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The Reorganization of ‘East Sea Battle’, last naval battle of the Russo-Japanese War

Heonyong Sim 1

1국방부군사편찬연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper is to aim reconfigure the naval combat known as the Battle of Tsushima, having considered as a turning point of the Russo-Japanese War by time and space and is to suggest in order to use the term ‘East Sea Battle’ to reflect more comprehensively the nature of the battle. From 27th to 28th May 1905, The Russian and the Japanese fleet collided into each other on near sea area of Tsushima in Korea Strait and located between Ulleung-do and Dok-do in the East Sea. As a result of this battle, Japan could fully seize the initiatives of the war. Japanese combined fleet annihilated the second Pacific Fleet of Russia that has scrambled from Baltic Sea and the Russian Navy was severly damaged so that it cannot be recovered in the short term. So the Japan not only seized the initiative of war but also occupied the East Sea as its inland sea resulting in gaining the initiative in Northeast Asia maritime. So far, in the domestic academic community, it did not use the name of East Sea Battle. There are some cases of use the term ‘East Sea Battle’ to describe a series of battles that have been developed in the East Sea during Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. But, there were no cases named as the “East Sea Battle” on the series of battle deployed May 27th to 28th in 1905. Also foreign academic circles, including Russia, were named the battle taken place on May 27th in Tsushima offshore as the “Tsushima Sea Battle” (對馬島戰鬪, The Battle of Tsushima, Цусимское сражение) not as the “East Sea Battle”. It means it does not give significant meaning for the battle developed in the Midwest of East Sea(Ulleung-do, Dok-do, Ul-san gulf and Juk-byeon gulf) while the Russian warship has fled to the north on next day, May 28th. However, Battle was conducted for the purpose of pursuit and mopping up the remnants of Russian warships that escaping up to north Eastern Sea and Vladivostok as a result of Tsushima Battle. In this paper, the three stages of the battle were splitted into three stages by time zone and examined that each stage has been developed in different areas. To generically name the entire battles, it seems more appropriate to call “East Sea Battle” than “Tsushima battle”. The battle is not limited to Tsushima sea area spatially and looking through a battle step by step, it was found that using term “East Sea Battle” has an advantage of analyze an aspect of battle in detail.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.