The breakout of the German battleship Bismarck into the North Atlantic in May 1941 was one of the most dramatic naval episodes of World War II (1939-1945). It took place at a time when the resources of the Royal Navy were stretched thinly, and the British Home Fleet were hard pressed to counter this powerful German warship, which was vaunted as the most powerful battleship in the world.
For nine days she became the most sought-after vessel afloat, as the Home Fleet and Force H, based in Gibraltar, combed the seas in search of her. After days of fruitless searching, the lone German warship was spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft some 300 miles to the south-west of Ireland. Admiral Tovey, who commanded the Home Fleet from his flagship HMS Rodney ordered his warships to intercept her, and a great naval race began, with the Bismarck speeding towards the safety of the French ports, and the British doing their utmost to stop her.
Despite overwhelming odds, with most Home Fleet craft too far away to intercept the German ship's flight to France, the Royal Navy ultimately managed to locate, damage and ultimately sink the great German battleship. In this new addition to Osprey's Campaign series, author Angus Konstam sheds new light on this race-to-the-finish, detailing the original plans, the British efforts to locate and damage the Bismarck, the Bismarck's extensive armor systems and her ultimate defeat in a highly illustrated format.