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  HMS Repulse
Royal Navy
Renown-class
Battlecruiser

27,200 Tons (Normal)
32,200 Tons (Loaded)
34,600 Tons (1939-1941)
794' 2.5" x 89' 11.5" x 29' 8"
(Armament as built)
3 x 15" guns
(5x3) 4" guns
2 x 4" guns
2 x 3" AA guns
2 x 21" torpedo tubes
Armor: belt 3-6" deck 1-2.5"

(Armament as of 1939)
3x2 15" guns
3x3 x 4" guns
6 x 4" AA guns
2x4 40mm AA guns
Vickers machine guns
Armor: belt 2-9" deck 1-4"
1 x aircraft catapult
4 x seaplanes

Click For Enlargement
Royal Navy June 12, 1924

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
IJN December 10, 1941
Ship History
Built by John Brown and Company in Clydebank, Scotland. On December 30, 1914 ordered by the Royal Navy (RN). Laid down January 25, 1915 as a Renown-class Battlecruiser, the second to last battlecruiser built. Launched January 8, 1916, too late to take part in the Battle of Jutland and too early to incorporate lessons learned. Commissioned August 18, 1916 as HMS Repulse.

World War I
During September 1916, she joined the Grand Fleet as flagship of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron. Repulse first saw action on November 17, 1917 at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight. Commanded by Captain William "Ginger" Boyle she briefly engaged two German battleships, SMS Kaiser and SMS Kaiserin, before they retired. The next month, Repulse was damaged in collision with the battlecruiser HMAS Australia (1911).

Repulse's first rebuild took place between 1918 to 1920. The major element of refit was the replacement of her 6 inch (152 mm) armour belt with 9 inches (229 mm) and a further 6 inch (152 mm) section above it protecting what had previously been unarmoured. Together with improved anti-torpedo bulges this meant an additional 4,300 tons of armour. Her torpedo tubes were moved from underwater to on deck. In 1924-1925, the mixture of low angle 4 inch (102 mm) and high angle 3 inch (76 mm) guns were changed to 4" (102 mm) high angle guns. Also included were improvements to the anti-aircraft armament, and facilities for a spotter aircraft. The last major refit was 1933-1936 when she received more armour, more anti-aircraft guns (2 pdr 40mm anti-aircraft guns "pom-poms" and .50 caliber Vickers machine guns. Also, an aircraft catapult with two hangers capable of holding four seaplanes, initially Fairey Swordfish. During 1941 they were replaced by Supermarine Walrus. After the refit deployed to the Mediterranean Sea.

Wartime History
At the outbreak of war in 1939, Repulse searched for German commerce raiders, but found none. In December, she performed escort duty for troop carriers between Canada and Britain. The start of the Allied campaign in Norway saw Repulse covering mine laying by British forces. In July, 1940, when Glowworm was lost Repulse took part in the search, but failed to make contact with Admiral Hipper. Towards the end of the campaign, during the evacuation of British troops, due to concern that an invasion of Iceland was in process. After this proved false, Repulse returned to convoy protection through early 1941.

In January 1941, Repulse participated in the hunt for the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. In May, she took part in the chase of the Bismarck. Originally scheduled to escort convoy WS-8B to the Middle East around Africa, Repulse operated as part of the Home Fleet, but was detached from the main body prior to the last engagement due to fears of a repeat of the loss of Hood and to lack of fuel.

During August 1941, transferred to Cape Town, South Africa then on October 28, 1941 arrived in India. At the end of 1941, detached to the Far East as part of Force Z.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War Repulse departed Singapore with HMS Prince of Wales escorted by four destroyers to intercept Japanese invasion force heading towards Malaya.

Sinking History
On December 10, 1941 after failing to find any Japanese invasion force and turning south when Japanese aircraft were spotted. The fleet was attacked by 86 Japanese aircraft from the 22nd Air Flotilla based in Saigon that attacked both HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse.

The Repulse survived a bomb hit and managed to dodge 14 torpedoes before being sunk in 20 minutes after receiving 5 torpedo hits. 327 crew members died in the sinking.

Rescue
The surviving crew were rescued by destroyers HMS Electra and HMAS Vampire. Meanwhile, Express (H61) rescued survivors of the HMS Prince of Wales. Even after they were rescued, some survivors of the Repulse manned Action Stations on HMS Electra, to free up Electra crew to rescue more survivors. In total, 1,285 survivors of the Repulse were rescued, of which Electra saved 571. Afterwards, Electra and the other destroyers returned to Singapore to drop off the survivors.

Shipwreck
Afterwards, a a Japanese Navy sent a team to salvage some equipment from the shipwreck at a depth of 100'. The salvage team removed the radar, some of the guns and other parts.

During 2001, the shipwreck was designated a "Protected Place" under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, just before to the 60th anniversary of her sinking. The Royal Navy maintains a Ensign flag on the mast of the shipwreck.

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020

 

SCUBA
54m / 177'

Map
3 33.6 N
104 28.7' E
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