:: BISMARCK (1939) ::

Bismarck battleship (1939) High resolution picture

The Bismarck was a German battleship launched in 1939, being together with her twin Tirpitz the largest and most powerful battleship built for the German Navy. These ships had their design influenced by the battleships of the Baden class from the First World War, the most powerful warships that Germany had built until the arrival of the Bismarck class. The design of this class has been however criticized based in the speculation of a deficient protection, which allegedly favored an easy destruction of the Bismarck after the events of May 1941. Another weak point of the design was the secondary battery, whose cannons were unsuitable for antiaircraft fire, and the insufficient antiaircraft battery, which however was directed by excellent fire control devices.

The British naval squadron that was chasing the Bismarck managed to put her out of action, while she was trying to escape in a desperate attempt to reach Brest and the safety that this important base supposed. A deficiency in the protection of the rudders and a hit of bad luck sentenced the Bismarck. She was actually a very hard to sink ship, but this was much less important than the easiness with which she could be put out of action. In the end, it was the intervention of her own crew, to avoid the capture of the ship, what actually precipitated the sinking of the ship.

Still, the Bismarck had serious strong points. She was able to quickly dispatch the HMS Hood and this one was a really good warship. Even if she had been completed in 1920, the HMS Hood was a revolutionary ship on that time, one of the best in the world, built by a country whose experience in the naval field does not need presentation. On the other side we have the languishing German naval industry of the interwar period, crippled by legal, economical and material limitations. And despite of the flaws on the design of the Bismarck, the combination of a main battery fitted with artillery pieces of long caliber and a fire control system equipped with artillery radar gave the advantage to the Bismarck, because being able to deal the first impact is the firmest step towards victory.

The illustration shows the Bismarck as she was shortly before her final trip. She has installed the fire control system and the artillery radar. The camouflage scheme was painted in the early 1941 and replaced in May of that same year by an entirely grey scheme. The swastika painted in the forecastle deck was intended for aerial reconnaissance.

Class: Bismarck (2 units - Bismarck, Tirpitz)

Type: Battleship

Length: 251 meters

Beam: 36 meters

Draught: 9.3 meters

Displacement (standard): 41700 tonnes

Propulsion: 3 x shaft, 3 x steam turbine Blohm und Voss, 12 x boiler Wagner, 150170 horsepower

Speed: 30.1 knots (55.7 kilometers/hour)

Range: 9280 nautical miles (17170 kilometers) at 16 knots

Fuel: 7461 tonnes of petrol

Complement: 2092

Armament: 8 x 380-millimeter 47-caliber cannon, 12 x 150-millimeter 55-caliber cannon, 16 x 105-millimeter 65-caliber cannon, 16 x 37-millimeter cannon, 12 x 20-millimeter cannon, 6 x aircraft

Armor: 145-323 millimeters in belt, 45 millimeters in torpedo bulwark, 50 millimeters in upper deck, 30 millimeters in main deck, 80-120 millimeters in armored deck, 220-340 millimeters in barbettes, 130-360 millimeters in main turrets, 20-100 millimeters in secondary turrets, 220-360 millimeters in conning tower

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