|Constructed:||July 1st, 1936|
|Launched:||February 14th, 1939|
|Commissioned:||August 24th, 1940|
|First Time Sunk:||May 27th, 1941|
|Second Time Sunk:||August 13th, 2014|
|Length:||241.6 m (793 ft)|
|Sister Ship:||Kriegsmarine Prinz Eugen|
The Kriegsmarine Bismarck was a Nazi Suber battleship that served in the second World War during the Atlantic campaingh before her simling in May of 1941, in the hands of the British HMS Rodney. In the 21st Century The Bismark returned, back to the surface from an unknown origin, revealing it to be combat capable again. During the United Nazi War, the Bismarck first reveals itself to the people of the 21st Century during the New England Evacuation, where it surprised the HMS New Hood and sunk her while she was covering the fleet of Refuge ships trying to escape New England.
Even after the Evacuation , many people began to fill there heads with about 1,000 unanswered questions, on how the ship was brought back to the surface, and how it is still combat compatible after being down under the Atlantic ocean for the past 70 years.
During the Second World War, Bismarck was ordered under the name Ersatz Hannover, a replacement for the old pre-dreadnought SMS Hannover, under contract "F". The contract was awarded to the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where the keel was laid on 1 July 1936 at Helgen IX. The ship was launched on 14 February 1939; during the elaborate ceremonies, the ship was christened by Dorothee von Löwenfeld, the granddaughter of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the ship's namesake. Adolf Hitler held the christening speech. Fitting-out work followed the launch, during which time her original straight stem was replaced with a raked "Atlantic bow" similar to the Scharnhorst-class battleships. Bismarck was commissioned into the fleet on 24 August 1940 for sea trials, which were conducted in the Baltic. Kapitän zur See Ernst Lindemann took command of the ship at the time of her commissioning. Bismarck displaced 41,700 t (41,000 long tons) as built and 50,300 t (49,500 long tons) fully loaded, with an overall length of 251 m (823 ft 6 in), a beam of 36 m (118 ft 1 in) and a maximum draft of 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in). She was Germany's largest battleship, and displaced more than any other European battleship, with the exception of HMS Vanguard. She was powered by three Blohm & Voss geared steam turbines and twelve oil-fired Wagner superheated boilers, which developed a total of 150,170 shaft horsepower (111,980 kW) and yielded a maximum speed of 30.01 knots (55.58 km/h; 34.53 mph) on speed trials. She had a cruising range of 8,870 nautical miles (16,430 km; 10,210 mi) at 19 kn (35 km/h; 22 mph). Bismarck was equipped with three FuMO 23 search radar sets, mounted on the forward and stern range-finders and the ship's foretop.
Her standard crew numbered 103 officers and 1,962 enlisted men. The crew was divided into twelve divisions of between 180 and 220 men. The first six divisions were assigned to the ship's armaments, divisions one through four for the main and secondary batteries and five and six manning anti-aircraft guns. The seventh division consisted of specialists, including cooks and carpenters, and the eighth division consisted of ammunition handlers. The radio operators, signalmen, and quartermasters were assigned to the ninth division. The last three divisions were the engine room personnel. When Bismarck left port, fleet staff, prize crews, and war correspondents increased the crew complement to over 2,200 men. Roughly 200 of the engine room personnel came from the light cruiser Karlsruhe, which had been lost during Operation Weserübung, the German invasion of Norway. Her crew published a ship's newspaper titled Die Schiffsglocke (The Ship's Bell); this paper was only published once, on 23 April 1941 by the commander of the engineering department, Gerhard Junack.
Bismarck was armed with eight 38 cm SK C/34 guns arranged in four twin gun turrets: two super-firing turrets forward—"Anton" and "Bruno"—and two aft—"Caesar" and "Dora". Her secondary armament consisted of twelve 15 cm (5.9 in) L/55 guns, sixteen 10.5 cm (4.1 in) L/65 and sixteen 3.7 cm (1.5 in) L/83, and twelve 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft guns. The ship's main belt was 320 mm (13 in) thick and was covered by a pair of upper and main armoured decks that were 50 mm (2.0 in) and 100 to 120 mm (3.9 to 4.7 in) thick, respectively. The 38 cm (15 in) turrets were protected by 360 mm (14.2 in) thick faces and 220 mm (8.7 in) thick sides.
Second World WarEdit
Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the unification of Germany in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched two and a half years later in February 1939. Work was completed in August 1940, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power.
In the course of the warship's eight-month career under its sole commanding officer, Capt. Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941, codenamed Rheinübung. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, however, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of Denmark Strait, Bismarck engaged and destroyed the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat; Bismarck herself was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank.
On 15 September 1940, three weeks after her commissioning, Bismarck left Hamburg to begin sea trials in Kiel Bay. Sperrbrecher 13 escorted the ship to Arcona on 28 September, and then on to Gotenhafen for trials in the Gulf of Danzig. The ship's power-plant was given a thorough workout; Bismarck made measured-mile and high speed runs. While her stability and manoeuvrability were being tested, a flaw in the ship's design was discovered. While attempting to steer the ship solely through altering propeller revolutions, the crew learned that Bismarck could be kept on course only with great difficulty. Even with the outboard screws running at full power in opposite directions, they generated only a slight turning ability. Bismarck's main battery guns were first test-fired in late November. The tests proved she was a very stable gun platform. Trials lasted until December; Bismarck returned to Hamburg, arriving on 9 December, for minor alterations and the completion of the fitting-out process.
The ship was scheduled to return to Kiel on 24 January 1941, but a merchant vessel had been sunk in the Kiel Canal and prevented usage of the waterway. Severe weather hampered efforts to remove the wreck, and Bismarck was not able to reach Kiel until March. The delay greatly frustrated Lindemann, who remarked that "[Bismarck] had been tied down at Hamburg for five weeks ... the precious time at sea lost as a result cannot be made up, and a significant delay in the final war deployment of the ship thus is unavoidable." While waiting to reach Kiel, Bismarck hosted Captain Anders Forshell, the Swedish naval attaché to Berlin. He returned to Sweden with a detailed description of the ship, which was subsequently leaked to Britain by pro-British elements in the Swedish Navy. The information provided the Royal Navy with its first full description of the vessel, although it lacked specificity on important facts, including top speed, radius of action, and displacement.
On 6 March, Bismarck received the order to steam to Kiel. While en route, the ship was escorted by several Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and a pair of armed merchant vessels, along with an icebreaker. At 08:45 on 8 March, Bismarck briefly ran aground on the southern shore of the Kiel Canal, though she was freed within an hour. The ship reached Kiel the following day, where her crew stocked ammunition, fuel, and other supplies and applied a coat of dazzle paint to camouflage her. British bombers attacked the harbour without success on 12 March. On 17 March, the old battleship Schlesien, now used as an icebreaker, escorted Bismarck through the ice to Gotenhafen, where the latter continued combat readiness training. The Naval High Command (Oberkommando der Marine or OKM), commanded by Admiral Erich Raeder, intended to continue the practice of using heavy ships as surface raiders against Allied merchant traffic in the Atlantic Ocean. The two Scharnhorst-class battleships were based in Brest, France, at the time, having just completed Operation Berlin, a major raid into the Atlantic. Bismarck's sister ship Tirpitz rapidly approached completion. Bismarck and Tirpitz were to sortie from the Baltic and rendezvous with the two Scharnhorst-class ships in the Atlantic; the operation was initially scheduled for around 25 April 1941, when a new moon period would make conditions more favourable.
Work on Tirpitz was completed later than anticipated, however, and she was not commissioned until 25 February; the ship would not be ready for combat until late in the year. To further complicate the situation, Gneisenau was torpedoed while in Brest and damaged further by bombs when in drydock. Scharnhorst required a boiler overhaul following Operation Berlin; the workers discovered during the overhaul that the boilers were in worse condition than expected. She would also be unavailable for the planned sortie. Attacks by British bombers on supply depots in Kiel delayed repairs to the heavy cruisers Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper. The two ships would not be ready for action until July or August. Admiral Günther Lütjens, the officer chosen to lead the operation, wished to delay the operation at least until either Scharnhorst or Tirpitz became available, but the OKM decided to proceed with the operation, codenamed Operation Rheinübung, with a force consisting of only Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.
On 5 May, Adolf Hitler and Wilhelm Keitel, with a large entourage, arrived to view Bismarck and Tirpitz in Gotenhafen. The men were given an extensive tour of the ships, after which Hitler met with Lütjens to discuss the upcoming mission. On 16 May, Lütjens reported that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were fully prepared for Operation Rheinübung; he was therefore ordered to proceed with the mission on the evening of 19 May. As part of the operational plans, a group of eighteen supply ships would be positioned to support Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Four U-boats would be placed along the convoy routes between Halifax and Britain to scout for the raiders.
By the start of the operation, Bismarck's crew had increased to 2,221 officers and enlisted men. This included an admiral's staff of nearly 65 and a prize crew of 80 sailors, which could be used to crew transports captured during the mission. At 02:00 on 19 May, Bismarck departed Gotenhafen and made for the Danish straits. She was joined at 11:25 by Prinz Eugen, which had departed the previous night at 21:18, off Cape Arkona. The two ships were escorted by three destroyers—Hans Lody, Friedrich Eckoldt, and Z23—and a flotilla of minesweepers. The Luftwaffe provided air cover during the voyage out of German waters. At around noon on 20 May, Lindemann informed the ship's crew via loudspeaker of the ship's mission. At approximately the same time, a group of ten or twelve Swedish aircraft flying reconnaissance encountered the German force and reported its composition and heading, though the Germans did not see the Swedes.
An hour later, the German flotilla encountered the Swedish cruiser HMS Gotland; the cruiser shadowed the Germans for two hours in the Kattegat. Gotland transmitted a report to naval headquarters, stating: "Two large ships, three destroyers, five escort vessels, and 10–12 aircraft passed Marstrand, course 205°/20'." The OKM was not concerned about the security risk posed by Gotland, though both Lütjens and Lindemann believed operational secrecy had been lost. The report eventually made its way to Captain Henry Denham, the British naval attaché to Sweden, who transmitted the information to the Admiralty. The code-breakers at Bletchley Park confirmed that an Atlantic raid was imminent, as they had decrypted reports that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen had taken on prize crews and requested additional navigational charts from headquarters. A pair of Supermarine Spitfires were ordered to search the Norwegian coast for the flotilla.
German aerial reconnaissance confirmed that one aircraft carrier, three battleships, and four cruisers remained at anchor in the main British naval base at Scapa Flow, which confirmed to Lütjens that the British were at that point unaware of his operation. On the evening of 20 May, Bismarck and the rest of the flotilla reached the Norwegian coast; the minesweepers were detached and the two raiders and their destroyer escorts continued north. The following morning, radio-intercept officers on board Prinz Eugen picked up a signal ordering British reconnaissance aircraft to search for two battleships and three destroyers northbound off the Norwegian coast. At 7:00 on the 21st, the Germans spotted four unidentified aircraft, though they quickly departed. Shortly after 12:00, the flotilla reached Bergen and anchored at Grimstadfjord. While there, the ships' crews painted over the Baltic camouflage with the standard "outboard grey" worn by German warships operating in the Atlantic. While in Norway, a pair of Bf 109 fighters circled over Bismarck to protect her from British air attacks. Nevertheless, Flying Officer Michael Suckling managed to fly his Spitfire directly over the German flotilla at a height of 8,000 m (26,000 ft) and snap several photos of Bismarck and her consorts. Upon receipt of the information, Admiral John Tovey ordered the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the newly commissioned battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and six destroyers to reinforce the pair of cruisers patrolling the Denmark Strait. The rest of the Home Fleet was placed on high alert in Scapa Flow. Eighteen bombers were dispatched to attack the Germans, but weather over the fjord had worsened and they were unable to find the German warships. Bismarck failed to replenish her fuel stores while anchored in Norway, as her operational orders did not require her to do so. She had left port 200 t (200 long tons) short of a full load, and had since expended another 1,000 t (980 long tons) on the voyage from Gotenhafen. Prinz Eugen, meanwhile, took on 764 t (752 long tons) of fuel. At 19:30 on 21 May, Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, and the three escorting destroyers left Bergen. At midnight, when the force was in the open sea and headed toward the Arctic Ocean, Raeder finally disclosed the operation to Hitler, who only reluctantly consented to the raid. The three escorting destroyers were detached at 04:14 on 22 May, while the force steamed off Trondheim. At around 12:00, Lütjens ordered his two ships to turn toward the Denmark Strait to attempt the break-out into the open Atlantic.
By 04:00 on 23 May, Lütjens ordered Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to increase speed to 27 kn (50 km/h; 31 mph) to make the dash through the Denmark Strait. Upon entering the Strait, both ships activated their FuMO radar detection equipment sets. Bismarck led Prinz Eugen by about 700 m (770 yd); mist reduced visibility to 3,000 to 4,000 m (3,300 to 4,400 yd). The Germans encountered some ice at around 10:00, which necessitated a reduction in speed to 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph). Two hours later, the pair had reached a point north of Iceland. The ships were forced to zigzag to avoid ice floes. At 19:22, hydrophone and radar operators aboard the German warships detected the cruiser HMS Suffolk at a range of approximately 12,500 m (13,700 yd). Prinz Eugen's radio-intercept team decrypted the radio signals being sent by Suffolk and learned that their location had indeed been reported. Lütjens gave permission for Prinz Eugen to engage Suffolk, though the captain of the German cruiser could not clearly make out his target and so held his ship's fire. Suffolk quickly retreated to a safe distance and shadowed the German ships. At 20:30, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk joined Suffolk, but approached the German raiders too closely. Lütjens ordered his ships to engage the British cruiser; Bismarck fired five salvoes, three of which straddled Norfolk and rained shell splinters on her decks. The cruiser laid a smoke screen and fled into a fog bank, ending the brief engagement. The concussion from the 38 cm guns' firing disabled Bismarck's FuMO 23 radar set; this prompted Lütjens to order Prinz Eugen to take station ahead so she could use her functioning radar to scout for the formation.
At around 22:00, Lütjens ordered Bismarck to make a 180-degree turn in an effort to surprise the two heavy cruisers shadowing him. Although Bismarck was visually obscured in a rain squall, Suffolk's radar quickly detected the manoeuvre, allowing the cruiser to evade. The cruisers remained on station through the night, continually relaying the location and bearing of the German ships. The harsh weather broke on the morning of 24 May, revealing a clear sky. At 05:07 that morning, hydrophone operators aboard Prinz Eugen detected a pair of unidentified vessels approaching the German formation at a range of 20 nmi (37 km; 23 mi), reporting "Noise of two fast-moving turbine ships at 280° relative bearing!"
Battle of Denmark StraitsEdit
At 05:45, German lookouts spotted smoke on the horizon; this turned out to be from Hood and Prince of Wales, under the command of Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland. Lütjens ordered his ships' crews to battle stations. By 05:52, the range had fallen to 26,000 m (28,000 yd) and Hood opened fire, followed by Prince of Wales a minute later. Hood engaged Prinz Eugen, which the British thought to be Bismarck, while Prince of Wales fired on Bismarck.[d] Adalbert Schneider, the first gunnery officer aboard Bismarck, twice requested permission to return fire, but Lütjens hesitated. Lindemann intervened, muttering "I will not let my ship be shot out from under my ass." He demanded permission to fire from Lütjens, who relented and at 05:55 ordered his ships to engage the British.
The British ships approached the German ships head on, which permitted them to use only their forward guns, while Bismarck and Prinz Eugen could fire full broadsides. Several minutes after opening fire, Holland ordered a 20° turn to port, which would allow his ships to engage with their rear gun turrets. Both German ships concentrated their fire on Hood; about a minute after opening fire, Prinz Eugen scored a hit with a high-explosive 20.3 cm (8.0 in) shell; the explosion detonated Unrotated Projectile ammunition and started a large fire, which was quickly extinguished. After firing three four-gun salvos, Schneider had zeroed in the range to Hood; he immediately ordered rapid-fire salvos from Bismarck's eight 38 cm guns. He also ordered the ship's 15 cm secondary guns to engage Prince of Wales. Holland then ordered a second 20° turn to port, to bring his ships on a parallel course with Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen to shift fire and target Prince of Wales, to keep both of his opponents under fire. Within a few minutes, Prinz Eugen scored a pair of hits on the battleship that started a small fire.
Lütjens then ordered Prinz Eugen to drop behind Bismarck, so she could continue to monitor the location of Norfolk and Suffolk, which were still some 10 to 12 nmi (19 to 22 km; 12 to 14 mi) to the east. At 06:00, Hood was completing the second turn to port when Bismarck's fifth salvo hit. Two of the shells landed short, striking the water close to the ship, but at least one of the 38 cm armour-piercing shells struck Hood and penetrated her thin deck armour. The shell reached Hood's rear ammunition magazine and detonated 112 t (110 long tons) of cordite propellant. The massive explosion broke the back of the ship between the main mast and the rear funnel; the forward section continued to move forward briefly before the in-rushing water caused the bow to rise into the air at a steep angle. The stern similarly rose upward as water rushed into the ripped-open compartments. Schneider exclaimed "He is sinking!" over the ship's loudspeakers. In only eight minutes of firing, Hood had disappeared, taking all but three of her crew of 1,419 men with her.
Bismarck then shifted fire to Prince of Wales. The British battleship scored a hit on Bismarck with her sixth salvo, but the German ship found her mark with her first salvo. One of the shells struck the bridge on Prince of Wales, though it did not explode and instead exited the other side, killing everyone in the ship's command centre, save Captain John Leach, the ship's commander, and one other. The two German ships continued to fire upon Prince of Wales, causing serious damage. Guns malfunctioned on the recently commissioned British ship, which still had civilian technicians aboard. Despite her problematic main battery, Prince of Wales scored three hits on Bismarck in the engagement. The first struck her in the forecastle above the waterline, but low enough to allow the crashing waves to enter the hull. The second shell struck below the armoured belt and exploded on contact with the torpedo bulkhead, inflicting minimal damage. The third shell passed through one of the boats carried aboard the ship and then went through the float plane catapult without exploding.
At 06:13, Leach gave the order to retreat; only two of his ship's ten 14 in (360 mm) guns were still firing and his ship had sustained significant damage. Prince of Wales made a 160° turn and laid a smoke screen to cover her withdrawal. The Germans ceased fire as the range widened. Though Lindemann strongly advocated chasing Prince of Wales and destroying her, Lütjens obeyed operational orders to shun any avoidable engagement with enemy forces that were not protecting a convoy, firmly rejected the request, and instead ordered Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to head for the North Atlantic. In the engagement, Bismarck had fired 93 armour-piercing shells and had been hit by three shells in return. The forecastle hit allowed 1,000 to 2,000 t (980 to 2,000 long tons; 1,100 to 2,200 short tons) of water to flood the ship, which contaminated fuel oil stored in the bow. Lütjens refused to reduce speed to allow damage control teams to repair the shell hole which widened and allowed more water into the ship. The second hit caused some flooding and splinters damaged a steam line in the turbo-generator room, though Bismarck had sufficient generator reserves that this was not problematic. The flooding from these two hits caused a 9-degree list to port and a 3-degree trim by the bow.
The Chase is onEdit
After the engagement, Lütjens reported, "Battlecruiser, probably Hood, sunk. Another battleship, King George V or Renown, turned away damaged. Two heavy cruisers maintain contact." At 08:01, he transmitted a damage report and his intentions to OKM, which were to detach Prinz Eugen for commerce raiding and to make for St Nazaire for repairs. Shortly after 10:00, Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen to fall behind Bismarck to discern the severity of the oil leakage from the bow hit. After confirming "broad streams of oil on both sides of [Bismarck's] wake", Prinz Eugen returned to the forward position. About an hour later, a British Short Sunderland flying boat reported the oil slick to Suffolk and Norfolk, which had been joined by the damaged Prince of Wales. Rear Admiral Frederic Wake-Walker, the commander of the two cruisers, ordered Prince of Wales to remain behind his ships. The Royal Navy ordered all warships in the area to join the pursuit of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Tovey's Home Fleet was steaming to intercept the German raiders, but on the morning of 24 May, was still over 350 nmi (650 km; 400 mi) away. The Admiralty ordered the light cruisers Manchester, Birmingham, and Arethusa to patrol the Denmark Strait in the event that Lütjens attempted to retrace his route. The battleship Rodney, which had been escorting RMS Britannic and was due for a refit in the Boston Navy Yard, joined Tovey. Two old Revenge-class battleships were ordered into the hunt: Revenge, from Halifax, and Ramillies, which was escorting Convoy HX 127. In all, six battleships and battlecruisers, two aircraft carriers, thirteen cruisers, and twenty-one destroyers were committed to the chase. By around 17:00, the crew aboard Prince of Wales restored nine of her ten main guns to working order, which permitted Wake-Walker to place her in the front of his formation to attack Bismarck if the opportunity arose. With the weather worsening, Lütjens attempted to detach Prinz Eugen at 16:40. The squall was not heavy enough to cover her withdrawal from Wake-Walker's cruisers, which continued to maintain radar contact. Prinz Eugen was therefore recalled temporarily. The cruiser was successfully detached at 18:14. Bismarck turned around to face Wake-Walker's formation, forcing Suffolk to turn away at high speed. Prince of Wales fired twelve salvos at Bismarck, which responded with nine salvos, none of which hit. The action diverted British attention and permitted Prinz Eugen to slip away. After Bismarck resumed her previous heading, Wake-Walker's three ships took up station on Bismarck's port side. Although Bismarck had been damaged in the engagement and forced to reduce speed, she was still capable of reaching 27 to 28 kn (50 to 52 km/h; 31 to 32 mph), the same maximum speed as Tovey's King George V. Unless Bismarck could be slowed, the British would be unable to prevent her from reaching St Nazaire. Shortly before 16:00 on 25 May, Tovey detached the aircraft carrier Victorious and four light cruisers to shape a course that would position her to launch her torpedo bombers. At 22:00, Victorious launched the strike, which comprised six Fairey Fulmar fighters and nine Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers. The inexperienced aviators nearly attacked Norfolk on their approach; the confusion alerted Bismarck's anti-aircraft gunners. Bismarck even used her main and secondary batteries to fire at maximum depression to create giant splashes in the paths of the incoming torpedo bombers. Nevertheless, none of the attacking aircraft were shot down. Bismarck evaded eight of the nine torpedoes launched at her. The ninth struck amidships on the main armoured belt and caused minor damage. The concussive shock threw one man into a wall and killed him; five others were injured. The explosive shock from the torpedo hit caused minor damage to electrical equipment, though the high speed and erratic manoeuvres used to evade the torpedoes inflicted more serious damage. The rapid shifts in speed and course loosened collision mats, so that flooding from the forward shell hole increased; eventually the port side number 2 boiler room had to be abandoned. The loss of now two boilers on the port shaft, coupled with decreasing fuel levels and the increasing bow trim, forced a reduction in speed to 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph). Divers repaired the collision mats in the bow, after which speed increased to 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph). The command staff had determined that this was the most economical speed for the voyage to occupied France. Shortly after the Swordfish departed the scene, Bismarck and Prince of Wales engaged in a brief artillery duel. Both ships failed to score any hits. Bismarck's damage control teams resumed work after the short engagement. The sea water that had flooded the number 2 port side boiler threatened to enter the number 4 turbo-generator feedwater system, which would have permitted saltwater to reach the turbines. The saltwater would have destroyed the turbine blades and thus greatly reduced the ship's speed. By morning on 25 May, the danger had passed, however. The ship slowed to 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph) to allow divers to pump fuel from the forward compartments to the rear tanks; two hoses were successfully connected and a few hundred tons of fuel was transferred. As the chase entered open waters, Wake-Walker's ships were compelled to zig-zag to avoid German U-boats that might be in the area. This required the ships to steam for ten minutes to port, then ten minutes to starboard, to keep the ships on the same base course. For the last few minutes of the turn to port, Bismarck was out of range of Suffolk's radar. At 03:00 on the morning of 25 May, Lütjens ordered the ship increase to maximum speed, which at this point was 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph). He then ordered the ship to circle away to the west and then north. This manoeuvre coincided with the period during which his ship was out of radar range; Bismarck successfully broke radar contact and circled back behind her pursuers. Suffolk's captain assumed that Bismarck had broken off to the west and attempted to find her by steaming west, too. After half an hour, he informed Wake-Walker, who ordered the three ships to disperse at daylight to search visually. The Royal Navy search became frantic, as many of the British ships were low on fuel. Victorious and her escorting cruisers were sent west, Wake-Walker's ships continued to the south and west, and Tovey continued to steam toward the mid-Atlantic. Force H, centred on the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and steaming up from Gibraltar, was still at least a day away. Unaware that he had shaken off Wake-Walker, Lütjens sent long radio messages to Naval Group West, based in Paris. These signals were intercepted by the British, from which bearings were determined. They were erroneously plotted, however, which kept Tovey's fleet on wrong courses for seven hours. By the time the mistake had been discovered, Bismarck was gone.
British code-breakers were able to decrypt some of the German signals, including an order for Lütjens to make for Brest. The French Resistance provided the British with confirmation, as Luftwaffe units were relocating to Brest to provide support. Tovey could now turn his forces toward France to converge in areas through which Bismarck would have to pass. A squadron of Coastal Command PBY Catalinas based in Northern Ireland joined the search, covering areas where Bismarck might be headed in her attempt to reach occupied France. At 10:30 on 26 May, a Catalina piloted by Ensign Leonard B. Smith of the US Navy located her, some 690 nmi (1,280 km; 790 mi) northwest of Brest.[e] At her current speed, she would have been close enough to reach the protection of U-boats and the Luftwaffe in less than a day. There were no British forces close enough to stop her. The only possibility for the Royal Navy was Ark Royal with Force H, under the command of Admiral James Somerville. Victorious, Prince of Wales, Suffolk, and Repulse were forced to break off the search due to fuel concerns; the only heavy ships remaining apart from Force H were King George V and Rodney, but they were too distant. Ark Royal's Swordfish were already searching nearby when the Catalina found her. Several torpedo bombers also located the battleship, about 60 nmi (110 km; 69 mi) away from Ark Royal. Somerville ordered an attack as soon as the Swordfish returned and were rearmed with torpedoes. He detached the cruiser Sheffield to shadow Bismarck, though Ark Royal's aviators were not informed of this. As a result, the Swordfish, which were armed with torpedoes equipped with new magnetic detonators, accidentally attacked Sheffield. The magnetic detonators failed to work properly, and Sheffield emerged unscathed.
Upon returning to Ark Royal, the Swordfish loaded torpedoes equipped with contact detonators. The second attack comprised fifteen aircraft and was launched at 19:10. At 20:47, the torpedo bombers began their attack descent through the clouds. While the Swordfish approached, Bismarck fired her main battery at Sheffield, straddling the cruiser with her second salvo. Shell fragments rained down on Sheffield, killing three men and wounding several others. Sheffield quickly retreated under cover of a smoke screen. The Swordfish then attacked; Bismarck began to turn violently while her anti-aircraft batteries attempted to destroy the incoming bombers. She evaded most of the torpedoes, though two found their mark. One hit amidships on the port side, just below the bottom edge of the main armour belt. The force of the explosion was largely contained by the underwater protection system and the belt armour, but some structural damage was effected, which allowed minor flooding. The second torpedo struck Bismarck in her stern on the port side, near the port rudder shaft. The coupling on the port rudder assembly was badly damaged and the rudder could not be disengaged, locked in a 12° turn to port. The explosion also caused major shock damage. The crew repeatedly attempted to regain steering control. They eventually managed to repair the starboard rudder, but the port rudder remained badly jammed. A suggestion to sever the port rudder with explosives was dismissed by Lütjens, as damage to the screws would have left the battleship helpless. At 21:15, Lütjens reported that the ship was unmanoeuvrable.
With the port rudder jammed, Bismarck was now steaming in a large circle, unable to escape from Tovey's forces. Though fuel shortages had reduced the number of ships available to the British, the battleships King George V and Rodney were still available, along with the heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Norfolk. Lütjens signalled headquarters at 21:40 on the 26th: "Ship unmanoeuvrable. We will fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer." The mood of the crew became increasingly depressed, especially as messages from the naval command reached the ship. Intended to boost morale, the messages only highlighted the desperate situation in which the crew found itself. In the growing darkness, Bismarck briefly fired on Sheffield, though the cruiser quickly fled. Sheffield lost contact in the low visibility; Captain Philip Vian's group of five destroyers were now tasked with keeping contact with Bismarck throughout the night. The ships encountered Bismarck at 22:38; the battleship quickly engaged them with her main battery. After firing three salvos, she straddled the Polish destroyer Piorun. The destroyer continued to close the range until a near miss at around 12,000 m (39,000 ft) forced her to turn away. Throughout the night and into the morning, Vian's destroyers continually harried Bismarck, illuminating her with star shells and firing dozens of torpedoes, none of which hit. Between 05:00 and 06:00, Bismarck's crew attempted to launch one of the Arado 196 float planes to carry away the ship's war diary, footage of the engagement with Hood, and other important documents. The third shell hit from Prince of Wales had damaged the steam line on the aircraft catapult, rendering it inoperative. Unable to launch the aircraft, the crew simply pushed it overboard
After daybreak on 27 May, King George V led the attack. Rodney followed off her port quarter; Tovey intended to steam directly at Bismarck until he was about 8 nmi (15 km; 9.2 mi) away. At that point, he would turn south to put his ships parallel to his target. At 08:43, lookouts on King George V spotted her, some 23,000 m (25,000 yd) away. Four minutes later, Rodney's two forward turrets, a total of six 16 in (406 mm) guns, opened fire, then King George V's 14 in (356 mm)guns began firing. Bismarck returned fire at 08:50 with her forward guns; with her second salvo, she straddled Rodney. As the range fell, the ships' secondary batteries joined the battle. Norfolk and Dorsetshire closed and began firing with their 8 in (203 mm) guns. At 09:02, a 16-inch shell from Rodney struck Bismarck's forward superstructure, killing hundreds of men and severely damaging the two forward turrets. According to survivors, this salvo probably killed both Lindemann and Lütjens and the rest of the bridge staff. The forward main battery was now effectively disabled, though it would manage to fire one last salvo at 09:27. One of Bismarck's shells exploded 20 feet off Rodney's bow and rendered her starboard torpedo tube useless—the closest Bismarck came to a direct hit on her opponents. The main gunnery control station was quickly destroyed. Lieutenant von Müllenheim in the rear control station took over firing control for the rear turrets. He managed to fire three salvos before a shell destroyed the gun director, disabling his equipment. He gave the order for the still active guns to fire independently, but by 09:31, all four main battery turrets had been neutralised. By 10:00, Tovey's two battleships had fired over 700 main battery shells, many at very close range; Bismarck had been reduced to a shambles, aflame from stem to stern. She suffered from a 20° list to port and was low in the water by the stern. Rodney closed to 2,700 m (3,000 yd), point-blank range for guns of that size, and continued to hammer away at the battered hulk. Tovey could not cease fire until the Germans struck their ensigns or it became clear they were abandoning ship. Rodney fired two torpedoes from her port-side tube and claimed one hit—a claim which, according to Ludovic Kennedy, "if true, is the only instance in history of one battleship torpedoing another".
First Officer Hans Oels ordered the men below decks to abandon ship; he instructed the engine room crews to open the ship's watertight doors and prepare scuttling charges. Gerhard Junack, the chief engineering officer, ordered his men to set the demolition charges with a 9-minute fuse, but the intercom system broke down, and so he sent a messenger to confirm the order to scuttle the ship. The messenger never returned, and so Junack primed the charges and ordered the crew to abandon the ship. Junack and his comrades heard the demolition charges detonate as they made their way up through the various levels. In the meantime, Oels rushed throughout the ship, ordering men to abandon their posts. After he reached the deck a huge explosion killed him and about a hundred others. The four British ships fired more than 2,800 shells at Bismarck, and scored more than 400 hits, but were unable to sink Bismarck by gunfire. At around 10:20, running low on fuel, Tovey ordered the cruiser Dorsetshire to sink Bismarck with torpedoes, and sent his battleships back to port. Dorsetshire fired a pair of torpedoes into Bismarck's starboard side, one of which hit. Dorsetshire then moved around to her port side and fired another torpedo, which also hit. By the time that these torpedo attacks took place, the ship was already listing so badly that the deck was partly awash. It appears that the final torpedo may have detonated against Bismarck’s port side superstructure, which was by then already underwater. Around 10:35, Bismarck capsized to port and slowly sank by the stern, disappearing from the surface at 10:40. Some survivors reported they saw Captain Lindemann standing at attention at the stem of the ship as she sank. Junack, who had abandoned ship by the time it capsized, observed no underwater damage to the ship's starboard side. Von Müllenheim-Rechberg reported the same assessment, but assumed that the port side, which was then under water, had been more significantly damaged. Around 400 men were now in the water; Dorsetshire and the destroyer Maori moved in and lowered ropes to pull the survivors aboard. At 11:40, however, Dorsetshire's captain ordered the rescue effort abandoned after lookouts spotted what they thought was a U-boat. Dorsetshire had rescued 85 men and Maori had picked up 25 by the time they left the scene. A U-boat later reached the survivors and found three men, and a German trawler rescued another two. One of the men picked up by the British died of his wounds the following day. Out of a crew of over 2,200 men, only 114 survived.
Bismarck was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht (armed forces report) three times during Operation Rheinübung. The first was an account of the Battle of the Denmark Straits, the second was a brief account of the ship's destruction,, and the third was an exaggerated claim that Bismarck had sunk a British destroyer and shot down five aircraft. In 1959, C. S. Forester published his novel Last Nine Days of the Bismarck. The book was adapted for the movie Sink the Bismarck!, released the following year. For dramatic effect the film showed Bismarck sinking a British destroyer and shooting down two aircraft, neither of which happened. That same year, Johnny Horton released the song "Sink the Bismarck".
United Nazi WarEdit
The New England EvacuationEdit
- Main article: The New England Evacuation
The cause of Bismarck's return or possible Resurface remained unknown even after the UNW War's end in December of 2017.
The sight of the enormase once sunken ship that had remained at the bottom of the Atlantic for about 70 years ago, plus it's major discovery by Robert Ballard in 1989, would strike intense shock and ear within the U.S. and many other UN Navies around the world, it would also strike fear into those who are also no longer with military service and are just citizens of coastal cities along New England and else where.
While escorted by 2 Destroyers, and 3 U-Boats, the Bismarck arrived for the first time in it's history in American Water Ways, on November 11th, during the Evacuation of New England, on the final day of The Blitz.
The Bismarck arrived without warning and sunk the HMS New Hood, while it was defending the fleet of Refugee Ships that were attempting too escape the Harbor, and even blocked off one of the Refugee ships while attempting too escape, due too damage from air attacks, forcing it too turn around and return too the ruins of Boston.
The arrival of the Bismarck in New England would reveal shock around the world, revealing that the once sunken battleship, that was discovered in 1989 is back on the surface, and is combat compatible once again.
Battle of Castro HeightsEdit
Invasion of the English ChannelEdit
Return to New EnglandEdit
Following the German defeat at the Battle of the English Channel on March 7th, 2013. The Bismarck, made her second voyage back too New England a Month after on April 2nd, 2013. The ship came under radar by Nato stations, and sent fighter jets in response too sink the vessel before she reached New England. The crew of the Bismarck, who some how learned of there past crews mistake during the Second World War, 1n 1941 received aerial cover, along with destroyer escorts in an attempt too defend the super battle ship while on her voyage too New England.
A large Air too sea battle began in the mid Atlantic, between Nato Jets, and German Luftwaffe, for strategic control of the air, and destruction of the Nazi Battleship. Despite the Germans gaining an upper hand against the jets, due too 21st century missiles not being designed too shoot down WWII Air craft, the Nato Jets were faster, and hard too shoot down.
Although the air battle appeared too take a long time, the Jets managed too sink the Destoryer escort, in the process, but just as they were about too close in on the Bismarck they later learned that due too all there fighting the Bismarck had gotten away. By early dusk, the Bismarck had just arrived about 12 miles away from New England and passed U-Boat 879 that was constantly patrolling the waterways. U-879, than diverted the it's course and escorted the Bismarck too Jersey Harbor.
Attack On PanamaEdit
The Florida RaidEdit
- Main article: Nazi Florida Attack of 2014
By August 12th, 2014, Nazi Germany had been outnumbered and out gunned in New England, now at the point of being driven back across the sea and back into Europe, but were not yet drivin out of New England, had not yet given up on the United States, for they found out that during celebration, that Brenda Kylie had been in the country once again.
Only this time Brenda Kylie would be in South East U.S.A instead of New England. Bismarck was given the honor too attack South East U.S.A with a small fleet of about 20 Transports filled with over 20,000 Men and supplies. This would become Bismarck's last major Operation, in the entire United Nazi War.
Thought the attack on Shore City, was still commencing, On the afternoon of August 13th, Bismark had been drawn out of the harbor by Prinz Eugen, where a large chase would occur in the process leading south towards Hor Sound. The Shore city invasion however kept on as planned as the SS, began to emptying out major buildings in hopes of finding Brenda Kylie a third time in Shore City.
There tactics would later lead them into there downfall, when an unknown Hurricane strikes Key West and nearly obliterates the entire Nazi Attack at about 8:12Pm on August 13th.
- Main article: Battle of Hor Sound
The Bismarck opened fire first, by sending a shell splashing right against the Reef towards the Prinz Eugen's left in which would later cause the battle to start between the 2 WWII queens of the ocean. The storm began to take a turn for the worst and the ocean now became more lethal too both ships, even more lethal than a shell from another ship. The Bismarck managed to send a shell towards the Prinz Eugen's mid section, but the winds instead diverted the shell from the sea level instead to the deck level. The Prinz Eugen responded by sending a shell against the Bismarck's bow Turret exploding it in the process.
As the wind speed continued to intensify, Prinz Eugen drew closer to Bismarck in line abreast, their enemy blinded by the smoke on the lower turret, as well as the heavy downpour, and fog steered the Bismarck out of range of the Prinz Eugen, and responded by 2 shots from the stern turrets. The shells Pierced both the radio tower, and radar station, sending a large damage rate onto the heavy cruiser. The Bismarck than fired a third, time and hit the Prinz Eugen's center stern. The Bismarck attempted to shoot a fourth shell, but a large tidal wave struck the ship and diverted the shot into the horizon instead, allowing the Prinz Eugen to fire with it's bow and stern turrets, firing a grand total of about 4 shells at once against the Bismack's upper decks destroying the crews quarters, the radio tower, an anti Aircraft turret, and a large hole in the upper deck. Lighting soared the skies and hit the Prinz Eugen's attenna, in which cause the systems of the other radio systems to go down, leaving the Prinz Eugen now unable to call for help.
The Bismarck allowed the lightning to create a big diversion in which forced many of the American sailors to direct there attention towards the radios in trying too get them up and running again. With one shell the Prinz Eugen's Engine room was shot and serverly damaged, with about 3 engines out, and only 1 lit. the destruction of the 3 engines aboard the Prinz Eugen left her immobilized, and now opened to the Bismarck for sinking.
Sinking of the Bismarck As the Prinz Eugen was now on the verge of sinking, the Bismarck fired 2 more shells against he Heavy cruiser, and was now slowly moving towards her at a speed of about 12 Knots. The storm however was now starting to clear, a little at a time, with the first change of wind speed dying down, and the heavy fog slowly lifting away as well in the process. The raging ocean began too calm a bit, in which allowed both ships too finally become stable again. The Germans now sensing there victory, managed to strike the Prinz Eugen's stern section by ramming the Bismarck right into it, and allowing Nazi sailors to board her. The battle now turning from naval too land,quickly averted all sailors of the Prinz Eugen to take up arms in defending there ship against the Nazi boarders. The Bismarck than went in reverse and dropped anchor from about 4 feet away, and just remained on stand by as the her sailors invaded the Eugen.
The Nazi sailors managed to occupy the ruins of the radio room as well as the officers quarters, but the Germans were eventually driven back towards the stern. The Bismarck now knowing that it was pointless for resistance began to aim It's upper bow turret towards the Eugen's fuel spot in the center of the ship, but the Eugen responded first by firing the last of it's shells from the Stern section, allowing the shot too pierce the final turret on the Bismarck's bow section causing an intense explosion that would spread all the way too the bridge, obliterating the entire room. Finally the one engine was brought back up into the a lit position, and the Prinz Eugen was able to slowly move away from the front of the Bismarck and towards her side, where she used the last of her bow ammunition in which finally ripped the heart of the Bismarck sending her sinking towards the bottom of the Caribbean.