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Myth-Busting the Bismarck

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Boba Nette, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. Boba Nette

    Boba Nette New Member

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    Just how powerful was the Bismarck?Was she as awe inspiring as we are sometimes lead to believe?How much more dangerous could she have been if properly supported by the Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe?
     
  2. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    i think that the myth of the bismarck is beacuse the sinking of the beloved hood, and the hunting by the royal navy , but not because it was a super ship, or something similar, that the germans had better optical systems is just a little advantage, remember that bismarck was hit 2 times during the battle of denmark strait, and one of those was a really seriusly one, so it was not inmune to be hit, then we have the fatal hit made by the old stringbag ( probably a very lucky hit ) , so IMHO is just the fact that the bismarck give the tommys a big headache by sinking the famous hood, so the RN had a bloddy nose and they did not like it. :D
    but since it was a shot lived ship and that during that short life was able to do that in such short time, most people might considered the bismarck like a supership or something similar.
    now we can see the weak points:
    the lack of a good radar, it was equiped with it but in the first encounter with the suffolk and norfolk it was damaged due the recoil of the 15 " guns, so it was blinded.
    the light projectiles they had , also proned to failure, and we can see this when the bridge of the POW was hit, but did not exploded, bumers!!!( that could be another story if it did)
    the fatal error of lutjens in his long message reporting the damage during the encounter with the RN
    also when they had a chance to top off the bunkers in norway and he did not do it, another bumers :angry:
    that is my opinion. if anybody can add more on the subject, be my guess
    ( i been a fan of the bismarck since i was 14 y.o. and love it very much, so you can imagine when ballard discovered the wreck in 89, i went ballistic , then during the 2002 james cameron expedition, my good old friend john assmusen took some video when he visited the bismarck on the sea floor with my own camcorder!!!!)
     
  3. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    :eek: , Me262, what kind of a job do you have if you friend can make a video of the bismarck with your camrecored???
     
  4. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    i'm just a blue collar worker but i send him the camera before the expedition, happy now?
     
  5. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    for a moment i thought you worked with the expedition team but for some reason you couldn't go down to the bismarck with such a minisub. :)
     
  6. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    mmm :cool: , that would be my ultimate dream, to be in the expedition. but since it did not happened that way, i was very happy with the option of sending my camcorder to him. now the video i got is from the minisub with the light system that cameron used during the expedition, so the view is no so good, cos you have all the wires and lights in front of you, but still the video is unique and all mine!!!!! :smok:
     
  7. Boba Nette

    Boba Nette New Member

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    How deep is the Bismarck?
     
  8. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    almost 5000 meters,
    correction : 4,850 ,sorry :oops:
     
  9. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    4850 meters? Are you sure it's down that deep?
     
  10. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    yes i'm sure
     
  11. liang

    liang New Member

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    Bismarck, an inferior battleship

    While the Bismarch is a remarkable battlewagon, part of its legend grew disproportionately from its lucky hit on the Hood, which was a 20 y/o battlecruiser, not a battleship. When you compare the Bismarck to the contemporary battleships in the WWII, especially its American counterparts, its inferiority shows.

    Firepower: Bismarck's 8 x 15 inch guns can throw up projectiles that weigh 1,764 lbs, which is less than that of the Richelieu (1,949), the Nelsons (2,048), the South Dakotas, Montanas and Iowas (2,700), the Yamato (3,219), and yes even the lowly Hood (1,920). The difference between the 16" and 15" wasn't just about 1 inch. For example, the Iowa's 9 x 16" guns carries about 10,000 lbs of extra weight on its broadside, not only that, the Iowas has a range that's about 3 miles further out. (42,345 vs 38,880 yards)

    Armor protection, the Bismarck was based on WWI design, which meant that it had thick belt armor to protect against flat projectiles fired at close range, but its deck armor was thinner than its modern adversaries, which made it more vulnerable in long distance WWII engagements, where projectiles (shells or bombs) plunging down on a deeper angle would have little difficulty damaging the Bismarck's vitals. This was validated by its final engagment, where KGV and Rodney had little difficulties in inflicting severe damage to Bismarch from long range. Once the British closed in however, they found the Bismarck difficult to be sunk, which was indicative of its strong belt armor protection. But by then, the Bismarck has lost all of its fighting capabilities.

    AA defense: we all agree that air power posed a major threat to even a 50,000 ton battleships, thus AA armaments are essential. The fact that teh Bismarck had a tough time fending off six Swordfish flying at 150 mph was a testament to its inadequacies. While te Bismarck bristled with sixteen 37mm and twelve 20mm AA guns, the Iowas boasted a ridiculous sixty to eighty 40mm and fifty to sixty 20mm, even the older South Dakotas had around thirty 40mm and thirty to fifty-six 20mm. In the Pacifics, the South Dakota battleship shot down 26 Japanese aircrafts in one day alone.

    Speed: The Bismarck's speed of barely 30 knots made it comparable to that of the Hood and Richelieu, but still a good 2-3 knots less than that of the iowa. The Bismarck boast a lenghth to beam ratio or 8:1, while the Iowas had a ratio of 12:1.

    Fire-control: Bismarck made its name by pounding the "battlecruiser" Hood and the half-completed Prince of Whales, but there was little doubt that the Amerian Iowas had the best radar fire-control system in WWII. Let's not forget that while the KGV and Rodneys were lobbing shells onto the Bismarck from long range, the Bismarck's 15' guns achieved "zero" hits on the British battleships during the 41 minutes engagement.

    Survivability: Bismarck's radar and fire control systems were easily damaged, while its unprotected rudder spelled its doom. Those factors, along with inadequate AA defense and thin deck armor, made the Bismarck a ticking coffin.

    On paper the Bismarck is very comparable to the KGV and the Richelieus, but the superior training and fighting skills of its crews made it superior to its British and French counter-parts early in the war. But should the Bismarck square off against the Americans and even the Yamato, its odd of survival would have been much less.
     
  12. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    just what i said but with all the proper informatio, thanks liang, :smok:
     
  13. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    Re: Bismarck, an inferior battleship

    the battle of denmark strait has been labeled ilogic, why?,because the results of the battle, put it simple like this 18 big ( 8 15" and 10 14")british guns against 8 big ( 15" ) and 8 med ( 8 ") germans guns who has the advantage? well in numbers looks like the RN , but in the actual combat the germans, why? because it was a lucky shot? :-? or the fact that the training of the KM was better than the RN, not to mention better optical equipment
     
  14. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    How wonder if you can not hold on your course with a damaged rudder. :kill:

    That´s faked, read Robert Ballard "Lost in the Pacific" the SouDak just damaged a japanese Destroyer.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/01idx.htm

    ...cos german AA were interference prone to water and it´s not particular easy to aim if the ship sway.

    None of the big nine fourtys were ready when Bismarck starts Operation Rheinübung, her counterparts would/could only be the

    Maryland-class

    USS. Colorado 30.8.23
    USS. Maryland 21.7.21
    USS. West Virgina 01.12.23

    Tennessee-class

    USS Tennessee 03.06.20
    USS California 08.10.21

    New Mexico-class

    USS New Mexico 20.05.18
    USS Mississipi 18.12.17
    USS Idaho 24.03.19

    Pennsylvania-class

    USS Pennsylvania 12.06.16
    USS Arizona 17.10.16

    Nevada-class

    USS Nevada 11.03.16
    USS Oklahoma 02.05.16

    Texas-class

    USS New York 15.4.14
    USS Texas 12.03.14

    Wyoming-class

    USS Arkansas 17.09 12


    Guess it would be easy for Bis to knock these old boys out

    Regards,
    Che.

    edit
    *ups, there were at least two 40s the NoCa (BB 55) on 09.04.1941 and the Wash (BB 56) on 15.05.1941, but I doupt that they would be ready for action cos even the PoW was commissed on 31.03.41 and it wasn´t ready.
     
  15. me262 phpbb3

    me262 phpbb3 New Member

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    the sec AA on bismarck was very inadecuate, so after the bismarck's sinking the sec aa on tirpitz was update, 12-20mm/L65 MG C/30 and 78-20 mm/L65 C/38
     
  16. Che_Guevara

    Che_Guevara New Member

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    even the half of her prim. AA the 10.5cm C/33 was inadecuate

    - no cover for the operative personnal against splinters, fire from armaments and the weather.

    - Each gun had 60 grenads in a locker near it and when this ammu is gone the so called "MunitionsMänner" had to walk 15 meteres to the central ammo lift, walking uncovered during the fight

    The electric often tend to get in ??disturbance ?? by the wetness, caused by the open coverage type.

    That she had such an more or less inefficiently AA is caused by bottlenecks of the war, for example that she only got the 2 cm-MG C/30 and four 10,5cm C/33 and not eight 10,5cm C/37

    Regards,
    Che.
     
  17. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    I think Bismarck is probably the most mythicalised warships. There are people that would tell you that she was the greatest battleship ever and those who say she was a piece of junk. Both are basically wrong.

    When the Germans started design Bismarck in the 1930's they were at a disadvantage versus their foreign contemporaries. Due to the restrictions placed on Germany after WW1 they had effectively missed a generation of battleships. More importantly they had not gained the kind of data the British and Americans had obtained from live fire tests against surrendered German battleships.

    The result was a vessel with some decidedly old fashioned features. The armour scheme in particular was low in the ship limiting the amount of internal volume protected. This style of armour was effectively optimised for short ranged low trajectory shellfire. Also having missed the ALL OR NOTHING development in armour schemes there was far too much thin armour that would provide enough resistance to set off a shell without offering much protection.

    The resultant problem with this layout was that a number of vital system were comparatively unprotected, most notably the Fire Control systems. This flaw showed up in her final show down where Bismarck was silenced fairly quickly.

    It is worth noting that while her protection against shellfire was flawed her underwater protection was good, mostly due to her wide beam. The rudders and prop shafts were a vulnerable point but this could be said of any battleship as no navy really figured out how to protect these systems.

    Finally there is the secondary armament. Contemporary battleships were receiving duel purpose secondary guns. Bismarck however had dedicated secondarys for surface and aerial targets. Although it has been argued that if operating on her own she would need dedicated surface secondarys to handle destroyers this was probably a mistake.

    On the whole Bismarck large displacement, a third bigger than that stated, masked many of her problems. Of her final mission there isn’t much to say. Bismarck in the Denmark Straights was wildly lucky and in turn wildly unlucky to be crippled by the British torpedo bombers. Her failure to hit anything in her final battle cannot be attributed to any design failing. Any battleship unable to hold a steady course will shoot extremely poorly.

    Bottom line Bismarck was an interesting ship but ultimately not the equal of her legend.
     
  18. Boba Nette

    Boba Nette New Member

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    Excellant information.But I have another question.Ultimately,was the Bismarck scuttled,or sent to the bottom courtesy of the Royal Navy?
     
  19. Notmi

    Notmi New Member

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    Well, people all over the world have been arguing about this for decades and I believe there is no concensus yet to be seen :D

    If she was scuttled, it just hastened the inevitable. Bismarck was not going to survive that day.
     
  20. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    Moot point really. Bismarck was battered into wreckage by a hail of shells and torpedoes. It is pretty much par for the course that a warship being abandoned is either scuttled or put down by her own side. It is conceivable that someone in the engineering spaces gave the order to scuttle equally it is conceivable that she simply sank from the damage inflicted. Either way she ended up on the bottom of the Atlantic. Just as what exactly caused the Hood to explode what finally sank Bismarck is of academic interest only. The final result is all that counts.
     

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