Friday, 25 November 2011

Today in WW2: The sinking of British Battleship HMS Barham

HMS Barham was a 29,150-tons battleships, launched in 1914, armed with 8 Mk I 15 inch guns and manned by a crew of around 1100 men.

At the end of 1940, she joined the Mediterranean Fleet, fighting in the Battle of Matapan in March 1941. On 25 November 1941, at 4:25 pm, she was covering attacks on an Italian convoy, together with HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant and eight destroyers. The battleship was hit by three torpedoes, fired from U-331, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Hans-dietrich von Tiesenhausen. The German U-boat had closed and fired from less than 750 yards, thus giving no time for evasive action. The torpedoes closely together, causing what was a single combined explosion. Barham rolled over to port, its magazines exploeded and she quickly sank, taking with her 862 seamen.
The sinking of the HMS Barham was caught on camera. The film was kept secret until 1945. After its release, it became one of the most iconic images of WW2, and it has been shown in many documentaries and films.

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