National Geographic: The Search For the Battleship Bismark


On February 14, 1939,

the massive hull of au

unfinished German warship

slid into the water at Hamburg.

For the Nazi party,

it was a day to celebrate the

country's resurgent military power...

a moment to be savored

by the Fuhrer himself.

Two years later, the ship was

finally ready for action.

When she left port in the

spring of 1941,

She was widely regarded as

the most elegant

and the most dangerous

battleship ever built.

She would never return.

Her name was the Bismarck,

and she was about to become a legend.

Summer, 1988.

A converted trawler named

Starella leaves Spain,

bound for the North Atlantic...

where the Bismarck sank nearly

half a century ago.

The story of what happened to

the battleship during her brief moment

on the world's stage

has captured the imagination of almost

everyone who's heard it

including Bob Ballard,

the man who found the Titanic.

Now he's looking for the Bismarck.

Come around... one, five, three.

One, five, three.

I knew the story of the Bismarck,

as a child.

It was an elegant ship, a warship.

It was very much like the Titanic,

in the sense it was on a maiden voyage.

It had such a short life and a very

exciting and violent life.

I mean, it was alive for less

than two weeks at sea.

It's an exciting story.

To find it gives you the opportunity

to retell it to

a new generation of people.

Even before the search begins,

Ballard is feeling the pressure.

Well, if I don't find it,

I'll be disappointed, obviously.

So will a lot of other people.

But, it was sort of

interesting on this one.

When I did the Titanic,

on one believed I would find it.

Now, on one believes

I won't find the Bismarck.

And I don't... I think I preferred

when they didn't think I would find it.

If the Bismarck is as elusive today

as she was half a century ago,

Ballard has his work cut out for him.

Nineteen forty one. Monday, May 19th.

The Bismarck leaves German waters

on her first mission

What her commanders hope will be a

three-month reign of terror

on British shipping in

the North Atlantic.

She is a monumental weapon

a sixth of a-mile long,

displacing 53,000 tons.

Her 15-inch guns are aimed with the

help of stereoscopic range finders

and can hurl a one-ton shell

Her crew of over 2,000 men

has been hand-picked

for duty on a ship rumored

to be unsinkable.

Many are 18 or 19 years old,

about to see combat for the first time.

The Bismarck is like a huge cat

waiting to pounce on unsuspecting prey.

But first she must prowl into enemy

territory without being seen.

Two days out of port the Starella

approaches the Bismarck's

last known position,

Because no one knows exactly

where she sank,

the search could cover nearly a

hundred square miles.

As far as the location of

where the Bismarck was lost,

we have four separate positions.

One was by the Dorsetshire,

which was the ship

that dogged the Bismarck

and then actually dealt the final blow

when it torpedoed it from both sides.

It gives its position over here

in the eastern search area.

Then there's the position of one of

the destroyers

which was over in the western area.

A published report also puts

it in the same area.

Then we have a secret document

that puts it even yet in a fourth area.

Ballard is a pioneer

in the use of sophisticated technology

to explore the deep sea.

Over. This is bridge... three,

four, zero, now.

All right. Let's put it in.

take over the control.

Okay, bridge... one, eight, five, three

These transponders will sink to the

seabed and begin to emit

powerful acoustic signals,

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    "National Geographic: The Search For the Battleship Bismark" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 15 Jan. 2021. <>.

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