Why didn't the Bismarck shoot down any Swordfish?


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Why didn't the Bismarck shoot down any Swordfish?



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The Bismarck was struck critically by an attack of 15 Swordfish bi-plane bombers, yet wasn’t able to shoot a single one down. How was this possible, considering that the Bismarck was the most advanced Battleship of the Kriegsmarine and the Fairey Swordfish a rather archaic and fragile look plane? Was it the visibility, were the Germans just bad shots, was there a problem with the AA guns or the fire control system or other factors?

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» SOURCES «

Friedman: Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns & Gunnery [Thank you Martin!]

Breyer, Siegfried; Koop, Gerhard: Schlachtschiff Bismarck. Eine technikgeschichtliche Dokumentation

Elder, George H.; Rudofsky, Ulrich H.: Final Report of Artillery Testing Command for Ships No. 700/41 – AVKS Tests aboard Battleship “Bismarck” found on: The Battleship Bismarck – Armament Information
http://www.kbismarck.com/archives/barmament.html

NavWeaps: 3.7 cm/83 SK C/30
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_37mm-83_skc30.php

NavWeaps: 10.5 cm/65 (4.1″) SK C/33
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_41-65_skc33.php

NavWeaps: 2 cm/65 (0.79″) C/30 -2 cm/65 (0.79″) C/38 AA MG http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_20mm-65_c30.php

ADM 234/509: Sinking of the ‘Bismarck’, 27 May 1941: Official Despatches
http://www.hmshood.org.uk/reference/official/adm234/adm234-509tovey.htm

Naval History Forum – No Swordfish shot down by Bismarck
http://www.kbismarck.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=65

Horan, Mark E.: “With Gallantry and Determination” – The Story of the Torpedoing of the Bismarck
http://www.kbismarck.com/article2.html

Reddit – Ask Historians – I read that the reasons why the swordfishs … Bismarck
https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/34tiou/i_read_that_the_reason_why_the_swordfishs_from/

Rielly, Robin L.: Kamikazes, Corsairs, and Picket Ships. Okinawa, 1945

Harrison, W.A.: Fairey Swordfish in action

Rimell, Ray: Swordfish – Fairey Swordfish MKS I-III

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32 Comments

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  1. Hitler didn’t have faith in the navy Bismark was a great ship in German the ship was accounted for being male he’s a good ship masculine in England they say she is a good ship

  2. The use of the word “ obsolete” in relation to the Fairey Swordfish is erroneous depending on the situation. These aircraft were effective in relation to giant battleships like the Bismarck. They would have been shot down by fighters as the American torpedo bombers were at Midway. They only looked ancient because they were biplanes. They were designed in response to a need for torpedo bombers for the Royal Navy in the mid 1930s. The were introduced to the navy in 1936 and continued to operate until 1945. Some were equipped with ASV RADAR which could be used to locate ships and submarines at sea.
    They caused tremendous damage to the Italian Navy at Taranto. They sunk more submarines than any other aircraft.

  3. Bismarck killed the british hood ship in 5 Minutes we german can t Expect everything and American and british Ships? They are like nutshells with arrows like ac odyssey… xD
    Edit: the Bismarck Was designed to Shoot down modern Planes;)

  4. Also the fire control system was calibrated for a fully fueled ship that set slightly lower in the water. The Bismark was less than half more near a 1/4.

  5. How in the goddamn did the Bismarck even hit one of those biplanes once, yet alone 215 times? It almost sounded like the Anti-Aircraft guns were designed by a Chimp on crack.

  6. I write before ana whilst watching any video so I can comment and check my knowledge ana theories against others opinions.
    Very good video as always.
    I think it we also have to take in to consideration the materials used for production, as well as it being a biplane, so rounds through its wings wouldn't affect as much as it would a metal skinned monoplane configuration aircraft, plus the slow speed of the Swordfish too,(edited, you agree with my speed theory),(end edit) and if guns were calibrated for either faster more modern attack bomber/torpedo bombers as well as bigger, higher flying, larger bombers like the Lancaster Bomber, and 617 Squadron.
    I guarantee that seeing the British using the slower Swordfish took them totally by surprise, Maybe even baffled them a little, but it worked and the RAF and Naval Air Wing Squadrons succeeded against our German cousins,(Nazis obviously excluded, not our cousins), because not all Germans were Nazis, and not all Nazis were German, in WWI even Jews fought for the Iron Cross and were awarded so with it, but in WWII that all changed and no longer mattered to the ultra Left Wing Socialist Nazi regime, of the National workers socialist party of Germany.
    Isn't it amazing how an aircraft seen as more or less obsolete, took down one of, if not the most advanced battleship at that time, with its sister ship the Tirpitz, which wasn't damaged or taken out by Swordfish but by Lancaster Bombers, around 35 or 36 out of around 40 that took off for the bombing mission, up in the the Norwegian fjords.
    The sinking place of the German battleship Tirpitz off Håkøy Island near Tromsø, Norway, in position 69º 38' 49" North, 18º 48' 27" East.

  7. You would think they would have shot one down. Jeez they we’re antiquated biplanes???? What was their top speed 100 miles an hour. If you gotta make excuses I guys have at it. Thank goodness they sank that ship though right???

  8. How about the American shooting down all those kamikazes. Uss taffey for instance pls excuse spelling. Those guys were awesome and the ship survived.

  9. I think it’s a classic example of underestimate and lack of respect for the enemy. When your brainwashed into thinking your the best you don’t do your job fully and pay.

  10. Thank you for the very well done analysis of this particular battle. It is interesting how the AA ship and fleet tactics, equipment and ship design evolved in the Pacific war based on hard experience over the three years of intense engagement, while this battle was mainly fought with between the wars training, technology, and tactics.

  11. Great video as usual. One issue this brought to mind was what did the ship's designers have in mind regarding aerial attack? Were they expecting the Bismarck to have escorts to screen against torpedo bomber attack or did they intend on the Bismarck operating essentially on its own?

  12. On Theorie is .
    – the british Propaganda of the Swordfish plain that .. the Bismark . The german's sank the Bismark by there one , they don't want Bismark falls in the Hand to the britsh RAF.
    Years later , now brirish historian's .. : Well it was a Propaganda in WW 2 for the british RAF, every Nation cheats

  13. A good book on the Swordfish is “T o War in a Stringbag” the last being the nickname of the aircraft because of all off the support wiring. Later in operations in the Balkans, the Swordfish was still effective as they developed maneuvers at such low speeds that the Axis aircraft couldn’t stay with them risking stalling. FW-190 pilots would sometimes lower landing gear to slow their aircraft down to try to shoot the Swordfish even with flaps already down. Stalling speed for the Swordfish was about 50 mph, a very low speed.

  14. My Nanna’s brother was on the King George when it sank the Bismarck. She had pictures of it sicking that her brother sneaked out when the war ended. I wonder if my dad or uncle have them now

  15. It was a combination of the old swordfish flying too low and slow for for the AA guns to hit them. Also the the bad weather conditions made proper aiming nearly impossible.