German battleship Bismarck

The German battleship Bismarck is one of World War II, the jewel of the Third Reich Kriegsmarine named Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898). It is famous for having sunk the HMS Hood and being chased by the British ships following the sinking of the Hood, until dark during the engagement on 27 May 1941. He was with her ​​sister ship the Tirpitz, the building’s most powerful Nazi regime and the pride of his country.

May 26, 1941 afternoon some pilots confused with the Sheffield Bismarck and dropped their torpedoes, equipped with a new untested magnetic detonator, exploded on impact with the sea finally managed to Bismarck reaching the limit of air cover provided by the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor Luftwaffe, but that it was no help because of bad weather. The ancient Swordfish, meanwhile, took off though their aircraft carriers in worse conditions, but it is true that the motivation of British crews was reinforced by these failures. This time, the torpedoes were fitted with « old » contact detonators, safer but requiring a direct impact with the hull enemy.

A second attack took place the same day at 21 h 30. It was the last possible night prevent further attacks and the next day the German battleship would be too close to the French coast. Bismarck, despite maneuvers that enabled him to avoid many torpedoes, however, received two: one exploded in the center of the breastplate, without damage, but the other hit the stern and blocked the helm, the ship then took a northwesterly heading despite the efforts of his crew towards the squadron Tovey approaching. The British were convinced they missed their last opportunity, but Sheffield was surprised to look around the Bismarck heading straight for him. The heavy cruiser, while by quickly covered, Tovey pointed to the unexpected route followed by the German battleship.

Sheffield maneuvered to avoid an engagement until the next morning (May 27), but gave free rein to Captain Vian and his squadron of destroyers to harass the German ship throughout the night, so that there was terrible weather. Vian was merely instructed not to lose track of the new Bismarck, but his combative destroyers chained attacks. Fire from Bismarck, always with great precision, however, kept them at a distance sufficient to prevent them to adjust their attacks: no torpedo is reached, it seems his goal. Although Vian grew perceive an explosion, it had no effect on the behavior of Bismarck. During these operations harassment, many Britons were killed because replicas of Bismarck. If the German battleship apparently not received any new torpedo his crew spent a terrible night and 43 at 8 pm May 27, the Bismarck was faced with two battleships underway directly to him: Rodney and King George V.

The Final Combat :

Rodney was the first to open fire with his 9 mm 406 pieces, followed by King George V with 10 pieces of 356 mm. If the first few rounds of Bismarck encadrèrent dangerously King George V, the German ship was quickly hit by several shells that destroyed his organs pointing and shooting direction: a shell of 203 mm heavy cruiser Dorsetshire having destroyed from the beginning of the fight, the radar system. The German battleship, already in a difficult situation because of the inability to operate correctly, then saw his shot gradually become erratic and inaccurate. The bridge was destroyed, and the turrets put out of action one after the other. Superstructures were prey to numerous fires, but Bismarck still remained afloat, no shells having started her hull below the waterline. Tovey ordered the firing end after two hours of fighting, the Rodney (who had already learned many torpedoes during the fight) took a few bursts at very short distances. The cruiser Dorsetshire (en) also attempted to complete the building to the torpedo. He threw one to each side of the battleship, which eventually capsizing to 10 h 40.

The crew insisted that the Bismarck was sunk by scuttling after receiving the order. This version was challenged by the British who did not like being deprived of a victory. During his inspection of tears along the hull in the documentary Expedition: « Bismarck, » Canadian director James Cameron concluded that the torpedoes were not caused enough damage to the ship under the waterline it flows.

A crew of over 2,000 men, only 115 survivants4 were collected, including 110 in Dorsetshire that stopped his research when he was informed of the danger of attack by U-boats: in fact, there were hundreds of (perhaps a thousand) still water, when they were abandoned by the terrified eyes of British seamen, who believed the British cruiser locate a German submarine nearby. The Germans, meanwhile, arrived on the scene much later, but found only a few survivors, 3 were collected by a U-boat, U-74, and 2 by a ship weather, Sachsenwald. The Spanish hospital ship Canarias, at the request of the German government was focused on the presumed site of the battle returned empty-handed. It should be noted that neither the U-boats or the Luftwaffe managed to save the Bismarck as the only two U-boats were short-range torpedoes, and as a fuel. A cat, Oscar, called Unsinkable Sam by the British, survived the wreck. Embedded later two other ships of the Royal Navy, including HMS Cossack he survive two other shipwrecks.

The wreck was discovered on 8 June 1989 by an expedition led by Robert D. Ballard, also the discoverer of the Titanic, at a depth of about 4700 m, 650 km north-west of Brest. The analysis of the wreckage shows damage many of the superstructure, caused by shells and some minor damage caused by the firing of torpedoes but suggested initially that the Germans were able to scuttle the ship to hasten its sinking. This has never been proven before by marine investigations but always maintained by surviving sailors. Ballard kept secret the exact location of the wreck to prevent further dives and wreck any deductions

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