Royal Navy Losses in WW2

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Figure out what you are not good at, and assume it will not change, and then hire someone to compensate.

John Sexton, quoted by Anne Marie Slaughter. This is critical advice for any manager. You personally do not have to be good at everything, but you must be able to attract and retain a group of people that can do everything.

Figure 1: Pivot Table of Royal Navy Losses During WW2.

Figure 1: Pivot Table of Royal Navy Losses During WW2. (Data Source)

I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately on WW2 naval actions, and I have been putting together tables that show me ship losses by year. This information gives me a feel for the tempo of battle during the war. I first looked at US naval losses (link) and am now looking at the Royal Navy losses (Figure 1).

A key difference  between US and UK naval losses is when the loss peak occurred. The peak losses would occur when (1) there were significant operations in progress, and (2) both sides had significant numbers of combatants. The US rate of loss peaked during 1944, while the Royal Navy's losses peaked during 1942.

In 1942, the Royal Navy was quite focused on Atlantic convoy protection, and they would have had their hands full during the Second  Happy Time of the German U-boat fleet. After 1942, British anti-submarine warfare operations became so efficient that serving on U-boat was almost a death sentence. In 1944, US naval losses would have peaked while the US Navy was focused on island hopping and the Japanese still had a significant navy. By 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was a hollow force, and there were few IJN ships to engage US forces.

For those who are interested, my spreadsheet is here – along with the data, which I downloaded from a web page. The analysis was performed using Power Query, which is my primary tool for small data sets. To get a quick feel for the data, focus first on the sparklines at the right-hand side of the chart.


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