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  • Kantai Kessen.

    Was the Battle of Tsushima a validation for the continued support of the Decisive Battle Doctrine - Kantai Kessen? The naval strategy that was embraced by the Imperial Japanese Navy, but it never materialized.
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    "The more I learn about people, The more I love my dog".
    Mark Twain.

  • #2
    No.

    The issues that led to the Imperial Russian Navy's defeat were not universal to navies then or later.

    The Russians, while brave and in some cases well-drilled, were saddled with wildly-differing ships, design issues, command issues, logistics and strategic issues. And their ships were as irreplaceable as Japan's would be in WW2, and the war was one of the last 19th century 'war of prestige'.

    The Japanese took the wrong element from the victory as a lesson; they never fought another Imperial Russia again. Instead, they faced a massive industrial power in a total war, one where no single setback would bring the foe to the peace table.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      Tsushima was an offensive battle by Japan. They knew full well the Russian fleet was coming, and their likely route of advance. The Japanese also used early radio intelligence gathering to detect the Russians and alert their own fleet.

      The Russian fleet started out from the Baltic as a barely competent to put to sea force. By the time they got to Asia they were very experienced at steaming and coaling. They had learned how to handle their ships at sea quite well. What they lacked was being well drilled at naval warfare and gunnery. Not having a source for new ammunition they had to conserve what they had aboard for actual battle, thus little or no practice.
      Compounding this was many of the ships were overloaded with coal to ensure they had enough to reach Vladivostok.
      Even so, the Russians proved reasonably good at gunnery and got quite a few hits. Two things gave the Japanese the advantage in the gun fight:

      Faster firing guns and much better quality shells. The Russians were using black powder or wet guncotton for explosive filler in their shells while the Japanese had cordite. This meant that even though the Russians shot well they were deluged in return and the Japanese shells went off more often and did more damage.

      Japanese tactics could be called "Nelsonian" in style. That is, they opened fire and attempted to close and fight in a gun duel. They finished the battle with a torpedo attack by their destroyers, something the Russian fleet lacked as these didn't have the range or seakeeping to make the trip.

      Japan took the wrong lessons from this battle. Closing with the enemy for a gun battle died with the invention of fire controls allowing accurate long range fire. The torpedo was not the magical wonder weapon they took it to be.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. So in the early 1930s the more conservative admirals couldn't commit in to having more faith in carriers, while the battleship stayed on as the capital ship. Is this more to do with recognising their limited industrial capacity to fight with countries like the US, or was it simply ignoring the advancing nature of warfare?
        "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
        Ernest Hemingway.

        "The more I learn about people, The more I love my dog".
        Mark Twain.

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        • #5
          No, they continued to view the BB as the pride of the fleet, only they couldn't afford to build up to parity with the US, so the naval fleet faction agreed to the treaty limits (while cheating) and used naval aviation to strengthen the fleet's defenses. It was only once the first couple of carriers were built that the CVs started to become the core. But even after that they kept trying to get the BBs into range for a final conclusive battle that never happened.

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          • #6
            Yep Japan continually looked for the decisive battle through out the war. Which led to them trying to preserve there BB s at times when committing them might of had an impact ie drug the war out longer.

            Also part of the US planners still believed in the decisive battle.

            Typically they believed in relieving the PI as soon as Possible. War Plan Orange variants Through Ticket and I believe royal road.

            Both sides expected the decisive battle to be fought some where near the PI or an ambush by the Japanese as the US sailed across the Pacific

            Pear Harbor settled the question on which strategy had to be relied on.

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            • #7
              In a way the doctrine was still valid: the fleets met for a number of "decisive battles" throughout the war. The only problem was that the march of technology meant the primary instrument of naval warfare was the carrier rather than the battleship, something completely unforeseen at the time of Tsushima.

              Eventually Japan got their 'Kantai Kessen:' the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the graveyard of the Imperial Fleet.
              Divine Mercy Sunday: 4/21/2020 (https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message) The Miracle of Lanciano: Jesus' Real Presence (https://web.archive.org/web/20060831...fcontents.html)

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              • #8
                Pretty much what TAG said...too far from home, underarmed, undersupplied.
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                • #9
                  I've always found it quite ironic that the Japanese were always looking for the battleship "mother of all battles" when they themselves wrote the obituary of the battleship at Pearl Harbor.

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