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stories from you our friends and customers.
June 01, 2008
Dear friends at PzG Inc.,
Oh my goodness! I forgot to say my prayers in honor of my fallen fellow sailors who gave their lives on my birthday, 27th of May 1941. They fought ferociously and valiantly. Very important to note that Bismarck fought and defeated her enemies with mere "pop" shots without even trying. The HMS Hood sank like a rock and all of her powder galleries ignited from accurate aiming, accounting for self speed and direction, wind speed and direction and the Hood's speed and direction. The range finders worked flawlessly and rapidly. I read that Bismarck's first salvo from turret Dora was so close that it only required a couple clicks of correction to hit home on target and on the absolute best/weakest location of the Hood. It was a bitter sweet moment as the sailors aboard the Bismarck learned of the Hood's fate because, yes, they were cheering for conquering their enemy for which they have practiced drills of encountering battle for many weeks but they were also very somber and awe-struck because they knew it could have been their very own ship sinking as well. This shows me that the Kriegsmarine, though a deadly naval force to be reckoned with, had a heart and was compassionate for human life even in the time of war. I choose to disregard the Allied news reels that broadcasted their edited version of propaganda. Oddly, there should have been more support for the surface Kriegsmarine but most of the efforts, supplies and funds were directed towards the U-boat campaigns as cutting off the supplies to England was a vital tactic that needed to succeed. Anyhow, most folks already know the general story regarding the Bismarck and the fury she stirred amongst the British Royal Navy. I wish that a wreath, or at least a virtual wreath, can be laid on this website in honor of the Bismarck sailors for their heroism and patriotism to their homeland and their cause over 67 years ago. They were only doing their duty, following orders and expected nothing fancy in return but hot meals, clean uniforms and good pay.....and maybe some shore leave to see family and friends, just like any other sailor would want. If I was enlisted in the Coast Guard back in World War II, the Bismarck sailors would have been labeled as my enemy by my Commanding Officer but I, too, would have rendered honors for their fallen shipmates. I believe I saw pictures that showed the Kriegsmarine Officers, allowed by Allied Officers, to conduct burial rights at sea with German Military Honors with an Honor Guard in uniform. Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty was commonly used in the Coast Guard during awards ceremonies. I think it is fitting that the Bismarck sailors should be shared the same honors with the same motto without prejudice. We all were following orders, fighting a global chess game dictated by our former country leaders to defend their land, their beliefs and their flag, or rag as we called it. Just my two cents' worth. Have a pleasant day.
L. R., Radioman/Telecommunications Specialist Third Class Petty Officer,
United States Coast Guard
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