Friday, July 20, 2012

Avenging The Hood

One of the most feared ships during World War II was the German battleship Bismarck. In May 1941, the Bismarck managed to sneak out of port with the cruiser Prinz Eugen. British naval units were tasked with finding the Bismarck and on May 24 the HMS Hood, known as the pride of the British fleet, along with the HMS Price of Wales caught up with the two German raiders in the Denmark Straight. After a short exchange of fire the Hood’s armor was pierced by a shell from the Bismarck and detonated in the aft magazine. The resulting explosion broke the ship’s back and she quickly sank leaving only three survivors. Prince of Wales retreated, heavily damaged.

The loss of the Hood was a great shock to the nation and the pursuit of the Bismarck became top priority for the British fleet. On May 26 the Bismarck was struck by a torpedo from a British Swordfish aircraft. The hit disabled her rudder and it became almost impossible to steer the ship.

Having damaged their quarry, the British fleet closed in for the kill. On the morning of May 27 the fleet lead by the battleships HMS King George V and HMS Rodney sighted the Bismarck and opened fire. The Bismarck was sunk in a battle lasting approximately 2 hours. The Hood was avenged.

This print depicts HMS King George V the moment she opened fire on Bismarck.