Daily Archives: May 27, 2014

Stringbags Versus Leviathan: Royal Navy Fairy Swordfish Attack the Mighty Bismarck

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I am working on some new Gettysburg articles but I have always been drawn to the tragedy that is the hunt for and sinking of the German Battleship Bismarck by the Royal Navy in 1941. It is an epic tragedy. In the span of a few days the two largest and most powerful battleships ever built were sunk. Not only was the Bismarck lost, but the HMS Hood, which I have also written about. As a sailor who has served aboard a cruiser in a combat zone I have a profound admiration and sympathy for the crews of these two gallant ships. While this may seem like ancient history to some it is a story that always is all too real and contemporary for me.
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Alan Fearnley; (c) Alan Fearnley; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

This is the second article in a series that I am writing on Operation Rheinubung and the sinking of the German Battleship Bismarck. The first article in the series was written about two years ago and focused on the Bismarck sinking the HMS Hood. This article looks at the attempts by the Fleet Air Arm Squadrons of Fairy Swordfish Torpedo Bombers flying from the HMS Victorious and HMS Ark Royal to slow down the Bismarck and allow heavy fleet units to catch the the mighty German battleship. 

h69721Bismarck photographed from Prinz Eugen at the beginning of Rheinubung

On May 24th 1941 the German Battleship Bismarck had sunk the celebrated Battlecruiser HMS Hood in the Denmark Strait and had seriously damaged the new Battleship HMS Prince of Wales. The news of the disaster stunned the Royal Navy and every warship available began to concentrate on the Bismarck which was being…

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