The "Bismarck" was a mighty WWII German Battleship. The "Bismarck" attempted a breakout into the Atlantic. The British were aware of the "Bismarck" and were frightened. The ship had the ability to attack even the most heavily escorted supply convoyes.


Length: 251 m

Beam: 36 m

Draft: 9.9 m

Displacement: 51,000 metric tons

Crew: 2,065

Main Battery: eight 38 cm guns

Secondary Battery: twelve 15 cm guns

In the attempted break-out, the "Bismark" and the "Prinz Eugen" engaged the HMS "Hood" and HMS "Prince of Wales" in the Battle of the Denmark Straits (between Iceland and Greenland). In the battle, which pitted the pride of the German navy ("Bismarck") against the pride of the British Armada ("Hood"). "Hood" was a WWI vintage battle cruiser, with very light armor and almost no upper deck armor. After only four minutes of fire from "Bismarck" as single shell detonated in the magazine of "Hood". The explosion blew the ship in two. Of the 1,421 crew there were only 3 survivors. It was a terrible defeat for the British. "Bismarck" did not escape unscathed, she took three hits from HMS "Prince of Wales," two amidship and one passed clean through the forecastle (pronounced folks-hole, silent "h"). As "Prince of Wales" retreated, "Bismarck" scored a final hit, destroying the bridge and killing all but the commander and one crewman.

Later, "Bismark" leaves "Prinz Eugen" to engage the British cruisers that are shadowing the task force. "Prinz Eugen" escapes into the Atlantic.

"Bismarck," now alone, is harrassed by British Swordfish torpedo bombers (wood and cloth construction bi-plane). The first wave does no damage and "Bismarck" continues to the captured ports in France, and to safety of the Luftwaffe aircover. The final last-ditch attack by the British Swordfish (launched from the HMS "Ark Royal") score a lucky hit. One torpedo of 15 strikes "Bismarck" in her rudders, jamming them at 12 degrees to port. "Bismarck" is disabled and steaming in a slow wide circle.

The final battle started at 8:47 AM and the fighting continues until 10:39 when "Bismarck" is sunk. She took a total of 7 torpedo hits innumerable shell impacts and an attempted scuttling.

"Bismarck" was discovered June 8, 1989 under 4,700 m. of water.

Back to Jane's Military History Nodes

She's a beast of
Unsurpassed violence.
A nightmarish concoction
Of steel and fire
Built to search the waves
Like a sea monster
On rolled up and forgotten
Maps of the ancient galleons.
The fearsome and unknown tyrant
That those three left alive
Won't talk about.
The abomination that drags good men
Strong men
Better men
To their death.
She cuts through cold water
Like a rapier
Toward its destined coup de grâce.
She stalks from unseen distances
Like an assassin toward regicide
To carve the heart out
Of a panicking island nation.
Her nemesis puts steel to water
And finds its tomb in less than
Four minutes.
Her fifteen inch fangs end
The once greatest ship.
She's as unsatisfied and insulted
As Jack the Ripper
Looming over
His shredded victims.
She is Leviathan
Breaking the back of heroes
Then celebrating in an orgy
Of blood and fire.
Her guns gnash
At the doomed ship like
Crooked twisted teeth
On wounded open flesh.
She seeks another victim
Like a rapist waiting for someone
Too inexperienced to know
Not to venture too
Far from home.
She's Medusa to Perseus
And he's found his way
Through the labyrinth.
He's polished his shield.
He's obsessed with his quest
To have her bare witness
To her own terrible image.
With his ancient blade
He cuts the tail from the beast.
She reels and limps in retreat.
She is maimed and shocked by her
Surrounded by her enemies
She unleashes the mad fury
Of her arrogance
And her hate
And her steel
And her gunpowder.
She thrashes and claws wildly.
Her guns cough and spew
Ordinance like a
Violent convulsing death rattle.
Her enemies descend upon her
But are afraid to look
Lest they become like a millennia of their kin;
Broken frozen corpses
Tossed and buried
By the burning waves
Of the North Atlantic
She finally keels over
Bleeding black blood
And men
Into the cold water.
Her legend ascends
With opaque smoke
Painting the sky with night.
Her body descends
In lifeless free fall
To the bottom of the great ocean
To disappoint Poseidon.

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