Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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aghart wrote: he thought he had only high level bombers to deal with. Phillips knew that these aircraft were of no real threat to Force Z. Phillips was unlikely to call on the RAF if he felt his ships could deal with the expected air threat with ease.
According to this:
http://www.rina.org.uk/c2/uploads/death ... leship.pdf
...the bombers were sort of a threat.
Phillips should/could have called for RAF help when he knew Force Z had been detected or at least after the first Japanese torpedo attack.
another topic related discussion:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3494&hilit
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The Book, Bombers Vs Battleships, confirms that HMS Indomitable would have docked at Gibraltar on 20th November 1941, if she had not been damaged and sent for repair. This confirms that although earmarked for Singapore, she was always going to be a late arrival and would not in any circumstances have been at Singapore when Force Z sailed. Also, HMS Ark Royal, the only modern CV in the Mediterranean was sunk on 13tn November. With Singapore still at peace, The Mediterranean at war, I doubt that Indominatable would have been allowed to join Force Z. I suspect she would have ordered to replace Ark Royal.
T. A. Gardner
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I'd say the Japanese still sink force Z starting with the Illustrious. The IJN bomber pilots would have zeroed in on the carrier first and either crippled or sunk it before going after the battleships. The few planes on CAP, as was British practice, wouldn't be enough to stop them. The Destroyer escort is worthless in contributing to the AA defense, and the whole formation would have maneuvered independently to evade attack, just as they did historically.
Once Illustrious can't launch planes, the Japanese either come back with fresh waves of planes, or the ones still with bombs and torpedoes go after the battleships. They sink those just like they did historically.
The RN needs more than a carrier with a relative handful of fighter planes aboard to fix their problems with Force Z. The formation needed to be steaming in one that would maximize air defense, and that is the circular one the USN was using.
Next, Force Z needed destroyers that could put up an effective AA defense, and that wasn't happening. A few obsolete 3" guns manually aimed, a few pompoms and 20mm aren't going to contribute much, if anything, to the formation's defense against air attack.
Repulse also has a badly deficient AA battery at the time.
Had Zero's been sent to escort the bombers, that would just add insult to injury. They would have dominated the small British CAP, particularly the rather unwieldy Fulmars. Then the bombers sink or cripple the carrier and it's fins for Force Z.