The German battleship Bismarck is one of the most famous warships of World War II. The warship was named after the 19th-century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
The Bismarck class battleships were a class of battleships built by Germany for World War II. The class ships were the third-largest battleships ever completed by displacement, behind the Japanese Yamato class and the Iowa class.
The Bismarck and the Tirpitz, the only two ships of the Bismarck class were laid down in 1936 and launched three years later, nominally 35,000 tons each in accordance with the 1923 Washington Naval Treaty after the tonnage restriction set in place by the Treaty of Versailles was effectively lifted by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement. They were a follow up to the Scharnhorst battlecruisers, being quite similar in design, armour and outward appearance. Although Bismarck and Tirpitz were nearly identical insofar as basic configuration and dimensions, Bismarck has become something of a naval legend while Tirpitz led a comparatively unglamorous life.
The Bismarck class embodied much of what made Germanys World War I battleships outstanding combat vessels and their design was broadly influenced by the last German battleship classes of World War I.
The Bismarck class was reasonably well suited as a commerce raider, with a good operational range and sufficient speed to elude any pursuit. The Bismarck class top speed was greater than any opposing British capital ship, including their largest battlecruiser Hood and new King George V class battleships.
The wreck of Bismarck was discovered on June 8, 1989 by Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer also responsible for finding the Titanic.