Re: How about more annoying the French!
As for PQ-17, if TIRPITZ had gotten loose it would have wiped out the entire escort. Yes, it was that much superior to anything available.
0. Immediate escort: 6 destroyers
1. Close escort: Cruisers HMS London, HMS Norfolk, USS Wichita, USS Tuscalusa and four destroyers
2. Second level escort: Aircraft carrier HMS Victorious, Battleship HMS Duke of York, cruisers HMS Cumberland and HMS Nigeria, Battleship USS Washington, and nine destroyers
Grand total: aircraft carrier, 2 Battleships, 6 cruisers, 19 destroyers with an additional home fleet task force within 300 nautical miles to reinforce if need be.
Against one battleship Tirpitz, one heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer with destroyer escort ~ 8 of them at the time.
Cough, cough, cough.
Yeah, I know, I am coughing just like my mom's adoptive father at the mere mentioning of Lord Dudley and the other "ranks" in the British fleet. Hint - the old man fought the war as a submariner from day one till the 9 of may and in 1942 he was a senior officer on the K21. I tend to believe him that Tirpitz turned back to port for a "technical" reason as a result of meeting them not just because the convoy spread out.