M 742 - DKM Bismarck


Tri-ang Minic Ships M 742 - DKM Bismarck

This is the Tri-ang Minic Ships model of the famous Second World War German battleship DKM Bismarck which was named in honour of Otto Füst von Bismarck, also known as the "Iron Chancellor", the founder and first chancellor of the German Empire in the late 19th century.

Bismarck was officially ordered in mid 1935 after the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, which lifted the restrictions imposed on German naval ship building under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, and allowed Germany to build up to five 35,000 ton battleships. When launched she was the most powerful battleship ever built and the pride of Hitler's Kreigsmarine.

Bismarck's only wartime deployment was Operation "Rheinübung" when she sailed in company with rinz Eugen to attack and destroy allied shipping convoys in the Atlantic. The two ships were detected before reaching the Atlantic and on 24th May 1941, in the Battle of Denmark Strait, were engaged by the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and battle cruiser HMS Hood. During the course of the battle HMS Hood was destroyed with the loss of all but 3 of the 1400 crew when a shell from Bismarck penetrated the deck and exploded in a magazine.

While the battleship HMS Prince of Wales was damaged in the battle she struck the Bismarck with three heavy shells which caused flooding that resulted in Bismarck being 3˚ down by the bow and listing 9˚ to port. The shell damage also caused sea water contamination in Bismarck's fuel which proved to be a critical factor as the lack of fuel forced Bismarck to reduce speed and limited her ability to manoeuvre.

After the battle Bismarck headed for St Nazaire for repairs harried by the pursuing British force. She managed to break contact in the early hours of 25th May 1941 however during the day her approximate position was established by radio intercepts and she was spotted by Catalina aircraft in the morning of 26th May 1941.

Late in the evening of 26th May 1941 Bismarck was detected by Fairey Swordfish aircraft from HMS Ark Royal and attacked with torpedoes. One of the torpedoes struck Bismarck on the stern causing damage to the rudders which resulted in a steerage lock that rendered Bismarck unable to manoeuvre. Overnight Bismarck was under constant attack by destroyers of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla while the British force led by the battleships HMS Rodney and HMS King George V raced to the scene.

The final battle commenced at 08:47 on 27th May 1941 when HMS Rodney opened fire with her main guns followed a minute later by HMS King George V. The battle continued for nearly two hours with Bismarck putting up a strong fight. Finally at 10:39, after being struck by three torpedoes from HMS Devonshire, she capsized and sank at 48˚ 10' north 16˚ 12' west with the loss of 2016 men. There were only 115 survivors.

Commander of the British Home Fleet Admiral Sir John Tovey paid Bismarck the following tribute after the battle 

"The Bismarck had put up a most gallant fight against impossible
odds, worthy of the old days of the Imperial German Navy,
and she went down with her colours still flying."

The story of the Bismarck is well documented and the subject of a well known film "Sink the Bismarck". The remains of the ship were "discovered" in 1989 by the same team that found the Titanic.

The model of DKM Bismarck was one of the "Fighting Ships" series made in Hong Kong by Hornby under the Minic Ships name. In common with all the Hong Kong produced models Bismarck has a red plastic bottom fitted with two plastic rollers.


Specifications

Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Laid Down: 1st July 1936
Launched: 14th February 1939
Commissioned: 24th August 1940
Displacement: 50,900 tons Full Load
Length (OA): 823 ft 6 in ( 251.0 m )
Beam: 118 ft 1 in ( 36.0 m )
Draft: 33 ft 5 in ( 10.2 m ) maximum
Armament: 8 x 15" main guns in four twin turrets 2 forward, 2 aft
15 x 6" secondary guns in six twin turrets 3 port, 3 starboard
16 x 105 mm anti-aircraft guns in eight twin mounts 4 port, 4 starboard
16 x 37 mm anti-aircraft guns in eight twin mounts 4 port, 4 starboard
18 x 20 mm anti-aircraft guns in two quad and ten single mounts
Protection (Armour): 10.5" - 12.6" armour belt, 1.7" - 8.7" bulkheads, 2" - 4.7" deck, 5" - 14" turrets, 13.5" barbettes 
Propulsion: 12 Wagner 3 drum type High Pressure boilers, 3 Blohm & Voss turbine sets, 3 shafts, 150,170 shp
Maximum Speed: 30.8 knots
Aircraft: 1 double catapult amidships, 4 Arado Ar 196 aircraft

Complement:

2221 in final battle - 2106 men lost, 115 survivors
Disposal: 27th May 1941 sunk in action with superior British force 
( Statistical information from Bismarck & Tirpitz Web Site )

Photograph courtesy of Blohm + Voss GmbH


Further details can be obtained from the following linkss -
The Battleship Bismarck Web Site http://www.kbismarck.com/
Bismarck & Tirpitz Web Site http://www.bismarck-class.dk
Bismarck on the Blohm + Voss GmbH Web Site http://www.blohmvoss.com/e/prod/bismarck.html