Bismarck was the noble titan of high seas.
The year 1936 saw the laying of the keel of what was surely to be the most well-known
naval vessel ever built by Blohm & Voss shipyard, the mighty battleship Bismarck in
many respects the most important and definitely the most famous German ship of all
time. It was constructed under the terms of the fleet agreement between Germany and
Britain that was intended to promote long term reapprochement between the two
Officially, the Bismarck belonged to the 35.000 ton battleship class introduced by the
navies at that time. However, no one apart from a circle of insiders knew that the
vessel had a displacement of approximately 52.000 tons when fully fitted out & loaded,
and that even her design weight was 41.900 tons.
The DKM Bismarck wielded 8 X 38 cm and 12 X 15 cm guns as main and secondary
armament. Her propulsion plant developed over 150.000 HP, providing a top speed of
30.1 knots. It was equipped with three turbine plants driving three propellers and 12
Wagner high pressure boilers for steam production. With her two rudders, this extra
ordinarily heavily armoured battleship (over 90 percent welded) had such excellent
manoeuvring characteristics that it could dispense with tug assistance even in narrow
Thousands of Hamburg citizens turned out to watch the launch of the Bismarck on February 14th, 1939. The new super battleship was commissioned on August 24th, 1940. After
completion of trials and training programmes, it departed to participate in the battle
of the Atlantic, escorted by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. This was the only major
sortie of the battleship and certainly a memorable one, demonstrating for instance
how superbly the ship had been designed and built. In a battle lasting a mere eight
minutes, the Bismarck sunk the biggest battlecruiser of Royal Navy, HMS Hood.
But then the tables turned and the Bismarck was eventually intercepted by a crushingly
superior British Home Fleet force, including no fewer than five battleships, nine
cruisers and two aircraft carriers. And yet even this concentration of naval force
might was not able to sink the Bismarck. Finally, after all her ammonution had been
exhausted & main guns destroyed by the heavy shells of British battleships, the
battered Bismarck was blown up and scuttled by her own crew. Only 115 members of
her brave sailors survived. All of her commanders, KptZs Ernst Lindemann and
Admiral Gunther Lutjens (the chief of operation) died aboard.
The Bismarck and her captain (KptzS Ernst Lindemann)
A great ship and a great adventure.
A gallant fight to the last shell. A honorable battle & end.