Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

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paulcadogan
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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by paulcadogan » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:46 pm

RF wrote:I believe the destroyers withdrew at the same time as KGV and Rodney, so they would have seen the whole of the gunnery action?
Kennedy doesn't give a precise time in his book. I think they were ordered to withdraw by Tovey from before the battle began because of their fuel state, but they hung on throughout the battle before finally setting course for Londonderry. Thus Kennedy was able to watch very carefully and actually shot film footage. Had he seen a surrender attempt he would no doubt have noted it. Instead he notes that the ship's colours still flew and was there long enough to see the "trickle of men" running out onto the quarterdeck and jumping into the sea - so it was pretty near the end.
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

behblc
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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by behblc » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:34 am

Having read the book in question, and it is not a bad read, the answer still has to be no.

Otac Mihailo
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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by Otac Mihailo » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:17 pm

Hi all,

One thing Iam really certain of is that Bismarck would never surrender, knowing the fact that the legend like Lutjens was on board.As evident as it is he rather chose to die instead of being spared or surrender the ship to the allies.
On the other hand the llies would have been morae than happy to lay their hands on that ship, beacause Bismarck was the greatest technological achievement of its time.

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RF
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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by RF » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:55 pm

Welcome to the forum Otac.

However I think that some members of this forum - myself included - do regard Lutjens in somewhat less glowing terms.

As for being a technological marvel - again debateable, as debated in many threads here already. The British - not even Churchill - never expressed ay serious idea of boarding Bismarck and taking it as a prize. The days of the battleship were drawing to a close, there would be little to learn..... indeed what was more significant to the British was the interrogation of the survivors they picked up.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

Vic Dale
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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by Vic Dale » Wed May 22, 2013 9:24 am

A black flag was I believe a signal in the British fleet for a gunnery exercise. I never heard of anything other than a white flag being used to signal surrender during my time at sea. A pair of trousers up the mast was known to be the signal for distress and brown trousers were a sign of intense anxiety, or an over-hot curry.

Rodney opened the action at 0847, followed by KGV at 0848. Bismarck replied at 0849, so it seems there was no hesitation on anyone's part. Bismarck's forward guns did stop firing for a period after the forward gunnery control was put out of commission at 0910, when control was shifted to the after fire control. The forward turrets rejoined the fight, firing in local control. A further hit on Bruno turret brought firing to a halt once more, but a solution was apparently found and Anton continued firing, until it too was knocked out. This will have been around 0927.

On sighting Bismarck, I believe Tovey ordered an interrogation signal to be flashed by lamp to Bismarck, and Bismarck attempted to reply so as to indicate a friendly ship, in order to buy time. Very possibly someone on Bismarck had been told to semaphore what might serve as a recognition signal, according to information gleaned from B-Dienst interceptions, but none of it worked. A ruse to try and close the range before the enemy opened fire, but definitely not an offer of surrender.

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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by paulcadogan » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:52 pm

Sorry to dredge this issue up again, but I found this personal account which, though full of errors (including a move by Bismarck to ram Rodney!!), describes a surrender attempt....

The author is unknown and the background to the document is given in the preamble.

So FWIW and out of sheer interest have a look:

http://www.benjidog.co.uk/Recollections ... marck.html
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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RF
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Re: Did Bismarck offer surrender?

Post by RF » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:07 pm

This document is sourced from the USA, the original author is unidentified/unknown.

It is admitted by the presenter of the document that there are factual inaccuracies, such as an attempt by Bismarck to ram Rodney.

The detailed account of the final action includes one incident that could only be known to the originator of the document if they were either on board Bismarck or alternatively if they had personally interrogated survivors, namely the account of the German signalman being killed whilst flashing a surrender signal.
No US personnel were involved in the interrogation of Bismarck survivors. Rodney did not pick up any Bismarck survivors. No account of this signalman and his death was revealed in the British accounts of the interrogations, neither was it mentioned eleswhere by any of the survivors either during or after WW2.

My conclusion: this document is a work of fiction.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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