Saturday, 24 May 2008
In Memory of HMS HOOD
Sixty Seven years ago today, HMS HOOD was sunk after a 'lucky' shot fired from the guns of the terrifying German Battleship, the Bismark, under the command of Admiral Gunther Lutjens.
She lies at the bottom of the Atlantic and was lost with over fourteen hundred men. There were three survivors.
The battle was joined after HMS Norfolk and Suffolk, radar equipped heavy cruisers, shadowed the Bismark and Prince Eugen from the coast of Norway, through the Denmark Straight. HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were steaming at high speed along the south coast of Iceland.
HMS Hood was an old ship and only armoured over one third of her upper deck. Her side armour was 10 inches thick, and more than enough to withstand an older, flatter barage, but naval gunnery had advanced leaps and bounds since she was launched on the Clide in August 1918. For one thing, the shells fired by Bismark each wieghed around one ton and were fired balistically from farther away, thus falling onto the decks rather than striking the ship's side. To her fatal peril, over two thirds of the upper deck of HMS Hood was terribly exposed to the vastly more modern gunnery of the Bismark.
Of all the pictures available, this one is the most dramatic. From the archives of the British Admiralty, is shows a picture drawn by the captain of HMS Prince of Wales. I'll let it speak for itself.
HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, had sunk in 3 minutes. From Hood's first salvo upon engaging the Bismark to her disappearance beneath the waves, only eleven minutes had passed.
HMS HOOD was lost on this day, sixty seven years ago.