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Major British Warship Losses in World War 2
 

ROYAL NAVY LOSSES and LOSSES INFLICTED BY THE ROYAL NAVY ON THE AXIS NAVIES

 

by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Repulse, battlecruiser, lost 10 December 1941

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Contents

Royal Navy

strength and losses - losses by year - by theatre - by enemy - by cause

 

Losses Inflicted on Axis Navies

German - Italian - Japanese

 

 

ROYAL NAVY

 

TOTAL STRENGTH AND LOSSES

 

 

ROYAL NAVIES

Strength as of Sept 1939

 

Commissioned to Aug 1945

Total in service (a)

Losses of pre-war ships

 (as % of 1939 strength) (b)

Total losses

 (as % of total in service) (b)

 

Capital ships

 

 

15

 

5

 

20

 

4 (27%)

 

5 (25%)

Carriers

 

7

58(c)

65 (c)

5 (70%)

10 (15%)

Cruisers

 

66

35

101

24 (36%)

34 (34%)

Destroyers

 

184

277

461

94 (51%)

153 (33%)

Submarines

 

60

178

238

34 (57%)

76 (32%)

 

Totals

 

 

332

 

553

 

885

 

161 (48%)

 

278 (31%)

 

(a) Includes ships lost, transferred from US Navy and later returned, transferred from Royal Navies to Allies, captured from the Axis powers, and old vessels scrapped before end of war

 

(b) British & Dominion Navies only; excludes British Navy warships manned by or transferred to Allies. Also includes ships badly damaged and not repaired or fully re-commissioned. The percentage  (in brackets) of pre-war ships lost gives an indication of just how heavy casualties were in  the early years of World War 2

 

(c) Includes 2 escort carriers manned by Royal Canadian Navy

 

(-)   Many Dominion officers and men served in and sometimes commanded Royal Navy ships

 

 

OF THE ABOVE TOTALS:

 

 

Strength,  Sept 1939

Commissioned to Aug 1945

Total in service

Losses, pre-war ships

Losses in total

Australian

 

 

 

 

 

  Cruisers

6

1

7

3

3

  Destroyers

5

13

18

3

4

Canadian

 

 

 

 

 

  Carriers

-

2

2

-

1

  Cruisers

-

2

2

-

-

  Destroyers

6

29

35

4

7

New Zealand  

 

 

 

 

 

  Cruisers

2

1

3

-

-

 

 

 

LOSSES BY YEAR, including Not Repaired

 

 

Warship types

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Totals

 

Capital ships

 

 

1

 

-

 

4

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

5

Carriers

 

1

1

2

3

1

1

(RCN)

 

1

10

(1 RCN)

Cruisers

 

-

3

11

(1 RAN)

13

(2 RAN)

 

4

3

-

34

(3 RAN)

Destroyers

 

3

37

(2 RCN)

22

(1 RAN)

51

(3 RAN,

2 RCN)

 

18

(1 RCN)

20

(2 RCN)

2

153

 (4 RAN,

7 RCN)

Submarines

 

1

24

11

19

13

5

3

76

 

TOTALS

 

 

6

 

65

(2 RCN)

 

 

50

(2 RAN)

 

86

(5 RAN,

2 RCN)

 

 

36

(1 RCN)

 

29

(3 RCN)

 

6

 

278

(7 RAN,

8 RCN)

 

Ocean Escorts (a)

 

-

 

6

(1 RIN)

 

11

(1 RAN,

2 RCN)

 

14

(1 RAN,

2 RCN,

1 RIN)

 

9

(2 RCN)

 

29

(6 RCN)

 

12

(2 RCN)

 

72

(2 RAN,

14 RCN,

2 RIN)

 

(a) Includes sloops, corvettes, frigates and cutters, but NOT fleet and sloop minesweepers and armed merchant cruisers. A number of casualties towards the end of the war were not considered worth repairing.

 

 

LOSSES BY THEATRE

 

 

Warship types

Atlantic

Europe

Mediterranean

Indian & Pacific

 

Capital ships

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

2

Carriers

 

4

(1 RCN)

 

3

2

1

Cruisers

 

4

4

20

6

(3 RAN)

 

Destroyers

 

23

(5 RCN)

53

(2 RCN)

67

(2 RAN)

10

(2 RAN)

 

Submarines

 

5

21

45

5

 

TOTALS

 

 

37

(6 RCN)

 

 

82

(2 RCN)

 

135

(2 RAN)

 

24

(5 RAN)

 

Ocean Escorts

 

38

 (9 RCN)

 

23

 (4 RCN)

 

13

(1 RAN, 1 RCN)

 

5

(1 RAN, 2 RIN)

 

 

 

LOSS BY ENEMY

 

 

Warship types

 

German

Italian

Japanese

French

Other (a)

Unknown

Total

 

Capital ships

 

 

3

 

-

 

2

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

5

Carriers

 

8

-

1

-

1

-

10

Cruisers

 

20

6

5

-

3

-

34

Destroyers

 

114

15

8

1 (b)

15

-

153

Submarines (a)

 

24

37

4

-

6

5

76

 

Totals

 

 

169

 

58

 

20

 

1

 

25

 

5

 

278

 

(a) Includes accidental explosion and fire, collision with British or Allied ships, deliberately expended,  and marine loss from grounding or weather

 

(b) French shore batteries

 

(c) Submarines ‘presumed’ or ‘possibly’ lost due to various causes have been allocated to the Axis power most likely to have been responsible

  

 

CAUSE OF LOSS

 

 

Warship types

Surface forces

Submarine

Mines

Aircraft

Shore defences

Marine accident (& unknown)

Total

 

Capital ships

 

 

1

 

2

 

-

 

2

 

-

 

-

 

5

Carriers

 

1

7

-

1

-

1

10

Cruisers

 

8

9

2

12

-

3

34

Destroyers

 

22

33

26

55

2

15

153

Submarines

 

29

5

26

7

-

4 (+ 5)

76

 

Totals

 

 

61

 

56

 

54

 

77

 

2

 

23 (+5)

 

278

 

 


 

 

TOTAL AXIS NAVY LOSSES and THOSE INFLICTED BY THE ROYAL NAVY

 

 

GERMAN NAVY

 ALL MAJOR WARSHIPS

 

 

Warship types

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Totals

 

Capital ships 

 

1

(RN)

 

 

-

 

1

(RN)

 

-

 

1

(RN)

 

1

 

3 (a)

 

7

(3 RN)

Cruisers

 

-

3

(2 RN)

 

-

-

-

-

3 (a)

6

(2 RN)

Raiders

-

-

3

(RN)

 

3

(1 RN)

1

-

-

7

(4 RN)

Destroyers (b)

 

-

12

(RN)

 

-

4

(3 RN)

2

(1 RN)

7

(2 RN)

2

27

(18 RN)

Submarines

 

9

(RN)

22

(17 RN)

 

35

(28 RN)

86

(34 RN)

237

(61 RN)

242

(85 RN)

149

(41 RN)

780

(275 RN)

 

Totals

 

10

(RN)

 

37

(31 RN)

 

39

(32 RN)

 

93

(38 RN)

 

241

(63 RN)

 

250

(87 RN)

 

157

(41 RN)

 

827

(302 RN)

 

 

(a) All lost in port in bombing raids or scuttled

(b) Excludes large torpedo boats and ex-enemy destroyers

 

GERMAN NAVY - U-BOAT SUMMARIES (a)

 

 

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Totals

 

German U-boat  losses in total

 

 

9

 

22

 

35

 

86

 

237

 

242

 

149

 

780

 

By Theatre

 

Atlantic

5

11

27

69

202

111

16

442

Europe

4

11

3

3

10

98

132

260

Mediterranean

-

-

5

14

23

26

-

68

Indian Ocean

-

-

-

-

2

7

1

10

 

By Main Forces Responsible

 

British & Allied Navies*

9

17

28

34

61

85

41

 

275

British & Allied Air Forces

-

1

3

27

91

72

50

244

US & Allied Forces

n/a

n/a

-

18

72

44

41

175

Russian Forces

n/a

n/a

1

-

1

4

6

12

Others including scuttling (b)

-

4

3

6

12

37

11

73

 

*Of British and Allied Navies operating under British Command

 

British

9

17

24½

28

53

70½

37

239

Australian

-

-

1

-

½

-

-

Canadian

-

-

1

4 ½

4

11

3

23½

Indian

-

-

-

-

-

½

-

½

South African

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

Dutch

n/a

-

1

-

-

1

-

2

French

-

-

-

½

2 ½

½

-

3 ½

Greek

n/a

n/a

-

-

½

-

-

½

Norwegian

n/a

-

½

1

-

1

-

2 ½

Polish

-

-

-

-

½

½

-

1

 

German U-boat  losses in total

 

 

9

 

22

 

35

 

86

 

237

 

242

 

149

 

780

n/a Not applicable as country then not at war with the Axis powers

(a)     Sources vary on the cause of loss of some U-boats. This together with the difficulty of sharing responsibility when two or more forces or nations were involved means some of the ‘scores’  are somewhat arbitrary. However, the main trends are clear

(b)   U-boats scuttled in the closing days of the war are not included

 

 

ITALIAN NAVY

1940 to 8th September 1943

 

Warship types

1940

1941

1942

1943

Totals

 

Capital ships 

 

 

1

(RN)

 

-

 

-

             

 

-

 

1

(RN)

 

Cruisers

 

 

1

(RN)

 

6

(RN)

 

3

(2 RN)

 

2

 

12

(9 RN)

 

Destroyers  (a)

 

 

8

(RN)

 

14

(10 RN)

 

8

(4 RN)

 

13

(6 RN)

 

43

(28 RN)

 

Submarines

 

 

20

(12 RN)

 

18

(14 RN)

 

22

(17 RN)

 

25

(13 RN)

 

85

(56 RN)

 

Totals

 

30

(22 RN)

 

38

(30 RN)

 

33

(23 RN)

 

40

(19 RN)

 

141

(94 RN)

 

(a) Excludes large torpedo boats and destroyer escorts

 

 

 

 

JAPANESE NAVY

 

Warship types

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Totals

 

Capital ships

 

 

-

 

2

 

1

 

4

 

4

 

11

Carriers

 

-

6

1

12

2

21

Cruisers

 

-

6

2

24

(1 RN)

 

9

(3 RN)

41

(4 RN)

Destroyers

 

4

18

34

61

18

135

Submarines

 

3

16

(2½  RN)

28

(2½  RN)

 

53

(3 RN)

27

127

(8 RN)

 

Totals

 

7

 

48

(2½  RN)

 

66

(2½ RN)

 

154

(4 RN)

 

60

(3 RN)

 

335

(12 RN)

 

 

Of 12 Submarines sunk by Royal Navies: RN - 4, RAN - 2, RIN – ½, RNZN – 1½

 

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