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Still Waters

Should Royal Navy have sunk the Bismarck?

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With her steering jammed and her speed slashed by torpedo attacks, the Bismarck and her crew of 2,200 were a sitting duck for the Royal Navy.

And in two hours the German battleship was a helpless wreck of twisted metal, raging fires and dead and dying crew.

But the ship’s agony was not over.After the bombardment by British battleships, she was finished off by torpedoes, slipping under the Atlantic with all but 200 of those aboard.

For the Royal Navy it was a triumph – revenge for the Bismarck’s destruction of the pride of the fleet, HMS Hood, days earlier.

But the son of one of the British sailors who saw Bismarck’s end 70 years ago today has come forward to claim that the battle might have ended very differently – because the German crew tried to surrender at the height of the bombardment.

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No should of blown it up.

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Yes, the Germans made it sound like an unsinkable fortress, once we sank it then it took a chunk out of their national pride and huge chunk out of their navy fleet. Besides, some reports say we only crippled it, I think 2 of the 3 survivors said they rigged explosives and blew the ship up from the inside to stop it being captured.

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in one of the docs. one of the engineers of the bismark gave credit to both navies. ie the british had hit it enough that it was going down and they skuttled it themselves.

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"Should" they have sunk it?

They were in the middle of a battle in the middle of a war. "Should" isn't really the operative word.

They had orders to sink it, and they had excellent reasons for doing so. The PR value alone was incalculable.

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"Should" they have sunk it?

They were in the middle of a battle in the middle of a war. "Should" isn't really the operative word.

They had orders to sink it, and they had excellent reasons for doing so. The PR value alone was incalculable.

besides they didnt know it was disabled. they may have thought it was, but they didnt know for sure.

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That is a great question. I think the answer should be marked by another question. What would the Germans had done if the position was reversed?

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That is a great question. I think the answer should be marked by another question. What would the Germans had done if the position was reversed?

dont know, the only ship the germans sunk with the bizmark was sunk basically by a single shot and it blew up.

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We'll find the German battleship that's makin' such a fuss

We gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us

Yeah hit the decks a runnin' boys and spin those guns around

When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The song speaks for itself.

That is a great question. I think the answer should be marked by another question. What would the Germans had done if the position was reversed?

It's interesting, because there were instances of German U-boats rescuing the sailors of the ship they had just torpedoed. Not saying that means they would have spared the ship if it were the British, but just something to consider.

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I've never heard a Bismark survivor mention the ship had surrendered.

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We'll find the German battleship that's makin' such a fuss

We gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us

Yeah hit the decks a runnin' boys and spin those guns around

When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The song speaks for itself.

It's interesting, because there were instances of German U-boats rescuing the sailors of the ship they had just torpedoed. Not saying that means they would have spared the ship if it were the British, but just something to consider.

they did, until a slight communcation snaffu in which an american unit attacked a sub rescueing crew from a ship they had just sunk. after which hitler ordered no more rescues.

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We'll find the German battleship that's makin' such a fuss

We gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us

Yeah hit the decks a runnin' boys and spin those guns around

When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The song speaks for itself.

It's interesting, because there were instances of German U-boats rescuing the sailors of the ship they had just torpedoed. Not saying that means they would have spared the ship if it were the British, but just something to consider.

Hmm, that is interesting Dr. I was not aware of that bit of info, thanks.

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well all i gotta say is acting like this was some sort of atrocity is ridiculous. its war not to mention the anger and outrage at the time about the holocaust. even if they did try to surrender i don't think the people manning the other ships would have cared. trying to make a scandal out of it now is just plain stupid.

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Posted (edited)

well all i gotta say is acting like this was some sort of atrocity is ridiculous. its war not to mention the anger and outrage at the time about the holocaust. even if they did try to surrender i don't think the people manning the other ships would have cared. trying to make a scandal out of it now is just plain stupid.

we didnt know about the holocaust at the time of the war. we didnt know until we entered the first death camp.

something i just learned, the last battle was a two day event. meaning the bizmark had plenty of time to strike her colors.

Bismarck continued to fly its ensign. With no sign of surrender, despite the unequal struggle, the British were loath to leave the Bismarck. Their fuel and shell supplies were low - a demonstration of how difficult it was for a battleship to sink a similar unit in a balanced engagement. However, when it became obvious that their enemy could not reach port, Rodney, King George V and the destroyers were sent home. Norfolk had used its last torpedoes; therefore, Dorsetshire launched four torpedoes which may have hit the Bismarck at comparatively short range. Although the battleship's upper works were almost completely destroyed, her engines were still functioning and the hull appeared to be relatively sound; therefore, rather than risk her being captured, Captain Lindemann gave the order to scuttle and then abandon ship[citation needed]. Most of the crew went into the water, but few sailors from the lower engine spaces got out alive.

Bismarck went under the waves at 10:39 hours that morning. Dorsetshire and Maori attempted to rescue survivors, but a U-boat alarm caused them to leave the scene after having rescued only 110 Bismarck sailors, abandoning the majority of Bismarck's 2,200 man crew to the mercy of the water. The next morning, U-74, dispatched to try and rescue Bismarck’s logbook (and which heard sinking noises from a distance), and the German weather ship Sachsenwald picked up five survivors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Bismarck

Edited by danielost

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well all i gotta say is acting like this was some sort of atrocity is ridiculous. its war not to mention the anger and outrage at the time about the holocaust. even if they did try to surrender i don't think the people manning the other ships would have cared. trying to make a scandal out of it now is just plain stupid.

Almost no one knew about the death camps, Allies or Axis. They were aware of the prosecution of people, and a few had knowledge of the camp's existence, but the majority of the public had no clue. Contrary to what Hollywood wants you to believe, WWII wasn't solely about the Holocaust.

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No it wasn't your right...it was about a mad despot hitler trying to take over the world.

You people talk like its some tragedy...The nazi's invaded many countries and openly slaughtered people.Two wrongs don't make it alright....but certainly they were not...Victims !

Yet here we are today with Germany once again trying to take over Europe...only this time without guns.

Lets not forget their are still 10's of thousands of old Nazi's around without a shred of remorse for the slaughter they inflicted.

You'll get no empathy for evil nazi's ....this article is almost laughable

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Well, British forces were probably not in the best of moods after all the bombing. Tough ****, it's war.

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Well, British forces were probably not in the best of moods after all the bombing. Tough ****, it's war.

according to the post i made, the two british battleships were expecting the bizmark to surrender before they left to get fuel and ammo. when they got back the flag was still up.

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When you look at the thousands of tons of shipping and freight that the Bismark sent to the bottom - along with many, many merchant seamen ie, non-combatants - it's little wonder the Royal Navy had only one thought in mind; Destroy the Bismark and her crew. That's war.

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It was a war none the less and my father was a sailor in WWII and hearing him talk about it while I was growing up I guess I should have been keeping a journal of his life for him. But know that tricks of surrender were a common practice on both sides trust me. But often learning this mistake and accepting a surrender if you played it down it could be your last mistake.

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@ Device...check your historical 'facts', referencing "thousands of tons of shipping and freight, many, many merchant seamen ie, non-combatants.." etc. I believe you are wrong in those respects!

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The Bismarck didn't try to surrender. This story is just make believe.

And whether it tried to surrender or not we can say it was revenge for the Bismarck sinking HMS Hood. She was hit by five salvoes from the Bismarck and of the 1,418 men only three survived.

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When you look at the thousands of tons of shipping and freight that the Bismark sent to the bottom - along with many, many merchant seamen ie, non-combatants - it's little wonder the Royal Navy had only one thought in mind; Destroy the Bismark and her crew. That's war.

sorry the bismark only sunk one ship, and that was a battle cruiser.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Bismarck

if she had gotten into the atlantic she could have been deadly.

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The Bismarck didn't try to surrender. This story is just make believe.

And whether it tried to surrender or not we can say it was revenge for the Bismarck sinking HMS Hood. She was hit by five salvoes from the Bismarck and of the 1,418 men only three survived.

first i linked to a story where the british navy ran out of fuel and ammo and went home to get more, guess it was tea time.

second the bismarck got lucky and hit the hoods magizine,

third the hood was a battle cruiser not a battle ship. ie it had the guns of a battleship but the armour of a cruiser.

fourth, i think the hoods escort hit the hood once by accident, not sure about that. i do know at least one british ship hit another one during this running battle.

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well all i gotta say is acting like this was some sort of atrocity is ridiculous. its war not to mention the anger and outrage at the time about the holocaust. even if they did try to surrender i don't think the people manning the other ships would have cared. trying to make a scandal out of it now is just plain stupid.

Bingo.

In the time of WWII they believed "All is fair in love and War."

Today we believe "All is fair in love and War, but only if it's politically correct."

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