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09/07/01 - Day 8

The Bismarck is found!

Rob White reports

Battleship 'Bismarck' is in the lenses of our underwater cameras.

It's an amazing sight - the first colour TV pictures of the wreckage of the pride of the German wartime navy, sunk on her first voyage by the combined might of the Royal Navy.

Bimarck Admirals Bridge

The Admiral's bridge

The first major piece of wreckage we see in the underwater debris field, two and a half miles below the surface, is the main mast of the ship. Clearly identifiable by the rungs used for climbing it, it lies with radio gear used to send the last desperate signals from the ship. It's still attached but twisted off at an angle to the structure.

Next, we find the remains of one of 'Bismarck's huge 15-inch gun turrets. It's upside down on its roof with a tangled mass of machinery sticking out - all that remains of the complex equipment that enabled the turret to turn in its housing on the ship's deck - the "barbette". Near it is one of its gun barrels.

The gun turret

The gun turret

But perhaps the most dramatic discovery of all is the main superstructure with the Admiral's bridge - where Fleet Commander Admiral Lutjens was last seen. Also upside down, its windows are clearly visible, and the round bridge 'wings' alongside - with huge strands of undersea vegetation streaming from them.

Here the Admiral would have stood and watched the forces gathering to destroy him and his flagship.

Most poignant of all though is the sight of two German Navy seaboots - lying just where their owner fell sixty years ago after making the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

We'll be sending back more pictures later today. They will be available right here in the gallery section on the expedition website.

Full Listing
26/07/01 -
Finally - a service of remembrance

The Hood Photo Appeal

25/07/01 -
More big discoveries

23/07/01 -
She's found!

22/07/01 -
Keeping in position

21/07/01 -
Tracking the ocean floor

20/07/01 -
Sonar finds "promising target"

19/07/01 -
Combing the search box

18/07/01 -
Transfers and goodbyes

17/07/01 -
Meet the search team

16/07/01 -
Meet the survey team

15/07/01 -
Meet the experts

14/07/01 -
Meet the film crew

13/07/01 -
Farewell to the Bismarck

12/07/01 -
A service of remembrance

11/07/01 -
More filming from the deep

10/07/01 -
The Bismarck plaque is laid

09/07/01 -
The Bismarck is found!

07/07/01 -
Staying on track

06/07/01 -
The sonar is finally launched

05/07/01 -
More frustration for the team

04/07/01 -
Rough weather halts progress

03/07/01 -
Expedition to film the Bismarck

03/07/01 -
Holding a steady course

02/07/01 -
Northern Horizon leaves Cork

28/06/01 -
David Mearns in Webchat

27/06/01 -
ITN's Rob White reports from the ship