Russian-Japanese War. Alekseev’s cunning plan

General outline

All the same, it is worth starting with the global – with those responsible for preparing for war.

Directly the commander-in-chief was a certain Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, who calls himself the Master of the Russian Land. General Kuropatkin was responsible for the army, for the fleet – Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich and his subordinates Vice Admiral Avelan, manager of the Naval Ministry, and the head of the General Staff School, Rear Admiral Rozhdestvensky.

Directly the forces in the Far East were commanded by the vice-admiral, Vice-Admiral Alekseev.

So, there were plans. And there were military and naval games. And, moreover, the preparation was also carried out in full.

Only a small mistake was made – the date of the beginning of the war in St. Petersburg was seen in 1905.

It was by this year that the Circum-Baikal railway was to be completed, Port Arthur (dock for battleships and fortifications) was to be put in order and 10 battleships were to be concentrated there (5 Borodintsev = Tsesarevich + Retvizan + 3 Peresvet). They were to be joined by cruisers – the armored Bayan, four six-thousanders, four cruisers of the second rank (Novik + Boyarin + two pebbles). As a training ship – armored frigate “Dmitry Donskoy”, as a yacht – “Almaz”.

In the Baltic, 3 “Sevastopols”, “Sisoy Veliky”, “Navarin” and two battering rams, supported, most likely, by “Svetlana” and three goddesses could act as a kind of reserve (about the latter it is unclear, logically they could have been removed or not remove).

Well, and three Rurikovich in Vladivostok. The destroyer flotilla would be strengthened by the destroyers of the second squadron and destroyers of the Cyclone and Improved Sungari types.

Just a reminder – the entire Japanese Navy is 6 battleships plus six either armored cruisers or second-class battleships.

Ships

But attempts to increase it met with serious opposition.

Everyone knows the story of the two Garibaldians that the Japanese acquired just before the war. But few people know that this is a forced step. And the Japanese were aiming at other ships …

Meet the Swiftshur-class Battleships, 20 knot speed, range of 6,500 miles and main battery 254 mm, SK – 190 mm.

A dream for the Japanese, but:

“In August 1903, Japan offered Chile to buy both battleships for £ 1,600,000. Art. However, most likely, sellers were not satisfied with this price.

In November 1903 Russia finally made a concrete offer to buy both ships for 1,875,000 lb. Art.

The alarmed Japanese government, having received information about the intentions of the Chileans to sell the battleships, appealed to the UK to interfere with the deal. The Japanese would like to buy these ships themselves, but at that time they did not have a parliamentary session, so there were difficulties in allocating money for such a purchase.

The British went forward. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Secretary of the Treasury) Austin Chamberlain submitted to the British government a proposal to buy ships, which were worth 400,000 lb. Art. cheaper than battleships built for the British fleet. “

The competent actions of Russian diplomats and that very “blockhead” Rozhdestvensky actually thwarted the deal, transferring it to the plane of bargaining, because Russia could add more …

It didn’t work with the Garibaldians. But here there were no options – there was no money to buy them seriously. Yes and:

“The Italians, who were quite friendly towards Russia and at the same time hoped to get a substantial jackpot from it, turned again, this time through a naval agent in London, I.F. Bostrem, with a proposal to purchase Rivadavia and Moreno with full ammunition.

On December 6, 1903, the Russian Naval Headquarters delivered the final verdict – not to buy ships.

At this time, the future enemy was not dozing.

The Japanese were in parallel negotiations for the acquisition of the same ships and acted very decisively. The deal was closed with stunning speed: on December 29, both cruisers became the property of the Land of the Rising Sun at a price of 760 thousand pounds each. “

The Japanese are ahead here.

In any case, the British are much better than the Italians. So the work was carried out in this direction as well. And the work is serious.

1902 naval game

Actually, the first such game was held in 1895.

Its result was … the defeat of the Russian fleet.

Conclusions were made. And in 1900 the second game was held, where Rozhestvensky played for the Russians.

Eventually:

“In the course of the game of the“ Russian party ”, despite some setbacks and losses, on the whole it was possible to fulfill the plan outlined by its leader to concentrate naval forces in the Far East that were superior to the Japanese fleet.

However, the matter did not come to the drawing of the general battle, since the game was stopped. “

Again, conclusions were drawn and plans were adjusted.

An interesting note by Rozhdestvensky following its results:

“Above the commander-in-chief of the Russian fleet, the prospect of burning the available coal without use of the cause weighed down with the sword of Damocles …

Only with the development of the production of Russian coal and its introduction, for a start, in foreign markets, and then in our own commercial ports, will the shackles that bind the activity of the Russian navy in the Far East be broken. “

Logistics, logistics and again logistics.

And the sailors understood this. They realized, but they could not build a railway line to Suchan.

Ironically, it was Rozhdestvensky who had to lead the squadron to an unfuel base, saving every piece along the way.

The third game took place in 1902-1903.

This time Dobrotvorsky played for our fleet. And its theme was “The War of Russia with Japan in 1905”.

The plot was prophetic:

“There could be only one plan of their actions – to move as soon as possible with the main forces to the Russian shores, to block the Russian fleet in the port.

And if this does not succeed, look for a battle with him. And in case of a successful outcome, start transporting troops to Korea.

The participants in the game identified the Russian squadron in Port Arthur as the most likely target of attack.

In the event of a sudden outbreak of war, Russian ships that were at that moment in foreign ports and ports of Japan could be suddenly attacked by the Japanese or disarmed. “

As a conclusion, there was the formation of the governorship in June 1903. To speed up the preparation of the theater of operations and the concentration of power in one hand.

It was Alekseev and Vitgeft who had to draw up plans for the war and implement them, taking into account the problems discovered by the games.

In fact, the establishment of the governorship is the final stage of preparation for war.

Alekseev

Did the governor have any plans?

Of course there were:

“Our most important task at the beginning of the war should be the concentration of our troops.

To achieve this task, we should not value any local points, any strategic considerations, keeping in mind the main thing – not to give the enemy the opportunity to defeat our scattered troops.

Only having sufficiently strengthened and prepared for the offensive, to go over to such, ensuring for itself as much success as possible. “

Both land-based, compiled by Kuropatkin himself, the favorite of the white general Skobelev and a brilliant staff officer, and naval ones:

“The main tasks of our naval forces in the Far East should be:

1) the need to remain the owners of the Yellow Sea and the Korean Gulf, relying on Arthur;

2) prevent the landing of the Japanese army on the western coast of Korea;

3) to divert part of the Japanese naval forces from the main theater of military operations and to prevent an attempt to land near the Amur region with secondary naval operations from Vladivostok.

If, however, we assume that Japan would be content with landing on the eastern coast of Korea, or that the landing on the western coast was accidentally successful, then the above tasks would turn out to be for our forces:

a) finding the Japanese fleet within the Yellow Sea and the Korean Gulf;

b) the destruction of this fleet, the termination of the communication by sea of ​​the Japanese army located in Korea with Japan.

No matter how the task changes, in all cases Port Arthur should be the base of our fleet. “

In addition to this plan drawn up by the headquarters of the governor, there were considerations of the Rozhdestvensky General Music School:

“It is more profitable even now to avoid war, at the cost of even significant concessions, but at the same time, now firmly decide to declare war on Japan in two years and vigorously prepare for this war, in the broad sense of the word.

One should prepare not only for war, but certainly for victory. “

Which, in fact, led to a management crisis.

The governor, being a sailor, was little interested in land affairs. But he drew up his cunning plan of naval war without the participation and notification of the General Staff.

Nevertheless, there was a plan.

Moreover, they began to implement it.

So, the “Varyag” was sent to Chemulpo, where he replaced the ancient “Bully”. And to communicate with the embassy in Korea, and to contain a potential landing, and to balance the Japanese “Chiyoda”.

The war was expected so much that the commander of the “Koreyets” opened fire on the Japanese destroyers at an emerging threat, on the night BEFORE Uriu’s ultimatum.

Both sides were aware. And they saw each other as enemies.

Interesting things were happening in Port Arthur.

The squadron entered the outer raid on January 22nd. The ships were withdrawn from the reserve and made a cruise.

“In pursuance of the instructions of Your Excellency, for the exercise of personnel in squadron navigation and maneuvering, on January 21 the squadron entrusted to me in full force went to sea.

Having passed with the squadron about 60 miles from Arthur and demanding a cruiser in this place at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, from 2 to 6 o’clock in the same order he made evolutions again, when, after the joining of all four cruisers, he turned with all his might to Liaoteshan , separating the second detachment of destroyers to Dalny for water and giving them the cruiser Novik as an escort.

Having passed 15 miles to the designated lighthouse, at 1:30 am on January 22, I turned to N and NO and at 5:30 am located the squadron on the Talienvan roadstead, where I sent mine transports encountered earlier at night.

At 2 hours 30 minutes of this day on January 22, the squadron anchored in three lines on the outer Arthur roadstead. “

We ended up returning to the outer roadstead, receiving supplies, reinforced security measures for the squadron and readiness for a new campaign.

“I have the honor to present to Your Excellency some of my thoughts regarding the establishment of a cruise off the Clifford Islands group, to observe, before the declaration of war, the movements of Japanese warships of transports going to Chemulpo …

Assuming to abandon the use of a network barrage, which is available only on six battleships and four cruisers, as one that can delay the movement of the squadron if an emergency shooting from anchor is necessary, as well as on the open Arthur roadstead, lead to more dangerous cases – winding nets on propellers or obstructing the actions of their ships mine vehicles, I also ask for your Excellency’s instructions on this subject. “

Reconnaissance and combat at any time.

Moreover, the fleet behaved in a combat-like manner.

So, mine guns were loaded according to the combat schedule.

Eventually

In the end, nothing came of it.

And there are several reasons.

Incorrectly defined date for the start of the war, which they realized and tried to fix at the last moment.

Overestimation of the forces of Russian diplomacy, which was supposed to delay the war, but could not do it, and could not. Time was playing on Russia, which was clearly understood in Japan. This also includes the underestimation of the Japanese as an enemy. And a reassessment of the importance of Russia in the world.

Well, the third reason is the lack of decisiveness of Alekseev and Stark, who acted too late.

With all this, it is stupid to talk about the fact that they did not prepare or about complacency. And they prepared, and understood, and took early measures. Alekseev even had a plan for coping with the Japanese fleet. But…

As often happens in Russian history, there were too few actions. And it’s too late.

What’s more, philosophy

“Partnerships”

“Constructive dialogue”

and

“Deep concerns”

tying the hands of the troops, was not born now.

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