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Bismarck (ship) facts for kids

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Tirpitz astern
The Bismarck was a German battleship of World War II

The German battleship Bismarck was built by Nazi Germany and was one of the most famous and recognized warships of World War II. It only sailed for one mission, known as Operation "Rheinübung", It's construction began on July 1, 1936 in a shipyard in Hamburg, Germany and was launched in February 14, 1940. The Bismarck class battleship was one of the largest battleships built by any European power and the were the largest built by Nazi Germany with her sister ship Tirpitz being the second Bismarck-class battleship.


BS Bismarck
A computer model of the Bismarck

The Bismarck and Tirpitz were planned in the mid 1930's by the German Kriegsmarine to counter France and its own naval expansion. Construction began in 1936 and were supposed to fall within the 35,000 long ton limit as imposed by the Washington regime and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement during the Interwar period. Both of them secretly ignored the limits but before it's completion, the agreement and the treaty fell apart due to Japan's withdrawal in 1937. Bismarck weighed 41,700t (long tons) and 50,300 t (49,500 long tons) when fully loaded and had a overall length of 251m (823 ft 6in) which was the largest built than any other European power until HMS Vanguard after the war. Bismarck had a top speed of 30.01 knots (55.58 km/h; 34.53 mph) during trials and had a max distance of 16,430 km (10,210 mi) without refuels. Bismarck had a crew of 2000-2200 and had them divided into twelve divisions of 180-200 per division and half of them were assigned to main and secondary weaponry while the other half were support crew. (Cooks, Radio Operators) The Bismarck had an armament of eight 38cm (15in) guns, twelve 15cm (5.9in) guns, sixteen 10.5cm (4.1in) guns, sixteen 3.7 (1.5in) guns, and twelve 2cm (0.79in) guns. Bismarck's main belt had a thickness of 320mm (12.6in) and was additionally covered with upper and main armor deck ranging from 50mm to 120mm ( 2in to 4.7in ) while the turret faces were protected by 360mm (14.2in) fronts while the sides were 220mm (8.7in) thick.

Operation "Rheinübung"

Rheinuebung Karte
The journey of the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen are in red, and the British ships are in yellow

On May 5th 1941 Hitler commenced Operation Rheinübung to sever Britain's lifeline which consisted of merchant ships brining vital supplies such as food and raw materials and if it was severed Britain would be forced to either sue for peace, negotiate an armistice or leave the British Isles. The goal of Rheinübung was to break into the Atlantic ocean and attacked allied merchant ships transporting essential goods. German Naval Command (OKM) established a network of tankers and supply ships around the area Bismarck and Prinz Eugen sailed. Britain knew Nazi Germany was going to attack these supply lines and stationed multiple battlecruisers, aircraft carriers, and battleships.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Bismarck (1940) para niños

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