Skip to content
US Naval History & Heritage Command.

Killing the Bismarck

A broad-ranging look at the entire Action, from the events prior to the Hood’s destruction through to the Bismarck’s sinking and the aftermath

Winner of a Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution Certificate of Merit (2010), whose citation declares ‘Killing the Bismarck’ to be ‘a book of intense drama, compiled with painstaking accuracy and vividly portrayed through the meticulous accumulation of first-hand witness accounts’ to make it ‘authoritative and compelling.’

The scene is set with a look at how the Germans pulled off a ‘masterly deception’ to build a capital ship that secretly broke inter-war arm restrictions, while the British raced to complete a new class of ships it was hoped could counter the Bismarck.

‘Killing the Bismarck’ radically alters our perception of this legendary episode, via focusing on first-hand accounts of British sailors, marines and carrier aviators.

During this action-packed story we go aboard cruisers playing a lethal cat and mouse game as they shadow Bismarck. We also experience the British battlecruiser Hood’s destruction. We fly in Swordfish torpedo-bombers during desperate bids to cripple Bismarck.

The final showdown sees battleships Rodney and King George V supported by cruisers destroy the pride of Hitler’s fleet in a close-quarter battle. We also learn of Winston Churchill’s anxious vigil and the key role the victory played in establishing the Special Relationship between the USA and Britain.

Iain Ballantyne analyses the myths surrounding Bismarck and her destruction. Providing a harrowing insight into the unremitting cruelty of war at sea, ‘Killing the Bismarck’ is delivered with the verve of a novel, taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride across stormy sea.

RRP £14.99 (paperback)
£11.99 introductory offer when purchased direct from Pen & Sword Books

Pages: 317
ISBN: 9781783462650

Killing the Bismarck

‘Iain Ballantyne’s magnum opus…a truly towering work.’
Rob White, award-winning documentary filmmaker,  whose notable works include ‘The Battle of Hood and Bismarck.’

‘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.’

‘Remains the definitive account of the British part in the battle.’
‘Navy News’, the official newspaper of the Royal Navy.