HMS Prince of Wales (1939)

From Academic Kids

Missing image
HMS Prince of Wales and USS McDougal

With USS McDougal at the Atlantic Charter conference, 10 August 1941
Career RN Ensign
Laid down: 2 January 1937 at Birkenhead, England
Launched: 2 May 1939
Commissioned: 31 March 1941
Fate: sunk
Struck: 10 December 1941
General Characteristics
Displacement: 43,786 Tons (deep)
Length: 745 ft 1in (overall)
Beam: 112ft 5in (max)
Draught: 29ft (mean standard), 32ft 6in (mean deep)
Propulsion: 8 admiralty three drum small tube boilers with superheaters, powering 4 shafts via 4 Parsons single-reduction geared turbines. 110,000 S HP
Speed: 28.5 knots (max design speed)
Range: 3,100 nm at 27 knots

14,400 nm at 10 knots

Complement: 1,314 to 1,631
Armament: Ten 14 in./45 cal. main guns

sixteen 5.25 in/50 cal. secondary guns Twenty four 4.1 in/40 cal. AA guns

Armour: main belt: 391mm, lower belt: 76mm, deck: up to 178mm, main turrets: 406mm, barbettes: 406mm.
Motto: "Ich Dien" - German: I serve

HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at Birkenhead, England. Its sinking by aerial attack in 1941 signalled the end of the battleship as the predominant class in naval warfare.

Shortly after her commissioning, Prince of Wales joined Hood in stalking and attacking the German battleship Bismarck and the accompanying heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Following the sinking of Hood and the disabling of much of her weaponry, Prince of Wales disengaged under a smokescreen, but not before scoring several hits on Bismarck, one of which is believed to have hit the fuel lines. She played no further role in the sinking of Bismarck.

Later that summer, Prince of Wales carried Winston Churchill across the Atlantic to Argentia, Newfoundland where he secretly met with Franklin D. Roosevelt for several days in a secure anchorage, beginning on August 10, 1941. This meeting resulted in the signing of the Atlantic Charter on August 12, 1941.

In December 1941, Prince of Wales arrived in Singapore, along with the battlecruiser HMS Repulse under Admiral Tom Phillips. They were sent there to serve as a deterrent to Japanese aggression. However, the Japanese were not deterred and commenced their invasions on the same day they attacked Pearl Harbour. Admiral Phillips decided to try and intercept the landing fleets and the two ships set off, along with four destroyers, to search for the Japanese. However, they were not successful and a Japanese submarine spotted them as they returned to Singapore. The Japanese shadowed the fleet and on December 10, 1941 both capital ships were sunk by Japanese bombers and torpedo bombers. Being a modern battleship the Prince of Wales could absorb a number of hits. However, she was damaged by a lucky torpedo hit to the propeller shaft, which rendered her rudder inoperable and caused flooding. Vice-Admiral Philips, Captain Leach and several hundred men were killed when the ship went down shortly afterwards.

They were the first capital ships (battleships/battlecruisers/carriers) to be sunk solely by airpower on the open sea, a harbinger of the diminishing role this class of ships was to play in naval warfare thereafter. Even more noteworthy, the Prince of Wales was a new fast battleship with updated anti-aircraft defenses. These proved insufficient although three Japanese planes were shot down during the attack.

External links

  • List of Crew (

King George V-class battleship
King George V | Prince of Wales | Duke of York | Anson | Howe

List of battleships of the Royal Navy

de:HMS Prince of Wales ja:プリンス・オブ・ウェールズ (戦艦)


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