Originally Posted by perseus
This article was also run in the London Times.
One of the reasons why it is claimed that the RAF won the Battle of Britain (ignoring the definition) was the subsequent importance of air actions at sea, such as the sinking of the Bismarck and Force Z for example. This implied that ships could not operate effectively without air cover. This assumption is somewhat doubtful however, when smaller ships such as destroyers and motor torpedo boats are concerned which would have been in the forefront of action. The Luftwaffe were wary of coming too close to warships with anti aircraft fire notwithstanding the inadequate fire control system used at that time. Although many British merchant ships were sunk in the Mediterranean and Arctic were the Luftwaffe generally held control of the air, they were unable to stop these convoys. The later American anti-aircraft systems were more than a match for any aircraft the axis forces could deploy against them and this questions the validity of the need for aerial dominance altogether.
OK, imagine that you are commanding the Royal Navy. The RAF has been defeated by some well-planned, brilliantly executed raids, and they have lost air superiority over the English Channel. Reconnaissance clearly shows that the Germans are preparing Operation Sea Lion, but that they are not yet ready. You receive orders to disrupt these preparations in any possible way, while trying to preserve your fleet to fight against the inevitable invasion. Given the capabilities of your fleet and the Luftwaffe, would you send your BBs and cruisers into the channel?