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Killing the Bismarck (ePub)

Destroying the Pride of Hitler's Fleet

Maritime > Naval WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich WWII > Naval Warfare WWII

By Iain Ballantyne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
File Size: 4.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781848849600
Published: 24th February 2014


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In May 1941, the German battleship Bismarck, accompanied by heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, broke out into the Atlantic, to attack Allied shipping. The Royal Navy's pursuit and subsequent destruction of Bismarck was an epic of naval warfare. In this new account of those dramatic events at the height of the Second World War, Iain Ballantyne draws extensively on the graphic eye-witness testimony of veterans, to construct a thrilling story, mainly from the point of view of the British battleships, cruisers and destroyers involved.

He describes the tense atmosphere as cruisers play a lethal cat and mouse game as they shadow Bismarck in the icy Denmark Strait. We witness the shocking destruction of the British battlecruiser Hood, in which all but three of her ship's complement were killed; an event that filled pursuing Royal Navy warships, including the battered battleship Prince of Wales, with a thirst for revenge. While Swordfish torpedo-bombers try desperately to cripple the Bismarck, we sail in destroyers on their own daring torpedo attacks, battling mountainous seas. Finally, the author takes us into the final showdown, as battleships Rodney and King George V, supported by cruisers Norfolk and Dorsetshire, destroy the pride of Hitler's fleet. This vivid, superbly researched account portrays this epic saga through the eyes of so-called 'ordinary sailors' caught up in extraordinary events.

Killing the Bismarck is an outstanding read, conveying the horror and majesty of war at sea in all its cold brutality and awesome power.

A timely look at the destruction of the Bismarck as the first part of a meter-annd-a-half long partwork model is on sale in the newsagents. This is Boys’ Own Story stuff! I remember reading a book called Sink The Bismarck in my early teens – I would have loved to read this back then, and still enjoy such wartime accounts now.

Books Monthly

Given the exceptionally well-known and
well-documented nature of Bismarck's sole operation and her actions, pursuit and sinking, it may well be wondered whether there was anything genuinely new left to say on the matter. However, Ballantyne has succeeded in obtaining new first-hand acconuts which have been added to the narrative. . . Overall, Killing the Bismarck is an excellent one-volume overview of the Bismarck affair, with a particular emphasis on the Royal Navy's part.

International Journal of Maritime History, Volume 28(2) - Scot Lindgren

Killing the Bismarck is delivered with the verve of a novel, taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride across stormy seas.

Ton Class Association

This book provides a harrowing insight into the unremitting cruelty of war at sea and takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride in which each twist and turn yields new shocks.


[It is] more than just another book about the hunt for, and subsequent destruction of the BISMARCK, its major point of difference being the author's extensive use of first-hand accounts which give the work human interest as well as historical accuracy.

Warship World

Not content with just publishing the original account in a new format, Ballantyne has added 18 pages of new material to the paperback. The telling of the final battle in which Bismarck is despatched is a lesson in the sheer cold murder of close up combat between capital ships.


Remains the definitive account of the British part in the battle.

Navy News

A suspenseful narrative that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

WW2 History

The author gives us a real sense of the remorselessness of the sea on the body and mind; the horrific effects of explosives on a ship and on the flesh of its sailors. He conveys the meaning of the totality of warfare upon the great waters.

Captain John Rodgaard, USN (Retd) writing in The Mariner’s Mirror

Iain Ballantyne’s magnum opus…a truly towering work

Rob White, award-winning documentary filmmaker, whose notable productions include The Battle of Hood and Bismarck.
 Iain Ballantyne

About Iain Ballantyne

Iain Ballantyne has written extensively about navies past and present. He has visited warships and commando units to report on their operational activities in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Adriatic, Asia-Pacific and the Arctic, including covering the fall of the Soviet Union - plus its impact in Russia, Latvia and the Czech Republic - along with the 1990/91 Gulf War.
A former newspaper defence reporter and current Editor of the global naval affairs magazine ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review’, Iain has also contributed to television news and documentary programmes, and radio shows. He is host of the Warships Pod podcast.
Among his other naval history books are ‘Warspite’, ‘HMS Rodney’ and the award-winning ‘Killing the Bismarck’ (all published by Pen & Sword). In 2017, Iain was presented with a prestigious Fellowship Award by the UK’s Maritime Foundation for making ‘a truly outstanding contribution to stimulating public engagement in maritime issues.’

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