Exactly one hundred years ago the name of this ship became known around the world. On the morning of 9 February (January 27 old style), 1904 the cruiser “Varyag” was on the RAID of the Korean port of Chemulpo, when his commander—captain 1st rank V. F. Rudnev received the news of the outbreak of the war with Japan. By this time, the exit of the Bay blocked the enemy fleet and the Japanese offered the Russians to surrender. Despite the fact that the enemy was a clear superiority in forces, the Russian Navy rejected the offer and took the challenge coming to an unequal battle. At 11.20 both caught in a neutral port, the Russian ships— the cruiser “Varyag” and the gunboat “Korean” weighed anchor and headed to Sea. “We saluted those heroes who so proudly marching to certain death,” — so expressed his admiration for the witness of the battle, the commander of the French cruiser “Pascal” V. Sanes…
The cruiser “Varyag” to the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war was considered quite modern ship. It was built by order of Russia in the United States at the shipyard Kramp (Philadelphia) in 1900. The type of the cruiser belonged to the so-called “fighters for trade” (merchant ships) — great ocean raiders, seafaring, but, unfortunately, poorly protected and poorly armed. Armored on the “Varyag” was the only deck: on the horizontal areas had a thickness of 38 mm, bevel — 76 mm. Artillery of the ship in General was devoid of any protection In March 1901, “Varyag” left the shores of America on may 3 and arrived in Kronstadt. After a short stay in the Baltic sea he went to the far East and in February, 1902, was already in Port Arthur.
A month before the start of the war the cruiser “Varyag” went to Korea, where he was to perform the functions of a personal — vehicle-representative of the country abroad. Unfortunately, the roadstead of the port of Chemulpo, located in the Bay and connected with the sea by a long, winding waterway, was a beautiful trap, which was used by the Japanese. The squadron of rear-Admiral S. Uriu, composed of the armored cruiser “Asama”, 2nd class cruisers “Chiyoda”, “Naniwa”, “Takachiho”, “Niitaka” and “Akashi”, as well as three transports and four destroyers appeared in front of Chemulpo before the attack on Port Arthur. Chance to escape from the trap of the “Varyag” and “Koreans” have no choice…
Further well-known. About the battle that took place near the Korean port, written numerous articles, essays and books, shot films and documentaries, and composed songs. In detail about it and the release of the app “Sea collection” (V. I. Kataev. The Cruiser “Varyag”. — “Sea collection” № 3, 2003).
Despite the huge numerical superiority of the enemy, “Varyag” fought bravely until, has not yet received serious damage. The crew of the cruiser suffered huge losses — 33 people were killed and 97 wounded. For multiple shot holes, the failure of a significant number of guns and steering gear “Varyag” is almost completely exhausted its combat capabilities and was forced to return to the RAID. Here, in order not to be captured by the enemy, the ship was by order of the commander flooded.
In 1905, the Japanese lifted the cruiser and after repair entered in the composition of its fleet under the name “Soya”. However, now it is predominantly the function of the training ship.
However, the history of “Varyag” was not over. In the midst of the First world war, Russia decided to create a fleet of the Arctic ocean and turned to the now Union of Japan to sell a few warships. She willingly agreed. And in March 1916 in the former Russian battleship “Peresvet”, “Poltava” and the cruiser “Varyag” was again raised flag of St. Andrew. And in November, the legendary cruiser under their original name anchored in Romanov-on-Murman (now Murmansk).
However, to take part in battles with the enemy “Varyag” was never. His condition has caused serious concerns, and in February of 1917, the cruiser has been spent on repairs in England. Then still nobody assumed that he left Russia forever.
Subsequent events — the February and then October revolutions — reflected in the fate of the cruiser the most fatal manner. The new government in Russia was not to the “outsider” — beyond repair to pay no one was going. The crew of the cruiser gradually went away — part of it was sent to the U.S., and returned home. And the remaining 11 people in December 1917, the British arrested and the ship became the property of “mistress of the seas”.
In the British fleet “Varangian” served for a time as in the role of support vessel, and a year later was sold (presumably without the involvement of the former naval attache of Russia N. A. Volkova) for scrapping a private firm. But when towing to the place of dismantling the cruiser sat on the rocks near the Scottish coast. And there in 1925, it was cut for scrap. However, the ship’s hull below the level of the armored deck remained in place; later forgot about it. And only in 2003, after a long search he managed to discover a group of journalists headed by A. D. Denisov. Specially outfitted expedition managed to raise from the bottom a lot of historical relics, which will soon be transferred to the Central naval Museum in St. Petersburg.
During the service “Varyag” was painted in the following way. After construction from September 1900 to may 1901: hull and masts — white; lower knee of chimneys and ventilators (pipes and sockets) — yellow; the upper knee of chimneys, steggy both masts and yards — black; the underwater part green and the inner surface of the sockets red.
During the voyage in the composition of the escort of Emperor Nicholas II from August to September 1901: hull and masts white; knee flues and fans (pipes and sockets) — yellow; crown of chimneys with a width of 1.5 m, steggy both masts and yards — black; inner surface of sockets—red; the underwater part is also red. From August 1901 to September 1903 hull and masts — white; lower knee of chimneys and ventilators (pipes and sockets) — yellow; the upper knee of chimneys, steggy both masts and yards — black; inner surface of the cowl and the bottom of the red.
From September 1903 until his death: from the top mast to the water line olive color (in accordance with the order for the painting of ships in battle, the color on the flue pipes were repulsed stripe width 0.9 m orange color); the underwater part is red.