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Bismarck. Sinking of

Battle Name : Bismarck. Sinking of

Date(s) : 18 May 1941 - 27 May 1941

Part of : Second World War , Atlantic Naval operations ,

Outcome : A victory for Royal Navy over Kriegsmarine

Type of battle : Sea


The newly built powerful pocket battleship Bismarck sailed from port in consort with the heavy cruiser Prine Eugen. Their mission was to break out into the Atlantic and once there attack vital allied convoys. The British Home Fleet were alerted and the radar equipped HMS Suffolk sighted the Germans at 1930 hrs on the 23 May in the Denmark Strait. The Germans were intercepted by HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales. In the exchange of fire HMS Hood was sunk, hits on the Bismarck both flooded compartments making her sail bow down and caused fuel loss. These hits although not serious meant that speed had to be reduced, this became significant later in the battle. The Germans parted company and both were lost for about 24 hours. Bismarck was found by searching aircraft at 1036hrs on the 26th May. On the 27th a torpedo launched by a Swordfish from HMS Ark Royal damaged a rudder causing Bismarck to sail in a large circle. The RN capital ships closed and at 1040hrs on the 27th May Bismarck rolled over and sank.


Bismarck's course was from Norway north westerly passing to the north of Iceland. Then a south westerly direction through the Denmark Strait out into the Atlantic. On the 25th may she turned onto a south easterly course heading directly for Brest or St. Nazaire. (North Atlantic)