Talk:German battleship Bismarck/Archive 1

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old comment

Wasn't the 35,000 ton limit part of the Treaty of Versailles? (Actually, I did some websurfing on this; the Bismarck was not in fact in violation of the 1935 Anglo-German naval agreement.)

Also, might add a link to Otto Von Bismarck, not to mention that the ship was named after him.

What exactly does "largest battleship of its time" mean? There have been some larger ships (Iowa, Yamato). --User:Yooden 21:20, 7 August 2001 (UTC)

Notation of General Characteristics

There seems to be some confusion over the units and notation used to describe the ship. For example "Length: 253,6 m overall". Shouldn't this read "2,536 m" (two kilometres long) or should it read "253.6 m"? There are similar problems else where, for example speed is given as "30,8 knots" rather than "30.8". Curiously the crews complement is listed as "2.608,", in other words just over two and a half men! But others areas appear correct such as "3 three-blade propellers, 4.70 m ". This needs sorting out as the article looses credibility. --ManInStone 10:33, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, go ahead and edit them. The use of a comma in place of a decimal is very common around the world, hence the confusion. That's why most engineers don't use commas at all in numbers. Greglocock 23:19, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I have made the changes. The problem was that the formatting of numbers was inconsistent, commas and periods were used as decimal places and as hundred places. --ManInStone 10:47, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

i want to add how the bismark esccaped from the suffolk and POW after the P.eugen had escaped. i think the way it was done was so clever it deserves to be explained. anybody have anything against it please let your voices be heard. slakbas

It was not Captain Lindemann who foolishly sent the long signal, but Admiral Lütjens. [Arthur Morgan] i agree. i changed it

1-Can we cut down the size of this image, it's taking up the whole page and slopping into the margins. 2-Why isn't this article just called Bismarck or Bismarck (battleship)? -- Zoe

I still question the title of this article. -- Zoe

I would support a move to Bismarck, with pointers to Otto and that cold place. As far as I know, nothing of encyclopedic-article importance is called simply "Bismarck" except the battleship -- and if someone really wants to write about the the pastry, it can be disambiguated. --the Epopt 01:51 Mar 19, 2003 (UTC)
Does no-one realise that the ship was named after a 19th Century German statesman of great historical importance? Otto von Bismarck should definately have priority over the battleship.
I had somewhat of a preference for German battleship Bismarck, partly because it looks better; to me the parenthetical disambiguators look like an unplanned afterthought ("oh yeah, I guess there is more than one kind of Bismarck"). But more importantly Bismarck (battleship) goes against the naming conventions that have already been set down in Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ships) (I mention that instead of Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships because this particular point is still only described in the naming conventions article...), and a consistent naming scheme is a big timesaver for those of us trying to get all the ship articles to link together correctly. Stan 01:04 Mar 20, 2003 (UTC)
I left this question here for weeks and nobody commented. I go ahead and change it, and it gets attacked. -- Zoe
Your question was answered at length in the naming standards article and in the WikiProject. If you are interested help write about the navies of the world, please join us there. --the Epopt 01:19 Mar 20, 2003 (UTC)
How am I supposed to keep up with all of these Wikiprojects? A link here might have been nice. -- Zoe
I'll take a little blame; I didn't think about advertising the new wikiproject because I thought only the couple of enthusiasts would care. To paraphrase the esteemed Dr Wirtiglieben, "Vut gut eez a Vikiproject eef nobuddy knowz about eet!?" Stan 06:12 Mar 20, 2003 (UTC)
Please only place "adverts" for WikiProjects on talk pages. --mav
Oh, sure, I totally agree. -- Zoe

I'm not sure about this new title, I think most people searching for "Bismarck" are looking for the chancellor and that this should redirect to him. - SimonP 01:32, Aug 9, 2003 (UTC)

There is really no need for the extensive discussion about the name of the article, "DKM Bismarck" was its official designation. "German battleship Bismarck" is clumsy. --GeneralPatton 03:31, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Says what authority? You never responded to my query on your talk page, so I'm moving them all back. Stan 15:15, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)
BTW, I think it's rather interesting that the German WP doesn't use "DKM" at all. Stan 15:18, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)
While I respect the need to adhere to Wikipedia's naming policy, I agree that "German battleship Bismarck" is clumsy. Someone browsing through the site is most likely to search for "Bismarck"; e.g. searching for "Bismarck Prince" or "Prince Bismarck" correctly locates "Otto von Bismarck" the German Chancellor (but "Bismarck Chancellor" or "Chancellor Bismarck" does not!)
With reference to the other 'Bismarcks' on the 'Bismarck' disambiguation page, you would expect "Bismarck battleship" to follow alphabetically after "Bismarck archipelago". Hence surely "Bismarck battleship" is the best and most-consistent title? That's what would appear in an index to a book. Patrick bigpad

"KMS Bismarck": an anonymous contributor has amended the first paragraph by adding the prefix "KMS" to the ship name (which he/she has also done to many of the pages of other Kriegsmarine heavy units). I asked that person (nicely!) what was their source for this, as others [above] say that the official designation was "DKM Bismarck", which I note is disputed.

I'd propose reverting this as it raises old questions that aren't crucial and doesn't add much to the article. But I don't want to become the person who always reverts edits, although the article is well advanced and doesn't need much more added to it (IMHO). What do others think? bigpad 21:36, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

There's no DKM or KMS designation for german ships of that time, neither official nor unofficial. --Denniss 21:58, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

"though alternate scenarios are available as to the cause of the cordite fire. Hood burned catastrophically,..."

Really? First notice that a explosive like cordite is refered has caugth fire, also Hood burned? it looks like more a explosion ! Cuye 21:07, 3 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The Hood was seen on fire shortly before she exploded. The assumpution was that the fire sonehow reached the magazine and caused the explosion. So the fire did burn 'catastrophically', it caused a castropby. David J James 9th October 2006

Ironically, part of what sank Bismarck was the fact that the Fairey Swordfish and Albacore biplane torpedo bombers were too slow for her guns to adequately track.

This, I believe, is a myth. It is the case that some British pilots noticed AA fire bursting in front of them, presumably not believing how slow they were going. However, I had a discussion about this point on an internet discussion group about WW2, never got a clear answer. Nobody was able to give an authority for this, or even explain what technical feature of an AA gun would make it incapable of hitting a plane below a certain speed. PatGallacher 14:17, 2005 Feb 8 (UTC)
Before the advent of the proximity fuse large-calibre anti-aircraft shells were detonated by timer built into the shell. This timer was set when the shells was fused immediately before firing, based on the estimated speed or height of the target, so that the shell would explode as near to the target as possible. The reason that the shells were bursting in front of the attacking Swordfish was because the charts/settings for the shells didn't have speed settings as low as the actual speed of these aircraft. In effect the gun's/shells designers assumed that any attacker would be travelling faster and so set the minimum possible speed setting too high so that shells were bursting where the target SHOULD have been rather than where it actually WAS. Of course, this would only apply to the larger AA guns, not to the light, close-in, 20mm ones. This effect would have been made considerably worse if the Swordfish were attacking into a strong headwind, in which case the aircraft's ground speed might only have been in the order of 50-60 knots and the discrepancy would have been even larger. Ian Dunster 12:08, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Per Lt. Cdr. John "Jock" Moffat, one of the Swordfish pilots, the only way he felt they could survive was to fly as low as possible the closer they got to the Bismarck--the guns couldn't aim that low--it was as simple as that. Megofishing 07:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Because the Bismarck outgunned the obsolete Hood, the Hood needed to close quickly to bring its inferior guns to bear. However whilst doing this the Hood was fatally hit and quickly sank. I'd take issue with this. Firstly, the Hood was not obselete, thought it was not cutting edge. Secondly, the Hood and the Bismarck had very similar firepower (although German gunnery was more accurate of course). The issue was the Hood's thinner armour (particularly its deck armour), and it was this which lead the hood to try and close with thee Bismarck as quickly as possible, not a disparity in firepower. Cadr

No comments, so I've edited the page. Cadr

HMS Minerve

The order of battle includes HMS Minerve. I can find no evidence of such a ship in World War II. Could this have been the Free French submarine of that name? Gdr 17:57, 2004 Nov 21 (UTC)


An anonymous user has deleted the word "wrongly" where it said that the British thought they had detected a U-Boat, so calling off the rescue of Bismarck survivors. Do they have any authority for this? I will check my source, Kennedy's "Pursuit", but if nobody responds in a reasonable time I will revert. PatGallachertalk 16:56, 2005 Jan 31 (UTC)

I am not a regidtered user. I am not quite sure what the whole article said. However, the British did not wrongly assume the presence of a U-Boat and in fact there was two U-boats in the area. One, even though I can't remember its u-boat designation, was sent to retrieve Bismarcks war diary, but never made it.

The other question is, if the U-Boat would really have attacked a ship, who was trying to rescue thousands of german sailors. I really doubt that any U-Boat Captain would have done that.

Firstly the Royal Navy had plenty of reason to believe that a German U-Boat commander would be ruthless enough to attack an enemy ship even rescuing German sailors. U-boats had already attacked unarmed liners full of civilians. Secondly the U-boat might not in the open sea realise that the Royal Navy ship was attempting rescue operations and thirdly the standing orders from London were to NEVER expose capital ships to unnecessary U-boat attack.

Incidently the same thing happened in the Falklands war, when the General Belgrano was sunk by the Royal Navy and it's escorts left the area a as soon as possible leaving survivors in life boats. David J James 9th October 2006

If I recall corectly there WAS u-boat around there. I can't figure out were I read it, maybe in the background of silent-hunter 3. Anyhow, from what I remember there was at lest 1 u-boat around, but he was out of torpedoes. Has for attacking .... It's maybe a bit sucidal to make a sub attack with all the destroyers around, but a battleship is a really intresting target. I'll try to find some source.--Muniam 11:33, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

There I, normally reliable. and Should we add that to the article? P.S. see the outher section on u-boat.--Muniam 11:40, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

number of survivors from Hood

In this article it says only 3 survived when Bismarck brought down Hood, and the article Cruiser says it was 4... Does anyone knows what the correct number was?

It was definitely three. PatGallacher 14:17, 2005 Feb 8 (UTC)

Bradford in The Mighty Hood gives an explanation. It seems that the so-called 4th survivor was really the brother of someone who served in the Hood, and who got in trouble with the law in some way or other.


3 survivors. Article gets #crew wrong, by sources I've seen: it was 1419. Is there something new, or is that a mistake? 01:26, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
The figure given in the article, 1418 (1415 killed, 3 survived), is correct. Check out the superb HMS Hood Association website [1], which also lists each of them indiviually [2] John Moore 309 22:01, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, y'all. I've seen 1419 a couple of times, too. Trekphiler 23:56, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

U-Boats were in the area.

As far as it has been ascertained, U-74 (Kptlt. Kentrat) and U-556 (Kptlt. Wohlfahrt) were in the area. U-556 was Bismarck's "guardian" so to speak, and during the battle found himself with a perfect firing solution on both Ark Royal and Renown, but he was out of torpedos. U-74 took over from U-556 and at 10:36 heard the Bismarck sinking. They found a lifeboat at 19:30 with 3 Bismarck men in it. U-74 continued the search for 2 days then returned home.

I am not a registered user and I am adding to what the above user has put down. U-556 was assingned to retrieve Bismarcks war diary, but didn't reach the ship in time. The captain of the U-boat was in visual range of the Bismarck when she sank and saw the ship go down through his pariscope. Both the U-556 and U-74 were lost later in the war.

Jewish Officers

I wonder if this article should mention the fact that several of the Bismark's officers, including Admiral Lütjens were Jewsih/part Jewish. I think its a historical curiosity that not many people are probably aware of. With some digging I can get the names of those who were, but what do people think about mentioning it in the article? I assume some people might find it unsettling or too controversial.TruthCrusader

Not unsettling, not controversial but not relevant to the article. GraemeLeggett 08:51, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
This is the first I have heard of this, it strikes me as unlikely (although "part Jewish" is open to interpretation). If you have some hard information raise it under the Günther Lütjens article. PatGallacher 10:31, 2005 July 22 (UTC)

Its not unlikey, its fact. However, it probably belongs under the Lutjens article. TruthCrusader

Truth Crusader, please provide proof of this. I have read many well descriptive biographies on Lutjens, and this is the first time I have heard of him being half-Jewish. It is true that Lutjens did not support Hitlers Arian policies, nor did he inforce the Arian poicies in the navy. He did not condone the imfamous Kristallnacht incident, and wore a World War 1 dirk and saluted his superiors in the old imperialistic style rather than saluting the Nazi salute. This may have been why people may have thought of him as half-Jewish, but still your the first to bring such claim to light as far as I know. Capt.Nero

It is fact. Lutjens' grandmother was a jewish woman. Lutjens' son,, now an old man himself, spoke on the National Geographic Channel TV's Sinking the Bismarck documentary and described how the german navy had many jewish or jewish-related officers among its ranks during WWI, and many of those were retained even after Hitler because the need for skilled and experienced veteran officers. He said literally it was possible to be a jew in the nazi navy and many of them even survived the war.

The flag shown in this article is incorrectly. It's the on before 1935. Or do you just don't want to show the swastica?

The Neuremberg laws allowed full citizenship to anyone with 1 grandparent of Jewish origin. Because his grandmother was Jewish means nothing. Only SS members were required to have no Jewish ancestors. This was not the case in the other military branches.

Disputed reasons?

Someone on September 10 made a change regarding the signals and the plotting on the map as to being 'reasons to be disputed'. What were the disputed reasons? What are your references for other than using the wrong kind of map?

My source is mainly Kennedy, although a more recent book on the Bismarck says something about this, I could give you a lengthy quote. PatGallacher 18:33, 2005 September 1 (UTC)


From the "Controversy" heading:

"This question of British or German national pride gained propaganda status after the Hood's extremely shredded and mangled remains were shown on TV, which many English people considered humiliating in the face of Bismarck's easily recognizable and relatively well-preserved hull."

Is this really necessary? It doesn't seem to make sense, and I find the idea of "many English people" finding this 'humiliating' rather bizzare, especially since the programme was apparently shown around 2001. --El Zilcho 17:26, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

I remember the programme well but did not see anything in the media coverage about the English feeling "humiliated" by the respective conditions of the wrecks. It was certainly humiliating at the time that the Hood was destroyed within five minutes of engaging the enemy, which is why they devoted so many resources to sinking the Bismark, but in 2001 I suspect most people would take the view (i) it was terrible what happened to the Hood, but the condition of the wrecks is less important than the fact that they are both at the bottom of the sea; and (ii) the war was won, which is somewhat more important. Anyway, there needs to be a source for this claim (how many is "many" anyway? Only English, or perhaps Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish as well?). There also needs to be a reference to Ballard's reported views about the documentary. After all, at least the British film makers went to the trouble of asking the German navy's permission to search for the wreck.

Yes it needs to be edited out completely, the Hood blew up and sank in two pieces, that much was known before any footage was shown, so seeing a mangled wreck at the bottom of the sea was no surprise, let alone a humilitating one. Editited or removed would be the best course, unless someone can verify that many English were humilited. I'm English and not humiliated, but rather remember the lives of over 3000 people that were lost, in one episode of WW2.

Question about when the Captain died

The article states that it was Captain Lindemann who gave the order to abandon ship. Is that really true? I thought he was killed along with Admiral Lutjens and all of the other senior officers when a shell struck and detonated on the ship's bridge. Does anyone know for sure when the senior officers died? Seems certain that had he been alive to give the order to abandon ship he would have survived the engagement and have been rescued.

According to Ludovic Kennedy's book "Pursuit", the order was given by Fregattenkapitan Hans Oels, the ship's Executive Officer, from his damage control command post in Campartment XIV. The receipt of the order to scuttle, by Korvettankapitan Walter Lehmann, the chief engineering officer, was witnessed by Matrosengefreiter Herbert Blum. It appears that Oels assumed command of the ship after communication with the bridge was lost shortly after 0900. By this time the order was given, conditions aboard the ship were chaotic, and many officers, including Mullenheim-Rechberg, wre obliged to use their own initiative in attempting to save theeir men. There is no clear evidence as to when and how Lindemann died. Kennedy quotes the testimony of Matrosenstabsgefreiter Herzog, stating that a loudspeaker announcement declared that Lutjens and Lindemann had both been killed, and later that Lindemann had not been killed. Mullenheim-Rechberg quotes an astonishing report that Lindemann and his seaman messenger were seen on the forecastle of the ship as she sank, Lindemann saluting as the ship went down. Unfortunately the name of the witness or witnesses is not given, and there is no guarantee that the officer was correctly identified. John Moore 309 00:34, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think Lindeman was still alive when the order to scuttle was given. He should have been killed with Lütjens and the bridge crew when their command post was struck by Rodney with a direct hit. ROV footage showed the terrible destruction of the area inside. --Denniss 01:20, 28 March 2006 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure that Baron Von Mullenheim-Rechberg's Book: "Bismarck, a Survivor's Story" is the authority for Lindemann having given the order to abandon ship. He mentions Lindemann passing him, without a word, on deck around the time that the abandon ship order was given. You are much too optimistic in thinking that the odds on his surviving were favourable: fewer than 5% of the ship's crew, inc. many not in the depths of the ship, survived the battle and the sinking.

As to a shell detonating on the bridge, I don't recall this off-hand. You could be right but I wonder if you might be getting confused with the 'Prince of Wales'? During the Denmark Strait battle a 15" shell from Bismarck penetrated that ship's bridge and killed everyone but the captain. Had it exploded, there would have been no senior officers left.


According to the chapter of Mullenheim-Rechberg's book entitled A Last Visit to the Bridge, the meeting between Mullenheim-Rechberg and Lindemann took place before the battle. Mullenheim-Rechberg does not attribute the scuttling to Lindemann. John Moore 309 00:34, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Accounts I have read, including Ballards book which uses M-R's account, place Lindemann on deck just before the Bismarck goes down. For the PoW it was the compass platform that took the hit.GraemeLeggett 11:10, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

The Bercuson and Herwig book mentions the debate, as well as the conflicting reports of seeing Lindemann on deck as Bismarck went down, but the authors believe that Lindemann was killed with Lutjens when a shell from the Rodney hit the bridge, and that Oels gave the abandon ship command.King aardvark 14:18, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm in charge, here

Not to take away from Lutjens or Holland, but, who were COs Bismarck & Hood (& Pz Eugen & PoW) @time their engagement? I've seen Cpn J C Leach, RN, for PoW, KzS Ernst Lindemann, RM, for Bismarck. Trekphiler 01:32, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

The captain of Hood was Captain Ralph Kerr OBE. The captain of Prinz Eugen was Kapitan zur See Helmuth Brinckmann. Lindemann and Leach are correct (Captain Leach was the father of Sir Henry Leach, First Sea Lord from 1979 to 1982). John Moore 309 22:12, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. (Boy, I'm really on top of my watchlist, huh?) Trekphiler 00:00, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Her or His?

I've read a book about the Bismarck and now I'm wondering that is it really right to say "her, she" etc. because the captain of Bismarck wanted to use "he, his" etc because the of the ship.

Just a little formality

And sorry my bad English

In German we say "she" so I would say "she" in English too

I was just thinking the same. Although in English ships are refered to as female by all concerned parties the Bismarck was, I understand, an exception and was thought of as masculine. While I fully support the use of feminine terminology in other nautical articles, I'm not so sure its use is correct here. --LiamE 22:23, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Degrees of Fame

A contributor edited my opening sentence about the Bismarck being the "most famous" warship of WWII. I have revised this to "probably the most famous warship of WWII", as that is a matter of opinion and it is impossible to be so definitive. Others could argue that HMS Hood herself or HMS Warspite or one of the Iowa class battleships, or the Yamato are just as well known or, in the case of HMS Warspite, had a distinguished career throughout the whole of the war. Patrick

In the US, the USS Arizona might be as famous or more famous, thanks to being the Pearl Harbor tourist attraction. Hopefully, there is some reference source that said Bismarck is the most famous so that its not simply our opinion that its the most famous. Perhaps in 1960 thanks to the hit song, Bismarck was more famous in the US than it is today. Whatever is decided, I think the proper grammar would be to use the present tense in stating the ship's fame, everybody agree? I think its important to be clear what we are saying, that the ship is today the most famous, as opposed to having been the most famous during WWII (but not today, unless that is what was meant.) --Drogo Underburrow 22:34, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi, an anonymous contributor ( has once again edited the article to dispute Bismarck's being the most famous warship of WWII. I agree with your point about the use of the present tense being important. What we are saying is that Bismarck is *now probably the most famous ship, i.e. that she has never been more famous! I reverted to the old version with a note that, as far as I know, no other warship has three websites devoted to her/and her siter-ships. I don't dispute that during the war a number of ships were more distinguished or 'famous' (see above) but it's clear to many today that Bismarck's fame has endured longer than others'. That contributor has no talk page, so I'm hoping they read this page to understand my POV.

Sinking of Bismarck

Graham, someone has deleted a para. I had in along the lines of "To this day controversy remains over the sinking of the ship". Why this was removed, I don't know, since it listed the key questions about torpedo hits/scutting, gunfire, combination of all/some of these, without making any judgements or conclusions?

Can you shed any light on this as I think it was quite a fair and valuable commentary? Patrick

If the Bismarck was scuttled, why did so many of the crew die on board, as currently implied by the article? In fact, they didn't die onboard, most of the crew went into the water, where they were abandoned by the British, and left to die. The article should state this, that close to two thousand men died when the British ships steamed away and left them. I think material that used to address this was deleted and should be put back in a revised form. --Drogo Underburrow 23:02, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

To those who keep deleting my paragraph on the sinking: controversy *does* exist today. The various expeditions to the wreck show that damage caused by torpedoes was underestimated. And the hasty departure of the British ships still ranlkes with many today.

I wish to take issues with this, "...abandoning the majority of the Bismarck's 2,200 man crew to the mercy of the water" This is assuming, without fact that 2,200 men were left alive in the water, this cannot be verified. We know many were left, but how many is many?

Fair enough: I have amended the article a little and Drogo added a further point about numbers. (I will also edit the article a little further up to say that "many" rather than "most" of the crew escaped from the ship.) According to the specialist websites, about 800 sailors escaped from the ship, of whom just over a hundred were rescued. That's why I said that "hundreds" were left in the water. As to Drogo changing "at the mercy of the water" to "to die in the water", that is an old and difficult question. Isn't my wording more neutral, as Drogo's suggests that the British deliberately abandoned the sailors to die in the water? That might be true but is also POV. Maybe Drogo will give this some thought. Thanks Patrick

The British left them to die; if they should by chance be rescued, that doesn't change the fact that the British left them in a lethal situation, with no help coming as far as the British knew. "the mercy of the water" is a poetic euphemism, and hence is more POV than bluntly stating the facts. Drogo Underburrow 18:10, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

As an aside, stop and think of the barbarity of the British conduct on that day. Hundreds of human beings in the water, and the British ships sail away and leave them there? For what reason, a supposed U-boat contact? Would a U-boat attack British warships in broad daylight on the surface? Of course not. Would it manage to get within torpedo range submerged? Highly unlikely, U-boats could only move at a crawl submerged. If there was a U-boat contact, the logical action for destroyers like the HMS Maori would be to close distance and launch a depth-charge attack and sink the U-boat, not run away. Stop and imagine, for a moment, if the Maori was in the area, doing nothing, on an ordinary day, and it had a U-boat contact. It then fled. How long do you think that the Captain would retain his command? Drogo Underburrow 18:20, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi. I quote: "the British left them in a lethal situation, with no help coming as far as the British knew". So what are we disputing: what's different about your words and my using "to the mercy of the water"? FWIW, I agree the British acted disgracefully in leaving the scene prematurely that day but it's undeniably POV to say that the Germans were deliberately left to die. There is simply no hard evidence that this was the case and, after all, the British had begun the rescue effort. But when the U-boat alarm was sounded, they pulled in their nets, steamed off and did not return. Their attitude may well have been: "Ok, if we're going to be threatened by a U-boat, we'll have to abandon this rescue and leave these men in the sea". Of course, this could have been a highly convenient excuse for acting as they did but we can't be sure that they acted with malice. I doubt that the British captains had time to debate the likelihood of the U-boat threat or to satisfy themselves that a submarine had been spotted. Their careers would be finished if they were attacked while stopped and may explain why the British sped off. Overall I'm suggesting that, on this occasion, your words are not sufficiently balanced to pass a neutrality test. The suspicions you and I share are one thing, proof quite another. All the best, Patrick.
You never responded to an important point I raised, so I will repeat it more bluntly. If the British where acting in response to a U-boat contact, why didn't they go look for, find, and sink that U-boat? Running away because of a "U-boat contact" is absurd, a phoney excuse. Who invented this ridiculous claim? What is the source? Drogo Underburrow 00:31, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
The specialist websites say that there was a submarine alert and the British ships left the scene without further delay. I presume that the British ships' logs recorded this and that it became known quite soon after they reached port. You are missing my point: the main enemy ship had been sunk so locating and attacking a "stray" U-boat not in contact with a convoy was hardly a priority. It would also have put the British ships at risk (a point I repeat). Getting back to port after such a demanding chase was probably the order of the day Patrick.
I'm not overlooking your point, I'm contradicting it. War is not a game, and if the big event was over, the players go home. If the Maori had a U-boat contact, it would have attacked. That is what destroyers were for, to sink U-boats. A destroyer running away from a U-boat is like a fox fleeing from a chicken. -- Drogo Underburrow 00:23, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

"I assume", "I think", "if" this, "if" that, "no hard evidence", "the suspicions you and I share", "barbarity of the British conduct". I think I'll add this page to my watchlist to make sure neither of you make any ignorant POV edits. Wiki-Ed 12:59, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

"Ignorant" in terms of lack of knowledge or "ignorant" in terms of courtesy? If you follow the points made, or bother to check the history of the article, you would see that both Drogo and myself seem to know sth about the Bismarck. Nothing has been added to our discussion for a couple of weeks, indicating that while we agree to disagree the discussion is at an end. Isn't a discussion page for saying what can't be said in the main article, or for justifying what someone considers POV? It's not for anyone to act as a censor on what we say or appear to threaten our free speech, as long as we remain reasonable. Neither Drogo nor I appear to have a problem with a healthy discussion in which we're not afraid to make our points. I can't see any inappropriate language that should cause you to get all high and mighty and bossy with us; so take a pill, have a stiff drink and chill out, there's a good chap! bigpad 15:49, 10 June 2006 (UTC).

i changed the sentence in the "sinking" section about the demonstration of the difficulty a battleship has in sinking a similar unit in a balanced engagement to read "sink a similar unit in even an unbalanced engagement" because the previous version implies that 1 partially crippled battleship versus 2 fully operational battleships, heavy cruisers, and destroyers was somehow a "balanced engagement". Parsecboy 22:55, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I have to disagree leaving the Germans in the water was wrong. First, they were the enemy. Second, a ship stopped to pick up survivors is a sitting duck for a submarine, able to "approach at a crawl" or not; a battleship is rather a large target. Third, I believe it was RN policy not to stop to pick up survivors even from friendlies where U-boats were present, precisely because stopped ships were easy shys. Was it morally deplorable? Perhaps. Was it understandable? Yes. Trekphiler 00:11, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Sinking of Hood

No serious student of the Bismarck or Hood believes that an 8" shell from Prinz Eugen was enough to sink the Hood. Such a projectile lacked the penetrative effect needed, even when hitting a battlecruiser. Eyewitnesses to the Admiralty inquiry, and the vast majority of studies done since that fateful day, concur that the Prinz Eugen did *not* sink the Hood.

I have therefore reverted the text to the way it was before these two recent interventions as they lack the neutral focus we need.

The theory about PE and 8" shell is that it hit the "unrotated projectile" storage box on the open deck of Hood. That was a large unarmoured tin box filled with hundreds of weird looking unguided aerial mine rockets meant to be used against dive-bomber attacks. The resulting massive deck explosion may have been transferred down into the citadel of Hood if some manhole or vent opining was not closed due to human error. It is well-known that Hood's personnel was NOT well trained at the time and quite strained. 08:38, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
== Well, well... ==
"Such a projectile lacked the penetrative effect needed, even when hitting a battlecruiser." During the Battle of Denmark Strait, an 8 inch shell from Prinz Eugen found its way to the propelling charge/round manipulation chamber below the after 5.25-inch gun turrets of Prince of Wales, and a 15 inch shell from Bismarck hit underwater very close to the after 14-inch magazine. Fortunately neither shell exploded; Prince of Wales might have succumbed to a fate similar to the Hood. And Prince of Wales was a battleship.
"they lack the neutral focus we need."
The text is neutral. I never claimed that whetever Prinz Eugen sunk Hood or not is certain, but Hood blew up shortly after recieving a hits from Prinz Eugen and that is relevant. That is not POV.
Your sequence of events is faulty, however. The 8" hit from PE came some minutes before the shell from Bismarck struck the Hood. Any way you look at it, your version of the battle says that PE sank the Hood when it is much more likely, from observers at the time, and from subsequent analysis, that the Bismarck was responsible. Only its 15" shell had the penetrative effect to reach the Hood's magazines.
If you spend some time on the kbismarck or Bismarck and Tirpitz sites you'll become better acquainted with what happened, and when.
My revision is much more accurate and, you'll note, I put in the bit about the conclusions amde at the time as to the sinking without saying that this was definitely the case.
Why do you keep reverting to an edit that is wrong chronologically, if not in other ways? Patrick
== ..... ==
"If you spend some time on the kbismarck or Bismarck and Tirpitz sites you'll become better acquainted with what happened, and when."
I do not need to, and I don't use internet as my primary source of information. Also, your statement "you'll become better acquinted with what happened, and when." sounds a bit "all mighty."
"Only its 15" shell had the penetrative effect to reach the Hood's magazines."
That is what you say, but an 8 inch shell from Prinz Eugen found its way to the propelling charge/round manipulation chamber below the after 5.25-inch gun turrets of Prince of Wales.
"My revision is much more accurate" POV. You don't include the information regarding Prinze Eugen's hits.
Hi again,
That's fair enough about me sounding "high and mighty" but we can't ignore the substantial body of evidence that has been accumulated on the web about the course of events. It's ok to claim that PE sank the Bismarck but the reality is that that particular question has been asked many times and found to be a fairly unlikely scenario. Granted an 8" shell hit POW and penetrated to a degree, but that is not conclusive proof that the same shell would have made mincemeat of the Hood.
The effect of the 8" hit on the Bismarck is well covered on the sites Ihave referred to. The main contributors to those sites are folks with an in-dpth knowledge and few stones are left unturned.
An encyclopedia needs to be accurate on key points, for instance the timing of salvoes being fired, etc., as this can be known fairly accurately. I hope my article is robust in this regard. However, no one can know for sure exactlly what caused the Hood to blow up with such devastation. Still, the way I have the article is the most plausible explanation.
I will revisit your point about not having included the hits from PE. I thought I had done so but will check.
Regards, Patrick
Will you people please put your comments indented and tagged (remember 4 x ~!) so the rest of us can follow and comment.GraemeLeggett 10:10, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Space Battleship Bismarck?

One thing I do not know the answer to: is the keel of the Bismarck broken? It sure dived and impacted mud and slide several miles violently, but the submersibles made video which shows it is pristine.

It an important question I think, because with a broken keel the Bismarck is a mere wreck on the seafloor. But if the keel holds than the Bismarck is still a hull, not a wreck and could theoretically and immorally be raised, fitted out and made into a combattant once again. It is made of very good steel and didn't rust much in the great depth. 08:43, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Even if she could be raised, she is a war grave.

The Bismarck Chase

We already have a page devoted to the battle. Its called Operation Rheinübung. -- Drogo Underburrow 23:10, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

To shift detail into sub pages is a very reasonable idea. we alreadt have Battle of the Denmark Strait. GraemeLeggett 08:29, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

An important element in the chase was relocating the ship, which the flying-boat did. An earlier edit queried the assertion that the Irish/Eire government [Eamon De Valera, actually] had provided a secret corridor across its airspace to extend the range of Allied aircraft covering the E. Atlantic. Well, this was known as the "Donegal Corridor" and was top secret until after the war. A report on this evening's BBC N. Ireland news featured a short memorial service for airmen who lost their lives in that part of Ireland during the war. This included the unveiling of two plaques on Lough Erne to mark the corridor, which ran from Belleek to Ballyshannon (a relatively short distance but which saved up to two hours' flying time). Its importance in Bismarck's fate should not be underestimated. In addition, I have visited a military museum on Lough Erne that details the hunt for the Bismarck and the role played by the plane(s) from Lough Erne.


Make only links relevant to the article. Overlinking is very distracting to the reader. Don't link words simply because they have articles. Links are like making a footnote. Ask yourself, would it be appropriate to insert the words "See also" in parenthesis after the linked word? If not, then don't link it. Ordinary words should not be linked. It is possible to link almost every word like this; don't. -- Drogo Underburrow 08:03, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Most famous WWII warship?

"The battleship Bismarck is probably the most famous warship of the Second World War." -- WWII produced a number of famous ships. What basis do we have for claiming Bismarck as the "most famous"? -- 01:55, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Know any other ships that had a hit song? :-) -- Drogo Underburrow 06:21, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

I've tried to specify "German" warship, but it keeps getting changed back. See my latest change comments for a list of ships at least as famous as the Bismarck (and often moreso). And yes, that should have been "Yamoto" not "Yamamoto." (Me: IP

Hi 'anonymous user', please see my comments above (under "Degrees of Fame). Article edited to remove the "probably" but let's leave it at that Patrick. [Addendum: once again, anonymous user, please check and respond to postings on this page before blandly asking me to do so (in your article edit summary), when I have already done so Patrick.]
You aren't actually making a point, buddy. You're saying "let's do it my way and call it at that." I've read what you said above, and it's still not correct. If you don't know of "3 other websites devoted to a single ship" for any other WWII ship, you obviously aren't looking. The Bismarck is/was a paper tiger with only one claim to fame. The famous ones are all out in the Pacific, and are usually carriers. Besides, apply logic to it. "Most famous German ship" is a subset of "most famous ship." Being specific is good for an encyclopedia, no? The claim that it is "considered by many" to be the most famous ship doesn't really matter. I'm certain that the USS Guaducanal is "considered by many" to be the most famous ship. (Me: IP
Arguing back and forth will not settle this issue. Does anybody own entire books about the Bismarck? Do any of those books voice an opinion on this issue? Rather than trying to determine who is right and wrong here, lets do it the WP:NPOV way, which is to cite sources. -- Drogo Underburrow 00:14, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I went back and changed it again to something more neutral: "One of the most famous warships." Heck, it occured to me that "most famous German warship" might actually be wrong, considering the number of famous U-Boats. Trying to declare a ship the "most famous" is sort of presumptious anyway, is it not? I myself would consider the Enterprise the most famous, but you don't see me changing its article to say so. Google would seem to agree with me, with about 4.2 million hits for "world war ii ship enterprise" vs. 350,000 for "world war ii ship bismarck." Either way, the Bismarck is *not* the most famous ship of World War II. Maybe it is in Ireland, but not world wide. If people can't accept "one of the most famous ships," then I suggest that there be no reference to fame at all, and the first sentence changed to "The battleship Bismarck was a German warship in World War II." Or something along those lines. (Me: IP
LOL LOL LOL LOL @ "ME" if you type something with "enterprise" in google you will get A LOT OF HITS BY STARTREK! so the Enterprise of WW2 will never get 4.2 milion hits about it. also you will not get 350000 hit for bismark because there was a man called bismark. you can not measure a popularity with google using long sentences without " " those signs. so maybe they do this in the usa, but not people who can use their brain. sorry but the WW2 Enterprise is not a popular ship to the world. the USS Enterprise from startrek is ;-) anyway it would be better to write that the bismark is one of the most popular rather than THE most popular 19:13, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

If you type four ~ at the end of your posts it will automatically sign them. WP:NPOV is not about changing what you say to sound more "neutral", its about posting what contending sources say without editors picking who is right. We need to find a published source that says that the Bismarck was famous; otherwise the article has no right to make the claim. It's not enought for editors to assert that the ship is famous, nor try to prove it in various ways. That is called 'original research' and isn't allowed. So whoever has a published book that says something on this issue, speak up, or we have to delete the claim entirely for lack of a source. Drogo Underburrow 00:47, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

"Famous" is one of those things that you don't really find a source for, and every source will say something different anyway. There's no doubt that the Bismarck is famous. Why? Because I would wager most people have at least heard about it in passing, and anyone who knows only a little bit about World War II history will know it. But there's no mathematical definition of "famous" that can statistically prove if something is famous or not. Here's what it boils down to: The Bismarck is a famous warship from World War II. It is arguably the most famous of all German ships. It is not the most famous ship overall from World War II. If you want to take out *all* references to fame, it's a valid option, but it does remove a fact from the article. Which fact? The fact that theh Bismarck is a famous World War II battleship. (Me: IP
Don't be so sure that no source addresses the issue of Bismarck's fame (though right after saying that, you then contradict yourself by claiming all sources voice contrary opinions on the topic). In any event, sources are all we deal with here at Wikipedia. We are supposed to fill articles with what sources say, not with original material. If a published source doesn't say it, it doesn't belong here. Similarly, whatever published sources do say, its up to us to cite those sources, not to write as if the material is coming from the editor's brains. Drogo Underburrow 01:22, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Heh. I'm well accustomed to research, both original and summarizing what others have said. I may not do much with Wikipedia, but you don't need a single authoritative source for each and every statement. By its very nature, fame is something that doesn't come from a single source saying so. (Me: IP

I think that "one of the most famous warships" is fair enough. And thanks to for *finally replying on this page Patrick.

No need for cheap shots, friend. No "finally" about it, I've been putting things on the page quite a bit lately, as you may have noticed. (Me: IP
I reckon the first "cheap shot" came from you, perhaps accidently, in your peremptory edit summary about me making my point on this (the discussion) page. But I'm happy to move on as there seems to be a consensus on the wording. You might have seen above that, like you, I queried the use of 'probably the most famous warship.." when many had more distinguished war careers Patrick.

I guess fame is hard to estimate, especially because there´s allways a different sight of view. US citizens for example may find the warships of the pacific war more interesting and famous while in Europe, where nearly no country was involved into the pacific war, no one knows about these famous carriers or maybe not such intense, like americans do. For example, i never heard about the USS Guaducanal. To call the Bismarck a paper tiger, because the ship only had one claim to fame or just one trip is neither logical, nor correct, as you mentioned it. The Titanic has also only one "claim to fame" and is also the most fameous civil ship in the world. Theres also a lot of symbolic character if you say for example, that it fought against a whole fleet and even in his agony, it hold out quite well. But of course, the world "most fameous" is totally unable to proof.

I would suggest a reasonable way to establish relative fame might be to survey how many books have been written on the Bismark compared to any other ship. I think you will find that there are far more written works on the Bismark, and the Bismark alone, than there are on any other single warship. Similarly, several documentaries have been made about the Bismark. I am not aware of the same degree of Media interest in any other single warship, past or present. Getztashida 16:08, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

This is a very reasonable suggestion but I think that the consensus was to use the words "one of the most famous..", notwithstanding a widespread feeling that B. is by far the most 'famous', for the reasons you have mentioned bigpad 20:41, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

This discussion is so Euro-centric that it's useless. It threatens to get into a circular argument in which one cites European sources in English that obsess over the Bismarck, and they cite the Bismarck because it's obsessed over in Europe. Meanwhile in Asia or the U.S., it's far from the most famous ship.

Yamato is unquestionably the most famous WWII ship in Japan. It's really hard to understate how famous that ship is there; The Kure Naval History Museum has a 1/10 scale modelModer.JPG and a life-size reconstruction of the deck, and they've gotten 2,000,000 visitors in a year. It's hard to imagine the Germans doing that for Bismarck, or even the Brits for Hood. Yamato is frequently featured in Japanese media and fiction, most famously in Space Battleship Yamato[3], and many, many other fictional depictions. It also has a namesake prototype research vessel[4], much like how the Americans named their first Space Shuttle Enterprise.

This points to the problem with the guy asking "How many ships have had hit songs made about them": there's a mountain of media about Yamato, and saying "Ship X is the most famous in the world" while remaining ignorant about what's being depicted in overseas media merely shows your ignorance. How many manga have been made about Bismarck?

The fact is, much as the Brits and Germans obsess over Bismarck, the Japanese obsess over Yamato - and Japan is bigger than the UK and Germany combined, so it's clearly rubbish to claim Bismarck as more famous. That is, unless you want to try the old "But we're Europeans, so we matter more" trick. People are apt to obsess over ships in their locality, and completely ignore ships that are famous overseas. So you're likely to get Japanese pages that say Yamato is the most famous, or Portugese pages that say Graf Spee was the most famous.

In the U.S., it's likely either Arizona, Missouri, Yorktown, or Hornet. Worldwide, I'd say it's probobly Missouri or Yamato. Identity0 07:25, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I would just like to point out: Japan is not bigger than the Germany and the UK combined, [5]. Dapi89 (talk) 20:54, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

hmmm. i will bet on that most people outside of the USA never will remember a name of an US Battleship nowadays. but the bismark is well known all over the world. its because its easier to remember due the link to the politican bismark. every ship mentioned here in the discussion are mostly known only by people who are interested in warfare. BTW mangas, there was a TV manga, something with "sherrif" in the name i cant remember. but i know that the Big Robot of the sherrif was renamed (series is from JAPAN) because the name of the robot was BISMARK.....;-) but you can end this discussion by making a survey through the internet. just ask people all around the world if they know the name of any battleship in time.... 11:43, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, those of us who are interested in Bismarck might agree with the general thrust of your argument, but I must admit if Bismark has a better claim I'd be interested to hear it. How famous are you if your supporters can't even spell your name? Greglocock 11:53, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

No more images!

I have removed the second pic. of Bismarck firing at POW as that would mean six images in an article that is already very large. To Wallie: can you reduce the size of the Hood and Ark Royal pics as they are disproportionally large compared to Bismarck, the main subject? It's useful to keep them in, though. For example, the updated pic. of Hood from the Hood page would do well (although, FWIW, I think the original pic. of Hood showing her length and graceful lines was far nicer!) Thanks, bigpad 07:52, 8 June 2006 (UTC).

You are welcome to change things, if you want to. I thought the second picture of Bismarck firing, and that smoke, looked impressive. However, I guess you removed it, and I am not too fussed. As for the size of the article, do you think it is too large? It will probably increase over time you know... It is great that there is so much interest in these ships after all this time. Keep up the good work! Wallie 21:37, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I reverted a deletion of the Hood pic., as the article does not claim categorically that a shell or shells from Bismarck (alone) sank the Hood. The careful wording of the first paragraph is evidence of this bigpad 08:18, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

The sinking section

The start of the article seems to do a good job of avoiding the question of whether it was scuttled or sunk due to damage, but the section on the sinking appears to have fully made up its mind that the germans scuttled it instead of saving such conclusions for the controvesy page. Would anyone object to the moving of such conclusions down into the controversy section? Narson 16:29, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

i object to the move. it's undeniable that the bismarck was scuttled. the only question is whether the ship sank because of combat damage, or the scuttling. the order to scuttle was given. the section of the article you're talking about never says the bismarck sank because it was scuttled, that analysis is only in the controversy section. leave it as is. Parsecboy 18:11, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

It is all in the same paragraph, in the next sentence after saying the order to scuttle and abandon ship was given it goes on to mention its sinking, this gives the impression the events were indeed the ones to lead onto the sinking. At the very least a paragraph break would be good there. Narson 13:03, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

i'm not quite sure you're reading the same bismarck article that i am. it's not in the same paragraph:

"Bismarck continued to fly its ensign. With no sign of surrender, despite the unequal struggle, the British were loath to leave the Bismarck. Their fuel and shell supplies were low - a demonstration of how difficult it was for a battleship to sink a similar unit in even an unbalanced engagement. However, when it became obvious that their enemy could not reach port, Rodney, King George V and the destroyers were sent home. Norfolk had used its last torpedoes, therefore Dorsetshire launched four torpedoes which may have hit the Bismarck at comparatively short range. Although the battleship's upper works were almost completely destroyed, her engines were still functioning and the hull appeared to be relatively sound; therefore rather than risk her being captured, the order to scuttle and then abandon ship was given. Many of the crew went into the water, but few sailors from the lower engine spaces got out alive. It's not clear who gave the order to scuttle the ship, as Captain Lindeman was presumed killed with all officers after the bridge was hit by a 16″ shell. Some of the survivors, though, believe they saw him going down alive with his ship.

Bismarck went under the waves at 10.39 hours that morning. Unaware of the fate of the ship, Group West, the German command base, continued to issue signals to Bismarck for some hours, until Reuters reported news from Britain that the ship had been sunk. In Britain, the House of Commons was informed of the sinking early that afternoon."

it doesn't say anyhting about the ship sinking until the first line of the second paragraph. totally separated from the suttling comment. therefore, it's a non-issue. Parsecboy 16:53, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Still no references for the scuttle and its a disputed fact, so I'm going to look at either rewording or simply added citation needed flags. Narson 23:24, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
There were several expeditions to the Bismarck and they did not show any significant torpedo damage to the hull or damage by compressed air often seen on ships which are sunk by underwater damage with bulkheads still closed. The only disputed fact is the sinking by british torpedoes. IT was definitely crippled and shot to a burning wreck by british weapons but the germans didn't want to give them the pride to have them sunk. They were probably well prepared to scuttle the ship once they realized there's no way to repair the damage by the Swordfish lucky shot or to get back to France. --Denniss 00:04, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Apart from the British one that came to the conclusion it sunk due to combat damage? Might very well be wrong, but its hardly like anyone can put their hand on their heart and say for sure it scuttled or was sunk by combat damage (There are always some doubts when you are doing forensics in a non sterile environment decades later, I'm sure), so I think we should err on the side of caution.Narson 00:11, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
No one disputes that the Bismarck was scuttled besides nationalist Britishers. Robert Ballard criticized the British expedition as nationalist. Take a look at the later NGC documentary; I'm sure you can get ahold of a copy. It shows that there were no underwater penetrations of the armor belt, and only 4 above the waterline. I doubt the Bismarck would've sunk as quickly if it were only water splashing in those 4 holes. Just accept that the British couldn't sink the Bismarck. Ascribe it to the fact that the BBs were running low on fuel and ammunition after a long chase, and couldn't finish the job, or the superiority in German naval design. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the Bismarck was not sunk by gunfire or torpedoes, rather, she was scuttled. As for the forensics in a non-sterile environment, if anything the case for the Bismarck being sunk is greater after the ship having crashed into an underwater volcano after plummeting a few miles down, and sat on the ocean floor to fall apart from the slow ravages of time. Parsecboy 00:19, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I am not interested in furthering my knowledge of it (I have watched programs about both sides of the debate), I am not an expert on underwater excavations or forensics. And frankly, I don't think it mattered, scuttled or destroyed by enemy fire, she is still as sunk as she would be otherwise, however, it is a fact disputed by one side. It is also a very common view in Britain and it seems to be in France, from what my French friends tell me, that the Bismarck was 'sunk by enemy fire'. I am not arguing we put 'Sunk by British Ships' in (Infact, i was looking for some wording that indicated 'Sunk (causes debated)' but couldn't think of a non clunky way to put it. Any ideas on that one?
It doesn't matter what popular conception in England is, or what your French friends tell you. There is such a thing as propaganda. There also is such as thing as nationalist school history programs (I know, I endured one in the US). The problem with "Sunk" is it implies the British sank it directly, which is not the case. "Scuttled" is the most accurate description of what caused the ship to sink. Sure, we could put "Shot to pieces and forced to scuttle", but I believe you were looking for something less clunky. Parsecboy 00:33, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
It definatly does matter what popular belief is if that belief comes from one version of events backed up by scientific studies, even if people say those studies are flawed. Scuttled is the most accurate if the ship is indeed scuttled. As such an idea is one sides view, this throws the NPOV of the article off (An article that does a good job of straddling the issue otherwise). Perhaps the 'Fate' bit in the info box should say 'See controversy section'? Narson 00:40, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
Are you listening to what you're typing? To paraphrase, "if people believe it, even if those beliefs are based on wrong information, it must be true". The problem here is that the ship was indeed scuttled. Capt. Lindemann gave the order to scuttle and abandon ship, confirmed by the survivors of the Bismarck. If your suggestion here about the "fate" section is acceptable to other editors, I see no problem with it. Parsecboy 00:51, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
I never said that it was true the bismarck was sunk by enemy fire. I also never it wasn't. I have not said either side is right. It is you who constantly push a POV agenda in this. I am simply infavour of the article not chosing between either POV. I find flaws in both stories and as I have said, its at the bottom of the atlantic either way. As you say, there are nationalist issues, on both sides, that will colour the view of it to the point I believe the truth never will out. Narson 01:04, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

- ::::::::The Battleship book I am reading, written by a German called Breyer, says torpedoed while sinking. So some German naval historians think that the scuttling was either irrelevant or didn't happen. Preston says sunk, Hough says torpedoed. So some British naval historians think that the scuttling was either irrelevant or didn't happen. Greglocock 00:56, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I have put 'See Controversy Section' in there instead to try and prevent an edit war, I believe this is a good compromise as an infobox is too short to get the debate across so lets send people down there and let them make their own mind up. Narson 00:47, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. I have restored the date that the ship was "lost", a common and neutral expression in English that does not influence views on the controversy. This key date is needed in the infobox bigpad 08:26, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

What's wrong with the 27th of May? That's what's there. I'd argue she was lost well before that date... but only to be annoying. Greglocock 09:53, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Thats the word I was looking for! Lost! (Stupid brain. -5 points to you). Its a far better solution than just a 'see blah'. Good job :) Narson 10:43, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Criticism of Design

There is a fair amount of informed comment available on the design of the Bis, basically pointing out that she was a rather old-fashioned design, with substantial peculiar design decisions (3 screws, non-dual purpose secondaries, poor armour layout). Since this article reads like hagiography I doubt that any attempt to put this in would survive, so I'll just mention it here. Greglocock 19:49, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

If you can find sources for it, I would have no problem with that being included, but on a side note, I don't believe the armor layout was poorly done, as the British couldn't sink the ship with gunfire or torpedoes. Parsecboy 19:54, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

They got a mission kill due to the jammed rudder due to the poor design of the stern. See Bismarck_class_battleship for an abbreviated list of the obvious design flaws. For consistency it seems to me we should not claim excellent armor in one article, and goofy (or whatever) in another on the same design. Greglocock 21:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Thinking about it, /all/ design details should be in the Bismarck_class_battleship article, except where B and T differed. This article should be about the /unique/ attributes and history of B. Which is still a huge subject. Greglocock 11:45, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Reversion of my edits by Bigpad

Trials speeds are of academic interest only. I can easily dig out faster shorter ships (virtually any destroyer), or faster earlier battleships (Amagi (cancelled) or Veneto or Dunkerque or Richelieu or Littorio) for example (ref Battleships by Anthony Preston). Also edited quote from P105:Despite flagrant evasion of the treaty (displacement) limits.... (Bis) had a sea speed of only 29 knots, a fraction of a knot more than that of the smaller SoDak and KGV and other classes. End edited quote. The reason for /that/ is her huge beam, which was her main anti-torpedo defence.

Secondly submarines are warships, Bismarck had no realistic chance of sinking a submerged submarine therefore she could not engage a sub (which is a warship) on equal footing. In fact Bis didn't even hit the destroyers that came after her. Bis had zero effective offensive capability against subs or destroyers at torpedo range. Therefore I will reinstate my edits unless you can provide objective cites for both statements. Greglocock 22:07, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi, It does appear that you have come to this page with quite an anti-Bismarck stance.
Anti fanboy actually
Please read the whole of the article again and look at the big picture. Maybe you could give examples of 1940 or early 1941 battleships that managed to reached 30 knots in trials, or that had a speed of "only" 29 knots, fully laden.
I repeat (Amagi (cancelled) or Veneto or Dunkerque or Richelieu or Littorio). Veneto was launched in 1934 , had a trials speed of 31.4, and a normal top speed of 30, according to Breyer. Bis was not good for 29 knots "fully laden". See Breyer. He quotes 29 as her normal top speed.
The British could have guessed that Bismarck could have a speed advantage over all their battleships. 29 knots in the rough seas of the Atlantic, on a ship whose broad beam *was a distinct advantage and impressive by any standards of the time. The later US IOWA-class managed 33 knots, which was terrific, but try and keep some perspective on the dates here.
See above, all were /earlier/ ships than Bis, and faster.
Secondly, it's a bit pedantic to start mentioning battleships v submarines. Why introduce the issue at all?
Read my lips. Subs are warships. Bis had no effective offensive capability against them. Therefore the statement "Bismarck was capable of engaging any enemy warship on at least equal terms" is rubbish. I put the qualifier "surface" in to at least indicate some connection with reality.
Bismarck failed to hit any of the destoyers that pursued her before her last battle but that was during a sustained night action after she had suffered the catastrophic hit to her rudder.
Spacious waters: Bismarck was sent out to hunt and destroy shipping. The best way of doing so, or causing panic on the allied side, was to slip through into the N. Atlantic and disappear, leaving the other side to guess where she might show up next. This could go on for months on end. The Atlantic is such a big place that it was conceivable for the ship to remain at large for a long time, if supplied by tankers. The German battlecruisers had done so in 1940.
and yet Bis was found twice in 4 days. Why describe such a foolish plan in such glowing terms?
As it happened, these plans went awry when the German squadron was intercepted near Iceland and damage forced Bismarck to head back to France for repair.
As to your comment on the article reading as if a god were being worshipped: this is not the case. I undertook the substantial revision and tidy-up about 18 months or 2 years ago which, I hope, gave the opportunity for the article to be built on and improved. Since then, it has undergone modest but important anc careful revisions to try and keep a neutral focus. I think we have done a reasonable job in this regard.
And it reads like a fanboy edit
In all, I think your proposals do not move us forward bigpad 10:22, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Obviously that's what you think. However you don't own this article, and I have citations on my side, you have opinion. Can you provide a single citation where a modern naval architect, or professional naval historian, thinks that Bis' speed is impressive? Or who regards Bis' mission as any more than a desperate move? Or who thinks that Bis could hold her own against /any/ enemy warship, including subs? Greglocock 11:26, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Ok, some points. Enemy warships: the Vittorio Veneto class (of one of Germany's allies, BTW, not an enemy (see the article) are recorded as 31.50 knots trials, 29 knots at normal load. Richelieu, a potential enemy, is recorded as 30 knots; B 30.1 trials, 29 knots at normal load (fully laden = gets faster as oil is used up and shells fired, i.e. becomes lighter). For a new ship of that size, how can you say that is unimpressive? And rem. that the Atlantic is rough: a more stable ship will maintain speed better. I am not aware of any British battleships of the period that could match Bismarck's speed.
I got my figures from Beyer. Where did you get yours? The aricle makes the claim that the speed is "impressive". That is not encyclopaedic language, unless you can provide a verifiable cite of someone worth listening, to writing it. Preston seesm unimpressed, for example. It does not matter who was on whose side, for that claim. Incidentally I made a mistake, Amagi was a BC, her sister class Owari were BBs, launched in 1921, had a top in service speed of 29.75 knots. Beyer p353 . Richelieu was a direct contemporary of Bis, trials speed 32, top speed 30.

Spacious waters: Bis. was spotted in the very narrow waters between Iceland and Greenland. It also escaped later that day when in clearer waters but pursued by a number of ships, and was only spotted again by a combination of an injudicious radio signal and an oil-slick that made her path more discernible to the plane that spotted her. What do you think her prospects woudl have been like in the wide-open Atlantic?

My opinion doesn't matter. This article is not about my opinions. Every reputable naval historian I have read has said that her mission was a bust from the outset. Guess what. Your opinion doesn't matter either unless you can find verifiable sources to back it up.

Bismarck's destruction was hugely unlucky from the German's point of view. She was perhaps 20 mins from the darkness that would have prevented further air strikes and brought her closer to France and likely salvation. Yes, sending the ships out into the Atlantic was a gamble of course, but a desperate one: I don't think so. As I said before, based on what previous battlecruiser commerce-hunting raids had achieved, prospects were good if the ship could reach the Atlantic undetected.

Head to head: the ship proved impossible to sink by gunfire, so what does that say about its ability to stand up well to any enemy ship? Please inform us of all the *enemy ships of the time that you know about, that were at least at match for it (to contradict what the article says).

Any RN or US sub would have loved to have had Bis in her sights.

It's clear that you don't rate the ship, so why don't you go ahead and create an article on this and it'll be easy to link to? That would be an appropriate way of providing references.

No, I've provided cites, you have not. Here they are again, as you appear to be unfamiliar with the literature: Seyer: Battleships and Battlecruisers. Anthony Preston : Battleships. We don't create alternative articles and link to them, we sort out the ones we have.

BTW, "read my lips": George Bush Snr said that didn't he, and ended up with a lot of egg on his face (when he had to put up taxes)? bigpad 12:37, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I note that you have failed to provide a single cite for any of the one-eyed mishmash of opinion you present above. At the top of this page is a box that says that statements need to be verifiable. I give you one week to provide verifiable cites for the following statements, otherwise I will attempt to edit this article into a decent state, removing or modifying speculation, uncyclopaedic language, and absurd statements.
Can you provide a single citation where a modern naval architect, or professional naval historian, 1) thinks that Bis' speed is "impressive"? As noted above there were several faster older BBs. 2)Or who regards Bis' mission as any more than a desperate move? 3)Or who thinks that Bis could hold her own against /any/ enemy warship, including subs? I really think that putting the word surface back in is your easiest path on this one.
Greglocock 19:34, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


While we're at it the 'spacious waters of the North Atlantic' in which Bis and entourage was supposed to cruise for 'months' proved to be just about big enough for her to hide for what? 4 days? So why is the mission described in the terms quoted? Greglocock 22:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Controversy section - balanced approach to Bismarck armour

The tail end of the controversy section appears to be playing a little with numbers. It quotes a number of shells fired at B and then more importantly those fired by guns that actually had a likelihood of penetrating the full armour but the number fired will not equal the number that struck. Is there a referable number of actual strikes on the B byt the British heavy guns?GraemeLeggett 11:58, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Done. it's all well documented, you just want to have to put it into the article. grin. The important thing is that in the entire history of european dreadnoughts, you could count the total number of belt penetrations on two hands. There is a strong argument that belts were too thick, and not deep enough, from Dreadnought onwards. Greglocock 10:17, 4 February
The counter argument is that so long as the ship remained floating, and could get back home, she could be rebuilt in far less time than building a replacement. That's not a theory that got deeply tested, but certainly the German record in rebuilding ships that had been silenced (the RN term for an effective mission-kill), demonstrated that it was a valid goal. Greglocock 12:11, 4 February 2007 (UTC)


"Bismarck was capable of engaging any enemy battleship on at least equal terms." Not true. Bis IZ against KGV was 16000 to 22000 , whereas KGV was immune to penetration by Biz from 16000 to 31000 yards, reference Admiralty report CB 04039(2) . Also, the fire control of KGV used radar, Bis did not(effectively), therefore at long range a KGV had a substantially greater chance of hitting Bis than vice versa. Similarly against Rodney Bis's IZ was 17000-22000, and Rodney's was 16000-26000. Therefore the statement in the article is wrong, KGV would be able to strike at long range and penetrate Biz's armour decks, and Biz would be firing without radar, and would not penetrate. This is NOT an equal fight. Greglocock 22:58, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Your amendment in the article is fair enough but your point here about radar is missing the point: Bismarck's radar went out of action *during the operation. You make it sound as if was inevitable that the ship would be entering combat without a forward radar bigpad 01:18, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
No, that is not my point. The German fire control system was based on their excellent optical system, the radars were not integrated into the FCS, were relatively weak (8 kW), and long wavelength (100 mm). KGV was 25 kW and 50 mm, respectively, so that's roughly twice as accurate and 4 dB better signal to noise ratio, and somewhat greater (30%?, ignoring wavelength effect) range, in theory - Bis was limited to about 27000 yards, ie the same as their opticals. In contrast British and American integrated the radar into the FCS, hence had superior accuracy at long range and in poor visibility. The American FCS was the only one that could maintain a solution even when maneuvering, as it was fully integrated into the nav, and had better compensation. I vaguely remember that German captains did not trust the radar, but can't remember where I read that. German radar technology was more or less equal to world's best, earlier on, but by the outbreak of war their rate of improvement was much slower than the Allies. The lack of FCS integration was a huge disadvantage for the Japanese as well.

I'm trying to find a good comparison of the degree of integration of radar into the FCS without much luck so far.Greglocock 12:59, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Here we go " Admiral Lütjens was shattered by his difficulty in breaking British radar contact. Several months earlier, while commanding the Gneisenau/Scharnhorst raid into the North Atlantic, the Admiral had been certain German radar equipment was easily superior to that of the British. In May of 1941, however, he was disheartened by the obvious superior performance of the new British radar installations. Prince of Wales successfully used her Type-284 radar set to determine ranges to Bismarck in the action on 24 May 1941. The gunnery officer used his radar to confirm ranges obtained by his coincidence-type optical rangefinders (Ref. 17). This is why the Prince of Wales, despite her crew's inexperience in gunnery (she was delivered by her builders only seven weeks before the action), was able to straddle Bismarck early on in the action and obtain two decisive hits.5* A third 14-inch shell damaged one of Bismarck's boats. " This confirms that KGV class ships actively used their radars to help with gunnery, the Germans either did not or could not do.*
In summary then, Bismarck was inferior to a KGV at long range, both in attack and defence. She was slightly faster, but would have had to steam for one hour in a stern chase, into the face of a radar ranged assault by 3 14" guns, before being able to answer fire with a reasonable probability of penetration. Quite interesting really, fast, undergunned and underarmoured, sounds like Hood! Anyway the current wording of that section of the article is OK. Greglocock 02:01, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Hi, "fast, undergunned and underarmoured, sounds like Hood!" That's the funniest thing I've heard in a while!! Keep the humour going. Regards, bigpad 21:48, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Gonna fly, now

What type were her floatplanes? Trekphiler 00:56, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Arado Ar 196 Parsecboy 08:22, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

New Pictures

I added in in 2 new pics. This article needed some of Bismarck during her short combat life. I think the battle with Hood and her final battle were fitting.

Dapi89 20:16, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

A fix is needed...

This is honestly one of the worst articles I have seen, there is too much information that is contradictory, and the fact that imagery of Bismarck is not good enough proof for people to conclude that Bismarck was scuttled, and her crew left to die by the British. At least it should be mentioned that the "official" version of the sinking at the time was the one in the sinking section, however after more light has been shed on the whole ordeal there is proof that the official version at the time may have been propaganda due to such and such.... At least mention that there are two version of the story, because this article gives the impression that the one used by the British is the right and that they are fully trustworthy, which images show that they are not...cKaL 03:36, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

The claim that the British left the German sailors because of a U-Boat warning is absurd, since any British destroyer would hunt down a U-boat contact, not run away. That the British left the sailors to die is a fact; why they left is speculation, and should be sourced. The British left because of a U-boat contact? Says who? The British Admiralty? Then say that, giving the source that reports that. Drogo Underburrow 06:52, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Dealing with the sinking section say it only puts foreward one side of the story? What bits is disputed and we can work on fixing it? From what I've read the actual account of the battle seems fairly consistant on both sides, but I am more than happy to be enlightened.
As regards the sailors part, hrm, I shall endeavour to find some cites. I found one at however, while the site does seem to have put in some thorough research, it has google adverts etc, which always makes me think the site looks shoddy. I'll try and find a better one this afternoon. Narson 11:12, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Websites are likely to be excessively partisan and underreferenced. Dead tree references are easy to find for this subject. Let's stick to books. Greglocock 11:17, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Donegal Corridor

I didn't think the claim about this corridor was all that controversial, I thought it was fairly well known by now. However read the Castle Archdale article for some information on the flying boat base. There would not be much point having a base on Lower Lough Erne unless they could fly over Eire. Kennedy's book also mentions the flying boat flying over "Eagle Island" (I take it he means Achill Island). PatGallacher 23:59, 8 June 2007 (UTC)