Mighty Royal Navy 1930s

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65675) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS REPULSE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212368
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65675) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS REPULSE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212368

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65620) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212370
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65620) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212370

Built to the limitations of the Washington Naval Treaty, HMS Rodney and her sister ship, HMS Nelson, both had all three turrets of their main armament on the fore deck of the ship. As odd as these ships looked, their carried 16 inch guns, the largest in the Royal Navy.

 

THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 83396) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY at Devonpart Dockyard in December 1927. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205090613
THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 83396) The Nelson Class battleship HMS RODNEY at Devonpart Dockyard in December 1927. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205090613

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65664) The battlecruiser HMS HOOD. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212356
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65664) The battlecruiser HMS HOOD. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212356

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65673) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS RENOWN. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212367
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65673) The Renown Class battlecruiser HMS RENOWN. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212367

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65625) The Royal Sovereign Class battleship HMS RESOLUTION in September 1933. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212369
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65625) The Royal Sovereign Class battleship HMS RESOLUTION in September 1933. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212369

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65690) The aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212323
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65690) The aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212323

 

THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 93334) The Flower Class sloop HMS CROCUS whilst serving in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, 1922-23. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127179
THE ROYAL NAVY IN THE INTER WAR PERIOD. (Q 93334) The Flower Class sloop HMS CROCUS whilst serving in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, 1922-23. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127179

 

ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65612) The Nelson Class battleship HMS NELSON. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212363
ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS OF THE INTER-WAR PERIOD (Q 65612) The Nelson Class battleship HMS NELSON. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212363

Bismarck’s Breakout and the Battle of Denmark Strait

 

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Otto von Bismarck in 1881.

(photo courtesy of German National Archive)

He was Germany’s greatest statesman and united the various bits and small states and principalities which comprised the modern nation of Germany into one nation dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia. Unfortunately, no other German statesman ever had Bismarck’s intelligence or ability for the right diplomatic maneuver at the right time to keep peace in Europe which he managed to do except for small wars he started to unify Germany.

In retrospect, of course, it would have been better if Germany had never been unified. Bismarck would never have imagined in his worst nightmare that Germany would unite most of the world in such hatred of her that legal entity of the state of Prussia would be dissolved and parceled out to mostly other countries.

 

German battleship Bismarck with Nazi flag, 1941

German Battleship Bismarck with Nazi flag in 1941. Photo courtesy US Navy History and Heritage Command.  

The ship was commissioned, that is accepted into the German Navy as a completed warship on 24 August 1940. The Bismarck and her later twin, the Tirpitz, were the two largest battleships ever built by a European power. The ship was laid down on 1 July 1936 and launched 14 February 1939.

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The launching of the battleship Bismarck at Hamburg in 1939. (photo courtesy of the London Daily Mail)

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Photo of headline of story which appeared in the New York Times about the launching of the Bismarck. The world would have been so much better off had the mass-murderer Hitler fallen into the water and drowned.

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At sea en route to Norway, circa 19-20 May 1941, prior to her Atlantic sortie. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

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In a Norwegian fjord, 21 May 1941, shortly before departing for her Atlantic sortie. If you look closely at the far right and examine the bow of the Bismarck, you will notice the white, false bow wave painted at the waterline. This was thought to mislead the enemy as to the speed of the ship.

Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Location is probably Grimstadfjord, just south of Bergen. Bismarck’s camouflage was painted over before she departed the area. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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In Grimstadfjord, near Bergen, Norway, on 21 May 1941, just prior to her sortie into the Atlantic. Two merchant-type ships are also present. Photographed from a British Royal Air Force reconnaissance aircraft.

 

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Painting by Claus Bergen, seized by the US as a spoil of war, depicting the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen (center) and battleship Bismarck (left, distance) firing on British warships Hood and Prince of Wales. Courtesy of the US Army Chief of Military History. This painting was returned to the Federal Republic of Germany’s Navy in 1978.

 

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German battleship Bismarck firing on HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which was in the lead. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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Fifteen-inch shells from HMS Hood hit near the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, early in the action. Photographed from on board the German cruiser. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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Painting by J.C. Schmitz-Westerholt, depicting Hood’s loss during her engagement with the German battleship Bismarck on 24 May 1941. HMS Prince of Wales is in the foreground. Courtesy of the US Army Chief of Military History.

 

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The explosion of the British battlecruiser Hood. Smoke from HMS Prince of Wales’s gunfire is faintly visible just to the left. Photographed from the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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British battleship Prince of Wales (smoke column in left center) under fire from the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, with smoke from the sunken HMS Hood at right. Splashes to the right are shells from Prince of Wales that fell well short of the German ships. Photographed from Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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British battleship Prince of Wales (left smoke column) turns to open the range, after she was hit by German gunfire. Smoke at right marks the spot where HMS Hood had exploded and sunk a few minutes earlier. Photographed from the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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German battleship Bismarck firing on HMS Prince of Wales. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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German battleship Bismarck firing on HMS Prince of Wales. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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German battleship Bismarck engaging HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales. Shells from the latter are falling short of the Bismarck, which had been hit previously and is slightly down by the bow. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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German battleship Bismarck firing on HMS Prince of Wales, as seen from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which is steaming ahead of Bismarck. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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This photo was actually taken in the early morning. The broadside of the Bismarck was such that it overexposed the film. German battleship Bismarck firing on HMS Prince of Wales. Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 24 May 1941, following the Battle of the Denmark Strait and before the two German ships separated. Bismarck is somewhat down by the bow, the result of hits received in her engagement with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood earlier in the day. This is the next to last photograph of Bismarck taken by the Germans. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

 

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Photographed from the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on 24 May 1941, following the Battle of the Denmark Strait and before the two German ships separated. This is the last photograph of Bismarck taken by the Germans. Copied from the report of officers of Prinz Eugen, with identification by her Gunnery Officer, Paul S. Schmalenbach, 1970.

[Images courtesy of the US Navy History and Heritage Command]

Royal Navy Sank the Bismarck This Day in 1941

 

 

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HMS King George V, flagship of Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Tovey as he maneuvered the units of the Royal Navy to sink the Bismarck

http://charlesmccain.com/2010/05/the-imperturbable-english/

 

A RAF Coastal Command Catalina (AH545 WQ-Z of 209 Squadron) located the German battleship Bismarck on 26 May 1941 which led to the sinking of the Bismarck. The sighting was made by the co-pilot, American US Navy Ensign Leonard “Tuck” Smith, but was credited to the pilot, British Flying Officer Dennis Briggs of the RAF, because the United States was supposed to be neutral.

 

http://charlesmccain.com/2013/07/being-fired-on-by-the-bismarck-was-disconcerting-said-vian-part-1/

http://charlesmccain.com/2013/07/being-fired-on-by-the-bismarck-was-disconcerting-said-vian-part-2/

http://charlesmccain.com/2010/04/what-was-the-deal-with-the-bismarck-and-the-hood/

 

 

Invergordon Mutiny of the Royal Navy – Part 13

Part 1 – Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10 Part 11 Part 12Part 13

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Tobacco advertisement from the turn of the 20th century.

Like many companies, John Player and Sons, Ltd., used the imagery of Royal Navy as a marketing ploy. Player’s “Navy Cut” Cigarettes was just a brand, not a special type or “cut” of tobacco. Many corporations did all they could to associate themselves with the Royal Navy which continued to be held in high esteem by the public as other institutions from the monarchy to the church suffered steep declines in public support after the conclusion of World War One.

The image of the Royal Navy as the historic bulwark of the nation which had held off every invader from King Phillip of Spain to the Kaiser was an ingrained part of British identity, so the idea that the main battle fleet of the Royal Navy had mutinied shocked the nation.

 

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Headline from New York Times 9.17.31

From a confidential report to Their Lordships of the Admiralty by Rear Admiral Tomkinson, who served as acting C-in-C Atlantic Fleet during the mutiny:

Reports which reached me on the morning of Wednesday (16 September 1931) showed that the position had not improved and was in fact deteriorating. No work was being done now in Rodney, Norfolk, Adventure and Valiant; Rear Admiral Astley-Rushton feared that Dorsetshire, infected by the men on the forecastle of Hood, would cease work; and the Captain of Hood had similar fears with regard to his own ship’s company, who in their turn had been continually subjected to subversive encouragement and abuse from the men on the forecastle of Rodney.

Since Tomkinson was Admiral Commanding Battlecruisers (not battleships, which were different) of the Atlantic Fleet he was actually flying his flag in HMS Hood while acting C-in-C Atlantic Fleet.

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Modern day British sailors boarding HMS Dragon, type 45 destroyer commissioned in April 2012. The blue collar worn by the sailors is known as the Nelson Collar after Lord Nelson. Variations of this collar are worn by most modern navies in the world.

Fearing a complete breakdown in discipline, Admiral Tomkinson told the men of the Atlantic Fleet that the cabinet was meeting at 12:00 on Wednesday, giving the impression that the cabinet was reconsidering the cuts. Later in the afternoon, the Admiralty informed Tompkins to order the ships of the Atlantic Fleet to disperse to their home ports.

Officers felt the men would respond to orders to return to their homes and it would break up the concentration of ships. Further, the Admiralty informed Tomkinson that once the ships returned to their home ports, a thorough investigation would be made of how the cuts would affect the men and that “with a view to necessary alleviation being made”.

Nonetheless, the officers aboard the ships gave their orders for the ships to weigh anchor and return to their individual home ports with trepidation, fearing the men might not obey these orders. The men did and the Invergordon Mutiny came to an end although the repercussions continued for months.

 

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New York Times headline 9.18.31

(The Chamberlain referred to in the headline is not Neville Chamberlain, later the Prime Minister of Great Britain associated with appeasing Hitler but of his half-brother, Austen Chamberlain).

[Images courtesy of the Vintage Ad Browser, the Guardian and the New York Times .]