So, let's continue the description of mine attacks. On the night of June 15, 2 Japanese destroyers tried to attack the cruiser Diana, which was at the entrance to the outer roadstead, but it is possible that they confused something, since one of the three mines they fired hit the previously killed firebreaker. The Japanese themselves believed that they were attacking from 400 m. The third destroyer also took part in the attack, but could not reach the mine attack distance.
On the night of June 20, 2 destroyers attacked the cruiser Pallada, which was on patrol, but were found about 20 cables from the ship. Nevertheless, the destroyers approached and fired 2 mines, one of which turned out to be faulty (surfaced and stalled in place).
On the night of June 25, the duty cruiser Askold was attacked, while domestic sources claim that the Japanese destroyers fired 3 mines. The Japanese do not confirm this, speaking only about artillery fire, while it must be said that the Japanese destroyers (as in the case of the "Pallada") were discovered about 20 kbt from the ship.
The next attempts to attack the Russian patrol ships were made on June 27 and 28, however, there is a persistent feeling that ours got it wrong here and in fact there was only one attack on June 28. The fact is that the description contained in the "Work of the Historical Commission" strangely duplicates each other - the same cruiser was attacked, the same numbered destroyers, but in one case (June 27) they belong to the 16th destroyer detachment, and June 28 - 6th. Japanese sources indicate one attack that took place on the night of June 28: 4 destroyers split into twos and tried to approach the outer raid from different sides - from Liaoteshan and from Tahe Bay. The first were able to release two mines at the cruiser "Diana" from a distance of 600 m, after which they retreated, the second were discovered and fired upon even before they could go on the attack and were also forced to leave. At the same time, it is argued that they began to fire at destroyers Nos. 57 and 59 from the cruiser and batteries at a distance of 45 cables, nevertheless, they managed to converge practically by 3 cables, launched mines and left.
The "Work of the Historical Commission" also describes the firing of Russian ships and destroyers on June 29 and 30, but, apparently, there were no torpedo attacks at that time - the Russians fired either at patrol destroyers or at ships trying to mine the outer raid.
Luck smiled at the Japanese on the night of July 11 - their two mine boats, firing four mines at anchored destroyers Grozovoy, Lieutenant Burakov and Boevoy, achieved one hit each on Lieutenant Burakov (died) and Bovoy "(Damaged). The attack was carried out at about 2 am, from a distance of about 400 m. Two days later, the Russian sailors tried to take revenge - a mine boat from Pobeda entered the Sikao Bay, where, presumably, Japanese destroyers were stationed. Here, at 02.30 from a distance of 15 kbt, he found a standing two-pipe Japanese destroyer and, approaching it at 1, 5 kabeltov, released a mine. However, at the time of the attack, the Russian boat was spotted, the destroyer set in motion and the mine passed under the stern, after which the destroyer left. It is possible that it was an optical illusion - the Japanese "Official History" does not mention this episode. And it’s strange that the ship would not be at anchor, and if it was, how could it be able to move so quickly? And it is no less strange that, upon seeing a Russian boat, the destroyer made no attempt to fire at it. In any case, the mine was wasted in vain.
On the night of July 28-29, 1904, the Russian squadron, after an unsuccessful breakthrough into Vladivostok and the death of V. K. Vitgefta, was subjected to numerous attacks by Japanese destroyers. The circumstances to a certain extent favored mine attacks: it got dark at about 20.15, while the night was moonless. According to eyewitnesses, a large ship was seen at a distance of 10-15 cables, a destroyer - no more than 5-6 cables.
Justifying its name, the first fighter squadron was attacked by the first Russian squadron - it overtook the Russian squadron and now tried to attack it on the countercurrent, firing 4 mines (the attack began at approximately 21.45). The 2nd detachment of fighters tried to join the 1st, but did not succeed in this due to the strong wave, which is why they had to look for the enemy on their own. - he discovered a Russian squadron. At about midnight (at about 23.45) he discovered Peresvet, Pobeda and Poltava, three destroyers attacked the Russian ships with three mines. Probably, it was during this attack that they managed to hit the Poltava with a mine, but it did not explode.
The 3rd fighter squadron discovered the Russian ships at approximately 22.00 (most likely it was the Retvizan), but due to the fact that it was forced to change course in order to avoid a collision with another detachment of Japanese destroyers, it lost sight of the Russians. He managed to find the Russian squadron again at 04.00 am on July 29, while the detachment itself was noticed: the battleships "Poltava", "Pobeda" and "Peresvet" turned away from the enemy, developing strong fire. As a result, 3 destroyers of the 3rd detachment fired 3 mines "somewhere in that direction", and, considering this their duty fulfilled, withdrew from the battle.
The 4th detachment of fighters showed great persistence - even before it got dark, it tried to get close to the Russian squadron, but was driven off by fire, while the "Murasame" was damaged (the court, according to the description of the Japanese, was technical, and not due to being hit by a Russian shell) … He lagged behind, and the remaining three destroyers twice more in the period from 20.20 and, probably, until 20.50 tried to attack the Russian battleships, but each time, having come under fire, they retreated. Then, at about 20.55, they attacked again, but unexpectedly for themselves found themselves between two fires, fixing two Russian ships to the left of them, and one more to the right along the bow (most likely these were Pallada and Boyky, but the third ship to the Japanese could have dreamed). This time 4 mines were fired, after which (and much later) "Murasame" managed to attack with a "Retvizan" mine.
The 5th squadron of fighters at 19.50 was on the way of "Askold" and "Novik" and, being forced to evade such an "uncomfortable" target, lost sight of the Russian squadron. Then, after a long search, the detachment, most likely, managed to locate the main forces of the squadron, and release four mines at them at about 23.00. In the future, three destroyers out of four were able to release one more mine - "Yugiri" on the battleship of the "Sevastopol" type (at 04.13 on July 29), "Siranui" on the "Retvizan" (although most likely it was "Peresvet" or "Victory"), and, finally, "Murakumo" by "Pallas" or "Diana".
The 1st destroyer detachment, having been at sea for a long time, wasted a lot of coal. At night, the detachment parted with 4 Russian destroyers - the Japanese did not attack them, as they were looking for the main forces of the Russian squadron. However, luck smiled at only one of them - at 21.40 destroyer # 69 fired a mine at Poltava or Sevastopol.
The 2nd torpedo boat detachment was pursued by setbacks - two torpedo boats collided, which forced No. 37 to leave for “winter quarters” in Dalniy. The other three ships tried to attack, but one of the destroyers "caught" a Russian shell (by the way, "Official History" believes that it was a torpedo hit) and the second led him in tow. So the only ship that was still able to attack the Russians was destroyer # 45, which fired a mine at a two-pipe Russian ship - alas, there is no other information about this attack (including the time it was carried out).
Three destroyers of the 6th detachment got lost in the dark, so they looked for and attacked the enemy on their own, and the fourth, which left Dalniy late due to a breakdown, initially acted at its own peril and risk. At the same time, destroyers No. 57 and 59 did not find Russian ships, but the other two fought "for themselves and for that guy" - both made two attacks, while No. 56 at about 21.00 twice attacked the Diana-class cruiser with mines, and No. 58 first attacked with a mine one of the Russian battleships, and then still tried to get close to either the "Diana", or the "Pallada" "and three destroyers", but, being fired upon, had no success, limiting itself to retaliatory artillery fire.
The 10th detachment fought … and it is not at all clear with whom, since at about midnight it managed to find "ships of the type" Tsesarevich "," Retvizan "and three destroyers" - of course, nothing of the kind could have happened, because "Tsesarevich" and "Retvizan" by that time they had long since dispersed - "Tsarevich" with the onset of night went into a breakthrough, while "Retvizan", having overtaken the main forces of the squadron, went to Port Arthur. Nevertheless, according to Japanese data, destroyer No. 43 attacked with mines Retvizan, and then Tsesarevich, No. 42 - Retvizan, No. 40 - Tsesarevich, and No. 41 - also Tsesarevich, and then someone something else. In general, with whom the 10th detachment fought (and whether it fought at all with someone) is difficult to say, but 6 minutes were spent.
The 14th detachment spent 5 minutes in the attacks - "Chidori", "Manazuru" and "Kasashigi" attacked "a ship of the type" Diana "(at different times), in addition," Manazuru "then attacked" Tsarevich ", and did the same Hayabusa.
Of the four destroyers of the 16th detachment, only Sirotaka (one mine on the Retvizan), # 39 (one mine on an unknown Russian ship) managed to go into the attack. The situation with the 20th destroyer detachment was better: of the four destroyers, three ships managed to launch a torpedo attack: No. 62 fired at “a vessel of the“Diana”type, or rather“somewhere in that direction, "because the Russian cruiser was noticed a destroyer trying to block their way and turned away. As a result, # 62 tried first to go on a parallel course (he didn’t have enough speed to catch up with the Russian ship), and then, in pursuit, released a mine. No. 64 attacked the Tsesarevich with a mine, and No. 65 first attacked the Tsesarevich, and then, at about 3 am - a battleship of the Poltava type, in total - 4 torpedoes.
But the description of the actions of the 21st destroyer detachment, alas, is not entirely clear. Japanese sources report that three destroyers of this detachment found the Russian squadron shortly after 20.00 and all went on the attack. However, from the following description it follows that one of them (# 49) did not find the enemy, and # 44, attacking an unknown ship, subsequently, at 01.10 on July 29, fired a second mine at Peresvet or Pobeda, and that the third ship of the detachment, No. 49, fired a mine at a single-mast three-pipe ship ("Novik"? More likely, an optical illusion). But it is unclear whether these events took place after the first attack, or whether the description includes it too: therefore, it is worth saying that the 21st detachment used up either 3 or still 6 minutes.
Thus, we come to the conclusion that in the night battles from July 28 to July 29, 1904, the Japanese destroyers used up 47 or 50 minutes, however, it cannot be argued that this is an absolutely exact value - in other sources you can find 41 or even 80 minutes … The latter is still doubtful - it can be assumed that the authors indicating this number, count by the number of attacks that could have been fired by a two-torpedo salvo, while the Japanese in almost all known cases fired with one torpedo. In any case, the result turned out to be near-zero - only one hit was recorded on the Russian ships, while the mine did not explode.
At this, the night military operations with the use of mine weapons in Port Arthur died down until November 1904, when, on the night of November 26, the battleship Sevastopol moved from its anchorage to the White Wolf Bay, where it anchored. After that, the Japanese launched six attacks, in which a total of 30 destroyers and 3 mine boats were involved in order to undermine the Russian battleship.
I must say that the "Sevastopol", thanks to the efforts of Russian sailors, was perfectly protected from mine attacks. The fact is that his anchorage in the bay was a well-equipped position: in addition to him, there were also the Otvazhny gunboat and 7 Russian destroyers in the bay, and most importantly (which was perhaps even more important than the above) approaches to the bay were controlled by ground searchlights. Of course, there was also ground artillery; the battleship itself was defended with regular mine nets along the sides of the ship, but in addition, another net was hung on an impromptu "tripod", covering the nose of the "Sevastopol" from attacks. Thus, the battleship was, as it were, in a rectangle of anti-submarine nets, only the stern remained unprotected. But at the stern of the ship was the gunboat "Otvazhny" and at least two destroyers out of seven, so it would be very difficult to approach it (passing between the "Sevastopol" and the coast). In addition, a coupon was used to protect the battleship, which had previously covered the entrance to the White Wolf harbor.
The first attack was made on the night of November 27 and, frankly, was more like an imitation of violent activity: three destroyers of the 9th detachment at the beginning of the twelfth reached the bay where Sevastopol was stationed, but were illuminated by searchlights from land. After releasing three mines into the "vague outline of a ship on the NWN," the destroyers retreated. After the 9th detachment, the 15th detachment approached, which could not go on the attack at all (the searchlights blinded the 1st squad, and the second did not find the enemy) and left without using weapons. On Russian ships this "mine attack" was not noticed at all.
The second attack took place on the night of November 29. At 00.45 at night, the 15th destroyer detachment tried its luck again, but only the first three managed to release mines - the fourth, hitting the spotlights, stopped seeing the target and could not attack the Sevastopol. Then, at about 01.35, two minelayers tried their luck, they also went on the attack, were illuminated by searchlights and fired upon by ground artillery, fired 2 mines in the direction of Sevastopol ("to the very center") and retreated. What this attack had in common with the previous one was that no Japanese mines were noticed on Russian ships.
The third attack took place on the night of November 30 and began with the fact that at 3 am 4 destroyers of the 20th detachment passed at a distance of 1,500 m (8 cables) from Sevastopol, with a mine being fired from each at the Russian battleship. There was no sense, however, from this, but two destroyers were badly damaged by artillery fire. The 14th detachment four times tried to approach the Sevastopol within the range of a mine shot, but each time it was found, illuminated by searchlights and fired upon, which is why it was unable to launch the attack. But luck smiled at two mine boats, which already in the morning (closer to 05.00) managed to get close to the "Sevastopol" unnoticed, the distance did not exceed 50 meters. Both of them attacked, and both mines, in general, hit, but not in the ship, of course, but in the mine nets. And if one mine, entangled in the net of the starboard side, drowned, then the second, hitting the nasal net, exploded. As we said earlier, on the ships of the Russian fleet, the protection of the bow of the ship with an anti-mine net was not provided (that is, the placement of the net in front of the course, perpendicular to the stem), and the defense of Sevastopol was an improvisation. It protected the ship worse than the onboard networks, and as a result of the explosion, the bow compartment (which housed the torpedo tube) was damaged and flooded. The width of the slot made was up to 3 feet, but still the damage was not comparable to what a mine would have done if it hit the ship's hull.
The fourth attack took place on the night of December 1. By this time, the battleship was pulled to the shore astern, and on the sides it was additionally covered with booms. Now, only the bow remained a relatively vulnerable spot of the ship, not too reliably covered with an anti-mine net. And again, we can talk about the attack rather not on the result, but "for show" - despite the fact that the 10th detachment and another combined detachment from the 6th and 12th destroyer detachments were sent into battle, they were able to attack to leave only four ships, which fired 4 mines at Sevastopol. Again, these mines were not seen on the battleship. To justify the Japanese destroyers, we can only say that there was a strong blizzard that night, which greatly impeded the attack. The visibility was so poor that the destroyers launched an attack with open fires (!), But even so they quickly lost sight of each other. Most likely, the mines were launched not by the battleship, but by something that the Japanese took for it, and the price for this was destroyer No. 53, which was blown up by a mine and killed with the entire crew.
The fifth attack took place on the night of December 2nd. The weather improved somewhat and the Russians, anticipating the next assault, prepared to repel it. This time the destroyers were deployed along the bay, blocking it in front of the Sevastopol, and the flanking lights turned on their searchlights in order to provide a "strip of light" on the way to the battleship. In addition, two mine boats stood at the bow and side of the Sevastopol, in full readiness to counterattack the Japanese destroyers that were breaking through. Without a doubt, the Russians did not prepare in vain - it was on this night that the Japanese launched the most massive (23 destroyers and 1 mine boat) and, more importantly, a decisive attack.
The first (at 23.55) to enter the battle was a consolidated detachment, a consolidated detachment from the 6th and 12th destroyer detachments, while 4 mines were fired. It is not a fact that all of them were sent to Sevastopol, since in addition to him there were also the Otvazhny gunboat, the King Arthur steamer and the Silach port ship, the silhouettes of which theoretically (and in conditions of very poor visibility, except for darkness and snow also interfered with the light of searchlights) could be mistaken for an battleship. Two destroyers were damaged by artillery fire. Following the destroyers, a mine boat from "Fuji" tried to attack, but was found and driven away by artillery fire. The latter, however, did not lose his head, but repeated the attempt later, after releasing a mine at 03.30, he was again fired upon and left.
But even before that, the main attack took place: Sevastopol was sequentially attacked by the 15th destroyer detachment, a mixed detachment of the 2nd and 21st detachments, the 10th destroyer detachment with the addition of No. 39, and then the 14th and 9th detachments. The torpedo boats of the 15th lead detachment were found and fired upon at 01:47, but still attacked, and the rest of the detachments entered the battle in the order listed above. In total, they fired 20 mines, and it is reliably known that one of them was sent not to Sevastopol, but to the Otvazhny gunboat. Accordingly, during that night the Japanese fired 25 mines in total, of which a maximum of 24 were sent to Sevastopol. The distance from which the Japanese destroyers fired was estimated on Russian ships as 5-10 cables. This time the Japanese acted quite decisively, and the result was not slow to show itself.
The nets enclosing Sevastopol were hit by 5 mines, 4 of them exploded (and, apparently, we are talking about those mines that hit the ship's anti-torpedo nets, the same ones that hit the booms were not taken into account, although this is the opinion of the author may be wrong). Thus, if the battleship had not had this protection, it would have been hit by four or even five torpedoes, which gives an accuracy of fire (taking into account the mine that did not hit the "Brave") at the level of 16-20%. But the nets proved to be sufficient protection, so that only a single mine, which exploded in the bow net, inflicted damage - this time the ram compartment of the battleship was flooded.
But, of course, this performance had another side: during the attack, one Japanese destroyer was destroyed (the Japanese believe that this was done by artillery fire), three more were disabled, many other destroyers, although they retained their combat effectiveness, also had damage.
This description of the battle was compiled primarily from Japanese sources, but if you add information from the Russians to them, it turns out to be quite interesting. According to the "Work of the Historical Commission," Russian ships in this battle fired 2 mines: one from a mine boat from the battleship Pobeda, and one from the destroyer Angry, both hit. Most likely, it was like this - the mine boat did not get anywhere, but "Angry" attacked destroyer # 42, which had lost its speed (which the Japanese consider dead and note that it had lost its speed) and destroyed it. Thus, the effectiveness of Russian mine shooting was 50%, which is significantly higher than the Japanese.
However, it is possible that in fact the Japanese shot this time much more efficiently than the 16-20% indicated by us. The fact is that the "Work of the Historical Commission" reports on numerous torpedo attacks from the destroyer "Sentinel", and many of the mines passed under the keel of the destroyer and exploded from impacts on the reefs. The fact is that this destroyer was on the flank from which the Japanese attack was coming and was shining a searchlight, so the Japanese destroyers first saw exactly the Sentinel. A total of 12 Japanese mines were counted, fired at the "Guard", and if this figure is correct (despite the fact that the torpedoes passed under the keel of the destroyer), then the accuracy of shooting at the "Sevastopol" and "Brave" is 30-38%. Most likely, in fact, fewer mines were fired at the "Watchdog", but it is still likely that the accuracy of mine shooting at the "Sevastopol" ranges from 20-30%.
Sixth attack. It was held on the night of December 3, and, again, it was carried out very decisively. This time it was snowing heavily, but if earlier it (according to the Japanese) prevented their destroyers from detecting the enemy, now it prevented the Russian searchlights from controlling the water area and the entrance to the bay. This is how it is, this snow - prevents those who shoot torpedoes at barely noticed, unclear silhouettes to leave immediately and helps those who go on the attack, disdaining the nuances of the weather. As a result, Japanese destroyers entered the White Wolf Bay and fired torpedoes at Sevastopol from different directions.
At about 03.00 on December 3, "Sevastopol" attacked 4 destroyers of the 2nd detachment, firing a total of 4 mines, in response they were fired upon, one (# 46) was damaged. Then "Sevastopol" attacked a single destroyer No. 44 from the 21st detachment (he was the only one from this detachment who took part in that battle), released a mine and was also damaged. The next was the 14th detachment. His lead destroyer "Chidori" did not see "Sevastopol", and approximately at 0400 fired 2 mines, one on the steamer "King Arthur", the second - on the Russian destroyer. The next Hayabusa attacked Sevastopol with a mine, and Kasasagi and Manadzuru attacked Sevastopol, Brave and King Arthur, thus releasing at least 3 mines. These destroyers were also fired upon, but only Manazuru was hit.
In total, in this attack, the Japanese destroyers spent at least 11 minutes, of which, probably, 7 - in the "Sevastopol". At the same time, the Russian battleship received 3 hits: one mine hit the boom that covered the side, the second - into the anti-torpedo net (its explosion still caused water to flow into the compartments) and the third - directly into the ship itself, blowing up its stern. In addition, the destroyer "Sentinel" suffered from the "Chidori" torpedo (most likely it was this Japanese ship that achieved success). Mina, one might say, "flicked the" Sentinel "on the nose" hitting him almost 15 centimeters from the stem. An explosion thundered, but the destroyer did not sink, although the ram compartment was filled with water. His commander made the absolutely correct decision - seeing that his ship was blown up, he did not wait for the damage analysis and threw himself ashore, from where the Sentry was later safely removed.
The overall effectiveness of Japanese mines in this last attack was over 36%. At the same time, 7 minutes were fired directly into the Russian battleship with three hits, that is, almost 43%. But it is possible that the effectiveness of firing at Sevastopol turned out to be even higher, since according to Russian data, in addition to the above ships, three or even four mines were fired at the destroyer Boykiy, and they could be among those that we "recorded" as released in "Sevastopol".
In just 6 night attacks, undertaken by the Japanese with the aim of undermining the battleship Sevastopol, at least 49 mines were fired, of which 11 reached the target (22, 44%), with one hitting the destroyer Sentorozhevoy, one - Sevastopol”, The remaining 9 fell into the anti-torpedo nets and coupons, while the explosions of three of them led to the flooding of the battleship's compartments.
In the future, night mine attacks against Russian ships were not carried out until the battle of Tsushima itself, which we will not consider in this series of articles.
So, what general conclusions can we draw on the use of mine weapons in night attacks during the defense of Port Arthur? On the one hand, it seems that we have to admit that the Japanese destroyers are very poorly trained. In the battles listed by us, the Japanese spent about 168 minutes, while achieving only 10 effective hits - 3 mines in Retvizan, Tsarevich and Pallada at the very beginning of the war, 2 mines in the destroyers Lieutenant Burakov and Combat during the attack of mine boats on July 11, 4 mines - in the battleship "Sevastopol" (one direct hit in the stern, as well as two hits in the bow anti-torpedo net and one - in the anti-torpedo net of the starboard side) and 1 mine - destroyer "Storozhevoy".
Thus, the overall effectiveness of the Japanese torpedo weapons did not exceed 5.95%. And vice versa, if we take the effectiveness of Russian weapons, then it surpasses all conceivable limits - having spent 12 minutes in night battles, Russian sailors achieved at least 6 hits (50%!).
This ratio may seem very strange, so let's take a closer look at it.
First, in a number of cases the Japanese attacked ships protected by anti-torpedo nets ("Sevastopol"), and on the night after the battle on July 28, 1904, they managed to hit Poltava with a mine, but the torpedo did not explode - however, we cannot put mines in blame for the destroyer crew. By introducing the appropriate amendments, we will get not 10, but 17 hits (one addition to Poltava and six to Sevastopol), thereby increasing the percentage of hits to 10, 12%.
Second, if we look at exactly where the Japanese training failed, we will see that during the defense of Port Arthur, the Japanese destroyers did not know how to hit ships at sea. In the period considered by us, the Russian squadron went to sea twice, on June 10 and July 28, 1904, while in both cases (on the night of June 11 and on the night of July 29) it was attacked by destroyers. At the same time, at least 70 mines were consumed, of which 23 on the night of July 11 (another 16 mines were fired at anchored ships in the outer roadstead) and 47 on the night of July 29, but the result was a single hit in "Poltava", that is, the efficiency is only 1, 42%. Why is that?
The weak organization of the attacks played a role here - in fact, the detachments of fighters and destroyers were left to themselves and attacked without any plan, often even within the same detachment the destroyers acted independently. At the same time, the detection range of destroyers at sea, oddly enough, exceeded the range of a torpedo shot - it is reliably known that on the night of July 28-29 the destroyers were visible on 5-6 cables, but, probably, on the night of June 11, the situation was similar. Accordingly, Russian ships, seeing destroyers striving to get closer to them, simply turned away from them, opening fire - very often in such situations, Japanese destroyers "to clear their conscience" shot after them, with practically no chance of hitting the target, and left the attack. In addition, the flashes of torpedo shots (powder charges were used to eject torpedoes from the apparatus) were clearly visible, and due to the phosphoricity of the water, traces of mines were clearly visible, as a result of which Russian ships had a good opportunity to evade torpedoes fired at them.
At the same time, 98 minutes were spent on attacks by ships at anchorage (and, in a number of cases, destroyers defending them, which either had no speed or had a slow speed), 98 minutes were spent and 16 hits were achieved (from the 17 above, we exclude in "Poltava" - this gives us efficiency at the level of 16, 33%. But this figure is much worse than the previously calculated 50% for Russian torpedoes. What is the matter?
And the point is in completely different conditions in which the Japanese and Russian destroyers had to operate. As we can see, the overwhelming majority of Japanese attacks were carried out on ships stationed in the outer roadstead of Port Arthur or in the White Wolf Bay. The Russian ships located there were located under the cover of coastal batteries, and, most importantly, there were numerous land searchlights.
Therefore, the following happened quite often - the Japanese destroyers, in small numbers (sequential attack by several detachments) tried to approach the ships guarding the outer At least 20 cables remained in the roadstead of the squadron ships, but there were cases when Japanese destroyers were discovered beyond 45 cables. Of course, they were immediately hit by a barrage of fire from patrol boats, gunboats, cruisers, and even larger ships. As a result, the Japanese had no choice but to launch torpedoes “somewhere in that direction” and run without looking back - which they constantly did, despite the “samurai code of honor” and the all-consuming desire of their crews to “die for the emperor”.
Well, he brought V. K. Vitgeft sent his squadron to the outer roadstead after going to sea on 10 June. It would seem - a wonderful, fat target, then the Russian squadron and lie down to the last ship. But in fact it turned out like this - the Russian squadron anchored, and the searchlights of Port Arthur formed a real "cut-off zone" around it, illuminating the sea around the parking lot, but in no case itself. At the same time, only flanking ships were shining on the squadron with searchlights (from time to time), and the rest stood with closed lights, briefly turning on the searchlight in case of emergency. Battleships and cruisers bristled with numerous cannons, supported by ground artillery. The Japanese fired 24 mines at the Russian ships (8 - while they were anchored and 16 more - when the ships were already at anchor), but how? In sporadic attacks by separate detachments of 3-4 destroyers, or even individual destroyers, in conditions of disgusting visibility, when the beams of fortress searchlights blinded the Japanese destroyers and did not allow them to clearly distinguish the silhouettes of Russian ships. With several simultaneously attacking destroyers, the entire squadron, supported by ground artillery, immediately concentrated the fire! Is it any wonder that not a single Japanese destroyer that night, according to the observations of Russian sailors, did not approach the Russian ships closer than 12 cables? By the way, today it is no longer possible to determine the accuracy of the shooting of Japanese destroyers in such conditions - the fact is that the parking of the Russian squadron was partially protected by booms, and perhaps some of the 24 mines consumed by the Japanese were nevertheless aimed correctly, but were stopped by obstacles.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the greatest successes of the Japanese destroyers were achieved in conditions when:
1. The ground guns and searchlights of the fortress did not work - the very first attack on Port Arthur, with which the war began (8 destroyers fired 14 mines, 3 hits, 21, 42%);
2. The attack was carried out outside the Russian coastal defense - the attack on July 11 (4 mines - 2 hits on the destroyers "Lieutenant Burakov" and "Battle", 50%);
3. The attack was carried out within the coastal defense, but in weather conditions precluding its effectiveness - the sixth attack of the battleship "Sevastopol" (11 minutes, 4 hits including one on the destroyer "Sentinel" and the battleship, and 2 hits on the anti-torpedo net and coupons, and one of them caused damage to the ship, 36, 36%);
4. The attack was carried out at least within the limits of the powerful defense of the Russians, but decisively and with large forces - the fifth attack of the battleship "Sevastopol" (25 minutes, 5 hits into the fencing of the battleship, 20%, taking into account the mines that passed under the keel of the "Sentinel", possibly which is up to 30%).
In general, it can be stated that the presence of effective coastal defense significantly increased the protection of anchored ships, and this could only be overcome through a decisive attack with large forces, which the Japanese, in fact, dared to do only once during the entire period of the defense of Port Arthur. - during the fifth attack on the battleship "Sevastopol".
And what about their Russian colleagues? It is interesting that the main results were achieved by our destroyers on moving fire-fighting ships, out of 6 mine hits there were 4 (one more mine hit a fire-ship that had stopped and was already sinking, and a Japanese destroyer was sunk by one mine). But you need to understand that the conditions for this were the most favorable for the Russians, because in all six successful attacks the enemy ships went forward without maneuvers, and most importantly: they were illuminated by Russian searchlights, while our destroyers and mine boats remained invisible to the enemy's searchlights. In addition, in all cases, the available Japanese forces, consisting of several destroyers at the most, could not develop strong artillery fire, and even that was often opened after a Russian mine attack.
And now let's return to the question for which this series of articles was written: the possible effectiveness of the night attack of the Japanese destroyers Varyag and Koreyets in the event that the Russian stationaries did not go out to battle with S. Uriu's squadron. In this case, V. F. Rudnev had a rather poor choice - either to anchor and lay mine nets, or not to anchor the nets, not to anchor, but to move at a very low speed in the water area of the Chemulpo raid (about a mile by two miles. In principle, if you count to the mouth of the river, then all three miles will be typed in length, but, in theory, neutral stations and transports should have gone there). Alas, none of these options boded well.
If the Varyag remained at anchor, it would not have been able to provide protection like the one that Sevastopol had in the White Wolf Bay - as we have already said, spare nets from other ships were used to protect the battleship. At the same time, the ship's own mine nets did not give the ship full protection - the bow, stern and part of the side remained open.
It was impossible to move with the supplied nets, because they were not designed for this, and a break in the network could easily lead to the winding of the latter on the propeller, after which the ship would lose speed. It was impossible to protect the ship with an additional net from the bow and stern, because this required an impromptu device of additional so-called. "Mine shots", which held the anti-mine net, the materials for the production of which were simply not available on the Varyag (as far as one can judge, “Sevastopol” received them from the warehouses of Port Arthur), and there were no additional mine nets themselves. In addition, we see that such a structure, assembled in naval conditions, did not differ in reliability - both hits in the Sevastopol's bow network led to the formation of underwater holes and flooding of the bow compartment.
But the most important thing is that while remaining on the Chemulpo raid, unlike the ships of the Port Arthur squadron, the Varyag and Koreets did not have a mighty coastal fortress behind them and could only rely on themselves. Moreover, if we recall the order of S. Uriu, then it says:
"The 2nd tactical group, together with the 14th destroyer detachment, occupies a position within sight of the Chemulpo anchorage."
That is, in other words, it turns out like this: 4 destroyers of the 9th detachment enter the Chemulpo raid, where they will very quickly find the Varyag - it is difficult not to find a one hundred and thirty-meter four-pipe cruiser in the water area two by four kilometers.
"Varyag" (regardless of whether it is at low speed or at anchor) has no choice but to open fire on the destroyers - by doing so, he will unmask himself, and the cruisers of the 2nd tactical group will illuminate him with searchlights. In other words, "Varyag" and "Korean" in this case will find themselves in the position of Japanese fire-ships that attacked Russian destroyers: as we can see from our analysis, the accuracy of mine shooting in such conditions may well be from 30 to 50%. Four ships of the 9th destroyer detachment had 12 torpedo tubes, taking into account the 2 mines consumed by the Koreyets, 10 more remain, this gives 3-5 torpedo hits on the cruiser. Obviously, the Varyag has no chances to survive such a number of hits even by sawing off the Koreets' masts and hanging on them its own anti-mine nets along the bow and stern. But even if something like that happens by some miracle, then the Japanese still have the 14th destroyer detachment in reserve, which they can also send to the attack.
Based on the foregoing, it can be assumed that when the Japanese use the tactics of a night mine attack, as set out by S. Uriu in order No. 30, communicated to the executors on January 27, the Varyag and Koreyets have no chances to survive on the Chemulpo raid.