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  • British Pacific Fleet 1945 - HMS King George V

HMS King George V and HMS Formidable of the British Pacific Fleet off Japan in 1945 with Vought Corsair aircraft by Naval and Aviation Artist Roger H. Middlebrook 

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Though by the end of WWII the Royal Navy had given up its position as the world's largest fleet to the U.S Navy, it was still capable of fielding some powerful units and the British Pacific Fleet was a most impressive force indeed.

 

Here we have a scene in the latter part of WWII with the battleship HMS King George V in the foreground, being fuelled from an American tanker while a Vought Corsair IV of 1842 Sqn returns to HMS Formidable, visible in the background. HMS King George V had arrived in the Far East in January 1945, having taken part in operations around the Dutch East Indies the previous winter. She holds the distinction of being the last British battleship to fire her guns in anger when she bombarded Okinawa in July 1945. 

 

HMS Formidable, with her complement of Vought Corsairs and Grumman Avengers, arrived in the Far East in April 1945 and was struck twice by Japanese Kamikaze aircraft in May, sustaining some damage, but thanks to her armoured flight deck was still able to operate ordinarily. The Corsair is most famous for its use with the US Marine Corps and only much later made an appearance on American carriers. The British modified their aircraft to make the Corsair safer to use from the smaller British vessels, most notably by clipping the wings and actually had the aircraft flying safely off carriers before the US Navy. 

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British Pacific Fleet 1945 - HMS King George V

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