everyone is so terribly dear …

January 17… I was supposed to be on the other side of the Indian Ocean on your birthday, and the damned office is holding it. And I don’t know how long it will last …

The prohibition on me to move on until the orders, sent by the Highest command …

Yet now, whatever strength I have, people have come to know each other.

We may not defeat the Japanese, but they cannot defeat us either.

Why is all this ruining? ”

Bottom line.

The squadron, which could slip through in February – early March, was detained by the highest order. And she came in May.

We got Tsushima, of which Zinovy ​​is guilty, of course. Not the author of the highest command.

Judging by the letters, six months of the transition is March, with luck – February.

At this time, it was quite possible to slip through without a battle.

In fact, with Rozhestvensky, the St. Petersburg team acted like cheaters – they changed the rules during the game.

The “love” of Zinovy ​​for Klado is also interesting:

“Can it be that poor Klado has confused the Petersburg brains.

Is it really not clear to them that the more numerous the rabble of any bastard, the more impossible it is for them to cope, the more chances are to beat this bastard in parts where these parts will fall off due to various troubles …

Obviously, I need to be replaced, especially since in the capacity of chief chief. pestilence. headquarters, I turned out to be worthless, did not make acquaintance with the pikes. And at their behest, he did not prepare for dispatch all those unprepared and outlived ships, of which a simple captain of the 2nd rank Klado finds it possible to form a third squadron in a few weeks.

Once my sin will be corrected, and Klado will be right, of course, there is no need to endure my fictitious service in the main naval headquarters any longer.

The articles of which, it seems to me, aroused in Zinovy ​​only anger and malice, like any professional’s opinion of an amateur.

Nevertheless, the emperor listened to the opinion of the journalist Clado, and not the commander.

And, I think, in connection with this, the following letter:

“Maybe one of these days you will hear at my address – a scoundrel and a scoundrel.

Don’t really believe this, tell them that I am neither one nor the other, but just a person who does not have the necessary data to cope with the task.

I even think that God forbid what happens to me, the rest of my admirals will cope with this task even worse, and I ask you to send Chukhnin in advance so that, what good, do not leave the squadron in a stateless state. ”

All these heroes of alternative descriptions of RYAV on the topic

“What would happen if a genius was at the head”

– The Skrydlovs, Dubasovs, Chukhnins never arrived at the squadron.

It was led into battle by the same people – Rozhdestvensky, desperate from misunderstanding of the upper echelons, the sick Felkzerzam and the ex-mayor Enquist.

Later, there was another patient – Nebogatov.

There were no other willing admirals among the dozens of admirals.

And one last thing before the battle:

“Yes, whatever the events of the coming days, the end result is nothing but a new page of Russia’s shame.”

April 16, 1905….


The letters were written not for the prosecutor, not for colleagues, or his beloved (judging by his tone) wife. And no one would be cunning in this kind of papers.

What do we see?

There was a plan – to slip through in bad weather, while the Japanese put in order the fleet to Vladivostok.

The plan was thwarted.

There was a suggestion:

“I cannot defeat the Japanese (and no one could) – change it.”

Have not changed.

As a result – Tsushima, of which, of course, a mediocrity is guilty. Not a system.

The blockhead offered to hold a trump card for negotiations in the theater of operations. He was not given.

The fool was in a hurry. And geniuses (like Clado and the emperor himself) slowed down.

The dumbass shouted – we will lose the battle. They did not listen to him …

There were definitely geniuses upstairs. Where are the sailors …

That’s that. There are heroic figures in our history. And there are tragic persons, with which the top officials covered up their sins and sins.

Zinovy ​​stands out against the general background.

Exactly he was made the ideal scapegoat for the bureaucracy and the complete military-political failure of the government.

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