Mikasa

The Mikasa was the most modern battleship in the Imperial Japanese Navy at the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War , and was to remain that way due to the restrictions placed on combatants with regards to acquiring new warships from overseas during a conflict. In design the Mikasa was a continuiation of the basic theme begun with Shikishima and Hatsuse and refined in the Asahi ; as such she included improvements over the earlier vessels although appeared similar visually.

The Mikasa was Admiral Togo's flagship from the outset of the Russo-Japanese War , featuring in every major engagement with the Port Arthur fleet , culminating in the Battle of the Yellow Sea in August 1904 where the Mikasa sustained a not insignificant amount of damage and was for a time in danger of being rammed by the Retvisan until the withering fire of the Japanese battleline drove the Russian battleship off.

Mikasa's finest moment came on 27th May 1905 when she flew the flag of Admiral Togo in leading the Imperial Japanese Navy into battle against Rozhestvensky's Russian fleet. The Mikasa was hit early on in the battle when the Russian fire was at its most effective. After that , with the Russian crews unable to maintain accuracy under fire , the Mikasa received no further hits.

On 12th September 1905 an accident achieved what two Russian fleets had failed to accomplish when a magazine explosion sank the Mikasa at anchor in Sasebo. She was refloated and recommissioned in 1907 , serving with the main fleet until being rerated a coast defence ship in 1921.After running aground and sustaining damage off Vladivostock she was eventually retired in 1923.

The Mikasa was maintained as a national monument at Yokosuka. Her condition deteriorated during the Second World War when , I believe she also received bomb damage. Restoration work was finally put in hand in the late 1950s and today the Mikasa is on permanent display , the last surviving battleship of her period.