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Fifteen Inches of Loud.

Ensign Cthulhu

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9 hours ago, Ensign Cthulhu said:


File:Animated gun turret.gif

This animated GIF (larger version available at the link on Wikipedia) purports to show the workings of the British 15 inch Mark 1 turret. Note the double flash trap (one rotating and one sliding) on the powder handling room.


The 1960 movie Sink the Bismarck! shows the inside of one of the main battery turrets of HMS Vanguard including the ammunition and powder handling system loading one of the main guns.  Vanguard was armed with the same BL 15-inch Mark 1 main guns that was the primary armament for the Royal Navy across multiple Battleship and Battlecruiser classes from World War I.  Vanguard would later be scrapped the same year the movie was released.  Movies being movies, there are a few historical inaccuracies in this clip alone.

At 1:20 shows Bismarck abreast and ahead of Prinz Eugen when the opposite was true.  Prinz Eugen and Bismarck have similar silhouettes and initially Hood opened fire on Prinz Eugen believing it was Bismarck.  Normally the strongest/most powerful ship leads a battle formation, however the events the day prior would see Prinz Eugen and Bismarck switching positions.  As the British had already been subjected to raiding by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and had already been alerted to Bismarck and Prinz Eugen's sortie the Royal Navy dispatched multiple ships to locate Bismarck and Prinz Eugen before they broke into the North Atlantic.  British Cruisers Norfolk and Suffolk sighted Bismarck and Prinz Eugen and Bismarck opened fire on Norfolk, however the concussion of Bismarck's main guns were strong enough to damage Bismarck's radar which forced Prinz Eugen into the lead.

At 1:32 Lutjens gives the order to open fire to Captain Lindemann which never actually happened or at least not as depicted in the film.  Lutjens was under orders to not engage battle with the Royal Navy's capital ships and to outrun them if possible.  Lutjens paused to consider his options, but Hood and Prince of Wales had already opened fire and an impatient (and rightfully so) Lindemann exclaimed "I will not have my ship shot out from under my @$$" and ordered Bismarck to return fire.

Now this next bit of information is not an inaccuracy, but a historical connection between the movie and the Battle of the Denmark Strait.  At 3:25, after Hood's catastrophic explosion, shows the reaction of the bridge crew on Prince of Wales, specifically Captain John Leach.  Now outnumbered, Prince of Wales continues to exchange volleys with Bismarck and Prinz Eugen until both Prince of Wales and Bismarck are hit and take damage.  Instead of pursuing Prince of Wales and knowing other Royal Navy capital ships are pursuing them, Lutjens orders Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to break off and continue into the North Atlantic.  The actor who plays Captain John Leach is Esmond Knight who was a gunnery officer aboard Prince of Wales during the Battle of the Denmark Strait.  Knight was on the bridge of Prince of Wales and witnessed the explosion of Hood, but would moments later be wounded by shrapnel from an unexploded shell (an overpen, sorry I couldn't help it) from Bismarck, which is depicted in the clip.  Knight would lose one eye and the other eye would be so badly damaged that he was completely blind for two years until he regained partial sight in his one remaining eye.  Due to his loss of sight from being wounded in combat, Knight would not be aboard Prince of Wales during her ill-fated sortie in defense of Singapore as part of Force Z.


@Ensign Cthulhu not trying to show you up or anything, just wanted to add to what you shared, hope you don't mind.

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