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on September 10, 2002
In keeping with National Geographic's excellent video tradition, this video skillfully combines actual battle footage and the story or Dr. Robert Ballard's (Titanic, USS Yorktown) search for the Bismarck. Commissioned in 1939 and completed in 1941, the Bismarck was one of the most feared ships afloat. With a main battery of 8 15-inch guns, she could easily wreak havoc on British convoys sailing from America. The Bismarck was spotted by a British fighter plane in Norway, and the Royal Navy was alerted. The British battlecruiser Hood was the first ship to sight the Bismarck. The ensuing battle lasted all of 6 minutes, and the Hood was destroyed by the Bismarck. Only 3 men out of a crew of 1,400 survived the Hood's sinking. However, other forces had been alerted, and the British closed in on the Bismarck. In a brave attack by British carrier-based torpedo planes, the Bismarck's rudder was damaged, and the ship could only sail in a straight line. The rest of the British battleships and cruisers now closed in. Finally, the Bismarck succumed to the British guns and slid beneath the Atlantic.
Dr. Ballard's search for the Bismarck is vividly portrayed in this video. Ballard is an accomplished undersea explorer, and his adventures have been captured in other videos, including the discovery of the Titanic, The USS Yorktown, and the lost ships of Guadalcanal. Ballard encounters trouble in his first expedition. Thinking he had found the Bismarck, he is disappointed to discover that he had found a 19th century sailing vessel. Undeterred, Ballard returns to the Atlantic the following year with a new research ship. This time, Ballard and his crew spend their time searching the dangerous underwater mountain area where the Bismarck was believed to have went down. Finally, the ship is discovered, and, except for her main turrets, is in remarkably good condition. Numerous underwater shots are shown in the video, as well as testimonials from both British and German crewmembers. Their tales bring this exciting chase to life.
I own several of Ballard's other National Geographic videos, and this one maintains the other's high standards of actual battle footage and undersea exploration. I recommend this video to anyone who enjoys naval history and undersea exploration.
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on March 26, 2001
This video tells of the story of the hunt for the Bismarck: Both the 1941 sea chase led by the Royal Navy that succeded in sinking Bismarck and the 1989 expedtion led by Oceanographer Robert Ballard that succeded in locating her wreck. Includes video, photos and paintings of how Bismarck appears today as well as photos of her in 1941. The interviews with various survivors, both from Bismarck and the other british warships, tell the Bismarck story like it happened. A video I would reccomend for fans of Bob Ballard, of warships, of World War 2 or of this lengendary warship.
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Robert Ballard finds another wreck, and makes a rather boring documentary about it. The subject matter is certainly interesting, but it is unfortunate that the tired format of intercut historical footage and 'will they find it' video is so predictable and unimaginatively done. Not very inspiring, and makes the mistake of assuming that the modern explorers are more interesting than the history. If Ballard finds more wrecks let's hope he finds a better director for the video.
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on September 2, 1999
I loved this documentary and saw it over and over again. Good thing about it is the perfect balance between footage of the underwater search for the Bismarck, the historical background and the interwviews with survivors of the Hood (English Battleship destroyed by the Bismarck) and of the Bismarck. Great documentary with a lot of suspense!
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