May 27th 1941 German Battleship "Bismark" Sunk
BismarkThe Bismarck was the one of Germany's super weapons, it was its most powerful battleship. Nearly the complete British fleet took to the sea to try to stop the Bismark before it could attack British shipping. The British lost the battleship Hood but sank the Bismark.
The Bismarck was the most powerful German Battleship. It displaced 53,546 tons. It had a top speed of over 30 knots, and had four turrets of dual 15 inch guns. On May 19, 1940 the Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen departed for the Atlantic to attack British shipping. The British were aware of the Bismarck's departure and sortied all available warships to intercept the Bismarck. Due to a fueling accident the Bismarck did not have a full complement of fuel, this would have disastrous consequences. On the evening of May 23, 1941 the patrolling British cruiser Suffolk spotted the Bismarck, she immediately reported the position. The first British ships to engage the Bismarck were the Battleships Hood and Prince of Wales. The Hood was a WWI battleship that had symbolized British power in the interwar years, but had not been modernized. The Prince of Wales was a brand new King George Class battleship that still had its yard workers on board. The two forces closed on each other and on the morning of May 24th when the range between the forces had fallen to under 14 miles the British force commanded by Rear Admiral Holland opened fire. The two forces were soon on parallel courses and could bear all of their guns. The eighth shell of the fifth salvo from the Bismarck plunged into the anti-aircraft magazine of the Hood. The ensuing explosion broke the Hood in two. In a few moments she sunk with 1,400 men, including Admiral Holland. The Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen then turned their attention to the Prince of Wales. Within moments the bridge was destroyed and the ship battered. At that moment the German captain Luetjens inexplicably broke off contact. The Bismarck however, had sustained damage. The Bismarck had taken on water and contaminated part of its fuel supply, leaving it desperately short of fuel. The Bismarck set course for Brest. It succeeded in losing its trailing British forces. The Bismarck however, broke radio silence and informed the German naval command of its destination. Thus the British could concentrate on the Bismark's expected course.
At 3 AM on the morning of May 26th a British patrol plane spotted the Bismarck. With its location known the British fleet began to converge. The only hope for stopping the Bismarck in time was an air attack. After a mistaken attack on the British Sheffield, the British carrier Ark Royal launched 15 swordfish. Two torpedoes hit, one of them in the Bismarck's stern, jamming the Bismarck rudders. The end was near, with the Bismarck no longer able to steer, the bulk of the British fleet now approached. The lead British ship was the Rodney with nine 16 inch guns. The King George and two heavy cruisers were also present. They began bombarding the Bismarck. All together the Rodney fired 380 16 inch shells the King George fired 339 14 inchers Over 2,000 other shells had been fired. Finally after additional torpedoes were fired at the Bismarck at close range. At 10:46 on the morning of the 27th the Bismarck sunk.