Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This Day in WWII History: May 27, 1941: Bismarck sunk by Royal Navy

File:Battleship Bismarck burning and sinking 1941.jpg

On May 27, 1941, the British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France. The German death toll was more than 2,000.

 File:Bundesarchiv Bild 193-04-1-26, Schlachtschiff Bismarck.jpg

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 101II-MN-1361-16A, Schlachtschiff Bismarck, Indienststellung.jpg

On February 14, 1939, the 823-foot Bismarck was launched at Hamburg. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler hoped that the state-of-the-art battleship would herald the rebirth of the German surface battle fleet. However, after the outbreak of war, Britain closely guarded ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, and only U-boats moved freely through the war zone.

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-012-03, Schlachtschiff Bismarck in der Ostsee.jpg

File:Bismarck reconnaissance.jpg

File:Bismarck aircrew rewarded.jpg

In May 1941, the order was given for the Bismarck to break out into the Atlantic. Once in the safety of the open ocean, the battleship would be almost impossible to track down, all the while wreaking havoc on Allied convoys to Britain. Learning of its movement, Britain sent almost the entire British Home Fleet in pursuit.

File:Graf Spee at Spithead.jpg

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1968-015-25, Schlachtschiff Bismarck, Seegefecht.jpg

File:Map Rheinuebung.svg

File:Rodney firing on Bismarck.png

On May 24, the British battle cruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales intercepted it near Iceland. In a ferocious battle, the Hood exploded and sank, and all but three of the 1,421 crewmen were killed. The Bismarck escaped, but because it was leaking fuel it fled for occupied France. On May 26, it was sighted and crippled by British aircraft, and on May 27 three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off.

File:HMS Dorsetshire Bismarck survivors.jpg

File:Bismarck illustration.png

http://www.kbismarck.com/photo021.jpg

Taken from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history [27.05.2014]

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