German battleship Bismarck was laid down by Blohm &
Voss BV in Hamburg in July 1936, and was launched in
February 1939. She was commissioned in August 1940 under
command of Kapitän zur see Otto Ernst Lindemann and
started sea trials and adjustments that lasted for several
months. In 1941 it was decided to send her out n the
Atlantic ocean to intercept and destroy enemy shipping.
Operation Rheinubüng was launched 18.May 1941, and
consisted of Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. After
passing Norway and Iceland, they were hunted down by a
British naval force consisting of the battleship Prince of Wales, the battlecruiser
Hood, two cruisers and several destroyers who were
patrolling the area. Contact was made in the morning
24,May and after a ten minute engagement, the British
battlecruiser Hood blew up and sank within a few minutes.
Prince of Wales was also hit and withdrew from the battle.
But Bismarck had also received hits, making her leak oil
at an alarming rate. Orders were given to set course for
France, shadowed by the remaining two British cruisers and
the damaged Prince of Wales. The German cruiser Prinz
Eugen was then ordered to continue raiding on her own. 25.
May the British force lost contact, but Bismarck was found
again the next day by a Catalina sea plane. The carrier
Ark Royal had arrived, and launched two air strikes. The
planes hit her with several torpedoes, critically damaging
her rudder and her ability to steer. Only able to run
around in circles out on the open seas, Bismarck was
doomed. 27.May the superior British forces engaged for the
last time, and Bismarck went down taking 2106 men from her
crew down with her in the deep. The wreck was found in
June 1989 by Robert Ballard, and rest today on her keel
600 nautical miles west of Brest on a depth of 4700 meter.
Also see her sister ship Tirpitz.
|823,6 x 118,1 x 30,6 f
| 41700 displ ( std )
|Hamburg ( D ) 1939
| Kiel ( D )