The two battleships of the Bismarck
were the last battleships built in Germany and the most famous.
The first design studies for Panzerschiff F
were made as early as 1934 and showed a ship of 35000 t with eight 33 cm (13") guns. But after the construction of the second French battleship of the Dunkerque
class, the naval construction department was forced to modify the previous design to build a stronger ship than the French counterparts. From this time, the new ship was not reclassified as Schlachtschiff F
Officially the ship still had a size of 35000t, but in reality it was about 50% bigger, about 50000t.
Although the primary mission objective for German ships was to sink allied merchant shipping, the battleships of the Bismarck
class should also engage allied warships, unlike the Panzerschiffe and the Scharnhorst
The final design was completed by May 1935 and Schlachtschiff F
(later named Bismarck
) was laid down on July 1st, 1936 at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg. Its sister ship, Schlachtschiff G
(later named Tirpitz
) was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in October 1936. Bismarck
was completed in August of 1940, Tirpitz
in February 1941.
Both ships had a totally different operational record. The Bismarck
was sunk on its first operation (Operation Rheinübung) after the ship destroyed the British battlecruiser Hood
. The wreck of the ship was detected in 1989, sitting upright in a depth of 4500 m.
spent almost all her time in Norwegian Fjords. After the loss of all other major German ships, the last battleship of the Kriegsmarine was used as a mobile coast defense battery. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Tirpitz
was finally sunk by British "Tallboy bombs.