1. A Fleet Reborn The post-war rebirth of the German navy after the Treaty of Versailles. The planning of new capital ships and a change in German naval strategy. How the major sea battle of World War I (Jutland) influenced the design of future German capital ships. The state of the German Navy at the close of World War I, the scuttling of the High Seas Fleet in 1919 plus details of the surviving battleships and their reconstruction in the 1920s. The resurrection of the German Navy by the Nazis between the wars and the personalities responsible. The development of new types of capital ships - armoured ships (`pocket battleships') and battle cruisers. 2. Design and development The design and development of the new `super-battleships', Bismarck and Tirpitz, and of six even larger vessels, only two of which were actually laid down and broken up later. The chapter features full design details including engine, armament, armour, radio equipment etc. The launching of the Bismarck, and an examination of the ship's captain and crew. Fitting out the battleship and its first foray to the Baltic for sea trials. 3. The Bismarck in action The Bismarck's deployment to the Atlantic with her consort, Prinz Eugen. The RAF attack on the ships forcing them into the Norwegian Sea. During the ensuing battle in the Denmark Strait, 24 May, 1941, the Bismarck inflicts damage on the HMS Prince of Wales and destroys the HMS Hood. Two days later the Bismarck is sighted by an RAF Catalina. She is struck by several torpedo hits and finally sunk on 27 May. Forty eight years later, in June 1989, the wreck is located by the Ballard expedition. 4. The Tirpitz The Bismarck's sister ship, Tirpitz sets sail for Norway in January 1942. The threat of her presence causes scattering and subsequent loss of the greater part of Convoy PQ17. During the course of 1943 and 1944 she is damaged by attacks from midget submarines, carrier aircraft and RAF Lancasters. An attack from a Lancaster on November 12, 1944 causes her eventual sinking in a Norwegian fjord. 5. Appendices Specification tables, comparison tables and construction charts. Index
Robert Jackson is a former pilot and navigational instructor. Now a full-time writer in military, naval and aviation affairs, he has over 90 books to his name, including Spitfire, B-17 Flying Fortress, The Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft and Warplanes of World War II. He lives in Darlington, County Durham, UK.