Atlantic shipping lanes, in the hope of asphyxiating Britain and forcing her to sue for peace. These two warships left port at Gotenhafen (present-day Gdynia) in Operation Rheinübung (Rhine Exercise), a break for the Atlantic. The British fleet pursued the 2 German monsters and after a bloody engagement Bismark, the pride of the German Navy, was sunk but the British also lost an important ship, the HMS Hood. Bismarck had been launched in Hamburg by the Iron Chancellor’s granddaughter, Dorothea von Löwenfeld, in February 1939, and Göring, Goebbels, Hess, Ribbentrop, Himmler, Bormann, Keitel and of course Raeder were all present; the Führer gave a speech. The ship was one-sixth of a mile long, recalled the British writer Ludovic Kennedy, who was a junior reserve lieutenant when he took part in the operation to try to sink her, ‘120 feet wide, designed to carry eight 15″ guns and six aircraft, with 13″ armour made of specially hardened Wotan steel on her turrets and sides. Listed as 35,000 tons to comply with the London Treaty, she would in fact be 42,000 tons standard displacement and over 50,000 tons fully laden. There had never been a warship like her: she symbolized not only a resurgent Navy but the whole resurgent German nation… Warships combine uniquely grace and power, and Bismarck, massive and elegant, with the high flare of her bows and majestic sweep of her lines, the symmetry of her turrets, the rakish cowling of her funnel, her ease and arrogance in the water, was then the most graceful, most powerful warship yet built. No German saw her without pride, no neutral or enemy without admiration.’ Furthermore she had twelve boilers, her four gun turrets each weighed 1,000 tons – they were nicknamed Anton, Bruno, Caesar and Dora – she could sail at 29 knots and her crew numbered 2,065. Prinz Eugen, meanwhile, displaced 14,000 tons, had eight 8-inch guns and a speed of 32 knots.