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Cause of IJN and IRN Warships Sunk During the War 1904–1905

Although submarines, torpedoes, torpedo boats, and steel battleships had existed for many years, the Russo-Japanese war was the first conflict to see mature forms of these weapon systems deployed in large numbers. Over a hundred of the newly invented torpedo boats and nearly the same number of torpedo boat destroyers [1] were involved. The Imperial Russian Navy would become the first navy in history to possess an independent operational submarine fleet on 1 January 1905.[2] With this submarine fleet making its first combat patrol on 14 February 1905, and its first clash with enemy surface warships on 29 April 1905,[2] all this nearly a decade before World War I even began.

During the course of the war, the IRN and IJN would launch nearly 300 self-propelled automotive torpedoes at one another.[3] Dozens of warships would be hit and damaged, but only 1 battleship, 2 armoured cruisers, and 2 destroyers would be permanently sunk (not salvaged). Another 80 plus warships would be destroyed by the traditional gun, mine, or other cause. The Russian battleship Oslyabya was the first modern battleship sunk by gunfire alone,[4] and Admiral Rozhestvensky's flagship, the battleship Knyaz Suvorov was the first modern battleship sunk by the new "torpedo" on the high seas.

Vessel type and cause of loss[5]

  • Battleships lost to naval gunfire – 3 (plus 1 Coastal Battleship) IRN
  • Battleships lost to land/shore batteries – 4 IRN
  • Battleships lost to combination of gunfire & torpedoes – 2 IRN
  • Battleships lost to strictly torpedoes – 1 IRN
  • Battleships lost to mines – 1 IRN/2 (plus 1 Coastal Battleship) IJN
  • Cruisers lost to naval gunfire – 5 IRN
  • Cruisers lost to land/shore batteries – 3 IRN
  • Cruisers lost to mines – 1 IRN/4 IJN
  • Destroyers (DDs, GBs, TBDs, TBs) lost to naval gunfire – 6 IRN/3 IJN
  • Destroyers (DDs, GBs, TBDs, TBs) lost to shore batteries – 3 IRN
  • Destroyers (DDs, GBs, TBDs, TBs) lost to gunfire & torpedoes – 1 IJN
  • Destroyers (DDs, GBs, TBDs, TBs) lost to torpedoes – 2 IRN
  • Destroyers (DDs, GBs, TBDs, TBs) lost to mines – 3 IRN/3 IJN
  • Auxiliary cruisers lost to naval gunfire – 1 IRN
  • Auxiliary Cruisers lost to shore batteries – 1 IRN
  • Auxiliary Gunboats lost to mines – 1 IJN
  • Minelayers lost to shore batteries – 1 IRN
  • Minelayers lost to mines – 1 IRN
  • Submarines – 3 lost to scuttling & 1 lost by shipwreck IRN (Note: Only IRN submarines were operational during the war)

The above data includes vessels that were sunk and consequently salvaged (raised) and put back into service by either combatant. Data regarding surface vessels either shipwrecked or scuttled was excluded.

Imperial Russian Navy warships sunk, 1904–1905

From 1880 through the end of the war, Russia prepared a systematic plan to build their navy into a major naval power, able to meet any modern adversary—which during this time period were primarily based in Europe.[6] By 1884 Russia lead the world in numbers of the newly invented torpedo boats and torpedo boat destroyers with 115 such vessels. By 1904, the IRN was a first rate navy, but by the end of 1905, Russia was reduced to a third rate naval power.

Warship type, name, and date of loss[7]

The above list excludes captured, surrendered, or sunken warships that were raised and put back into service by either combatant.


  1. Olender, p. 235, 236, 249–251
  2. 2.0 2.1 Olender p. 175
  3. Olender, p. 236
  4. Forczyk, p. 70
  5. Olender p. 234
  6. Watts, p. 16
  7. Watts, pp. 38–150


  • Forczyk, Robert (2009). Russian Battleship vs Japanese Battleship, Yellow Sea 1904–05. Osprey. ISBN 978-1-84603-330-8. 
  • Olender, Piotr (2010). Russo-Japanese Naval War 1904–1905, Vol. 2, Battle of Tsushima. Sandomierz, Poland: Stratus s.c.. ISBN 978-83-61421-02-3. 
  • Watts, Anthony J. (1990). The Imperial Russian Navy. London, Great Britain: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 0-85368-912-1. 

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