birthday of Bismarck 1 July 1936.
The building contract was placed on 16 November
1935 with the Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, as
New Construction "F" later named
Bismarck and the keel was laid on 1 July 1936.
launching ceremony on 14 February 1939.
She spent 30 months on the ways before she
was launched on 14 February 1939 by Frau Dorothea
von Loewenfeld, the granddaughter of Chancellor
Otto von Bismarck. At 1334 the hull of Bismarck
slowly glided into the water.
Ernst Lindemann inspects the honor guard
at 24 August 1940. The day Bismarck was
The Bismarck was commissioned 18 months later
on 24 August 1940 and placed under the command
of Kapitän zur See (Captain) Ernst Lindemann.
September 1940 the Bismarck leaves the
Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg
for the first time. She's heading for
the Baltic Sea for sea trials and battle
The Bismarck left the wharf at Blohm & Voss
in Hamburg on 15 September 1940 for the first
time and underwent her sea trials and battle
practice in the Baltic Sea. The mighty ship
was going down the channel of Elbe. From
the Elbe the Bismarck entered the Kiel Canal
and headed towards Kiel and the Baltic Sea.
December 1940, the Bismarck returns up
the Elbe to complete her yardwork at
Blohm & Voss in Hamburg.
At the end of her trials, the ship was scheduled
to return to Blohm & Voss in Hamburg so
that the yard could give her the "finishing
touches" it had not been able to complete
by September. On 9 December 1940 the Bismarck
was back in Hamburg.
On 24 January 1941, the finishing touches
to the ship were completed but the Bismarck
could not immediately return to the Baltic
Sea to continue her sea trials and battle practice
as it was intended to do. A sunken ore ship
was blocking the Kiel Canal, and the thick
ice that had formed during this exceptionally
severe winter was delaying salvage work. The
idea of making the long detour around Jutland
(Denmark), was rejected by Berlin.
during trials together with Prinz Eugen
in March 1941.
The Bismarck remained at anchor in Hamburg
until 6 March 1941. The Bismarck cast off from
the wharf at the Blohm & Voss yard heading
for Kiel via the Elbe and Kiel Canal. On 8
March 1941 the Bismarck reached Kiel. The sea
trials and battle practice could continue.
the surprise visit made of Hitler to
inspect Bismarck (and Tirpitz) on 5 May
Admiral Günther Lütjens was placed
in charge of Operation "Rheinübung" ("Exercise
Rhine"). He took command of the task force
in April 1941, just in time to receive the
Führer. Adolf Hitler made a surprise visit
to Gotenhafen on 5 May to inspect the Bismarck
and Tirpitz (which had recently arrived to
conduct her sea trials in the Baltic) and be
briefed on Lütjens' plans for executing
the forthcoming sortie although the actual
date was kept vague. Raeder and Lütjens
feared Hitler would veto the plan and keep
Bismarck in German waters until at least Tirpitz
was ready. Raeder did not attent the visit,
to avoid questions).
early May 1941, the Bismarck was ready
for combat operations.
On Friday 16 May 1941, Admiral Lütjens
advised the German Naval High Command that
his task force was ready for operational deployment,
and he was given the "green light" to