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Bismarck and Tirpitz were the last and largest battleships completed by the German navy, as well as the heaviest ever built in Europe. They were built according to the terms of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement signed in 1935, and ostensibly displaced no more than the 35,000 long tons (36,000 t) specified in the agreement. The ships were, in actuality, some 15,000 long tons (15,000 t) heavier at full load. The ships were built to counter new French battleships then under construction.

Both ships saw combat during World War II. Bismarck was deployed in May 1941 to raid British shipping in the Atlantic Ocean along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. During the operation, Bismarck sank the battlecruiser HMS Hood and heavily damaged the new battleship HMS Prince of Wales and forced her to retreat. All of the available British naval assets were mobilized in a massive hunt to track and destroy Bismarck.[88] Several days later, Bismarck was disabled by a torpedo hit from a Fairey Swordfish launched from HMS Ark Royal and subsequently destroyed by the battleships HMS Rodney and HMS King George V on 27 May.  wiki

Tirpitz's career was less active; she spent the majority of the war as a fleet in being in occupied Norway. The Royal Navy attempted to sink her with midget submarines, but these efforts were unsuccessful. In November 1944, RAF Lancaster bombers hit the ship three times with 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) bombs, which caused her to capsize and sink. The wreck was eventually broken up in 1948–1957.


KMS Bismarck Denmark Strait Poster

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