The Sinking Of The “Unsinkable” Bismarck

By Rebeka Knott
The Bismarck 1918: The German merchant navy ship 'Bismarck'. Source: (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In the early morning hours of May 19, 1941, Bismarck quietly set out on its maiden voyage in the Baltic Sea. Traveling under the cover of darkness, the Germans were confident that this formidable battleship was indestructible.

Bismarck was touted as an “ocean-bound castle.”

Bismarck was heavily armored and was the first of its kind, a full-scale battleship, constructed by the German Navy since World War I. This impressive vessel was accompanied by the Prinze Eugen, which was the largest warship in use. The pair braved the icy, open waters of the North Atlantic Ocean on a secret mission.

Operation Rheinubung was the code-name of Bismarck’s secret mission.

Bismarck’s mission was to attack the Allied ship convoys that were crossing the Atlantic between the United States and Great Britain. The convoys were carrying oil, food, and other necessary supplies. The Nazis had hoped to interfere with the Allied Forces' lifeline, thereby making Great Britain to comply with their authority. If the United States couldn’t supply Great Britain with necessities, they would surely starve.

Great Britain was one step ahead of the Nazis in their quest for destruction.