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Article from the
Daily Express
No. 12,797
of May 31, 1941
Front page.

Express Naval Reporter

A BRITISH naval officer who saw the sinking of the Bismarck gave the sensational opinion last night that she was bigger than the 42,000 - ton battlecruiser Hood, hitherto regarded as the world's largest warship.
He said: "She looked as though she might be nearer 50,000 tons. She was certainly much bigger than the 35,000 tons she was supposed to be." At 50,000 tons the Bismarck would be the biggest battleship ever built. The colossal amount of punishment she stood from British gunfire of the heaviest calibre and from torpedo attack is the naval sensation of the year. Before the battle the Germans boasted of her tremendous strength, achieved by the newest armour-plate and an elaborate system of watertight compartments in the hull.


If, in fact, the German constructors made the Bismarck much heavier than the declared tonnage of 35,000, they would be able to build far greater armour-plate protection into her. A suggestion has been made that she carried 16-inch guns, although the Germans declared them to be 15-inchers. The great significance of the new reports about the Bismarck's size is that, if they are true, they show that Germany was deliberately deceiving Britain as long ago as 1937, when the Nazis signed a naval treaty with us. It limited capital ships to 35,000 tons and gun calibres to 16 inches. Both countries agreed to exchange information on navy building. The Bismarck and her sister-ship Tirpitz were actually begun the year before the treaty - which Hitler openly tore up in April 1939.

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