Sinking the Hood - World War II
November will feature documentaries from World War I and World War II. On November 11, at the 11th Hour World War I ended with an Allied Victory. It is the month when the veterans bring out the poppies and sell them. You also noticed that the British Royal family brings out their poppy brooches for the month as well. I will follow that trend and write about World War I and World War II.
Today’s documentary will feature the sinking of the Hood. Why did it sink so fast? Why did only three men survive? Who was to blame for the Hood’s sinking? Two boards of inquiry could not solve what happened to the Hood. An expedition in 2012 went out to the wreck to try to solve the mystery. This expedition will use the latest technology to try to solve the mystery. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft allowed the expedition to use his yacht to survey the Hood’s wreck site. It is a yacht equipped for a deep-sea expedition.
Paul Mearns, who found the Hood wreck site, was shocked when he found the site in 2002. The Hood was lying obliterated on the seafloor. He has returned to the site with the latest in technology to map the wreck site and discover why the Hood sunk so quickly. When the Hood was sunk in 1941 it was a devastating blow to the British public. A nephew of one of the sailors on the Hood also joined the expedition.
The Hood was the latest and greatest battleship of the British Navy. The Hood was launched in 1918. She had a sleek hull. She was over 860 feet long. She was a symbol of Britain’s might. There was no warship like the Hood until the 1930s. She was a symbol of what was great about Great Britain. She went on a world tour and had over 7,000 visitors. She was an iconic symbol of the British Navy. Nothing could compare to her.
Germany had something to say about that. In the run-up to war, the Germans started building the Bismarck. At the start of the war, she was nearly complete. Bismarck was more modern and built with the latest in technology. She was a rival for the Hood.
71 years ago, the Hood and Bismarck met in the Denmark Straits. It would be one of the greatest naval battles in history. 71 years later, the expedition arrived at the site to determine what happened during that battle. In 1941 the British were determined to finish off the Bismarck because if they did not they could be starved out of the war. It was in the Denmark Strait where the Hood would meet her fate. The Hood shot first and the Bismarck returned fire. Bismarck’s escort ship recorded the battle. Salvo after salvo rained down on the Hood. Then the Bismarck scored a direct hit. The Hood exploded. Ted Briggs, a Hood survivor, was on the bridge when the explosion happened. In three minutes the Hood was gone.
The Mearns Expedition will have their work cut out for them when they map out the wreck site. The explosion that sunk the Hood was something that never occurred before on a ship of that size. What made the explosion so deadly? The currents in the Denmark Strait are proving to be a challenge for the expedition. Solving the mystery of what happened to the Hood won’t be easy.
Please, continue watching to see if the Mearns expedition solves the mystery of why the Hood sunk so fast.
The documentary was narrated by Jim Carter from Downton Abbey. This would be a second good documentary to show in class.
You can access the YouTube Video here.
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