World War II German battleship, named after the "iron chancellor," Otto von Bismarck, 18th century's Germanic chancellor, responsible for the unification of the German states, the build up of its industries and the establishment of the African and Pacific colonies
The sinking of the German battleship Bismarck — a masterpiece of engineering, well-armored with a main artillery of eight 15-inch guns-was one of the most dramatic events of World War II.
Launched in February of 1939, the ship displaced 52,600 tons, mounted eight 15-inch guns, and had a speed of 30 knots. It was the protagonist of one of most dramatic episodes of World War II, being relentlessly hunted down by the British Navy, at a time when the British merchant fleet had suffered severe losses, and the British were anxious to retaliate.
The Bismark left the port of Gotenhafen for her first operation on the night of 18 May 1941, yet was almost immediately discovered by Norwegian resistance and Allied air reconnaissance.
In pursuing the Bismarckthe British employed eight battleships and battle cruisers, two aircraft carriers, 11 cruisers, 21 destroyers, and six submarines.
The Bismarck was finally sunk on May 27, 1941, a week after it was first sighted by the British, but not before it sank the English battleship Hood then one of the largest warships afloat with a salvo from its guns. One of the German shells exploded in the Hood'smagazine, and the entire ship vanished from sight in less than two minutes.
The Bismark was at sea for only nine days, but the interest it has provoked has lasted for decades. Perhaps it is all the mysteries that surround the battleship, despite its short operational journey, which have attracted the curiosity of historians, military professionals and general readers alike. Her wreck still lies where she sank, 4800m down and 960km off the west coast of France.
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