Forces of Valor UNIWARSHIPSET3 'Sink the Bismarck!' - HMS Ark Royal Class Aircraft Carrier - HMS Ark Royal (91) and German Kriegsmarine Battleship Bismarck (1:700 Scale)
"Sink the Bismarck!"
- Prime Minister Winston Churchill, after learning of the demise of the battlecruiser HMS Hood, May 1941
HMS Ark Royal (pennant number 91) was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy that served during the Second World War.
Designed in 1934 to fit the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty, Ark Royal was built by Cammell Laird and Company, Ltd. at Birkenhead, England, and completed in November 1938. Her design differed from previous aircraft carriers. Ark Royal was the first ship on which the hangars and flight deck were an integral part of the hull, instead of an add-on or part of the superstructure. Designed to carry a large number of aircraft, she had two hangar deck levels. She served during a period that first saw the extensive use of naval air power; a number of carrier tactics were developed and refined aboard Ark Royal.
Ark Royal served in some of the most active naval theatres of the Second World War. She was involved in the first aerial and U-boat kills of the war, operations off Norway, the search for the German battleship Bismarck, and the Malta Convoys. Ark Royal survived several near misses and gained a reputation as a 'lucky ship'. The Germans incorrectly reported her as sunk on multiple occasions.
She was torpedoed on November 13th, 1941, by the German submarine U-81 and sank the following day. Her sinking was the subject of several inquiries; investigators were keen to know how the carrier was lost, in spite of efforts to save the ship and tow her to the naval base at Gibraltar. They found that several design flaws contributed to the loss, which were rectified in new British carriers.
Her wreck was discovered by a BBC crew in December 2002, approximately 30 nmi (35 mi; 56 km) from Gibraltar.
Pictured here is a 1:700 scale diecast replica of the HMS Ark Royal (91) aircraft carrier, as it participated in the hunt for the German battleship, Bismarck, in 1941.
The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of the Second World War. The lead ship of her class, she was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck's fame came from the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941 (in which the battlecruiser HMS Hood, flagship and pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk), from Churchill's subsequent order to "Sink the Bismarck", and from the relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy that ended with her loss only three days later.
Design of the ship started in the early 1930s, following on from Germany's development of the Deutschland class cruisers and the Gneisenau class "battlecruisers". Construction of the second French Dunkerque class battleship made redesign necessary, and Bismarck's displacement was increased to 41,700 tons. Officially, however, her tonnage was 35,000 tons to suggest parity with ships built within the limits of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935) that allowed Germany to build up to five 35,000-ton battleships, the maximum displacement agreed by the major powers in the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. Fully laden, Bismarck and her sister-ship Tirpitz would each displace more than 50,000 tons. The prototype of the proposed battleships envisaged under Plan Z, Bismarck's keel was laid down at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg on July 1st, 1936. She was launched on February 14th, 1939 and commissioned on August 24th, 1940 with Kapitan zur See Ernst Lindemann in command.
This formidable ship, the largest warship then commissioned, was intended primarily as a commerce raider, having a broad beam for stability in the rough seas of the North Atlantic and fuel stores as large as those of battleships intended for operations in the Pacific Ocean. Still, with eight 15 inch main guns in four turrets, substantial welded-armour protection and designed for a top speed of not less than 29 knots (she actually achieved 30.1 knots in trials in the calmer waters of the Baltic, an impressive speed when set against any comparable British battleship), Bismarck was capable of engaging any enemy battleship on reasonably equal terms. Her range of weaponry could easily decimate any convoy she encountered. The plan was for Bismarck to break through into the spacious waters of the North Atlantic, where she could refuel from German tankers and remain undetected by British and American aircraft, submarines and ships, while attacking the convoys.
Shown here is a 1:700 scale replica of the famed German battleship Bismarck as it sortied out into the Atlantic Ocean during Operation Rheinubung, in May 1941.
Length: 16 inches