Tuesday, September 15, 2015

IJN Mikasa: Survivor of Tsushima

Like has intruded on my pastimes and I haven't finished the Crimea War post I've been working on. Soon, soon. So,in the meantime....

The 1905 Battle of Tsushima is one of the most decisive naval battles of all time and one of the few between modern iron battleships. 

After sailing from 18,000 miles from the Baltic, the Russian fleet under Admiral Zinovy Petrovich Rozhestvensky was caught by the Japanese Combined Fleet commanded by Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō. The Russian fleet was destroyed with 21 out of 38 ships sunk and 4,380 men killed and almost 6,000 taken prisoner. The Japanese losses were a only three torpedo boats, and 117 killed, and about 600 injured. Combined with their loss at the Battle of Mukden in Manchuria, the Russians were done.

The battleship Mikasa was built for Japan in Barrow-in-Furness (where there's a street named for the ship) by Vickers Shipbuilding in 1899 and launched in 1900. She served in all the major engagements in the 1905 Russo-Japanese War only to sink when a magazine exploded six days after the war ended. 

She was raised and served as a coastal defense ship during the First World War. Later, she ferried supplies to the Japanese intervention during the Russian Civil War. 

Decommissioned in 1923 and set for the breakers because of the Washington Treaty (it limited the size of world navies), she was rescued and turned into a museum. During World War II and the Occupation she suffered from neglect. Finally, in 1961 she was restored. Today she's the only remaining pre-dreadnought battleship afloat. 

Bow emblem
main guns

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