“Sink the Bismarck.”
– Prime Minister Winston Churchill, after learning of the demise of the battlecruiser, HMS Hood, May 1941
With so many product spotlights on some of the recently received aircraft, its refreshing to turn our focus to sea power now and again. One such exemplar of new warships available for sale is the DeAgostini 1:1250 scale replica of the Kriegsmarine’s DKM Bismarck.
The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, she was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck’s fame came from the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941 (in which the battlecruiser HMS Hood, flagship and pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk), from Churchill’s subsequent order to “Sink the Bismarck”, and from the relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy that ended with her loss only three days later.
This formidable ship, the largest warship then commissioned, was intended primarily as a commerce raider, having a broad beam for stability in the rough seas of the North Atlantic and fuel stores as large as those of battleships intended for operations in the Pacific Ocean. Still, with eight 15 inch main guns in four turrets, substantial welded-armour protection and designed for a top speed of not less than 29 knots (she actually achieved 30.1 knots in trials in the calmer waters of the Baltic, an impressive speed when set against any comparable British battleship), Bismarck was capable of engaging any enemy battleship on reasonably equal terms. Her range of weaponry could easily decimate any convoy she encountered. The plan was for Bismarck to break through into the spacious waters of the North Atlantic, where she could refuel from German tankers and remain undetected by British and American aircraft, submarines and ships, while attacking the convoys.