With this war.. the Russian navy unintentionally bombed itself

With this war.. the Russian navy unintentionally bombed itself
With this war.. the Russian navy unintentionally bombed itself
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Between 1904 and 1905, the world media reported the facts of the Russo-Japanese War, which lasted for more than a year and six months and ended with the death and injury of more than 200,000 people, coinciding with the victory of the Japanese over the Russians. In addition, during the summer of 1904, the Russian Navy faced great difficulties in the South China Sea. Faced with this situation, the Russian authorities agreed to send a large portion of the Baltic Fleet ships towards the front to fight the Japanese.

Rumors and scandal

According to the proposed plan, the Baltic Fleet was to embark on a long voyage across the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, passing through the Suez Canal, before reaching its destination. Since the beginning of the journey, the Russian Navy has faced many problems during the process of recruiting new sailors. While some lacked military experience, the majority of these new recruits were peasants and workers who had never set foot on a warship.

Concomitantly, that period witnessed the spread of strange rumors about the presence of Japanese gunboats launching torpedoes near the Norwegian coast. According to what was promoted at the time, the Japanese hid these boats in the region and mined the Baltic in preparation to surprise and destroy the Russian Baltic Fleet.

In addition, these rumors contributed to confusing the crew of Russian warships heading towards the South China Sea and prompted them, on the night of October 21, 1904, to commit what was known as the Dogger Bank scandal.

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Exchange of shelling and victims

While sailing in the North Sea on the night of October 21, 1904, a ship of the Russian Baltic Fleet reported that it was being pursued by unknown ships. Based on this, everyone feared the possibility of the presence of Japanese gunboats that came to the area to intercept them. A few hours later, Russian Admiral Zinovi Rojestvenski sighted other ships, which he could not identify because of the thick fog. Without hesitation, the latter ordered his battleships to open fire on these unknown ships for about 20 minutes.

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With the bombing halted, the Russian ships opened their searchlights to discover that what they thought were Japanese ships were British and Danish fishing trawlers off Dogger Bank. At the time, this incident resulted in the sinking of a British ship and the wounding of 4 others, coinciding with the death of two sailors and the wounding of 6 others with injuries of varying severity. In the midst of the bombing incident, the Russian Navy knew a loud scandal that angered Russian officials.

Because of the fog and lack of visibility, the Russian ships exchanged bombardments with each other, as the ships of the Baltic Fleet bombed the cruisers Dmitrii Donskoi and Aurora, thinking they were Japanese ships. This shelling damaged these two Russian ships, killing two sailors and wounding a third.

In the following period, Britain formed an international commission to investigate the incident. On the other hand, the Russian Empire tended to provide financial compensation to the families of the victims of the Dogger Bank scandal.

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