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issit thrue that RN let 2k sailors die when bismark sank

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by lonewolf, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. lonewolf

    lonewolf New Member

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    I read some where sorry can't remeber which book that the RN destroyer that was picking the survivors of the bismarck, for no apparent reason left the scene leaving about 2k german sailors to die of hypothermia.

    Is this thrue.
     
  2. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    No

    The ships left becuase they feared attack by subs.

    I don't know why they thought subs were in the area, either one spotted or radio traffic, but thats the reason as far as I know

    FNG
     
  3. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    It is true however that when the Germans sank HMS Glorious they didn't bother with the niceties of picking up the survivors. A lot of Royal Navy sailors died that day too.
     
  4. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    Simon, stop relativating please , there is no connection between the men of the Bismarck and the sinking of HMS Glorious.

    Regards,
    Che.
     
  5. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    A stationary warship is always fair game. The cruiser Dorchester did stop for a while but moved off when a perscope was reported. The example of the British WW1 cruisers Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue shows what can happen if you prat around picking up surviors.
     
  6. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    I never said there was, merely pointing out that even if this were true it certainly wasn't a factor unique to the Royal Navy, so before this goes along the lines of how horrible the RN was (Which is implied that by the comment the destroyer: "for no apparent reason left the scene leaving about 2k german sailors to die of hypothermia"), it was far from an incommon occurance.

    In any case, and I ask this to further put things in context, could an RN Destroyer have actually held those 2,000 potentially hostile men?
     
  7. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    human beings, who had feelings, who had sons and daughters, who had parents, who just performanced of one's duty, like british sailors as well.

    Regards,
    Che.
     
  8. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    probably.

    Firstly there were several ships in the area, not just one.

    secondly whilst the Bismarck had 2000 men, some would have died in combat, some would have died trapped in the sinking ship, some would have died in the water either becuase they were to injuried to stay afloat, becuase they died of exposure or just couldn't swim.

    The actual additional losses caused by the abandoning of the battlescene would have been far lower than this 2000.

    Besides some were rescued. 111 apparently. and a heavy cruiser and destroyer were involved in specifcially collecting the survivers.

    The fact that a german sub did collect a few more suggests that it could have been in the area and the threat was real.

    FNG

    http://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/c ... _list.html
     
  9. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Yes, and who could have overpowered the meagre crew of the Destroyer, or caused it to be so overladen that it was unstable or easy prey for a u-boat or anti-shipping aircraft.

    The destroyer crew had families at home to worry about too.
     
  10. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    my grandad was apparently on the Dorsetshire at the time and there's a rumour within the family that there is a german bible complete with embedded shrapnel and waterstains that was collected from the scene.

    Never seen it though so it's probably gone missing, shame really.

    some of my grandads closest mates had transfered to the hood, my grandad applied as well but was rejected, as it was the my prestigious ship to be on. I can imagine that there wasn't an awful lot if urgency of rescuing the survivors by the crews of the RN ships given the way the battle went.

    FNG
     
  11. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    I've read in one account that a sailor aboard Dorsetshire went over the side to try to save a german sailor. The German had lost both his arms and was holding onto the rope with his teeth! He didn't manage to save man and added to that was spotted by the captain and punished for leaving the ship without permission! :eek:

    The fact that some surviors were picked up by a U-Boat shows that the British were probably right to leave when they did. There is sadly no mercy in war.
     
  12. lonewolf

    lonewolf New Member

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    not accusing the RN in any way i have the highest respect for them, in term of proffessionilsm i still think they are the best, but would'nt a u boat captain seeing thrue his periscope that the enemies ship was picking up german sailor/survivors not sink said ship. Maybe he could not see the men being picked up, but he must question why issit stationary.

    Maybe they should introduce a new colour flag, which declares that the ship is picking up survivors.

    As for survivors taking over the rescuing ship its a bit hard to believe.
    After surviving a battle, doing damage control, abandoning a sinking and most probely on fire ship, then jumping into freezing cold water, staying there for 15-20min, then climbing a cargo net in mid ocean , and after all that fighting an armed/fresh crew ( who by the way just saved your life ) and taking over the rescuing ship, i think that abit far fetch to put it mildly.
     
  13. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    There are lots of incidents where ships taking on survivors were torpedoed by submarines - as Ebar said, once a ship stops it is fair game.

    As for being taken over - yes, it is a worry. The Germans will be shocked, dazed etc when they get out of the ocean. And for the rest of the voyage home they will sit around thinking happy thoughts? :wink:
     
  14. lonewolf

    lonewolf New Member

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    picking up allied survivors maybe, but their own naval men.

    No, they will be locked in the Brig with an armed guard.
    Anyway I have never heard of any recued enemy sailors taking over any ship in the entier ww1 and ww2.
     
  15. PMN1

    PMN1 recruit

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    The ship you let off for saving surviviors could end up being the one that sinks you.

    I'm sorry, but war is war................

    :(
     
  16. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    What, all 2,000 of them? :wink:

    Because nobody ever rescued more enemy survivors than their own ship's company (AFAIK)
     
  17. FNG phpbb3

    FNG phpbb3 New Member

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    there wasn't 2000. Thats the maximum complement.

    As I said in my post, there will be combat deaths, those too injuried to swim who immedatly drown, those not able to able escape the superstructure as it goes down, those who can't swim and those that die in the water from exposure awaiting rescue. Plus those who just aren't spotted.

    Even if a proper effort would have been put in I doubt more than 50% would have been resuced and they would be in such a sad state, taking over a ship would not have been on their mind.

    But as has been said, you try your best but don't put yourself in danger. Theres a bloody war on don't you know!

    FNG
     
  18. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    See the Laconia Incident ( http://uboat.net/articles/id/33 ) for an example of why hanging arounding picking up surviors is unfortunately generally not a runner.
     
  19. lonewolf

    lonewolf New Member

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    That allied commander who ordered his pilot to attack the u boat towing life rafts should be tried at nuremberg, instead of donitz
     
  20. Selesque

    Selesque New Member

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    The Laconia Incident came into my mind too. Also, because the U-boat had a big red cross over the deck. If the oreder came, the airmen were still not entitled to attack. It was against the laws of the war, laws that submariners were folowing. After this incident, they were forbiden from picking survivors, althoug some commanders were still offering help to sailors in distress, even against the order.

    As for 2000 sailors from Bismark, taken on board a destroier, is fantasy. Assuming there were 2000, a destroier has under 800 men crew (can't find now a number for the crew of a WW2 destroyer), so acomodation for 2000 men is not possible, unless you hold them on deck, where they would be more concern about warming up rather then taking over the ship.

    Also, Bismark was not sunk by RN, but but it was scutled. And RN, with this action, lost all the pride and honor that they had gained till then. It was nothing honorable in shelling a ship when it's men were running on the deck and abandoning it.

    Everytime I think of Laconia incident, tears almost come to my eyes. Is the reason why I estime submariners so much.
     

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