On This Day In History: Battle of Tsushima Was Fought – On May 27, 1905

AncientPages.com - On May 27, 1905, the Battle of Tsushima, known as the "Sea of Japan Naval Battle," took place and was the primary battle between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War (1904 – 1905).

Mural painting of Japanese battleship Mikasa, "Russo-Japanese War, Battle of Tsushima"

Mural painting of Japanese battleship Mikasa, "Russo-Japanese War, Battle of Tsushima". Image credit: Nakamura Fusetsu(1866-1943)- Public Domain

It was naval history's only significant sea battle fought by modern steel battleship fleets, the first naval battle in which wireless telegraphy (radio) played a critically important role. It has been characterized as the "dying echo of the old era – for the last time in naval warfare, ships of the line of a beaten fleet surrendered on the high seas."

"The battle of Tsushima is by far the greatest and the most important naval event since Trafalgar," Sir George Sydenham Clarke, a British Army officer and colonial administrator, wrote in London in 1906.

Battle of Tsushima

The battle was localized in the Tsushima Strait between Korea and southern Japan. In this battle, under Admiral Togo Heihachiro, the Japanese fleet destroyed two-thirds of the Russian fleet, under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, which had traveled over 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km) to reach the Far East.

Both sides participating in the battle had early wireless telegraphy. The Russians were using German sets; however, they had difficulties operating and maintaining them. On the other hand, the Japanese used their equipment, which was their advantage.

Several decades later, historian Edmund Morris agreed with this opinion. The destruction of the Russian navy caused a bitter reaction from the Russian public, which induced a peace treaty in September 1905 without any further battles.