The first major clash between a European and Asian state in the modern era signalled the beginning of Japan's rise as a major power on the world stage. What began as differing expansionist interests in Manchuria and Korea developed into a full-blown war in 1904, with an unexpected outcome. Watched by the rest of the world's superpowers, this incredibly violent war was disastrous for the Russians who, despite their superior numbers, were defeated by the Japanese underdogs in a spectacular fashion. Japan won major victories against the Russians including the critical naval battle of Tsushima in May 1905 which saw almost the entire Russian fleet sunk, captured or interned. This was the first and last encounter of pre-dreadnought battleships and it was a huge success for Japanese tactics, skill and planning. This book discusses the design and development of the pre-dreadnoughts that would ultimately lead to a new wave of battleships. The key technical elements of firepower, protection, maneuverability and communications for each side are covered in detail and accompanied by first-hand accounts and specially commissioned artwork to explain and illustrate this historically significant duel.