The British Pacific Fleet – World War 2

2013-10-18 08.31.45The most powerful of the British fleets in World War 2 was the one that eventually ended up, facing the Japanese as part of the US Fifth Fleet then the US Third Fleet. The vessels in the British Pacific fleet were from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand principally.

The British Pacific Fleet is one that I have had an interest in since my time in Mongolia and in 2005 I bought a book about Task Force 57/37. In 2009 I purchased enough 1/3000th scale Navwar vessels to reproduce that Task Force and to provide an alternate opponent for the Japanese from the Battle of then Philippines Seas set.

The United States Navy had control of Allied operations in the Pacific Ocean areas during World War 2 and so gave the British Pacific Fleet the designation of Task Force 57 when it joined Admiral Raymond Spruance’s United States Fifth Fleet on 15 March 1945. On 27 May 1945, it became Task Force 37 when it became part of Admiral William Halsey’s United States Third Fleet.

The fleet itself consisted of 2 battleships, 10 aircraft carriers, 9 escort carriers, 11 cruisers (heavy and light) as well as 41 destroyers, 14 frigates, 18 sloops, 19 corvettes as well as submarines, auxiliaries, fleet oilers and so on.

It was a reasonable fleet and the carriers embarked 34 fleet air arm squadrons.

I saw the David Hobbs book and thought it was a useful addition to my naval library. Hobbs covers the history of the fleet with the eye of someone who served in the Fleet Air Arm for 30 years. The book itself has 16 chapters that cover (1) Background, Theory and Experience, (2) Forward Planning, (3) Evolution and Expansion, (4) Strikes against the Sumatran Oil Refineries, (5) Australia and Logistic Support, (6) Operation `Iceberg I”, (7) Replenishment in Leyte Gulf, (8) Operation `Iceberg II’, (9) Operation `Inmate’, (10) Repairs in Australia and Improved Logistic Support, (11) Submarine and Mine Warfare, (12) Strikes against the Japanese Mainland, (13) Victory, (14) Repatriation, Trooping and War-Brides, (15) A Peacetime Fleet, and (16) Retrospection.

There are also 12 appendices.

I’m just starting to get my teeth into the reading of this book and so far the narrative is easy to read. I think I will be recommending this in the future.

2 thoughts on “The British Pacific Fleet – World War 2

  1. Jerry 1 November 2013 / 9:39 pm

    The composition of the fleet changed a lot over time. Which capital ship composition did you decide on? The use of the French battleship would have been fun….


    • Thomo the Lost 2 November 2013 / 12:09 am

      Hi Jerry

      I went with the British capital ships (I have a collection of French vessels anyway so can swap vessels in and out where necessary). The full list I am looking at at the moment is:

      • Battleships: King George V, Duke of York, Anson, Howe
      • Carriers: Illustrious, Formidable, Indomitable, Implacable, Indefatigable, Victorious, Colossus, Glory, Venerable, Vengeance
      • Escort Carriers: Striker, Chaser, Fencer, Arbiter, Ruler, Slinger, Speaker, Reaper, Vindex – from the merchant Campania
      • Cruisers: Bermuda, HMNZS Gambia, Newfoundland, HMCS Uganda, Belfast, Euryalus, Argonaut, HMNZS Achilles, Swiftsure, HMCS Ontario, Bellona
      • Mine Layers: Apollo, Ariadne, Manxman (No model)
      • Auxiliary Anti-Aircraft: HMCS Prince Rupert (No model)
      • Destroyer Depot Ships: Tyne, Montclare (No model)
      • Destroyers: HMAS Napier, HMAS Nepal, HMAS Nizam, HMAS Norman, Quillian, Quadrant, Quality, HMAS Queenborough, HMAS Quiberon, HMAS Quickmatch, Teazer, Tenacious, Termagant, Terpsichore, Troubridge, Tumult, Tuscan, Tyrian, Grenville, Ulster, Ulysses, Undaunted, Undine, Urania, Urchin, Ursa, Kempenfelt, Wager, Wakeful, Wessex, Whelp, Whirlwind, Wizard, Wrangler, Armada, Barfleur, Camperdown, Trafalgar, Penn, Lewes (ex US Navy), HMCS Algonquin

      All are British vessels unless there is an HMAS, HMNZS, HMCS etc in from of them – then they are from their respective navies).


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