The Sinking of the Prince of Wales


Churchill despatched HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse to the South China Sea as he heard of Japanese fleet movements in the area which he believed were aimed at the invasion of Malaya. The ships were duly spotted by Japanese aircraft and sunk by aerial attack. The reliance on capital ships showed that Churchill and the naval command had not yet grasped how naval tactics were evolving away from the old battleship gun platforms to the more versatile and deadly aerial attacks launched from aircraft carriers. The sinking of these two ships rocked morale in Malaya and Singapore which had put their faith in the Royal Navy to help fend off any invasion. It was a deadly start to a deadly campaign.


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