Most significant British-Commonwealth defeat

The most significant one was...

  • Battle of Almansa, 1707

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Siege of Cartagena, 1741

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Siege of Fort William Henry, 1757

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Siege of Yorktown, 1781

    Votes: 11 31.4%
  • British invasion of the River Plate, 1806 and 1807

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Retreat from Kabul, 1842

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Siege of Cawnpore, 1857

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Battle of Isandlwana, 1879

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • Siege of Khartoum, 1884-1885

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Gallipoli campaign, 1915

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Battle of Singapore, 1942

    Votes: 13 37.1%
  • Battle of Arnhem, 1944

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 8.6%

  • Total voters
    35
Apr 2018
178
India
#43
The Battle of Coronel even more so.


Major, major shock.
Coronel was more like an ego bruiser. Plus none of those old junks were as much household dearies as was Hood. Also Coronel took place far away from home. But I'll admit I don't know much about the domestic reaction immediately after Coronel.

By the time the attack on Force Z happened the people had become immune to shocks and heartaches. Only Churchill had an out of body experience for some time, Lord Nelson's ghost pushed him back into his hide.
 
Apr 2014
337
Istanbul Turkey
#44
Since 'significant' means many things, the Battle of Denmark Strait gave the entire population a mini heart attack for 3 full days.
Outcome of Battle of Denmark Strait was more than balanced out with sinking of Bismark nine days later. HMS Hood was just an older battlecruiser and just one of eighteeen battleships Royal Navy had , Bismarck at the other hand was the newest and most modern battleship German Navy ever had with heavier armour and tonnage. With sinking of Bismark German Navy lost %25 of her battleship strength. Even loss of life and total casaulties are not equal. With sinking of of HMS Hood 1.400+ RN personnel perished , with sinking of Bismark 2.000+ German naval personnel died and plus 125 of them were captured. I wouldn't call Operation Rhinenburg a British defeat , on the contrary Royal Navy declared that on surface they were dominant force at Atlantic and Mediterranean.
 
Likes: redcoat

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,367
US
#45
I debated between Yorktown and Singapore. I believe the latter was more devastating at the time, but as for significance I believe the permanent loss of the American colonies was more so, primarily because things were ultimately rectified with the loss of Singapore once the Japanese were defeated. I realize that Britain's relationship to Singapore was not the same after as before the defeat, but that is more a function of the times, as colonialism faded for all. If the American colonies had remained under British control/influence, I imagine there would be a similar relationship bewteen them as that between Britain and their other former colonies like Canada and Australia.
 
Aug 2010
15,231
Welsh Marches
#46
As has alreadyy been noted. the Battle of the Somme was not actually a defeat; and it has to be viewed in connection with the attritional nature of WW1 fighting, in which the defending side always had a notable advantage. Left a very notable mark, though, on public opinion in Britain.
 
Apr 2018
178
India
#47
Outcome of Battle of Denmark Strait was more than balanced out with sinking of Bismark nine days later. HMS Hood was just an older battlecruiser and just one of eighteeen battleships Royal Navy had , Bismarck at the other hand was the newest and most modern battleship German Navy ever had with heavier armour and tonnage. With sinking of Bismark German Navy lost %25 of her battleship strength. Even loss of life and total casaulties are not equal. With sinking of of HMS Hood 1.400+ RN personnel perished , with sinking of Bismark 2.000+ German naval personnel died and plus 125 of them were captured. I wouldn't call Operation Rhinenburg a British defeat , on the contrary Royal Navy declared that on surface they were dominant force at Atlantic and Mediterranean.
True. But the temporary setback (sinking of Hood) had a great emotional effect on the populace. Although Hood was nothing but an old WW1 era battlecruiser, it wasn't seen by the commonfolk as such. It was perceived as the symbol of British naval superiority. Therefore it was impossible for the British people to digest the fact that that very symbol was vanquished so easily. Note that the Royal Navy lost numerous heavies during the war - HMS Glorious, HMS Courageous, HMS Barham, Force Z, HMS Royal Oak, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Cornwall; the list is quite long. None of these ships were avenged as Hood was, and yet non of these incidents are remembered with such emotion (I don't say that they are forgotten) as the sinking of the Hood even today. None gained such infamy as the Battle of Denmark Strait.

Even more severe was the predicament of the Government and the Navy, especially at the time when Bismarck was almost out of hand and Ramillies alone was in its way.

Operation Rhineubung and its aftermath was a strategic victory and tactical pyrrhic victory for Royal Navy. It wasn't significant in any long term sense as was Singapore or Cartagena. But the effect it had on the minds of general public was significant and that's what I was pointing out.
 
Apr 2014
337
Istanbul Turkey
#48
True. But the temporary setback (sinking of Hood) had a great emotional effect on the populace. Although Hood was nothing but an old WW1 era battlecruiser, it wasn't seen by the commonfolk as such. It was perceived as the symbol of British naval superiority. Therefore it was impossible for the British people to digest the fact that that very symbol was vanquished so easily. Note that the Royal Navy lost numerous heavies during the war - HMS Glorious, HMS Courageous, HMS Barham, Force Z, HMS Royal Oak, HMS Dorsetshire, HMS Cornwall; the list is quite long. None of these ships were avenged as Hood was, and yet non of these incidents are remembered with such emotion (I don't say that they are forgotten) as the sinking of the Hood even today. None gained such infamy as the Battle of Denmark Strait.

Even more severe was the predicament of the Government and the Navy, especially at the time when Bismarck was almost out of hand and Ramillies alone was in its way.

Operation Rhineubung and its aftermath was a strategic victory and tactical pyrrhic victory for Royal Navy. It wasn't significant in any long term sense as was Singapore or Cartagena. But the effect it had on the minds of general public was significant and that's what I was pointing out.

Eventual significance of Bismark's sinking both on Britain , neutrals even Germany had been significant. HMS Hood was avanged mere nine days later. Bismark failed in her main mission during maiden voyage , couldn't sink a single merchant ship and sent to bottom. Never after that German Navy heavy units sortied in deep Atlantic. Loss of Bismark had been not only a strategic lesson for them but also a morale crush. While British were satisfied Hood was avanged , according to Goebbels "both Hitler and German nation fell into a deep melancoly" because of loss of Bismark in last days of May 1941.