Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.

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Antonio Bonomi
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Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon May 26, 2008 8:09 pm

Ciao all,

here I am with an ' ENIGMA ' I have tryied to address to you all during my works on Prinz Eugen camouflage studies, and lately with the Bismarck on May 21st, 1941 post.

You can read here in :

http://kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=470

and

http://kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1608

We are having here 3 very well known photos of Bismarck that everybody I am sure have seen many times.

This is Bismarck after May 5th and AH review ; the ship is anchored in Gotenhafen ( Gdynia ) at Seebahnhof dock 4.
We can asses this photo being taken between May 6th and May 14th, 1941.

Image

This is Bismarck surely after May 15th and previous photo the ship is anchored in Gotenhafen ( Gdynia ) still at Seebahnhof dock 4 as before.
We can asses this photo being taken between May 15th and May 18th, 1941 because the photo was taken from Prinz Eugen that arrived in Gdynia from Kiel on May 14-15th, 1941.

Image

This is Bismarck into Grimstad Fjord on May 21st, 1941.

Image

Does anybody have ever noticed anything that due deserve attention on those 3 well known photos ?

The solution of this '' Enigma '' is my personal gift to Jose', and the 10th anniversary of this website, thanking him for his fairness and hospitality on this forum during the last years.

As said it is a piece of work that due to the release of my Prinz Eugen drawings made with Abram Joslin, was kind of obvious as I wrote, but nobody took any look at this yet, so I used very well known Bismarck photos to do it for this occasion, Jose' fully deserve this one.

Much more to come on this on the future,.. when a greater work will see the light,.. but this is another story,.. and you will know one day.

CONGRATULATIONS Jose ' .............. Antonio :clap: :clap:
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon May 26, 2008 9:54 pm

Ciao all,

lets see,..solution to Enigma photo number one,.. from May 6th till May 15th, 1941 at Gotenhafen, ...... same top turret scheme as of Prinz Eugen during Adm Lutjens review on May 18th, 1941, ..... which was Op. Rheinubung initial air recognition scheme apparently.

Only difference Bismarck did paint the end part of the main gun barrels on Yellow ( B and C turrets only because they go on top of A and D turrets flat surfaces colour ), while Prinz Eugen did not do it, but this makes even easier the flat top turret part color identification now on Bismarck :wink: .

You can also notice the 150 mm top turrets being very light, exactly like the main turrets top flat surfaces and the main guns end barrels of C and B turrets :wink: .

You can guess the colour now, but please do not tell me it was a light grey,...... my opinion is showed up there already.

Image

Image

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon May 26, 2008 10:01 pm

Ciao all,

solution to photo number 2, ... after May 15th, just before sailing for Op. Rheinubung.

Photo now taken from Prinz Eugen ( see the ship cutter on the frame rack stb side ) just arrived from Kiel on late night of May 14th, 1941 ( Ref. PG KTB of May 1941 ).

Now we see that Bismarck has kept all Yellow tops on flat surfaces and main gun barrels, as well as on 150 mm secondary turrets, while main turrets side dark grey has been painted over with the standard light grey.

Prinz Eugen will keep those dark grey main turret sides till Bergen :wink: .

Image

Image

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon May 26, 2008 10:23 pm

Ciao all,

solution to Enigma photo number 3, Bismarck into Grimstad Fjord on May 21st, 1941.

The ship arrived into KorsFjord as we saw on previous scheme, leaving Gotenhafen that way, and when she was into the more secure Norway waters they started re-painting the main turrets flat surfaces and the main guns end barrels with dark grey to cover up the Yellow, as they cannot hide it on a different way apparently.

But lucky us :wink: , as Matrose Maus will report later on on same subject, doing this while sailing as they did on main turrets is not easy and it is dangerous on the 150 mm side turrets, so they only covered them up as we can see with canvas-tarpaulin into Grimstad Fjord, so they were ready to show the yellow again when sailing up until it was needed, than remove it definitively when it was ordered as they did out of Luftwaffe range like on Prinz Eugen after Adm Lutjens order was given.

Much easier to paint on and off the yellow on main turrets flat surfaces with the paint than cover them up of course and this is what they did.

The whole thing is confirmed by the presence you can notice of the sailors on the main turrets top on the photos still doing the painting job in grimstad Fjord while anchored, as well as the fact that they coloured dark grey also the end part of the main gun barrels, as a confirmation there was an air identification colour that needed to be removed, so it was surely not a light grey :wink: .

Image

Image

Here you can see another confirmation photo of what I am saying by a photo taken of Tirpitz into Ostsee, on September 1941, were you can see Tirpitz sailors doing the same job while sailing on Tirpitz main turrets while the ship is sailing followed by Adm Scheer and the Balten Flotte.

Now you have a clear idea of what happened .. on Bismarck, .. exactly the same thing apparently.

Image


Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by paulcadogan » Tue May 27, 2008 2:14 pm

Brilliant work Antonio!!
Nice timing too as we remember the terrible fate of Bismarck 67 years ago today.

Paul
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Tue May 27, 2008 4:26 pm

Ciao Paul and all,

many thanks my friend,..YES ... it was done on pourpose for the website 10th anniversary,.. as I knew this since a long time already,..... but I wanted to preseve this '' scoop ' for a special event,.. and Jose' website celebration is just a correct situation to show it now :clap: .

Bismarck not only had the yellow turrets on May 27th, as reported, but also before as it was Op. Rheinubung defined '' Fliegersichtzeichen ", ... and now everything should be very clear connecting Prinz Eugen with Bismarck evidences in photos and writings ..... it was a Yellow RAL 1003 colour.

.... than she also had for sure 2 ... maybe 3 times on her turrets the Red colour too... but this is another Baltic sea training story, ... happened before,... we will cover in the future too.. and of course with a lot of evidences,.... like those ones .... :wink:

Let me take the occasion as usual to remember with Bismarck crew and fate the HMS Hood,.. connected with her forever ... as well as all the dead sailors all flags all time,.. fighting with honour for their countries and against the common enemy,.. the sea,... as I read correctly on one book time ago.

Bye Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by José M. Rico » Tue May 27, 2008 7:10 pm

Thanks for your posting Antonio you are always welcome here.

Your photo observations are very interesting. The barrel ends of the main guns painted with a light color indicate that the flat surface of the turrets below (A, D) were painted with a light color as well. Light grey doesn't make sense at all for air recognition, so I think you may be right about the yellow color.

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Olaf » Tue May 27, 2008 9:35 pm

Thanks Antonio for sharing this with us.

Amazing, how important those 'common' pictures can become!

About the cover on the 150mm twin mounts, I ever thought "they did a really bad paint job" when looking at these dark grey tops.... HA!
I think that's the most impressive find and as mentioned earlier in another thread, that they had canvas in different colours (remember my question about "Persenningfarbe"? It was not without a reason...). The ABB 31 clearly states three different colours: yellow RAL 1003, brown RAL 8011 and grey RAL 7012. The latter is pretty dark and seems to be what we can see on Antonio's photos of the BS in Grimstadfjord. It makes me think that there must have been another colour for canvas, a light grey, which was used for PG in Gdynia when covering the yellow main turret tops...

Of course, one thing strikes me odd... when they covered the yellow on PG in Gdynia, why didn't they do so on BS?

Finally...

... Happy 10th!!!

And... same as three days ago...

May they rest in piece...

Olaf!

... and
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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Herr Nilsson » Tue May 27, 2008 11:33 pm

Hi Antonio,

nice work. I hope I understood everything as you have meant it, because the ...-style is a little bit hard to read, at least to me.

So here are my annotations:
There is still my question, what the canvas are used for. Hiding the color seems to be unlikely, because the color of the gun barrels would be still visible.
Antonio Bonomi wrote:Much easier to paint on and off the yellow on main turrets flat surfaces with the paint than cover them up of course and this is what they did.
You know that the color needs about 6 to 10 hours to dry? And that you run the risk the paint would peel if the color painted before wasn't dry enough. There wasn't not enough time to do so.

You know the picture taken from Z 10 on 5/20/1941? I'm sure there are no light colored barrels on Caesar. There is also a picture from the day before I saw two weeks ago. Absolutely no light colored barrels on Caesar. Bruno? Maybe, maybe not. Hard to recognize.

Your photo number one has the gun barrels of Caesar more light colored than my copy of this picture. Anyway, Dora's top flat surfaces seems to have the color of the front slope. But this is also very hard to recognize. To far away in my opinion.

Olaf,

1941 there was only grey and brown.


Jose,

congratulations!
Regards

Marc

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Olaf » Wed May 28, 2008 12:38 am

Hi Marc ~ Yes, of course, only two colours in 1941... sorry...

But this leads to the question for what they used this type of colour. Furthermore, what was the colour of the canvas when unpainted? Light grey? This is what I would assume when looking at the light coloured canvas (light grey?) over the light coloured PG turret tops (yellow) at Gdynia...

Maybe they didn't paint the canvas but it was AVAILABLE in different colours...

Does anyone know who made them? If the company still exists? If so, do they have any records?

Hmmm.... Olaf!
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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed May 28, 2008 9:41 am

Herr Nilsson wrote: Your photo number one has the gun barrels of Caesar more light colored than my copy of this picture.
Edit: I meant the difference between the lighter and darker part of the Caesar barrels on the brownish version of the photo. The black and white photo looks the same as mine. In my opinion the difference isn't that distinctive on this picture.
Regards

Marc

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed May 28, 2008 1:51 pm

Ciao all,

many thanks for the very nice compliments as usual.

@ Jose’,

your comments and evaluations are very logic and absolutely in line with my ones when studying the Prinz Eugen camouflages years ago I realized exactly what you are saying.

YES, we can assess with very high confidence level that the top turret colour was the YELLOW RAL 1003 as ‘’Fliegersichtzeichen ‘’ ( Luftwaffe-KM air identification agreed colour ) for Op. Rheinubung on May 1941, for both Prinz Eugen and Bismarck.


@ Olaf,

your observations are always very accurate, the ‘’ Persenningfarbe ‘’ infos very good too.
Now you can see and evaluate what I was telling you, that Kpt Lindemann and Kpt Brinkmann did execute differently Adm Lutjens staff orders about ‘’ Air Identification ‘’ colour marking of their 2 ships.
This is a very common fact on KM warships, just think about the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the twins were always different on their colour painting details too.
As you can realize, Prinz Eugen did not paint the main gun barrels and kept dark grey main turret sides.
Bismarck did not cover the tops in Gdynia while Prinz Eugen did it, so a very different approach on executing the orders given.


@ Marc,

your double check and control you know means a lot to me, as you are always very acute on your observations and often you drive me to make a better overall work.

I know my Italian writing style in English is difficult for you to read…sorry for that ..

Let me try to explain a bit better.

While approaching Bergen, into KorsFjord they started painting OFF the ‘’Fliegersichtzeichen ‘’ ( Luftwaffe-KM air identification agreed colour ) but they did know the day after they needed it back while sailing away from Norway but still under the Luftwaffe air coverage range, just up until the 13.07 of 22 May 1941 when Admiral Lutjens ( Fleet means order from him on PG KTB ) ordered both ships to paint over the air recognition markings ( both swastikas and top turrets colour).

This drove Kpt Lindemann staff to take this decision for Bismarck : paint over main gun barrels and main turret tops with dark grey paint ( probably they did not have such big tarpaulin-canvas covers with them as we saw used on Tirpitz later on during 1942 ) and only cover the top of the 150 mm turrets and probably the swastikas so they can be re-utilized immediately as needed after.
Paint the top flat surfaces of the main turrets as I showed with Tirpitz photo above takes only few minutes and can be done while at sea, so it is the best solution overall compared to big canvas covers for a short stop.
The main gun barrels was not a problem, it is just a perfection detail often not done at all and in fact Kpt Brinkmann on Prinz Eugen did not do it and was just sailing with his C and D turret barrels at maximum elevation,….. a very funny solution as you can see.
But Bismarck had very big squared main turret top surfaces compared to Prinz Eugen , so the ME 110 escorting pilots can see her very well.

I agree about the paint dry out time, but that is what they did, paint the top turrets while at sea, just like Tirpitz did many times as you can see on photos, just like a Tirpitz survivor from Anton turret doing that told me last year.

I know the Z10 Hans Lody taken photo of Bismarck stern, maybe it is good to post it here in as well.
But Z10 Hans Lody during the sailing from Gdynia till Bergen was FdZ ( Fuhrer der Zerstorer ) so it was leading the ships formation, cannot have taken a photo of Bismarck from back while sailing.
Bismarck is not sailing in fact, and with very high possibility they are doing a refuelling of the Z10 from Bismarck, as the Z 10 sailors presence on the destroyer bow confirms.
If this is the case as I assume, than they were already into KorsFjord or GrimstadFjord and the main gun barrels were already painted dark, so it is correct for timing and what it shows.
Z10 Hans Lody after refuelling sailed to Kalvanes bay in order to form an anti-torpedo screen for Prinz Eugen.
Other ships did this for Bismarck into Grimstad Fjord.

Some other photos taken from airplanes in Norway and into Gotenhafen shows the YELLOW main gun barrels clearly visible.

The aerial photographs of Bismarck on her way to Norway during Operation "Rheinübung", taken by radio operator Guntram Weigl, flying in a Messerschmitt Bf 110, still shows Bruno turret YELLOW main gun barrels when Bismarck is sailing, while the top flat surfaces have been already painted dark.
At the end of the photo sequence taken by Weigl, they show the main gun barrels being painted dark when Bismarck is anchored, just like the photo taken by Prinz Eugen into Grimstad Fjord confirms.
Those evidences confirms the painting process going on while at sea into Norwegian fjord waters.

The 150 mm secondary turret covered tops confirms the colour reached GrimstadFjord and it was needed after.

Admiral Lutjens order at sea on May 22nd, provide us the exact moment when the air recognition colour was painted OFF on Prinz Eugen and Bismarck.

Matrose Maus provided us a clear witness report of the exact moment when the air recognition colour was requested to be painted ON again, approaching France on May 26th, but we know how it went and only the main turrets were painted, NOT the secondary turrets.

The ship wreck in fact does show secondary turrets being dark grey, confirming both Adm Lutjens order of May 22nd being executed while at sea, as well as Matrose Maus witness report.

You are right, on the brownish photo I attached the difference does not result as evident as into the other photo, but it is there both on B and C turrets.
This is only a metter of photo quality available at the moment, but they do exist as well as other photos from private collections, and one day hopefully everybody will see everything.

Hope it is now all clear,.... those photos really talk,......

Ciao Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Herr Nilsson » Wed May 28, 2008 2:30 pm

Antonio Bonomi wrote: While approaching Bergen, into KorsFjord they started painting OFF the ‘’Fliegersichtzeichen ‘’ ( Luftwaffe-KM air identification agreed colour ) but they did know the day after they needed it back while sailing away from Norway but still under the Luftwaffe air coverage range, just up until the 13.07 of 22 May 1941 when Admiral Lutjens ( Fleet means order from him on PG KTB ) ordered both ships to paint over the air recognition markings ( both swastikas and top turrets colour).
.....
The aerial photographs of Bismarck on her way to Norway during Operation "Rheinübung", taken by radio operator Guntram Weigl, flying in a Messerschmitt Bf 110, still shows Bruno turret YELLOW main gun barrels when Bismarck is sailing, while the top flat surfaces have been already painted dark.
At the end of the photo sequence taken by Weigl, they show the main gun barrels being painted dark when Bismarck is anchored, just like the photo taken by Prinz Eugen into Grimstad Fjord confirms.
Those evidences confirms the painting process going on while at sea into Norwegian fjord waters.
Antonio,

but this means they were standing in their own wet paint on the turret top. Germans are crazy sometimes, but not that crazy.

Antonio Bonomi wrote:I know the Z10 Hans Lody taken photo of Bismarck stern, maybe it is good to post it here in as well.
Bismarck is not sailing, and with very high possibility they are doing a refuelling of the Z10 from Bismarck, as the Z 10 sailors presence on the destroyer bow confirms.
If this is the case as I assume, than they were already into KorsFjord or GrimstadFjord and the main gun barrels were already painted dark, so it is correct for timing and what it shows.


I can't remember any refuelling. I think the picture was taken at the Skagen-Sperre where the ships had to wait for a new passage through the mine field. Or maybe earlier. I'm not sure, but as far as I remember Z 10 brought new orders to Bismarck.
Regards

Marc

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Wed May 28, 2008 3:21 pm

Ciao Marc,

I know Germans should not be so crazy,...... :D

...still you know the reason why the Tirpitz survivor I met last year was perfectly remembering the colours he painted on top of the Tirpitz Anton turret ?

Because he was so dirty at the end he told me that his uniform and his hands were so full of paint,.... he would never forget,... so maybe a bit crazy they were, .. as orders are orders, .. and needs to be executed ...

I think this was probably the reason why the flat surfaces were painted OFF with dark grey before,.... while sailing ... and the gun barrels after when into GrimstadFjord,.. maybe the paint was dry out enough at that point,.... at least this is what we can see from photos,.....

.. this provide some points to Kpt Brinkmann and Prinz Eugen staff ....they did not have the gun barrels problem,.. and just sailed with C and B main guns elevated at maximum, ....... smart guys :wink:

I see your Z 10 Hans Lody points,..we need to investigate this a bit more :wink: , .... while the ME Bf 110 air photos are more easy to be read,.. and do provide the whole scenario already,....

Ciao Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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Re: Website 10th celebration - Bismarck May 18-21, 1941

Post by Antonio Bonomi » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:29 am

Ciao all,

and here following another confirmation of what I stated above.

On the backgrond photo taken frorm an AJ-Press Morskie book on Op. Rheinubung you can see a partially censored photo of the Prinz Eugen leaving Bergen Fjord area after the stop into Kalvanes bay.

Image

You can notice the baltic stripe camouflage being painted off, and the B-C main turret guns elevated to the maximum in order to facilitate the Luftwaffe airplane pilots to spot the yellow colour on the turret flat surface down below, the A and D obviously.

You can also verify that there are sailors walking on the all main turret tops ( A turret as been touched by the censor as you can easily understand ) and I think it is very easy now to realize that they are there for the painting job to be done and put again the yellow on the top main turret flat surfaces ...... :wink:

On the other 3 smaller photos you can verify how Kpt Brinkmann managed the B and C main turret guns on the way to Norway and into Grimstad Fjord in order to allow the visibility of the turrets flat surface down below, as the guns are elevated or the turret itself rotated keeping the guns elevated to maximum.

Now the whole scenario should be clear enough,.... for Operation Rheinubung ‘’Fliegersichtzeichen ‘’ ( Luftwaffe-KM air identification agreed colour ) ... both Bismarck and Prinz Eugen.

Ciao Antonio :D
In order to honor a soldier, we have to tell the truth about what happened over there. The whole, hard, cold truth. And until we do that, we dishonor her and every soldier who died, who gave their life for their country. ( Courage Under Fire )

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