0603, 0606, 0607, 0614 / 0603-0614 hours-
weicht das Schiff drei Torpedolaufbahnen aus, deren Geräusche vom Horchraum laufend gemeldet worden sind und es gelingt, sie alle auszumanöverieren. Die Herkunft der Torpedos kann nicht einwandfrei festgestellt werden, zumal Flugzeuge in der Nähe waren. Bei der Lage und Entfernung können es nur Schüsse von "Hood" sein, dessen Torpedos die größte Laufstrecke haben. Die 2. und 3. Blasenbahn wurde vom Kommandanten auserhalb des Kommandostandes nach dem Durchgang beobachtet.
Ship avoids three torpedo tracks whose sounds are continuously reported by the sound room, and all are successfully outmaneuvered.
The source of the torpedoes cannot be verified with certainty, since aircraft were in the vicinity. According to position and distance, they can be only shots from the "Hood," whose torpedoes have the longest running track. The 2nd and 3rd bubble trails were observed by the Commander from outside the command post after the traverse.
0610 / 0610 hours-
Fliegeralarm Bb achteraus
Air raid alarm portside abaft
Extract From CRUISER PRINZ EUGEN'S WAR DIARY
Translation by : Ulrich Rudofsky for kbismarck.com website
Time has been changed according to English battle time from DZT ( Deutschland Zeit Time ) time adding 1 hour to match the battle maps.
Report of the 1st Artillery Officer [Korvettenkapitän Paulus Jasper] :
24 May 1941
About 05.45 hours I was awakened by an "Alarm". The 2nd Artillery Officer [Kapitänleutnant Paul Schmalenbach] was located in the foretop, the battle station watch-leader of the portside watch of the battle station watch. A quick report and a panoramic view around the horizon revealed three targets to port, two of which were approaching rapidly. Off the starboard stern stood a fourth target, apparently, the surveillance cruiser from the previous night. We were advancing at the front of the battle-line, [with] Bismarck behind us.
Since no special instructions for firing assignments (division) were ordered by the flagship, and since both of the rapidly approaching ships at this instant opened fire while under full steam, I chose (ordered) to cut to the right. This was the foremost (ship) in the hostile battle-line, which, according to the usual rules of engagement (distribution of targets), appeared to be the point (leading) ship in our line (of fire) (of battle).
I did not recognize the opponents as battleships and until the conclusion [of the battle] my experience indicated they were the cruisers (under consideration, according to my memory or experience "Exeter", "Birmingham", or "Fiji" Class). Accordingly, I decided to use high explosive base fuzed shells [Sprenggranate Bdz.]. I adhered to using this type of projectile during the [entire] course of the battle, since their impacts differentiated them very well from other hits. The impacts stood out clearly as high white water columns amid innumerable clouds of explosive smoke that obviously came from the middle artillery of the Bismarck.
The position (range-finding) station reported 2 contacts off the right bow traveling at 25 knots, distance 210 hectometers. I received "permission to fire" from the bridge at 05.55 hours and immediately commenced firing a full salvo at 202 hectometers. The full salvo was fired using nose fuzed rounds (Kopfzünder) which were stored behind the (gun) barrels as ready-use ammunition. The observed impacts (shell splashes) could not be ascribed with certainty as belonging to our own [shells] because of (key punch) perforation failures in the firing calculator [and thus no range correction report could be made]. Therefore, I repeated [firing] a full salvo, which turned out to be observable and formed a straddle ladder of which I could only observe two brief impacts from the lower limiting [rounds of the] salvo, while the higher and middle [rounds] had to be called questionably too far. The distant impacts were not visible, since they were concealed by the target. By contrast, (after firing) the bracketing group an extraordinarily bright fire flash appeared on the enemy ship's aft section at the level of the aft mast. The fire developed on the portside of the opponent, since the superstructures stood out as sharp silhouettes. Immediately thereafter I received the order from the ship's command to "Change target (to the) left" toward the second opponent, whereby the fire of "Bismarck" and "Prinz Eugen" now crossed. I was unable to observe "Bismarck's" decisive salvo because I was no longer in a position to do so. I ordered the target officer (target giver) to acquire the second target and thus lost the first (target) from the [range finder's] visual field of action. Consequently, I did not perceive the detonation of the first target.
As was the case earlier, I commenced second firing with a full salvo followed by a ranging group (straddle ladder) which zeroed me in as of 05.59. Firing for effect (rapid fire) was then initiated. The distance at that time was 160-170 hectometers. During the completion of measuring fire effectiveness, I observed two well-placed strikes which again were fired simultaneously from the portside by the secondary artillery of the "Bismarck". At around the eighth salvo, the opponent turned hard toward (us).
(Approximately 06.01 hours). Immediately thereafter, I saw the long bow section of a sinking ship traversing behind the opponent, pointing about 45° skyward and extending far above the masts of the target. The opponent apparently tried to avoid the wreckage of the leading ship (Vordermann=man in front). During this phase of the battle indications of a small fire were recognizable on the enemy ship, but it was considerably weaker than [was the case] onboard the first opponent. During this time I observed a covering salvo from Bismarck's heavy artillery, which had changed target. Immediately thereafter, the opponent turned hard onto a reciprocal course. He gave off black smoke and apparently tried to use this to escape from view. In my opinion, this smoke was artificial black fog and did not emanate from a (real) conflagration.
The minimum distance at this time point was about 140 hectometers.
This was (at) 06.02 – 06.03.
At this point even the heavy anti-aircraft guns attempted to participate in the battle.
Then, the distance increased steadily up to 180 - 190 hectometers. Observation from the foretop was intermittently prevented by (gun) smoke from the forward turret group. In these cases, we brought in [ranging data from] auxiliary observation (station).
At the twenty eighth salvo, the ship had turned so far (away) that [our view] of the target from the foretop was obscured by stack (exhaust) fumes. Simultaneously, the forward turrets were in their extreme turning position (at maximal rotation). I gave the order to transfer [fire control] to 1st Lieutenant Albrecht in the aft (gunnery) position, who continued to fire well-placed, rapid, and partial salvos while keeping the battery on target with minor range corrections until cease-fire.
During the battle our own ship turned sharply thrice.
Firing continued during these turning maneuvers.
The battery was twice temporarily and laterally dislodged from the target in this context (connection).
"Bismarck" came directly into the line of fire after the third avoidance maneuver.
Accordingly, I received the order from the ship's command: "Do not fire over Bismarck ''; and immediately thereafter, "cease fire".
Firing ceased at 06.09 hours.
After the cease-fire, I went into the foremast gallery to gain a panoramic perspective [of the battle area].
Now, a heavy cruiser with 3 stacks stood off the portside as a surveillance vessel, while to starboard abaft was a similar cruiser (Norfolk and Suffolk).
In addition, to port and far beyond the cruiser stood our opponent, who still gave off heavy black smoke but had turned back on a parallel course. Further left, a heavy column of smoke marked the site where our first opponent sank ( Hood ).
(We) did not experience any damage to ourselves, and the battery was fully ready for battle. We had expended: Heavy artillery: 8 rounds of nose fuzed shells [Kz. "Kopfzünder], 149 base fuzed shells [Bdz. Bodenzünder], heavy antiaircraft guns: against naval (surface) targets 78 with nose fuzed shells, against air targets 31 with delayed detonators [Zz.=Zeitzündung...pre-set fuze detonators designed to explode in midair upon arriving at a specific set of coordinates] The heavy artillery attained a salvo interval of 27-28 seconds. One technical problem arose in the battery (see material and technical report) so that turret "B" totally failed (to fire) one salvo and (then) fired 13 salvos only from the left (barrel) (with the right barrel) disengaged (out of gear). Furthermore, three operational errors occurred that caused the failure to fire four salvos from turret "A", while turrets "C" and "D" missed one salvo.
Personally, I observed nothing of the enemy's countermeasures. According to reports from the duty officers of the main antiaircraft battle station, a number of heavy caliber salvos impacted in the immediate proximity of the ship. Two [salvoes] struck 100-150 meters forward of the bow, one about 50 meters off port forward, which put the decks heavily awash, and quite a few impacts astern in the wake. Later, [salvo] impacts were observed [that came] from the heavy cruiser stationed to starboard, but they landed 4-5000 meters short. A piece of shrapnel from a heavy caliber (shell) was found on the portside deck. It showed the telltale marks of two guide rings [driving bands - slightly protruding metal bands around the base of projectiles that help harness propellant gas energy, impart spin, and stabilize shells as they travel down the rifled bore of naval guns - Editor] and was, according to data tables in a booklet on weaponry news, (not from) the Hood, but was [instead] attributed to a ship of the King George class.
The reported strikes of our own battery were observed by:
Lieutenant Commander Jasper, First Artillery Officer, Foretop.
Lieutenant Commander Busch, (Fritz Otto), Spectator (visitor, witness, co-observer) in the Foretop.
Lieutenant Schmalenbach, Second Artillery Officer, Main Antiaircraft Battle Station.
Lieutenant Jacobsen, Third Artillery Officer and Assistant (Auxiliary) Observer, forward station.
Acting Lieutenant Junior Grade Albrecht, Assistant (Auxiliary) Observer Aft Station (only for first target).
Lieutenant Junior Grade Count von Matuschka, E.M.O. and opponent observer (only during second target, foretop).
Lieutenant Junior Grade Tillesen, battle station leader, light antiaircraft cannons, main fighting top (only during first target).
Ensign Schlenzka, antiaircraft leader station "B" (only at first strike at target 2).
The ordnance and technical report and firing list will be attached separately.
[b]signed Jasper, Lieutenant Commander and First Artillery Officer[/b]
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