The Royal Navy at Okinawa

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by jacobtowne, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    The vast American armada that assembled off this island on April 1st, and the bloody weeks-long land battle that followed, tend to overshadow British participation.
    Here's a bit of information about Task Force 57 taken from Ronald Spector's Eagle Against the Sun. Not much, but perhaps other members have more specific battle information or photos.



    Task Force 57, a British Royal Navy Fleet under Vice Admiral Sir Bernard Fletcher Rawlings, included four fast carriers, two modern battleships, five cruisers, fifteen destroyers, and its own supply and service squadron. Task Force 57 had the mission of neutralizing the airfields in the southern Ryukyus and portions of Formosa. That mission brought the British their share of attention from kamikazes -- but the British carriers, whose design sacrificed plane-carrying capacity for armored hangars and flight decks, proved far better able to stand up to suicide crashes than the thin-skinned American carriers.


    JT
     
  2. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Makes you think doesn't it? How a force this size is gathered but one hardly hears anything of it except say on forums like this. It makes you think what other events of relevance and interest have gone off that would be interesting, but which media decided to give scant coverage if at all to.
     
  3. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Well, since most, and I do not say so disparagingly, WW2 related forums are primarily Eurocentric, you do won't see much, either.
    Of course those of us who are just only vaguely aware that there was a war in Europe are well acquainted with the contributions of Royal Navy in the Pacific, especially in the final drive for victory from the Okinawa campaign through the end of the War, and especially the sometimes petty road blocks to their participation.
    I recommend John Winton's The Forgotten Fleet: the British Navy in the Pacific, 1944-1945 for an indepth look. Spector is okay, but like most broad brush works, he sometimes makes some surprising errors.

    Rich
     
  4. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    This is a query.

    Some 1,200 ships carrying 180,000 marines and soldiers converged on Okinawa on April 1st, 1945, supported by more than 40 aircraft carriers, 18 battleships, and 200 destroyers.

    Task Force 57, a British Navy fleet under Vice Adm. Sir Bernard Rawlings included four carriers, two battleships, five cruisers, and 15 destroyers. TF 57 was to neutralize airfields in the southern Ryukyus and portions of Formosa.

    Here's an observation from Spector (The American War with Japan):
    "That mission brought the British their share of attention from kamikazes -- but the British carriers, whose design sacrificed plane-carrying capacity for armored hangars and flight decks, proved far better able to stand up to suicide crashes than the thin-skinned American carriers."

    Were there many such attacks on the British fleet? Any photos?

    JT
     
  5. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    You may find this interesting:
     

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  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Interesting article Kyt.
     
  7. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Interesting article Kyt.

    Cheers - when I get time I'll look up the facts and figures on attacks etc.
     
  8. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Good quote from the American liaison officer.

    The U.S. liaison officer on the Indefatigable
    was impressed at the resilience of the
    ship. “When a kamikaze hits a U.S. carrier it
    means 6 months of repair at Pearl. When a
    kamikaze hits a Limey carrier it’s just a case
    of ‘Sweepers, man your brooms.’”
     
  9. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    Very informative article, Kyt. Thanks.

    British and Commonwealth contributions in the Pacific tend to get submerged beneath the weight of American operations.

    JT
     
  10. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Very informative article, Kyt. Thanks.

    British and Commonwealth contributions in the Pacific tend to get submerged beneath the weight of American operations.

    JT

    Blame MacArthur - by his reckoning no one but him won that little war. He didn't even give the US Navy much credit!!
     
  11. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Blame MacArthur - by his reckoning no one but him won that little war. He didn't even give the US Navy much credit!!

    It wasn't so much that Macarthur told lies, he just didn't tell the whole truth as to who did what to whom and who was responsible for doing what!
    :mad111::mad111::mad111::mad111:
     
  12. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    It wasn't so much that Macarthur told lies, he just didn't tell the whole truth as to who did what to whom and who was responsible for doing what!
    :mad111::mad111::mad111::mad111:

    Sorry, I wasn't implying that he lied - you're right, he was economical with his praise. ;)
     
  13. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    I almost forgot - for the planning of Operation Downfall, and what the British Empire could both offer, AND what old Maccie was willing to accept, find a copy of "Codename Downfall: Secret Plan to Invade Japan" by Thomas B. Allen & Norman Polmar. It not only examines how Okinawa affected planning for the invasion of the main Japanese islands, but also things like the discrepancies between different casualty estimates (guess who's was the lowest?), non-US involvement etc. I'll try to dig my copy out and post some figures.
     
  14. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Sorry, I wasn't implying that he lied - you're right, he was economical with his praise. ;)

    I didn't think for a moment you were suggesting that.

    He was very "economical" indeed!
     
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    An old thread but I'm sure we can find some time to add to it.
     
  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Any dents in the flight deck were apparently filled with some sort of quick setting concrete. The one thing that would have put them out of action was a direct hit on the lift.
     
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  17. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Active Member

    The best reads on the BPF are John Winton’s “The Forgotten Fleet” and David Hobbs’ “The British Pacific Fleet. The Royal Navy’s Most Powerful Strike Force”.

    The carriers were the sharp end. Had the war continued an extra few weeks a second carrier group made up of Indomitable and the light carriers would have seen action with many many more ships scheduled to join. But let’s not forget the huge logistic effort needed to deliver that. Bases in Australia, the Admiralty islands and use of US facilities at Leyte, Eniwetok and Ulithi. Also the subs based at Fremantle and later Subic Bay.

    It was a truly Commonwealth effort with ships manned by the RN as well as the RAN, RCN and RNZN. Thanks also need to go to the USN who were, despite orders from Admiral King, always willing to help out when our resources fell short. Australia and New Zealand played a huge part in making it happen.

    And 3 VCs. Lt “Hammy” Gray a pilot on Formidable and Lt Ian Fraser and Leading Seaman James Magennis from midget sub XE3.

    There are a couple of sites that may be of interest.
    BPF & EIF Fleets Home Page
    The MONAB Story

    Also let’s not forget the even more forgotten fleet - the East Indies Fleet in the Indian Ocean. Coming up we have 2 important anniversaries. The sinking of the Haguro by 26th DF on 16th May and the sinking of the Ashigara by HMS/M Trenchant on 8th June.

    British efforts in the Pacific were ramping up in Aug 1945. The first RAF airfield construction units were en route in the Pacific when the war ended, being intended to support Tiger Force heavy bombers to be based there from late Sept. Also initial planning for a Commonwealth army corps to join Op Coronet as a reserve in March 1946.
     
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  18. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    The British memorial stone at the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park located on the site of the final battle for the island.

    ie Okinawa - UK war dead.jpg
     
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  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I'm sure there was a thread or at least a couple of posts about some USN squadrons that operated off of one or more RN carriers in the PTO but I can't find it now.
     
  20. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Quite so. From:6 Severely wounded WWII Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific that stayed afloat and were repaired

    HMS Formidable
    The dent was filled by wood and concrete and covered by thin steel plates tack-welded to the deck so that she was able to operate aircraft by 17:00 and steam at a speed of 24 knots.

    Tim
     
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