Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
You need to play a total of 10 battles to post in this section.

Sinking of the Bismark. 27th May 1941.

4 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

ST Coordinator
5,593 posts
7,352 battles
  • Under the cover of darkness in the early morning hours of May 19, 1941, the most formidable battleship to have ever been built slipped into the Baltic Sea on its maiden voyage. An ocean-bound castle, the thickly armoured Bismarck was the first full-scale battleship constructed by the German navy since World War I.

Accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, the largest warship afloat broke out into the frigid, open waters of the North Atlantic on a top-secret mission, codenamed Operation Rheinubung, to attack the Allied convoys crossing the ocean between the United States and Great Britain with oil, food and other supplies. Nazi leaders hoped that their “unsinkable” state-of-the-art battleship would sever the Allied lifeline and starve the British into submission.

Having received reports that Bismarck was loose in the Atlantic Ocean stalking its prey, the British dispatched a fleet to track down the Nazis’ daunting battleship. Among those in pursuit were the recently commissioned battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood. Launched in 1918, Hood was Britain’s largest battle cruiser and perhaps the most famous warship afloat.

A view of the German battleship Bismarck firing on a merchant ship in the north Atlantic.  (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images) A view of the German battleship Bismarck firing on a merchant ship in the north Atlantic. (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

At dawn on May 24, the tandem of British ships approached at full speed toward the enemy inside the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland. From 14 miles away, Hood fired the first shots. Saltwater geysers erupted around Bismarck as the shells that screamed overhead at 2,000 miles per hour narrowly missed their marks. Aboard Bismarck, Admiral Gunther Lutjens, commander in chief of the German Fleet, froze with indecision. As Hood continued to close in and fire, Bismarck Captain Ernst Lindemann finally took charge from his superior and ordered the battleship’s guns to return the salvos.

Bismarck and Hood traded thundering blows for four minutes until the Germans finally found their target. Bismarck’s shells ripped though the battle cruiser’s deck and hit close to the main tower. Then an armour-piercing shell tore deep into Hood’s ammunition magazine, unleashing a massive explosion that launched a column of fire 600 feet up into the air. The sailors aboard Prince of Wales felt the huge concussion and watched in horror as Hood buckled, broke in two and sank beneath the waves. Only three of Hood’s 1,421 crew members were pulled from the water alive. It was the Royal Navy’s largest loss of life ever from a single vessel.

Bismarck hardly escaped the nautical brawl unscathed. With his ship taking on seawater and haemorrhaging oil from a ruptured tank, Lutjens decided not to pursue the retreating Prince of Wales but to limp his wounded battleship back to the safety of port in Nazi-occupied France. Seeking revenge, British Admiral John Tovey called on all available ships in the British Home Fleet to hunt down Bismarck before it could reach land.

English battleship HMS Rodney built in 1922 which sank the german ship Bismarck in 1941. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images) English battleship HMS Rodney built in 1922 which sank the German ship Bismarck in 1941. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images)

On May 26, time grew critical as Bismarck approached within 12 hours of the protective air cover of the Luftwaffe. Tovey ordered an attack to be launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which had sailed north in storm-tossed seas along the Iberian Peninsula. Torpedo-equipped British Fairey Swordfish bombers took off from the warship’s deck and were quickly swallowed by storm clouds. Through the gale, the antiquated biplanes closed in on their target and launched their torpedoes—before realizing too late that they had accidentally attacked one of their own, HMS Sheffield. Fortunately the torpedoes’ warheads failed to detonate, averting a deadly accident.

The bombers returned to Ark Royal and rearmed for a second attack into the teeth of the storm, this time against the correct target. Britain’s buzzing biplanes descended like gnats upon Germany’s fire-spitting steel dragon. The courageous pilots in the biplanes’ open cockpits flew low so Bismarck’s sailors couldn’t train their guns, and the battleship’s anti-aircraft defences had trouble with the bombers’ slow speeds. British torpedoes from the archaic bombers managed to strike the modern metal behemoth’s weakest point—its undefended rudders. The attack tore an enormous hole in Bismarck’s hull and disabled its steering mechanism. Capable of only sailing in large circles, the helpless Bismarck spent the night surrounded by only the open ocean and the enemy.

German battleship Bismarck on the road to Denmark and Norway.  (Credit: Apic/Getty Images) German battleship Bismarck on the road to Denmark and Norway. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images)

Wanting to reduce the risk of friendly fire, Tovey waited until the morning to continue the attack. At daybreak on May 27, three British warships approached the crippled battleship and opened fire. Fierce barrages ensued over the next 90 minutes as the British ships closed in from a distance of 16 miles to 3,000 yards. With Bismarck still afloat, Tovey ordered the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire to fire her torpedoes at the enemy. The weapons hit their mark, and around 10:40 a.m. Bismarck slipped below the waves—finished off by either the last British salvo or a German decision to scuttle the mighty battleship. Hundreds of Germans sailors bobbed in the gale water, and British ships picked up 110 survivors before a U-Boat warning caused them to leave the wreckage and approximately 2,000 dead behind. Less than 10 days after its maiden voyage began, the “unsinkable” Bismarck sat upon the murky bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.





bis sea 6.jpg

bis sea 8.jpg

bis sea 9.jpg

bis sea.jpg

bis sea2.jpg

bis sea3.jpg

bis sea4.jpg

bis sea5.jpg

bis sea7.jpg

Edited by RalphTheTheatreCat
  • Cool 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 posts
551 battles

KMS Bismarck: Giving The Mighty Hood a Fun & Engaging™ experience since 1941.

  • Cool 1
  • Funny 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
379 posts
459 battles

I would certainly say the Bismarck is one of the most beautiful ships in WWII, i just like the minimalistic camo on it.

  • Cool 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this