How did so many survive?

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
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RF
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by RF » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:45 am

paulcadogan wrote: I don't think anyone can know exactly how many were killed outright, how many were alive but failed to get out - trapped by fires, damage, flooding or debris - and how many were actually afloat in the water in the aftermath of the sinking hoping for rescue. But we've seen the photos and I think we can safely say it was at least a several hundred.
Looking at the total crew roster the survival rate at the point Bismarck sank was clearly less than 40% of the number of people on board when Bismarck left Bergen.
The main unknown is how many uninjured men were drowned when the ship sank because they were trapped below decks.
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beltsman
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by beltsman » Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:20 pm

paulcadogan wrote:Hello Beltsman and welcome to the forum.

I'm certainly not an expert on Bismarck's crew and the details of precisely how they would have been distributed throughout the ship during the battle, still it is not hard to figure how you could have hundreds surviving the final cannonade.

If you check this page :

http://www.kbismarck.com/crew/index.html

You will see a breakdown of the areas in which they worked in their divisions, each division being 180-220 men. From that list we see about 600 +/- engineers, technicians and stokers, many of whom would have been working inside the citadel armour, well below and protected from the mostly flat trajectory incoming shells which would not penetrate to those areas. The same would apply to those down in the magazines and shell rooms - add another few hundred.

Then in the upper hull and exposed areas, though casualties were clearly horrific, there were many who survived - like the Baron who narrowly escaped death in the aft main armament director. And remember too that most of the incoming shells were coming from the port side, or off the bow, so those on the starboard side aft would have been somewhat shielded.

So once scuttling orders were given and word spread to abandon ship, all those men started making their way out - and we've read the amazing stories of how many of them made it out of the ship - recalling that about 20 minutes elapsed from the time the British battleships ceased fire until the ship capsized, giving them that breathing space (for want of a better term) to get out and off.

I don't think anyone can know exactly how many were killed outright, how many were alive but failed to get out - trapped by fires, damage, flooding or debris - and how many were actually afloat in the water in the aftermath of the sinking hoping for rescue. But we've seen the photos and I think we can safely say it was at least a several hundred.

Paul
I forgot to say thanks, this is a great explanation.

I wonder how long those trapped below deck survived for as the ship went down. Did they die of drowning, pressure, or suffocation? Most likely drowning for most, but maybe some were in watertight areas for quite some time?

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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by paulcadogan » Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:50 pm

beltsman wrote:I forgot to say thanks, this is a great explanation.

I wonder how long those trapped below deck survived for as the ship went down. Did they die of drowning, pressure, or suffocation? Most likely drowning for most, but maybe some were in watertight areas for quite some time?
You're welcome. Glad you found it useful.

I don't think anyone would have survived very long in those circumstances, even if in a pocket of air. The rapidly increasing pressure would have killed them quickly, although I suspect it might have been very painful (if you've experienced the ear ache that some get during the mild pressure changes when descending in a plane, you can well imagine that multiplied by hundreds!).
Qui invidet minor est - He who envies is the lesser man

beltsman
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by beltsman » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:09 am

paulcadogan wrote:
beltsman wrote:I forgot to say thanks, this is a great explanation.

I wonder how long those trapped below deck survived for as the ship went down. Did they die of drowning, pressure, or suffocation? Most likely drowning for most, but maybe some were in watertight areas for quite some time?
You're welcome. Glad you found it useful.

I don't think anyone would have survived very long in those circumstances, even if in a pocket of air. The rapidly increasing pressure would have killed them quickly, although I suspect it might have been very painful (if you've experienced the ear ache that some get during the mild pressure changes when descending in a plane, you can well imagine that multiplied by hundreds!).
Thanks Paul. Terrifying stuff.

The Scharnhorst's crew met a terrible fate as well, left to drown/freeze/

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Dave Saxton
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:56 pm

beltsman wrote:
The Scharnhorst's crew met a terrible fate as well, left to drown/freeze/
An often over looked fact in that case, is that after about 15-20 minutes in the frigid seas, it would become a useless recovery operation instead of a rescue of remaining survivors. The British probably rescued all they could.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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wadinga
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by wadinga » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:51 pm

Indeed Beltsman,

Just like Scharnhorst's own crew left Glorious', Ardent's and Acasta's crews to
met a terrible fate as well, left to drown/freeze/
There is no "duty of care" towards your enemies in Total War. When any survivors were picked up by the victors it reflects well on them in risking potential further attack by stopping to rescue men in the water. The deaths of the overwhelming majority of Scharnhorst's crew is the responsibity of the men who planned and launched an aggressive war.

If only Kapitan zur See Gustav Kleikamp had questioned his orders on the 1st of September 1939. "I'm supposed to be here on a Friendship Visit- surely there must be some mistake!" :shock:

All the best

wadinga
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RF
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by RF » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:15 am

wadinga wrote:Indeed Beltsman,

Just like Scharnhorst's own crew left Glorious', Ardent's and Acasta's crews to
met a terrible fate as well, left to drown/freeze/
Some survivors were picked up.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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RF
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Re: How did so many survive?

Post by RF » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:17 am

wadinga wrote:
If only Kapitan zur See Gustav Kleikamp had questioned his orders on the 1st of September 1939. "I'm supposed to be here on a Friendship Visit- surely there must be some mistake!" :shock:

All the best

wadinga
Maybe, but he would have been aware of the political situation, otherwise why carry such a large stock of live ammunition?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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