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The Battle of Tsushima (Hardback)

Maritime > Naval P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By Phil Carradice
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781526743343
Published: 18th May 2020



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In 1905 Japan and Russia were at war. With the Russian Far East Fleet destroyed, the Czar decided to send his Baltic Fleet half way around the world to exact revenge. This mammoth journey took many months and was, in itself, an amazing feat of seamanship. But, at the end of this epic adventure, the Russians were totally overwhelmed and the vast majority of the fleet went to the bottom. There was no alternative for the Czar but to sue for an ignominious peace.

The story of the journey and the final battle remain fascinating, the people involved acting and deporting themselves like characters from a novel. Russian Admiral Rozhestvensky was a gunnery expert but someone who had never held active command in a major sea battle. Japanese Admiral Togo had trained in Britain, enlisting as a cadet on the Training Ship Worcester, even though he was far too old and was forced to lie about his age. Inept generalship on the part of the Russians, combined with brilliant seamanship from the Japanese Admiral Togo, saw the complete destruction of the Russian fleet.

The naval battle of Tsushima is one of the forgotten actions of the twentieth century, but it has a significance that is immense in world history.

The battle of Tsushima, Russia's crushing naval defeat by the Japanese in 1905, set the course for the 20th century. It destroyed Russia's credibility as a Great Power; without it Germany and Austria would have hesitated to confront Russia in 1914, setting in train two World Wars. It set Japan on the path to Hiroshima.

But reading this book is more than an act of duty to understand the history of the last century. Only 15 pages are devoted to the actual battle. The rest of the book follows the 18000 mile journey of Russia's Baltic Fleet to do battle in the Pacific, nearly starting a war with Britain on the way; the longest ever voyage by a coal-burning fleet. Although we know how the story will end we remain fascinated by the drama.

A superb piece of narrative history.

Edward James

"The story of the Russian fleet’s unexpected annihilation contained in The Battle of Tsushima is an easily read and entertaining sea story providing a concise and engaging summary of the climactic battle."

Nautical Research Journal

Carradice has produced a narrative rich in detail about the Russian experience of the battle, seafaring in early ironclads and the experience of sailors and their commanders on deployment half way around the world, and there is much to enjoy in it.

The Naval Review - Summer 2021

A ‘good read’.

World Ship Society - Marine News, December 2020

The Battle of Tsushima may be forgotten now, but it had a dramatic impact at the time and set the pattern of warfare through the Twentieth Century and set the politics of the period. The Russian Navy was considered formidable and the Japanese Navy unheard of, and yet the Japanese Fleet Commander inflicted one of the most complete defeats of an enemy fleet in history. – Very Highly Recommended

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I found this book very professionally written and exceptionally interesting to read. It does cover a battle that receives little attention on the UK, but it was incredibly important Battle for the Pacific region and the Russian Empire. The author has conducted first rate research and has produced an excellent book. He must be commended for his efforts and anyone interested in important naval battles should read this book.

Dr Stuart C Blank

Review by Ian Yeates
Regina, Saskatchewan

Any reader who wishes a high level, quick and engaging account of the Battle of Tsushima and the picaresque adventures of the Russian fleet leading up to that fateful day in May 1905, will be satisfied with Carridice’s account.

The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord has published Vol. XXX, No. 2, the Summer 2020

As featured by

Inside Flintshire, September 2020

The Battle of Tsushima is an absorbing read.

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Beating Tsundoku

This is an utterly compelling story, well told by Carradice. We really sympathise with the Russian sailors, trapped on their ironclad warships for months as they battled against the elements, a largely hostile world, and even each other. The result is an excellent book that reminds us of the human cost of these massive naval battles.

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History of War

The book, impeccably written by Carradice is really a page turner. It is not heavy or too technical.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

The author has skilfully combined historical fact with just enough credible assumption of potential conversations and actions of key actors ranging from commanders to humble sailors, to deliver a very readable account of the incredible journey to and final battle at Tsushima. The narrative rips along with page turning momentum to tell the story. Of course we may well know the outcome but the devices used by the author in no way diminish the history and its telling impact on Russia and indeed the course of history in the Pacific.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Phil Carradice

Phil Carradice is a well-known writer and historian with over 60 books to his credit. A poet, story teller and broadcaster, his most recent books are The Cuban Missile Crisis (Pen and Sword), The Call Up (Fonthill) and the novel Stargazers for Accent Press. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio and TV, presents the BBC Wales History programme 'The Past Master' and is widely regarded as one of the finest creative writing tutors in Wales.

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