BLUF

Learn more about the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse during WW2.

Summary

This article by Robert Farley in the National Interest makes the following points about Force Z in WW2:
  • HMS Prince of WalesHMS 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.

References

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Source Information: National Interest The