-History of H.M.S. Hood-
Extract from ADM234/509
Narrative of H.M.S. Suffolk Operations 23 - 26 May 1941

Updated 07-May-2014

This is an extract covering H.M.S. Suffolk's report on the Battle of the Denmark Strait.
A longer version is available here.

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Extract starts at page 160

0332 (B). Set courses (200°-230°) and speed as requisite for shadowing from 15-16 miles on enemy's starboard quarter. Enemy sometimes obscured, but visibility gradually increasing.

0447 (B). Enemy bore 186°*, 15 miles, course 220°, speed 27-28 knots and bore 196° at 0456 (B).

0520 (B). Enemy bore 203°, 15 miles, possibly increasing speed; and shortly afterwards altered course 30° to port and then back to starboard.

17. 0542 (B). Received Norfolk's 0541 reporting sighting enemy, followed by Prince of Wales' 0537 and Hoods 0543. The mean of these placed the enemy some 280°, 14 miles from Suffolk's plot position, and sights obtained shortly afterwards confirmed this. As, however, the Battle Cruiser Squadron was now in touch with the enemy, no amending position report was made at this point.

Enemy appeared to be approaching, and in case he had reversed course at 0538 (being "turned" by the Battle Cruiser Squadron), Suffolk circled to keep northward of enemy. It was soon realised, however, that the enemy was not approaching, the appearance being due to mirage, which also explains the similar (false) appearances at 0325.

Reports.- Made reports at 0447, 0456, 0522, 0533 and 0538 during the above phase.

Phase 0550 (B) to 0851 (B)

18. 0550 (B). Suffolk's course 220°, 29 knots, following the enemy.

0553 (B). Heavy gun flashes bearing 185°. Half a minute later Bismarck opened fire to port.

0556½ (B). Prinz Eugen opened fire to port.

0559 (B). Hood blew up.

0600 (B). Enemy bore 208°.

0605 (B). Course and speed as requisite to keep on enemy's starboard quarter.

0612 (B). Firing ceased, except for some A.A. fire by Bismarck. During the action three hits were observed on Bismarck from the heavy ships' fire.

0615 (B) and 0616 (B). Enemy (bearing 210°) altered course to starboard.

19. 0616 (B). Although the plot showed the enemy to be outside gun range, Prinz Eugen appeared at this time to be closing (now realised probably due to mirage), and at the same time Type 284 reported an echo at range 19,000 yards while trained on the Prinz Eugen.

0619 (B). Opened fire (six broadsides) using Type 284 range (initially 19,400 yards).

0623 (B). Type 284 ranges started decreasing rapidly.

0624 (B). Type 284 range 12,400 yards.
Ceased fire as there was clearly something wrong.

A large aircraft had just been sighted closing the ship from the enemy's direction, which turned across the line of fire at about six miles distant at 0624½, and it was then appreciated that this aircraft (not showing I.F.F.) was the object on which Type 284 had been ranging while trained on the enemy.

0629 (B). Bismarck bore 206°, Prinz Eugen bore 208°, 18 miles, course 240°.

Enemy then appeared to be altering course. Circled to northward to maintain distance.

20. 0638 (B) - 0734 (B). Course and speed as requisite for following enemy in general direction 210°, at 18 miles distance, and for working on to his starboard quarter, Norfolk being (from her reports) to port.

*Not 184° as incorrectly given in Suffolk's 0447.

Suffolks plot of the morning of 24 May 1941
Click to Enlarge