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Battleship Knyaz Suvorov

AS08 1/350 34.95 scale battleship.


 

Fight of the Main Squadron

The head of the enemy's column, when our main squadron bore down on it, changed its course a little to starboard, and at eight minutes past two o'clock he opened fire. We did not reply for some time, but when we came within 6,000 meters' range we concentrated a heavy fire on two of his battleships. This seemed to force him more than ever to the south-east, and his two columns simultaneously changed their course by degrees to the east, thus falling into irregular columns line ahead, and moving parallel to us. The Oslyabya, which headed the left column, was soon heavily injured, burst into a strong conflagration, and left the fighting line. The whole of the armored cruiser squadron was now steaming behind the main squadron line, and, the fire of both squadrons becoming more and more effective as the range decreased; the flagship Knyaz Suvorov and the Imperator Alexander III, which was the second in the line, burst heavily into flames, and left the fighting line, so that the enemy's order became more deranged. Several of the ships following also took fire, and the smoke, carried by the westerly wind, quickly swept over the face of the sea, combining with the fog to envelop the enemy's fleet, so that our principal fighting squadrons ceased firing for a time.

On our side also the ships had suffered more or less. The Asama had been struck by three shells in the stern near the water-line, her steering-gear had been injured, and she was leaking badly, so that she had to leave the fighting line; but she performed temporary repairs, and was very soon able to resume her place.

Such was the state of the main fighting forces on each side at 2.45 p.m. Already the result of the battle had been decided in this interval.

Thereafter our main squadron, forcing the enemy in a southerly direction, fired on him in a leisurely manner whenever his ships could be discerned through the smoke and fog, and at 3 p.m. we were in front of his line, and shaped a nearly south-easterly course. But the enemy now suddenly headed north, and seemed about to pass northward by the rear of our line. Therefore our main squadron at once went about to port, and, with the Nisshin leading, steered to the north-west. The armored cruiser squadron also, following in the main squadron's wake, changed front, and thereafter again forced the enemy south-ward, firing on him heavily. At 3.7 p.m. the Zhemchug came up to the rear of the armored cruiser squadron, but was severely injured by our fire. The Oslyabya also, which has already been put out of action, at ten minutes past three o'clock, and the Knyaz Suvorov, which had been isolated, was injured more and more. She lost one of her masts and two smoke stacks, and the whole ship, being enveloped in flame and smoke, became unmanageable, and her crew fell into confusion. The enemy's other vessels, suffering heavily, changed their course again to the east. The main squadron now altered its direction 16 points to starboard, and, the armored cruiser squadron following, they pursued the retreating enemy, pouring a constantly heavier fire on him, and discharging torpedoes also whenever occasion offered. Until 4.45 p.m. there was no special change in the condition of the principal fight. The enemy was constantly pressed south, and the firing continued.

What deserves to be specially recounted here is the conduct of the destroyer Chihaya and of the Hirose destroyer section at 3.40 p.m., as well as that of the Suzuki destroyer section at 4.45 p.m. These bravely fired torpedoes at the flagship Suvorov. The result was not clear in the case of the first named boats, but a torpedo discharged by the last named section hit the Suvorov astern on the port side, and after a time she was seen to list some 10 degrees. In those two attacks the Shiranui, of the Hirose section, and the Asashiwo, of the Suzuki section, being each hit once by shells from ships in the neighborhood, fell into some danger, but both happily escaped.

At 4.40 p.m. the enemy apparently abandoned the attempt to seek an avenue of escape northward, for he headed south, and seemed inclined to fly in that direction. Accordingly, our chief fighting force, with the armored cruiser squadron in advance, went in pursuit, but lost him after a time in the smoke and fog. Steaming south for about eight miles, we fired leisurely on a second-class cruiser of the enemy's and some special service steamers which we passed on our starboard, and at 5.30 p.m. our main squadron turned northward again in search of the enemy's principal force, while the armored cruiser squadron, proceeding to the south-west, attacked the enemy's cruisers. Thereafter until nightfall these two squadrons followed different routes, and did not again sight each other.

At 5.40 p.m. the main squadron fired once upon the enemy's special service steamer Ural, which was near by on the port side, and at once sank her; then, as the squadron was steaming north in search of the enemy, it sighted on the port bow the remaining ships of his principal force, six in number, flying in a cluster to the north-east. Approaching at once, it steamed parallel to these, and then renewed the fight, gradually emerging ahead of them and bearing down on their front. The enemy had steered north-east at first, but his course was gradually deflected to the west, and he finally pushed north-west. This fight on parallel lines continued from 6 p.m. to nightfall. The enemy suffered so heavily that his fire was much reduced, whereas our deliberate practice told more and more. A battleship of the Alexandr III type quickly left the fighting line, and fell to the rear, and a vessel like the Borodino, which led the column, took fire at 6.40 p.m., and at 7.23 suddenly became enveloped in smoke, and sank in an instant, the flames having probably reached her magazine. Further, the ships of the armored cruiser squadron, which were then in the south pursuing the enemy's cruiser squadron north-ward, saw at 7.7 p.m. a ship like the Borodino, with a heavy list, and in an unmanageable condition, come to the side of the Nakhimov, where she turned over and went to the bottom. It was subsequently ascertained from the prisoners that this was the Alexander III, and that the vessel which the main squadron saw sink was the Borodino.

It was now getting dusk, and our destroyer sections and torpedo sections gradually closed in on the enemy from the east, north, and south, their preparations for attack having been already made. Therefore the main squadron ceased by degrees to press the enemy, and at 7.28 p.m. when the sun was setting, drew off to the east. I then ordered the Tatsuta to carry orders to the fleet that it should proceed north-ward, and rendezvous on the following morning at the Ulneung Islands.

This ended the battle during daylight on the 27th.