Shadows and Splendours of the Russian Navy

Robin Bruce Lockhart traces the development of Russia's fleets, from the Napoleonic era to the Soviet period.

There must be many British people who, like myself, remember as schoolboys the great war-scare that followed the night of October 21st/22nd, 1904, when the Russian Baltic Squadron, then on its way to the Far East, mistook some British trawlers in the North Sea for Japanese destroyers and opened fire on them.

At that moment the Russo-Japanese War was going badly for the Russians, and the despatch of the Baltic Squadron to the theatre of war was the Tsarist Government’s last card in a losing struggle. The Squadron was antiquated and was commanded by a highly nervous admiral who, before setting out, had been perturbed by rumours that the Japanese intended to attack the Russians in Scandinavian waters.

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