Battle at Chemulpo Bay
110 years of the heroic feat
From Japan: 1 Armoured cruiser , 5 protected cruisers , 1 aviso , 8 torpedo boats
From Russia: 1 Protected cruiser, 1 gunboat
Uryu ordered the cruisers Chiyoda, Takachiho , Asama and his torpedo boats to proceed up the channel with the troopships to commence the debarkation at once, while the cruisers Naniwa , Niitaka and Akashi were held in reserve. Three torpedo-boats took refuge near Niitaka far board.
A conference was quickly convened on Talbot by Captain Vsevolod Rudnev and the captains of neutral warships (except Vicksburg), and it was decided that the Russians would fight their way out. At noon, Captain Denis Bagly of Talbot came to Naniwa with a letter signed by all of the neutral captains except for the captain of Vicksburg, W.A. Marshall, declining the request to change anchorage, on the grounds that Chemulpo was a neutral port. Outgunned and outnumbered, and refusing advice from the neutral captains to surrender, at 11:00 on 9 February, Captain Vsevolod Rudnev of Varyag attempted to make a break for the open sea.
Although the Russian logbook records damage to Asama, Japanese records indicate that she took no damage.
Unable to break past the Japanese squadron by mid-afternoon, Korietz and the badly battered Varyag returned to Chemulpo harbor at 13:15, where both took refuge near the neutral warships. At 16:00, Korietz was scuttled by her crew by blowing up two powder-rooms. Fragments of the blown-up ship landed dangerously close to neutral vessels. Fearing a greater explosion with potential casualties, the captains of the neutral warships present urged Rudnev not to blow up Varyag in a similar manner. At 18:10, scuttled by her crew, Varyag rolled over on her port side and sank. Crewmen from Varyag were dispatched to the Russian transport Sungari, which had remained behind in the harbor during the battle, and set her on fire to prevent her from falling into Japanese hands.
Russian casualties on the Varyag were heavy. All of Varyag 's twelve 6 in (150 mm) guns, all of her 12-pounders, and all of her 3-pounders were out of action, it took 5 serious hits at or below the waterline. Of it crew with a nominal strength of 580, 33 were killed and 97 wounded. The Russian crews—except for the badly wounded—returned to Russia on neutral warships and were treated as heroes.
Japan cruiser Akashi
Japan cruiser Chioda
Japan cruiser Asama
Japan cruiser Niitaka
Japan cruiser Takachiho