Bismarck (ship, 1939)

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Bundesarchiv Bild 193-04-1-26, Battleship Bismarck.jpg
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type Battleship
class Bismarck class
Shipyard Blohm & Voss , Hamburg
Build number 509
building-costs ℛℳ 196.8 million
Keel laying July 1, 1936
Launch February 14, 1939
Whereabouts On May 27, 1941 decreased coordinates: 48 ° 10 '0 "  N , 16 ° 12' 0"  W
Ship dimensions and crew
250.5 m ( Lüa )
241.5 m ( KWL )
width 36.0 m
Draft Max. 9.9 m
displacement Standard : 41,700 tn.l.
Construction: 45,950 t
maximum: 53,500 t
crew 2,092 men,
128 men in fleet staff
Machine system
machine 12 steam boilers
3 sets of steam turbines
150,170 hp (110,450 kW)
30.6 kn (57 km / h)
  • Belt: 170-320 mm
  • Citadel: 120–145 mm
  • Armored deck : 80–120 mm
  • Upper deck: 50-80 mm
  • Armored bulkheads: 45–220 mm
  • Torpedo bulkheads: 45 mm
  • heavy artillery:
    Towers : 360 mm
    barbettes : 220-340 mm
  • Middle artillery:
    Towers: 100 mm.
    Barbettes: 100 mm
  • front command tower: 350 mm
  • aft command tower: 150 mm

The Bismarck (in on-board jargon: The Bismarck) was a battleship of the German Navy and formed the Bismarck class with her sister ship Tirpitz . At the time of its commissioning in August 1940 under the command of Captain Ernst Lindemann , it was considered the world's largest and most powerful battleship.

In May 1941 the Bismarck was sent to the North Atlantic together with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen to wage a trade war there. Soon after the start of this mission, she succeeded in sinking the British battle cruiser Hood in the Denmark Strait . Three days later she sank even after a heavy battle against units of the British Royal Navy with most of its crew in the North Atlantic.

Today the Bismarck is one of the most famous ships of the German Navy and is therefore the object of numerous literary works , scientific and technical studies and model representations .


The Versailles Treaty only allowed the German Reich to build new warships of a maximum of 10,000 tons. Only with the termination of the contract by the National Socialists on March 16, 1935 and the subsequent legitimation with the German-British naval agreement of June 18, 1935 was Germany officially allowed to build battleships with a standard displacement of over 10,000 tn.l. ( long ton to 1016 kg). At the time, France was considered the most likely enemy in a naval war. The design was therefore based on the then most modern French battleship Dunkerque . In particular, speed and armor protection were of great importance.

Drawings of Bismarck
360 ° view

The Bismarck, as the ship was called in on-board jargon (by order of Captain Ernst Lindemann , the male article was always to be used on board the Bismarck. This spelling is unusual today, the female form is used in this article) was for use particularly suitable in the North Atlantic , where the changing visibility often only allowed medium combat distances . Due to the relatively wide hull and precise range finder , his heavy artillery quickly achieved a high level of accuracy even in bad weather . The aim was to hit with the first volley . The armor protection was concentrated on the main turrets , the command tower and the sides of the ship in the area of ​​the waterline. The horizontal protection against steep fire from above and aerial bombs , however, was a considerable weak point.


Two oars, three screws

The Bismarck was the type ship of the Bismarck class. The ship was 250.5 meters long and 36 meters wide, the maximum draft was 9.9 meters. The dimensions of the ship were chosen to ensure the usability of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal and the Wilhelmshaven naval base .

When the ship was tested in the summer of 1940, the speed of 30.1 knots was reached with a total power of the engine system of 150,000 WPS during a mile journey. The battleship was assigned a maximum speed of 30.6 knots by the naval command. However, the cruising speed (cruising speed) was chosen to be 19 knots in order to keep fuel consumption within limits. A major disadvantage that became apparent during the tests in the Baltic Sea was that the ship could hardly be steered without its rudder system via the diverging, closely spaced drive shafts using different propeller speeds port / starboard. The main armament consisted of eight 38 cm guns (SK C / 34) in four twin turrets, the medium artillery (MA) of the Bismarck consisted of twelve 15 cm guns (SK C / 28) . The heavy flak consisted of 16 guns of the type 10.5 cm Flak 38 in eight double mounts. The four front anti-aircraft guns were model C / 33na in double mount C / 31, the aft in double mount C / 37. This was a provisional installation that was to be exchanged for the Type C / 37 after returning from the Rhine Exercise company. The medium flak consisted of 16 3.7 cm FlaK 30 in eight double mounts, the light flak consisted of 18 2 cm Flak 38 two quadruple and ten single mounts. For these guns there were 36,000 rounds on board. Against the outdated British torpedo bombers of the type Fairey Swordfish approaching below the fire area of ​​the heavy flak , the lighter flak of the Bismarck proved to be ineffective. This was due to the far too low firing frequency of the 3.7 cm flak, but above all to the lack of training of the crew. As the report of the Artillery Test Command Ships shows, shooting at moving targets was practically not trained at all. In addition, most of the 52 anti-aircraft guns could not be pivoted deep enough for defense. Not a single aircraft was shot down, although much of the anti-aircraft ammunition was used up.

The Bismarck was equipped with four Arado Ar 196 seaplanes for enemy reconnaissance and airborne maritime surveillance, which gave it a theoretical reconnaissance radius of around 830 km. In addition, extensive equipment of dinghies was on board. This comprised three admiral or commander boats ("chief boats"), a motor launch , two motor pinasses , four traffic boats (V-boats for short), two rescue cutters for man-over-board maneuvers, two dinghies and two dinghies .


Construction and testing

Launched at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg on February 14, 1939

On July 1st, 1936, the Bismarck was laid on the now defunct slipway 9 at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg . In the following 31 months, the complete shell of the fuselage grew so that the launch could take place on February 14, 1939 on schedule. The German dictator Adolf Hitler was the guest of honor at the launch celebrations with 60,000 spectators . The ship, designated under budget law as "Battleship F", was named Bismarck by Dorothea von Loewenfeld, wife of Vice Admiral Wilfried von Loewenfeld and granddaughter of the former German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck .

After the end of the festivities, the Bismarck was moved to an equipment pier for the shipyard . In the following months the ship was further completed. The straight stem was replaced by an Atlantic bow and the interior of the ship was installed. The equipment phase, which was set at 18 months, was able to be adhered to despite the German invasion of Poland and the Second World War that had started . In April 1940, the first crew in Bismarck arrived, and in June the ship was taken to a floating dock to the ship's propellers to assemble. The ship was also given its own magnetic protection.

During the commissioning ceremony on August 24, 1940, the passenger ship Vaterland, just launched, collided with the Bismarck, but without causing any relevant damage. On September 15, the Bismarck cast off in Hamburg. In Brunsbüttel she participated unsuccessfully in the defense against a British air raid and then moved through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal to Kiel, where she moored on September 17th. Ten days later she set off for Gotenhafen for her sea trials in the Baltic Sea.

On December 9th, the Bismarck moored again in Hamburg, where the shipyard workers from Blohm & Voss carried out some remaining work. On January 24, 1941, the Bismarck was declared ready for action. With this, the Navy had received its first fully-fledged battleship. Since the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal was temporarily blocked by a sunk ore freighter, the Bismarck was initially unable to sail.

At the same time, other ships were built on the Blohm & Voss site, including the U 556 . The commander of this submarine, Herbert Wohlfarth, asked Ernst Lindemann that the on-board band of the Bismarck should play for the commissioning of his submarine. In return, Wohlfarth agreed a sponsorship between their ships with Lindemann and declared in front of “ Neptune ” that Bismarck would be at hand in every situation. The irony of fate is that on the eve of the Bismarck's last stand, this submarine spotted the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal , from which the torpedo bombers that were supposed to damage the rudder of the Bismarck had recently started. Due to a lack of torpedo, the submarine was unable to attack. In addition, it was this submarine that received the order to pick up the Bismarck's war diary after the flight had failed. This order only reached the submarine after the battleship sank.

On March 6th the battleship cast off for the last time in Hamburg and moved again to Gotenhafen to carry out further exercises.

Company Rhine exercise

After the Bismarck was ready for action, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder decided to send her to the Atlantic. In association with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, she should also be able to attack heavily secured convoys.

When the Prinz Eugen arrived in Gotenhafen, Operation Rhine Exercise could begin. After the repair of an on-board crane of the Bismarck, the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen cast off on May 18 at 11:30 a.m. in Gotenhafen for Bergen . Both ships met with the destroyers Z 16 and Z 23 at Cape Arkona . In Fehmarnbelt still came Z10 added.

Aerial reconnaissance image of the Bismarck in the Grimstadfjord in Norway

During the voyage to the Skagerrak, the association was sighted by numerous ships, including the Gotland , which forwarded the presence to the Swedish headquarters, which ultimately also informed the British Admiralty .

While the Prinz Eugen and the Bismarck anchored in the Grimstadfjord, where the destroyers separated from them again and Admiral Lütjens decided to venture into the Atlantic via the Denmark Strait , they were photographed by a British Spitfire - a picture that later became world famous . The British Vice Admiral Tovey then let the British battle cruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales expire.

Battle in the Denmark Strait

The Bismarck during the battle in the Denmark Strait, the Prinz Eugen taken from

On the evening of May 23, 1941, the two German warships were sighted by the HMS Suffolk and the HMS Norfolk , the latter was taken under fire by the Bismarck. The cruiser turned and hid in a fog bank, on the Bismarck the pressure wave from its own guns had damaged the front radar, which is why the Prinz Eugen then took over the command of the unit. The next morning around 5:29 a.m., the Hood and the Prince of Wales were sighted by the Bismarck, eight minutes later the British ships sighted the German formation. At 5:52 a.m. the Hood opened fire on the lead ship, which was believed to be the Bismarck. The Prince of Wales took the second ship under fire. At 5:55 a.m., the German ships began firing back. The fifth volley of the Bismarck struck an ammunition chamber of the Hood and caused a devastating explosion, three minutes later the ship - the pride of the British fleet - sank. Only three men of the total of 1419 crew members survived. The Prince of Wales also received several heavy hits and turned off.

The Prinz Eugen had none, Bismarck three, Hood four and the Prince of Wales seven hits.


On the Bismarck , a non-detonated bullet through the weakly armored forecastle interrupted the supply lines for around 1000 tons of heating oil from the forward oil bunkers to the boilers. In addition, 3,000 to 4,000 tons of seawater penetrated the forecastle and a list of 9 ° was created. The resulting fuel shortage and the resulting oil trail forced the battleship to break off the planned trade war and call at a port as directly as possible. The Prinz Eugen was released into the Atlantic and the Bismarck headed for the port of Saint-Nazaire on the French Atlantic coast, a journey that was supposed to take about 70 hours. The cruisers Suffolk and Norfolk as well as the POW followed the Bismarck at a distance of about 15 nautical miles using their radars.

23:33 the same day, the Bismarck was Fairey Swordfish - torpedo bombers of the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious attacked. The attack was unsuccessful, but left one dead and six injured on board the Bismarck. A few hours later, around 3:00 a.m. the next day, Admiral Lütjens managed to shake off the pursuers completely with a clever maneuver. Only after a long radio message sent by Lütjens on May 25th at around 9:30 am did the British succeed in locating the approximate position of the Bismarck again; in the course of the next few days they deployed practically all available units in the Atlantic on the Bismarck .

On May 26, the Bismarck was sighted by a Catalina flying boat at around 10:52 a.m. The aircraft carrier Ark Royal stationed in Gibraltar Force H had several Fairey Swordfish - torpedo bomber rise, which attacked the Bismarck to 20:47. The pilot John William Charlton Moffat managed to hit the stern of the Bismarck, which severely damaged the steering gear. The torpedo tore a hole in the outer skin, blew off the port rudder and bent the starboard rudder in such a way that it caught the rotating central propeller and jammed there in a 15 ° position. The Bismarck was unable to maneuver and was only able to turn in circles.

The night battle

The following night there was a skirmish between the damaged battleship and the 4th British destroyer flotilla under Captain Philip Vian . The five destroyers Cossack , Maori , Sikh , Zulu and the Polish Piorun attacked the Bismarck with torpedoes, but could not achieve any hits because of the darkness, adverse weather conditions and the heavy defensive fire.

The damaged steering gear could not be repaired. Various attempts to steer the ship against the wind pressure with different propeller speeds, to remove the rudders themselves or to make a replacement rudder from the gate of the standby hangar were thwarted by the rough seas. The Bismarck's crew realized that the ship could not be saved. On the morning of May 27, 1941, an attempt was made to get the war diary to safety with an airplane . However, this attempt failed because both catapults were damaged. Because of the fire hazard posed by the refueled machine, it was tipped overboard by its staff.

The last battle

On the morning of May 27, 1941, the Bismarck was rediscovered by HMS Norfolk at 7:53 a.m. Vice-Admiral Tovey's task force aboard HMS King George V sighted the Bismarck at around 8:45 a.m. At 8:47 a.m., HMS Rodney opened fire on the Bismarck . A minute later the Bismarck began firing back. The KGV opened fire at 8:48 am, the Norfolk only at 8:54. One of the Rodney's first hits put the main artillery control center out of action. At 9:02 am, the “Bruno” combat tower was canceled by a Rodney shell . The Bismarck , meanwhile, shot at the British ships with the towers “Caesar” and “Dora” and managed to damage the Rodney slightly. At 9:15 a.m., a hit from the KGV put the last still functioning control center out of action, so the Bismarck's fire could no longer be centrally coordinated. At 9:21 PM there was in Tower "Dora" to a non-starter , which paralyzed the turret permanently. Tower “Anton” failed at 9:30 am for unknown reasons. At 9:40 a.m., HMS Dorsetshire opened fire on the ship. The Bismarck was at that time already completely in flames, the body was still virtually undamaged.

At 10:15 a.m., Admiral Tovey ordered his ships to stop fighting because the battleships had to return to England urgently due to lack of fuel. Instead, the Bismarck should deal the fatal blow to the Dorsetshire . Around this time the Bismarck's first officer , Frigate Captain Oels, gave the order to sink the Bismarck himself. The crew revealed several explosive devices that detonated around the time the Dorsetshire torpedoes hit the ship. For this reason, it is still a matter of dispute whether the Bismarck was sunk by the Dorsetshire or by her own crew.

Survivors are rescued by the Dorsetshire

At 10:40 a.m. the Bismarck sank about 550 nautical miles (about 1000 kilometers) west of Brest at the coordinates 48 ° 10 ′ north, 16 ° 12 ′ west in the floods. It left behind a field of rubble and several hundred survivors. The Dorsetshire and destroyer HMS Maori immediately began rescue operations and together pulled 111 men out of the water. Rescue work was halted after the Dorsetshire lookout reported a submarine; a message that later turned out to be false. The Dorsetshire had rescued 86 men, one of whom later succumbed to his injuries, and the Maori 25. The German submarine U 74 rescued three more men and the German weather observation ship Sachsenwald took on two more men.

In total, 2104 of the 2200-strong crew were killed in the sinking. During the battle, the British had fired a total of 2,876 shells at the ship.

Discovery of the wreck

On June 8, 1989, the wreck of the Bismarck was discovered by the American deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard at a depth of 4,800 meters. The exact position of the wreck, which is now owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, is kept secret in order to protect the naval war grave from grave robbers.

The wreck of the Bismarck lies upright on a flank of an extinct underwater volcano in the remains of a mudslide that was triggered by the sinking itself. The hull is in exceptionally good condition and is largely intact. Only the stern broke off due to structural damage during the sinking process. The four turrets, which were only held in place by gravity, slipped out of the barbeds on the surface during the capsize and sank almost vertically to the ground. Only a single tower was discovered in the rubble field, the rest may have been buried in the mudslide. In the vicinity of the wreck there was also the command tower (which came to rest upside down on the artillery control post) and, among other rubble, an area with hundreds of sea boots, presumably below the point where the survivors were floating in the sea.

Robert Ballard's investigations revealed that the wreck was probably stern first on the bottom. The ship's good condition is an indication that the inside of the hull was already flooded before the ship reached the depth of destruction (the depth at which the hull can no longer withstand the water pressure and implodes).

An expedition in June 2001 discovered several horizontal cracks or slits while examining the hull, which were interpreted as damage caused by sliding down the slope of the underwater volcano. Grenade hits in the underwater area of ​​the ship were not found and the number of hits in the surface area of ​​the hull was disproportionately low compared to the damage the superstructure had suffered from the fire. As a result of the data collected, it was concluded that the Bismarck sank as a result of the self-sinking.

A British expedition in July 2001 led by David Mearns , however, came to the conclusion that the Bismarck had been sunk by torpedoes. Means believed the previously discovered slits were torpedo damage, enlarged by movement in the sea floor. During the expedition, underwater robots were already used, but they did not penetrate the interior of the ship in order to document any critical damage caused by torpedoes and thus confirm this thesis.

An expedition by the director James Cameron in 2002, which was carried out to record a documentary ( Expedition Bismarck ), provided this material. The deep-sea diving submarines Mir I and II explored the cracks and the examination of the torpedo bulkheads with camera robots did not reveal any relevant damage to the ship. A torpedo hit was discovered, but apart from a hole in the outer skin and the resulting flooded watertight compartment, it had not caused any critical damage to the hull. This supports the thesis that the Bismarck sank as a result of self-sinking measures by the crew.

The expedition also counted only four rounds of artillery shells through the belt armor and found one of the oars kinked and wedged with the center propeller. Possibly this was the damage that had made the Bismarck unable to maneuver before her last stand. The damage could also have been caused by the hull's impact on the ocean floor and the subsequent sliding down.

From a tactical point of view, the question of whether the ship was sunk by British torpedoes or by self-sinking is irrelevant, since at the time in question it had already been shot to the wreck and taken out as a combat unit.

Officers and crew

The crew of the Bismarck was 2065 men, including 103 officers, the average age of the crew was 21 years. The ship's commanding officer was Captain of the Sea (Kpt.zS) Ernst Lindemann , First Officer (IO): Frigate Captain (FKpt.) Hans Oels. Other important crew members:

During the Rhine exercise operation , fleet chief Admiral Günther Lütjens and his staff of 75 and a prize squad with an officer and 80 men were added, as well as observers, journalists and cameramen from the Propaganda Ministry. None of the latter survived. During the Rhine exercise operation, Lütjens was in charge of operational management of the ship, while Captain Lindemann, as the Bismarck's commander, had the tactical command. The daily tasks on board were taken over by IO Oels.

The ship's crew consisted of twelve companies, each of which consisted of 150 to 200 men. Each company had a special department and was divided into at least two sub-companies, which in turn consisted of corporations of ten to twelve men.

The quarters for the crew were below the main deck, the crew quarters in the forward area, while the officers were accommodated in the aft section. The NCO's cabins were distributed over the bow and stern according to the areas of activity. The officers' mess was below the main mast. In the commandant's cabin hung an original picture by the artist Franz von Lenbach , which showed Otto von Bismarck and which went down with the ship. The rooms for Admiral Lütjens were in the front and back of the superstructure. Below these were laundry rooms, an infirmary, a pharmacy, a bakery, a cobbler's shop and other rooms for everyday activities. The Bismarck even had a room dedicated to the preparation of potatoes. Right at the front, at the tip of the bow, there was a storage room for sports equipment.

The Bismarck had several kitchens, two of which were main galleys, which prepared the meals for most of the crew. High-ranking officers had table service in their messes , while in the non-commissioned officers and crew messes several so-called mess men received a large pot of food from a cook and distributed it to their comrades. The altar boys were also responsible for washing up. The food storage had enough space to take food on board for 250,000 man-days. This meant that the almost 2200 crew could be supplied for about four months. The cooling units in the cold rooms were operated with carbon dioxide .

On the battery deck of the Bismarck there were two canteens with six to eight people. Consumer goods such as cigarettes, beer, sweets and stationery were sold there. The Bismarck could carry between 500 and 1000 50-liter kegs of beer.

At sea, the crew members were divided into several guards who took turns working in shifts. Independently of the watch, each crew member had to be on duty from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Each crew member was in the battle at the battle station assigned to him. These battle stations were not only about the ship's weapon systems, but also about leak detection and wound care troops. In the port, the crew was woken up at 6:00 a.m., where crew members who were not on guard duty could take time off and go ashore .

Before the sinking, 2349 people were on board the ship. 95% of all people on board were killed. The 110 men who had been rescued by the British were, according to unanimous statements, treated well on board the ships. Burkard Freiherr von Müllenheim-Rechberg, the highest-ranking survivor, received a whiskey before he protested to the captain of the Dorsetshire against the abandonment of the rescue work. They were brought to England and interrogated before being taken to a prisoner-of-war camp in Knightsbridge . In the spring of 1942 all survivors were shipped to a prisoner-of-war camp in Canada, and in 1946 all were repatriated . The last surviving crew member, Bernhard Heuer, died on March 7, 2018. In the Naval Memorial in Laboe there is a plaque donated by the Naval Comradeship Battleship Bismarck .

The myth of Bismarck

Immediately after the sinking of the Bismarck , Nazi propaganda reinterpreted the catastrophic enterprise. The last battle was and is still today stylized as a heroic sacrifice and the alleged self-immersion is charged with the pathos of the ship that was not conquered in battle. The Bismarck was built up, as it were, as a symbol of the mythical hero who defiantly opposed himself to superior power, but ultimately only fell by his own hand. The rapid success against the then outdated Hood served as evidence of Germany's technical superiority.

In the first half of the war, the Royal Navy had few warships of comparable combat strength. With the exception of the King George V class and the Nelson class, which were built in accordance with the strict limitations of the Washington Treaty , all British battleships were from the time of the First World War . Armament, fire control equipment and above all armor were far inferior to those of the Bismarck . This explains the rapid demise of the Hood , which as a battle cruiser with generally weaker armor was conceptually not designed for combat against battleships and was technically inferior. Even so, the loss of the Hood was a severe moral blow to the British, as the battle cruiser was considered the pride of the British Navy. This is cited as one of the reasons the British Navy reacted so quickly and had Bismarck followed directly.

Although in the final battle the British ships fired at the already incapacitated Bismarck at very close quarters , their large-caliber shells were still unable to penetrate the main tank. This was because the shells hit the thick side armor horizontally through the flat trajectory. At a greater combat range, the British shells would have come in more steeply from above and could have penetrated the weaker deck armor or its embankment.

The end of the Bismarck also heralded the end of the battleship era. Building ever larger and more powerful battleships proved to be a dead end with the end of the Japanese Yamato in 1945. Even Pearl Harbor had shown in 1941 that battleships had little chance of survival against a large number of attacking aircraft. The battleship is therefore fundamentally inferior to the aircraft carrier. The latter has a longer range and more accurate weapons. In “Operation Rhine Exercise”, for example, the fundamental change in the naval forces was shown in time-lapse form: On May 24th, by sinking the Hood , the Bismarck showed that the time for the weakly armored battle cruiser had long expired. On May 26 and 27, there were signs that the aircraft carrier would be the successor to the battleship.


The Bismarck is the most famous ship in the Navy today. There are numerous artistic representations of the ship, including by the marine painter Claus Bergen , whose best-known picture battleship "Bismarck" in the final battle on May 27, 1941 is kept in the Mürwik naval school . Also Günther Todt , Walter Zeeden and Viktor Gernhard have painted images of Bismarck.

The history of the ship in 1960 under the title The Last Voyage of the Bismarck (original title: Sink the Bismarck! ) Was processed. The British production, which is based on Cecil Scott Forester's non-fiction book “ The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck” (original title: The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck or Hunting the Bismarck ), is characterized by the use of historical archive images. The story has also been the subject of numerous documentaries, including Seconds Before the Disaster , Expedition Bismarck and ZDF History .

Musically, the story of the Bismarck was taken up in 1960 in Johnny Horton's country song "Sink The Bismarck" .

A model of the Bismarck in the Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden

The ship is also an extremely popular model building project . Many manufacturers of plastic model kits have produced a model of the Bismarck. The German market leader Revell has had the ship in its range since 1960 and a Bismarck kit was the most economically successful in Germany at the DeAgostini saddle-book publisher .

Apart from the established manufacturers, there are always reports of private individuals who have recreated the battleship on different scales. It should be noted that the presentation of the ship in public with air recognition symbols and original flagging within Germany outside of museums or the like. according to "§ 86 Dissemination of propaganda material of unconstitutional organizations" is prohibited and the models therefore cannot be completely accurate. In Austria, the Badge Act 1960 is responsible.

The Bismarck is also received outside of Europe. In the Japanese anime series Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, the star sheriffs battleship was named after the Bismarck.


  • The Bismarck's cat is said to have survived the sinking of three ships.


Film documentaries

  • Bismarck expedition . Documentary, USA 2002, 92 min., Directors: James Cameron and Gary Johnstone, production: arte France
  • Sink the Bismarck! Documentary, Germany 2002, 45 min., Script and direction: Jörg Müllner and Friedrich Scherer, production: ZDF , first broadcast: February 8, 2002
  • Sink the "Bismarck"! Documentary, Germany / Great Britain 2004, 45 min., Written and directed by Gary Johnstone, production: NDR , first broadcast: December 22, 2004
  • Return to the Bismarck. Documentary, Germany 2006, 52 min., Julia Knobloch and David Ash, production: Context TV / ZDF , first broadcast: 2006.
  • Race against death. The sinking of the "Bismarck". (= ZDF history ). Documentary, Germany 2009, 25 min., Contribution by Mario Sporn, Friedrich Scherer and Jörg Müllner, first broadcast: November 29, 2009
  • The sinking of the Bismarck. (= Seconds before the accident ; season 5, episode 2). Documentary, USA 2012, 60 min., Production: National Geographic Channel , German premiere: May 25, 2012
  • Battleship Bismarck. Documentation series (2 episodes) - Part 1: From Hamburg to Gotenhafen & Part 2: Company Rhine exercise. Germany 2014, 180 min., History Films, DVD release, release date: June 2017

Web links

Commons : Bismarck  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. a b c d e Burkhard Freiherr von Müllenheim-Rechberg: Battleship Bismarck - A survivor reports on the splendor and sinking of the Bismarck on May 27, 1941. Flechsig, 1987; ISBN 978-3-88189-591-0
  2. ^ Gerhard Koop, Klaus-Peter Schmolke: The battleships of the Bismarck class . Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1990, ISBN 3-7637-5890-9 (The BISMARCK class: The armor, pages 16-17, final consideration, pages 64-65).
  3. ^ Mike J. Whitley: German capital ships
  4. General information on the ship on the plan drawing, Office for Warship Building, Tank processing "Battleship F", valid for tank thicknesses, changed in the course of construction, secret matter of command
  5. Comparison between Richelieu and Bismarck KK III A No. 587-41, G.Kdos, Berlin May 31, 1941.
  6. Kostam: Battleship Bismarck - The story of the legendary German ship. 2017, pp. 108-109.
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Kostam: Battleship Bismarck - The story of the legendary German ship. 2017.
  8. ^ Gerhard Koop, Klaus-Peter Schmolke: The battleships of the Bismarck class . Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1990, ISBN 3-7637-5890-9 (The battleship Bismarck, page 33, illustration "The Iceland battle on May 24, 1941").
  9. ^ The Arado 196 aircraft on board ( Memento from December 22, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
  10. ^ Burkard Freiherr von Müllenheim-Rechberg: Battleship Bismarck, a survivor's story. (Second edition, 1990), pp. 246-276.
  11. ^ William H. Garzke, Robert O. Dulin: Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis 1985, p. 246. After A. Beevor: The Second World War. Munich 2014, p. 217: 115 men saved, 2,200 dead.
  12. ^ Robert D. Ballard: The discovery of the Bismarck. 1990.
  13. Alexander Schwabe: Deep Sea Expedition: Diving trip to the grave of "Bismarck". In: Spiegel Online . July 11, 2002, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  14. Reinhard Müller: Who does the wreck belong to? In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. July 30, 2016, accessed June 26, 2019 .
  15. ^ Occupation of the Bismarck ; Retrieved November 14, 2009.
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