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) - Construction

Bismarck was Germany's first "real" post-World War I battleship, with guns and protection of similar scale to those of the best foreign combat ships. Built to a relatively conservative design, she featured a main battery of eight 38 centimeter (15-inch) guns in four twin turrets, two forward and two aft. Her secondary battery of twelve 15 cm (5.9-inch) guns, mounted six on each side in twin turrets, was optimized for use against enemy surface ships, especially destroyers. Her anti-aircraft battery, including sixteen 10.5 cm (4.1-inch) guns in eight twin mounts and several 37mm and 20mm machine guns, reflected the prevailing pre-World War II underestimation of the threat from the air, a failing common to all the World's navies.

The two ships of this class, Bismarck and her "sister" Tirpitz, were quite fast, at just over thirty knots maximum speed. Their steam turbine powerplants, producing some 150,000 horsepower, consumed a great deal of fuel oil, limiting their oceanic "reach" to a degree that was especially critical to a nation with Germany's geography. Future German battleship designs, which World War II aborted, featured diesel engines, intended to produce far greater endurance on the high seas.

Bismarck was very heavily protected against the gunfire of other battleships. With a standard displacement of well over 41,000 tons (about 50,000 tons fully loaded), she was also quite a bit larger than her European and American contemporaries. As shown by the photographs below, originally collected by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Intelligence, this ship's construction greatly interested foreign navies.

Built at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Bismarck's keel was laid at the beginning of July 1936. She was launched with considerable ceremony, including the attendance of Adolf Hitler, on 14 February 1939. Her outfitting, which included the addition of a new "clipper" bow (which the Germans called an "Atlantic" bow), lasted nearly two years. She was commissioned in August 1940, ran trials during the following months, and was not fully ready for service until late in 1940.

This page features all our views of the construction of the German battleship Bismarck.

Other images of Bismarck Bismarck (Battleship, 1940-1941).

Click the image to prompt a larger view

Photo #: NH 75644

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Sliding down the launching ways at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, 14 February 1939.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 153KB; 740 x 560 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 75643

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Afloat just after launching, at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, 14 February 1939.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 103KB; 740 x 545 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 83983

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, shows the ship's newly-installed "Atlantic" bow and the extent of her side armor.
Note canal boat in the foreground.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 77KB; 740 x 500 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 83987

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, was taken from off the ship's port side, forward. It shows details of the front part of her side armor belt, 380mm main battery turrets and forward superstructure.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 86KB; 740 x 505 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 83988

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, was taken from off the ship's port side, forward. It shows details of her forward twin 380mm main battery gun turrets, which were then being installed.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 108KB; 740 x 500 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 83984

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, shows the port forward 150mm twin gun turret in the process of installation, with the ship's forward superstructure behind.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 128KB; 740 x 515 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 83985

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, shows the ship's hull side and superstructure, seen from off the port side, looking forward.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 99KB; 740 x 540 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 83986

Bismarck
(German Battleship, 1940-41)

Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, was taken from off the ship's port quarter and shows details of her stern and the extent of her belt armor aft.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 89KB; 740 x 505 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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