London, (JFK+50) Seventy-four years ago today, May 27, 1941, the German battleship Bismarck* was sunk by the British Navy in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Germany's most famous battleship in World War II had sunk the pride of the Royal Navy, the HMS Hood**, in the Battle of the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland on May 24, 1941.
A German shell penetrated the deck of the Hood and exploded one of her magazines. Only 3 of her crew survived. The Bismarck had suffered damage to two of her oil tanks and leaking fuel headed toward Nazi occupied France.
The Bismarck was fired upon by British battleships Rodney and King George V on the morning of May 27th. The British submarine Dorsetshire then finished off the German ship with torpedoes. Of the Bismarck's 2200 man crew, only 115 survived.
"The fog was gone the seventh day
and they saw the morning sun
Ten hours away from homeland
the Bismarck made its run
The Admiral of the British fleet said
turn those bows around
We found that German battleship
and we're gonna cut her down."
"Sink the Bismarck" by Johnny Horton
*Bismarck was launched in 1939. She was outfitted with 8 15" guns, 12 5.9" guns, 16 4.1 guns, & 16 anti-aircraft guns. She weighed 50,000 tons about 40% of which was armored plate.
**HMS Hood, was a cruiser which had been built in 1919. She had a crew of 1419 and although faster than the Bismarck was not as well armored.
"The Bismarck," History Learning Site, www.historylearningsite.co.uk/