Learn more about the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse during WW2.
This article by Robert Farley in the National Interest makes the following points about Force Z in WW2:
- HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse, and HMS Indomitable (aircraft carrier) deployed to the Pacific in response to growing Japanese assertiveness.
- Indomitable was damaged and couldn’t sail with the other vessels.
- Prince of Wales and Repulse were sent out to disrupt the Japanese invasion of Malaya.
- The two ships, therefore, did not have air cover and were quickly sunk by land-based Japanese aircraft.
- Previous successful air attacks on battleships were against stationary targets (Pearl Harbor) or as part of combined ops.
- Up to this point, the British had not lost capital ships to air attack.
- Other Royal Navy experiences, such as the defence of Crete, seemed to demonstrate that modern battleships under power could survive air attacks.
- The Royal Navy and the US Navy seriously underestimated the effectiveness of Japanese air power.
Source Information: National Interest The