The Sun Never Sets

The Global reach of the Royal Navy

Throughout the war, the British Empire's naval doctrine was centred around the idea of maintaining control of the seas. The concept of a "two-power standard" meant that the Royal Navy should always be equal in size to the next two largest navies combined.

This doctrine was embodied in the Royal Navy's fleet-in-being strategy, which aimed to keep the bulk of the fleet in port, ready to engage enemy forces when they attempted to leave port.

This strategy was used during the Battle of the Atlantic and other key naval battles.

The British naval strategy was focused on maintaining control of key strategic positions, such as the Mediterranean, and supporting Allied operations in Europe and North Africa. The Royal Navy also played a significant role in the Battle of the Atlantic, which aimed to protect vital Allied shipping from German U-boat attacks. A key strategic success was the sinking of the formidable German battleship Bismarck in May 1941, which helped to secure Allied control of the Atlantic.

British naval tactics during the Second World War included the use of convoy systems to protect Allied shipping and the development of radar technology to detect enemy ships and aircraft. The Royal Navy was also known for its use of carrier-based aircraft, which played a key role in the Battle of Taranto and other naval engagements. Another notable tactic was the use of midget submarines in Operation Source, which targeted the German battleship Tirpitz, which – thanks to persistent attention from the Allies – was unable to play much of an effective role throughout the entirety of the war.

Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham was the Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet and played a key role in the British Empire's naval strategy during The Second World War. Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay who came to prominence during Operation Dynamo – the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) - was another prominent British naval commander who was responsible for planning the amphibious landings in Normandy during the D-Day operation.

One of the biggest challenges facing the British Empire's naval forces during the War was the scarcity of resources, particularly in the early stages of the war. The Royal Navy was also stretched thin due to its global commitments, which meant that it had to rely on Allied navies to support operations in different theatres.

Additionally, the Royal Navy faced the threat of German U-boat attacks in the Atlantic, which posed a significant challenge to the British Empire's war effort. However, through a combination of strategic planning, technological innovation, and tactical prowess, the Royal Navy was able to overcome these challenges and make a significant contribution to the Allied victory in The Second World War.

Further reading