At 42,343 tons, the Bismarck was the largest and most modern battleship in the world (along with the Hood) in her day. On May 24, 1941, in a naval battle together with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, she sank the largest British battle cruiser, the Hood, with the 5th salvo of her 38-cm guns at the pack ice limit off Greenland. Launched at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg on February 14, 1940, she was, together with the identical Tirpitz, the most modern ship and the prestige object of the German navy. At 251 meters long, the top of the mast reached 52 meters above the water surface. A total of 17,450 tons of steel were used for armor protection. The newly designed heavy artillery fired 800 kg projectiles up to a range of 34.2 km, penetrating 350 mm armor up to 21 km. While the Prinz Eugen received no hits in the May 24 engagement, the bow-damaged Bismarck set course for a French port. During the subsequent pursuit by British ships and aircraft, the ship was shot out of action by numerically superior forces of Home Fleet after a torpedo hit the steering gear on May 27, 1941, and sank in the Atlantic some 800 km off the French coast. Of 2,092 men on board, 115 survived.
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