Saturday, 28 May 2011


As judged by their performance in battle, the Peresviet class needn't have spooked the British. In the Russo-Japanese War all three of the ships were sunk and put out of action by the Japanese. Peresviet was stationed at Port Arthur with the main fleet, along with Pobieda. They were involved in a sortie in strength in August 1904, resulting in Russian breakout and pitched battle with the Japanese battle fleet offshore as afternoon deepened into evening. Peresviet became the flagship at the Battle of the Yellow Sea after the commanding admiral was killed and his flagship Tsesarevich disabled; but Peresviet herself sustained 39 hits and had her signal halyards shot away so she was a most ineffective flagship, though she survived to sink another day, and later to serve the enemy. Sister ship Pobieda also survived the battle only to be bottled up in Port Arthur until the city fell to the Japanese in January 1905. There they were sunk by plunging fire from the heights starting in Nov. 1904. Schematic Plan of the PERESVIETAll the warships sank or scuttled by the surrender, just into the New Year. Meanwhile the third sisterOsliabya had been detained in European waters by mechanical problems, until ordered off to the Far East with the flower of the Baltic fleet in Oct. 1904. After an 18,000-nm voyage the Russian "Second Pacific Fleet" (as the Tsar dubbed the ill-assorted agglomeration) met obliteration while trying to run the strait between Japan and Korea. Leading the port column into a tornado of Japanese HE and AP projectiles at the Battle of TsushimaOsliabya became the first of seven Russian battleships to be sunk that day. Her 2 sisters were soon raised by the Japanese during the summer of 1905, extensively rebuilt, and added to the Mikado's naval lineup in 1907-08, though they were obsolete by that time and used primarily for coastal defense. The rebuild added lengthened funnels which made the ships' profiles more comely, and improved their speed. In all six Russian oceangoing battleships and two large coast-defense ironclads with 10" guns were added to the Mikado's fleet in this way or by capture. After enjoying their peculiarities for about a decade, the Japanese were glad to sell them back to the Russians when chance placed them on the same side in WWI.

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