The Bismarck surrender option

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

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paul.mercer
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:49 pm

Gentlemen,
Have been 'out of action' for a few days whilst tackling my new knee.
I read all the posts with interest and several things occurred to me, first of all, the in ability of Bismarck to hit the destroyers at 4000yds, I would have thought that at night, with a ship rolling around at about 10 knots in a rough sea it would have been almost impossible to hit a destroyer moving about at 30 knots unless it was a 'lucky' hit. As for surrender, I don't think Lutjens ever considerd surrender, he simply could not do so with a fully armed and reasonably battleworthy ship even if she could not maneuver and as has been pointed out when the time came to surrender most if not all the senior officers were dead, although Ii sometimes wonder what Lindermann might have done if he had the option to surrender.
If Lutjens has surrendered I also wonder what the RN would have done? They certainly were not going to risk their capital ships picking up survivors with possible reinforcement of U boats arriving on the scene and even if they did it would have been almost impossible in the rough sea, they could not leave a enemy battleship afloat and just sail off and hope she would sink later, so in reality they had to sink her and make sure she went down.
All of this is of course with the benefit of hindsight on this topic, but just for fun, why not each of us put ourselves in both the German and British sides and say what we would have done if put in those positions!

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:26 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "Surely the point is clear , there was nothing to be gained for "the country's interest" in the May 27th slaughter....their Leader who had the power and freedom to accept reality and at least try to save them "
Surely clear only to the author of the above sentence....
As kindly explained to him, by several members from his same side too, even ignoring Raeder directive, honour, personal sense of duty, etc. , just the bad military example and the British propaganda effect alone would have caused to German Navy + Country much more damage than the loss of Bismarck's crew.... as well as the surrender of a British ship in the same situation would have caused a severe prejudice to British interests in 1941....
Wadinga seems to be unable to understand what was important in 1941 vs today, as his last sentence demonstrates clearly.


"His refusal to engage in conversation with the Baron, whom he knew well, shows his disconnection from the men under his command"
...possibly Wadinga mixes up Lutjens and Lindemann. The Baron was not intimate of Lutjens (who possibly was not intimate of anyone aboard, as he was not surely an open sympathetic guy...).
Lutjens answered the Baron salute and this was all what his duty imposed to do in such situation. Lindemann did not, and this is a military very bad behaviour in all countries and in all times: no justification for this.




"..Continuing outraged appeals beyond the moderator and to the website owner..."
Due to the continuous interventions against me only (and the freedom left to the other side to provoke), I'm just repeatedly asking for a position from Mr.Ricor (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8347#p84945) and I think (after all these year of contribution to the forum) I have the right to get one.
However, the webmaster reluctance to answer in front of everybody speaks loud about the problem that his moderation poses by now to the forum owner.
Else, very simple (and possibly very tough) answers to my 6 questions (especially n.4 and 5) would be enough to close this discussion forever.... apparently they are not simple in this biased and unfair situation.... :think:


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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wadinga
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by wadinga » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:35 pm

Hello Paul,
it would have been almost impossible to hit a destroyer moving about at 30 knots unless it was a 'lucky' hit.
Due to the extremely poor weather conditions, Vian's destroyers were incapable of anything like 30 knots. Even at greatly reduced speed, spray burst over their bridges. The Baron describes tracking them down to short range in his optics, but Bismarck's immense firepower when unleashed was rendered ineffectual most likely by her rolling and yawing.

BTW good luck with your new knee.

For Northcape,
I don't think it is "heroic" to do his/ her duty - it is simply to do what is expected of you.


What is surely expected of an independent Commander is to balance military gain against the price in blood. Subordinates can hide behind " I was only obeying orders" and doing only what is "expected" of them. The Buck stops with the Commander. I still believe I am quite right to say an unsympathetic automaton will do what is expected of it. "Any bloody fool can obey orders!" Adm Fisher.

In the event Lutjens gave Goebbels the best available story in hopeless circumstances. Not Aryan victory but defeat against odds but unfortunately without even the balm of 2000 dead selling their lives dearly, despite attempts to float fake news about extensive imaginary damage to HMS Rodney.
(and why join the military in the first place, if you don't believe in the necessity of war and fighting?).
There should be no suggestion that an officer who surrenders his force under certain circumstances does not believe in such necessities. You have observed that
In my view, it would have been "heroic" in that case to neglect the duty and surrender.
Well we agree there then.

And for Mr Virtuani,
"Perhaps in view of our long acquaintance"
says the Baron of Admiral Lutjens, because they had served in Karlsruhe together on the long cruising voyage a few years previously. The Baron characterises his integrity and reliability, and describes him as noble and chivalrous, based on his personal experience, but is still disappointed and indeed astonished that the Fleet Commander would not even speak to him in the Darkest Hour. Lutjens has severed communications with those who will pay the price of his decision to fight to the Letze Granate.
and I think (after all these year of contribution to the forum) I have the right to get one.
It would seem recent "contributions" have resulted in you being banned for several periods which you apparently consider unfair. As career criminals admit "if you don't like doing Time, don't do the Crime".

I am sure Mr Rico will communicate with you directly, as he has on occasion with me, if he considers it warranted.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:25 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: "Perhaps in view of our long acquaintance" says the Baron of Admiral Lutjens"
Acquaintance for having been on the same ship (as Captain and Midshipman) is not intimacy and the last one was required at least to have the Chief of the Fleet making confidences to a young officer in such an hour...
Lutjens looked at the Baron "quickly but with attention" answering his salute, thus he was fully in control as surely his decision was taken and solid: the only possible one in any Navy and at any time.

Lindemann, who the Baron had served as personal assistant, could have spoken to him, but apparently he was so "shaked" to forget even his military duty of saluting and to wear an unbuttoned life-jacket.




"It would seem recent "contributions" have resulted in you being banned for several periods which you apparently consider unfair."
My recent contribution have unvealed a very "regrettable" situation here in the forum (like in the DS aftermath...) for the reasons explained here (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8347#p84945) to everybody.
This moderation is very unfair, you know it very well, you feel confortably protected by now and you are therefore happy this way (question 5 of the above link)...

As career criminals admit "if you don't like doing Time, don't do the Crime"."
Another example of a blatant provocation that, done by you, will remain unpunished, I guess..... Had I used such a comparison for you I would have been banned forever....

"I am sure Mr Rico will communicate with you directly, as he has on occasion with me, if he considers it warranted. "
I still hope, but I'm not sure at all (he has not contacted me privately and, even if he does, it will not be enough: my direct questions and my clear accusations are public).
Mr.Rico has apparently a very big problem with the moderation of his forum by now, else he would have already answered in front of everybody to my accusations: a sign that the answer is not so easy for him....
I have said that I will accept his formal position (once expressed and motivated) as definitive and that I will draw my own conclusions from his answers (question by question): however I appreciate his problem to deny accusations (that are all well proven).


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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wadinga
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by wadinga » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:23 pm

Fellow Contributors,

I believe we have all (with one exception) expressed our support for the wise and apposite actions of the Moderator. Even though occasionally my prose has been obliterated I accept his puissance.

My interpretation of the Baron's description of activities in Karlsruhe was that Captain Lutjens took instruction from Mullenheim-Rechberg in matters related to rangefinding as the latter was a specialist in that area. This temporary reversal of seniority would surely make for closer relationships. It is the Baron, who knew Lutjens well enough, who expresses disappointment and indeed astonishment. The opinion of this expert eye-witness negates an observation based solely on intuition.

There are numerous descriptions in the Baron's book of the respect and admiration that Captain Lindemann was held in by his crew. What could he have said to the Baron at such a time? Maybe it was best for discipline if he kept his thoughts to himself. As for the triviality of failing to answer a salute, he probably had more important things on his mind.

I unhesitatingly withdraw "career criminal" if it causes such offence, how about ice-hockey rules infringer?

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:47 pm

Hello everybody,
Wadinga wrote: ""It is the Baron, who knew Lutjens well enough, who expresses disappointment and indeed astonishment"
It's more than natural that a young officer would have hoped for a word from his Admiral.

However, his disappointment against Lindemann is much more evident and the judgement of history (with the dedication of a ship to Lutjens) is a clear sign Mr.Wadinga is prevented against him because he was able to inflict a defeat to the Royal Navy.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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wadinga
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by wadinga » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:19 pm

Fellow Contributors,

It is interesting to see how the German propaganda machine handled the defeat of Bismarck. See

http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/gpressart1.html

on this very site. While there is a significant amount of genuine information, reports from the survivors is ignored in favour of an imagined version where no less than four British battleships and several cruisers are engaging Bismarck for a gun battle lasting 12 hours! The imagined sunken British destroyer reported to the crew by loudspeaker is mentioned, so survivor information was available.

There is no mention of any survivors in this German report, snuffing out the hopes of family and friends, presumably since the gesture of an "heroic epic" is somewhat devalued if anyone gets home or even survives as a POW. Despite a miniscule acknowledgement of "grief", Bismarck's crew are already written off as expended.

It would have required a much greater imaginative effort to write a story around a surrendering vessel and a crew which might have largely survived, but there was clearly no lack of imagination available. Besides there would soon be lots more "good news" stories of victories in Barbarossa.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Reubs64 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:12 am

Post deleted at request of the author.

W. Jurens (moderator)

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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by wadinga » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:48 pm

Fellow Contributors,

Returning to the thread subject and the repercussions of a potential surrender. I repost from an old thread:.
From Joseph Goebbels' diary, translated Fred Taylor, ISBN 0-21-10893-4 (A new addition to my library) p.385

"28th May 1941

I halt the entire propaganda effort relating to the Hood and Bismarck in time to save embarrassment, and switch the focus to the Mediterranean."
So the sinking of Bismarck was quite enough "embarrassment" for Goebbels and the "heroic epic" was immediately downplayed in order to concentrate on victory in Crete. The sacrifice of Bismarck's crew on the altar of naval tradition became yesterday's news fairly quickly, even before Sachsenwald had landed her survivors, although a specialist marine German newspaper ran the story in June. In September 1941 "Signal" Magazine was revisiting the glories of the Denmark Strait, using Schmitz-Westerholt's images, but without mentioning the final act of the drama. http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/press.html

Written later
http://www.kbismarck.com/bismarck-nauticus.html this Nauticus article has invented numerous imaginary hits on Rodney, evidenced solely by the visit to a US dockyard, which was already scheduled.

I hope we can reclaim the lively and respectful exchange of information and views which have previously been a feature of this excellent site.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Herr Nilsson » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:44 am

I'm curious how a proposed surrender- (or better scuttling-) scenario would look during a gale in a submarine-infested area. What would be the difference compared to the fight to the last shell?
Regards

Marc

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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by wadinga » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:55 am

Fellow Contributors,

As usual a perceptive point and one already briefly alluded to. Whereas when Pola surrendered, the weather was so calm and there being no undue risk of enemy intervention, a brow was put across between ships for evacuation, nothing even vaguely similar would be possible in Bismarck's case.

The Laconia incident is somewhat comparable, but highlights the problem that just showing a Red Cross does not stop a warship being a belligerent armed with guns and torpedoes. I suspect it is actually a contravention of international law for any warship to wear such a flag, even if engaged in humanitarian work, and that Red Cross vessels should always be unarmed. Designated convoy rescue ships which were introduced by the British in 1941 and were not warships, but were not hospital ships either, carried guns for defence because they were likely to be considered legitimate targets and even contributed HF/DF data for U-boat location. Five were sunk by U-boats or aircraft but since they had no protection under international law and looked like ordinary merchant ships anyway, losses were to be expected.

Abandoning ship in a better-equipped state for survival would be easier if not actually being blasted by gunfire but heavy casualties through exposure would be expected for men in the water, and short of some assurance of non-intervention from the German authorities, there would always be a danger to would-be rescuers of real attack or perceived threat. How such an assurance could be secured in a relevant time scale is difficult to imagine, since even Donitz might not be able to contact all his wolves in time, and the Luftwaffe would have to play ball too.

All the best

wadinga
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Byron Angel » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:32 pm

Fair comment about complications. British efforts to rescue German survivors of SMS Bluecher at Dogger Bank were called off after the dropping of an aerial bomb in the immediate vicinity by a German seaplane or dirigible (accounts differ).

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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by HMSVF » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:38 pm

Herr Nilsson wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:44 am
I'm curious how a proposed surrender- (or better scuttling-) scenario would look during a gale in a submarine-infested area. What would be the difference compared to the fight to the last shell?
You may well have had more survivors in the water than historical. Whether those extra survivors would have been picked up given the circumstances (Battle of the Atlantic,lots of U-Boats) is another question. It may well have been the case that the number of survivors could have been counted in 10's rather than 100's.

One potential periscope sighting and the RN moves off.



Just my musings of course. :wink:


BW

HMSVF

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Alberto Virtuani
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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:32 am

Ref.: this post viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8742&start=75#p85098,

Apparently Mr.Reubs64 has not yet understood that "shooting from behind" is a un-gallant behaviour despite having been already taught about this very simple concept (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8725&p=84852&hilit= ... ind#p84852)....

However the most serious issue here is that his insulting words have been left in the forum by the "moderator" despite he usually claims that I must leave some time to him to intervene...... :kaput:
Words like "paranoid and neurotic" referred to me have been left in the forum for one full month now ! Plenty of time for the "moderator" to intervene..... :think:
I know I cannot answer this individual with the same tones because the "moderator" would ban only me again for that, but this is no problem at all for me: to be insulted by such a person (writing twice per year, just to post his insults against me and Antonio) is a great honour indeed....

However, Reubs64 has said something very correct, in the above post, that I will underline in the relevant thread (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=8347&p=85165#p85165)...


Bye, Alberto
Last edited by Alberto Virtuani on Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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Re: The Bismarck surrender option

Post by Alberto Virtuani » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:37 am

Hello everybody,

regarding this post: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8742&start=75#p85097 and this one viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8742&start=75#p85101,

Surely a Bismarck surrender could have been transformed by the German propaganda in something heroic, however, during WWII, the allied were so "kind" to transmit their own bulletin and inside the Axis territory, they were listened to and confronted with the "official" ones...... My mother told me (she was just a very little girl during WWII) that she remembered his grandfather secretly listening at the news the Americans were transmitting during the war in Italy... I don't know if this was the case in Germany too, but I suspect so.
For sure, the propaganda effect of a Bismarck surrender would have been largely exploited by British.



Wadinga wrote: "It would have required a much greater imaginative effort to write a story around a surrendering vessel and a crew which might have largely survived, but there was clearly no lack of imagination available. "
...no lack of imagination for sure, as well as in any other Navy involved in a war where propaganda was an important weapon to exploit.

British "invented" even when they won: see for Matapan the British bulletin on March 31, at 18 PM where the cruiser "Giovanni dalle Bande Nere" was given as sunk (!) together with the 3 Zara's or the British bulletin on April 1st, 1941 at 8:15 AM where the Italian battleships that fought against the British during the battle of the Ionian Sea (!) were 3 (!) of them instead of just 1.....

I have to admit that the Italian bulletins after the defeat were much more unrealistic than the British, but to pretend that propaganda worked only in the Axis field (as the above post seems to point to) is simply not true.
British were champions of propaganda too: when defeated, they just suppressed the whole news (see HMS Barham case or the raid on Alexandria, when no bulletin was done at all).


As Churchill had ordered to Adm.Godfrey, "Good news was made to seem better; bad news was toned down, delayed or sometimes suppressed." (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6771&p=65795&hilit=godfrey#p65795)...
Goebbels strictly "followed" Churchill's instructions when he decided to halt the Bismarck related propaganda. Had Bismarck surrendered, British propaganda would not have halted at all however.....





"I hope we can reclaim the lively and respectful exchange of information and views which have previously been a feature of this excellent site. "
I agree but I hope we can reclaim the freedom for everybody to express a different opinion, which has previously been a feature of this excellent site, too.


Bye, Alberto
"It takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition" (Adm.A.B.Cunningham)

"There's always a danger running in the enemy at close range" (Adm.W.F.Wake-Walker)

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