There were distinct differences though. Force Z was just two ships + 3 destroyers to put up an AA defence - and PoW and Repulse were quickly separated. Repulse's AA was hardly state of the art either.
The first torpedo to strike PoW was about as unlucky a spot to be hit as can be imagined. Much of the guns were put out of action from the resulting loss of power.
For Halberd there would have been more of a "wall of AA" put up by the much larger escort.
The bombers would also have been met by fighters and in some cases had their approaches disrupted.
In any case, with Force Z both ships were sunk literally hours into the attack. If my recollection serves Repulse was killed by literally the last torpedo dropped that day………If there was fault in the HACS radar on PoW, I think it is fair to say that the outcome of the air attack on Force Z may have been less than fatal……however, it may be that a working HACS radar would have had the same result as having a single small British carrier present….
I do not think this is correct. I will use The Sinking of the Prince of Wales & Repulse (Middlebrook/Mahoney) as the source document here and appears in italics.
Firstly, and all things being equal, the timing of the sinking should be relevant. However it is not so here. As said in Post 58, Prince of Wales had the more modern AA weapons package, but the majority of her guns were put out of action with the first torpedo strike and the colossal damage caused by striking just about her most vulnerable point. Yes, as the more modern vessel, she remained afloat longer than the unmodernised Repulse, but for much of the time she was either impotent or a hulk waiting to sink. Repulse was in action and in fighting trim for longer, but her effect on the battle was less because as you say, she had no HACS and…. “but some of Repulse’s guns could not elevate to high level and others could not depress sufficiently to engage low flying aircraft. All these old guns had either old fashioned control systems or none at all, and many were not even power operated and had to be trained by hand”.
The problems were exacerbated by the following:
- For the first attack against Repulse, when the ships were still close, Admiral Philips got his tactics wrong, ordering the ships to operate in formation: ….What was happening was that both ships were swinging right in answer to the BT3 signal and the Control Officers’ corrections to the left were thus being counteracted. Even so, five aircraft were damaged, and two taken out of the battle.
- Phillips realised his error and changed his orders to allow freedom of manoeuvre, but then in the very next attack the Japanese struck the shaft and Prince of Wales was barely able to fight due to the loss of power….Although Prince of Wales had been grievously hurt, the position should have been by no means hopeless. Repair work could contain any further flooding; pumping and counter-flooding could correct the list. Two of the four boilers with their engines and shafts were still capable of driving the ship along. None of the guns had actually been damaged and the ship should still have been able to defend herself. All of this might have been achieved had Prince of Wales not suffered a further severe, and again, completely unexpected setback, right on the heels of the first. The electrical system of a KGV-class battleship had never been exposed to the stress of severe battle damage until this moment. As with the hull construction, the electrical arrangements were more sophisticated than in any previous ship. Unfortunately they simply failed to stand up to the strain imposed by the intense shock and vibration caused by the torpedo explosion and the subsequent inflow of a vast quantity of water……four of the eight dynamos failed immediately when…..flooded and a fifth dynamo went soon afterwards….PoW’s damage control organisation never managed to overcome the electrical failure.
- Anti-aircraft armament – the four 5.25-inch turrets in the after half of the ship…..were all without power and were too big and heavy to be trained manually. Two of the four forward turrets suffered temporary failures, but even while these were soon rectified, the list of the ship was so steep that none of the four forward turrets could swing its gun from side to side….some of the pom-poms suffered temporary power failures, but these mostly remained in action, though continually plagued with stoppages as a result of their faulty ammunition belts.
- A further difficulty was that many of the pom-poms were having problems with their ammunition; their small shells were becoming separated from their cartridges…..and were jamming the barrels. This malaise affected both ships.
- The authors also state that the British, used to the low speed of the lumbering Swordfish, were caught out by the speed and height of the Japanese aircraft. It is not clear to what extent that is being offered up as an excuse, but as shown above, Prince of Wales was not properly in the action for long enough to find out and Repulse’s antiquated equipment meant that this would have been only a contributory cause.
< Message edited by warspite1 -- 5/26/2017 5:11:12 PM >
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