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The Bismarck 1941: Hunting Germany's greatest battleship

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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, ...

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The Bismarck 1941: Hunting Germany's Greatest Battleship

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Konstam sheds new light on Bismarck’s extensive armor systems and armament, British efforts to locate their quarry despite seemingly impossible odds, and the Nazi battleship’s ultimate defeat. His book features more than 60 photographs drawn from museums and private collections, plus a few striking illustrations by Paul Wright." -Toy Soldier & Model Figure (August 2011)

"Konstam provides a basic yet sensible introduction to the topic and situates the Bismarck campaign in its historical context ... the selected illustrations and photographs ... complement the text nicely..." - Christopher Kretzschmar, The Northern Mariner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849083836
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Series: Campaign Series
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,432,294
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Angus Konstam hails from the Orkney Islands, and is the author of over 50 books, 30 of which are published by Osprey. This acclaimed and widely published author has written several books on piracy, including The History of Pirates and Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate. A former naval officer and museum professional, he worked as the Curator of Weapons at the Tower of London and as the Chief Curator of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida. He now works as a full-time author and historian, and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 5

Chronology 8

Origins of the Campaign 10

Opposing Commanders 15

Royal Navy


Opposing Fleets 19

Royal Navy


Opposing Plans 26

Royal Navy


The Campaign 30

The break-out

The battle of the Denmark Strait

The pursuit

The last battle

Aftermath 88

The Shipwreck 92

Bibliography 94

Index 95

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013


    I love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Bismark 1941

    The Bismark was launched on Valentines day. The reason the german navy, the Kriegsmarine built her because to sink countless numbers of merchant ships. The British was so afraid that they sent almost every big ship in the Royal navy. Meanwhile in the Noregion fjords the Bismark was steaming through. Then suddenly a British reconassistance spitfire spotted the Bismark. At night at Scapa flow, 2 prized BritishThe battle was in minutes. battlships left the harbor. They were on there way to meet 2 cruisers; the HMS Norfolk and the HMS Suffolk. The admiral assumed all 4 ships would soon meet and destroy the Bismark. But when the ships got closer, the destruction against the ships will get closer. More than 4,000 yong sailors waited for confrontion. Then the battle began.The battle lasted minutes. Then there was a hit on the HMS Hood. It blew up and sank quicky. The other ships turned so that their rear turrets could fire as well. But many of their rear turrets are not working. After 45 minutes the British ships withdrew. The Bismark also had been damaged. The bow of the ship was low in the water. Then the ship disappeared as if she was never builted before. Then the British founded her with a catlina flying boat. As the Bismark sailed, swordfish torpedo planes flew from every direction. They were to low to be shot down. A torpedo hit the rudders of the ship. Now the ship was going in large circles after the rudders been hit. Itis also trailing oil painfully at speed of less than 20 knots. Then a smudge of smoke came from the horizon. Then more smudges of smokes came from the horizon. The Bismark stopped sailing. It ran out of oil. British ships began to fire salvos. Shell after shell slammed on the Bismark. Flames were shotting out of the shell holes. But the Bismark never gave up. The german battle standard flag was still flying.The British ships were small and their fuel was so low that the time was set to 10:00 a.m. If it did not sink soon, the British ships would have to go back to Scapa flow on Orkeny Island. Then the order was to fire the last 2 torpedos to the Bismark. It dealt the final blows along with the Bismark scuttling. The ship sank. The 3 smokestacked cruiser; Dorsetshire picked up 115 survivors. There is a time line in the book to show you the important events that happened there in real life.

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