Reviewed by Evert-Jan Foeth
"Schlachtschiff Bismarck, eine Technikgeschichtliche Dokumentation", or "Battleship Bismarck, on the technical aspects". This book has been released in 1996 by Podzun Pallas, and is in German, written by Siegfried Breyer and Gerhard Koop. These two gentlemen, together with Klaus-Peter Schmolke, are responsible for a lot of books on the Kriegsmarine, providing the modeler and naval enthusiast with much information and many pictures from private collections which otherwise would not have been published. This latest release again contains many pictures unknown to even the more serious Bismarck modelers.
There are 26 pictures of Bismarck during construction, launch and outfitting. These are of minor interest to the modeler, but prove to be very interesting for Bismarck enthusiast. In most chapters, pictures are shown which are all ready well known to most modelers. But between these photographs are pictures of Bismarck in Gotenhafen, showing you how the striped camouflage really was applied (Almost all publications on the camouflage are wrong). The darker colored hull stands out clearly against the light grey superstructure. You can see yourself that the swastika was indeed painted on the rear deck, and that the wobblypots where painted Dark Grey during may 1941. Also, one can see that the funnel cap was silver throughout her existence, and that the main mast was Dark Grey above the rudder angle-indicator (The cube in the mast) while camouflaged. Even the aircraft recognition numbers are given.
Most technical aspects are treated, as weight-groups, propulsion, armour, armament, fire directors, and aircraft support. But there also chapters on the crew and it's commander, and the inevitable story of Bismarck's demise. The last 22 pages are entirely devoted to the battlecruiser Hood, backed up with 22 pictures. Also, a small list of sources is provided, giving the more serious student some reading material, although most of those are also in German, an obstacle all Kriegsmarine fans have to tackle at a certain point, as English publication are rare.
It can be seen as a disadvantage that the book is in German, a drawback to most English speaking modelers, but this book only costs 19,80 German Marks, or about $11. It is a hardcover publication, with 179 pictures, 30 drawings and an estimated 35 pages German text and tables. The printing quality of the pictures is very good. In my opinion, this is the best book a modeler can buy on this subject, being informative, illustrative and cheap. If you use this book in concert with Elfraths&Herzogs "Battleship Bismarck", you will need little else to reproduce this famous German warship.
Your copy can be ordered directly from the Christian Schmidt bookstore in Germany:
Tel: 49 89 703227
Fax: 49 89 7005361
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