On This Day 27 May

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-05-27
79 years ago today our war heros were protecting us off the coast of France

1941 Bismarck sunk off the coast of France

The Bismarck was laid down on the 1st of July 1936 and launched on the 14th of February 1939 and finally commissioned into the German fleet in August of 1940. It was, along with its sister ship Tripitz, the largest battleships built by Germany.

At the time there was an agreement, the Washington regime, that governed the construction of battleships. One of the limits in this regime was that the battleships would be within a 36,000 ton limit. The Bismarck reached 41,000 tons unloaded and 49,500 tons when loaded.

The launch of the Bismarck can be seen in the below video.

There were a standard crew of 103 officers and 1962 enlisted men, however when the Bismark left port it had a complement of 2,200 crew.


Following the sinking of HMS Hood on the 24th of May, 1941 on which there were 1418 men aboard (only 3 survived) Churchill ordered all warships in the area to pursue Bismarck and another ship (the Prinz Eugen).

On the 25th of May, 1941, Jane Fawcett - one of the British Code Breakers - decrypted communication from the Luftwaffe which included an order of support to the Bismarck from Brest. On the 26th of May the Bismarck was struck by a torpedo resulting in the announcement by its commander that it was unmanouverable and steaming in a large circle.


On the 27th of May an attack was led by the King George V followed by HMS Rodney (see below photo of the HMS Rodney). Both the King George V and HMS Rodney fired upon the Bismarck resulting in it being in flames from stern to stern.


Finally the Dorsetshire fired torpedoes on the Bismarck resulting in it capsizing and sinking. The Dorsetshire and Maori moved in to pull the survivors aboard, however when U-boats were spotted the rescue effort was called off (85 men rescued by the Dorsetshire and 25 by the Maori). Out of a total crew of 2200 only 114 survived.

Other events on this day

  • 1660 - Treaty of Copenhagen signed which helped to establish the modern boundaries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway
  • 1703 - St Petersburg, Russia, was founded</li>
  • 1849 - the Great Hall at Euston Station (London) was opened
  • 1930 - masking tape invented by Richard Drew
  • 1931 - Auguste Piccard and Charles Kipfer are the first men to reach the stratosphere
  • 1940 - Operation Dynamo, evacuation of Dunkirk, began
  • 1941 - the Bismarck is sunk off the coast of France (Germany's largest battleship)
  • 1951 - Dalai Lama forced to surrender his army to Beijing
  • 1994 - the Catholic Church released the first English language revision in 426 years to its catechism
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