The two battleships of the Bismarck
class, Bismarck and Tirpitz 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
(Battleship F ).
Officially the ship still had a
size of 35000t, but in reality it was about 50% bigger, about
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.
The Tirpitz 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.