British Battleship Hood Blown Up by German Warship Bismarck

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Globalization41
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British Battleship Hood Blown Up by German Warship Bismarck

Post by Globalization41 » 19 Mar 2004 06:19

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By Robert C. Post, Saturday, May 24,
1941:
The 42,100-ton battle cruiser Hood,
pride of the British Fleet and world's biggest
fighting vessel, was blown up today by an
"unlucky hit" scored on a munitions magazine
by the new German battleship Bismarck, in an
engagement off Greenland, the Admiralty
announced. The Bismarck was damaged. [The
Titanic, infamous passenger liner sunk in 1912
on its maiden voyage by an iceberg, weighed
46,000 tons.]
Apparently the British had word
the Bismarck, accompanied by other German
naval units, was trying to slip into the North
Atlantic
by the Germans' favorite route -- the
northern route via Norway, Iceland, and
Greenland.
The British sent a strong force,
including the Hood, to intercept the German
ships. The two forces clashed and the Hood
was sunk. ... The Hood carried a normal
complement of more than 1,300 men, and the
Admiralty said it was feared that there would
be few survivors. ... "The pursuit of the
enemy continues," the Admiralty reported.

This statement probably means that the British
ships are attempting to intercept and finish off
the Bismarck if she is really crippled.
Undoubtedly they are maintaining wireless
silence, and therefore it remains to be seen
whether the Hood will be avenged.
... The
news of the Hood's sinking is bound to cast a
spell of gloom over the British people, because
she was a symbol of British naval power. She
was the show ship of the Royal Navy, and the
British like to think that they had the biggest
warship afloat.
... The Hood was of the same
general type as the battle cruisers Queen Mary,
Indefatigable, and Invincible, which were
blown up in the Battle of Jutland,
supposedly
as a result of insufficient armor over their
turret magazines. The Hood, laid down in
1916, was redesigned to meet the lessons of
Jutland, but apparently this was not enough.
... At any rate, the greatest naval victory of the
war since British cruisers bottled up the
German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee,
which was scuttled at Montevideo, Uruguay,
must be chalked up for the German Navy. ...
This is the first time the world has known that
the Bismarck, a ship of 35,000 or more tons,
is loose on the seas. She was launched on
February 14, 1939, with Reichsfuehrer Hitler
present. The Bismarck is supposed to have
three sister ships, the Tirpitz, launched April
1, 1939, and two others believed to be still
under construction. ... The British still have
the battle cruisers Renown and Repulse, of the
same class as the Hood, but somewhat smaller.
They also have the new battleships King
George V
and Prince of Wales, both now in
service. [Battleships by 1941 were obsolete to
air power. Shortly after Pearl Harbor the final
proof came, to those still unconvinced, when
the Prince of Wales and the Repulse, having
been sent to Singapore as a show of force,
were easily sunk by cheap Japanese attack
planes.
]
The battleships Duke of York,
Jellicoe,
and Beatty should be coming along
soon. The Lion and Temeraire also are under
construction. They will be even more
powerful than the battleships now at sea, armed
as they will be with 16-inch guns. ... Without
question the loss of the Hood is a severe blow
from the point of view of prestige, because for
the first time in this war a British capital ship
has meet a German capital ship. Up to now
the German Fleet has not existed as far as the
British were concerned -- at least it had not
existed in the old terms of big ships verses big
ships. But this is not a war of big ships. It is
a war of little ships that escort convoys. It is
only right to record that, serious as it is, the
loss of the Hood probably is not so serious as
the loss of four destroyers would have been.

The greatest tragedy today is the loss of life.
The Hood's normal complement was 1,341
officers and men,
and in this action it was
probably more. Her captain was R. Kerr and
she was flying the flag of Vice Admiral L.E.
Holland.


Berlin, By Telephone to The New York
Times,
Saturday, May 24, 1941: The Hood,
struck in the magazine by a shell from one of
the Bismarck's heavy guns, exploded and went
down with her full compliment of men. ...
The brief naval battle took place on the high
seas in the Atlantic off the coast of Iceland, the
Germans said. The German flotilla, operating
under the command of Fleet Admiral Guenther
Luetjens
against British shipping in the North
Atlantic, came into contact with what the
German High Command termed "heavy
English naval forces"
somewhere near Iceland.
... The battle that ensued, German naval
quarters declared, lasted only five minutes, but
in those 300 seconds a shell from the Bismarck
struck a vital spot on the Hood and the British
vessel flew into the air with her eight 15-inch
guns and her compliment of 1,341 men. ...
Not only was the Hood destroyed, the Germans
declared officially, but a second British
battleship was forced to retire. The German
units engaged in the brief battle were able, the
High Command declared, to continue their
operations without having suffered any
damages
"worthy of mention." ... The sinking
of the Hood furnishes a dramatic conclusion to
what the Nazis call one of the blackest weeks
in modern British naval history,
following
immediately upon the succession of destructive
blows that the German Air Force reportedly
has dealt the British Navy in the Eastern
Mediterranean in the last four days.
... A
conservative evaluation of the losses officially
reported by the German High Command to
have been inflicted on the British since
Wednesday gives the following results: One
battle cruiser and at least one battleship
damaged, four cruisers sunk and at least two
others damaged, at least five destroyers sunk
and four others damaged, five torpedo boats
sunk, and one submarine damaged. ... ...
London, Associated Press, The New York
Times,
Saturday, May 24, 1941: The 42,100-
ton British battle cruiser Hood was blown to
bits
in waters between Greenland and Iceland
today by the new German battleship Bismarck
during a battle of grave historic import. ...
Greenland, the protection of which has been
assumed by the United States, and Iceland,
now under British occupation, are separated by
a 250-mile stretch of water, the Strait of
Denmark.
It was apparently somewhere near
the mouth of this strait, on the edge of the
Western Hemisphere,
that the battle occurred.
... [The article went on to speculate that the
Bismarck and other German vessels may have]

slipped past the British blockade along the
Norwegian coast on a raiding mission [to an
area near Greenland where the Germans were
claiming their submarines had just sunk nine
British ships.]
... There was speculation in
London as to whether the damaged Bismarck
would be able to get home,
the nearest German
Navy bases fit to handle such a ship being
1,400 miles or more distant. Even assuming
no loss whatever in the Bismarck's speed, this
would give the British Fleet two or three days
in which to run down the Bismarck.


Madrid, United Press, The New York Times,
Saturday, May 24, 1941: The Spanish news
agency Cifra reported today that all British
warships anchored at Gibraltar had left
suddenly for the Atlantic. The British Fleet
was said to include an aircraft carrier.

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By Craig Thompson, Saturday, May
24, 1941:
Coincident with the first German
High Command communique on the Battle of
Crete,
in which the Nazis claimed possession
of the western end of the island,
the British
made known that since yesterday long-range
bombers and fighters of the Royal Air Force
had been attacking Maleme airfields. ...
Intense fighting, it was stated here, continued
not only around Maleme -- which was probably
the place meant by the German claim to have
"the western part of the island firmly in hand"
-- but also along the northern coastal stretch
separating Suda Bay from Candia. ... Reports
here said the Germans continued raining
parachute troops down
upon Candia and
Rethymno, but it was added that these troops
were being mopped up as fast
as they came by
British Imperial and Greek forces. Fourteen
German troop transport planes are reported
to have been destroyed. ... By far the
heaviest fighting was around Maleme.
The
Germans remained in possession of that air
field, the most important foothold they could
have for a continued attack. German transport
planes were arriving regularly from Greece
with fresh troops, supplies, and materiel. ...
The Germans are reported to have successfully
landed 75mm. field pieces
to supplement the
machine guns and trench mortars already
effectively supplied to their invading forces.
... Judging from reports here, the fighting at
Maleme is of the most desperate character.
Australians, New Zealanders, and Greeks,
especially Cretans, were reported attacking the
German position
from the direction of Canea,
east of Maleme, under ceaseless strafing by
German dive bombers,
which are flinging
bombs at gun positions. ... At the same
time the British forces kept up a steady
bombardment on the airfield to prevent
as far as possible further landings of troop
planes. With shells falling all about, the Nazi
planes continued to arrive and disgorge 30 to
40 soldiers each, plus supplies, and to take off
again from the pitted landing field,
it was
admitted here. ... The re-entry of the R.A.F.
into the battle gave London an upsurge of hope
tonight after very anxious moments. Earlier
the British fighter planes were withdrawn from
the island
because of the impossibility of
protecting them from German dive bombers.
In order to participate in the Crete battle
British aircraft must operate from bases in
North Africa and Cyprus, which means round-
trip flights of 600 to 700 miles.
This is too far
for Spitfires or Hurricanes. It is not
announced here what type of planes are taking
part in the R.A.F. action but they are believed
to be Blenheims, which are capable of such
long flights. ... In yesterday's operations, it is
stated, British fighters shot down four troop
transports in the air
and destroyed ten more on
Maleme airfield with bombs, following up this
havoc by strafing the Nazi troops there.
Supplies dropped by planes for the Germans
were reported captured. ... During the first
two days of the Crete action, it was calculated
the Germans had dropped at least 7,000 men.
Since the battle is now in its sixth day, it is
estimated at least as many more have been
flown there. The losses of men killed and
captured are said to run extremely high.
...
The six-day toll of German transport planes has
now reached 30. Sixteen of these are credited
to anti-aircraft guns in the Candia area and the
remainder to the Royal Air Force. ... The
German capture of Candia would be as
important as Maleme, because its harbor is the
best in Crete. Also there is a 240-foot pier in
Suda Bay near Canea on which tanks and other
heavy equipment could be landed from small
merchant ships. ... The British Fleet has been
maintaining the closest watch over all sea
approaches to Crete and has destroyed one
convoy
and dispersed another. It is admitted
as not only possible, but likely, that some
small sailing boats might have slipped through
and landed some Nazi troops at isolated places,
as the distance from the nearest other Greek
islands is only 70 miles and from the Italian
Dodecanese only 50 miles. In the darkness
small boats could easily slip through the British
patrol and make landings, but they would have
to be beached at points where there are no
facilities for unloading heavy equipment. ...
The defending forces are prepared to meet any
kind of landing force at Crete's harbors. The
naval job of keeping the Germans from landing
by sea in large force has been hazardous and
complicated, however, by incessant dive-
bombing attacks on British warships.

German and Italian claims of heavy losses
for the British continue without detailed denials
here, but it was made known today that the
cruiser Ajax had a part in sinking a Crete-
bound convoy Wednesday. ... This was the
fifth naval engagement the Ajax had fought
since the war began.
She had a part in the
battle with the Admiral Graf Spee off Uruguay
and then sank two of three Italian destroyers
she engaged in the Mediterranean. In her third
engagement the Ajax damaged one of four
Italian destroyers escorting an Italian heavy
cruiser and later the Ajax played a part in the
battle of Matapan.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41]


Last edited by Globalization41 on 21 Jul 2004 05:49, edited 2 times in total.

Globalization41
Member
Posts: 1298
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:52
Location: California

German Warship Loose on High Seas

Post by Globalization41 » 19 Mar 2004 07:39

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By Robert P. Post, Sunday, May 25,
1941:
Over many weary and wallowing miles
of sea the hunt for the German battleship
Bismarck
was pressed all today and tonight.
The British threw every naval weapon they had
in the North Atlantic into the search for the
Nazi man-of-war that sank the British battle
cruiser Hood off Greenland yesterday. ...
British warships, questing here and there over
wild and foggy water where the visibility is the
poorest, have not yet found the Bismarck or
the big German ship [Prinz Eugen, heavy
cruiser, 13,900 tons]
that was with her when
she sank the Hood. But the British are
convinced that the Bismarck, Germany's
newest battleship, has not slipped into port.
[The Germans had announced the Bismarck's
tonnage at 35,000 to comply with a naval
treaty. But The World War II Encyclopedia,
Illustrated, lists the battleship at 41,700 tons
while a 1996 T.V. documentary, "Sink the
Bismarck," reports the displacement at 50,000
tons. ... During the duel which sank the Hood,
the British battleship, Prince of Wales, had
been hit with three 8-inch and four 15-inch
shells while it landed two 14-inch shells on the
Bismarck, one damaging a fuel cell, leaving a
trailing slick.]
... British battleships, cruisers,
and destroyers are ranging far and wide,
and
behind them aircraft carriers are launching
their planes into the sky in a desperate effort to
insure that the Hood, which was the largest
fighting ship in the world and the pride of the
British Navy, shall be avenged. It remains to
be seen whether they will succeed in the
baffling fogs and storms that torture the vast
sea area where the German squadron is being
hunted. ... Contact between the British and
German warships has been lost,
but the British
are convinced the Fleet Air Arm has damaged
either the Bismarck or the [escort] ship. In the
evening yesterday the Fleet Air Arm got in at
least one hit on the enemy with an aerial
torpedo, the Admiralty announced today. [This
hit on the Bismarck did only slight damage.]

... The Bismarck was reported damaged in the
original engagement. Mile after mile through
the North Atlantic the Home Fleet is pursuing
the Bismarck. ... The British have no doubt of
the outcome if the search is successful.
On the
bridges of British cruisers, battleships, and
destroyers tonight officers certainly are
straining their eyes for a glimpse of the quarry.
British submarines certainly are lurking along
the route that the Bismarck is likely to follow
if she is to reach the safety of a home port.
From carriers and from shore bases, the Fleet
Air Arm -- the big Sunderlands, Hudsons, and
Catalinas
of the Coastal Command -- is
patrolling the ocean wastes. ... Behind the
pursuer and pursued is the twisted wreckage of
the Hood, lying on the ocean floor, [sunk]
when an "unlucky" shot from the Bismarck had
plunged home. There are also the bodies of
1,300 or more sailors who were on the Hood.
... Even as this is written, somewhere in the
North Atlantic big guns may be speaking to big
guns
and the British Navy may be closing in.

Geneva, N.Y., Associated Press, The New
York Times,
Sunday, May 25, 1941: William
Alfred Eddy, president of Hobart and William
Smith Colleges,
has received instructions from
the United States Navy Department to report
for duty
at the close of the college year. Dr.
Eddy
holds the commission of major, retired,
in the United States Marine Corps.

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By David Anderson, Sunday, May 25,
1941:
More German Airborne troops landed in
Crete yesterday, according to the British
General Headquarters communique issued in
Cairo, Egypt, but they were said to have been
"substantially reduced" in scale compared to
the previous two days. [The island of Crete is
about 150 miles west to east and roughly 20
miles north to south.]
... The enemy strong
points in the neighborhood of Candia [north,
100 miles east of western tip]
and Rethymno
were counter-attacked during the day.
[Rethymno, on the north side of Crete, is
about 60 miles east of the western tip.]
The
operations by the British were said to be
continuing at nightfall. Between Maleme and
Canea [in the north, about 15 miles east of the
most western point]
sharp hand-to-hand fighting
went on all day
while Germans maintained
intensive dive-bombing attacks. ... The British
[claimed] today: "Very heavy casualties were
inflicted on the enemy,
including destruction
by shell fire of his aircraft on the ground."
... Supplies are being ferried by R.A.F.
pilots to the British troops engaged in Crete.
... For four hours yesterday afternoon German
bombers attacked Canea, Rethymno, and
Candia
with everything they had, [reminding]
eyewitnesses of the scene at Rotterdam last
year. ... Nothing has happened to loosen the
grip the Germans have on the Maleme Airport
at the western end of Crete, [though] the
British are hopeful regarding the outcome of
the battle. ... ... Cairo, Egypt, United Press,
The New York Times,
Sunday, May 25, 1941:
British and Greek defenders of Crete tonight
were described officially as putting up a grim
struggle,
particularly at Candia and Rethymno,
where they are holding on tenaciously despite
bombings by constant waves of German
bombers.
... The Germans continued,
however, to land wave upon wave of airborne
reinforcements
at Maleme, ten miles south of
Canea, which is their chief aerial bridgehead
and the situation there was called "still
serious.
" ... Civilian casualties were reported
to have been comparatively light because of the
many caves in the mountains. Small boys were
described rushing from the caves along the
coasts after each bombing, diving into the sea
for fish killed by the concussion of the bombs.

... British fighters attacked troop-carrying
planes over the Maleme area, although British
fighter planes, except long-range bombers
[have been] withdrawn from the Battle of Crete
after the shattering of airdromes. British
bombers are steadily hammering the invaders.

Ankara, Turkey, Special Broadcast to The
New York Times,
By C.L. Sulzberger, Sunday,
May 25, 1941:
American bombing and
fighting planes have been flown into Iraq by
the Royal Air Force and are being used to
harass Premier Rashid Ali Beg Gailani's forces
as the British slowly push the zone of
operations east of the Euphrates River despite
inconvenient floods. ... This was revealed
today by British sources here, who said both
Tomahawk [Curtiss] fighters and Glenn Martin-
157 bombers
were operating from Habbania
and that motorized units had managed to cross
the Euphrates, presumably over the Feluja
bridge.
... There are further reports of
disorganization in the Iraqi Government and
Army.
The British believe Rashid Beg will
establish himself in Mosul on the advice of the
Germans and seek to continue resistance,
hoping for more aid from the Axis. ... The
Iraqi communiques continue to paint an
optimistic picture
of operations, but it is
becoming increasingly clear these are not
telling an entirely true story. ... Despite [Iraqi
claims]
British forces contend that Iraqi
resistance is weakening daily
and that
desertions are becoming increasingly frequent.

Berlin, United Press, The New York Times,
Sunday, May 25, 1941: Fleet Admiral
Guenther Luetjens, commander of the new
German battleship Bismarck and hero of the
sinking of the British battle cruiser Hood,
today observed his 52nd birthday "at sea"
while Germany hailed his feat. ... The official
D.N.B. news agency revealed that it was
Admiral Luetjens who had commanded a
German battle fleet headed by the Scharnhorst
[battle cruiser] and Gneisenau [battle cruiser,
32,000 tons] in a brush with the British battle
cruiser Renown on April 9, 1940, in the
Norwegian campaign. ... At the time he was
still deputy fleet chief. Units under his
command, covering German landings in
Norway, were credited with having sunk the
aircraft carrier Glorious and the troop transport
Orama
off Narvik on June 8, 1940. On March
21 of this year the German High Command
credited him with having sunk in the North
Atlantic 22 armed merchant ships totaling
116,000 tons. ... D.N.B. also said that in his
attacks on convoys Admiral Luetjens had sunk
the auxiliary cruiser Jervis Bay.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41]


Last edited by Globalization41 on 21 Jul 2004 05:52, edited 2 times in total.

Globalization41
Member
Posts: 1298
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:52
Location: California

Bismarck Damaged; British Fleet Closing in

Post by Globalization41 » 21 Mar 2004 19:14

[In the North Atlantic on Monday, May 26,
1941,
at 14:50, the British carrier Ark Royal
launched a flight of torpedo planes searching
for the German warship Bismarck, loose on the
high seas after sinking the British battleship
Hood Saturday. But instead of the Bismarck,
the British planes attacked the British cruiser
Sheffield by mistake. The torpedoes
malfunctioned.]


London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By Robert P. Post, Monday, May 26,
1941:
This evening the British pack hunting
the German battleship Bismarck to avenge the
battle cruiser Hood caught up with the quarry
and a plane of the Fleet Air Arm hit her with
an aerial torpedo. "The hunt continues," the
Admiralty announced tonight. It was clear that
the British ships had cut off the Bismarck.
...
It should be remembered that at this time of
year there are only a few hours of darkness in
the Northern Atlantic. It should also be
remembered that the Bismarck probably has
been damaged enough to slow her down. The
extent of the damage is not known here. [At
19:08, the German submarine U-556
commander, Wolfahrt, logged a sighting of a
British battleship and the carrier Ark Royal
proceeding at "great speed." He was in a
"perfect attack position;" there were "no zig-
zags," no need to manoeuvre, and no
destroyers. But the U-556 was out of
torpedoes. Wolfahrt noted torpedo planes
taking off from the aircraft carrier. ... The
torpedo planes, slow moving Swordfish
biplanes,
launched at 19:10. At about 21:00,
under intense fire, the Swordfish squadron
scored two hits on the Bismarck, one wreaking
the rudder.
Shortly, Admiral Luetjens radioed:
"No longer able to steer ship. Will fight to last
shell.
Long live the Fuehrer." ... The escort
ship, Prinz Eugen, escaped south, made port at
Brest, France, on June 1, and, in 1946, was
sunk during an atomic bomb test.
]
It is
possible that the British have fast and big ships
employed in the hunt. The search has been
going on now for 60 hours or more. It is
possible that the Bismarck may even evade
her pursuers and return home safely, but her
commander has a difficult task on his hands.
The Bismarck surely was pinpointed on a
[command center] chart. ... There is always
the possibility that fog and storms will cloak
the sea, confusing and baffling lookouts. The
Fleet Air Arm may have sighted the Bismarck
hours of steaming time ahead of the ships
racing up for the kill. British warships
probably are distributed between the Bismarck
and Germany. ... This is a tense night in the
Admiralty operations room. It may be that
Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself is
taking a hand in the game. As First Lord of
the Admiralty in two wars he has been through
many of these nights. ... ... Berlin, United
Press, The New York Times,
Tuesday, May
27, 1941:
[On late Monday, U.S. time, the
following German High Command communique
was reported.]
"Since 9 P.M. Monday [3
P.M., New York time] the battleship Bismarck
has been engaged in a hard fight with superior
enemy forces.
"

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By Craig Thompson, Tuesday, May 27,
1941:
[Late Monday, U.S. time] The Battle of
Crete continued without abatement yesterday.
The Nazis continuously reinforced Maleme and
began an outward push eastward toward Canea
while the Royal Air Force, according to British
claims, destroyed 24 German aerial troop
carriers.
It was reported that having been
pushed back a mile eastward from Maleme, the
New Zealanders in the area began a fierce
counter-attack,
seeking to regain the territory.
... The Germans have been pouring troops into
Crete in [aircraft] transports, parachutes, and
gliders without regard for losses. [Of 22,000
men, the Germans lost 7,000 killed, almost one
of three.]
They have created diversions all
along the north coast and have been beaten
everywhere except Maleme, according to
British reports. ... They took Maleme airport
at great loss and continued to use it despite
heavy losses. They used it to land enough
troops to constitute an expeditionary force and
are now beginning to push toward Canea, Suda
Bay,
and Rethymno by land. ... They are
within 15 miles of Suda Bay, the coast of
which offers good landing points for any of
those small boats that they may smuggle
through the British Fleet in the darkness from
points only 50 to 70 miles. ... The conquest of
Maleme has been done under cover of the most
active sort of dive-bombing protection,
reports
indicate. As fast as defending troops took
positions, dive bombers raked them with
explosives and machine-gun fire. If these
reports are [correct], they show that the
Germans have been able by air attack alone to
gain a foothold on an island,
maintain a point
of contact, and land a sufficient force for an
effort at conquest. [The Nazis needed only to
cross 20 miles of water to invade England.]
...
From the sea the Germans have suffered from
the inability to take a port at which they would
be able to land heavy articles of war, such as
tanks and big guns. The movement to Suda
Bay [20 miles from Maleme] would be the
answer to this objective. ... The Battle of Crete
turns on German ability to sustain the march
they have begun.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41]


Last edited by Globalization41 on 16 Jul 2004 04:10, edited 2 times in total.

Globalization41
Member
Posts: 1298
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:52
Location: California

Bismarck Sunk; British Cruiser Goes Down Flaming Near Crete

Post by Globalization41 » 21 Mar 2004 21:03

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
By Robert P. Post, Tuesday, May 27,
1941:
The Bismarck, Germany's newest and
finest capital ship, was sunk at 11:01 o'clock
this morning [5:01 A.M. New York time]
about 400 miles due west of Brest after naval
action that had lasted for three and a half days
and covered 1,750 miles from Denmark Strait.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested
today that [the Germans'] mission was
commerce raiding.
... Contact with the
German ships had been lost at 3 A.M. Sunday.
It was not established again until 10:30 A.M.
yesterday, when a Catalina [flying boat] of the
Coastal Command spotted the Bismarck 550
miles west of Lands End. ... The Catalina, big
and clumsy, was immediately [fired on] but she
had given [the Bismarck's position] by wireless
to the rest of the pack. From then on contact
was never lost. The Bismarck, by now, was
alone. ... The aircraft carrier Ark Royal was
somewhere nearby. At 11:15 A.M. one of the
Ark Royal's flights sighted the Bismarck. [The
British]
threw the cruiser Sheffield out ahead to
shadow the Bismarck. During that afternoon
the Ark Royal launched an aerial-torpedo
attack, but it was unsuccessful. ... The Ark
Royal launched another squadron of planes.
They torpedoed the Bismarck amidships and
the starboard quarter. One of these torpedoes
had smashed the rudder and screws.
... All
the British forces were now converging on the
doomed ship. A squadron of Tribal-class
destroyers [about 1:30 A.M.] went in to attack.
[They were driven off.] Shadowers reported
the Bismarck had halted.
... A cloudy dawn
broke over the Atlantic this morning. By now
the main British battle line was [cruising] up to
the scene. It was the Norfolk that first opened
fire. Soon afterward 16 and 15-inch shells
were pounding the Bismarck. [Shortly] she
must have been a helpless blazing wreck. It is
known that the cruiser Dorsetshire was ordered
to sink the Bismarck with torpedoes. ... The
long battle was over by 11:01 o'clock this
morning. There is no news of the [escort ship]
Prinz Eugen and she may have escaped. ... ...
The New York Times, Tuesday, May 27, 1941:
[Follows is an excerpt of Tuesday's British
communique concerning naval losses in support
of the Battle of Crete.]
The Board of
Admiralty regrets to announce the following
ships have been sunk: Cruisers -- H.M.S.
Gloucester (Captain H.A. Rowley) and H.M.S.
Fiji (Captain P.B.R.W. William-Poulett). ...
Destroyers -- H.M.S. Juno (Commander St.
J.R.J. Tyrwhitt), H.M.S. Greyhound
(Commander W.R. Marshall-A'Deane),
H.M.S. Kelly (Captain Lord Luis
Mountbatten), H.M.S. Kashmir (Commander
H.A. King). [These ships were lost to Stuka
dive-bombers supporting the German
deployment to Crete.]
... It is already known
that the following numbers of survivors from
the ships lost have been landed:

34 officers, 500 men from H.M.S. Fiji.
8 officers, 120 men from H.M.S. Kelly.
3 officers, 88 men from H.M.S. Greyhound.
9 officers, 150 men from H.M.S Kashmir.
6 officers, 98 men from H.M.S. Juno.

It is regretted that no news is yet available
from H.M.S. Gloucester, but since H.M.S.
Gloucester sank not far from the from the
Greek mainland and it is known ample boats
and rafts were available, it is hoped many of
her company have survived. ... The next of
kin are being informed as soon as possible.


London, By Cable to The New York Times,
By Craig Thompson, Wednesday, May 28,
1941:
[Late Tuesday, U.S. time] The eastward
push of the Nazis in Crete got under way
[Tuesday] while Prime Minister Churchill,
taking a grave view of the situation, announced
in the House of Commons the loss of two
cruisers and four destroyers to German dive
bombers. ... Mr. Churchill said in his
statement: "The battle for Crete has now
lasted for a week. During the whole of this
time our troops have been subjected to intense
and continuous large-scale air attacks, to which
owing to geographical conditions our air force
has only been able to make a very limited but
very gallant counterpoint." ... "The fighting
has been most bitter,
and severe enemy losses
up to the present have been heavier than ours.
We have not been able to prevent other
descents of airborne troops to reinforce the
enemy, and the weight of his attacks has grown
day by day." ... "The battle has swayed
backward and forward with indescribable fury
at Canea and equally fiercely, though on a
smaller scale, at Rethymno and Heraclion
[Candia].
Reinforcements of men and supplies
have reached and are reaching General
Freyberg's
forces, and at this moment the issue
of the magnificent resistance hangs in the
balance.
" ... "Very heavy losses have been
inflicted by our submarines, cruisers, and
destroyers upon [German seaborne troop]
transports and those small Greek ships, and it
is impossible to state accurately how many
thousands of troops have been drowned.
" ...
"But our losses have been very heavy. The
services rendered by the Navy in defense of
Crete have not been discharged without heavy
losses. Our fleet has been compelled to
operate constantly without air protection.
" ...
"I may state that we have lost the cruisers
Gloucester and Fuji and four destroyers, the
Juno, Greyhound, Kelly, and Kashmir. By far
the greater part of the crews have been saved.
Two battleships and several other cruisers have
been damaged, not seriously, and all will soon
be in action again. Some are already at sea."
... "However the decision of battle may go, the
stubborn defense of Crete will always rank
high in military and naval annals of the British
Empire." ... ... International Situation, The
New York Times,
Tuesday, May 27, 1941:
France gave new assurances in a note delivered
to Washington that she would not surrender her
colonial empire or her fleet
and would not
depart from the terms of the armistice. [The
Japanese coveted Indo-China, a French colony,
while France itself was now a German colony.
Hitler was not enthusiastic about letting the
Japanese have Indo-China, but being more
worried about his own backyard,
he needed to
remain friendly with Japan in light of their
potential to draw Russian and U.S. forces away
from the Nazis.]
... In Africa several Axis
land columns crossed the Libyan-Egyptian
border
and advanced eastward, causing the
British to yield ground "temporarily." ... ...
Berlin, By Telephone to The New York
Times,
Tue., May 27: Fourteen heavily laden
British and Allied merchantmen totaling 77,600
tons [5,500 average] were officially said today
to have been sunk by German submarines in
the Battle of the Atlantic.
This new blow to the
main British artery was reported inflicted by
U-boats operating off the west coast of Africa.
More than half of the merchant tonnage available
to Britain has been sunk during the war, it is
added. The Germans said that the submarine
of Lieut. Commander Schuetzer particularly
distinguished itself by sinking 11 of the vessels.

London, Associated Press, The New York
Times,
Tuesday, May 27, 1941: "It was the
hottest fire I've ever been under," said the pilot
of one of the United States-built Catalina long-
range flying boats
which shadowed the German
battleship Bismarck to her fatal rendezvous
with the British Fleet today. ... The pilot
looked thoughtfully tonight at the several holes
in the hull of his boat,
holes put there by the
terrific salvos from the Bismarck during the
brief interval while the plane slipped from one
cloud to another. Even so, the plane continued
its dogged pursuit for ten hours after an overall
flight of 24 hours,
the Air Ministry's news
service said. ... "There was lots of cloudy
weather and a misty haze," related the
Catalina's pilot. "We ducked into a cloud and
were trying to edge around the Bismarck.
Suddenly we came to the end of the cloud and
found ourselves bang over the ship, which was
only 400 yards away. I thought they had us.
The Bismarck put up the worst barrage I've
ever seen. She seemed one big flash from bow
to stern
and must have been turning loose on
us everything she had. The Bismarck
apparently thought we were going to bomb her
because she turned a full 90 degrees. I really
don't know how we managed to dodge all that
stuff she threw up. It was a ticklish moment
and we were lucky to get back into a cloud."
... The pilot of another Catalina described the
Bismarck's anti-aircraft fire as "very
unhealthy."
"Despite the haze, the Bismarck
was an impressive sight, doing more than 20
knots in a heavy sea, which had the bow
running under water.
" ... ... Alexandria,
Egypt, Associated Press, The New York
Times,
By Larry Allen, Tuesday, May 27,
1941:
Britain's Mediterranean Fleet has fought
its way back to base with heavy losses,
yet
with task proudly done, through the fury of
Nazi Germany's supreme Blitzkrieg at sea.
[The Fleet's mission to] reinforce the British
and Greeks who are fighting against airborne
invaders of Crete and prevent seaborne
invasion of the island, its officers say, [was]
accomplished. ... [In the attack on the Fuji,
the cruiser]
flung everything at the Stukas.
Plummeting down like stones, the dive
bombers dropped several sticks smack upon the
bridge, amidships, and astern of the Fuji. She
flopped over like a turtle and went down,
flaming, after a terrific explosion.
... [In
another area]
"Germany's Air Force was out
in tremendous numbers," said the commander
of a cruiser. "We were bombed incessantly
from daylight, May 22 onward, the Germans
combining both dive bombing and high-level
bombing. Some of our guns were firing until
they were red hot.
We had to change course
almost constantly and swing our forward
armament around to meet the high-level attacks
while the pom-poms and other guns dealt with
the diving Nazis.
Splinters fell about us like
hailstones. They tore gaps in the
superstructure, and near-misses from 1,000-
pound bombs gave us terrific shaking.
One
seaman tallied 186 crashes about us within two
hours." [In an attack on fishing boats ferrying
Nazis]
"we sank four caiques, each of them
carrying 100 Nazi soldiers. Disorganized, the
whole convoy turned tail northward."

International Situation, The New York Times,
Tuesday, May 27, 1941: President Roosevelt
proclaimed [Tuesday night] the existence of an
unlimited state of national emergency, thus
invoking the wartime powers of 1917. In a
fireside chat he outlined to the nation his
reasons for the step and the policy the
government intended to pursue.

Polo Grounds, The New York Times, By
Arthur Daley, Tuesday, May 27, 1941: Just as
the clock hit midnight, Carl Hubbell hit a line
single to center and the Giants vanquished the
Braves, 2-1, before 17,009 at the Polo Grounds
[Tuesday] night in the strangest nocturnal game
ever staged at the Polo Grounds. ... For 45
minutes the crowd sat in engrossed silence as
it listened to President Roosevelt in his fireside
chat [piped into the Polo Grounds over the
loudspeaker system].
Ball players sat on the
stairs of the clubhouse or leaned out the
windows, the national pastime ignored for the
nonce as the national emergency commanded
attention. ... It was a 1-1 game when play was
interrupted at the end of the 7th inning with
Hal Schumacher outpitching Manual Salvo in
a tight battle. Schumie yielded only two hits,
but one of them was a homer by Eddie Miller
in the 7th. Salvo gave only four hits, but one
of them was a circuit shot by Joe Orengo in the
5th. ... Thus it stood when Umpire Jocko
Conlan
shouted "time" in an unprecedented
move. [And thus it stood at this instant in
world history, while passive people noticed in
horror, that German U-boats were sinking
merchantmen at twice their production rate,
unstoppable Nazi armies had just brutally
conquered Europe, Hitler continued to
hypnotized his hordes of worshipers and mass-
military formations with sadistic, racist
rhetoric, and physicists, unknown to ordinary
citizens, were secretly reporting that production
of atomic bombs appeared feasible.
In the
broadcast Roosevelt described the war as "a
world war for world domination." He accused
the Nazis of planning an eventual invasion, via
Atlantic islands, of Latin America from which
they could "strangle" the U.S. and Canada.
Accordingly, he announced that U.S. Navy
patrols were being extended to support supply
deliveries to Britain.
]
But after the President
had finished his talk, two new pitchers took to
the hill, Old Long Pants [Hubbell] for the
Giants and Richard Merriwell Errickson for the
Bostonians. ... Hub promptly was up over his
ears in trouble. The Braves filled the bases in
the 8th with one out, but a superb double play
erased that threat. He walked two men in the
9th but another twin killing saved the day, or
night. ... So the game reached the final half of
the 9th. Joe Moore flied out, a rather feeble
start, but Bill Jurges walked and Orengo singled
to left. Hubbell was the next batter, seemingly
an easy mark. [Carl Hubbell would close
his career in 1943 with 246 hits and a batting
mark of .191, hitting four homers in 1,288 at
bats.]
Twice he fouled off pitches and then he
leaned on one that went whistling to center as
Jurges scampered in from second. Hubbell
scored his second victory against two defeats.
[And it put his lifetime record at 229-135,
which projects to a 154-game mark of 97-57.
During Hubbell's peak years, 1933 to 1937, he
posted a 115-50 won-lost record. Convert that
to 154 games and it equals 107-47; calculated
to 162 games, it equals 113-49. Hubbell's
lifetime ERA of 2.97 occurred mostly during
the rocket-ball era. He started 432 games,
completed 258, relieved in 103, and threw 36
shutouts. The lefty pitcher's main pitch was a
slow screwball, rarely mastered, that appeared
to defy the laws of gravity, often resulting in
easy taps and frequently causing the batter to
freeze when surprised with a moderate fast
ball.]
For Errickson it was his fifth straight
setback. ... It was the 8th that produced the
major excitement. Lloyd Waner batted for
Salvo and singled to right. Carvel Rowell,
attempting to bunt, made an accidental hit.
Buddy Hassett, also attempting to bunt, popped
to Babe Young, but Paul Waner smashed a ball
off Orengo's shins for an error that filled the
bases. ... The situation was blacker than the
darkness that hung over the Polo grounds. But
Max West hit sharply to Young, who tossed
home for a force play at the plate and then
made a miraculous catch of Harry Danning's
return throw for a double play that ended the
inning. ... Two walks in the 9th put Hub in a
ticklish spot, but he wriggled clear when
Burgess Whitehead, whose fielding plays all
night were gems, started a twin killing that
finished the frame. ... ... The ingenious Casey
Stengel
never is at a loss for words or line-up
shifts. The newest rabbit he pulled out of the
managerial hat was to shift Babe Dahlgren to
third base and place Hassett, the left-handed
crooner, on first for Boston. ... The game
hardly had started before there were sparkling
fielding plays. Dahlgren immediately proved
that he was a mighty good third baseman by
dashing in to make a beautiful pick-up and
throw on Johnny Rucker's neat bunt.
However, Whitehead had done the same on
Rowell's bounder. ... Night baseball halted
Rucker's hitting streak [at 13 games].

Starting Lineups

Boston Braves

Bama Rowell 2b
Buddy Hassett 1b
Paul Waner rf
Max West lf
Eddie (R.) Miller ss
Gene Moore cf
Babe Dahlgren 3b
Ray Berres c
Manny Salvo p

New York Giants
Johnny Rucker cf
Burgess Whitehead 2b
Mel Ott rf
Babe Young 1b
Harry Danning c
Jo-Jo Moore lf
Billy Jurges ss
Joe Orengo 3b
Hal Schumacher p

London, Special Cable to The New York
Times,
Tuesday, May 27, 1941: Conscription
for Northern Ireland will not be applied for the
present, Prime Minister Churchill told the
House of Commons today in a brief statement.
... "I said last week that this matter had been
engaging our attention and we made a number
of inquiries in various directions with the result
that we have come to the conclusion that at the
present time, although there can be no dispute
about our rights or merits of the case,
it would
be more trouble than it is worth to enforce
such a policy," he said. ... Thus he laid away
the bogey of civil war which has been
troubling many persons watching the unrest in
Northern Ireland and the open opposition of
Eire to conscription.
[This was a bad time for
Churchill. Few really wanted to risk their lives
against the Germans. Roosevelt was doing all
he could to rally Americans, who were mostly
isolationist.
Supplies were trickling in, but not
at a rate to sustain the war effort. The Empire
was going bankrupt.
The Japanese were
threatening Singapore. British public opinion
was souring with the disasters in the Balkans.
The Turks were becoming unfriendly. The
Navy had just bagged the Bismarck, but vital
convoys with protection drawn away were
suffering heavy losses. Expensive ships of the
Med. fleet were easily being sunk by cheap dive
bombers.
Maybe Hitler could be tricked into
taking on Russia; intercepts seemed to indicate
the Fuehrer didn't need to be tricked.]


[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]


Last edited by Globalization41 on 27 Apr 2004 01:35, edited 2 times in total.

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Windward
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Re: British Battleship Hood Blown Up by German Warship Bisma

Post by Windward » 22 Mar 2004 04:37

Globalization41 wrote:[The Titanic, infamous passenger liner sunk in 1912 on its maiden voyage by an iceberg, weighed 46,000 tons.]
Is merchant ship tonnage the same as displacement ton?

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Post by Tony Williams » 22 Mar 2004 09:10

Cargo ship tonnage is certainly different from displacement, as it's a notional figure based on carrying capacity. I'm not sure about passenger ships, though.

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Globalization41
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Displacement

Post by Globalization41 » 22 Mar 2004 14:11

I assumed displacement was weight of
ship plus weight of what's being carried.
I looked it up in the dictionary, but it
doesn't give a formula or ratio. It just
said the amount of water displaced.

Globalization41

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Post by Windward » 22 Mar 2004 14:36

To merchant tonnage, 1 ton = 100 cubic feet or 2.83 steres. It's applicable to passenger ships too. As I remembered, Titanic 's sistership RMS Olympic had different tonnage before and after Cunard occluded the the first class promenade on B-deck and made them into private balconies of first class cabins (after the Titanic disaster). And Titanic's displacement tonnage was around 66,000 tons.

Off topic. Thanks for your excellent info Globalization41.

best regards
Last edited by Windward on 23 Mar 2004 15:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Lord Gort
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Post by Lord Gort » 22 Mar 2004 15:34

Yes, very interesting Globalisation, thanks for posting.

I read somewhere that the Bismarck was actually quite an old fashioned ship in terms of design, indeed that the design was based on a German ww1 ship called Baden, is this true? Was the Bismarck not the excellent new calss of battleship I have always belived it to be?


regards,

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Hitler's High Seas Strategy

Post by Globalization41 » 23 Mar 2004 07:37

Thanks for the compliments. ... I'm unsure
about how modern the Bismarck was. I was
under the impression that it was about the
most modern at the time, since the Nazi regime
took the initiative to approve the construction.
But then again, Hitler was not really into naval
affairs, being inclined to let the British rule the
high seas, their natural sphere of interest. ...
Hitler desired to set up a colonial empire in his
own backyard. The Ukrainian breadbasket was
a logical choice given the (somewhat historically
ignored) Bolshevik-initiated holocausts of the
early 20s and early 30s. Hitler started off in the
direction of the Ukraine in 1939, but was
diverted by British and French interventionism.
His pact with Stalin had been only a temporary
insurance policy in case the Allies decided to
fight. Hitler later cleared his right flank, the
Balkans (where the British were establishing a
presence) before invading the Soviet Union. ...
I've heard that the Hood was based on early
1900s designs. ... I remember watching an
excellent documentary on the Bismarck and
Hood, but there was no mention of the
simultaneous Battle of Crete. ... When I
referred to tonnage and displacement, I was
thinking of empty weight. This would roughly
indicate the effort and expense required to
construct the ship. I've seen reports that the
Bismarck weighed 50,000 tons. This would
have been a tremendous drain on resources.
For example, a Stuka dive bomber weighed
9,336 lbs. Thus 50,000 tons of Stukas would
convert mathematically to 10,700 dive
bombers.
Fifty-thousand tons of Panzer IVs
would equal 2,500 tanks. In 1942, against the
world, Germany produced 15,556 airplanes
and 9,395 tanks. ... Additionally, the
Bismarck's tonnage would have equaled
about 70 submarines. When America entered
the war, the Germans had about 91
operational U-boats, with 55 stationed in the
Atlantic. If the Germans had concentrated on
U-boats instead of building the Bismarck,
they
might have successfully strangled Britain in
1940.

Globalization41

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Post by Tony Williams » 23 Mar 2004 09:06

I agree with you that switching resources from battleships to U-boats would have been more cost-effective.

Hood represented the peak of naval design when it emerged in 1921 or thereabouts; it wasn't based on any old ship (except through a long chain of evolution). Some of Bismarck's design is supposed to have based on Baden, the last class of German battleships built in WW1, because the German designers had no interwar design experience to go on. However, it was obviously very much improved, and was a better ship than Hood in 1940 as its armour protection was superior (Hood was due for a major refit which would have improved its protection, but war demands meant that there wasn't the time to do the job).

Bismarck did have an advantage over the other European and US battleships built in the late 1930s because the Germans flouted the 35,000 ton limit by much more than the others did. However, it was not a very efficient design and I think that the Washington and South Dakota classes would have beaten it in a straight fight, especially after they got the 2,700 lb AP shells.

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Post by Tiornu » 24 Mar 2004 11:11

Bismarck was indeed based on WWI battleship designs. But then, so were most other WWII battleships. Every design bureau bases its work on available precedents. Bismarck, however, gets singled out for scorn as a "warmed-over" Baden. This arises partly from some superficial resemblances between the two ships--the four twin 15in turrets, for example.
Having said that, I must also point out that the Germans failed to adopt the all-or-nothing armor scheme that had replaced older systems in most of the world's navies after WWI. Likewise, the Germans failed to adopt the layered torpedo system that had replaced olde systems in most of the world's navies.
Bismarck was a powerful ship, approximately equal to the other modern battleships that were coming into service around the same time. She outweighed most foreign rivals, but German designs of this period all tended toward excess weight. It did not translate into superiority. Personally, I rate Bismarck in the lowest tier of modern battleship designs.
Regarding a hypothetical duel between Bismarck and a modern US design, only the early German lead in radar would give any hope of equalizing the superior firepower of the American ships. Bismarck's broadside was 14,109 lbs; that of the US ships was 24,300 lbs.
The precise definition of gross tonnage varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they key is that it denotes volume rather than weight, as has been explained above.
Blair has argued forcefully, if not conclusively, that Germany was never in a position to threaten Britain via submarine warfare. It does not do to postulate a wholesale shift of German construction to submarines without acknowledging a resultant shift in British construction priorities.

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Post by Tim Smith » 24 Mar 2004 12:13

Tiornu:

Ah, but you have to remember that the five British battleships of the King George V class were laid down in January 1937. And the decision to build them had to be taken a year earlier in order to have the 14" guns ready in time.

In 1936 there was no sign that the United States would help Britain militarily regardless of the situation - she was very isolationist indeed at that time. Even French help was uncertain. And it wasn't just Germany building capital ships - it was Italy and Japan as well!

In 1936 Britain faced the theoretical possibility of having to fight Italy and Japan all by herself in a future war, since France was mainly concerned with what Germany was doing, and the United States was determined to stay neutral in any future conflict. (This is before the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, remember.) If Italy and Japan attacked the British Empire, and Germany stayed neutral, France and the USA might stay neutral too!

In 1936 Italy was modernising two of her old battleships, was going to modernise two more, and had already laid down two new 15" gun battleships in 1934. Japan was modernising all of her existing 10 battleships, and was about to start building two new ones.

Britain would have to build her five battleships anyway just to counter what Italy and Japan were doing - never mind Germany. The same goes for new British aircraft carriers and cruisers to counter new Japanese carriers and new Italian and Japanese cruisers.

So it is certainly not inevitable that British naval priorities would change if Bismarck and Tirpitz were not built - and quite likely that they would not!

Tiornu wrote:It does not do to postulate a wholesale shift of German construction to submarines without acknowledging a resultant shift in British construction priorities.

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Post by Andy H » 24 Mar 2004 14:31

. If the Germans had concentrated on
U-boats instead of building the Bismarck, they
might have successfully strangled Britain in
1940
.


Not ahope in hell. Though one tends to remember the losses suffered by the British merchant marine, many forget it's sheer size. Nearly 7000 ships totalling nearly 18million tons. I think that by the end of 1940 the Allied losses came to around 1200 ships =around 4million tons, which was offset partially by the 1.5million tons of new build.

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Defeating Britain

Post by Globalization41 » 24 Mar 2004 16:12

If Hitler's main objective had been to
defeat the British Isles instead of
colonizing the Ukrainian breadbasket,
Britain's government would have had
to eventually retreat to Canada, unless
they could have figured out a way to
subvert U.S. neutrality ten years
earlier.

Globalization41

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