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Commander_Dusty

Russo Japanese War and Admiral Stepan Makarov

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Beta Tester
760 posts
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During the early stages of the Russo Japanese war in 1904, the Russians sent their most capable naval tactician, Vice Admiral Stepan Makarov, to command the Russian Pacific Fleet at Port Arthur, which was under siege by the Imperial Japanese navy at the time. 

 

As this transcript from wikipedia states:

 

After the Imperial Japanese Navy's surprise attack at Port Arthur on 9 February 1904, Admiral Makarov was sent to command the Imperial Russian Navy's battle fleet stationed there on 24 February, establishing the battleship Petropavlovsk as his flagship. His leadership differed greatly from any other Russian naval officer during this war, offering diversity, aggression, and an ability to "inspire confidence in his subordinates".[6]

Upon his assumption of command in early 1904, Makarov greatly increased the activity in the Russian squadrons, as well as the general defense of Port Arthur.[7] Until then the Russian fleet had generally done nothing[8] but exist, as a fleet in being.[9] Under Makarov's leadership, "Russian squadrons put to sea nearly every day, constantly on the move, and ensuring that it was never taken by surprise outside the protection of Port Arthur's" shore batteries.[10]

Unlike his predecessors, Makorov sought engagements with the Japanese,[11] and kept his vessels in an order of battle in the roadstead of Port Arthur

 

Unfortunately for the Russians, Makarovs flagship Petropavlovsk hit a mine sowed by the Japanese  during one of these sorties and sank, taking Russia's most capable naval officer with her. From that point onwards the fleet at Port Arthur remained inactive and existing as a "fleet in being" only once more. Eventually they suffered the humiliation of being sunk in port by Japanese land batteries and Destroyer attacks without ever engaging in a decisive fleet battle

 

The question is, had Makarov's flagship not hit the mine and he survived, would the battle of Tsushima or similar decisive battle have occurred? Would the Russians have a chance at beating the Japanese in a fleet battle and would the wars outcome have changed?

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Beta Tester
753 posts
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Honestly i think if he had survived Russia may have won or at the least make it a less humiliating defeat and more a honourable defeat.

Edited by Lupis

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Alpha Tester
512 posts
308 battles

Russia was always going to lose, a tactician couldn't have changed how outdated Russia's armed forces were at the time, and how badly organised they were for a war. Tsushima might have been a little less embarrassing, but that's about it.

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Beta Tester
760 posts
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In naval terms of long range gunnery, the Japanese had the advantage in more advanced optics and technology from Britain and Germany. But the Russians did however inflict serious damage to Japanese forces, sinking several battleships with mines and inflicting severe infantry casualties with trench warfare and machine guns

 

Under the right tacticians (who can get things organised and training resumed like Makarov) , a soldiers morale can be just as important as technology I believe

 

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