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
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.
The Admiral's bridge
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.
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.
The gun turret
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.