HMS Hood

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HMS Hood was a battlecruiser of the Royal Navy, and considered the pride of the Royal Navy in the interwar period and during the early period of World War II. She was one of four Admiral class battlecruisers ordered in mid-1916 under the Emergency War Programme. Although the design was drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland, it was realised that there were serious limitations even to the revised design; for this reason, and because of evidence that the German battlecruisers that they were designed to counter were unlikely to be completed, work on her sister ships was suspended in 1917. As a result, Hood was Britain's last completed battlecruiser. She was named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood. When the German battleship Bismarck sailed for the Atlantic in May 1941, Hood was sent out in pursuit commanded by flag captain Ralph Kerr, C.B.E. and flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Lancelot Holland, together with the newly-commissioned Prince of Wales, to intercept the German ships before they could break into the Atlantic and attack Allied convoys. Holland’s ships caught up with Bismarck and her consort, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland on 24 May. Due to the loss of contact the previous night Hood and Prince of Wales were now approaching from such an angle that only their two forward gun turrets could engage the enemy, as their own superstructure masked their aft-turrets. Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were able to bring all of their guns to bear when the engagement began. At about 06:00, as Hood was turning, she was struck by one or more shells from Bismarck's fifth salvo, fired from a range of 15 to 18 km (about 8 to 9.5 nautical miles). Almost immediately, a huge jet of flame burst out of Hood from the vicinity of the mainmast. This was followed by a devastating explosion that destroyed the after part of the ship. Hood's stern rose and sank rapidly, then her bow section reared up in the sea and sank. Its forward turret fired one last salvo, possibly from the doomed gun crew, just before the bow section sank. Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, had sunk in 3 minutes. From Hood's first salvo to her disappearance beneath the waves, only eleven minutes had passed. Of the 1,418 crew, only three men (Ted Briggs (1923–2008), Robert Ernest Tilburn (1921–1995) and William John Dundas (1921–1965))survived; they were rescued about two and a half hours after the sinking by the destroyer HMS Electra. The dramatic loss of such a well-known symbol of British naval power had a great effect on many people; some later remembered the news as the most shocking of World War II. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







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