Sink the Bismark

In the making of the filmâ€Sink the Bismark†it showed the loading drill of , I assume, 14â€/15†or maybe 12†guns.
As a GA2 and not a QA2 at the time[1960.when the film was made] I'm not sure which.
To my knowledge at that time I saw only two Battleships around mothballed.
HMS Vanguard sold for scrap 1960 so it may have been her or the HMS King George V scrapped 58/59 so the scenes may have been shot in her gun bays.
KGV had 14†Vanguard had 15â€.
Just wondered as someone will know.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
According to the message boards on Internet Movie Database:

IMDB said:
...the gun loading sequence was almost certainly filmed on board the battleship "Vanguard" because by 1960 all other British battleships had gone to the breakers yard. Vanguard was particularly suitable for this role because her 15 inch guns were about the same vintage as Hood's. Although Vanguard wasn't completed until 1946 the guns were mounts salvaged from world war one battlecruisers Courageous and Glorious after they were converted into aircraft carriers. So, contrary to popular opinion, Vanguard's guns WERE fired in anger, during World War One - just not on the Vanguard.

Wikipedia said:
"Sink the Bismarck!" (1960)

Historical Inaccuracies

- The film credits identify the real Director of Operations as Capt R.A.B. Edwards and "Capt Shepard" as fictional. The Shepard-Davis interplay was human interest added to the story.

- Admiral Lütjens is portrayed as a stereotypical movie Nazi. This is fictitious and meant to make Lütjens the villain of the film. Lütjens was the opposite — pessimistic over the chance of success of Bismarck's mission and, with two other navy commanders, had publicly protested against the brutality of anti-Semitic crimes during Kristallnacht.

- The film shows Lütjens ordering Captain Ernst Lindemann to open fire on the Hood and Prince of Wales. Lütjens ordered Lindemann to avoid engaging the Hood; Lindemann refused and ordered the ship's guns to open fire.

- The film oversimplifies the movements of the Hood and Prince of Wales early in the battle. The film shows an order to turn, allowing Hood and presumably Prince of Wales to fire full broadsides. In reality, the British sought to close the distance first, only firing forward turrets and reducing their firepower advantage while the Bismarck was firing full broadsides. Only in its final moments did the Hood begin a turn to present all her guns to the Bismarck. However, the Bismarck hit the Hood and she exploded. This deployment has been questioned and cited as a possible cause for the British defeat, an issue the movie sidesteps.

- The film fails to note that Hood at first engaged the wrong ship, firing at heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the belief it was the Bismarck. Hood is shown firing to port while the Bismarck is firing to starboard; it was the other way around.

- In one scene, Lütjens speculates that after Bismarck underwent repair in Brest, France, the two German battlecruisers based there, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, could join the Bismarck in raiding Allied shipping. There is no record of such a discussion at that time, though it would have been possible for Bismarck to sortie with the two battlecruisers if Bismarck had reached the port. This concept was not an original idea of Lütjens; it had been proposed by German naval staff before the battle but was scrapped because of the repairs the two German battlecruisers needed from damage during an air raid. Before the operation, Lütjens had requested that either Scharnhorst or Tirpitz join Bismarck and Prinz Eugen; his request was denied.

- Another mistake was made during the night time engagement between British destroyers and the Bismarck. The film portrayal shows three British hits by torpedoes, while the British destroyer Solent is hit and destroyed by the Bismarck. There was no Solent and no successful torpedo attack. On 26 May a Royal Navy destroyer squadron did exchange gunfire in unsuccessful torpedo attacks and Bismarck inflicted minor damage to the destroyers. The destroyers that attacked were Cossack, Maori, Sikh, Zulu and Piorun. Aboard Zulu, a sub-lieutenant in the gunnery control tower lost a hand to shell splinters when a shell landed on the forecastle but did not explode. Cossack had her radio antenna sheared off by a shell. The Royal Navy did lose a destroyer later in the operations — the Mashona was sunk by the Luftwaffe on May 28.

- The attacks by Swordfish show some planes being shot down. Shepherd hears a report his son's Swordfish from Ark Royal did not return. No Swordfish was shot down by Bismarck's guns and all were recovered. However, from the HMS Victorious air raid, two Fairey Fulmar escort fighters ran out of fuel and ditched. Three fliers were picked up from a rubber boat.

- Bismarck anti-aircraft guns are represented by stock footage of British QF 2 pounder naval gun.

- The film does not show controversial events after the Bismarck sank, including Dorsetshire's quick departure after rescuing only 110 survivors. The Dorsetshire's crew suspected a German U-Boat in the area and withdrew. Hundreds of German sailors were left behind in the sea to die.

- Some minor mistakes involve the visual appearance of the Bismarck. When a spy in Kristiansand, Norway sees Bismarck arrive in Norwegian waters, the ship has no apparent camouflage. Bismarck had striped camouflage along its sides which was removed shortly before it headed out to sea. Damage during its battle with Hood and Prince of Wales caused flooding that out Bismarck's bow barely above the sea; in the film, Bismarck's bow remains at the same level.
What twadle. It was never released as a documentary plus forgetting the financial constraints as well as available old film to use.
Like all movies, it has to have a certain amount of drama to keep the audience entertained.

I suppose that he/she put it in Wiki so they could remain anonymous.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Calm down, NMC - it's just a film!! You'll be telling me that the Yanks never recovered the Enigma machine from U-571 next... :shock: :twisted:
sgtpepperband said:
Calm down, NMC - it's just a film!! You'll be telling me that the Yanks never recovered the Enigma machine from U-571 next... :shock: :twisted:
That is brilliant, I watched that movie as well, god there was some swearing in our house that night.
sink the bismarck script

I just read the exchange between Sgtpepperband and NotmeChief.While these days a lot more info is around so it's easy to pick out mistakes,when the film was made much less was available and relatively few people were knowledgeable enough to notice errors.I did find the script had a naiive quality in places - naval officers would have been using the 24-hour clock and not making such silly mistakes as (at the end) "9 o'clock,how about dinner?.....Good heavens it's 9 o'clock in the morning!" ,and the 1st Sea Lord would not have been asking "Where is Kristiansand?" Admittedly this was probably put in for the benefit of the audience but it could have been put across in other ways.All the same,such gripes do border on nit-picking considering the age of the film,which I still regard as one of the best naval war films, for effects especially,and is certainly far better than modern computerized battle scenes,with unconvincing fire,smoke and explosions.Today's movie makers could learn a lot from films like this.
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