Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine.

Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primar force behind the unification of German in !"#!, the ship was laid down at the Blohm $ %ossship ard in &amburg in 'ul !()* and launched two and a half ears later in +ebruar !()(. ,ork was completed in -ugust !(./, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built b German , and two of the largest built b an 0uropean power. 1n the course of the warship2s eight-month career under its sole commanding officer, Capt. 0rnst 3indemann, Bismarckconducted onl one offensive operation, in 4a !(.!, codenamed Rheinübung. 5he ship, along with the heav cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to break into the -tlantic Ocean and raid -llied shipping from North -merica to Great Britain. 5he two ships were detected several times off 6candinavia, and British naval units were deplo ed to block their route. -t the Battle of the 7enmark 6trait, Bismarck engaged and destro ed the battlecruiser &46 Hood, the pride of the 8o al Nav , and forced the battleship &46 Prince of Wales to retreat9 Bismarck herself was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank. 5he destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit b the 8o al Nav involving do:ens of warships. 5wo da s later, while heading for the relative safet of occupied +rance, Bismarck was attacked b obsolete biplane +aire 6wordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier &46 Ark Royal9 one scored a hit that rendered the battleship2s steering gear inoperable. 1nher final battle the following morning, Bismarck was neutralised b a sustained bombardment from a British fleet, was scuttled b her crew, and sank with heav loss of life. 4ost e;perts agree that the battle damage would have caused her to sink eventuall . 1n 'une !("(, several ears after discovering the wreck of the Titanic, 8obert Ballard located the wreck, which has since been surve ed b several other e;peditions.

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