Command of the Sea

William Pakenham and the Russo-Japanese Naval War 1904-1905

Quintin Barry

Date Published :
February 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
c 28 ills, 6 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781912390663
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


This book is a study of the Russo Japanese War of 1904-1905, as seen through the eyes of the British Naval Attaché, Captain William Pakenham. The complicated set of international relations at the turn of the century is reviewed, as well as the balance of sea power in the Far East, which was a matter of considerable importance to the British government. The role of the naval attaché was thus of considerable importance, particularly once war had broken out.

Pakenham quickly became a trusted colleague of Admiral Togo, the Japanese commander-in-chief, and went to sea with the Japanese fleet during the great battles of the naval campaign.

The war had already begun before Pakenham arrived in the Far East, commencing with a lightning strike by the Japanese at the Russian base of Port Arthur. Once there Pakenham sent a stream of comprehensive reports not only describing the naval actions but also dealing with crucial matters relating for instance to the design of warships, developments in gunnery and the use of torpedoes. These were closely studied at the British Admiralty, at a time when the revolutionary design of the new battleship Dreadnought was under consideration.

Pakenham, who came from a well-known naval family, was one of those personalities around whom legends grew, and he was certainly well established as an eccentric. He was greatly admired by his Japanese hosts for the courage he displayed under fire.

About The Author

Quintin Barry is a solicitor and a retired Employment Judge. He has also held a variety of offices in both the public and the private sector, including the NHS and local radio. He is presently Secretary General of an international group of law firms. Following a lifelong interest in military and naval history, he is the author of a number of books on the subject and has made a particular study of the life and career of Helmuth von Moltke the elder. His books include an acclaimed two volume history of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, a history of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the first modern history of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 & a biography of the 17th Earl of Derby. He has also written a naval history of the war in the North Sea during the First World War. Most recently he is the author of a history of the blockade of Brest during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars & Schley, Sampson and the Battle of Santiago.

More from this publisher