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Admiralty War Diary on Bismarck Operations

22.5.1941
Thursday

SITUATION REPORT.

Watch for German Naval Units.

Aircraft R/C at 1939 today showed that the German battleship and cruiser have left Bergen. The merchant ships did not leave with them. Photographs at 1730 showed 3 destroyers and a catapult ship in Trondheim. Most of the coast was fog bound. F.O. 1st B.C.S's Force (HOOD, PRINCE OF WALES and 6 destroyers) (to be known as Battle Cruiser Force) and Force with C. in C. Home Fleet (KING GEORGE V, VITORIOUS, GALATEA, AURORA, KENYA, HERMIONE and 7 destroyers) to be known as Battle Fleet, were ordered at 2207B to cover a possible break out of the enemy westward through the Denmark Straits, Iceland Faeroes passage or Faeroes Shetlands passage. The Battle Fleet will operate south of 62 N., and the Battle Cruiser Force north of 62 N. 18th Cruiser Squadron (BIRMINGHAM, MANCHESTER and ARETHUSA) are to patrol the Iceland Faroes passage, west of the mine barrier, and SUFFOLK is to join F.O.I.C.S. in NORFOLK on Denmark Strait patrol. REPULSE is to proceed from the Clyde to Scapa.

Air R/C is to be maintained in the Iceland Faeroes Channel, Denmark Straits, Faeroes Shetlands Channel and Coast of Norway.

Operations

Watch for Enemy Warships at Bergen.

0050/22 From A.C.O.S.
Scapa departure R.A.I.B.S. in HOOD with PRINCE OF WALES, ICARUS, ANTELOPE, ACHATES, ANTHONY, ELECTRA, ECHO.
0915/22 From N.O.I.C. Iceland
Arrived SUFFOLK 0130.
0933B/22 From Capt. S.9 to MINERVE
A.C.O.S. 2301B/21. P. 31 is proceeding to patrol 25 miles west of Statlandet.
0934B/22 From F.O.C. 1st C.A. to ARETHUSA
Unless otherwise ordered ARETHUSA relieves NORFOLK for fuelling 2000B/26 off Isafiord.
0944B/22 From C. in C. Home Fleet to SUFFOLK
Remain at Hvalfiord.
1017/22 From N.O.I.C. Faroes
Arrival BIRMINGHAM, MANCHESTER.
1025Z/22 From A.C.O.S. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Until otherwise ordered by C. in C. Home Fleet, ARETHUSA will act as a private ship.
2014/22 From C. in C. Home Fleet to SUFFOLK
Proceed to join C.S. One.
2042B/22 From C. in C. Home Fleet
ARETHUSA is to proceed to take up N.P. line TR.38. MANCHESTER on arrival in area is to take BIRMINGHAM, ARETHUSA under his orders and dispose ships to patrol (Iceland)? Faroes passage westward of mine barrier.
2130Z/22 From ARETHUSA
C. in C. Home Fleet's 2042/22. Intend to sail 0020B/23 and make good 18 knots.
2142B/22 From C. in C. Home Fleet
In view of present situation regret Capt (D) 6 and his destroyers will not be available for HX 127.
Request you will order them to proceed to Scapa at best speed after leaving RODNEY.
2210Z/22 From N.O.I.C. Iceland
Sailed ARETHUSA.
2207B/22 From C. in. C. Home Fleet
F.O.C. 1st B.C.S's force is to be known as Battle Cruiser force and force with C. in C. Home Fleet as Battle Fleet.
Both forces are to cover possible break out westward through Denmark Straits, Iceland Faeroes passage, or Faeroes Shetlands passage.
Battle fleet will operate south of 062 N. Battle cruiser force will operate north of 062 N.
If enemy battleships and cruisers are located in harbour or returning to Germany, Battle Cruiser force is to proceed to Hvalfjord and Battle fleet to Scapa.
Failing such information F.O.C. 1st B.C.S. is to use his discretion as to when to take destroyers in to Hvalfjord to fuel.
2112Z/22 From N.O.I.C. Iceland
SUFFOLK sailed.
2213B/22 From N.O.I.C. Faeroes
BIRMINGHAM and MANCHESTER sailed 2200. S. of A. 21 knots.
2307/22 From A.C.O.S.
Scapa departures C. in C. Home Fleet in KING GEORGE V, VICTORIOUS, GALATEA, AURORA, KENYA, HERMIONE, INGLEFIELD, INTREPID, ACTIVE, PUNJAVI, NESTOR, WINDSOR, LANCE.

23.5.1941
Friday

SITUATION REPORT.

Search for BISMARCK & PRINZ EUGEN.

At 2023B NORFOLK in 66 43' N., 26 38' W., (Denmark Strait) sighted a battleship and a cruiser 6 miles to the N.N.W. steering 240. SUFFOLK also sighted them at 2258B and was still shadowing them at 2359B. It was subsequently reported that a third smaller ship, thought to be a destroyer was present, and turned away to the northeastward.

MINERVE is to patrol near 64 30' N., 1 E., and P.31 near 65 30' N., 2 E.

Denmark Straits patrol was not flown today on account of weather. Cross over patrol south of Faroes was only flown from 1330 to 1700.

Operations

Search for BISMARCK and HIPPER.

2005/23 From N.O.I.C. Iceland to ANTELOPE, ANTHONY
Join B.C. One who is probably steering to N.W.
2032B/23 From NORFOLK
1 Battleship, 1 cruiser bearing 330, 6 miles, course 240, my position 66 43' N., 25 22' W.
2155B/23 From D.D.I.C.
Informing A.I.G.62. Ships and Authorities Area A.
2057/23 From N.O.I.C. Iceland to MALCOLM
Proceed when ready to locate enemy reported 066 50' N., 025 30'W., course 240 at 1836Z/?23.
2100Z/23 From ANTELOPE to F.O.C. 1st B.C.S. N.O.I.C. Iceland
My course and speed on leaving Reykjavik 250 28 knots as long as there is a chance of interception. Intend returning to oil (?forthwith).
2145/26 From NORFOLK to Scalpa
No enemy in sight, visibility 8 miles, my position 66 17' N., 25 42' W.
2152/23 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
My 2129. Enemy is altering course to starboard.
2209B/23 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
My 2152. Enemy is hidden in rain storm consider he has resumed course, my position 066 25' N., 026 24' W. X.11.
2214B/23 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
No enemy in sight in the area reading clockwise between 180 and 250, average visibility, distance 8 miles and between 000 and 250. My position 348 [bearing] 66 N., 26 W., 27 miles.
2230B/23 From NORFOLK to Scapa
My position, course and speed 66 12' N., 26 25' W., 250, 30 knots.
2258B/23 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
Enemy in sight bearing 232, distance 18 miles. My position 66 12' N., 27 5' W.
2306B/23 From SUFFOLK to ?
My 2258B. Both enemy ships in sigh, course and speed 232, 28 knots. My position 066 09' N., 027 11' W.
2311/23 From NORFOLK to SUFFOLK
I bear from you 142 10 miles steering 200 to cover move of enemy away from ice.
Passed F.O.(S)
2341B/23 From SUFFOLK to Scapa
My 2306B. Enemy is altering course 20 to port.
2349/23 From SUFFOLK to Scapa
My 2341B. Enemy hidden in fog near Ice, estimated course 200, my position 065 56' N., 027 50' W.
2359B/23 From SUFFOLK
Enemy in sight bearing 210. My position 163 [bearing] 66 N., 28 W., 9 [miles].

24.5.1941
Saturday

Operations

Search for BISMARCK and HIPPER.

0009B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 2359B/23. Enemy hidden in snow storm. My course and speed 180 29 knots. My position 065 47' N., 027 57' W.
0017B/24 From NORFOLK
No enemy in sight, visibility 3 miles, my position 65 31' N., 27 45' W., X.11.
0019B/24 From NORFOLK?
Correct my 0009B to read my course and speed is 180, 30 knots.
0028B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0009B. My course is 200, visibility 1 mile. My position 065 39' N., 028 01' W.
0101B/24 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
My position, course and speed 065 24' N., 028 10' W., 200, 29 knots.
0120B/24 From 1st S.L. [First Sea Lord]
If still complying with C. in C's 2042B/22 and in absence of other orders from him MACHESTER, BIRMINGHAM and ARETHUSA should R/V in position 090 Langanaes 30 miles in readiness to form patrol line in event of enemy breaking back.
0131B/24 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
My 0101B. My position, course and speed, 220, 29 knots. Visibility 2 miles. My position is 065 12' N., 028 33' W. X.11.
0145B/23 From NORFOLK
My position, course, and speed 64 49' N., 28 16' W., 200, 29 knots. Estimated position by plot of enemy 269 18 miles from me, visibility 3 miles.
0148B/24 From 1st S.L.
If still complying with C. in C. Home Fleet 2045B/22 and in the absence of other orders from him GALATEA and HERMIONE should proceed with all convenient despatch towards position 090 Langanaes 30 miles.
0220B/24 From NORFOLK
My course is 220.
0229/25 From SUFFOLK
My 0225B. Two ships bearing 192 209 and 255 yards. More distant ship probably is Battleship. Enemy course and speed 160 20 knots. My position is 056 44' N., 036 5' W. Based on reference Position at -2000
0229B/24 From NORFOLK
1 large vessel unknown bearing 298 distance 8 miles course unknown my position 64 28' N., 28 36' W. X.11.
0230B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0131B. Course and speed 220 29 knots, vis 1 mile. My position 064 47' N., 029 02' W. X.11
0238B/25 From NORFOLK
Position German Battleship BISMARCK Class 0200B was 056 40' N., 036 18' W., course 160 speed 21 knots.
0247B/24 From SUFFOLK
Surface craft detected by R.D./F bearing 180 10 miles my position 064 41' N., 029 13' W., X.11 Based on fix at 11 O'clock.
0255B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0229B. Vessel possibly SUFFOLK. Lost touch immediately in mist.
0256B/24 From SUFFOLK
Two enemy ships detected by R.D./F, bearing 192, 9 miles, course and speed 240 28 knots. My position 064 39' N., 029 22' W.
0306B/25 From SUFFOLK
My 0229B No change.
0319B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0256B. Enemy ship bears 188 11 and? 12 miles. Course and Speed 240 28 knots. My position 064 35' N., 029 39' W. X.11.
0321B/24 From SUFFOLK
1 Battleship 1 Cruiser bearing 185 12 miles Course 240. My position 166 65 N., 30 W 26'. X.11
0410Z/24 From Iceland W/T
2 unknown ships bearing 240 12 miles course 240 Position 63 10' N., 32 10' W. A/C report.
0420Z/24 From Iceland W/T
My 0410. Enemy previously reported are, 1 Battleship, 1 Battle Cruiser, P. C. and S. of enemy Battle Fleet 63 6' N., 32 33' W. course 222 speed 30 knots.
0447B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0321B. Enemy bears 184 15 miles, course 220 My position 064 10' N., 030 40' W. X.11 From a fix at 11 O'clock.
0450/24 From NORFOLK to SUFFOLK
Have you lost touch with enemy.
0456B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0447B. Enemy centre bears 196 15 miles. Enemy course and speed 220 28 knots. My position 058 64 N., 31 W., 9 from a fix at 11 O'clock.
0515B/24 From LANCE to C. in C. Home Fleet
Intend proceeding Westward on completion of oiling 0700.
0522B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0456B. No change. My position 063 55' N. 030 55' W. X.11 From a fix at 11 O'clock.
0533B/24 From SUFFOLK
Enemy has altered course to port 30
0537B/24 From PRINCE OF WALES
1 large vessel (uncertain whether battleship or battle cruiser) bearing 334 distance 17 miles course unknown. My position 63 20' N., 4 28' W. based on Ref. position of the S.O. of a detached force.
0538B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0533B. Enemy altered course to starboard 30.
0541B/24 From NORFOLK
1 battleship bearing 280, distance 16 miles, [course] 220, my position 63 39' N., 31 10' W. X.11 from a fix at 11 O'clock.
0543B/24 From HOOD [to Scapa Flow]
1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser, bearing 337, 17 miles, course unknown. My position 013 63 N., 32 W., 21 [miles] based on reference position from S.O. of detached Force at 0000
0544B/24 From PRINCE OF WALES
My 0537B. 1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser, bearing 325, distance 14 miles, course 230.
0550B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0541B. Enemy altered course to port
0615B/24 From Flag Officer 1st Cruiser Squadron [in Norfolk]
HOOD has blown up in 063 20' N., 031 50' W.
0615Z/24 From CHESHIRE
STAB - ?? rejoining 062 52' N., 035 20' W 225 12 1/2 knots F.G. 63.
0629B/24 From SUFFOLK
Enemy bears 207 18 miles course 240. My position 063 36' N., 031 33' W.
0629B/24 From NORFOLK Read by Iceland W.T.
My 0541B. One Battleship bearing 265 17 miles. Course 240. My position 63 22' N., 31 46' W., based on a fix at 1100.
0637B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to destroyers in Company
HOOD sunk in 063 21' N., 031 47' W. Proceed search survivors.
0655B/24 From ANTELOPE Read by Iceland W/T
S.O. 1st Cruiser Squadron 0637. My position, course and speed 062 46' N., 029 52' W., 330 28 knots. ANTHONY in company.
0656B/24 From NORFOLK
1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser, bearing 284, distance 17 miles, course 240. My position 63 14'., 32 5' W. X.11 from a fix at 11 O'clock.
0659Z/24 From F.O.I.C. Iceland to CHESHIRE
Alter course to westward an wait until situation clear.
0701B/24 From ELECTRA
C.S.I. 0637B. My position, course and speed 063 47' N., 031 11' W., 217, 32 knots at 0700B. ECHO in company.
0720B/24 From Flag Officer 1st Cruiser Squadron [in Norfolk]
My position at 0712 was 063 08' N., 032 12' W. PRINCE OF WALES in company. PRINCE OF WALES has bridge out of action and Y Turret temporarily out of action. Enemy bears from me 286, 18 miles, her course 215, speed 28 knots.
0725B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to Admiralty
Following received from PRINCE OF WALES begins. A. and B. turrets in action Y. turret 2 guns in action. About 400 tons water in ship mainly abaft after armoured bulkhead. Compartment above steering compartment flooded but steering gear in action. Estimated best speed 27 knots. T.O.O. 0720/24 ends.
0736B/24 From Duty Met. Officer to C. in C. Home Fleet
Weather Forecast 0900/24 for 12 hours.
0745B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0541B. Battleship's course and speed 210 26 knots. She bears 290 17 miles from me. Cruiser appears to be opening out, to starboard. My position 062 56' N. 032 28' W.
0756B/24 From SUFFOLK
1 Battleship 1 Cruiser bearing 182 18 miles course 200 My position 048 63 N., 33 W., 15 miles based on a fix at 1100.
0757B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0756B. Enemy battleship reduce speed appears to be damaged on fire. My position is 063 10' N., 032 34' W., X.11 from a fix at 11 O'clock.
0814B/24 From D.O.D. H. [Director of Operations Division (Home)] to CHESHIRE, ARABIS
Steer to the South Eastward.
0814B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0757B. Enemy has altered course to starboard.
0825/24 From C. in C. Home Fleet to 1st Cruiser Squadron PRINCE OF WALES
My position 0800B. 061 (? 09' 45' 17') N., 022 08' W., closing you at 27 knots. 2nd C.S. in company.
0826B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0814B. Enemy course is 200.
0837B/24 From SUFFOLK
1 Battleship bearing 193 18 miles. 1 cruiser bearing 195 19 miles. Course 200. My position 63 3' N., 32 37' W., from a fix at 11 O'clock.
0839B/24 From D.O.D. H. to MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM, ARETHUSA
Proceed with all despatch to form a patrol line North of langanes. MANCHESTER is to take charge.
0851/24 From A.C.O.S.
AMARAPOORA keep steam at 2 hours notice
0900B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0745B. Enemy is making large alterations of course.
0901B/24 From ? ELECTRA to 1st Cruiser Squadron
Am proceeding to refuel at Hvalfiord ICARUS, ECHO, ACHATES, ANTELOPE and ANTHONY in company. Only 3 survivors found.
0903B/40 From 1st S.L. to RODNEY
Proceed with BRITANNIC and screen at best speed on a course 290
0906B/24 From ELECTRA to C. in C. Home Fleet
Intend landing the following sole survivors from HOOD at Reykjavik. Midshipman W. J. Dundas (corrupt group) Robert Tilburn, O/Signalman Briggs.
0906B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0541B. 1 Battleship bearing 290 distance 20 miles approx. ture course 240 my position 62 32' N., 33 6' W., based on Admiral ref. pos. at 0800.
0909B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0826B. Enemy's Centre bears 202, distant 20. Enemy's course and speed 205, 28 knots. Position 108 63N., 34 W. 11 R. 08.
0932B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0909B. Enemy speed is 26 knots.
0943/24 From N.O.I.C. Iceland to MALCOLM, ANTHONY
Sunderland reports survivors 062 58' N., 032 10' W.,
0954/24 From NORFOLK to SUFFOLK
Assume complete readiness for action against aircraft.
1001B/24 From NORFOLK
1 Battleship bearing 285 distance 20 miles approx. course 230. My position 62 16' N., 33 41' W. Based on Admirals 0800 ref. pos.
1007B/24 From PRINCE OF WALES
Main Armament Control undamaged. 9 main Armament guns in action. Secondary Armament guns in action. Considerable damage to bridge. Both forward H.A. directors out of action. About 600 tons water in ship mainly aft from 2 or more hits about water line. Estimated max. speed 26 knots. Oil fuel made readily available 1600 tons.
1016B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 0932B. Enemy's course is 215
1022B/24 From 1st S.L. to RODNEY
Enemy's estimated position, course and speed at 0900B/24, 62 25' N., 33 W., 210, 26 knots. Steer best closing course.
1029B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1016B. Enemy is altering course to starboard 30 Enemy Battleship.
1036B/24 From 1st S. L. to RODNEY
If BRITANNIC cannot keep up leave her behind with one destroyer.
1037/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1029B. Enemy Battleship has altered 30 to Port.
1044B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1037B. One enemy battleship, one enemy cruiser bearing 214 17 miles course 215. My position 62 26' N., 34 23' W., based on Ref. position Admiral 0800.
1045B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1044B. Enemy's speed 24 knots.
1057B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0541B. Enemy battleship and cruiser bear 273 18 miles. Enemy zigzagging. His mean course and speed 220 24 knots. My position 62 2' N., 34 21' W. R.08. C.N. 978.
1126B/24 From 1st S. L. to 1st Cruiser Squadron
Continue to shadow BISMARCK even if you run out of fuel in order that C. in C. may catch up in time.
1144B/24 From 1st S.L. to RAMILLIES
Estimated position, course and speed of BISMARCK at 1100B/24. 62 17' N., 35 W. 215 24 knots. Proceed so as to make contact with enemy from the westward, thereby placing enemy between RAMILLIES and C. in C. Home Fleet.
1205B/24 From NORFOLK
My 0541B/24. 1 Battleship bearing 275 distance 18 miles approx true course 220 61 41' N., 34 52' W., RO8.
1206B/24 From V.C.N.S. [Vice Chief of the Naval Staff]
Unless otherwise ordered by C. in C. Home Fleet, GALATEA and HERMIONE are to proceed to Faeroes and Fuel.
1210B/24 From NORFOLK
Visibility decreasing.
1213B/24 From SUFFOLK
Negative enemy up to a distance of 12 miles. My position 265 62 N., 35 W. 10 based on Admiral's 0800 ref. position.
1216B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to SUFFOLK
If visibility decreased try to maintain R/D F. touch and inform me of enemies movements.
1235/24 From N.O.I.C. Iceland to C. in C. Home Fleet
Plot of Sunderland on return appears to indicate NORFOLK's position accurate. German Battleship BISMARCK leaving considerable wake of fuel oil.
1238B/24 From V.C.N.S.
Situation at 1100B/24.
BISMARCK and PRINZ EUGEN 62 17' N., 35 00' W., course 215 speed 24 knots. BISMARCK has received some damage.
C.S.1. in NORFOLK with PRINCE OF WALES and SUFFOLK are in touch with the enemy. PRINCE OF WALES has two guns out of action. HOOD blown up by unlucky hit.
2. C. in C. Home Fleet in KING GEORGE V with REPULSE, VICTORIOUS, KENYA and AURORA may be about 230 miles to eastward of enemy's position.
3. RODNEY estimated 55 N., 24 30' W., with three or four destroyers has been ordered to steer best closing course.
4. RAMILLIES in 45 45' N., 35 40' W., has been ordered to place herself to the westward of the enemy.
5. MANCHESTER is taking BIRMINGHAM and ARETHUSA under his orders and establishing a patrol line north of Langanaes, north east of Iceland (C).
6. C.S.2. in GALATEA with HERMIONE is being ordered to fuel at Faeroes.
7. Force H. left Gibraltar 0200B/24 and is proceeding to the westward.
8. REVENGE is about to leave Halifax with orders to close enemy.
9. EDINBURGH in approx. 45 N., 21 W., has been ordered to close and take over stand by shadower.
10. Enemy battlecruisers were in Brest yesterday.
1250B/24 From V.C.N.S. to Commodore 18th Cruiser Squadron
Close enemy last reported position 62 02' 34 58' mean course at 1124B/24 220 speed 24 knots, so as to take on relief shadower if necessary.
2. Fuel should be conserved reasonably while closing, and speed of 25 knots is suggested, but after contact no consideration of fuel must allow you to lose contact.
3. Report fuel remaining now if on contact it will be less that 30%.
1259B/24 From C. in C. Western Approaches
CHURCHILL is to return to Iceland forthwith at best speed. CHURCHILL, BURNHAM are to await orders after fuelling.
1323B/24 From NORFOLK
One Battleship one Cruiser bearing 223 distance 8 miles Course 180 position 61 17' N., 35 26' W. based on Admirals reference position at 0800.
1349B/24 From NORFOLK
My 1323B. 1 Battleship, 1 Cruiser bearing 225 distance 15 miles course 180 position 61 12' N., 35 26' W. based on reference Fix of Admiral at 0800.
1410/24 From A/C of 30 Wing
At 0500 1 BS and 1 BC in 62 48' N., 33 2' W. course 206 spd 30 knots, BS losing oil 0520 A/C signalled to NORFOLK "Can direct you to survivors" NORFOLK replied "No" what is bearing of enemy! Bearing given as 216 T. NORFOLK replied "Thank you - DR will pick up HOOD survivors".
0530 signalled to base that BS and BC were BISMARCK and SCHEER in position 62 36' N., 33 14' W. CO 226 speed 30 knots.
0600 still in touch with enemy.
0625 visual signal from NORFOLK stating SUFFOLK reports enemy BS on fire.
0650 told NORFOLK that enemy CO 220 T speed 30 knots. No fire visible but BISMARCK losing oil 0705 signalled to NORFOLK "Am returning to base".
1430B/24 From F.O.C. 18 C.S. to Admiralty
Your 1250B/24. My position 044 17' N., 023 56' W., 320 25 knots. Assuming enemy steers 180. Fuel remaining now 57% and on contact at 1900 tomorrow 38%.
1445B/24 From 1st S.L. to 1st Cruiser Squadron
A. Report as follows regarding BISMARCK:-
1. Percentage fighting efficiency remaining.
2. Ammunition expended.
3. Reason for frequent alterations of course.
B. Request your intentions as regards PRINCE OF WALES re-engaging.
C. Ref. A.T. 1412B/23, keep a good lookout for U-Boats.
1453B/24 From C. in C. Home Fleet to 1st Cruiser Squadron, PRINCE OF WALES, SUFFOLK
Look out for U-Boats.
1455B/24 From C. in C. Home Fleet to F.O.C. 1st Cruiser Squadron
F.O.C. 2nd C.S. with 4 cruisers escorting VICTORIOUS within 100 miles of BISMARCK to launch torpedo aircraft attack about 2200B, my position, course and speed are at 1500B/24 060 3' N., 027 56' W., 212 Speed 26 knots.
1512Z/24 From MALCOLM TO N.O.I.C. Iceland
Sweeping 2 miles lanes to cover Area within 10 miles of 062 58' N., 032 10' W. Sunderland reports HOOD Survivors.
1514B/24 From NORFOLK
My 1323B/ 1 Battleship bearing 217, distance 17 miles, course 180, position 60 37' N., 35 33' W., based on reference position on Admiral at 0800.
1546B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to SUFFOLK
Reference position of Admiral at 1531. Position 602 9 position 35 45 Your reference position 1531 based on the Admiral was position 60 25 position 36 38.
1558/24 From N.O.I.C. Iceland to CHESHIRE
Your 1300/24. Resume southerly route order to near Greenland coast.
1609B/24 From SUFFOLK
Surface craft detected by R.A.F. bearing 140 10 miles. My position 60 9' N., 36 5' W., reference position at 0800.
1616B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1609B/24. 2 ships detected.
1619B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to Admiralty
Your 1445B/24.
A.
1. Uncertain but high.
2. Engagement 20 minutes also some rounds at cruisers, about 150 expended.
3. Unaccountable except as effort to shake us off.
B. Consider PRINCE OF WALES should not re-engage until other heavy ships are in contact unless interception fails.
Doubtful if she has speed to force action.
1642B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1616B. Enemy course 180. Speed 24 knots.
1652B/24 From NORFOLK
My 1323B. Have lost touch with enemy Battle Fleet, visibility 8 miles. My position 59 56' N., 35 44' W., R.16 180 23 knots.
1712B/24 From SUFFOLK
1721/24. 1 Battleship 1 Cruiser bearing 160, distance 16 miles, course 180 position 59 50' N., 36 15' W., based on a bearing obtained from Admiral at 1600.
1716B/24 From SUFFOLK to NORFOLK
My position 256 NORFOLK 12 miles.
1734B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1712B. Enemy centre bears 152 distance 16 miles from me. Enemies course and speed 180 24 knots. Position 59 43' N., 36 15' W., based on bearing from admiral at 1600.
1756B/24 From A.C.N.S. H. [Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Home)] to LONDON
1. Part company with ARUNDEL CASTLE and destroyers.
2. Order them to proceed in execution of previous orders.
3. LONDON proceed at economical speed towards 55 N., 35 W. Your movements should be adjusted to close enemy and you should be prepared to take over shadowing duties.
1823B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to SUFFOLK
Move over to within about 5 miles of me maintaining touch.
1839B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1734B. Enemy Centre bears 190, distance 10 from Battleship. Enemy course 240. Position 342 59 N., 36 W., 20 based on bearing from Admiral at 1600.
1840B/24 From PRINCE OF WALES
One Battleship bearing 230, distance 18 miles, course 180, my position 59 11' N., 35 32' W., based on bearing 16 miles from S.O. of Detached Force.
1853B/24 From D.S.O to LONDON
Decypher my 1238B/24.
1858B/24 From SUFFOLK
1 Cruiser bearing 217, distance 12 miles, course 180, my position 356 59 N., 36 W. 2 OR 16.
1916B/24 From 1st S.L.
Shadowing by NORFOLK and SUFFOLK has been admirable. Keep it up and Good Luck.
1923B/24 From SUFFOLK
One Cruiser bearing 215, distance 14 miles, course unknown, position 339 59 N., 36 W., 12 based on bearing from Admiral 1600.
1934B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to C. in C. Home Fleet
Enemy turned away when (engaged at 18 32 B) engagement was broken off to avoid forcing him further away from you. Am shadowing enemy from 232, distance 18 miles. Enemy course 180. My position 58 54' N., 36 10' W., R.16.
1937B/24 From SUFFOLK
One unknown bearing 215, distance 14 miles, course 200, position 320 NORFOLK 6.
1939B/24 From SUFFOLK
No enemy in sight in area 220 and 300, distance 10 miles, my position 320 59 N., 36 W., 8 reference Admirals fix 1600.
1957B/24 From NORFOLK
One enemy Battleship bearing 241, distance 18 miles, course 180, my position 58 45' N., 36 15' W., based on Admiral's reference position 1600.
2010B/24 From 1st S.L.
Unless other orders have been received from C. in C. Home Fleet, MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM and ARETHUSA are not to establish patrol ordered A.M. 0839B/24 but are to proceed to Hval Fiord and fuel.
2012B/24 From A.C.N.S. H. [Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Home)]
U.S.A. Patrol Squadron No 52 (P.B.Y.) from Argantia, Newfoundland has been directed search area 500 miles S.E. Cape Farewell.
2023B/24 From V.C.N.S.
A.M. 1238/24. Situation report at 1800/24.
(a) Position of enemy 59 10' N., 36 00' W. Course 180, speed 24 knots. NORFOLK, SUFFOLK and PRINCE OF WALES still in touch.
(b) C. in C. estimated at 1800 58 00' N., 30 00' W. KING GEORGE V, REPULSE, VICTORIOUS and 2 Cruisers.
(c) C.S.2 is in company with C. in C. Home Fleet.
(d) LONDON now in position 42 50' N., 20 10' W., is proceeding at economical speed to close the enemy.
(e) RODNEY estimated 56 N., 29 W., with three or four destroyers has been ordered to steer best closing course.
(f) RAMILLIES esimated 45 45' N., 35 40' W., has been ordered to place herself to the westward of the enemy.
(g) MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM and ARETHUSA returning from N.E. of Iceland to Hval Fiord to fuel.
(h) Force H left Gibraltar 0200B/24 and is proceeding to westward.
(i) REVENGE having just left Halifax is joining H.X. 128.
(j) EDINBURGH in approx. 45 15' N., 25 10' W., has been ordered to close and take over stand-by shadower.
2054B/24 From NORFOLK
My 1957B one Battleship bearing 241, distance 17 miles, course 180. My position 2439 based on fix of Admiral at 1600.
2106B/24 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
My 1455B/24. Enemy's speed appears to be 22 knots now. Enemy cruiser is probably to the Westward of enemy Battelship. PRINCE OF WALES close astern of me, SUFFOLK on my starboard beam.
2108B/24,
2208/24
From C. in C. Home Fleet to Rear-Admiral 2nd Cruiser Squadron
At 0800B/25 Position, course and speed of VICTORIOUS for benefit of catapult aircraft.
2142Z/24 From N.O.I.C. Iceland to C. in C. Home Fleet
ELECTRA, ACHATES, ANTONY, ECHO, ICARUS, SAGUENAY, WINDSOR, Arrived.
2151B/24 From NORFOLK
My 1957B/24. Am still in touch with enemy. No change in situation since my 1957B. Position 58 07' 36 31'.
2136/24 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Hope to engage from the eastward about 0900B/25.
2200Z/24 From ANTELOPE to N.O.I.C. Iceland
Found oil and wreckage but no survivors. Returning for water and oil. E.T.A. 1230/25.
2231B/24 From NORFOLK
My 1957B. One enemy Battleship bearing 216, distance 16 miles, course 180. My position 57 53' N., 36 34' W., based on a fix of Admiral's reference position at 1600.
2238B/24 From NORFOLK
My 2231. Enemy's speed 22 knots.
2234B/24 From SUFFOLK
My 1939B. One Enemy Battleship bearing 211, distance 15 miles, one cruiser bearing 216 distance 16 miles, course 180, my position 57 55' N., 36 27' W., based on fix of Admiral's Reference position at 2000.
2320B/24 From 1st S.L. to RAMILLIES
You should endeavour to avoid action with BISMARCK unless the latter is engaged with other forces at the time.
2326B/24 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 1455B/24. Well done. Good luck.
2329B/24 From NORFOLK
Enemy course and speed are 160, 22 knots.
2331B/24 From 1st S.L. to F.O. Force H.
Steer so as to intercept BISMARCK from the southward. Enemy must be short of fuel and will have to make for an oiler. Her future movements may guide you to this oiler.
2338B/24 From 1st S.L. to CHESHIRE, ARABIS
A.M. 0814B/24. Using your judgement, proceed in execution of previous orders.

25.5.1941
Sunday

Operations.

Search for BISMARCK and HIPPER.

0055B/25 From NORFOLK
Have lost touch with enemy battleship last seen in 57 08' N., 36 34' W., course 165, 21 knots.
0122B/25 From NORFOLK
One enemy cruiser bearing 204, distance 8 miles, my position 57 2' N., 36 21' W. R.16.
0124B/25 From SUFFOLK
Enemy surface craft detected by R/DF bearing 215, distance 11 miles, my position 57 6' N., 36 5' W.
0130/25 From PRINCE OF WALES
One enemy battleship bearing 200, 12 miles, course 180, my position 56 57' N., 35 36' W. based on ref. position S.O. detached forces 0800.
0159B/25 From Flag Officer 2nd Cruiser Squadron to C. in C. Home Fleet
Attack completed 0020. 1 hit observed. Further report will be made.
0213B/25 From SUFFOLK
Surface craft detected by R/DF bearing 195, distance 11 miles, my position 56 49' N., 36 8' W.
0225B/25 From SUFFOLK
My 0213B. Enemy course 160, speed 20 knots.
0401B/25 From SUFFOLK
Enemy either worked round to Eastward under stern of shadowing force or has turned Westward. Acting on latter alternative.
0441/25 From SUFFOLK
Have lost touch with Enemy. Am resuming his original course and speed. My position 56 2' N., 36 1' W.
0505/25 From SUFFOLK
Lost touch with enemy 0306.
0511B/25 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to Scapa
NORFOLK with PRINCE OF WALES astern was in position 35 52' N., 36 W., at 0500 B. close on port quarter of SUFFOLK. If visibility is good intend to work round to the northward of P at dawn so that PRINCE OF WALES can join you. If visibility is low shall keep PRINCE OF WALES to support me in maintaining contact at short range.
0600B/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet to F.O. 2nd Cruiser Squadron
Organize air and surface search N.W. of last reported position.
0605B/25 From NORFOLK
Enemy lost at 06-?B 0306B. SUFFOLK is being sent to search to westward. At daylight NORFOLK follow SUFFOLK, and PRINCE OF WALES will be sent to join you.
0616B/25 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to C. in C. Home Fleet
Probability appears that enemy made a 090 alteration west or turned back then and cut away to eastward under our stern.
Recd.
0636/25
From NORFOLK
Correct 0605B Word after Enemy lost at to read 0306B.
0630B/25 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to SUFFOLK
At 0630B Am proceeding to search on course 285 at 25 knots my ref. Posn. at 0600B 055 30' N. 036 W.
0651B/25 From 1st Cruiser Squadron [to C. in C. Home Fleet?]
PRINCE OF WALES has been ordered to proceed at 06207 to join you. Your estimated position, course and speed at 0630 have been given as 54 N., 34 55' W., 216, 26 knots.
0704B/25 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
My position at 0630B 055 20' N., 035 54' W.
0707B/25 From PRINCE OF WALES
My position, course and speed at 0700B/25 are 055 12' N., 035 56' W., 205, 25 knots.
0741B/25 From 1st S.L.
Our forces lost visual touch with enemy at 0306 in approx. 56 30' N., 36 00' W. Enemy must be within 150 miles of last mentioned position at 0600Z.
0829B/25 From A.C.N.S.H. to 1st Cruiser Squadron, SUFFOLK, PRINCE OF WALES
F.O. 2nd Cruiser Squadron 0159B/25. Have you any evidence to confirm that T/B attack was successful.
0832B/25 From Duty Met. Officer
Weather forecast 0900/25 for 12 hours.
0836B/25
and
1048B/25
From D.O.D.H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Take all forces of Home Fleet also RODNEY and RAMILLIES under your orders.
0855B/25 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
During the period from shortly after the time of the T.B. attack until 0258B/25 BISMARCK made a series of signals some very long, and a fair inference is that owing to damage received enemy has recast his plan.
0900B/25 From RODNEY
My position 052 34' N., 029 23' W. SOMALI, TARTAR, MASHONA in company. Intend to remain in this vicinity to intercept enemy break to South Eastwards. Visibility 10 miles.
0919B/25 From V.C.N.S.
1. A.M. 2023B/24. Situation at 0600B/25.
1. 1st C.S. lost touch with enemy at 0306 in 56 23' N., 36 05' W.
2. NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK are searching to the Westward and 2nd Cruiser Squadron with 4 cruisers and VICTORIOUS is carrying out a surface and air search to the northwestward of last known position of enemy.
3. C. in C. Home Fleet is estimated to be near 55 N., 35 W. PRINCE OF WALES has been detached by C.S.1 to join C. in C.
4. RODNEY estimated 55 30' N., 33 00' W.
5. RAMILLIES estimated 51 30' N., 38 00' W.
6. EDINBURGH estimated 49 40' N., 30 30' W.
7. LONDON estimated 38 40' N., 21 00' W., proceeding to the southwestward to search for enemy tanker.
8. Force H estimated 39 00' N., 18 30' W., proceeding to intercept enemy from the southward.
9. REVENGE estimated 43 30' N., 58 00' W.
10. MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM and ARETHUSA refuelling Hvalfiord - Iceland.
0926B/25 From PRINCE OF WALES to Admiralty
Your 0829B/25. No.
0943B/25 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to Admiralty
Your 0829B/25. Only available evidence in NORFOLK is report from aircraft to VICTORIOUS as follows begins: Have attacked enemy with torpedoes and only one hit observed. T.O.O. 0015B ends.
1047/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Estimated position of enemy by D/F at 0852B/25 was 057 N,. 033 W. All Home Fleet forces search accordingly.
1057B/25 From A.C.N.S. H.
Radio finger prints indicate that the ship which transmitted at 0854B/25 in a position to the Eastward of the last known position of BISMARCK is the same ship that transmitted a number of messages after the T/B attack last night.
1158B/25 From V.C.N.S. to RODNEY
Your 0900B/25. Act on assumption that enemy is proceeding towards a Bay of Biscay port.
1202B/25 From H.W.R. to F.O.S. and H.Q.C.C.
My 0919B is being repeated to you for information.
1244B/25 From F.O.S. [Flag Officer Submarines]
BISMARCK and HIPPER class cruisers may arrive Brest A.M./27.
B. Submarines take up following patrol positions proceeding with despatch when practicable.
C.
H.44, 48 56' N., 06 48' W.
SEALION 48 44' N., 07 38' W.
SEAWOLF 48 15' N., 07 06' W.
PANDORA 48 01' N., 07 52' W.
STURGEON 47 32' N., 07 22' W.
TIGRIS 47 17' N., 08 10' W.
1428B/25 From C.N.S. to RODNEY
My 1158B/25. Comply with C. in C. Home Fleet 1047/25 acting on the assumption that enemy is proceeding to Norway via passage between Scotland and Iceland.
1443B/25 From V.C.N.S. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Whenever you break W/T silence it would be helpful if you will include your position, course and speed.
1545B/25 From PRINCE OF WALES
BISMARCK opened fire range 23000 yards just after HOOD. Fire immediately effective on HOOD. No results obatined on type 284 or 281 due to interference probably enemy. BISMARCK's secondary armaments effective at 20000 yards.
1621/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
My position 054 50' N., 033 20' W., at 1600B, course 80, speed 25 knots. Your 1428, do you consider enemy making for Faeroes.
1817/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
My 1621B/25. My position, course and speed are at 1815B 054 57' N., 031 53' W., 117, 24 knots.
1655B/25 From 2nd Cruiser Squadron to C. in C. Home Fleet
My position, course and speed are at 1700B 057 42' B, 035 40' W., 070, 27 knots. VICTORIOUS, KENYA, AURORA in company. HERMIONE detached Hvalfiord fuel. Intend GATATEA, AURORA part in company to Hvalfiord to fuel at 0100B/26 VICTORIOUS screened by KENYA to endeavour to locate and attack enemy A.M. tomorrow if he is making for Iceland Faroes Channel.
1746B/25 From MANCHESTER to C. in C. Home Fleet
MANCHESTER, ARETHUSA and BIRMINGHAM will be fuelled and ready for see 2200B/25
1805B/25 From V.C.N.S. to RODNEY
Cancel my 1428B/25. Proceed on the assumption that destination of the enemy is a French port.
1824B/25 From V.C.N.S.
Admiralty appreciation is that BISMARCK is making for West coast of France.
1903B/25 From Duty Met. Officer
Weather Forecast from 1900 G.M.T/25 to 0900 G.M.T./26
1912/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Captain D.3
Send destroyers to screen PRINCE OF WALES and VICTORIOUS as soon as possible.
1919B/25 From F.O.S. to S/M's Area A
(A) Enemy more likely to proceed to St. Nazaire.
(B) Cancel Para. C. of my 1244B/25 and substitute:-
H.44, 48 16' N., 06 28' W.
SEALION 47 48' N., 06 10' W.
PANDORA 47 32' N., 06 48' W.
SEAWOLF 47 08' N., 06 20' W.
STURGEON 46 46' N., 06 48' W.
TIGRIS 46 28' N., 06 12' W.
1957B/25 From D.3 to ELECTRA, ANTELOPE, ACHATES, ANTHONY
Proceed at best speed, when complete with fuel to screen PRINCE OF wALES estimated position, course and speed 2000B/25, 055, 40' N., 031 50' W., zigzagging S. of A. 18 knots. Carry out sweep at visibility distance on passage.
2017B/25 From Capt. S.5 to SEALION
T.B.R. have been arranged 12 miles either side of your track to cover your passage to patrol position.
2040B/25 From 1st Cruiser SQuadron
My position, course and speed at 2100, 55 50' N., 31 28' W., 120, 26 [knots]. Fuel remaing 50% at 2000.
2200/25 From C. in C. HOme Fleet to Admiralty
My position, course and speed are 054 07' N., 029 18' W. X.20, 117, 26 knots.
2201B/25 From V.C.N.S. to ELECTRA
Sail four destroyers forthwith to screen PRINCE OF WALES to Hvalfiord.
PRINCE OF WALES was in 55 40' N., 31 50' W., at 2000 today proceeding for Hvalfiord at 18 knots zigzagging.
2205Z/25 From MANSFIELD to C. in C. Western Approaches
Signal intercepted strength 6 on 390 kc/s contain FELIX - FELIX at 1500/24th bearing 042, position 057 53' N., 26 10' W.
1900/24th bearing 083, position 57 2' N., 25 47' W.
1700/25th bearing 110, position 54 36' N., 27 W., singly. Might be German Oiler going southward parallel to BISMARCK keeping contact.
2225B/25 From Capt. S.5 to SEALION
F.O.S. 1919B/25. Proceed on surface through 048 46' N., 005 46' W., to new patrol position 047 48' N., 006 10' W. T.B.R. will be arranged to cover passage.
2238/25 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
Request Destroyer Screen be available to R/V with KING GEORGE V. Lack of fuel may necessitate lowering speed A.M./27. Also for RODNEY.
2317B/25 From A.C.N.S. H. to 1st Cruiser Squadron
Request you signal on arrival in harbour
(a) A brief account of the action.
(b) Summary of damage.
(c) Any other remarks of interest.
2340/25 From N.O.I.C. Iceland
ELECTRA, ACHATES, ANTHONY, ECHO sailed.
2342/25 From V.C.N.S. to 2nd Cruiser Squadron and C. in C. Home Fleet
Concur that VICTORIOUS and KENYA should operate as proposed in C.S.2's 1655B/25 in spite of A.M. 1824B/25.
2346B/25 From F.O.S. to S/M's
After arrival in patrolling position object is to attack enemy cruisers and above.
2348B/25 From F.O.S. to S/M's Area A
My 1244B/25. Submarines are not to be attacked unless their hostile identity is certain.

26.5.1941
Monday

SITUATION REPORT

BISMARCK AND PRINZ EUGEN

The enemy remained unlocated since touch was lost early yesterday morning. At 0011B the Admiralty ordered MANCHESTER who had been fuelling at Havaal Fiord, with ARETHUSA and BIRMINGHAM, to send one cruiser to watch the Denmark Straits and the remaining two Iceland-Faeroes passage; they left at 0238B. VICTORIOUS and KENYA were in 57 27' N., 30 44' W., at 0100B, endeavouring to locate and attack the enemy if he were making for the Faeroes-Iceland passage. The weather became unsuitable for flying and at 0955B, VICTORIOUS reported that she was proceeding with KENYA to Hvaal Fiord. At 1328B the Admiralty ordered VICTORIOUS to the Clyde to fuel. SUFFOLK at 1015B was ordered to proceed to search an area 58 N., to 57 N., between 50 W., and 44 W., for supply ships.

BISMARCK sighted.
At 1030 a Catalina aircraft reported BISMARCK in 49 33' N., 21 47' W., steering 150 at 20 knots. At 1114B, ARK ROYAL's aircraft reported BISMARCK in 49 32' N., 20 55' W., course 110, speed 20 knots. Visibility was very patchy and shadowing intermittent. C. in C. Home Fleet was in 51 33' N., 20 43' W., closing the enemy at 26 knots. Shadowing aircraft and also C. in C. Home Fleet in chase were attacked by enemy aircraft and a Catalina was damaged. S.O. Force H reported his position at 1248, 49 30' N., 19 10' E., steering 350. SHEFFIELD was detached to shadow; she made contact at 1740 and continued to shadow so throughout the day. RENOWN had orders not to become engaged with BISMARCK unless the latter was already heavily engaged by either KING GEORGE V or RODNEY.

Straits of Gibraltar to be patrolled.
At 1228B the Admiralty ordered air and submarine patrols to prevent the possible passage of the enemy into the Mediterranean. Certain orders regarding Spanish territorial waters were given. SEVERN was ordered at 1122 to return to Gibraltar at maximum speed to establish an offensive patrol in the straits. NELSON had been ordered to proceed to Gibraltar at 0036B from Freetown where she arrived yesterday.

C. in C. Home Fleet reduces speed.
At 1705 KING GEORGE had to reduce speed to 22 knots in order to economize fuel. Her position at 1800 was 49 (?48') N., 17 33' W., steering 110, with RODNEY in company. Unless the enemy's speed was reduced C. in C. Home Fleet in KING GEORGE V intended to return to refuel at 2400B, leaving RODNEY to continue the pursuit, but without destroyer escort.

SHEFFIELD in Contact.
SHEFFIELD, detached from Force H was in touch with the enemy at 1747. At 2140 the enemy fired 6 accurate salvoes at her and caused some casualties and slight damage. SHEFFIELD lost touch but put a destroyer on to the enemy and then kept clear 14 miles to the westward.

F.A.A. attacks.
A striking force from ARK ROYAL left at 1500/B. It failed to make direct contact and was forced to search. A ship was eventually located in poor visibility and was unsuccessfully attacked by aircraft. This was apparently the SHEFFIELD, who avoided all torpedoes. A second force left at 1900 and at 2225B S.O. Force H reported that one hit had been scored amidships and a possible second hit on the starboard quarter, after which the BISMARCK reduced speed and turned two complete circles. The senior surviving officer of BISMARCK afterwards stated that it was this latter hit which reduced BISMARCK speed and so ensured her subsequent destruction.

Further air attack was not possible tonight but dawn attack could be carried out tomorrow. The estimated position of the enemy at 2130B was 47 45' N., 15 25' E., steering 330 at 22 knots. RENOWN was in 48 17' N., 15 50' E., steering 20 at 20 knots at 2100B. SEALION was patrolling on a line 260 from position, 48 20' N., 5 15'W., the remaining 5 submarines were ordered to move their patrol 30 miles 162.

Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla in touch.
At 2300B COSSACK in 242 48 N., 15 W., 19 miles, was in touch with BISMARCK bearing 115, 7 miles, course 60. By 2320 the enemy had altered course to 340.

British Air Operations.
Owing to the operations against BISMARCK H.M. Ships may be forced to use Plymouth and Milford Haven for fuelling or repairing during 27/5 to 30/5 inclusive. The Air Ministry have ordered special measures to be taken for protection of Plymouth and Milford Haven, the operational aerodromes in the S.W. and fighter protection for H.M. Ships to as great a depth to seaward as practicable.

Operations.

Search for BISMARCK and PRINZ EUGEN.

0011B/26 From C.N.S. to MANCHESTER
Unless otherwise ordered by C. in C. Home Fleet one cruiser is to proceed to watch the Denmark Straits and the remaining two the Iceland-Faeroes passage.
0021B/26 From 2nd Cruiser Squadron to C. in C. Home Fleet
Admiralty 1419/25. Have searched area 080 to 180 from position 058 N., 032 45' W., to depth of 100 mls. Nothing sighted. Position, course and speed of VICTORIOUS and KENYA at 0100B/26, 057 27' N., 030 44' W., 060, 27 knots, intending to endeavour to locate and attack enemy ship fixed at 1320/25 if making Faeroes Iceland passage subsequently proceeding Hval Fiord to replenish KENYA with oil. VICTORIOUS's fuel 67% and able therefore to remain at sea if escort can be provided. Intend GALATEA and AURORA to part company from VICTORIOUS at 0100 and screen PRINCE OF WALES from dawn 26th if destroyers have not arrived.
0121B/26 From F.O.S. to SEALION
S/M H.44 sails from Holyhead 1700/25 escorted vicinity Bishop Rock thence proceeding unescorted on surface to patrol position.
0159B/26 From C. in C. W.A. to Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
COSSACK, SIKH, ZULU, joining C. in C. Home Fleet forthwith position 2200B/25 054 07' N., 029 18' W., course 117, 26 knots.
(2) MAORI, PIORUN joining RODNEY forthwith. Estimated position 0001B/26, 052 40' N., 025 45' W., course 113, 20 knots.
0202/26 From C. in C. W.A. to Rear Admiral Destroyers Home Fleet
RODNEY estimated position 0001B/26 052 40' N., 025 45' W., course 113, speed 20 knots.
0216B/26 From R.A.D. Home Fleet to JUPITER
Cancel my 1049B/25. Proceed Londonderry. Complete with fuel. Orders follow.
0220B/26 From D.O.D. H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 2238/25. A screen of theree destroyers each for KING GEORGE V and RODNEY will be provided.
0238B/26 From MASCHESTER to C. in C. Home Fleet
MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM proceeding to take up Iceland Faeroes patrol making 25 knots. ARETHUSA Eastward of Q.Z.X. 241.
0300B/26 From ARETHUSA to MANCHESTER
Admiralty 0011B/26. Intend to patrol to Eastward of Q.Z.X. 366 and 241 reaching patrol 1400B/today.
0310B/26 From R.A.D. Home Fleet to ICARUS, ECHO, WINDSOR.
Unless otherwise ordered proceed forthwith to screen VICTORIOUS estimated position 17500B/25 57 42' N., 35 40' W., course 070, 27 knots.
0315B/26 From R.A.D. Home Fleet to JUPITER
My 0216B/26. When completed with fuel join RODNEY in estimated position 0001B/26 52 40' N., 25 45' W., course 113, 20 knots.
0515Z/26 From ?ICARUS to R.A.D. Home Fleet
Your 0310B/26. ECHO proceeded with ELECTRA. Am taking ANTELOPE with me.
0553B/26 From Captain 3rd Destroyer Flotilla
My position, course and speed are at 0500B/26, 057 51' N., 025 23' W., 060, 27 knots. SUFFOLK 0517B/26 Saliling SAGUENAY, ASSINIBOINE, ACTIVE from Hval Fiord to screen VICTORIOUS at 0830B/26.
0927/26 From N.O.I.C. Iceland
Sailed MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM, ARETHUSA 0300.
0940B/26 From C.S. 18
My position, course and speed are at 0900B/, 052, 13' N., 020 40' W., 087, 21 knots altering to 120 at 1400B. If no contact by 2000B intend to proceed to Londonderry arriving with 13% fuel remaining.
0955B/26 From VICTORIOUS
Weather unsuitable for flying. Destroyers wait me at R/V 063 N., 028 W. till further signal. My position 0930B/26, 039 05' N., 026 05' W.
1010B/26 From R.A.D. Home Fleet
D.3.S. 0553B/25. Screen has already proceeded to VICTORIOUS. SAGUANAY, ASSINIBOINE, ACTIVE proceed Londonderry with despatch and await further orders.
1015B/26 From A.C.N.S. H. to SUFFOLK
Proceed to search area 58 N., to 57 N. between meridians of 50 W., and 44 W., for supply ships, subsequently fuelling Newfoundland on relief by REPULSE about 29/5.
Admiralty 1015/26 has been repeated also to REPULSE. (War Registry)
1030/26 From A/C Duty Z
One battleship bearing 240, distance 5 miles, position 49 33' N., 21 47' W.
1035/26 From A/C Duty Z
My 1030. Enemy course and d speed 150, 20 knots, position 49 28' N., 21 50' W.
1045B/26 From R.A.D. Home Fleet to Captain 3rd Destroyer Flotilla
My 1010B/26. Screen for VICTORIOUS and PRINCE OF WALES arranged and sailed. BEDOUIN, IMPULSIVE ordered to Reykjvik. Leave one more destroyer to complete screen for REPULSE if required. Proceed with remainder to Londonderry with despatch.
1051/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Aircraft of 15 Group's 1030. Request check not RODNEY. My position 051 37' N., 020 42' W., closing ship reported at 26 knots.
1052B/26 From 1st S.L. to F.O. Force H.
RENOWN is not to become engaged with BISMARCK unless BISMARCK is already heavily engaged by either KING GEORGE V or RODNEY.
1059B/26 From F.O.S. to H.44
Cut corner and proceed via Wolf Rock and not Bishop Rock. Every minute saved is important. H.44 pass to P;C. 74.
1100/26 From A/C Duty Z
My ? 1030. Have lost touch with enemy. Enemy's last observed position was 49 22' N., 21 44' W., at 1045.
1101B/26 From F.O.S. to S/M's Area A
BISMARCK has received some damage and probable torpedo hit. She reduced speed progressively from 28 knots and when last seen at 0200B/25 in 056 40' N., 036 18' W., was doing 22 knots. This may not however be the maximum speed of which she is now capable.
1114/26 From A/C from ARK ROYAL, S.O. Force H. to Whitehall W/T
1 Battleship bearing 150, distance 8 miles, course 127, position 292 49 N., 19 W., 83 [miles] based on Admirals Reference position at 0700. Enemy speed 20 knots.
1210/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
ARK ROYAL aircraft report enemy battleship in 049 32' N., 020 55' W., at 1114B/26. Course 110, 20 knots. Aircraft using 210 KC/S.
My position, course and speed are at 1100/26 051 33' N., 020 43' W., course 150 altering to 130 at 1155. 26 knots.
1220B/26 From V.C.N.S. to SEVERN
Return to Gibraltar at maximum speed to establish offensive patrol in Straits of Gibraltar in case BISMARCK or PRINZ EUGEN endeavour to pass into Mediterranean and CAIRNDALE and CITY OF DIEPPE are to continue in accordance with previous orders.
1225B/26 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 1051/26. Enemy ship reported by aircraft at 1030 is hostile.
1227B/26 From D.S.D.
Amty. 895A/28/3/41. Cruisers and above at sea on Home Stations are to be prepared to display following identification marks. Executive signal will follow.
1228B/26 From V.C.N.S. to F.O.C.N.A.
BISMARCK reported by Catalina aircraft in 49 33' N., 21 47' W., course 150, speed 20 knots. Establish air and submarine patrols to prevent possible passage into Mediterranean. Patrols are to take preference over convoy escort duties. Spanish territorial waters need not be respected for this operation.
Cancelled. See North Atlantic. 1721B/27.
1240/26 From A/C Duty M. to 15 (R) Group HQ
My 1200. Vessels reported are not objective.
1301B/26 From S.O. Force H
Estimated position, course and speed enemy Battleship at 1215B - 049 10', 020 10', 110, 20 [knots]. ARK ROYAL aircraft in touch. My position, course and speed 1248B, 049 30', 019 10', 350, 15 [knots]. Torpedo Bomber striking at about 1500.
1328B/26 From 1st S.L. to VICTORIOUS
Proceed to Clyde to fuel. Instruct your screen to R/V as necessary.
1345B/26 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to Admiralty
Provide evidence of independent witnesses now accumulated it seems fairly certain 3 ships were present when NORFOLK first made contact at 2031/23. Rear ship smaller and thought to be destroyer turned North East to NORFOLK. SUFFOLK may have confirmatory evidence from RD/F. Definitely only 2 ships present during action with 1st Cruiser Squadron.
1345B/26 From S.O. Force H
My 1301. Estimated postion, course and speed of enemy battleship at 1315B, 049 10', 019 45', 130, 21 knots. My position, course and speed are at 1345B, 049 40', 018 53', 120, 18 knots. SHEFFIELD detached to shadow.
1405/26 From A/C Duty M. to 15 (R) Group H.Q.
Am carrying out observation duty shadowing Battleship.
1520B/26 From S.O. Force H
My 1301. Estimated position, course and speed of enemy at 1500, 048 24', 018 46', 110, 25 knots. My position, course and speed at 1515B, 049 14', 018 19', 110, 26 knots. Striking force left 1500B.
1525/26 From A/C Duty M
Have lost touch with enemy battleship, last observed position 47 30' N., 19 W., 1500.
1551/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Engaged one aircraft, my position, course and speed are 050 18' N., 018 45' W., 128, 26 knots. RODNEY bears 100, 11 miles from me.
1600/26 From A/C Duty M
Have regained contact
1605B/26 From S.O. Force H
My 1520B. Position based on fix at 1500.
1605/26 From A/C Duty H
Enemy's course and speed 140, 20 knots.
1630/26 From A/C Duty M
Estimated position at 1610, 47 28' N., 18 57' W.U
1632/26 From A/C Duty M
Am being attacked by type unknown.
1655/26 From A/C Duty M
Enemy has altered course to 125; approx.
1700B/26 From S.O. Force H
My 1520B Estimated position, course and speed 1630B, 048 12' N., 017 34' W., 110, 25 knots. My position, course and speed at 1700B, 049 00', 017 25', X.15, 140, 26 knots. Striking force searching for enemy.
1700/26 From A/C Duty M
My 1605. My 1655. Course was 140 true not 125 true.
1702B/26 From D.S.D. to PRINCE OF WALES
Your 1545B/25. Asking for report on interference experienced.
2256/26 From PRINCE OF WALES
Your 1702B/26. Detailed reply.
1730/26 From Captain D.4.
Position, course and speed of 4th Destroyer Flotilla and NERISSA at 1730, 048 43', 017 47' based on fix 1515, 115, 27 knots. SIKH reported periscope 5 miles back. No enemy in sight. Visibility 8 miles. Oil fuel remaining 4th Destroyer Flotilla 50%. NERISSA 42%.
1730B/26 From VICTORIOUS
My position, course and speed are at 1700B26, 059 39' N., 026 04' W., 345, 13 knots passing through 063 N., 028 W. thence to Hval Fiord. KENYA in company.
1740B/26 From S.O. Force H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Request you position, course and speed. Shall I leave carrier and join you. If no reply shall remain with carrier.
1740B/26 From SHEFFIELD
One large vessel (Battleship or battle cruiser) bearing 068, [distance] 10 miles, [course] 120, my position 156 [bearing] 49 N., 18 W. 39 [miles]. R.13
1800B/26 From S.O. Force H.
My 1700B. Estimated position, course and speed enemy batlle fleet 1800B, 048 06', 017 02', 110, 22 knots. My position, course and speed at 1800B, 048 55', 017 18', 140, 29 knots. Striking force scored no hits and leaves again at 1830B. Above position based on fix at 1800B.
1800/26 From A/C Duty M.
Have lost touch with enemy battle fleet. Enemy's last observed position was 47 15' N., 18 23' W. U.
1821/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
KING GEORGE V had to reduce to 22 knots at 1705 to economize fuel. Position, course at 1800, 049 (?48') N., 017 33' W., 110. RODNEY bears 132, 4 miles on same course, speed 22 knots.
Unless enemy speed is reduced intend KING GEORGE V return to refuel at 2400B/26. RODNEY can continue pursuit without destroyer scort. Recommend you remain with carrier.
1824B/26 From F.O.S. to S/M's Area A
Approx. position, course and speed of BISMARCK at 1500/26 48 26' N., 18 46' W., 110, 25 knots. It is not my intention to order submarine to alter their patrol position for the time being.
1825B/26 From S.O. Force H
Reports by SHEFFIELD and ARK ROYAL's aircraft are based on reference position 20 miles north of position in my 1520B and 1700B and 1800B which are based on fix at 1500B
1841B/26 From A.C.N.S. H.
Enemy my be able to interfere effectively with our R.D/F in an endeavour to escape when being shadowed.
1856B/26 From Duty Met. Officer
Weather Forecast 1900Z/26 to 0711Z/27
1858B/26 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. Portsmouth
WIVERN, VANSITTART and WILD SWAN are to proceed to Plymouth with all despatch.
1859B/26 From SHEFFIELD
My 1740B. One large vessel bearing 105, 12 miles, course 110, my position 179 [bearing] 49 N., 17 W., 39 [miles]. R.13.
1930B/26 From F.O. Force H
My 1800B. Estimated postion, course and speed of enemy at 1900B, 048 00', 016 28', 110, 22 knots. My position, course and speed 048 36', 016 54', 110, 29 knots. Striking force on their way. Above position based on fix at 1500B.
1737B/26 From SHEFFIELD
My 1740B. One Battleship bearing 115, 9 miles, course 115, my position 158 [bearing] 49 N. 17 W. 46 [miles]. D.M.
2054B/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
Request aircraft may give Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla visual link with enemy.
2056B/26 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Assume you are organising destroyer night attacks if this is possible. No answer required.
2110B/26 From ICARUS to VICTORIOUS
Your 1730B/26. My position, course and speed are at 2100, 063 45' N., 022 58' W., 251, 12 knots to make R/V 1100/27.
2113B/26 From SHEFFIELD
My 1740B. One battleship bearing 140, distant 8 miles, course 340. My position [bearing] 068, 12 miles from 48 N. 16 W. based on the reference position of the Admiral at 1300.
2130B/26 From VICTORIOUS
My position, course and speed are at 2100B/26, 060 00' N., 026 32' W., 345, 20 knots passing through R/V 063 N. 028 W. at 0500B/27. E.T.A. Hvalfiord 1330B/27.
2140B/26 From S.O. Force H
Estimated position, course and speed of enemy were at 2130B, 047 45', 015 25', 330, 22 knots. My position, course and speed 2100B, 048 17', 015 50', 020, 20 knots.
2140B/26 From SHEFFIELD
My 1740B. One battleship bearing 130, distance 9 miles, course 000. My position [bearing] 038, 12 miles from 48 N. 16 W. based on reference position of the Admiral at 1300.
2205B/26 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
After one more small torpedo bomber attack tonight all torpedoes will be expended.
2214/26 From S.O. Force H to SHEFFIELD
Report enemy's speed.
2215/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet
My position, course and speed are 049 10' N., 015 29' W., 170, 21 knots. RODNEY in company.
2215B/26 From R.A.D. Home Fleet to N.O.I.C. Iceland
Request you will retain separate screen of three destroyers each for VICTORIOUS and PRINCE OF WALES and sail remaining destroyers working with Home Fleet for Londonderry with despatch as they become available.
2218B/26 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Amiraltys 2056B. Destroyers bore 212, 10 miles at 1900B closing enemy
2219B/26 From F.O.S.
My 1919B/25. SEALION patrol on line 260 from position 048 20' N., 005 15' W., keeping as close to this position as circumstances permit. Remaining submarines addressed move patrol position 30 miles 162.
2225B/26 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Torpedo Bomber (corrup group) scored one hit amidships
2230B/26 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
My position, course and speed are (? 049 or 054) 48' N., 016 25' W., 130, 30 knots. Fuel remaining 30%. Can operate (? with) RODNEY or Force H.
2240B/26 From S.O. Force H
My 2225B. Possible second hit starboard quarter.
2244/26 From N.O.I.C Iceland to R.A.D.
Your 0310B/26. WINDSOR sailed 1830. ANTELOPE ready to proceed. No other Home Fleet destroyers remain.
2250B/26 From S.O. Force H
Lost touch at 2200B.
2300B/26 From COSSACK
My 2240. 1 Battleship bearing 115, 7 miles, course 060, my position 242 [bearing] 48 N., 15 W., 19 [miles.]
2310B/26 From S.O. Force H
My 2250B. ZULU and Capt. (D) 4 now in touch. Enemy's course 060.
2322B/26 From COSSACK
My 2300B. 1 Battleship bearing 070, 7 miles, course 340, my position 233 [bearing] 48 N., 15 W., 21 [miles].
2325B/26 From V.C.N.S.
WAR HINDOO is to stand by to proceed to sea at short notice. Oiling outfit is to be placed on board forthwith. C. in C. W.A. is requested to detail escort.
2337/26 From C. in. C. Home Fleet to ZULU
Fire star shells.
2344/26 From A/C Duty O
1 large vessel bearing 270, 2 miles, course 110. My position 47 45' N., 14 48' W.
2345/26 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Cancel my 2205. Attack not possible tonight. Dawn attack tomorrow by 12 torpedo spotter reconnaissance aircraft. Am turning west for short distance to keep clear of you. My position is 048 42' N., 015 17' W., based on fix at 2000.
2347/26 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
My position, course and speed 048 46' N., 015 20' W., 030, 21 knots.
2350B/26 From Rear Admiral 18th Cruiser Squadron
My 1656B/26. No fuel remaining for shadowing. My position, course and speed are 048 30' N., 015 22' W., 025, 13 knots. Proceeding Londonderry.
2400B/26 From COSSACK
My 2322B. 1 Battleship bearing 335, 6 miles, course unknown, my position 215 [bearing] 48 N., 15 W., 18 [miles].

27.5.1941
Tuesday

SITUATION REPORT

BISMARCK AND PRINZ EUGEN

4th Destroyer Flotilla attack.
ZULU, MAORI and COSSACK attacked BISMARCK with torpedoes about 0122 to 0146. MAORI and COSSACK each claimed a hit, though the senior surviving officer of the BISMARCK states that no torpedoes fired by destroyers hit the ship. Nevertheless, the BISMARCK made good 8 miles between 0240 and 0340 and at 0353B Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla reported that she was still capable of heavy and accurate fire. At 0604B MAORI reported her course and speed 160 7 knots.

Situation at 0600.
The enemy was altering course widely, speed 7 knots. Destroyers shadowing.

RENOWN, ARK ROYAL about 30 miles to the southward.

C. in C. Home Fleet in KING GEORGE V with RODNEY working round to engage from the westward.

NORFOLK from N.W., DORSETSHIRE from S.E., and SHEFFIELD seeking to make contact and shadow.

S.O. Force H, intended to fly off a striking force to attaack at 0716, but the attack was cancelled owing to the difficulty of identifying our own ships in low visibility.

At 0701 BISMARCK opened fire on the 4th Destroyer Flotilla. SIKH reported her course at 0739 as 80, at 0744 the enemy had altered course to 240 after which she made several alterations of course.

NORFOLK made contact at about 0630 and engaged at 0758 whilst shadowing. Force H made contact at 0830 and flew off a striking force at 0922.

Enemy Aircraft Attacks.
Enemy shore based aircraft attacked our ships from 1000 onwards. There were indications that more than one enemy S/M was in the neighbourhood.

Sinking of BISMARCK.
KING GEORGE V and RODNEY engaged BISMARCK from 0848 to 1020 at ranges down to 3300. (Ammunition requirements on return to base:- KING GEORGE V 336 rounds 14 inch, 724 5.25 inch.
RODNEY 380 rounds 16 inch, 716 - 6 inch, 12 torpedoes, NORFOLK full outfit of torpedoes.)

Operations.

Search for BISMARCK and PRINZ EUGEN.

0005Z/27 From REPULSE
At 0300B/25. in 057 43' N., 030 40' W., and at 0345B/25 in 057 26' N., 031 00' W., during recent operation when in company C. in C. Home Fleet lights as from boats including pyrotechnic signals were sighted. Survivors believed to be in vicinity.
0006B/27 From VICTORIOUS
Admiralty's 1328B/26 and my 2130B/26. Intend to proceed Clyde with destroyer screen as soon as they join. KENYA to proceed Hval Fiord independently from R/V at 0500B/27 in 063 N., 028 W.
0009/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
Enemy appears badly damaged. Intend engaging from westward at dawn.
0022/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
Request you go not less than 20 miles to Southward of him at dawn.
0037B/27 From D.D.I.C. [Deputy Director Intelligence Centre]
My 1824B/25. Admiralty appreciation is that BISMARCK intends to make for Brest.
0045/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
Report estimated bearing and distance of enemy from you at 2345. Force H proceed Southwards of enemy.
0046B/27 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
After being torpedoed German B/S BISMARCK class made two complete circles and speed reduced.
0046/27 From C. in C. Plymouth
Arrived 0040 WIVERN, VANSITTART, WILD, SWAN.
0050B/27 From 1st Sea Lord to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 2347/26 gave your course as 030. Assume you are still chasing.
0108/27 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
My position, course and speed at 0100B, 048 54' N., 015 19' W., 150, 27 knots.
0112B27 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 0045. 165, 41 miles.
0115/27 From Aldergrove to 15 Group
Still in touch position 47 40' N., 13 30' W.
0122/27 From ZULU
Have delivered (?torpedo attack).
0138/27 From MAORI
Have delivered attack. Enemy making smoke.
0140/27 From MAORI
Estimate one hit.
0145/27 From MAORI
One hit confirmed. Fire on forecastle.
0146/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
COSSACK attack completed. Claimed one hit.
0146/27 From COSSACK
1 battleship bearing 235, distance 3 miles, course 345. My position 264 [bearing] 48 N., 15 W., 13 [miles].
0210B/27 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 0009. Intend to keep to northward to flank mark for you. What frequency.
0213B/27 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Weather Forecast
0234/27 From SIKH to Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Enemy appears to be stopped.
0235/27 From SIKH to Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
In touch by R D/F.
0236/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
When all attacks are completed fire starshells every half an hour to indicate position and report by W/T fleet wave. My position, course and speed are 049 09' N., 015 21' W., 220, 19 knots.
0245/27 From SIKH to Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Come in by R D/F.
0253B/27 From F.O.S. My 2219B/26. Enemy battleship has been seriously damaged and was in about 47 57' N., 15 22' W., at 0146. SEALION proceed to vicinity of 48 13' N., 6 26' W., until further orders.
0256/27 From C. in C. Plymouth
WIVERN WILD SWAN and VANSITTART have fuelled and are at one hours' notice.
0300/27 From A/C Duty O to 15 R Group
Course and speed unobtainable. Position checked by gunfire.
0301B/27 From DORSETSHIRE
My position, course and speed are at 0300B, 046 05' N., 015 58' W., 020 (?25) knots. Fuel remaining at 0800/27 46%.
0335B/27 From S.O. Force H.
My position 047 48' N., 016 29' W., starshell bearing 100. Spotting aircraft for KING GEORGE V will take off at 0500.
0340/27 From SIKH to Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
About to fire starshell. My position 047 47' N., 015 25' W., doubtful.
0340B/27 From COSSACK
My 0146. One Battleship bearing 160, distance 3 miles, course 320. My position 284 [bearing] 48 N., 15 W., 24 [miles].
0349B/27 From A.C.N.S. H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Reports from Catalina aircraft at 1523/26, 2344/26 and 0115/27 indicate possibility of two enemy ships being in battle area. If so estimated position, course and speed of second ship at 0115/27 is 47 40' N., 13 30' W., 100, 30 knots.
0353B/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla to C. in C. Home Fleet
Enemy made good 8 miles 310 between 0240 and 0340 and is still capable of heavy and accurate fire.
0415B/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Am going to fire a round of H.E. this time in the approximate position. The other G.M.E. is not good enough.
0459B/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Any destroyer in touch with enemy send call sign on fleet wave full power for HOMING.
0502B/27 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
My position at 0500B, 048 24' N., 015 19' W., working circles.
0512B/27 From A.C.N.S. H.
Message 0300/27 from Aircraft Duty O appears to cancel the indication suggested in Admiralty 0349B/27.
0515B/27 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
R D/F detects possible (? submarine) in 048 26' (?015 degrees) 18' at 0508B.
0550B/27 From MAORI
One enemy unknown bearing 350, distance 5 miles, course unknown. My position 110 [bearing] 48 N., 16 W., 24 [miles].
0604B/27 From MAORI
My 0550B. Enemy course and speed, 160 7 knots.
0609B/27 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. W.A.
Request you will sail available destroyers from the Clyde and Londonderry for position 55 N., 15 W.
0610/27 From S.O. Force H to SHEFFIELD
Report D/F bearing of H.M.S., MAORI.
0618B/27 From MAORI
My 0550B. Enemy has altered course to starboard.
0620/27 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
E.T.A. of striking force 0715.
0632B/27 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
At (? 0621) B. MAORI (2 corrupt groups) from me 187. My position at that time was 048 38' N., 015 37' W., by observation.
0633/27 From S.O. Force H
My 0620. Attack postponed low visibility.
0655B/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
One enemy battleship bearing 002, distance 8 miles, course 350. My position 286 [bearing] 48 N., 15 W., 32 [miles].
0700/27 From S.O. Force H
D/F bearing of MAORI at 0650 was 002. First class. My position at that time, 047 10' N., 015 43' W.
0701/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Enemy has opened fire.
0702/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Enemy altered course to 340
0707/27 From S.O. Force H
My 0633. Have cancelled attack owing to difficulty in identifying own ships in low visibility.
0708/27 From MAORI
Enemy course and speed, 000, 12 knots, my position 345 [bearing] 48 N., 16 W., 26 [miles].
0715/27 From ZULU
One enemy battleship bearing 120, 10 miles, course 340, my position 48 13' N., 16 14' W.
0717B/27 From Duty Met. Officer
Weather forecast.
0722B/27 From D.S.D.
Cruisers and above at sea on Home Station North of Lat. 43 N., and West of Long. 5 W., are to display identification marks indicated in Adty. 325 AZ/26, as from 0600 G.M.T/27.
0739/27 From SIKH
Enemy course 080.
0741/27 From ZULU
Enemy is altering course to Port.
0744/27 From SIKH
Enemy has altered course to 240.
0753B/27 From NORFOLK
One Enemy, Type unknown, bearing 145, distance 9 miles, course 320. Position 48 9' N., 16 W., based on fix at 0600.
0758B/27 From NORFOLK
(? Engaging) on Battleship.
0825B/27 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Enemy's centre bears 353, 17 miles distant, position 008 [bearing] 47 N., 16 W., 33 [miles], fix 1800.
0830/27 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
Enemy's centre bears 345, 18 NRWE 008 VCRC 32. Fix 18.
0835B/27 From S.O. Force H
My 0825B. Bearing and distance are from RENOWN in V/S touch with MAORI.
0843B/27 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla to NORFOLK
1 battleship bearing 266, distance 10 miles, course 305, position PHBB 36.
0844B/27 From F.O.S to TIGRIS
Proceed with all despatch towards 48 20' N., 15 40' W.
0844B/27 From NORFOLK
Enemy's centre bears 155, 13 miles from Nuts King.
0845B/27 From NORFOLK
Enemy's course 290.
0852/27 From SIKH
Enemy bears 037 from me.
0855/27 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
Enemy's course 340.
0856B/27 From NORFOLK
Enemy's course 240.
0902B/27 From NORFOLK
Enemy is altering course to stardboard.
0907B/27 From NORFOLK
Enemy is altering course to port.
0909B/27 From V.C.N.S. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Heavy German air attack is to be anticipated.
0915B/27 From NORFOLK
Enemy is altering course to starboard.
0915B/27 From Capt. D. Londonderry 0915B/27 to VANQUISHER, SHERWOOD
cancel previous orders. Act in accordance with Adty. 0609B/27. Sail for 055 N., 15 W.
0915B/27 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
TIGRIS is now in 47 15' N., 8 00' W. Would you like her to close BISMARCK. If so it would be necessary for you to send surface ship to meet her and guide her to the scene of action.
0919B/27 From C. in C. W.A. to N.O.I.C. Greenock
Sail COLUMBIA ST. CLAIR in company from Greenock when ready. SHERWOOD from londenderry when ready. All to proceed to 55 N., 15 W.
0922B/27 From S.O. Force H
Striking force leaving now.
0929B/27 From D.D.I.C. [Deputy Director Intelligence Centre]
Roofs of BISMARCK's turrets and gunshield are painted bright yellow.
0940B/27 From S.O. Force H
1 aircraft bearing 020, distance 5 miles, course 013. My position 47 N., 16 W., 21.
0940/27 From NORFOLK
Vessels suspicious markings approaching from the Southward.
0945/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to 4th Destroyer Flotilla
Close.
0947/27 From S.O. Force H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Have detached (? ARK ROYAL) and (? SHEFFIELD). Am closing towards enemy units. Request your position, course and speed. My position, course and speed ae 047 20' N., 015 53' W., 350, 17 knots.
1004/27 From COSSACK
Enemy are bombing in position 205. PHBB 51.
1004/27 From NORFOLK to COSSACK
Enemy are bombing in position 305. PHBB 51.
1011/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to RODNEY
Course 027, 19 knots.
1022B/27 From 1st Cruser Squadron to DORSETSHIRE
Torpedo BISMARCK close range.
1024B/27 From F.O.S. to S/M/s Area A
PRINZ EUGEN was last seen in company with BISMARCK at 0200B/25 and may now possibly be making for Biscay Port.
1025/27 From S.O. Force H to C. in C. Home Fleet
My 0922B. Have you disposed of enemy.
1025/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
My 0922B. Have you disposed of enemy?.
1028B/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to F.O. Force H
Have had to discontinue action for fuel.
1029/27 From PRINCE OF WALES to Admiralty
Your 2317B/25. Following is a brief account of action.
See Lion Copy.
1040B/27 From C. in C. W.A. to F.O.I.C. Liverpool
Sail RIPLEY with despatch to Moville to fuel thence to 55 N., 15 W.
1042/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to S.O. Force H
Your 1025. She still (? extreme range).
1045/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to F.O. Force H
My 1042. Cannot get her to sink with guns.
1053/27 From S.O. Force H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Admiralty's 0909B. Have rejoined ARK ROYAL.
1101B/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty and S.O. Force H
BISMARCK sunk in 048 09' N., 016 07' W. My position, course and speed, 048 23' N., 015 58' W., 027, 17 knots. No destroyers in company.
1102B/27 From JUPITER to C. in C. Home Fleet
My position, course and speed are 051 17' N., 013 22' W., 215, 25 knots.
1107/27 From DORSETSHIRE to C. in C. Home Fleet
I torpedoed BISMARCK both sides before she sank. She had ceased firing but her colours were still flying.
1137B/27 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
We cannot visualise situation from your signals. BISMARCK must be sunk at all costs, and if to do this it is necessary for KING GEORGE V to remain on the scene then she must do so even if it subsequently means towing KING GEORGE V.
1146/27 From DORSETSHIRE to C. in C. Home Fleet
My 1107. While rescuing survivors suspicious object sighted to leeward which might have been submarine. I therefore proceeded with MAORI to rejoin you.
1151B/27 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
VANQUISHER, SHERWOOD, ST. CLAIR, RIPLEY AND COLUMBIA have been ordered to be at your disposal and are proceeding to 55 N., 15 W.
2. By proceeding at 20 knots ships can arrive in that position as follows:-
VANQUISHER and SHERWOOD 2130/27
ST. CLAIR 0700/28
COLUMBIA and RIPLEY 1100/28
1206B/27
and
2353/57
From 1st S.L. to Naval Mission, Washington
Account of Events.
See Lion Copy.
1258B/27 From D.O.D. H. to JUPITER
Join C. in C. Home Fleet whose position, course and speed were 48 23' N., 15 58' W., 027, 17 knots at 1101B/26
1257B/27 From D.O.D. H. to 1st Cruiser Squadron
Subject to other orders from C. in C. proceed to Clyde.
1259B/27 From V.C.N.S. to Force H
Proceed to Gibraltar. F.O.C.N.A. is requested to sail A/S escort keeping S.O. Force H informed.
1301B/27 From D.O.D.H. to DORSETSHIRE
Subject to orders from C. in C. proceed to Scapa and thence in accordance with A.M. 1831/14.
1304B/27 From D.C.
Cancel message AZ 326 time of origin 0722B/27
1307B/27 From D.O.D.H to VANQUISHER, SHERWOOD, ST. CLAIR, COLUMBIA, RIPLEY
A.M. 1151/27. Subject to other orders from C. in C. Home Fleet proceed with all despatch to join K.G.V. who left 48 23' N., 15 58' W., course 027, speed 17 knots at 1101B/27.
1316B/27 From 1st Sea Lord
BISMARCK sunk 1101B/27.
1436B/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet
My 1101B/27. My position, course and speed at 1400B, 048 48' N., 015 22' W., 040, 17 knots, passing through 051 30' 011 45', 054 10' 010 50' thence to Scapa via Minches if fuel permits.
(II) RODNEY, DORSETSHIRE, COSSACK, ZULU, MAORI, SIKH, and JUPITER in company.
(III) Intend to detach RODNEY to Clyde and DORSETSHIRE in accordance with A.M. 1831B/14 May.
(IV) 1st Cruiser Squadron is proceeding independently to Scapa.
1524B/27 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Ammunition for K.G.V. is being made available at the Clyde.
1536/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet
My 1436B/27. Delete JUPITER. Admiralty pass my 1436B/27 to JUPITER.
1614B/27 From F.O.S.
MINERVE and P.31 are to be withdrawn from patrol.
1723Z/27 From REPULSE to Admiralty
C. in C. Home Fleet requests frequency used by aircraft referred to in A.M. 2012/24, 0225/25, 0422/25 may be promulgated. Admiralty please pass to C. in C. Home Fleet on arrival to harbour.
1735B/27 From D.S.O. to C. in C. Home Fleet
My 1307B. Your 1436B has been passed to VANQUISHER, RIPLEY, ST. CLAIR, COLUMBIA, SHERWOOD.
1835B/27 From D.O.D. H. to C. in C. W.A.
Cancel my 2325B/26 (re WAR HINDOO, oiler)
1910B/27 From Controller
PRINCE OF WALES is to be sailed as soon as possible for Rosyth for repairs.
2. Destroyer escort should remain in company.
1946/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Ammunition requirements at Scapa for KING GEORGE V, 14 inch 336 rounds, 5.25 inch 660 S.A.P. 64 H.E. At Greenock for RODNEY 16 inch 380, 6 inch 716, torpedoes 12 if embarking gantry is repaired. At Scapa for NORFOLK torpedoes full outfit ammunition unknown.
My 1536B. JUPITER now in company.
1957/27 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
Concluding stage of BISMARCK action. Description.
See Lion Copy
2139/27 From C. in C. Home fleet
Reported by aircraft at 2015B. My position, course and speed at 2100B, 050 25' N., 013 22' W., 039, 18 knots altering course to 011 at 0200B.
2210B/27 From D.D.I.C. to C. in C. Home Fleet
You are reported by enemy aircraft at 2040B.
2223B/27 From F.O.S.
(a) Cancel my 1216B/27 to TIGRIS and Para. B. and C. of my 1303B/27.
(b) Enemy cruiser probably PRINZ EUGEN in 047 N., 014 30' W., at 1820 today.
(c) SEALION to patrol on line 260 from 048 20' N., 005 15' W., keeping as near latter position as circumstances permit. PANDORA to 047 55' N., 006 18' W., SEAWOLF 046 55' N., 005 48' W., STURGEON 046 40' N., 005 23' W., TIGRIS 046 25' N., 005 48' W.
(d) Submarine H.44 proceed as in my 1303B/27.
2319B/27 From F.O.S.
My 1624B/27. Cancel paras. A. B. C. D. and E. Add STURGEON, SEALION, TIGRIS, SEAWOLF and PANDORA in Bay of Biscay between 46 N., and 48 40' N., and east of 07 W.

28.5.1941
Wednesday.

Operations.

Search for BISMARCK and PRINZ EUGEN.

0201Z/28 From PRINCE OF WALES
Further to my 1029/27. Further account of action.
See Lion Copy.
0234B/28 From 1st S.L. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 1957/27. A. Did BISMARCK reply to your fire and if not why not?
B. Were any survivors from BISMARCK picked up and, if so, how many?
C. Reply when W/T silence is not necessary.
0957B/28 From R.A.D. to ANTHONY
If not in company with PRINCE OF WALES return to Scapa.
1004/28 From R.A.D. to D.3
Join C. in C. Home Fleet with all available destroyers with despatch. P.C.S. at 0913B/28 (as C. in C. Home Fleet 0913B/28).
1121/28 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Intend KING GEORGE V and 3 destroyers to fuel at Loch Ewe arriving 0600B tomorrow.
1304B/28 From C. in C. Home Fleet
My position, course and speed at 1300B are 054 34' N., 010 18' W., 053, 17.5 knots. X.12
1414/28 From C. in C. Home Fleet
Propose detach TARTAR proceed with all despatch into nearest Irish Port to obtain fuel for full speed.
1434B/28 From V.C.N.S. to R.A.3 B.S.
Has it been practicable to take any action on REPULSE's 0005Z/27.
1457B/28 From D.O.D.H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Your 1414/28. Approved if unable to reach British Port at a satisfactory speed.
1532/28 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
Are you taking any action on my 1414.
1558B/28 From C. in C. W.A. to Admiralty
Your 1438B/28. Regret it was not possible to take any action as there were no ships within practicable range of this position.
1614B/28 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
Re. B.B.C. Broadcast. SIKH should have been included in description of night destroyer attack on BISMARCK.
1623/28 From S.O. Force H
Report on the operation.
See Lion Copy.
1628/28 From C. in C. Home Fleet to Admiralty
Your 0234B/28. (a) Yes in order RODNEY at about 24000 yards BISMARCK and KING GEORGE V.
(b) DORSETSHIRE has four officers including gunnery officer and 75 ratings. MAORI has 24 ratings.
1701B/28 From A.C.N.S.F. to MALVERNIAN
Move patrol to area X.1. forthwith.
1718B/28 From A.C.N.S. H. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Boom defences at Aultbea are not yet complete. A double line of loop mines is in operation.
1746B/28 From A.C.N.S. H. to TARTAR
A.M. 1457/28. Indicate your intentions.
1810B/28 From C. in C. W.A. to WILD SWAN, VANSITTART, WIVERN
Proceed with despatch. Report E.T.A. Fuel immediately on arrival.
1921B/28 From 1st Cruiser Squadron
Report on the operation.
See Lion Copy.
1950B/28 From R.A.D. Home Fleet to ACTIVE
Your 1743B/27. If not met by dark proceed to Scapa.
2005B/28 From F.O. 18th C.S. to C. in C. Home Fleet
Am taking sufficient fuel to reach Scapa. Intend proceeding there at 20 knots via Minches. E.T.A. 1400B/29.
2005B/28 From RODNEY to F.O.I.C. Greenock
Expect to arrive 0115B tomorrow VANQUISHER. SIKH, MAORI, LEBION, and COLUMBIA in company.
2006/28 From Captain 4th Destroyer Flotilla to C. in C. Plymouth
I urgently request 4th Destroyer Flotilla, now dispersing to various Northern port to oil, may be concentrated at Scapa for a brief period, before proceeding Southwards or elsewhere. Reasons.
2121B/28 From DORSETSHIRE to N.O.I.C. Tyne
DORSETSHIRE with 4 Officers and 75 ratings ex BISMARCK. E.T.A. 1500B/29.
2124B/28 From DORSETSHIRE to Admiralty
Your 1510B/27. BISMARCK's Senior survivor Lieut. Commander Baron Burkard Von Mullenheim states attack delivered by torpedo bombers at approx. 2100B/26 secured a hit on starboard quarter which jammed BISMARCK's rudders putting her out of control and thus reducing her S. of A. and so ensuring her subsequent destruction. Further emphatically he stated that only torpedoes which struck were from aircraft, three in number, and destroyers torpedoes did not hit.
2153B/28 From 1st Cruiser Squadron to F.O.I.C. Greenock
E.T.A. 0130B/29.
2248Z/28 From 2nd Cruiser Squadron to ARETHUSA
While on patrol do not get westward of longitude 022 20' W.
2254B/28 From F.O.S.
Normal submarine patrols have been resumed in Bay of Biscay.
2315B/28 From A.C.N.S. H.
Ships to patrol in the Denmark Straits are to keep to the Eastward of a line 360 from North Cape.
2. These instructions are to remain in force until other orders have been given.




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