By Rod Macdonald
Strength Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea: HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse
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Extra info for Force Z Shipwrecks of the South China Sea: HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse
Look-outs on Prince of Wales spotted the german ships about 17 nautical miles away, and course was changed to starboard to close the range. Hood, although a world-known and revered battlecruiser, was by now 25 years old and was lightly armoured in comparison to a battleship. in particular, dating back to world war i, when ranges and elevations of guns were lower, she lacked adequate horizontal deck armour against plunging fire from modern big guns firing over great distances at high elevation.
As she withdrew, she fired from her rear turret, under local control at the turret until the turret suffered a jammed shell ring, which cut off the ammunition supply and made her big 14-inch quad guns inoperable. m. for technicians to repair the shell ring and get the four big guns of y turret back into action. Prince of Wales radioed the Norfolk to advise that Hood had been sunk and then steamed to join Norfolk and Suffolk on station some 15 to 17 miles astern of Bismarck. Thirteen of her crew were dead and nine wounded.
Several torpedo-bombers also confirmed Bismarck’s location – only 60nm away from Ark Royal. The torpedo-bombers were immediately ordered to return to Ark Royal, arm with magnetic torpedoes and prepare for an attack. once armed, the Swordfish took off, and in a case of mistaken identity in poor conditions, accidentally attacked hMS Sheffield. luckily, the magnetic detonators failed to work properly and no significant damage was caused to Sheffield by the impacts. The Swordfish returned to Ark Royal, where they were re-armed with more reliable contact detonators on the torpedoes.