The Battle of Tsushima, as naval experts had hoped, proved to be an instructive lesson in modern naval combat. It showed in a practical situation how these new technologies and crews would perform, and it showed also that the effect of this new technology was exponentially more devastating than was even imaginable in the past.

The greatest disparity between the two opposing fleets was in personnel: the Japanese ships were crewed by capable and competent men, trained by one of the most selective naval academies in the world at the time. They engaged in frequent target practice, and the enlisted men had a trust and respect in their officers that led to amazing efficiency, in the operation of the literal machines, and in the operation of the machine of human communication which is an extreme necessity in the heat of battle.

The Russian crews were drafted, and the officers were sons and friends of party members or other naval officers. Training took place in a comfortable – compared to its Japanese counterpart, at least – academy which left the men ill-prepared for normal sea operations, much less actual combat. The enlisted men and officers generally hated each other, with the officers treating the crewmen like dogs and the crewmen ever spiteful and suspicious of their superiors. As mentioned earlier, the Second Pacific Squadron conducted only one target practice en route, scoring no hits. With this in mind, it's not at all hard to believe that the Japanese maintained, with roughly equivalent technology, a firing rate almost twice as fast as the Russians'.

Command was the next factor that led to Russian defeat: Admiral Rozhestvensky failed to make several key decisions in the midst of the battle, and his chain of command was vague at best – his second-in-command, Rear Admiral Felkerzam, had died during the voyage to the Pacific, and for reasons unknown, Rozhestvensky had kept this fact hidden from the next along the chain, Rear Admiral Nabogatov, who consequently went into battle unaware that he was now second-in-command.

Togo's command ability was a stark contrast: he made a clear plan beforehand, and, with his rigorously defined and enforced hierarchy, executed it to near perfection. His role in the battle was active, his decision-making quick, and his grasp of the situation admirable. This not only provided better responsiveness from the fleet as a whole, it was also a great boost to morale – the men placed full confidence in Togo to a degree which the average Russian sailor would have scarcely been capable of.

But besides providing a helpful what-not-to-do manual for future admirals, the Battle of Tsushima also provided foresight into the next half-century of naval combat. The battle had been anticipated as a "modern-day Trafalgar," which was to some extent true. But Tsushima did not simply repeat that famous battle – it was a defining battle, a showcase of this new breed of naval combat, this clash of the ironclads.

The first, and most unfortunate, result of new naval technology was a horrendous increase in loss of life: the wooden warships of centuries past had been, ironically, far harder to sink, and provided adequate time for crews to escape. Not so in the modern era, when ships can now sink or capsize in minutes or seconds, or even explode. Crewmen in the engine rooms, an area of the ship the likes of which didn't exist on old-style ships, were almost guaranteed death should the ship sink or capsize. And even if one's ship did not sink, the shrapnel and heat of explosive-tipped shells could slaughter men in droves. Overall, a crewman's chance of survival in naval combat dropped sharply with the advent of ironclad warships.

Range, too, was a new advent. At their farthest, the fleets at Tsushima clashed at the seemingly absurd distance of four or five miles. The massive 10- and 12-inch guns, while harder to aim and slower to load and fire, were capable of massive damage and amazing range, allowing battle to take place when the ships were just barely close enough to see each other. This was a concept which would progress throughout the twentieth century, to the point that ships can now fire upon targets hundreds or several thousand miles away.

Specialization was the next necessity brought about by modern naval warfare. In eras past, the crewmen of warships were trained in a rather general manner, and any crewman could take care of just about any job on the ship; personnel loss was not as much of a problem when the captain could simply pull men from one position to fill another. (Naturally, this did not apply as much to officers). Such is not the case in the twentieth century, when ships have gun crew, engine crew, intelligence crew, etc., none of which could feasibly do the job of another. The higher technology necessitated greater specialization with inherent but unavoidable flaws, revealed especially in combat, when a gun can be just as incapacitated by loss of its operators as by direct damage.

Tsushima saw the first large-scale battle between modern navies, and no matter where naval technology progresses, it will forever be one of history's pivotal battles. It heralded an end to the romantic days of naval warfare, ushering in a new era of grim, bloody combat where smoke poured and vessels could be torn apart and burst open like eggshells. It came in 1904, with the turn of the century; its timing was good, for it, from a naval perspective at least, helped define the twentieth century.