H. M. S. Repulse

The H. M. S. Repulse was a battle cruiser built in 1916 and rehauled between 1936 - 1939. It was sunk off the coast of Kuantan, Malaya on 10 December 1941, soon after arriving in Singapore as part of the British Eastern Fleet with the H. M. S. Prince of Wales as the flagship.

The H. M. S. Repulse was one of two battleships in the Renown class, the other being H. M. S. Renown itself.

Length: 794 ft [242.01 m].
Displacement: 32,000 tons [3,2513.6 metric tonnes].
Speed: 29 knots.
Armaments:  6x15" [38.1 cm] guns.
                    8x4" [10.16 cm] anti-aircraft guns.
                    8x21" [53.34 cm] torpedo tubes.

She also had four aircraft but lacked modern anti-aircraft weapons. Her horizontal armour plating for protection against air attack was considered outdated.

The old battle cruiser, commanded by Captain Bill Tennant, was the second capital ship of the British Eastern Fleet (codenamed Force Z) of six ships whose Commander-in-Chief was Admiral Sir Thomas Phillips. The Fleet arrived at the Singapore Naval Base on 2 December to serve as a deterrent against Japanese attack.

On the evening of the 8 December 1941, the Fleet sailed from Singapore, intending to launch a surprise attack on Japanese ships sighted in the Gulf of Siam. As the Fleet's movements was detected by enemy aircraft, Admiral Phillips made the decision to return on 9 December. On his return journey, Admiral Phillips received word that Japanese troops had landed at Kuantan. The Fleet thus detoured to Kuantan for a planned surprise attack on the enemy. On 10 December, when the Fleet was just 60 miles east-north-east of Kuantan, the Repulse was attacked by high-level bombers at 11:00 am. Despite fending off the initial attack, the Repulse was sunk with the "unsinkable" H. M. S. Prince of Wales, a major loss to British troops in the defence of Malaya.

Time-line of the attack on the Repulse on 10 December 1941
11:00 am : Japanese high-level bombers attack the Repulse. Although 1 bomb hits her, it failed to pierce the armour.
11:50 am : A simultaneous attack by torpedo and high-level bombers from the enemy was skillfully avoided by Captain Tennant. A 3rd wave of attack saw nine Japanese planes attacking the Prince of Wales with three diverting to attack the Repulse. She was hit on the portside by a single torpedo but continued to fight, sailing at 25 knots. Within minutes of this hit, she was attacked by torpedo bombers and received four hits, the first of which jammed the rudder and put the ship out of control. Captain Tennant then gave the order to abandon ship.
12:33 pm : With a list of 60 or 70 degrees to port, the Repulse rolled over and sank.

Wong Heng

Kirby, S. W., et al. (1957). The war against Japan: The loss of Singapore (Vol. 1, pp. 85, 171, 173, 193-198). London: H. M. Stationery Office.
(Call no.: RSING 940.542 KIR)

Montgomery, B. (1984). Shenton of Singapore: Governor and prisoner of war (pp. 1-13). London: Leo Cooper & Secker & Warburg
(Call no.: SING 941.0840924 SHE.M) 

Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya (pp. 89, 94, 95, 98, 102, 128 - 130, 143, 297). London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.
(Call no.: R SEA 940.53595 PER) 

Tsuji, M. (1988). Singapore 1941-1942: The Japanese version of the Malayan campaign of world war II (pp. 93-103). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 940.5425 TSU) 

(n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 1999, from www.sol.com.sg/classroom/fall/glossaryQS.html#63

(n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 1999, from users.powernet.co.uk/palace/ 

Further Readings
Bennett, G. (1973). The loss of the 'Prince of Wales' and 'Repulse'. Shepperton: Allan.
(Call no.: RSEA 940.5425 BEN)

Hough, R. A. (1963). The hunting of Force Z: The brief, controversial life of the modern battleship, and its tragic close with the destruction of the 'Prince of Wales' and 'Repulse'. London: Collins.
(Call no.: RCLOS 940.545 HOU)

Middlebrook, M. (1977). Battleship: The loss of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse. London: Allen Lane. 
(Call no.: RCLOS 940.5425 MID)

Bell, D. (1997). Battleship [videotape]. Discovery Channel.
(Call no.: MV 940.5426 BAT)

(n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 1999, from www.skypoint.com/members/jbp/btl_pow.htm

The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

National defence
Politics and Government>>National Security>>Defence
Battle cruisers--Singapore
Singapore--History--Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
Science and technology>>Engineering>>Military engineering
Cruisers (Warships)--Singapore

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