THE TSAR'S LAST ARMADA: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima

By Kuehn, John T. | Military Review, January/February 2004 | Go to article overview

THE TSAR'S LAST ARMADA: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima


Kuehn, John T., Military Review


THE TSAR'S LAST ARMADA: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima, Constanlinc Pleshakov, Basic Books, NY, 2002, 368 pages, $30.00.

Much has been written about the Battle of Tsushima, which was one of the few decisive naval battles in history. Theorists julian Corbett and A.T. Mahan have enshrined this battle for all time in their writings on naval theory and strategy, but Constantine Pleshakov describes an aspect of the fleet's voyage that has been little studied or celebrated-the logistical achievement of moving a coal-fired Baltic Fleet over 17,000 nautical miles to the Korean Peninsula to contest Japanese local command of the sea. Pleshakov's thesis is that the war, the Russian Navy, and even this battle are too little studied today. he argues that the lessons and insights to be gained from this parable deserve a broader audience.

The book reads much like a novel, having a fine narrative feel. Pleshakov paints the Russians, particularly the commander of the doomed fleet, as tragic heroes. To a degree Pleshakov depicts Admiral Zinovy Pctrovich Rozhestvensky's accomplishment as a triumph of the will and a paean to commitment to duty-duty to a Czarist regime that clearly did not deserve such noble service. …

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