Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Anything concerning the wreck. Expeditions, submersibles, photos, etc.
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RF
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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby RF » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:13 am

Garyt wrote:
By ''killing survivors'' I'm not referring to not rescuing survivors and leaving them in the water, I mean the deliberate act of killing them in the water with machine gun fire, grenades etc as in the Peleus case.


Which was Eck taking matters into his own hands, not a policy of Donitz.

Just as much as Eck was prosecuted for war crimes, so should have been Richardson in regards to the Laconia incident. Would you not agree?


Eck was following his understanding of the operational orders given through Donitz, the gunner was obeying what he thought was a legitimate order from his skipper. Both were convicted on a strict liability basis.

Richardson was in a different position. He queried what to do with his superiors, reporting the Red Cross flags. He didn't, unlike Eck, immediately open fire on helpless men in the water. Instead his superiors ordered him to disregard the Red Cross flags and attack the U-boats, which in themselves weren't helpless but could at least dive to avoid fire. Richardson was not ordered to machine gun men in the water, he was told to attack submarines.
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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby Garyt » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:25 pm

Eck was following his understanding of the operational orders given through Donitz


His own rather broad in inaccurate interpretation of them. To "not rescue" does not mean to shoot dead in the water.

Richardson was in a different position. He queried what to do with his superiors,


the gunner was obeying what he thought was a legitimate order from his skipper. Both were convicted on a strict liability basis.


So if the same rules are apllied, Richardson should be convicted as the German gunner was then, as both were following the oders of their superiors. His superiors should be convicted as well then.

reporting the Red Cross flags. He didn't, unlike Eck, immediately open fire on helpless men in the water. Instead his superiors ordered him to disregard the Red Cross flags and attack the U-boats, which in themselves weren't helpless but could at least dive to avoid fire. Richardson was not ordered to machine gun men in the water, he was told to attack submarines.


OK, he was ordered not to bomb men, but submarines. Who a) happen to have red cross flags, and b) were on a rescue mission, and c) the bombs were just as likely, if not more likely to hit defenseless helpless people being rescued.

I'm sorry, there is absolutely no justification that makes any sense to bomb the subs on the rescue mission or those being rescued. Attempting to justify these actions make no sense. The only justification I could see would be for visibility issues where they though they were bombing war vessels not on a rescue mission. And this was clearly not the case.

The discrepancy here is a clear cut illustration of the fact that those who win the war decide what is a war crime, and are very biased against the vanquished.

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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby paul.mercer » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:04 pm

Gentlemen,
Re my last post in which I said Bismarck is a war grave and should be left alone, I still hold with this, However, it does bring into question what is a war grave. What I am saying is how would we define disturbing and in some cases almost pulling apart of merchant ships that were sunk in two world wars and were lost with all hands to get at their cargo of bullion. This has already occurred several times by the team that were prevented from going after the treasure lying in the channel that was supposed to be on the 'Victory', are they not war graves too? As an after thought, did not the British Government authorise the salvage of the Russian gold bullion from the wreck of the Edinburgh?
So am I (and others who think the ships should be left alone) perhaps being a bit hypocritical, after all, does it matter whether or not the sailors were on a warship when they died, or does the lure of salvage over-ride everything?

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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby KevinD » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:53 am

paul.mercer wrote:As an after thought, did not the British Government authorise the salvage of the Russian gold bullion from the wreck of the Edinburgh?


Yes they certainly did! When loot is involved, and it suits the Governments fancy, it seems the 'war graves' issue goes right out the window.

paul.mercer wrote: So am I (and others who think the ships should be left alone) perhaps being a bit hypocritical, after all, does it matter whether or not the sailors were on a warship when they died, or does the lure of salvage over-ride everything?


Yes - and with all due respect, but seeing as you asked the question - it is hypocritical and somewhat of a double standard to only think of warships (as opposed to freighters, etc) as war graves. After all, the deceased were all fighting the same war, so in theory at least, should be treated the same way. And yes again, in many cases the lure of salvage (and the inability to protect most sites) overrides everything it seems.

However, while I am against the wholesale salvage and destruction for profit as has happened in Asian waters in recent years (on numerous Allied and Japanese warships) I think bringing up certain items for museum display so all can see - and future generations have something tangible to see 'in the flesh' - is a good thing. After all, all those wrecks will one day be hardly recognisable as a ship at all, just piles of rusted metal, or worse disappear completely due to illegal salvage. Personally I think most of those sailors would rather be remembered by something tangible (on display) than forgotten on the ocean floor, or just read about in books / magazines, etc.

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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby Garyt » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:57 pm

I think bringing up certain items for museum display so all can see - and future generations have something tangible to see 'in the flesh' - is a good thing. After all, all those wrecks will one day be hardly recognisable as a ship at all, just piles of rusted metal, or worse disappear completely due to illegal salvage. Personally I think most of those sailors would rather be remembered by something tangible (on display) than forgotten on the ocean floor, or just read about in books / magazines, etc.


Very Good point. We would be bring these sailors stories and lives back to the forefront to see how they lived instead of letting them lie hidden from everyone on the cold, dark ocean floor (OK, I was getting a bit sappy there :D ).

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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby RF » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:32 pm

Garyt wrote:OK, he was ordered not to bomb men, but submarines. Who a) happen to have red cross flags, and b) were on a rescue mission, and c) the bombs were just as likely, if not more likely to hit defenseless helpless people being rescued.

I'm sorry, there is absolutely no justification that makes any sense to bomb the subs on the rescue mission or those being rescued. Attempting to justify these actions make no sense. The only justification I could see would be for visibility issues where they though they were bombing war vessels not on a rescue mission. And this was clearly not the case.

The discrepancy here is a clear cut illustration of the fact that those who win the war decide what is a war crime, and are very biased against the vanquished.


I think the first two paragraphs quoted above offer a partial viewpoint only and some might say rather blinkered.

The Allied control officers who gave the order to bomb the subs were not present at the scene, and only had Richardson's reports to go on. I understand that their view was that the Germans were abusing the Red Cross Flag. Clearly this was not the case, but that was not the interpretation these officers had. They were not in a position to see otherwise. What they would know is that the Laconia was carrying a large number of Italian POW's whom the Allies would not want to see rescued by Axis forces and returned home to fight again. If there is a military reason to attack the subs, which were capable of defending themselves or of escaping then so be it. War is a dirty business. But not as dirty as machine gunning helpless men in the water who had no chance of escape or fighting back.
With respect to survivors it would have been the procedure to send Allied ships to pick them up. however there is the risk that these same subs would them torpedo them. Even if these Allied rescue ships had themselves flown the Red Cross Flag that would offer no guarantee that they would not be attacked - there was ''previous'' on this from the First World War.
In the event the Vichy French and Spanish sent rescue ships which were left to do their job by both sides.

With respect to the last paragraph - that can be the case, but the Allied side I think is likely to take a fairer view on that than any of the three Axis countries. In time a lot of Allied actions were questioned, such as the bombing of Dresden or the use of atomic weapons against Japan.
The fact there is a lasting controversy over the aftermath of the sinking of the Laconia is further demonstration of that.
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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby Garyt » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:22 pm

With respect to the last paragraph - that can be the case, but the Allied side I think is likely to take a fairer view on that than any of the three Axis countries.


I think I would agree with that, IF you are saying that if Germany had won, the Axis powers would have been less fair in judgement. With Germany, I don't blame this on the army or even much of the higher ranking officers - but on the influence of the Nazi party and Hitler. With Hitler out and Donitz in charge, as happened shortly before the German surrender, I think the Germans would have offered similar treatment that the Allies did. With Japan it seems to be more of a cultural difference that ran through the entire nation.

But even with "fairer" views of Allied war criminals if the Axis had won, I'd think those involved with the bombing of Dresden may well have been considered war criminals, and of course with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sadly those involved with the Jewish Genocide would get off scot free I would think.

But not as dirty as machine gunning helpless men in the water who had no chance of escape or fighting back.


Well, the Allied bombers also bombed helpless men in rafts who had no chance of escape or fighting back as well.

Prinz

Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby Prinz » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:56 pm

Don't forget, the Bismarck was crippled when the British warships arrived, was pretty much a slaughter.
The British could have saved many of its crew, I see it as a war crime - a disgrace by the English!

If it can be raised, who knows, but I see it as a murder scene NOT a war grave - good if it COULD be raised, remind us all how brutal war can be!

Struggle to raise from 300ft, let alone 3mls!!

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Re: Bismarck Wreck Salvage

Postby RF » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:45 am

Prinz wrote:Don't forget, the Bismarck was crippled when the British warships arrived, was pretty much a slaughter.
The British could have saved many of its crew, I see it as a war crime - a disgrace by the English!


Why a disgrace?

Bismarck was still fully armed with its 15 inch guns intact.

Dorsetshire and Maori picked up over 100 survivors when an apparent U-boat sighting caused them to start engines and get away. This is the correct procedure - borne of experience in 1914 when the cruisers Hogue, Cressy and Aboukir were all sunk by one U-boat within minutes, because two of these cruisers stopped to pick up survivors and in doing so presented themselves as a sitting target.

There was no war crime.
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