Bismarck

Atlantic Ocean

The 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.


Name:
Former names:
Dimensions:
Bismarck

823,6 x 118,1 x 30,6 f
     
Tons: Built: Home Port:
41700 displ ( std )
Hamburg ( D ) 1939
Kiel ( D )

48°10′ N 16°12′ W

Picture: Bismarck conducting sea trials in 1940
Courtesy of Bundesarkiv, Public domain

Last updated: March 2021