United Kingdom WAS

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
Winston Churchill

Continuous effort or determination defined the British people during World War II. Surviving the Battle of Britain and for a while standing alone against Germany and Italy. That determination was epitomized by the old service, the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy had a huge responsibility in keeping the sea lanes open from the far corners from the Empire. This was because everything had to be imported for the war effort. After World War I, Britain proved to be vulnerable and early in World War II, it showed it could be just as vulnerable. Winston Churchill said the only thing that ever scared him was that "U-Boat peril." Another issue with the Royal Navy was endurance. While the smaller fleet units like the cruisers had solid endurance, the heavier units had much shorter legs, since they were expected to operate close to their home bases in Britain and the Mediterranean.

Britain took a slightly different approach to carrier construction than other nations. Her newest carrier class, the Illustrious class, had better armor than other carriers at the expense of aircraft capacity. This trade-off was accepted in order to maximize the carriers' survivability when fighting in confined waters such as the the Mediterranean and within range of enemy land-based airpower. Several carriers in the class did indeed absorb punishment that would have sunk most carriers, yet survived to fight another day. However, their limited aircraft capacity meant that all four carriers' airwings equaled three or even two carriers from another country.

The Royal Navy's battleships were solid but unspectacular. Britain's most modern battleships were the King George V class (per British tradition of the first of a new class of fleet unit to be named for the new monarch). They were an interesting design, utilizing a new four-gun turret both fore-and aft for the main armament to maximize their offensive punch. Unfortunately the turret design proved troublesome, and more than once ships of the class found themselves in a critical fight with jammed or malfunctioning turrets. The Rodney class was powerful but was a little slower than contemporary fast battleships of the time. Warspite and the Queen Elizabeth's dated from World War I, but were extensively modernized to be able to fight in some of the other theaters of war. Hood was the pride of the British fleet, but was sunk rather quickly in a fight with Bismarck.

Britain's strengths lay with her cruisers. They had excellent endurance to interdict on the sea-lanes and were found all over the globe. While the heavy cruisers were solid, it was the light cruisers that were the key of Britain's fleet. The County class heavy cruisers were not the best armored of other nations heavies, but performed admirably during the war in the Arctic, Med, North Atlantic and Indian Oceans. But her Colony and Town light cruisers were indeed the heart and soul. These lights had the protection to fight against contemporary heavies and their six inch guns delivered a high rate of fire.

The destroyers of Britain were heavily gunned or heavily equipped with torpedoes. They were fast and durable. Many of them were engaged in the dull and monotonous work of convoy escort, but without their work, Britain would have starved and lost the war.

In addition to keeping its own navy supplied with equipment, Britain could call on the Royal Canadian, Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand fleets. For their information, see those respective countries.

Stat Table:

Fleet and Light Aircraft Carriers (CV/CVL):

Escort Carriers (CVE):


Heavy Cruisers:

Light Cruisers:


Destroyer Escorts/Frigates/Corvettes/Escorts/Minesweepers:



Torpedo Boats:


Patrol Bombers:

Dive Bombers:

Torpedo Bombers:


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