Bismarck – Construction

I have written about the Bismarck numerous times before and am showing a variety of pictures here of the battleship during her construction. With her keel laid in July 1936, Bismarck took 2 1/2 years of construction before she was ready to be launched in February of 1939. An additional 1 1/2 years of outfitting and trials occurred before she was finally commissioned in August of 1940. At commissioning, Bismarck was the largest battleship to date.

Sliding down the launching ways at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, 14 February 1939.
Afloat just after launching, at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, 14 February 1939.
Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, shows the ship’s newly-installed “Atlantic” bow and the extent of her side armor.
Note canal boat in the foreground.
Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, was taken from off the ship’s port side, forward. It shows details of the front part of her side armor belt, 380mm main battery turrets and forward superstructure.
Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, was taken from off the ship’s port side, forward. It shows details of her forward twin 380mm main battery gun turrets, which were then being installed.
Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, shows the port forward 150mm twin gun turret in the process of installation, with the ship’s forward superstructure behind.
Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, shows the ship’s hull side and superstructure, seen from off the port side, looking forward.
Fitting out at the Blohm & Voss shipyard, Hamburg, Germany, between 10 and 15 December 1939.
This view, received from the Naval Attache Office, London, in 1940, was taken from off the ship’s port quarter and shows details of her stern and the extent of her belt armor aft.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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