Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Admirals

These three men are central to our story. 69 years ago, two of them had only days to live and with them, 4000 officers, men and boys would be lost in one of the greatest Battleship engagements of naval history. The fate of these men would materially effect the future of Battleships, for decades the capitol ship of all navies everywhere. It was, and still is, about power. Being able to project naval power. You could protect with a lesser ship, but in order to project, a Battleship was called for. But not for much longer.

Naval warfare was to change forever.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Cronyn Tovey, 1st Baron Tovey, GCB, KBE, DSO, DCL

Admiral Sir 'Jack' Tovey, Here is another of Jack Tovey, wearing the lace of a full Admiral, RN, when Commander in Chief Home Fleet (CINCHOME), and flying his flag in HMS King George V during the hunt for Bismarck.

Vice Admiral Lancelot Earnest Holland, flew his flag in HMS Hood

Admiral Günther Lütjens

In the 1960 film, Sink the Bismarck!, Lütjens is portrayed as egotistic, overconfident, and a Nazi enthusiast angered over Germany's humiliation and his own lack of recognition at the end of World War I. In reality, Lütjens, the grandson of a jew, was pessimistic of the chance of success of Bismarck's mission and did not agree with Nazi policies; he was one of the few officers who refused to give the Nazi salute when Hitler visited Bismarck before its first and final mission, deliberately using instead the traditional naval salute. Lütjens also wore by choice the dirk of the Kaiserliche Marine, rather than the more modern Kriegsmarine dirk which bore a swastika. The film also makes a mistake in the sequence of events aboard Bismarck, showing Lütjens ordering Captain Ernst Lindemann to open fire on Hood and Prince of Wales. In the event, Lütjens actually ordered Lindemann to avoid engaging Hood, but Lindemann disobeyed and ordered the ship's gun crews to open fire on Hood and Prince of Wales.

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