Z-Flag

   The flag hoisted by Admiral Heihachiro Togo on the flagship Mikasa immediately before engaging the Russian Baltic Fleet at Tsushima Straits on May 27, 1905. The flag was the code of the day, meaning “The fate of the Empire depends on this battle. Let every man do his utmost.” It was modeled on Admiral Horatio Nelson ’s famous exhortation to his fleet before the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar: “England expects that every man will do his duty.” The decimation of the Russian Baltic Fleet ensured that the Battle of Tsushima Straits lived on in memory as Imperial Japan’s greatest naval victory. Likewise, the Z-flag continued to have special significance. On December 6, 1941, Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi read Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku’s battle order—a verbatim rendition of Togo’s Z-flag code—and hoisted the very flag from the Battle of Tsushima Straits on the departure of the air fleet for Pearl Harbor.
   FURTHER READING:
    Watts, Anthony J., and Brian G. Gordon. The Imperial Japanese Navy. London: Macdonald, 1971.
   FREDERICK R. DICKINSON

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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