Origins of Force H

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Origins of Force H

Joined: October 20th, 2005, 10:23 pm

December 6th, 2017, 1:24 pm #1

Curious about the development of the "Force H" idea- ie a combined arms carrier/battlecruiser squadron or "task force". Did the RN develop this doctrine in the interwar years or was it a cobbled together idea that worked? Often come across this pic on the web..a coincidence or a record of actual exercises?

Cheers!

5780483562_8e81fb8244.jpg
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Joined: May 3rd, 2006, 2:05 am

December 9th, 2017, 9:30 pm #2

Sunk at Narvik wrote: Curious about the development of the "Force H" idea- ie a combined arms carrier/battlecruiser squadron or "task force". Did the RN develop this doctrine in the interwar years or was it a cobbled together idea that worked? Often come across this pic on the web..a coincidence or a record of actual exercises?

Cheers!

5780483562_8e81fb8244.jpg
Hi Sunk,

You might try Moretz's The Royal Navy and the Capital Ship in the Interwar Period:  An Operational Perspective.    My copy is not readily available right now, or I would check it.

As an aside, while we often think of combined capital ship and carrier task forces as 'fast', Malaya was the flagship of Force H/The Gibraltar Force for a time, and Eagle operated with Warspite, Royal Sovereign and Malaya at Calabria/Punto Stilo.   The RN's use of escort carriers, particularly in the Indian Ocean later in the war also comes to mind. 

My own opinion is the RN was only handed the FAA back in 1937, and I think the Admiralty realized it was an inadequate weapon at the time.   So as a large navy on the strategic defensive, they were looking to use any tool available (in this case, carrier strike aircraft) to bring their smaller, faster enemies in range of their most destructive weapon (capital ship guns).

Regards,
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Joined: November 21st, 2010, 12:24 am

December 10th, 2017, 5:46 pm #3

"they were looking to use any tool available (in this case, carrier strike aircraft) to bring their smaller, faster enemies in range of their most destructive weapon (capital ship guns)."

Worked a treat with the Bismarck.
The difference between "democracy" and "populism" is whether or not the ruling elite likes the outcome.
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Joined: November 13th, 2008, 10:19 pm

December 10th, 2017, 6:14 pm #4

Not so well several times in the Med though.  Not losing two decks and thirty carrier strike ac would have helped too; I just checked and the Italian navy was very badly placed for battleships when Mussolini launched them into war.  Only the older pair of rebuilds were fully in service.
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Joined: October 20th, 2005, 10:23 pm

December 11th, 2017, 9:51 am #5

1Big Rich wrote:
Sunk at Narvik wrote: Curious about the development of the "Force H" idea- ie a combined arms carrier/battlecruiser squadron or "task force". Did the RN develop this doctrine in the interwar years or was it a cobbled together idea that worked? Often come across this pic on the web..a coincidence or a record of actual exercises?

Cheers!

5780483562_8e81fb8244.jpg
Hi Sunk,

You might try Moretz's The Royal Navy and the Capital Ship in the Interwar Period:  An Operational Perspective.    My copy is not readily available right now, or I would check it.

As an aside, while we often think of combined capital ship and carrier task forces as 'fast', Malaya was the flagship of Force H/The Gibraltar Force for a time, and Eagle operated with Warspite, Royal Sovereign and Malaya at Calabria/Punto Stilo.   The RN's use of escort carriers, particularly in the Indian Ocean later in the war also comes to mind. 

My own opinion is the RN was only handed the FAA back in 1937, and I think the Admiralty realized it was an inadequate weapon at the time.   So as a large navy on the strategic defensive, they were looking to use any tool available (in this case, carrier strike aircraft) to bring their smaller, faster enemies in range of their most destructive weapon (capital ship guns).

Regards,
Thanks! Sounds right up my street (:
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Joined: February 22nd, 2007, 6:26 pm

December 19th, 2017, 9:25 am #6

I think the concept is a logical development of part of the Main Battle Fleet doctrine.  As has been noted, since 1918 the RN had regarded carriers as essential for scouting, ‘counter-scouting’, slowing the enemy fleet by torpedo attacks, and spotting for the decisive battleship action.  Most of these activities required a 30 kt ship able to work ahead of the main battle line with the cruiser  and battle cruiser squadrons.  Force H is really these elements working independently from the main fleet.
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Joined: January 8th, 2011, 7:36 pm

December 26th, 2017, 4:41 am #7

Sunk at Narvik wrote: Curious about the development of the "Force H" idea- ie a combined arms carrier/battlecruiser squadron or "task force". Did the RN develop this doctrine in the interwar years or was it a cobbled together idea that worked? Often come across this pic on the web..a coincidence or a record of actual exercises?

Cheers!

5780483562_8e81fb8244.jpg
Interesting photo showing what seems to be Renown before her 1930s modernization, plus Furious before her island was added and either Glorious or Courageous.  I can tell it's Renown, not Repulse, since she has no upper armor belt and larger bulges.
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