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Any views on the Greatest Losses of The Royal Navy?
I would have to go for 24/05/41 H.M.S Hood pride of the Empire was sunk by Bismarck.

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I personally think that the greatest loss / waste was the sinking of HMS Repulse & HMS Prince of Wales by Japanese aircraft. Big mistake by Churchill, typically not paying attention, that gun boat diplomacy had been over for 25 years, sending 2 capital ships to Singapore was a disaster waiting to happen. I mean churcills CV as First Lord of The Admirality was not exactly first class <_< .
Although a catastrophy the Hood was sunk in a fair fight with another capital ship, and I believe that if Hood had not blown up the Bismarck would have out gunned her anyway along with The Prince of Wales who suffered damage from Bismarck and had to withdraw. Remember Bismarck was state of the art, HMS Hood was an old ship with many unsatisfactory refits ( Built Clydebank 22nd August 1918)
But that event as some of the Bismarck survivors testify ensured their own destruction. Very brave men from both sides.

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Tug has a very good point regarding Hood. That was a fair battle which the Royal Navy lost, badly. Prince of Wales was actually firing on Prinz Eugen (the heavy cruiser which escorted Bismarck) for the first five minutes of the battle because her profile was so similar to Bismarck. The Germans were in a better ship and were well trained and disciplined.

Prince of Wales was just seven months old when lost, a complete waste of what actually turned out to be a very well designed ship of King George V class. Repulse was another has-been that shouldn't have been anywhere near that theatre of war. Japanese pilots spoke of men at the anti-aircraft guns still firing as they went under the water. Amazing bravery.

Churchill got the phone call telling him of the sinkings in the middle of the night, and said it was the worst moment of the war for him. They wouldn't even let the papers report it because of the dent it would put in morale. The ships should never have been there, the age of the big-gun Capital ship had already passed and Churchill should have learnt the lessons of Norway and Crete regarding putting ships in areas under enemy air control.

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I must admit i have never heard of this ship. Annoyed at my lack of knowledge now, thought i knew quite alot about Bismarck. Will do some digging........

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Could it be H.M.S Achates one of the Destroyers sent to look for survivors from Hood ?

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I may have got my facts wrong as I am relating something from quite a few years back. When I was a teenager I spent several years with the Sea Cadet Corps. Our training establishment which was sponsered by the Royal Navy was named after HMS Acorn. I have always wondered when she was last commisioned and I am sure there was a painting and a story relating to HMS Acorns role with HMS Hood. However I may be well off the mark.
:(

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The only Acorn i've found was the name ship in the Acorn-Class of Destroyers, built between 1910-11. There were 20 ships in this Class, and Acorn was scrapped in 1921.

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RE HMS Acorn I have probably got it wrong but I will do some digging.

As for loss of lives what was the greatest loss at sea for a single ship during WW2 ?

It seems that this fate was the sinking of the German passenger ship Wilhelm Gustloff in Jan 1945 by a Russian Sub. It is estimated 10,000 people lost their lives the exact figue is not known due to the amount of refugees cramed on board. Also the remains of Field Marshal von Hindenburg and his wife, were being transported away from the advancing Russian army.

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The " Wilhelm Gustloff " was a " Strength through Joy " cruise liner. This was a Nazi ran Holiday company. On 21st January 1945 Grand Admiral Donitz gave the orders for " Operation Hannibal " the evacuation by sea for the civilian population of East Prussia in front of the Soviet invasion. The " Wilhelm Gustloff " left the harbour of Gothafen on the 30th January 1945 with around 6,600 passengers and with probaly a considerable more on board, the ship was designed only to accomadate 2000. She was only escorted by one torpedo boat. The next day she was intercepted by one Soviet submarine that fired three torpedoes at her all of them hitting. The ship sank in less than an hour with the majority of passengers falling into the water the tempreture of this being -18 celcius. At least 5,300 souls were lost. the 1,300 remaining survivors were rescued by the heavy cruiser " Admiral Hipper "
The Soviets claimed that all the passengers were ardent Nazi's and that there was 3,700 submariners on board.
The Captain of the Soviet submarine Cpt. A.I Marinesco was recommended for the honour of " Hero of the Soviet Union ". This was refused by the NKVD the forerunners of the KGB as he had an affair with a foreign woman that almost led to his imprisoment.
He was eventually given the honour posthumously in 1990.

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The loss of the Lancastria in June 1940 - she had left St. Nazaire loaded with troops and was sunk as she headed into the bay of Biscay by Luftwaffe aircraft.

She was 16,000 t. the number of troops lost was terrible.

The loss of Hood - Holland almost got it spot on he closed the distance to the german squadron as quickly as possible and was just making his turn to open his after arcs when the fatal shot hit.

Hood was indeed a very elderly lady who having flown the flag all over the world was over due for a refit and was vunerable.

P.O.W. - a new ship which was not properly run up she sailed with workmen on board who were trying to resolve mechanical problems with her main armament.

She lost most of her guns to mechanical failures, had Lindermann been allowed to follow her she would probably have been sunk as well .

( Having said that she did hit Bismarck several times - one of her shots was to prove decisive).

The loss of Force Z "Battleship" by Martin Middlebrook is certainly a book worth reading on this subject.

No air cover unsure of what was going on around them , everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

Two ships which could not defend themselves , put out on a limb. A carrier was to have gone with them , she ran aground and the two battle wagons went on alone , might it have made any difference ?

My guess is that three ships would have been lost.

Two capital ship loss which has been over looked, both to submarines.

HMS Barham Nov. 1941 - that terrible detonation as she slowly settled , over 800 men lost in an instant.

(U-331).

HMS Courageous , aircraft carrier lost to U-29.

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HMS Royal Oak. 833 men went down with her and rest there still. RIP.

I believe that the Hood was the greatest loss of life that the RN suffered in WW2 in any one vessel.

Edited by jonny956

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HMS Royal Oak. 833 men went down with her and rest there still. RIP.

I believe that the Hood was the greatest loss of life that the RN suffered in WW2 in any one vessel.

RN men alone , it can only be Hood.

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HMS Royal Oak. 833 men went down with her and rest there still. RIP.

I've vistited Scapa Flow to see her, or should i say the buoy marking where she lays. Indeed, very sad. They reckon you can see her shape quite clearly from the air at low tide.....

Amos.

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Guest Monty

One incident which has not been mentioned...Is the loss of the aircraft carrier GLORIOUS , and her 2 attendant destroyers , off Narvik , June 1940. From memory I think the 2 destroyers , were ACASTA and ARDENT . Hocking reckons the loss for all ships was around 1500 men. I would imagine the destroyers would have had crews around the 150 mark, each. Approx 1200 in GLORIOUS

Tragically..the CO of GLORIOUS , was the remarkable D'Oyly Hughes..who had been 2nd in command of E11 , the famous Dardanelles sub of WW1 ..Which earned Dunbar-Nasmith his VC.

Cheers.

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Well, here's a segue from worst loss to silliest loss: steamer "Ispahan" torpedoed alongside a siding of the Haidar Pasha railway station in Constantinople. That's the pile in back, which burned spectacularly to the ground on 13 September 1917.

[attachmentid=22910]

Then-Marine-Zahlmeister August B?ning, stationed there with Turkish Fleet Command, noted only "von engl. Uboot vernichteter Dampfer" without adding the date.

Was this one of E11's score? There can't have been many ships sunk while parked in railway stations. :rolleyes:

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One incident which has not been mentioned...Is the loss of the aircraft carrier GLORIOUS , and her 2 attendant destroyers , off Narvik , June 1940. From memory I think the 2 destroyers , were ACASTA and ARDENT . Hocking reckons the loss for all ships was around 1500 men. I would imagine the destroyers would have had crews around the 150 mark, each. Approx 1200 in GLORIOUS

Tragically..the CO of GLORIOUS , was the remarkable D'Oyly Hughes..who had been 2nd in command of E11 , the famous Dardanelles sub of WW1 ..Which earned Dunbar-Nasmith his VC.

Cheers.

Glorious also had onboard the pilots of 46 Sdqn (hurricanes) and (most) of 263 Sqdn (Gladiators).

I had the great honour of actually meeting one of the few survivors of 46 sqdn a number of years ago. The Sqdn CO Ken Cross although he was by that time getting quite frail.

On another 'Norwegian' note. The first capital ship to be sunk by aircraft during WWII was the cruiser K?nigsberg, sunk at anchor at Bergen by Blackburn Skuas of the Fleet Air Arm.

Link

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Tug has a very good point regarding Hood. That was a fair battle which the Royal Navy lost, badly. Prince of Wales was actually firing on Prinz Eugen (the heavy cruiser which escorted Bismarck) for the first five minutes of the battle because her profile was so similar to Bismarck. The Germans were in a better ship and were well trained and disciplined.

Prince of Wales was just seven months old when lost, a complete waste of what actually turned out to be a very well designed ship of King George V class. Repulse was another has-been that shouldn't have been anywhere near that theatre of war. Japanese pilots spoke of men at the anti-aircraft guns still firing as they went under the water. Amazing bravery.

Churchill got the phone call telling him of the sinkings in the middle of the night, and said it was the worst moment of the war for him. They wouldn't even let the papers report it because of the dent it would put in morale. The ships should never have been there, the age of the big-gun Capital ship had already passed and Churchill should have learnt the lessons of Norway and Crete regarding putting ships in areas under enemy air control.

Churchill said of POW that it was great to have something which could "catch and kill anything" ( Quote may not be exact.

Good book on the subject is "Battleship" by Martin Middlebrook.

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Hallo to all the Gang :beer:

With regard this thread, is it just going to be limited to the single greatest loss of life, by a sinking??

Would it not be more consistant and interesting to divide the losses by years / century etc,

as with the various types and sizes of craft, from Sail, Steam, Oil, in the Royal Navy etc ??

Battle, Aerial Bombardment, Torpedo, or Natural causes or just plain bad seamanship

Shiver me timbers, Just a thought,

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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Tug has a very good point regarding Hood. That was a fair battle which the Royal Navy lost, badly. Prince of Wales was actually firing on Prinz Eugen (the heavy cruiser which escorted Bismarck) for the first five minutes of the battle because her profile was so similar to Bismarck. The Germans were in a better ship and were well trained and disciplined.

Prince of Wales was just seven months old when lost, a complete waste of what actually turned out to be a very well designed ship of King George V class. Repulse was another has-been that shouldn't have been anywhere near that theatre of war. Japanese pilots spoke of men at the anti-aircraft guns still firing as they went under the water. Amazing bravery.

Churchill got the phone call telling him of the sinkings in the middle of the night, and said it was the worst moment of the war for him. They wouldn't even let the papers report it because of the dent it would put in morale. The ships should never have been there, the age of the big-gun Capital ship had already passed and Churchill should have learnt the lessons of Norway and Crete regarding putting ships in areas under enemy air control.

Missed this on an earlier read.

It was Prince of Wales who correctly identified Bis,arck for what she was.

Prinz Eugen was in the lead and Holland in Hood mistakenly took her for Bismarck.

Apparrently there existed a standing order withinth the kreigsmarine which forbade a cruiser entering action against a larger enemy vessel- this quickly went out the window when Hood openned fire.

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Apparrently there existed a standing order within the kreigsmarine which forbade a cruiser entering action against a larger enemy vessel- this quickly went out the window when Hood openned fire.

Interesting James. I take it this was just as a way of not risking valuable ships against more powerful opponents, rather than some sort of 'Gentlemans' agreement?....

Amos

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