May 27

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May 27, 1941:

Bismarck sunk by Royal Navy

On May 27, 1941, the British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France. The German death toll was more than 2,000.

On February 14, 1939, the 823-foot Bismarck was launched at Hamburg. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler hoped that the state-of-the-art battleship would herald the rebirth of the German surface battle fleet. However, after the outbreak of war, Britain closely guarded ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, and only U-boats moved freely through the war zone.

In May 1941, the order was given for the Bismarck to break out into the Atlantic. Once in the safety of the open ocean, the battleship would be almost impossible to track down, all the while wreaking havoc on Allied convoys to Britain. Learning of its movement, Britain sent almost the entire British Home Fleet in pursuit. On May 24, the British battle cruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales intercepted it near Iceland. In a ferocious battle, the Hood exploded and sank, and all but three of the 1,421 crewmen were killed. The Bismarck escaped, but because it was leaking fuel it fled for occupied France. On May 26, it was sighted and crippled by British aircraft, and on May 27 three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off.

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This Week in History, May 27 - Jun 2

May 27, 1941
Bismarck sunk by Royal Navy
May 28, 1961
Appeal for Amnesty campaign launches
May 29, 1953
Hillary and Tenzing reach Everest summit
May 30, 1431
Joan of Arc martyred
May 31, 1859
Big Ben goes into operation in London
Jun 01, 1980
CNN launches
Jun 02, 1935
Babe Ruth retires

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