In May 27-28, 1905, the Battle of Tshushima was fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War.
It was only decisive sea battle fought by modern steel battleship fleets in naval history.
Admiral Tōgō, "The Nelson of the East"
At the time, Russia was the world's third largest naval power.
The Imperial Russian Navy was formally established in 1696, while the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was formally established in 1868, about 170 years after the establishment of Imperial Russian Navy.
However, in the Battle of Tsushima, the Japanese fleet under Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō destroyed all the battleships and most of the cruisers and destroyers of the Russian fleet.
Marshal-Admiral The Marquis Tōgō Heihachirō (1848 – 1934) of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Tōgō was termed by Western journalists as "the Nelson of the East".
As Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Tōgō won a decisive victory over the Russian fleet.
This battle broke Russian naval dominance in East Asia, and is said to have been a contributing factor in subsequent uprisings in the Russian Navy (1905 uprisings in Vladivostok and the Battleship Potemkin uprising), contributing to the Russian Revolution of 1905.
The battle effectively ended the Russo-Japanese War in Japan's favour.
Sir George Sydenham Clarke, a British officer and colonial administrator at that time, wrote,
"The battle of Tsu-shima is by far the greatest and the most important naval event since Trafalgar."
Akiyama Saneyuki, a strategy genius
Actually, in this battle, a miraculous power brought Japan to a decisive victory.
Akiyama Saneyuki, a planning staff of Togo Heihachiro, played a central role for planning for the naval battles through the Russo-Japanese War.
Japanese Admiral Akiyama Saneyuki
At the start of the Russo-Japanese War, the bulk of the Russian Pacific Fleet was blockaded within the confines of Port Arthur by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
However, the Russian subsidiary naval base at Vladivostok remained largely undamaged.
Located at Vladivostok was a garrison force consisting of the light cruiser Bogatyr and auxiliary cruiser Lena and a stronger Vladivostok Independent Cruiser Squadron consisting of the armored cruisers Rossia, Rurik, and Gromoboi.
On the other hand, the Imperial General Headquarters ordered Admiral, Baron Kamimura Hikonojō to contain the Russian cruiser squadron based in Vladivostok, because the Japanese fleet under Admiral Tōgō (the IJN 1st Fleet) continued to blockade Port Arthur in hopes of luring the battleships of the Russian Pacific Fleet into an open sea.
Admiral Baron Kamimura Hikonojō
However, heavy fog often covered in the Sea of Japan, giving the Russians an advantage in their commerce raiding operations.
The Russian cruiser squadron appeared suddenly and attacked on Japanese troopships in the Sea of Japan, but the Japanese 2nd fleet could not close with the Russian squadron.
Under these circumstances, a miracle happened.
The 1st prophetic dream
Akiyama thought through every day and night the possible route of the Russian squadron, because the Russian squadron had two main routes for their commerce raiding operations.
The first was the route that the Russian squadron heads east in the Sea of Japan to pass through the Tsugaru Strait.
The second was the route that the Russian squadron heads south in the Sea of Japan to pass through Tsushima Strait.
Akiyama completely worried about the above matter and he fell into a doze from exhaustion.
Suddenly, a vision appeared before his eyes and it spread out getting lighter, even though both eyes were closed.
That vision turned into a full view of the east coast of Japan.
Akiyama stared the vision with amazement and he noticed the three small black dots heading north through the blue sea of the Tsugaru Strait.
He found that those three dots were the Russian cruisers, Rossia, Rurik, and Gromboi.
Akiyama tried to brand that vision on his mind, but suddenly he woke up from a strange dream.
After this strange experience, Akiyama reported to the Naval General Staff Office.
"It is expected that the Russian fleet will pass through the Tsugaru Strait.
Therefore, I would propose that the 2nd fleet should intercept the enemy at the Tsugaru Strait."
However, the Naval General Staff Office did not adopt his proposal and sent the 2nd fleet to the Pacific.
As a result, the Russian fleet passed through the Tsugaru Strait and the 2nd fleet failed to catch it.
Akiyama's strange dream came true.
Amazingly, it was a prophetic dream to tell him the route of the Russian fleet!
The 2nd prophetic dream
About one year later, Akiyama saw the future through his dream again.
On October 15-16, 1904, the Russia sent the Second Pacific Squadron from the Baltic ports of Reval and Libau to overwhelm the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The Second Pacific Squadron sailed through the Baltic into the North Sea.
Route taken by the Russian Second Pacific Squadron (in blue) from the Baltic to the Battle of Tsushima.
self-made Ref.(Futabasya NihonkaiKaisen ISBN 4-575-47639-0) -
The Russians could have sailed through any one of three possible straits to enter the Sea of Japan and reach Vladivostok, that is, La Pérouse, Tsugaru, and Tsushima.
The only worry for the Imperial Japanese Navy was where should they capture and intercept the Baltic Feet.
Admiral Tōgō gathered captains of all ships in the meeting room of the flagship Mikasa to discuss the possible route of the Baltic Fleet.
Mikasa is a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
This time, Admiral Tōgō had a good opinion of Akiyama, because Akiyama once had predicted precisely the route of the Russian squadron.
Akiyama tried to shape a plan night and day, but he was exhausted under pressure.
Late on the night of May 24, 1905, Akiyama threw himself down into an armchair in the cabin and fell asleep.
Suddenly, a bright light appeared on the back of his eyelids.
The light turned into the deep, boundless expanse of sea.
The billowy ocean burst on him.
Akiyama found that that vision was that of the Tsushima Strait.
And he watched the Baltic Fleet coming at him!
He confirmed that the Baltic fleet was formed by two lines and the number of the ships was 38.
Suddenly, Akiyama came back to reality.
Soon after he woke up, Akiyama immediately fell to work and planned a strategy based on the prophetic dream.
However, Akiyama soon found that there was one big problem.
If he reported the truth to the Togo's headquarters that he had saw the vision of the route of the Baltic Fleet in his strange dream, he would meet with ridicule and his proposed plan would be rejected.
As a result, the Imperial Japanese Navy would fail to spot the Baltic Fleet and lose a battle.
It is the same mistake as before!
This must be avoided at all costs!
So, Akiyama had to confirm his prophetic vision by plausible explanations based on facts such as geographical conditions and the position of mines.
He worked out the seven steps for the total destruction of the Baltic Fleet and he persuaded Admiral Tōgō and the navy staffs of the correctness of his plan.
Finally, Admiral Tōgō accepted Akiyama's proposed plan.
At dawn on May 27, Akiyama saw the Baltic Fleet and at that time, he was confident of victory.
The number and the formation of the Russian fleet were quite the same as he foresaw in the vision three days before.
Then, he sent the famous telegram to the Togo's headquarters.
"In response to the warning that enemy ships have been sighted, the Combined Fleet will immediately commence action and attempt to attack and destroy them.
Weather today fine but high waves."
Upon receiving the above telegram, the Combined Fleet was immediately ordered to sortie.
Departure of the Combined (Japanese) Fleet.
Based on the Akiyama's precise prediction, the Japanese were able to position their fleet so that they would "cross the T" of the Russian Fleet.
On May 27–28, 1905, the Japanese engaged the Russians in the Tsushima Straits.
Admiral Tōgō on the bridge of the battleship Mikasa, at the beginning of the Battle of Tsushima, in 1905. Tōgō in the middle and Akiyama on the left back of Tōgō.
As a result of the battle, the Russian Fleet was virtually annihilated, losing eight battleships, numerous smaller vessels, and more than 5,000 men, while the Japanese lost three torpedo boats and 116 men.
Only three Russian vessels escaped to Vladivostok.
In this way, the Battle of Tsushima ended in a decisive Japanese victory.
Later, Akiyama reported the victory of the Battle of Tsushima as follows:
"With the help of the gods, the Combined Fleet fought with the enemy's 2nd and 3rd Fleet in the Sea of Japan on May 27-28.
Finally, we destroyed them almost completely."
It seems that the above phrase, "With the help of the gods" expresses Akiyama's deepest thanks to the gods which brought him the prophetic dream for giving Japan victory.
It was the first defeat of a European power by a small Asian nation in the modern era.
There is no doubt that It was nothing less than miraculous, because a prophetic dream turned the tide of war.
April 24, 2018
- Kazuaki Deguchi (September 25, 1978). "Prophecies and affirmations of Nao & Onisaburo Deguchi."
- Shiba, Ryōtarō (2013). Clouds above the Hill: A historical novel of the Russo-Japanese War