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Japanese Battle Instructions

[Extracted from the Fleet and Divisional "Confidential Orders"]


Special Instructions for the Second Division by Admiral Kamimura.

1. These are the main points of the tactics to be employed when the Second Division engages the enemy alone.

2. In these tactics the main formation will be the T formation of the General Instructions to the Combined Fleet. This will be changed to an L formation when our squadron is stronger than the enemy.

Battle Formation.

3. In Battle Formation my flagship will lead the line, the Rear Admirals flagship bringing up the rear. The line will be normally an undulating one, but the formation and order of the ships will be changed when necessary. When this happens the leading ship or that at the end of the wing will take on the duty of leading the fleet without regard to the seniority of its Commanding Officer, and she will conduct the other ships to advantageous positions.

Order of Ships.

Idzumo (Flag), Adzuma, Asama, Yakumo, Tokiwa, Iwate (Flag)

Battle Speed.

4. Battle Speed is 17 knots and in the absence of special orders this speed will be used. Slow speed will be 5 knots, and half speed will be half way between the speed at the moment and slow speed.

5. Except on special occasions the speed flag will not be hoisted, the only hoist being to show the number of revolutions.

Battle Plan.

6. When we engage an enemy of equal or superior strength we will maintain our original line and use our speed to get into the T formation with the enemy, concentrating the fire of our whole line on his leading ship or the end of his line. The chief points of the tactics to be followed by our leading ship during the action are:-
  (a) The leading ship is always to steer for the enemy's leading ship or the wing   nearer to us, and when at a distance of about 8,000 meters (8,700 yards) to alter   course to starboard or port as convenient.
  (b) If, as a result of the movements of both our fleets, we are steaming in the   opposite direction to their course, our superior speed is to be utilized to bring us   into the T formation with the head, rear, or wing of the enemy, and when we have   passed them we will always put the helm over towards the disengaged side.
  (c) Should we be steaming on the same course and the enemy appear to be about   to turn outwards, or to be going ahead of us, we will also turn outwards. When we   are getting ahead of them, we will endeavor to use our speed to get into the T   formation with them.
  (d) When steaming parallel to the enemy on the same or opposite course, if an   alteration of their course does not appear to be likely to do any harm, our course is   not to be altered.
  (e) Though as a result of maneuvering we may approach close to the enemy, care is   to be taken that the range is not less than 3,000 meters (3,300 yards).

7. When the enemy is weaker than us, the tactics mentioned above must be used. But when we intend to attack an inferior force, the following order is to be adopted.

Iwate (Flag), Tokiwa, Yakumo, Idzumo, Adzuma, Asama

In these circumstances the following principles are to be attended to as well as those indicated in the above articles, the general idea being to force the enemy to fight parallel to us. At the proper time my flagship will hoist a "Move together" flag, and will turn 8 points to starboard or port as convenient, the remainder of the first subdivision following in my wake. The 2nd subdivision will wait for the hauling down of the flag, continue on the same course, increase speed, and, while endeavoring not to let the gunfire slacken, will form an undulating line in the new direction. If, owing to a change of movement on the enemy's part, it would seem better to stop the maneuver before it is complete, the "Move together" flag with the negative will be hoisted for that purpose.

Though there will be times when the order of the ships in the line is not as above, yet the same maneuvers are to be carried out, the leading ship of the leading or rear subdivision moving as explained above and the other ships of its subdivision following in its wake. In all cases my flagship will show by hoisting the "Move together" flag the time for the operation to begin.

8. During the action when a portion of our squadron is to be detached in order to make the L formation, my flagship will indicate this by hoisting the "Show Time" signal. (Sometimes the name of the ship which is to perform this maneuver will be indicated.) Whereupon the 2nd subdivision, or the ship whose name has been indicated, is to move according to the signals of its sub-divisional commander.

N.B.- As a result of this maneuver the Subdivisions will become seperated, and considerable loss of power will take place. Therefore they must take great care to maintain connection with one another.

When we are fighting in the L formation and a return to the T formation seems advantageous, either the 1st or 2nd Subdivision, according to circumstances, will turn together as convenient and follow the other Subdivision. Single line ahead will be formed as convenient without regard to the order of the ships in the line.

Use of Guns.

9. There will be no special signals to open fire, this being left to the individual discretion of the officer commanding each ship. At ranges of more than 4,500 meters (4,900 yards) rapid firing is to be avoided, and all preliminary adjustments are to be carried out with the greatest care. At ranges of less than 4,500 meters the adjustments connected with the enemy's speed are to be omitted, and the bow of the ship is to be the point aimed at.

Use of Torpedoes.

10. There will be no changes of formation or movement made to close with the enemy in order to get a good opportunity for discharging torpedoes, but preparations are to be made for discharging them and care taken that a possible chance is not let slip. If there is a favorable opportunity of using them during the action, a ship may alter course not more than two points for this purpose, returning as quickly as possible after discharge to the original course.

Gunfire and Movements against Destroyers and Torpedo-boats.

11. When destroyers or torpedo-boats are noticed making a rapid approach to attack, you are to fire upon them, aiming at a point half their length ahead of them. Occasionally, to avoid torpedo attacks or to increase gunfire, an alteration of course together will be made.