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Very interesting, URR. Sadly, 2/3 of the British battlecruisers were gone by the end of 1941. In the case of Hood, it was probably due more to poor protection from Bismarck's plunging fire. On the other hand, Repulse's demise (along with PoW's) was the beginning of the end of battleships in general. The loss of the 3 battlecruisers (almost 4) at Jutland seems (from what I have read) to have been due more to sloppy cordite handling, as opposed to a lack of armor protection (as in Hood's case). That sloppy handling of cordite was a byproduct of the "Shoot!! Shoot!! Shoot!! philosophy that was endemic throughout the British fleet in WW1. And, as you know, Royal Oak and Barham were not going to be around for long either. By the end of WW2 it seems that the battleships were serving more as antiaircraft artillery vehicles, protecting carriers, than as a means for sinking enemy surface combatants. The VT fuze helped a lot on those 5in/38s. One is moved to wonder about the future of aircraft carriers if enemies devise effective terminal guidance for antiship Ballistic Missiles.


The problem with cordite handling was, perhaps, mostly a matter of a problem not built into British ships. The red flag went up at Dogger Bank that pointed to the need for flash doors. It took the loss of several more ships to get the Brits to realize they needed them. The Germans had them and did not have a flash into a magazine sink a ship as a result.


It is ...instructive... to find out that Winston Churchill was instrumental in the development of the modern dreadnaught before WW1, but was equally active in cutting funding for the Royal Navy in the first half of the 1920s. If memory serves he was originator of the "10 year rule."

Captain Ned

The Jutland BC losses can be laid straight at the feet of Jackie Fisher Theory. When you expect a BC to trade blows with a BB and not use Fisher's speed advantage to break away, bad things happen. Yes, also, his monomania for ROF went directly against prudent ordnance handling procedures.

After Jutland (laid down pre-Jutland, but modified) the RN knew Hood was vulnerable to deck strikes, hence the desire to close the range with Bismarck in that fatal encounter.

PoW and Repulse going down on 10 DEC 1941, combined with the devastation of Pearl Harbor, should have made it painfully clear that BB/BC formations could only survive under absolute air superiority. I love me the fantasy of 4 IOWAs roaming the oceans today, but my Mustang/Spit loving WWII geek must finally admit that anything that floats and doesn't have 1,000 or so SAMs to fire off will soon be an artificial reef.

William Wates

Royal Navy ships fly the White Ensign at sea, never the Union Jack. The only exception is when an Admiral of the Fleet is on board, which is almost never. I believe that only Prince Philip has that distinction


@William Wates: Really? It's a metaphor. Really?


Jackie Fisher's memoir, Memories, is now out there in cyber space to download. You can read all about the ways and means the BC and modern dreadnaught came into being from the man that created them.


That'll learn me to correct a spelling error. The damned thing ended up at the top of the list temporarily...

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