From Libau to Tsushima
Politovsky, Eugene S., From Libau to Tsushima - With a Detailed Account of The Dogger Bank Incident
E.F. Dutton and Company New York 1906
Politovsky was Fleet Engineer to the Imperial Russian Navy’s ill fated Second Pacific Squadron during its voyage from Libau on the Baltic Sea to its destruction in the Tsushima Strait on May 27, 1905. Material for the book was provided by his wife from letters sent to her during the voyage. Bitter at her husbands death, she wanted to bring clarity to the epic voyage - the longest ever by coal fired ships. the bravery of the crews and ineptitude of officers.
Zinovi Petrovich Rozhdestvenky, the Commander of the Second Pacific Squadron, was driven to despair by the performance of the fleet and threw so many pairs of binoculars overboard in a rage he was almost out by the Battle of Tsushima.
Poorly designed top heavy ships were made further so : marble floors and walls were installed in officers quarters at their own expense with other fittings - imagine that in any other navy. Food , passable for officers, was barely edible for other ranks. Vodka, the solace of any Russian, was a key ingredient in getting the ships from Libau to Tsushima and the daily ration was an important event in a ships life. The faults in design and frequent breakdowns of ships are chronicled. Politivsky may well have been the busiest man in the Squadron as he went from ship to ship fixing myriad faults.
What impressed this reader was the stoicism of Russian sailors suffering a miserable voyage of great achievement - for many a last voyage
Politovsky’s last letter was sent on May 10th 1905. He was killed when his battleship Kniaz Suvoroff (Prince Suvoroff) went down at the Battle of Tsushima on May 27,1905
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