"SIGHTING THE BISMARCK"

BY ROBERT TAYLOR

Autographed by Obergefreiter HANS HELLWIG, Machinen Obergefreiter KARL-AUGUST SCHULDT, Matrose II JOSEF STATZ and Machined Obergefreiter JOHANNES ZIMMERMANN

L/E of 935. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size: 23" x 32"

Price: $295-$500

— SOLD OUT —
(except Artist's Proofs)


A unique limited edition print featuring the Bismarck - pride of the German Kriegsmarine. Each print signed by four crew members who survived the sinking of the Bismarck.

In the early hours of May 24, 1941, as the mighty Gerrnan ships Bismarck and Prinz Eugen slipped through the Denmark Strait, they were dramatically intercepted by the Royal Naval battleships Hood and Prince of Wales. Within six minutes of the first salvo being fired, the Hood, pride of the Royal Navy, was blown out of the water in one of the most gigantic explosions ever witnessed at sea.

Bismarck's fourth salvo landed a shell forward of the Hood's after turrets, piercing her deck, exploding the 4-inch magazine. Simultaneously this detonated the adjacent 15-inch magazine, and in one mighty eruption the battleship broke in two. Within seconds she was gone. Of the ship's company of 1400 officers and sailors only three survived.

Outraged at the grievous loss Winston Churchill signalled the Admiralty just three words: "Sink the Bismarck!" Thus began one of the epic sea chases in the history of naval warfare.

Damaged by shells from Prince of Wales's 14-inch guns, and losing fuel oil, Admiral Lutjens broke off the engagement and steamed Bismarck towards the anonymity of the North Atlantic. Evading the British warships for 32 hours he had hopes of reaching the safety of Brest, but when spotted by a Catalina of RAF Coastal Command, Lutjens knew it was the beginning of the end for the mighty German warship.

When am attack by Ark Royal's Swordfish torpedo planes jammed her rudder Bismarck's fate was sealed. As she limped haphazardly through the waves trailing oil, the Home Fleet closed in for the fmal encounter.

Overwhelmed by British gums and torpedoes, Bismarck's crew fought a gallant last battle, but the odds were too great. Watching Bismarck's final moments from King George V's bridge, Admiral Tovey said: "She put up a noble fight against impossible odds, worthy of the old days of the Imperial German Navy."

Robert Taylor, master-painter of sea and sky, portrays the Bismarck at the fateful moment she was located by RAF Coastal Command. Greeted by a defiant barrage of fire from Bismarsk's anti-aircraft guns, the Catalina veers away, but already the radio operator has transmitted her position. Like the Hood just two days earlier, the pride of Hitler's Kriegsmarine was by now, destined for the deep.


SIGNATURES


Joining artist Robert Taylor, each print in the edition is signed by FOUR of the small band of only 110 crew members who survived the sinking of the Bismarck.

Obergefreiter HANS HELLWIG
Hans Hellwig joined the Kriegsmarine as an eighteen year old in January 1940, and served on the Bismarck from May of that year, through to 27 May, 1941. He was part of the gun-crew in one of Bismarck's aft main 15-inch turrets. In the final deadly duel with the Royal Navy his gun was eventually destroyed but he continued in action serving one of the starboard 6-inch gun until the end.

Machinen Obergefreiter KARL-AUGUST SCHULDT
After his enlistment into the Kriegsmarine in 1941, Karl-August was soon posted to join the crew of the Bismarck. He served as a leading machinist in one of Bismarck's many engineering rooms. As the Bismarck sank, Karl-August was still at his battle-station below deck but fought his way out of that hell to be rescued, along with the other survivors, by HMS Dorsetshire.

Matrose II JOSEF STATZ
Josef Statz was a dockyard shipbuilder before joining the Kriegsmarine in October 1940. Posted to the Bismarck in April 1941, he was a member of the central damage control team. Stationed jut forward of Bismarck's main bridge Josef took part in the desperate efforts to save the Bismarck from the deep.

Machinen Obergefreiter JOHANNES ZIMMERMANN
A former blacksmith, Johannes Zimmermann was conscripted into the Kriegsmarine in 1940 and was one of the first to join Bismarck's crew at the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg on June 3rd, 1940. As a leading stoker, Johannes was at his post deep in Bismarck's boiler room during the final action but successfully managed to escape when ordered to abandon ship.


850 signed and numbered $295 (SOLD OUT)
85 Artist's Proofs $500