Talk:British Pacific Fleet

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operating close to its bases[edit]

This was, however, unfamiliar to the Royal Navy, which had been used to operating close to its bases in Britain, the Mediterranean or the Indian Ocean; purpose-built infrastructure and expertise were lacking.

A little simplistic, the Indian and Pacific Oceans neighbour each other, without the problems of the capes. Also where was the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse (1916) sunk in 1941? --Philip Baird Shearer 19:12, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Sunk in the South China Sea (not the Pacific), within operating range of a main base at Singapore. The BPF's main base was Sydney, with a forward base at Manus and a stipulation from Admiral King that it should be independent of US facilities (although some help was supplied). For these reasons, the RN had to create a fleet train and rehearse provisioning procedures (during raids on Java). Even then, the BPF stayed at sea for much less time than was normal for the USN. Everywhere else, the RN had supply bases and relatively little at-sea provisioning was needed. At that time it was a step change in capability, in a region where it had no facilities. Folks at 137 20:20, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
IWM photo of HMS Illustrious refuelling at sea HMS Derwent in the Mozambique Channel in 1942, here: [1]
And another showing Illustrious and Whirlwind refuelling from the FA HMS Empire Savage here: [2]— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

Pacific Squadron vs BPF[edit]

And by this title I don't mean the US Pacific Squadron, but hte pre-WWII British fleet in the Pacific, more properly the one home-based at Esquimalt, British Columbia and its RN shipyard; see Esquimalt Royal Navy Dockyard and Talk:Esquimalt Royal Navy Dockyard and Talk:Pacific Squadron. Just looking for corroboration on tne RN "Pacific Squadron" usage and waht the official name of that fleet/contingent was, and it needs its own article; most of its member-vessels are already listed on List of Royal Navy ships in the Pacific Northwest, and note the unofficial cutoff date for that page is, more or less, 1905 (when the RN base and shipyard became CFB EsquimaltSkookum1 06:56, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed Citation for Earnest J. King's 'Anglophobia'[edit]

Evidence for Admiral Earnest King's Anglophobia (or, rather, dislike bordering on loathing for his British allies) can be found in Arthur Bryant's wonderful book Triumph in the West, (Collins, London, 1959), which presents edited (that is, less sensitive) extracts from Lord Alanbrooke's wartime diaries augmented with the author's extensive, fascinating and important - if at times a little bit too reverent - commentary. I can't recall from memory the relevant pages of the text, but a cursory glance at said will provide the required detail to demonstrate the validity of this proposed reference.

The uncensored wartime diaries of Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff were not published until 2001 for legal reasons. See (Alex Danchev and Daniel Todman eds.) War Diaries 1939-1945, Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, Phoenix Press, 2001

It's worth drawing people's attention to the article on King on wiki itself for further evidence of his noteworthy prejudices. It can be found here, if typing his name into the search bar proves too much of a burden:

JL 4/7/07

King's antipathy towards the British appears so widely that it's almost a given. I'd be interested in what caused it. Folks at 137 05:47, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
IIRC, (so this may be incorrect) King was attached to the Royal Navy at some time in his early naval career, and he may have taken umbrage at the supercilious attitude of some UK naval personnel. But that's just my memory of reading it somewhere, and I may be mistaken. Joseph Stilwell was another one who didn't like the British much so King wasn't alone in his antipathy.
Funny thing is though that they were the exceptions, generally military personnel from the two countries got on famously together. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Churchill and the BFP[edit]

The original article may be incorrect where Churchill is concerned.

By Autumn 1944 the Germans were clearly on the run and the Italians had clearly been defeated. The general British population feeling was that the war would be over by Christmas 1944.

Against this background, Churchillwith had dreams of regaining the over run parts of the British empire by hanging onto the American shirt tails. With the population ready to celebrate the end of the war Churchill suddenly offers what he thought was a whole fleet to be used in the Far East.

With the imminent end of the war and the Japanese never having directly threatened the UK so there was considerable opposition to military forces being sent to the Far East. Although some ships did sail fairly early there was a whole series of mutinies and resulting courts marshal before several ships even reached the Far East.

What mutinies? (talk) 22:49, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

What may have been welcome aid in 1943, by 1944 the Americans were well on their way to defeating the Japanese unaided. Admiral Kings antipathy towards the British is understandable.

The Soviets were in Japan proper while the USA were over 300 miles away in Okinawa. The USA never engaged the Japanese army in volume on the ground, they island hopped. The USA were not in a position to quickly defeat the Japanese by themselves. BPF: 5 carriers, 4 hit by kamikazes, 5 still operational. USA: 15 carriers, 5 hit, 5 out of action. The USA needed the UKs superior carriers. Also the invasion of Japan definitely included British forces. The poor performance of the Sherman tank in Okinawa, prompted the use of the new Centurion tank. (talk) 23:08, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

Either way, Churchills action of continuing the war beyond the date that the publis had accepted cost him the next General Election. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

A few errors of fact in the above.
1) Churchill opposed the creation of the BPF, prefering to use resources in Burma and Malaya. It took a threat of mass resignation by the General Staff for the BPF to be created.
2) By Autumn 1944, Italy had not just been defeated, it had switched sides, and German troops had proved not to be "on the run" but had regrouped and offered determined resistance throughout north west Europe and Italy. It was only when the Rhine had been crossed that the western front collapsed. Have look at Battle of the Scheldt, Battle of the Reichswald, Battle of the Hurtgen Forest - sure, all were allied victories but only by way of significant losse, certainly no pushovers.
Hurtgen Forest was a US defeat. (talk) 22:59, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
3) Please give references for the mutinies - I've not heard of these, except in the Indian Navy which were to do with stirrings of independence. In any case, those ships that were deployed were a significant part of the Commonwealth navies not just a "few ships".
4) You imply that British involvement was unnecessary and unwelcome. The Australians apparently welcomed the BPF as a return of the British after some shabby treatment by American commanders. US military planners also appreciated the damage to allied unity if the British (more correctly: the Commonwealth) were excluded. Okinawa would surely have been captured without the BPF, but suppression of Japanese air reinforcements was undoubtedly useful given the impact of kamikazes on US carriers. Even then, Japan was not finished and US planners anticipated a casualty bill of over a million if an invasion were needed of the home islands, so it would have been unacceptable for a major ally to have been absent from the final killing ground.
5) No, UK territory was not directly threatened. But don't under-rate the links between Britain, its colonies and Australia, New Zealand and Canada. For many, an attack on Australia (which did happen) or NZ and Canada (which were threatened) involved family members. However much US politicos and military decried colonial links (at a time when the Philippines had a similar status and US blacks were segregated), they were real and had legal force. It was natural, therefore, that British would seek to re-establish contacts that still exist, despite time passed and independence gained.
6) Churchill's political defeat in 1945 was to do with the social changes and awareness brought on by the war and memories of him as a reactionary politician in the 1920s. War with Japan may have influenced some, but please supply references on this.
7) King's attitude towards the British predated the offer of the BPF, but his objections did have real reasons, which is more than can be said for some of his decisions in the Atlantic campaign.
King had no real reasons. King Just despised the British FULL STOP! He should have been dismissed from his job in 1942. (talk) 22:59, 28 March 2017 (UTC)
In short, please back up the assertions with references - if true, we need to include them. If not, well I don't need to spell it out.
Folks at 137 (talk) 22:30, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Just chipping in here. I agree with the bulk of what you say.
  • 3) I do know of one other case. Responding to a declaration by the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King that only volunteers would serve in the war against Japan, a Canadian destroyer turned about and put in at Vancouver while the issue was clarified.
  • 4) Requires qualification. The Australian government did not oppose the BPF but did not see why it should bear the cost of maintaining when its contribution to the defeat of Japan was clearly marginal. The demands of the BPF were very great and Australia was unwilling (and in some cases unable) to provide all that was requested. To Australian eyes this was vastly in excess of the actual needs and real value of the BPF. Admiral Fraser arrived under the mistaken impression that Australia had asked for the BPF, and soon had to be put in his place. I'll correct this part of the article.

Hawkeye7 (talk) 03:13, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Chip away! I didn't know about the financial side, but one source is clear that the BPF was made welcome at Sydney both at an individual level and as a counterweight to the US. Other sources refer to labour problems at dockyards. Did a few searches and there is a book out that covers a mutiny in "Force X", described as a "landing force" and with pictures that seem to show transports, not warships (here) and having read a bit of Mutiny: A History of Naval Insurrection by Leonard F. Guttridge, it's obvious that "Force X" pre-dated the BPF and the "mutiny" amounted to short-lived insubordination on a troopship passing through the Panama Canal. An incident that needs to be covered, but not a part of the BPF. Folks at 137 (talk) 10:59, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
A 1945 British Pathe news item about HMS King George V's arrival at Guam, with a welcome speech (below) by Admiral Nimitz here: [3]

"Before the Pacific Fleet was brought into action you may remember that there were newspaper stories, below-deck speculation, argument, that the Americans did not want the British fleet to come into the Pacific, that we wanted to carry this war on as a 'Private war'. As a person of some responsibility in the Pacific, I assure you that those statements were without foundation. From the very beginning we welcomed your coming, and we welcomed your help and we continue to welcome your help." - Chester W. Nimitz

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:03, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

"The most powerful conventional fleet"?[edit]

Is there a reference for: "The British Pacific Fleet was, and remains, the most powerful conventional fleet assembled by the Royal Navy. By VJ Day it had four battleships, eighteen aircraft carriers, eleven cruisers and many smaller warships and support vessels"?
I'm trying to think of better wording here, as the above is misleading:

  • There were 4 battleships and only 6 full-sized fleet carriers; plus 4 light-carriers, 2 maintenance carriers, and 9 escort carriers.
  • Compare this to the Grand Fleet at Jutland, which had 37 battleships and battlecruisers and 34 cruisers. Obviously the Grand Fleet had no aircraft carriers, and you might debate who would win in a mythical head-to-head battle between the Grand Fleet and the BPF, but I think the paragraph should be reworded.
  • Also the count of aircraft carriers is listed as 17, 18, and 19 at various points in the article (perhaps a result of the complexity of counting lots of different kinds of aircraft carrier as one type). Dave w74 (talk) 00:59, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Iwo Jima[edit]

What ref is there for the BPF being at Iwo Jima? (talk) 23:05, 28 March 2017 (UTC)

Confused entries in table?[edit]

'Shortly before VJ-Day the squadron was involved in attacks against the Japanese mainland near Tokyo, two aircraft being lost but the aircrew rescued by a US submarine'

This piece of text is opposite both 1842 & 1846 squadrons in the table. It seems unlikely that this happened to two squadrons in what must have been a very short time. Is this just accidental duplication? Dean1954 (talk) 14:20, 18 November 2018 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dean1954 (talkcontribs) 14:16, 18 November 2018 (UTC)