Battleship Bismarck
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A legendary battleship: Bismarck

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 countries.

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 waters.

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.
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