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Encyclopedia > British Pacific Fleet
British Pacific Fleet
Active 1944-1945
Country British Commonwealth countries
Branch Royal Australian Navy; Royal Canadian Navy; Royal Navy; Royal New Zealand Navy
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Bruce Fraser

The British Pacific Fleet (BPF) was a multinational Allied naval force which saw action against Japan during World War II. The fleet was comprised mainly of British Commonwealth naval vessels. The BPF formally came into being on 22 November 1944. Its main base was at Sydney, Australia. The Commonwealth of Nations (CN), usually known as the Commonwealth, is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, the majority of which are former colonies of the United Kingdom. ... The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. ... The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was the navy of Canada from 1911 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Armed Forces. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... HMNZS Te Mana The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is the navy of New Zealand. ... Bruce Fraser, Baron Fraser of North Cape (February 5, 1888–February 12, 1981) was a senior British admiral during World War II. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet during the later stages of the naval war in Europe, and during that period he commanded the Royal Navy... In general, allies are people or groups that have joined an alliance and are working together to achieve some common purpose. ... The multinational Combined Task Force One Five Zero (CTF-150) The British Grand Fleet, the supreme naval force of World War I A rare occurrence of a 5-country multinational fleet, during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Oman Sea. ... Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead... The Commonwealth of Nations (CN), usually known as the Commonwealth, is a voluntary association of 53 independent sovereign states, the majority of which are former colonies of the United Kingdom. ... This article is about the metropolitan area in Australia. ...

Contents

Constituent forces

Enlarge
The British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable going through the anti-submarine boom in Sydney Harbour in 1945. The blackened funnel was the result of a kamikaze attack, in which a Japanese aircraft crashed on the flight deck.

The fleet was founded when Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser struck his flag at Trincomalee as Commander-in-Chief of the British Eastern Fleet and hoisted it in the gunboat HMS Tarantula as Commander-in-Chief British Pacific Fleet. He later transferred his flag to the more suitable battleship, HMS Howe. Image File history File linksMetadata Formidable_Sydney_Boom_(AWM_P00444-047). ... Image File history File linksMetadata Formidable_Sydney_Boom_(AWM_P00444-047). ... HMS Formidable was an Illustrious class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy during World War II. She was constructed by Harland & Wolff, Belfast and commissioned on 24 November 1940. ... Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge located on Port Jackson Port Jackson is the natural harbour of Sydney, Australia, also known as Sydney Harbour and is the largest natural harbour in the world. ... Navy Kamikaze pilot with the rank of Lieutenant (Chui) receives orders, pilots stand at attention in formation. ... Bruce Fraser, Baron Fraser of North Cape (February 5, 1888–February 12, 1981) was a senior British admiral during World War II. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet during the later stages of the naval war in Europe, and during that period he commanded the fleet that... Bay of Trincomalee (View from Temple) Trincomalee North East city of Sri Lanka. ... The British Eastern Fleet (also known as the East Indies Fleet and the Far East Fleet) was a fleet of the Royal Navy during World War II and post war until 1971. ... The Insect class patrol boats (or Large China Gunboats: the Fly class were Small China Gunboats) were a class of small but well-armed Royal Navy ships designed for use in shallow rivers or inshore. ... HMS Victory in 1884 Battleship was the name given to the most powerfully gun-armed and most heavily armored classes of warships built between the 15th and 20th centuries. ... HMS Howe was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, named after Admiral Richard Howe. ...


The Eastern Fleet was reorganised into the British East Indies Fleet, based in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and what was to be become the British Pacific Fleet (BPF). The BPF operated against targets in Sumatra, gaining experience until early 1945, when it departed Trincomalee for Sydney. (These operations are described in the article on the British Eastern Fleet. Sumatra (also spelled Sumatera) is the sixth largest island of the world (approximately 470,000 km²) and is the largest island entirely in Indonesia (two larger islands, Borneo and New Guinea, are partially in Indonesia). ... The British Eastern Fleet (also known as the East Indies Fleet and the Far East Fleet) was a fleet of the Royal Navy during World War II and post war until 1971. ...


The BPF eventually comprised ships and personnel from the British Royal Navy (RN), British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The RAN's contribution was limited because its larger vessels had been integrated with United States Navy formations since 1942. The USN also contributed to the BPF, as did personnel from the South African Navy (SAN). Australian and New Zealand ports and infrastructure also made significant contributions in support of the BPF. The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is the service that keeps the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom running around the world. ... The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. ... The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was the navy of Canada from 1911 until 1968 when the three branches of the Canadian military were merged into the Canadian Armed Forces. ... HMNZS Te Mana The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is the navy of New Zealand. ... USN redirects here. ... 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1942 calendar). ... The South African Navy (SAN), known in Afrikaans as Suid-Afrikaanse Vloot is the navy of South Africa. ...


During World war II, the fleet was commanded by Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser. In practice, command of the fleet in action devolved to Vice-Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, with Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Vian in charge of air operations by the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. ... Bruce Fraser, Baron Fraser of North Cape (February 5, 1888–February 12, 1981) was a senior British admiral during World War II. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet during the later stages of the naval war in Europe, and during that period he commanded the fleet that... Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... Vice Admiral is a naval rank of three star level, equivalent to Lieutenant General in seniority. ... Admiral of the Fleet Sir Philip Vian GCB KBE DSO was a British naval officer best known for the incident early in 1940 when a force under his command released captured British merchant sailors from the German supply ship Altmark in Norway. ... The Fleet Air Arm is the operational group of the Royal Navy responsible for the operation of the aircraft on board their ships. ...


As well as its base at Sydney, the Fleet Air Arm established Mobile Naval Air Bases (MONABs) in Australia to provide technical and logistic support for the aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm is the operational group of the Royal Navy responsible for the operation of the aircraft on board their ships. ...


Relationship with the United States Navy

The United States Navy (USN), which had control of Allied operations in the Pacific Ocean Areas, gave the BPF combat units the designation of Task Force 57 (TF-57), and later made them part of Task Force 37 (TF-37).


The Admiralty had proposed an active British role in the Pacific in early 1944 but the initial USN response had been discouraging. Admiral Ernest King, Commander-in-Chief United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, and alleged Anglophobe,[citation needed] was reluctant to concede any such role and raised a number of issues, including the requirement that the BPF should be entirely self-sufficient. These were eventually overcome or discounted and, at a meeting, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt "intervened to say that the British Fleet was no sooner offered than accepted. In this, though the fact was not mentioned, he overruled Admiral King's opinion" (Churchill, The Second World War pp. ?). Old Admiralty House, Whitehall, London, Thomas Ripley, architect, 1723-26, was not admired by his contemporaries and earned him some scathing couplets from Alexander Pope The Admiralty was historically the authority in the United Kingdom responsible for the command of the Royal Navy. ... Ernest King Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King (November 23, 1878 – June 25, 1956) was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations (COMINCH-CNO) during World War II. As CNO, he directed the United States Navys operations, planning, and administration and was a member of the...


The Pacific war environment was unfamiliar to the Royal Navy, which needed to establish an RFA fleet train that could adequately support an active naval force at sea for weeks or months. 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. The distance from Sydney was too far to allow efficient fleet support, so, with much American support, a forward base was established at Manus atoll, in the Admiralty Islands, which was described as "Scapa Flow with bloody palm trees."[citation needed] Manus Island is part of Manus Province in Papua New Guinea and is the largest island of the Admiralty Islands. ... The Admiralty Islands are a group of 18 islands in the Bismarck Archipelago. ... Scapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. ...


Active service

Major actions in which the fleet was involved included the Jan 1945 carrier airstrikes on Japanese strategic oil targets in Palembang, Sumatra. These highly successful raids reduced oil production for the Japanese Navy. Later, in March 1945 in support of the invasion of Okinawa it had sole responsibility for operations in the Sakishima Islands. Its role was to suppress Japanese air activity, using gunfire and air attack, at potential Kamikaze staging airfields that would otherwise be a threat to U.S. Navy vessels operating at Okinawa. The carriers were subject to heavy and repeated kamikaze attacks, but because of their armoured flight decks, the British aircraft carriers proved highly resistant (unlike their U.S. counterparts), and returned to action relatively quickly. Subsequent studies, however, showed that serious damage had occurred to the ships' structure and modernisation was uneconomic. Location of Palembang Palembang is a city in the south of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. ... Combatants United States United Kingdom (naval involvement only) Empire of Japan Commanders Simon Bolivar Buckner† Joseph Stilwell Mitsuru Ushijima† Strength 548,000 marines 107,000 regulars 24,000 militia Casualties 12,500 killed or missing 38,000 wounded 33,096 non-combat wounded 38 ships lost 763 aircraft lost 110... The Sakishima Islands (先島諸島 Sakishima shotō) are an island chain located at the south end of the Japanese Archipelago. ... Navy Kamikaze pilot with the rank of Lieutenant (Chui) receives orders, pilots stand at attention in formation. ...


In April 1945, the British 4th Submarine Flotilla was transferred to the major Allied submarine base at Fremantle, Western Australia, as part of BPF. Its most notable success in this period was the sinking of the heavy cuiser Ashigara, on June 8, 1945 in Banka Strait, off Sumatra, by HMS Trenchant and HMS Stygian. In July 1945 in the Singapore area, British midget submarine XE3 sank Japanese heavy cruiser Takao which settled to the bottom at it's berth and never went to sea again. Location of Fremantle, Western Australia Fremantle ( ) is a city located within the Perth metropolitan area on Australias western coast, at the mouth of the Swan River, 19 kilometres southwest of Perths Central Business District. ... The IJN Ashigara (足柄) was the third of the four-member Myoko class of heavy cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy — the other ships of the class being the Myoko (妙高), Nachi (那智), and the Haguro (羽黒). She was named after a mountain on the... Three vessels of the British Royal Navy have been named HMS Trenchant: Trenchant (1916), destroyer Trenchant (1943), submarine Trenchant (S91), submarine This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... German midget submarine Seehund, with a torpedo A midget submarine is a small submarine, typically with a one or two person crew and with no on-board living accommodation. ... A type of Japanese cruiser class during World War II. They were modified from the Myoko Class and has an almost battleship-like, large bridge structure. ...


Battleships and aircraft from the fleet also attacked the Japanese home islands. The battleship King George V bombarded factories and other installations in the Tokyo area; meanwhile carrier strikes were carried out against land and harbor targets including, notably, the putting out of action of a Japanese escort carrier by British naval aircraft. The BPF would also have played a major part in a proposed invasion of the Japanese home islands, known as Operation Downfall, which was cancelled after Japan surrendered. The last naval air action in WWII was on VJ-Day when British carrier aircraft shot down Japanese Zero fighters. Operation Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan at the end of World War II. It was scheduled to occur in two parts: Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu, set to begin in November 1945; and later Operation Coronet, the invasion of Honshu near Tokyo, scheduled...


Lt Robert Hampton Gray, a Canadian naval airman who piloted a Vought Corsair with No. 1841 Squadron FAA on HMS Formidable, was awarded the Victoria Cross, following his death in an attack on a Japanese destroyer at Onagawa Wan, Japan, on August 9, 1945. Robert Hampton Gray, VC , DSC was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC) during World War II. The VC is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. ... The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was a fighter aircraft that saw service in World War II and the Korean War. ... HMS Formidable was an Illustrious class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy during World War II. She was constructed by Harland & Wolff, Belfast and commissioned on 24 November 1940. ... Victoria Cross medal, ribbon, and bar. ...


Fighter squadrons from the fleet claimed a total of 112.5 Japanese aircraft shot down. No. 1844 Squadron FAA (flying Hellcats) was the top-scoring squadron, with 28 claims. Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat in tri-color camouflage The Grumman F6F Hellcat started development as an improved F4F Wildcat, but turned into a completely new design sharing a family resemblance to the Wildcat but with no shared parts. ...


Post-war

Following the end of hostilities, the fleet formed the naval arm of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan. The 2nd Battalion, 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles marching through Kure soon after their arrival in Japan. ...


Order of battle

The fleet included 17 aircraft carriers (with 300 aircraft, about 25% of the total Allied air strength), four battleships, 10 cruisers, 40 destroyers, 18 sloops, 13 frigates, 35 minesweepers, other kinds of fighting ships, and many support vessels. This article is becoming very long. ... HMS Victory in 1884 Battleship was the name given to the most powerfully gun-armed and most heavily armored classes of warships built between the 15th and 20th centuries. ... USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, launched in 1992. ... USS Lassen, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet or battle group and defend them against smaller, short-range attackers (originally torpedo boats, later submarines and aircraft). ... A sloop-rigged J-24 sailboat In sailing, a sloop is a vessel with a Fore-and-aft rig. ... For the bird, see Frigatebird. ... USS Pivot (AM 276) World War II United States Admirable Class Minesweeper shown in the Gulf of Mexico on sea trials 12 July 1944 Image:Hameln Class. ...


Aircraft carriers

  • HMS Colossus: Corsairs, Barracudas
  • HMS Formidable: approximate airgroup 36 Corsairs, 15 Avengers
  • HMS Glory: Corsairs, Barracudas
  • HMS Illustrious: approximate airgroup 36 Corsairs, 15 Avengers
  • HMS Implacable: 48 Seafire, 21 Avenger, 12 Firefly
  • HMS Indefatigable: 40 Seafire, 18 Avenger, 12 Firefly
  • HMS Indomitable: 39 Hellcats, 21 Avengers
  • HMS Venerable: Corsairs, Barracudas
  • HMS Vengeance: Corsairs, Barracudas
  • HMS Victorious: 36 Corsairs, 15 Avengers, plus Walrus amphibian
  • HMS Unicorn: maintenance carrier for aircraft repair
  • HMS Ruler: escort carrier

The fourth and last HMS Colossus (R15) had a relatively brief time with the Royal Navy. ... HMS Formidable was an Illustrious class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy during World War II. She was constructed by Harland & Wolff, Belfast and commissioned on 24 November 1940. ... HMS Glory (R62) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy laid down on 8 November 1942 by Stephen at Govan. ... The fourth HMS Illustrious (R87) of the Royal Navy was an aircraft carrier, arguably the one with the most distinguished and vital career of this proud lineage. ... HMS Implacable (R86) was an Implacable-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. ... HMS Indefatigable (R10) was an Implacable-class aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy. ... HMS Indomitable (1940-1955) was a modified Illustrious class aircraft carrier. ... HMS Venerable (R63) was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. ... HMS Vengeance was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, laid down on 16 November 1942 at Swan Hunter, launched 23 February 1944 and commissioned in the fleet 15 January 1945. ... HMS Victorious (R38) was the second Illustrious-class aircraft carrier ordered, being provided for under the 1936 Naval Programme. ... Six ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Unicorn. ... The escort aircraft carrier or escort carrier, was a small aircraft carrier developed by the U.S. Navy in the early part of World War II to deal with the U-boat crisis of the Battle of the Atlantic. ...

Battleships

  • HMS Howe
  • HMS King George V
  • HMS Duke of York arrived in July 1945
  • HMS Anson arrived in July 1945

HMS Howe was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, named after Admiral Richard Howe. ... The second HMS King George V was the name ship of her class of battleships. ... HMS Duke of York was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, and the second of the name, the predecessor having been a 4-gun cutter purchased in 1763 and sold in 1766. ... Seven ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Anson, after Admiral George Anson: The first Anson was a 60-gun fourth-rate launched in 1747 and sold in 1773. ...

Cruisers

HMS Swiftsure (pennant number 08) was a Minotaur class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. ... HMS Newfoundland was a Crown Colony-class cruiser of the Royal Navy. ... HMS Euryalus was a Dido-class cruiser of the Royal Navy, one of the second group of the class with ten 5. ... HMS Black Prince was a Bellona-class cruiser of the Royal Navy. ... HMS Uganda (C66), was a Second World War-vintage Royal Navy Colony class cruiser. ... HMS Achilles (from 1941 HMNZS Achilles) was a Leander class cruiser of 7,200 tons built in Birkenhead, England and launched on 1 September 1932. ... HMS Gambia was a Crown Colony class cruiser of the Royal Navy. ...

Submarines

  • 18-22 total, of "T" & "S" class, plus minelaying submarines HMS Rorqual and HMS Porpoise.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Aircraft Carrier - ninemsn Encarta (602 words)
By World War II Japan’s carrier fleet was numerically and qualitatively superior to the American and British fleets in the Pacific.
British carriers were a vital support in actions such as the sinking of the Bismarck.
All the present US fleet is of the attack class, with capabilities for conversion to use as submarine warfare, utility, and assault helicopter aircraft carriers.
The British Pacific Fleet - General RAN History (Sea Power Centre - Australia) (1487 words)
The British subsequently gave priority to the war in Europe, and the United States Navy (USN) was left to lead the resistance against the IJN in the Pacific.
As the island hopping Pacific war moved through the Philippines inexorably toward Japan, the British fleet was to operate from a main base to be established in Sydney, with an intermediate base at Manus in the Admiralty Islands.
As the BPF was to operate upon the great expanses of the Pacific Ocean it needed to support itself far from base, hence the fleet expanded its floating supply organisation, along the lines of the 'Fleet Train' of their American allies.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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