Online Library of Selected Images:
-- SHIPS of the GERMAN NAVY --

USS Allen (Destroyer # 66, later DD-66), 1917-1946
-- Page II

Bismarck (Battleship, 1940-1941)

Bismarck, a 41,673-ton battleship, was built at Hamburg, Germany. First of a class of two heavy ships, with Tirpitz being the second, she was commissioned in August 1940 and spent the rest of that year running trials and continuing her outfitting. The first months of 1941 were largely devoted to training operations in the Baltic sea. Bismarck left the Baltic on 19 May 1941, en route to the Atlantic, accompanied by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. On the morning of 24 May, while west of Iceland, the German vessels encountered the British battlecruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales. In the ensuing Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood blew up and sank. The seriously damaged Prince of Wales was forced to break off contact. Bismarck also received shell hits that degraded her seakeeping and contaminated some of her fuel.

Later on 24 May, Prinz Eugen was detached, while Bismarck began a voyage toward France, where she could be repaired. She was intermittantly attacked by carrier planes and surface ships, ultimately sustaining a torpedo hit in the stern that rendered her unable to steer effectively. British battleships and heavy cruisers intercepted the crippled ship on the morning of 27 May. After less than two hours of battle, shells and torpedoes had reduced Bismarck to a wreck. She capsized and sank, with the loss of all but 110 of her crew of some 2300 men.

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's reaction to Bismarck's loss produced a very cautious approach to future German surface ship operations against Britain's vital Atlantic sea lanes. In June 1989, just over forty-eight years after she sank, the German battleship's battered hulk was located and photographed where she lies upright on a mountainside, nearly 16,000 feet below the ocean surface.

This page features or provides links to all our views of the German battleship Bismarck.

Additional images of Bismarck:

Click the image for a larger view

Photo #: NH 59671

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Photographed circa August 1940, when first completed. Rangefinders atop her tower and conning tower have not yet been installed.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 90KB; 740 x 485 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-15722

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken circa August 1940, when the ship was first completed. Rangefinders atop her tower and conning tower have not yet been installed.
The original was printed in a German publication.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 43KB; 740 x 285 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 85749

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

In harbor, circa August 1940, prior to installation of the rangefinders atop her tower and conning tower.
This fine-pattern halftone was printed in a Spanish publication, circa 1941. It was provided by the U.S. Naval Attache, Madrid, whose stamp appears at left.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 99KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 59672

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Photographed from astern, 1940-41, showing stern anchor in its recessed well, folding propeller guards, armor belt and other details of hull and superstructure.
The original, a fine-pattern halftone, is sepia in color.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 129KB; 690 x 630 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 69734

German battleship Bismarck


Seen from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen as the two ships practiced towing and refueling by trailing hose, circa April-May 1941.

Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 69KB; 740 x 445 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 69721

German battleship Bismarck


At sea en route to Norway, circa 19-20 May 1941, prior to her Atlantic sortie. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.

Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 73KB; 740 x 430 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 69732

German battleship Bismarck


Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 24 May 1941, following the Battle of the Denmark Strait and before the two German ships separated.
Bismarck is somewhat down by the bow, the result of hits received in her engagement with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood earlier in the day.
This is the next to last photograph of Bismarck taken by the Germans.

Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 470 pixels

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.



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