Battle of the Giants


In May 1941, two of the greatest battleships ever constructed clashed in the North Atlantic. HMS King George V and the Kriegsmarine’s Bismarck fought a bitter duel across miles of grey ocean – it was a fight to the death.

The Bismarck in a Norwegian fjord, probably Grimstadfjord, on May 21, 1941, shortly before her Atlantic sortie. Her camouflage was painted over before she sailed.

She was the pride of the British fleet. Displacing 42,200 tons and capable of a top speed of 28 knots, HMS King George V mounted ten 14in guns each of which threw a 1,590lb shell 38,600 yards (nearly 22 miles). Commissioned into the Royal Navy on December 11, 1940, King George V, along with her sister ship Prince of Wales, were Britain’s most modern and powerful battleships.


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