Why did she sink so fast?
Why did the Mighty Hood, symbol of Britain's naval power, break into two pieces and sink so fast that only three people survived? The Admiralty set up a board of enquiry which concluded that the ship sank because Bismarck's 15-inch guns hit the magazines containing the ship's ammunition, causing it to explode.
There are several problems with this explanation:
- there was no magazine in the area where the explosion was seen
- there was a significant delay between Hood being hit and the explosion, whereas a magazine would have gone up much more quickly
- the explosion was silent, whereas a magazine explosion would have sounded like a 'whump'.
There have been many theories about what really happened.
This is the puzzle the expedition has set out to solve. With their state-of-the-art equipment they will examine the wreck to see if they can discover just why Britain's most famous warship went down so quickly taking all but three of her crew with her.
- Did a shell penetrate under the armour belt and detonate the weapons in the magazines?
- Or did a shell come from above and pass through the ship into the magazines?
- Did the shell hit the torpedo tubes where there were four or five large warheads, causing them to explode and break the vessel in two? Two members of this expedition disagree about the likelihood of this explanation. Naval Historian Dr Eric Grove believes the lack of protection of the torpedo tubes was Hood's Achilles' heel but naval architect, Bill Jurens, thinks otherwise.
- Did the shell set fire to the cordite propellant in the magazines, which would cause a conflagration without a bang?