Preliminary Questioning of the 3 Survivors
Matr.-Gefr. Manthey
Matr.-Gefr. Herzog
Matr.-Gefr. Hoentzsch
 
Concerning the sinking of the battleship BISMARK
 
     
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    1941         Transit with "PRINZ EUGEN" through the Baltic, Great Belt, Kattegat, Skagerrak,Bergen into the Denmark Strait.  
              On board rumor runs around that the departure out of the ships was transmitted by a Swedish or Danish steamer.  
           
    22.05.41      
    17.00   Heavy cruiser in sight, forced off, holds contact during the night.  
           
    23.05.41      
    05.00   3 smoke trails in sight:  "HOOD", "KING GEORGE", 1 heavy cruiser.  
    05.05   Fire opened.  Apparently battery division, forward turrets "HOOD", aft turrets "KING GEORGE".  
    05.13   HOOD sunk after 3 ( - + - ) salvoes.  
        Ship command reports:  Enemy heavy cruisers fire at themselves.  
        During this combat 86 rounds of 38 cm were apparently shot.  
        2 fires on "KING GEORGE" noticed.  
           
     
Hits on "BISMARK":
1.  Shell hole battery deck, exit on the 'tween deck.  Apparently did not detonate.  Compartments XXI and XXII below waterline.  Forecastle submerged up to the railings.  
        2.  Shot through picket boat, entered the water.  
        3.  Apparently a hit in Compartment 13-17.  
        4.  Apparently one more hit beneath the port forward 15 cm (fuel oil bunker).  
        Apparently electrical generators 1and 2 failed due to the hit.  
        HOOD had apparently fired 3 salvoes during this combat.  The hits on BISMARK probably came from "HOOD" or the heavy cruiser.  Oil was pumped forward.  Holes in the forecastle were welded closed by Oblt.(Ing.) Richter.  
        Night transit at 24 knots.  2nd smokestack is clearly made out, however, it is not recognized.  
    24.05.41      
    12.00   Speech of the Fleet Commander.  (KING GEORGE contact holder).  
    13.00   Aircraft as contact holders (flying boat "Consolidated", "Swordfish")  
    23.00   Air attack by 3 squadrons of torpedo aircraft.  
           
Click the flag to view the above page from the original German KTB
 
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        (possibly 1 squadron of bombers).  
    24.05.41      
      The weather was heavily overcast, dim By ship's command it was announced: 5 kills, 16 torpedoes dropped, 1 shot by turret A, 1 torpedo track apparently repulsed by medium artillery.  
        Aircraft drop very close (100 meters) angle shot?  
        1 hit at the height of the aircraft catapult detonates on the armour.  Oberbootsmann killed in action.  
        After certain statements no other failures  
        After the air combat "KING GEORGE" in sight, brief artillery combat.  Award of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to Korv.Kpt. Schneider, Kptlt. Knappe and Mihatsch announced by First Officer.  
    25.05.41   Probably contact holder.  
        No special events.  
    26.05.41   Aircraft as contact holder.  
        By Radio Message probable launch of aircraft detected.  
    20.30   Aircraft alarm.  Aircraft apparently gather around the ship. Attack by 35 aircraft.  
        22 torpedoes thrown,  
        7 kills,  
        announced by ship's command.  
     
Hits on the BISMARK:
1 or 2 heavy hits in the stern (rudder machinery).  Rudder jammed hard to starboard.  Ship runs in circles at 24 knots.  
        1 hit probable in Compartment VIII or VII.  Rudder failure corrected after about 1/2 hour, thereafter 17-24 knots.  
        After the attack the ship lies deeper.  
        Continue transit at 24 knots.  
    23.00   Alarm.  Destroyer attack.  Repulsed by heavy artillery, medium artillery and anti-aircraft weapons.  1 torpedo track?  Star shell fire by the destroyers, in so doing 1 star shell on the foreship (no fire).  
        Announced by ship's command:  
        1 destroyer sunk, 1 destroyer on fire, 1 further destroyer probably also on fire.  
        Appearance by aircraft (dive bombers) repulsed.  
        The ship ran on zig-zag courses during the night, in rain squalls at AK.  
    27.05.41      
        After the destroyer attack a 1/2 hour combat pause.  
    06.30   Alarm.  All Officers not on watch in the ships charthouse.  Cruisers and destroyers together with "KING GEORGE" in sight.  Announced by the ship's command.  
           
 
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    27.05.41      
        5 min after the alarm, the ship stops, white smoke from the stack and the safety valves blow.  
        Defensive fire of the heavy artillery and medium artillery.  
        Enemy zeroes in slowly.  
        Ship is apparently completely surrounded, the ship shoots in all directions.   Many hits in the superstructure.  
        1 heavy hit port side aft, stern sinks very deep, with people disembarking turret D under water up to the barrels.  No fires.  
        Gradually hear the medium artillery stop shooting.  
        Destroyers approach very near (close enough to recognize people) and shoot.  Also the other vessels shoot closer.  
        Apparently word is passed by the anti-aircraft telephone:  
        "Secure phones,  Ready in life jackets".  
        The dinghies were prepared on the upper deck.  About 07.30 - 08.00 hours the soldiers went together with other boats overboard.  
        The turrets [apparently the enemy turrets] were still firing unabated.  
        The ship passes quickly out of sight still shooting.  The sinking was not observed.  
        Gray smoke clouds.  
        During the night a lot of water was noted about 01.00 hours on the battery deck. The mess decks could no longer be entered.  
        Ventilators and water tight bulkheads were heavily distorted by air pressure from the 38 cm and due to rough seas water came into the ship.  
        1 life boat has probably been taken by a destroyer.  
        Water was believed to have been found in the engine rooms.  
           
      read, approved and signed       read, approved and signed       read, approved and signed
                  Manthey                                   Herzog                                   Hoentzsch  
           
           
               happened as above                                                 signed Kentrat  
                     signed L e f                                            Kapitanleutnant and Kommandant  
                   Lt.u.Z. (U-74)                                                            "U-74"  
           
           
      On board, 30 May 1941.