Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Memoriam: HMS Hood

On May 24th, 1941, the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, sailing in company with the brand-new battleship HMS Prince of Wales, encountered the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Strait.

HMS Hood in 1932

A shell from Bismarck struck Hood between her first and second turrets, detonating shells and propulsion charges in her forward magazines. She blew up and sank within a matter of seconds. Only three of the 1,418 men aboard survived.

The wreck of the Hood now lies deep beneath the icy waters of the Denmark Strait.

Bismarck did not long outlive Hood. She was sunk just three days later, on May 27th, 1941, with the loss of 1,995 of her crew.

May all those who died, seventy years ago this week, rest in peace.



Sherm said...

I understand that the specific weakness that led to Hood's sinking was known by the Admiralty. Budget concerns took precedent. Whoops.

Comrade Misfit said...

HMS Hood was a battle cruiser, a ship with the guns of a battleship and the armor and speed of a cruiser. KMS Bismarck was a battleship. Bismarck hit the Hood with plunging fire from her main battery and that was pretty much all she wrote for the HMS Hood.

They also supposedly court-martial the senior survivor, which was a tradition in the RN. (But I can't find a reference to that.)

trailbee said...

Thank you for the post. The loss of the Hood was such a tremendous blow not only to the British Navy, but also to British pride and their psyche during a very bad time. Can you imagine 1,995 humans, more than half of what we lost on 9/11, but contained in a smaller space! Incredible.