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1936 German battleship Bismarck

By melkorius
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Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine shortly before World War II. 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. Along with her sister ship Tirpitz, Bismarck was the largest battleship ever built by Germany, and one of the largest built by any European power.

In the course of the warship's short eight month career under its only 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 with heavy damage, although Bismarck herself was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank.

The destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy involving dozens of warships. Two days later, while heading for the relative safety of occupied France, Bismarck was attacked by Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one hit was scored that jammed the battleship's steering gear, rendering her unsteerable. The following morning, Bismarck was destroyed by a pair of British battleships. The cause of her sinking is disputed: some in the Royal Navy claim that torpedoes fired by the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire administered the fatal blow, while German survivors argue that they scuttled the ship. In June 1989, Robert Ballard discovered the wreck. Several other expeditions surveyed the remains seeking to document the ship's condition and to determine what sank her.
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anonymous's avatar
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MegaMoonLiner's avatar
I still believe the crew scuttled the ship.
Just like the Japanese, the Germans didn't want their technology to fall in enemy's hands, though unlike the Germans, Japanese were far stricter on the matter; while the Germans would fight to the last shell, the Japanese would fight even until their very soul was reduced to ash.
Prienscapaflow's avatar
My Favourite battleship! what a paint job! Wunderbar!
TheBismarck313's avatar
Finally, someone gets a good photo of me.
Prienscapaflow's avatar
I had this photo on a t-shirt years ago .. caused a fight in a pub one night in Blackpool..(where I bought the shirt)
soulessone12's avatar
and it took enough firepower to pulverize a small fleet to bring her down....
Prienscapaflow's avatar
this Princess might have survived if her escort Prinz Eugen was there to share the battle!  Gunther Lutjens should have been court martialled sending her to help raid allied shipping. 
soulessone12's avatar
I don't think even with the Prinz Eugen the Bismarck would have survived, one German AA guns are pretty fucking bad, two they will be chased by 2 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 6 destroyers in the immediate vicinity meaning they where both about the be outgun regardless, and three even if they make it to France and survive both still would have died to air raids and bombing attacks by the brits as after the sinking of HMS Hood the British really wanted the Bismarck dead 
Prienscapaflow's avatar
 possibly, but they would have had a bloody good go at it!..   they should have had U-boats with them as well...  just below the water..  If that was my ship i would had two to three U-boats escorting from below!  each boat had about 11 torpedoes loaded, 4 in the bow and 1 in the stern the rest stowed below the plates.  X 4 = 44 torpedoes... that would have sunk a few cruisers!.. guten nacht Vienna!
soulessone12's avatar
problem with that is at this time U-Boats are notoriously slow especially when submerged, so you are basically forcing the Bismarck to move at a snail's pace giving the RN more time to find her and U-boats won't be of much use as if they are going to be near the surface as they will be easily spotted by aircraft and be pretty vulnerable to aerial attack and not to mention the force that sunk the Bismarck had Destroyers with them which are dedicated anti-submarine warfare vessels 
Prienscapaflow's avatar
Good argument!  but Gunther Lutjens was to blame no matter what scenario one puts on it.. his stupidity sent the Prinz Eugen to aid in the Allies assault & eventually to her fate as a u.s atom bomb experiment in the late 50's  and  Bismarck to an early grave   all because he wanted to leave the Denmark strait earlier than she was scheduled to leave.  there are reasons times are set  and He foolishly ignored them.
melkorius's avatar
Yiep...it was a hell of a history for the Brits with this one
Anzac-A1's avatar
Your point? It was the same for the Americans with the Yamato, except a number of the British ships were late-WWI ships, and still managed to win.
melkorius's avatar
Nãã...i know that the scale is correct, perhaps is the angle of the camera ;)
demonmoocow's avatar
the only reason i found this picture was because of the song "sink the bismarck" :|
Prienscapaflow's avatar
watch the film! (B&W) 
Medjugore's avatar
Great 3D art and historic background as well
melkorius's avatar
BadgerN00b's avatar
I've always had a keen interest in this ship.

What's even more amazing is that the total number of British ships involved in the hunt/sinking of the Bismarck was nearly 100.

Also, if the Bismarck was launched in 1939, why does your title say 1936? I'm not trying to be nit-picky, I'm just wondering.

And, interestingly enough, it has been recently confirmed that the Bismarck sank due to the actions of her own crew, although the 1,000+British shells probably helped.
Prienscapaflow's avatar
 Admiral Gunther Lutjens sank her!.. by his stupidity!.. He undermined the rank from Kapitainleutnant Hans Lindemann!
melkorius's avatar
Hi, he was launched 14 February 1939, but he was laid down in 1 July 1936
BadgerN00b's avatar
Ah, thank you!
MegaMoonLiner's avatar
The term "launched" means the first plate/module to be put in place".
Then the the term "lay down" is the respective finishing of the ship's building.
anonymous's avatar
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