Talk:Last battle of the battleship Bismarck

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Bismarck's scuttling presented as fact?[edit]

The article seems to imply that the scuttling is a fact when it has never been confirmed with any real certainty. Yes, Ballard and Cameron have their opinions but they themselves have no real proof of the scuttling. Likewise the German survivors have a face-saving motive ("the British didn't sink us, we scuttled ourselves") to say that the Bismarck sank by her own hands. There is no definitive proof that the Bismarck was NOT sunk by Dorsetshire's torpedoes. The article is misleading on this matter. The scuttling is not a proven fact as implied in the Wikipedia article. Eqdoktor (talk) 19:40, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't disagree, but then I don't think it's really all that important. Rodney and KGV had pounded her into chutney already, and it just doesn't matter all that much what delivered the flaming wreck its coup de grace. Solicitr (talk) 22:20, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
I think the examination of the Bismark by deep-sea remotes has shown the damage consistent with on-board scuttling charges.HammerFilmFan (talk) 17:40, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

Article name is ridiculous[edit]

Last battle of the battleship Bismarck? Why can't it simply be called "Sinking of the battleship Bismarck"? Might as well call the others, Last battle of the battlecruiser HMS Hood, Last battle of the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse, Last battle of the battleship Scharnhorst, Last battle of the light cruiser HMAS Sydney, Last battle of the battleship Yamato or Last moments of the RMS Titanic. (talk) 05:54, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. What's the policy for renaming on Wikipedia. Can one just be bold, or does it require a lengthy discussion? (talk) 22:32, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
The article name is a bit of a comprimise - see Talk:Last_battle_of_the_battleship_Bismarck/Archive_1#Rescope_and_rename? and other previous discussion on the name. GraemeLeggett (talk) 06:58, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I still feel strongly that there is too much duplication between this article and the Bismarck article. Surely a rationalization is appropriate - perhaps even a merger? Wdford (talk) 09:40, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Bismarck is a featured article so it has to be comprehensive, it's might be a case that this one needs beefing up.GraemeLeggett (talk) 11:17, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
If the Bismarck article has to be comprehensive, then let's add to it what few details are here but are not already in Bismarck. Then this article is a complete duplication, and we don't need this article anymore at all. This article doesn't need to be beefed up, it needs to disappear completely. Please would you compare the two articles, identify the few sentences that appear here but not in Bismarck, and explain why those few sentences justify having an entire duplicated article? Wdford (talk) 13:12, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I totally agree with wdford regarding the redundancy of this article and it's dramatic "Hollywood"ish title. I also think that a reference to the fact that "Rodney" also fired 12 torpedoes at "Bismarck", one of which hit and exploded, needs to be added. ref "Reports of Proceedings 1921-1964" by Rear Admiral G.G.O Gatacre RAN.The Dart (talk) 18:57, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Titles like this one are usually a reflection of past disputes wherein some editors wished to avoid more appropriate titles since they might possibly imply criticism of the Bismarck and/or of the German navy. A title such as "The sinking of the Bismarck" or "The destruction of the Bismarck" was probably not thought to be Wagnerian enough. I do feel strongly though, that this article should remain since it was a major naval engagement and as such deserves a separate article. Finally, claims that Rodney torpedoed Bismarck are not supported by survivor accounts, especially since the arrival of a 24in torpedo would be a rather unforgettable event, even considering the pounding that Bismarck endured from naval gunfire - see "German Capital Ships and Raiders in World War II: Volume I: From Graf Spee to Bismarck, 1939-1941" and "Battleship Bismarck: A Survivor's Story" and this article: Bismarck's Final Battle. So while Rodney claimed a hit, it isn't supported by the main body of literature written on this topic.Damwiki1 (talk) 00:50, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Well Damwiki, their does exist a witness, in fact several on the bridge of HMS Rodney, where the author of "Reports of Proceedings 1921-1964" was the navigator of Rodney. He was Lt. Cmdr. Galfrey, George, Ormond, Gatacre RAN and had witnessed the hit along with Captain Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton and others. Gatacre had previously been specialist Navigation officer on HMS's Devonshire, Norfolk, Edinburgh, Renown & Nelson and then after 2 years as Navigator on Rodney he became Commander of HMAS Australia and after the war became Rear Admiral FOIC Australian fleet. He is holder of the awards C.B.E., D.S.O., D.S.C. & Bar and was well respected by admirals of the RN, USN and even a personal dinner guest of General Dwight Eisenhower so I don't think his word should be in doubt when he says that Rodney quote "became the only battleship in naval history to have torpedoed another battleship." The ISBN of his book is 0 949756 02 4 and is published by Nautical Press & Publications, Manly, NSW 2095, Australia.The Dart (talk) 18:26, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that Bismarck survivors say was no hit. Unfortunately, a heavy shell hit at the waterline and a torpedo hit look very similar at a distance, so Rodney's crew may have seen a 16in or 14in shell splash at about the time that the torpedoes would have arrived - but the people who would have known best - Bismarck's crew state there was no torpedo hit. Additionally, the wreck it self doesn't how evidence of a hit, in areas other than where the Bismarck's crew says they were hit. I think the best that can be done is to state that Rodney claimed a hit, but that this is unconfirmed.Damwiki1 (talk) 19:30, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I think with regard to the German crews opinion about wether there was or not a torpedo hit by Rodney, it is more a matter of pride than fact. Evidence their claim that they scuttled her, but several naval investigative experts including David L. Mearns, Eric Grove, Antony Preston and Andrew Lambert have strong doubts as to the veracity of those claims by the Bismarck survivors. None of those survivors were in any position to know absolutely where any of the many explosions occurred nor their source. Mullenheim-Rechburg was abandoning his wrecked gunnery control director and all other crew were doing much the same at the time. Who would you believe, someone who is fleeing frightening chaos to save himself or several people in the safe & calm bridge of the ship inflicting that punishment? Lt. Cmdr. Wellings USN was another person on Rodney's bridge who confirmed the hit by a torpedo. Ref. Ludovic Kennedy's "Pursuit- the chase & sinking of the Bismarck". Robert Ballard's claim that there was no evidence of a torpedo hit is dubious when Mearns points to the distinct possibility that it could have added to the ultimate demise of Bismarck. Mearns had more sophisticated investigative tools and more financial resources to give him a better opportunity to find out more about it's final demise. German pride has always affected their view of events when it comes to military/naval defeats. Remember HMAS Sydney vs KMS Emden and the scuttling of the High Seas fleet at Scapa. Scuttling is viewed by them as more honourable than defeat, a kind of Aryan Harakiri.The Dart (talk) 10:51, 10 February 2013The Dart (talk) 14:56, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
That's a bunch of nonsense. Junack was the officer in charge of setting the demolition charges, and he survived. Mearns et. al. (presumably this article you're referring to) actually state that any possible hit from Rodney (or Norfolk or Ark Royal) "did not play a major role in her sinking", (p. 9) but that nevertheless, the evidence that might show such hits has largely been destroyed by the impact with the sea floor. Which seems to confirm Ballard's claim that there was no evidence of a torpedo hit, given that it was destroyed by the slide down the mountain. I'd suggest you strike your aspersions on Ballard, as they are entirely baseless and run afoul of WP:BLP. Parsecboy (talk) 14:31, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
NOThe Dart (talk) 14:36, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Ok, the alternative is that I remove it myself and block your account. Your choice. Parsecboy (talk) 14:39, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
What or who gives you the right to block anyone's account? Are you the only one with the right to contribute to this article? America the land of the free, unless you disagree with 3.262 LightyearsboyThe Dart (talk) 15:03, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
I am an administrator, part of whose job it is to make sure our policies are followed. Parsecboy (talk) 15:06, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Can I suggest that for verification of all that I have said above regarding the RN side of the Bismarck sinking, that everybody needs to thoroughly read Iain Ballantyne's book "Killing the Bismarck", Pen & Sword Books, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84415-3, where all the arguments I have summarised above are expounded in greater detail. Particular attention should be given to chapters 14 & 17, and most importantly appendix l 'Busting the Myths'. This book is the most thorough examination of the topic yet published, using a vast number of hitherto ignored sources of primary information. Not the least of which are David L. Mearns views of how successful the torpedoing & shelling were at primarily causing Bismarck to sink and his dismissal of the German survivors claims of scuttling.The Dart (talk) 01:59, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Mearns is not a primary source of anything besides what he thinks. And while he is an expert, his views are by no means unanimously accepted, and so we do not accept them uncritically either. Especially when his views (that the torpedoes were critical in sinking the ship) have been contradicted by...Mearns himself. And as for Ballantyne, I haven't read his book, nor been able to track down any reviews of it, so I can't comment on it. What I can tell you is, many of his claims (such as that Bismarck tried to surrender) are highly controversial and exceptional claims require exceptional sources. Ballantyne by himself is not good enough, especially when quite a few experts disagree with him. And please use my actual username when referring to me. Parsecboy (talk) 14:19, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Please tell me where Mearns contradicted himself. One of the final things that Ballantyne did before publishing was to confirm that David Mearns still held his original views. Quote "I haven't changed my opinion that the British gunnery, including torpedoes, dealt the telling blows that made the ship sink" pg.261 appendix 1. How can you say that you haven't read Ballantyne, and then go on to state he makes exceptional claims? What? Ballantyne first started researching this book in 1991. It is more thoroughly researched than the German biased works that this

article uses for almost all of it's historical perspective. NPOV doesn't exist in this or the main "Bismarck" article! Further to this, Capt. Donald McIntyre in his book " Fighting Admiral" (1961) the biography of Admiral James Somerville, says regarding the number of Swordfish's torpedoes that found their target vs the one hit conceded by Bismarck's survivors. Quote "Observing that they (the German survivors) denied other definitely claimed torpedo hits from destroyers during the night and taking into account the German habit of building a legend to minimize an enemy's triumph, this need not to be taken seriously. On this occasion the 'legend' was assiduously fostered that 'the Bismarck was never sunk by enemy effort, but was scuttled'."The Dart (talk) 16:08, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

My mistake, I thought Mearns was one of the co-authors of the article I linked above. Nevertheless, the article states:

Sediments covered most of the areas where other torpedoes are reported to have hit. Damage to the shell caused by the 1,200-meter post-impact slide of the main hull appears to have erased, obscured, or otherwise modified much of the damage that may have been caused by additional torpedo hits from Norfolk, Rodney and Ark Royal. Although these torpedoes certainly damaged Bismarck, they did not play a major role in her sinking.

In essence, there is no direct evidence to prove or refute either the scuttling or battle damage theory. Any attempt to say one way or the other has no real basis in the facts that are currently available.
In any case, many of the authors whose books have been used in the Bismarck article are respected naval/military historians (Holger Herwig being one of the foremost scholars on the German military today). As for Ballantyne, I have seen his book mentioned enough times elsewhere (here, for instance) to know that his claims are controversial.
And, to tack on to Wdford's comment below about "building a legend", one need to look no further than the ridiculously overrated Rommel (who, yes, was operationally very skilled, but was strategically incompetent). Parsecboy (talk) 22:07, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think the British were entirely objective here either. "Building a legend to minimize an enemy's triumph" is a British specialty - witness their propaganda over the Dunkirk evacuation. They couldn't sink the Bismarck by gunfire with overwhelming numerical advantage and 400+ hits, the Bismarck had blown the Mighty Hood out of the water a few days earlier with a handful of salvos, and Churchill was having gone of his infamous rants on the subject. Rodney was never all that close, shooting along with a bunch of other ships, in heavy seas with a lot of spray, and a lot of smoke around. Mearns saw no evidence of torpedo penetrations, and claimed that the subsequent damage may have destroyed or covered up the torpedo damage that "might have existed". Not exactly conclusive, especially when other underwater researchers have seen the armour belt intact, and the actual evidence of scuttling. Unless we have convincing evidence that all the surviving Germans lied about the scuttling, there is no reason not to take their word for it - especially since they are backed up by the underwater surveys. "Definitely claimed torpedo hits" are not the same as "actual torpedo hits" - especially when fired from a small destroyer rolling in heavy seas at night. A Swordfish would have overflown the target before the torpedo arrived, and would have had a lot on their plate besides watching for the torpedo track. All in all, all the evidence backs the scuttling, the Rodney claim is interesting but not confirmed, and Ballantyne is to be taken with a pinch of salt. In his talk he made is quite clear that he was writing from the British perspective, and that the whole action was motivated by revenge as much as anything. This is fine for an author of a book, but not exactly neutral. And Ballantyne himself leaves open the question of torpedo damage vs scuttling. Interesting. Wdford (talk) 16:56, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
So then 3000 yards is "not all that close" for Rodney's bridge crew to see what was going on? I really cannot believe the non NPOV of this article and it's supporters. It seems like it's only NPOV when it agrees with your bias. If this is what Neutral Point of View means, then I give up. If you won't accept published counter argument from Internationally renown Naval experts then you are seriously delusional and I don't see the point in me being a Wikipedia Editor or for that matter even consulting it as a reliable source. I have only ever had this kind of denial of access to editing on the Australian "Vegemite" site where it's original author guards it like a Rotweiller despite many people actually wanting to contribute verifiable information. This kind of behaviour surely contravenes the rules of Wikipedia and needs to be discontinued or Jimmy Wales will here about it. Oh! by the way the earth really is flat and Santa Claus does exist, there's no such thing as Global Warming etc. etc. The Dart (talk) 17:39, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
3000 yards is a very long way for a man on a pitching bridge to differentiate a torpedo detonation from a 16-inch shell hitting the water alongside a hull at a very flat trajectory - especially in heavy weather, and through the acrid smoke of his own main battery. Try it sometime. The "opinion" of the British has been fairly represented in the article already, but has been outweighed by the combined evidence of the Germans - who were actually on the inside of those hits - and the underwater explorers. To suggest, as you do, that the opinions of the British must of necessity take precedence over the rest of the combined evidence, is clearly POV and is unsupportable. Those are the very Rules of Wikipedia that you refer to. If your concept of editing is to insert one-sided opinions as fact, then you need to catch up please. Wdford (talk) 18:17, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
You have only confirmed your own biases with the above POV which is why so many people are leaving or ignoring Wikipedia. It's editors like you and Parsecboy who totally frustrate the rest of us on Wiki. You don't own this site. 3000 yards from a height of 60 ft. above the fo'c'sle with binoculars is a quite a good place to see what's going on. Yes sir I have done it. I do not suggest that the British point of view is the only one but neither is the German one. There is no consensus between Mearns & Ballard or Cameron. Read Ballantyne's book. To dismiss this man's work of 20 years is silly in the extreme. He is the REAL EDITOR of Warships International Fleet Review & magazine, not just some Wiki self appointed editor.This article is so biased towards the Germans it shouldn't exist at all if that's the way you view anyone else's contributions.The Dart (talk) 20:30, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I doubt seriously that you were in relatively equal situations - where, pray tell, were you when you were standing on the bridge of a battleship that was actively firing its main and secondary batteries, in the middle of a North Atlantic gale? As I said before, exceptional claims (especially when the archaeological evidence to support it is demonstrably absent) require exceptional sources. Ballantyne's book by itself is not that. You yourself agree that Mearns, Ballard, and Cameron do not agree. How then can you insist on inserting Mearns' views and ignore the rest? Parsecboy (talk) 22:07, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
The article summarizes the known facts in a clear and neutral tone. It carefully and deliberately avoids jingoism, speculation and emotional opinions. It does not ignore the "British perspective" it merely sticks to the known facts. To sprinkle the article with unproven British propaganda claims would not improve the encyclopaedic value of the article. Fact - the German survivors had been inside the ship, and knew what they had seen, heard and done. Fact - the closest British observer was far away, pitching in heavy seas, shrouded by smoke and spray. Fact - people on both sides were liable to make mistakes, and people on both sides were liable to tell lies. Fact - the underwater surveys saw no evidence that the armour-hull had been breached. Fact - Mearns also saw zero evidence of a torpedo breach, but "assumed" that it had happened anyway. Fact - Ballantyne is honest that his book is based on the British perspective, with no attempt to be neutral, which pretty much disqualifies him as a reliable source. Fact - Ballantyne was effectively writing a collection of memoirs, valuable for its immediacy and atmosphere rather than its neutral accuracy - we on the other hand are trying to write an encyclopedia. Fact - your own POV is obvious, and detrimental. If "many people" are leaving wikipedia because they want jingoism rather than fact, then they are not our target audience, they are Ballantyne's target audience. Wdford (talk) 22:34, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
If you suggest that Ballantyne's book should be disregarded because it supports the British viewpoint, then by definition, the Garzke, Zetterling, Mullenheim et. al. books should be disregarded for presenting the German view by the same reasoning a. You can't have your cake and eat it too. What's good for the Goose is good for der Ganferich. Dump the whole load of schizen .The Dart (talk) 23:43, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Do please pay attention to where you are posting and try to get the formatting right. And your German needs some brushing up - I believe the words you are looking for are der Gänserich and scheißen. Parsecboy (talk) 23:48, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Dart, there is a difference between presenting a neutral and balanced report that points in a certain direction, vs a report that makes it plain that it is not attempting to be neutral to begin with. The facts are that the ship was scuttled - all evidence points to that conclusion, and no evidence points anywhere else. Other people have other opinions, but that is not the same thing as facts. If you want to include a mention from Ballantyne that the British ships continued shelling the Bismarck while the deck crew were trying to surrender then fine, but it would then have to be followed with a sentence that says "although this was observed from 60 feet up with binoculars at a range of only 3000 yards, this has not been officially confirmed, and the RN officially continues to deny it." If you want to include a mention from Ballantyne that the Bismarck was not scuttled but was rather sunk by a torpedo from Rodney, then it would have to be followed with a sentence that says "However there is no actual evidence of this at all, and all actual evidence points to the scuttling". I don't know if that is really going to add value? Wdford (talk) 08:44, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

proposal to redirect[edit]

I once again strongly propose that this article be merged into the main article German battleship Bismarck. The other article presents a far more detailed account of this very battle, but this article contains very little detail that is not already present on the other side. Wdford (talk) 22:41, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

There is a huge amount of duplication of material cross a number of articles, namely the German battleship Bismarck, the Last battle of the battleship Bismarck the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Operation Rheinübung, Ernst Lindemann and Günther Lütjens for starters. I propose that each portion of the material be concentrated in detail in one or other article, and then the other articles all reference across to the main article in question, rather than the extensive duplications we currently have. Any objections? Wdford (talk) 07:53, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
This is probably a discussion that should be centralized somewhere, rather than spread out on all of the article talk pages. Perhaps moving it to WT:MILHIST with pointers from each of the article talk pages would be a good idea. Parsecboy (talk) 16:47, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Good suggestion. Please see discussion at [1]. Wdford (talk) 11:52, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

US carriers at Norway[edit]

I always wonder if the three Enterprise-class carriers had been somewhere in Europe in the pursuit of the Bismarck? I have yet to find a reliable source citing that the Enterprise carriers were indeed in the Atlantic in May 1941. hmssolentlambast patrol records 01:34, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

No, they weren't - recall that Hornet wasn't even commissioned until October 1941. It's vandalism, and you were correct to revert it. Parsecboy (talk) 09:45, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Acknowledgment of Poland as a Belligerent due to the presence of ORP Piorun[edit]

I recently had my edit of inclusion of Poland as a belligerent reverted by a Denniss (talk) 08:24, 23 August 2014‎ (UTC) without any reasons to counter my own. As it is not disputed that Polish destroyer ORP Piorun was present and engaged in the hunt and sinking of the Bismarck, I think it correct that the presence of Polish forces be recognised in the article. Much in the same way it is in articles for other Battles in World War II where Polish Forces were involved, such as: Battle of Narvik, Siege of Tobruk,Battle of Monte Cassino, Operation Overlord, Operation Totalize, Battle of Arnhem) and others.

I make this case due to the fact that unlike the remnants of the Polish Air Force, which was fully incorporated into first the French Air Force and later the RAF, both the Polish Army and Navy remained as Sovereign forces fighting alongside the British retaining their own systems and regulations. While under British Operational Command (Some of the Army under French prior to their capitulation), these services fought for the Polish Government (by then -in-exile) (which had refused as a nation to surrender in 1939) and were part of Poland’s continuation of the war with Germany after the conquest of Poland. Retaining a slight difference from some “Free” forces who had broken away from their official Governments, that had surrendered to the Nazi’s, in order to continue the fight. Although many of these are still recognised as Sovereign Belligerents in articles.

Much like Royal Canadian Navy (also RAN & RNZN) sailors Polish Navy Sailors were not members of the Royal Navy but as part of their own respective Navies served on their own ships (some leased by Poland from the British to replace loses) within fleets of the Royal Navy. The Anglo-Polish Naval Agreement of November 1939 stated that the ships were sovereign Polish territory and that the Polish Navy whilst with the British was to be commanded by Polish officers, its ships manned by Polish crews, with Polish uniforms and ranks; and subject to Polish regulation. It was only to be subordinated to the operational control of the British Admiralty (Like many Commonwealth and Free Naval Units). [1]

Even if their independence from the Royal Navy is disputed the correct action would be to place them as belligerents bullet pointed under the United Kingdom as is done with the Foreign Servicemen within the RAF in theBattle of Britain article (and colonial forces) as it is not disputed that the ORP Piorun and her Polish crew were present.

Jan Mieszała (talk) 19:53, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

As in last October? GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:48, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree that Polish and RCN participation deserves mention as separate belligerents, especially the PN whose destroyer directly engaged Bismarck, albeit with a footnote that the PN was operating under RN operational control.Damwiki1 (talk) 00:10, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
I added back Canada and Poland to the infobox, I see no reason why not. //Halibutt 07:28, 26 August 2014 (UTC)