H.M.S. Hood Today
Photos of the Wreck of Battleship Bismarck
Updated 21-Nov-2018

Contained herein, are many photos of the wreck of Schlachtschiff Bismarck as it lies today in the Atlantic. We owe a special debt of gratitude to our friend David L. Mearns of Blue Water Recoveries Ltd, for generously allowing us to post these photos here. Also, a very special thanks to Thomas Schmid for allowing us to post his excellent computer renderings of Bismarck. Lastly, a very special thanks to John Asmussen, José Rico and Ulrich Rudofsky for their assistance in better understanding the ship and the wreck.

Important Notice: These photographs have been exclusively loaned for display here on the official H.M.S. Hood Association web site, and are not to be downloaded or republished elsewhere without the express permission of David L. Mearns and Blue Water Recoveries Ltd. The wreck renderings may not be downloaded or republished elsewhere without the express permission of Thomas Schmid.

Chainbar divider

Damage to the Hull (Assorted Views)
Shown here are a few examples of some of the shell damage to the hull. Please note that we have slightly modified these photos: all were reduced in size and lightened/brightened somewhat to bring out detail. Also, please be aware that this page is image intensive, and may take some time to fully load.

Computer rendering of damage to Bismarck's bow
We will not present a wreck map for this page due to the fact that we do not have the exact locations of all hits shown in our photos. What we present here instead, is an artistic rendering of Bismarck's starboard side. Here you get an overview of typical damage to the hull: shell impacts, missing lower hull plating (abreast the bridge), the displacement of the armour belt, and compression damage from the impact with the volcano.

Shell hole in the port bow
A hole in the port bow, quite near the stem.

Sea anemones on the port bow of Bismarck
Two hits shown here near the waterline on the port side of the bow. This photo illustrates how the bow is covered in a myriad of sea anemones.

Possible shell hole made by H.M.S. Prince of Wales on 24 May 1941
This is possibly a very famous hit: This is a candidate for the bow hit made by a 14" shell from H.M.S. Prince of Wales during the Battle of the Denmark Strait. This would be the port side entrance hole. Note the white false bow wave directly beneath this.

Exit hole from hit by H.M.S. Prince of Wales on 24 May 1941
This is undoubtedly a very famous hit: This is the exit hole from Prince of Wales's hit on Bismarck's bow- the hit that effectively ended Bismarck's participation in Operation Rheinübung. It is exactly as described by Bismarck survivors. Shown here is the @ 6.5 ft/2m wide exit hole at the top of the false bow wave on the starboard side. The earliest wreck assessments concluded that this famous hit could not be located. Clearly, it had indeed been imaged, but not identified.

Impact/compression damage on the port bow abreast the turrets
Port side- Damaged armoured plating likely caused by compression when the ship struck the bottom. This would appear to have caused the lines of the hull (when viewed from the side) to have changed slightly- the bow appears to be "bent" slightly upward. Overall, the hull is far more damaged than Dr Ballard had originally stated in his book. The wreck is not as pristine as originally thought.

Impact/compression damage on the starboard side
Damage, possibly from the same compression, but this time on the starboard side. Note the damage to the hull at the forward end of the armoured belt.

Shell impacts on the port side of the hull
Typical example of shell hits on the hull. Most appeared to have simply "splatted" against the steel sides of the hull. This particular hit is to port.

Armour displaced by the impact with the sea bottom
Displaced armour on the starboard side. This was caused, no doubt, by the impact and slide.

Penetration of the port side of the hull
A penetrating hit above the main armour belt on the port side.

Penetration of the armour belt to starboard
One of the very few penetrations of the main armour belt. This one is to starboard.

Impact at the decks edge somewhere on to port
More damage on the port side.

Penetration above the armour belt to port
Even more damage on the port side. An interesting side note here is that these photos clearly demonstrate the fact that Bismarck's hull was indeed painted a darker shade of grey than her superstructure.

The stern break
Lastly a view of the stern break. The swastika is still present. Note the sediment deposited on the deck during the slide down the volcano. There are actually great amounts of sediment at various points throughout the ship. The colour of the band surrounding the swastika is difficult to discern. It may be like the forward marking- faded, eroded, flaking grey over red.