The Bismarck was a German battleship and one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, named after the 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Bismarck displaced more than 50,000 tonnes fully loaded and was the largest warship then commissioned.
Bismarck took part in only one operation during her brief career. She and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen left Gotenhafen (Gdynia) on the morning of 19 May 1941 for Operation Rheinübung, during which she was to have attempted to intercept and destroy convoys in transit between North America and Great Britain. When Bismarck and Prinz Eugen attempted to break out into the Atlantic, the two ships were discovered by the Royal Navy and brought to battle in the Denmark Strait. During the short engagement, the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, flagship of the Home Fleet and pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk after several minutes of firing. In response, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued the order "Sink the Bismarck!", spurring her relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy.
Two days later, with Bismarck almost in reach of safer waters, Fleet Air Arm Swordfish biplanes launched from the carrier HMS Ark Royal torpedoed the ship and jammed her rudder, allowing heavy British units to catch up with her. In the ensuing battle on the morning of 27 May 1941, Bismarck was heavily attacked for almost two hours before sinking.