-History of H.M.S. Hood-
Analysis/Comparisons of Photo "NH69727"
(Bismarck Turret Angle During the Battle of the Denmark Strait)
Updated 07-May-2014

The following article attempts to explain what is shown in US Naval Historical Center photo NH69727.

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Bismarck during the Battle of the Denmark Strait

Above is a cropped version of photo NH69727 (full sized version can be seen here). This is possibly a still taken from the battle film shot on 24 May 1941. The traditional description of this photo is of Bismarck, astern and to starboard of Prinz Eugen firing on either Hood or Prince of Wales.

Some reversed photo theorists have claimed that this photo does not have enough detail to allow us to determine the exact orientation of Bismarck. They merely state that the silhouette is of Bismarck ahead and that this image fits their imagined sequence. In reality, this photo features some very prominent details, as the following information will demonstrate.

A close review of the photo reveals some very significant details, specifically in reference to the forward turrets. One can see their side and centre-forward angled roof plates pass in FRONT of the forward superstructure. This would not be possible if the photo were reversed- you would see the barrels sticking out to one side, silhouetted against the sky. In fact, in some versions of the photo, you can just make out the barrels on the NEAR side, pointing aft.

Another key item to note is that the pillar of smoke is obscuring the ship's hull. Clearly it is on the near side of the ship. Lastly, its a simple matter of familiarity with the ship and it's layout: anyone familiar with the silhouette of Bismarck can see that the ship is approaching, not pointed away. Take a look at the photo at the top of this page, then take a look at the images below:

Comparison of NH69727 and a Scale Model of Bismarck

The above images are an enlargement of NH7927 as well as 2 comparison photos taken of a scale model of Bismarck. As you can see, there is just enough turret detail to prove that the turret sides and fronts are visible (red ovals). Clearly Bismarck's forward turrets are pointed well abaft but on the near side. Since she only shot to port, this photo is further proof that the battle photos and film are not reversed.

When would Bismarck have been at such a position during the battle? In our opinion, most likely between 0603 and 0608 hours- just after the sinking of Hood and during the execution of torpedo avoidance manoeuvres. We know for a fact that Prinz Eugen responded to some false torpedo alerts and its a strong possibility that Bismarck may also have responded to some of these alerts. These changes of course could have placed the German ships in this odd orientation for a short period of time. This belief is further supported by the lack of regular fall of shot from the British ships...only two sporadic shell splashes are seen near Bismarck. This is possibly some of the locally controlled shooting carried out by Prince of Wales during her retreat.