At the risk of being accused of being
in pursuit of an unseemly lawyerly advantage in this case.
I am (further) surprised by the idea that the acquisition of the enemy's hardware is foremost in people's minds when they accept the surrender of their opponents. This would be a war as waged by accountants.
Only the surviving crew were surrendered to the mercies of the victor.
"Gee, they have to feed and shelter our personnel at their cost and they don't get the monetary value of the wreck in return - it's like a "victory" in my profit and loss book".
In the age of sail prize money was a significant factor, but that was long, long ago and was irrelevant in the Modern Age . Like the Articles of warres.
How many German warships were actually ever physically captured by the Allies?
They scuttled themselves when they had the chance.
The act of surrender is to unilaterally stop fighting and offer no more resistance, in the hope that the enemy will stop killing your people and take them into captivity. That is the prime objective. That your former enemy will acquire your weapons of war, in whatever form, serviceable or destroyed, is largely immaterial. In ancient history things were somewhat different, the swords, shields and armour would suffer little harm and would be redistributed as "spoils of war", paraded through the streets etc.
In later wars, even to WWII the acquisition of large quantities of personal weapons, say rifles and suitable ammunition, when entire armies surrendered, was significant since they were often supplied to Allies. The Germans found the surrendered 38T Czech tanks very useful and pressed them into service.
A half sunk cruiser somewhere in the South Atlantic as were several of the examples I quoted as surrendering to reduce the further suffering of their crews, was of little or no use to the victors, and if their crews continued to offer resistance in a covert form by scuttling their vessel it was of no significance.
Other irrelevant examples of vessels being scuttled eg Lutzow are included, even though there is no question of her surrendering to anybody are paralleled by the many cases of British vessels destroyed to prevent them falling into enemy hands. After their crews have been taken off by friendly vessels. The objective has been to save the lives of the crew, not leave them in their disabled ship to make some pointless sacrifice for the glory of the flag (or the Fuhrer/ Emperor, whatever).
Mr.Wadinga seems to have a view of the Captain as a God without rules: it's not this way: a Captain is God during the action; after it, he has to answer to his superiors
[ Offensive personal commentary deleted. Wadinga is cautioned. WJJ ]
a Commander is not "Master under God". Since his own death is an inescapable risk in action, what a Commander's superiors may think or do to him subsequently should be of little importance. They were not there, they cannot possibly know all the circumstances prevailing, they already gave him the sole responsibility to act. He alone is responsible for furthering the national goal and he assesses whether risk to his vessel therefore the lives of his crew is necessary to further that goal. If his command is no longer able to further that goal in any way, the survival of the men entrusted to him should become his prime concern.
[Inflammatory material deleted. WJJ]
What should be of interest is that during an action against enemies at nearly point blank range Bismarck scored no hits at all against Vian's tormenting destroyers. That torpedoes failed to hit in these conditions is not surprising. However IMHO it is entirely reasonable that it was because Bismarck was wallowing in synchronicity with the waves that her shooting was entirely ineffectual. When a ship is underway, she decouples herself to certain extent from wave action, but when her engines stop, she quickly assumes a motion related to the sea. Whilst Bismarck had a comparatively great metacentric height which many naiively assume made her a "stable" and superior gun platform, even with her great beam, she must as a result of buoyancy react to the seas. The downside of her great Metacentric height in long ocean swells would be a viciously quick rolling motion when stopped or running very slowly and thus not counteracting wave action with her own speed.
Lutjens would have been fully aware of how completely ineffectual his " completely functional armament" had proved to be in the night action when the Baron points out he could see his enemies perfectly. See but never hit them. With the arrival of Home Fleet battlewagons the following day, firing at distances maybe five times as great as those at which Bismarck was unable to hit anything, due to her wallowing and yawing, the Admiral could easily forecast what actually happened. It served no purpose other than to confirm Raeder's gloomy prediction at the beginning of the war. "Dying with Dignity".
The voyage of the Italian Navy from La Spezia towards La Maddallena in Sardinia (ie not Malta) in 1943 and the instructions from a decapitated Italian government which led to it deserve a dedicated thread. Let's open one it the relevant place. Likewise the delay in destroying the ships of the High Seas fleet whilst they still had some perceived value in the Versailles negotiations, and the timely enactment when they lost their value as bargaining chips.
All the best