Force Z was a British naval squadron during the Second World War, consisting of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, and accompanying destroyers the E-class HMS Electra, Express, Encounter, and the J-class HMS Jupiter. For Force Z’s final voyage, the older S-class HMS Tenedos and Great War veteran V-class HMAS Vampire were substituted for the damaged Encounter and Jupiter, who remained in Singapore undergoing repairs.Initially a new aircraft carrier, HMS Indomitable, was to be included, but was unable to join after running aground in the Caribbean during working up trials. HMS Hermes was considered as a replacement, but this idea was dismissed as Hermes was too slow.
Assembled in 1941, the purpose of the group was to reinforce British Commonwealth assets in the Far East and deter Japanese expansion into British possessions, particularly Malaya and Singapore. The severe shortage of aircraft to protect Force Z, underestimation of the ability of the Japanese armed forces, and the political rather than naval impetus for its deployment are blamed for the destruction of the force.
The loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, 10 December 1941. Photograph taken from a Japanese aircraft during the initial high-level bombing attack. Repulse, near the bottom of the view, has just been hit by a bomb.