The Royal Navy say that the flight deck of HMS Prince of Wales is buzzing with air power again – as the force generates a second 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier ready for front-line operations.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“The Portsmouth-based warship has spent much of her first fortnight back at sea in the relatively sheltered waters of Lyme Bay conducting aviation trials with the RAF and Commando Helicopter Force.

The ship’s company has changed substantially since she last sailed in the spring of 2020 – and since her flight deck last welcomed helicopters, so it’s been a mix of brushing up on old skills and new experiences for a good number of sailors.

Those on the upper deck were treated to the impressive sight of a unique RAF Chinook, proudly sporting a Union Jack tail to celebrate its 40th anniversary in UK service, touching down. The Boeing-built helicopter entered service with the air force in November 1980 and has seen action in every major conflict involving the nation’s armed forces since.”

After the much-publicised first encounter at sea with her big sister HMS Queen Elizabeth, regular training resumed with Merlin helicopters of 824 Naval Air Squadron making use of the carrier to practise refuelling skills.

You can read more here.

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Tony
Tony
1 month ago

sort battle?! sought?

Springer
Springer
1 month ago
Reply to  Tony

Short battle maybe, it was left alone after the sinking of Hood and suffered various gunnery malfunctions so had to withdraw (I’m sure I read the book when I was kid)

Fen Tiger
Fen Tiger
1 month ago
Reply to  Springer

PoW hit the Bismarck 3 times before withdrawing.

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Fen Tiger

Hi Folks, Yes – and one of those three 14 inch shells from PoW played a big part in the German battleship’s eventual demise.

A strike near the bow caused seawater to contaminate up to 2, 000 tonnes of Bismarck’s fuel oil, restricting the German Admiral’s operational flexibility – and causing him to cut and run for Brest. The rest is history ………

Tony
Tony
1 month ago
Reply to  George Allison

Absolutely, just trying to work out what they were trying to say!

TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago

I must confess I had not realised it was 80 years….

In a few days we can remember the Bismark.
It is worth remembering that it only also took a couple, may be 1, shell to disable the Bismarck. After that it was reduced to a collender. I think 1 shell wiped out all on the conning tower and communations and ranging and another one turret.

For all the effort to build these battleships … they were vulnerable.

John Mulley
John Mulley
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

It wasn’t a bomb that disabled Bismarck, it was a torpedo fired by a Swordfish biplane. It hit her at the stern, jammed the rudder and sent her round in circles – thence an easy target.

Ian Britten
Ian Britten
1 month ago
Reply to  John Mulley

One of the first shells hit Bismark in such a way that it lost fuel and shipped water to the extent that the Germans aborted the mission and the ship headed to Brest. It was then completely disabled by a torpedo hit.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  John Mulley

He’s talking about one of HMS Rodney’s 16 inch shells that knocked out her fire controls, nothing to do with bombs. The Swordfish just stopped her from escaping, dientvdisable her as a combat platform.

John Mulley
John Mulley
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Agreed – sorry my mistake, no bombing involved – I meant to have said shells. She would have escaped to Brest if her torpedoed jammed rudder hadn’t stopped her.

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes, Dern – one can argue it was the 16 inch shells from Rodney that pulverised Bismarck on 27 May, and the veteran battleship deserves most of the kudos for sinking Lutjen’s flagship that day – not the newer KGV.

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan Reid
TrevorH
TrevorH
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

My point being that effectively 1 shell scuppered the Bismarck in the same way a shell did for Hood. Once even battleships start to get hit they are exposed to being vulnerable.

The Rodney was slow and normally the Bismarck could have escaped of course. So it is fair to mention the torpedo… but that was not my main point.

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

HI Trevor, I understand your argument, although this wouldn’t be UKDJ without a counter-point! 😊 I don’t feel one shell did “scupper Bismarck in the same way as a shell did for Hood”. A single shell caused the catastrophic destruction of the British battle-cruiser; but in Bismarck’s case, despite the main fire-director being destroyed, and forward turrets damaged, the German battleship continued the fight from back-up positions and the aft turrets. The RN later claimed up to 400 shell-hits before Bismarck succumbed in a 90 minute show-down. We all know the Bismarck episode highlighted the vulnerability of capital ships to… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

Didn’t hood also take multiple shells hits before one penetrated her magazines? At the end of the day it’s impossible to fully armour a ship against battleship caliber weapons, just like its impossible to fully armour a human in plate. You have to leave some aspects exposed, and it’s really about survivability until you can put the enemy’s ship down, rather than being bullet (shell?) Proof. That doesn’t mean that battleships where vulnerable either though, often it required another battleship (worth noting that multiple torpedo hits by the FAA on Bismark did absolutely nothing other than get eaten by her… Read more »

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern, Must confess I had to recheck – but Hood blew-up only 8 minutes after her first salvo. And although hit twice, on the boat-deck and spotting-top, with some loss of life, at the moment of the catastrophic conflagration – was fully operational and tearing towards the enemy. I agree with many of your other comments, evidence suggests a modern WW2 battleship (unlike Hood) was very hard to sink. Bismarck was a powerful, resilient unit – but its strength was whittled down through a succession of blows over 72 hours (24 – 27 May). That included a 14 inch… Read more »

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago

Was touring the top of Scotland a while back, part of which included Loch Eriboll , The last stop for the Mighty Hood before the battle…… There are stones spelling her name on the Hill together with a few others including Warspite from memory, either way, RIP Mates.

farouk
farouk
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

I did a 6 month tour of Ascension island and on the hill behind George town is a pair of 5.5 inch guns from HMS Hood which were sent down there after its 1935 refit.
http://www.hmshood.com/hoodtoday/ascension.htm

can be easily seen on google maps

Last edited 1 month ago by farouk
Andrew D
Andrew D
1 month ago

There’s a good chance Prince of Wales could end up been an helicopter platform ,useful at times but do hope she gets her own F35s as this what she was build for.✈ 🚁

Mark
Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

She will, one carrier will always be available while the other is in refit so she’ll get her chance. It makes sense to utilise the “spare” as a helicopter carrier if needed and available or in an emergency situation.

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

There has never been any intention or possibility to field both carriers with their own air wings, it would need far more aircraft than we can afford. The F-35s were ordered for the RAF to replace (a) 4 squadrons of Tornados in the interdiction/strike role and (b) 2 squadrons of AV-8B Harriers doing both ground support for the army and fighter/strike fighter/recon for the Navy.. So the breakdown for the 138 F-35s would be; 90 RAF interdiction/strike, 24 RAF ground support, 24 FAA carrier squadron. Halve these figures and you get the front line squadron strength, so 12 for the… Read more »

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

My recollection is you can also throw the replacement of Jaguar into the RAF mix as well although once they were retired that part of the replacement formula was dropped from press releases etc. Seem to the recall the last of the Jaguar squadrons were retired a couple of years after the F35 was selected but when the selection process commenced (late 90s) there were still about 4 operational squadrons.

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

There were if I remember correctly 4 squadrons of Jaguars before the fun started. Basically, we reduced something like 17 squadrons (Tornado, Jaguar, AV-8B, Sea Harrier) to 6, these to be replaced by 6 F-35 squadrons as soon as they came off the production line. A decade on, we still don’t have one F-35 squadron at full strength! Other countries seem more nimble and organised, the Germans whistled up F-18s and more Typhoons to cover the withdrawal of their Tornados. Alas, our budget is so permanently stretched, trying to accommodate £3bn carriers and umpty £1bn plus warships and subs for… Read more »

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

You’re a brave man, Cripes, praising the Germans on this forum!
😃

I agree the reduction in British combat jet strength has been shocking, 1991 Gulf War – 32 squadrons (including 800/801 FAA), 2021 – 8 squadrons (7 Typhoon, one F-35B).
A cut of 75%!

Even with the superlative performance of Typhoon, and the greater use of Precision Guided Weapons, there seems a shortfall in British air-power.

But we are an island, and I do think the UK should prioritise spending for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force – if necessary, perhaps over the requirements of the Army.

Cripes
Cripes
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

We may be an island, but that is no guarantee of our security. A couple of River 1s and a carrier group could not defend the UK for a day in wartime. History reminds us how the fleet had to hide in the Wasb, much to Churchill’s chagrin, when the German Sea Lion invasion was imminent – they would have been sunk by enermy airpower in a morning. The fact that no European country could stand alone against a peer invasion is why we have NATO. Collectively, our armies halt the aggressor while the air forces win air superiority and… Read more »

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
1 month ago
Reply to  Cripes

Hi Cripes, I’m not into all that Global Britain tosh either – nor notions of British exceptionalism. But in the context of NATO, I would argue that Britain’s primary role is to protect the reinforcement routes from North America to Europe – both on the seas (including under the Atlantic), and in the skies. There are plenty of continental powers like Germany and Poland to supply NATO with the bulk of its ground forces. In that same context, the two greatest victories that Britain achieved in WW2 were the Battle of the Atlantic and the Battle of Britain. Both defensive… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan Reid