Bismarck Ship : Was Bismarck The Most Sophisticated Battleship Ever Made?
Bismarck Ship : Was Bismarck The Most Sophisticated Battleship Ever Made? First laid down in 1936, the German battleship Bismarck was to be the most powerful battleship ever constructed, designed to rule the seas.
A sister ship of similar design was also commissioned by Germany’s Kriegsmarine, named the Tripitz, on the same year.
The Bismarck was first to be launched on February 14th, 1939, under the command of captain Ernst Lindermann. Lindermann had served as captain for the ship’s single combat mission in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bismarck had simply whopping & jaw dropping specifications. Bismarck had a displacement of41,700 tonnes when it was launched. And an additional 8,600 tonnes when it was fully loaded and supplied.
At the time of its conception, the displacement greatly exceeded the maximum displacement of battleships decreed by the Washington regime during the interwar period, which limited battleships to a displacement of 36,000 tonnes.
The ship measured 251 meters long and had a beam of 36 meters, and with its three steam turbines the Bismarck could reach speeds of 30 knots, generating 110,450 kilowatts.
At full capacity the Bismarck had a crew of 2,065, including 103 naval officers onboard.
The 8 main guns on the ship were of 15 inch calibre, and were supported by 56 other secondary and anti-aircraft cannons.
4 seaplanes were also aboard, which could be launched using a double-ended catapult directed on the port and starboard sides of the ship. The Bismarck was also equipped with advanced radar and rangefinders to aid in finding and fighting enemies. Extensive armor was used to protect the battleship, with the thickest portions being used on the four main turrets and belt of the Bismarck.
The first and final combat mission of the Bismarck, codenamed Rheinübung, began on the 23rd of May. The Bismarck, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, were ordered to make a daring dash through the Denmark strait and into the Atlantic Ocean. Although this maneuver was meant to go undetected, the two massive naval vessels were spotted by the Royal Naval and the Battle of Denmark Strait soon commenced.
The HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales, as well as supporting ships were sent to engage the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen in naval combat. Early on May 24th, the battle officially began when the Hood opened fire on Prinz Eugen.
Although the German ships were able to score some minor hits on the British ships. A critical shell was fired by the Bismarck on her fifth salvo.
A 15-inch armor-piercing shell penetrated the Hood’s thin deck. The shell ignited a propellant storage and causing a massive explosion that effectively snapped the ship in half.
After eight minutes of fighting, the Hood had disappeared under the waters, taking 1,419 sailors with her.
The Prince of Wales had also sustained significant damage. And was forced to retreat, but not without putting three shells into the Bismarck.
The damages Bismarck suffered had caused an oil leak in the vessel. And a massive trail of oil followed wherever the ship sailed.
Following the sinking of the Hood, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered a massive effort to sink the Bismarck. Swordfish biplanes equipped with torpedoes were launched from the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious to hunt the Bismarck, and despite being extremely outdated one of the nine torpedoes managed to score a hit. This torpedo caused further damage and forced the Bismarck to run without two boilers, reducing the vessel’s maximum speed to 16 knots.
Although the Bismarck was able to disappear from the sights of the Royal Naval for a short period of time after this engagement.
Bismarck was found once again by Swordfish planes from the carrier HMS Ark Royal.
Another two torpedoes landed hits on the Bismarck, the second causing major damage to the port rudder and locking the vessel in a 12 degree turn to port.
With the Bismarck crippled. The Royal Navy’s ships began to sail towards the stricken ship and opened fire late in the evening of May 26th, 1940. The HMS King George V led the task force against the Bismarck. And after being hit multiple times the order was given to abandon ship.
In conclusion, by 10 AM of May 27th, the mighty Bismarck was scuttled and sunk. More than 2,000 of the sailors aboard perished with the vessel.