Go to WTJ Information Page Go to WTJ Portal Go to WTJ War Series Go to WTJ Archives Go to WTJ Articles Go to WTJ Gaming Go to WTJ Store Go to WTJ Home Page


Captain Vladimir Semenov was a well known Russian naval officer who served in several positions throughout the course of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. His presence during the siege of Port Arthur and later during the Baltic Fleet's long voyage to Tsushima gave him an unusually broad perspective on the war's progress, and he later wrote several titles relating to these experiences. Indeed, he was one of very few Russian officers who could write as an eyewitness to both major naval battles of the war: The Battle of the Yellow Sea, and the Battle of Tsushima. In some cases his writings are the sole published accounts of the events at hand. At the very least his works offer fascinating insights into daily naval life and the conditions of combat, much of which are both interesting and cogent.

The factual reliability of Semenov's writing has occasionally been questioned, but it should be noted that even some authors who question his accounts end up referring to him because the accounts are so unusual. In many cases Semenov is no more inaccurate than would be normal for such accounts, and often his views are the views of the moment. As such, they may be technically inaccurate while still reflecting the actual conversations in which he took part. A good example of this is the regular mention of intelligence information about the Japanese, some of which is fantastically inaccurate. Also, Semenov had a vested interest in contrasting Russian and Japanese performance as much as possible, which may have led to selective emphasis of certain details. As with all memoirs and eyewitness accounts, readers should keep in mind that these sources need to be cross-referenced with other reports and records in order to gather a more accurate outline of events. A quick reading of Semenov's own preface in Rasplata will help readers to understand the author's goals regarding future historical reference to his accounts.

Of Semenov's writing, two of the main titles are offered here: Rasplata is about the author's experiences at Port Arthur and during the voyage of the Baltic Fleet. The Battle of Tsushima is predictably about that great naval battle and events immediately prior to and following. In general, The Battle of Tsushima begins where Rasplata left off. However, the nature of each book is very different. The Battle of Tsushima seems to have been written for a popular audience, and it is more likely to feature sensational statements. Rasplata was written for a critical audience and features a more careful delivery.

Author's Preface

P a r t  I
Chapter 1a · Chapter 1b
Departure from St Petersburg – In the Siberian express – The first news of the war – Arrival in Port Arthur

Chapter 2a · Chapter 2b
Impressions of Port Arthur – Thank God! A destroyer – At sea the first time – "Be careful and risk nothing" – A bad disappointment.

Chapter 3a · Chapter 3b (coming next) · Chapter 3c
The squadron in the hands of His Excellency Admiral Alexeieff – Accounts of participants and eyewitnesses of February 8 and 9 – The first Japanese attempt at blocking – We expect Admiral Makaroff.

Account — Battle of the Yellow Sea
This excerpt of the 1904 naval battle is presented here out of sequence until the intervening chapters can be posted.
Battle Account

Account — Battle of Tsushima
This excerpt of the 1905 naval battle is presented here out of sequence until other chapters from the book can be acquired.
Battle Account
  Copyright © 1996-2003 by The War Times Journal at www.wtj.com. All rights reserved.