Episode 11: Kicking in the Door
While the war raged in North Africa the war at sea continued apace. Though the U-boat peril remained as thorny as ever, the German surface fleet was setting sail to raid allied commerce as well. Despite the undersea threat probably being the greater of the two, the pocket battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz loomed far larger in the minds of the British admiralty. The Bismarck, and its sister ship the Tirpitz, were the largest vessels ever constructed by Germany and among the largest ever built by a European power. They were designed to skirt under the limitations of of the various naval treaties signed during the interwar years and thus were something of technological marvels as discussed in Episode 8. Though construction finished in 1939 the Bismarck would not complete its sea trials until August of 1940 and it was not until May of 1941 that it would be put to sea in offensive action.