From time to time there appears some biased conception regarding Bismarck as a mediocre evolution of the WWI Bayern-Baden Class. And those misconceptions spread in many ways: sometimes Bismarck gunnery was deficient; other times it´s her armour; her fire direction is often mentioned as inferior (tell that to the 14 hundred men in Hood who died when her ship ble skyhigh plus those in PoW who died before Lutjens forgived that BBs´life); now is Bismarck´s lousy design and construction awhich feed the arguments came from her powerplant and speed.Lutscha wrote:Even her speed was not that good.
A Messprotokoll from 29.10.40 gave the following results:
Water depth 65 m
port shaft 38753 shp at 251,7 rpm
middle shaft 38820 shp at 244,1 rpm
starbord shaft 39837 shp at 252,7 rpm
maximum speed for that day was 28,374 knots.
This is FAR away from 30+knots and the atlantic colour paint was not applied which caused more drag and made her even slower.
At full load she was never able to achieve 30knots the only official value of 30kn is mentioned in the Richelieu BS comparison according to Josef Kaiser.
The Germans estimated, that she could reach about 30kn but not at full load.
This puts her at the speed of KGV and NC.
Again I think she was mediocre but definitely not outclassed (except through Yamato and late war American FC)
The problem, here, is that Baron Mullenheim-Rechberg (who by the way sailed in the Bismarck and knew what he was saying) mentioned in his book, chapter 2, page 25 (spanish version) that the Bismarck DID achieve more than 30 knots, putting her among the world fastest BBs.
José Rico´s book, another source, is plain clear:
(page 64) "The propulsion plant originally designed to reach 138,000 hp and 29 knots actually obtained 150,170 hp and 30,1 knots. This made of the Bismarck one of the fastest battleships in the world, and CLEARLY FASTER THAN ANY BATTLESHIP in the Royal Navy."
Another important source about the Bismarck´s speed came from Antonio Bonomi´s article about the Denmarck Strait Battle:
"The Prinz Eugen fired the twenty-third salvo (turrets C+D), the two German ships were now sailing a parallel course of 220· with the Bismarck faster -probably 30 knots against 27." (page 11)
" The Bismarck was increasing her speed to 30 knots, decreasing the distance with Prinz Eugen..." (page 5)
In that same article Antonio Bonomi clearly states that Bismarck reduced her speed to 28 knots after the engagement.
So, there is little doubt that Bismarck was very capable of reaching 29 and 30 knots as operational speeds. It is very clear, also, that Bismarck was one of the most modern and powerfull battleships of WWII, specially in 1941.
As one member of this forum´s had stated: the Tirpitz (a Bismarck class) was very succesfull in getting pinned a couple of US BBs plus what the British believe necessary in order to intecept her is she sailed out of Norway. The allies were outnumbering Tirpitz some 4 to 1 in order to engage her. Why? Only because it was the safe move? No, because Bismarck, with her lousy design, actually blew skyhigh the pride of the RN, Hood and almost did a double play by sinking PoW.
About Richelieu, I regard this ship highly, but in a combat against Bismarck my money is with the German ship. As a matter of fact a quadruple mount could give it´s own problems, as those in PoW did experienced, and we have the high dispersion those guns had. Dispersion Bismarck didn´t had.
I can continue, and if needed I will, but believe that for now it´s enough. Bismarck was not mediocre, she was... IS the most famous BB ever, because she was one of the greatest BBs of WWII, which is much more we can say about other ships.