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HMS Prince of Wales

HMS Prince of Wales was a King George V-class battleship of World War II.

She was laid down January 2, 1937 at Birkenhead, England. She was launched May 3, 1939, and commissioned March 31, 1941.

Shortly after her commissioning, Prince of Wales joined HMS Hood in stalking and attacking the German battleship Bismarck and the accompanying cruiser Prinz Eugen. Following the sinking of the Hood and the disabling of much of her weaponry, Prince of Wales fled the scene under a smokescreen, but not before scoring several hits on Bismarck. She played no further role in the sinking of Bismarck.

In December 1941, Prince of Wales arrived in Singapore, along with HMS Repulse, to serve as a deterrent to Japanese aggression. The battleships failed miserably at this, as they were sunk by Japanese bombers on December 10, 1941. They were the first battleships to be sunk solely by airpower on the open sea, a harbinger of the diminishing role this class of ships was to play in warfare. A possible reason that she was sunk was due to a delay by the British Admirality. They were unsure if they should order the Prince of Wales to reinforce the American fleet, which had been descimated at Pearl Harbor.