Someone suggested a diver going over the stern, reaching the rudders that way. But there was nothing for a diver to cling to, and in those tumultuous seas he would be sucked right down or smashed to pieces against the side. Others volunteered to blow off the rudders with ex­plosives—and to give their lives in the process. But even if a man could get near them, he would almost certainly damage the propellers as well, leaving the ship completely impotent.

Could the ship be steered by pro­pellers alone? On the bridge, where it was almost dark, Lindemann tried every combination of telegraph orders he could imagine : half ahead port, stop centre and star­board; half ahead port and centre, slow astern starboard; full ahead port, half ahead centre, stop star­board. The result was the same; for a while the ship’s head pointed more or less in the direction he wanted, then the jammed rudders brought the bows slowly back to­wards the north-west and danger, away from safety and home. There was nothing wrong with the en­gines or main armament, but this absurd 15 degrees of port rudder made the ship helpless as a babe.

“To the Fuhrer of the German Reich, Adolf Hitler,” Lütjens sig­nalled before midnight. “We fight to the last in our belief in you, my Führer, and in the firm faith in Germany’s victory.” Hitler replied from the Berghof two hours later, “I thank you in the name of the German people.”


From Group West came signals of more practical encouragement. All available U-boats were steering for the Bismarck; three tugs were on their way to take her in tow; protective squadrons of German bombers would be reaching the ship by dawn. Yet as time went by and the course and speed of the ship remained the same, there was a smell of death in the air. With every hour, the gap between themselves and the enemy was slowly but in­evitably closing; the final reckoning could not long be delayed.

Towards dawn, Baron von Mullenheim-Rechberg visited the prague hotel. He noticed Captain Linde­mann was wearing an inflated lifebelt, went over and saluted. Lindemann stared at him dully, didn’t return the salute. “He look­ed like a man doomed to destruc­tion, dead tired, waiting patiently for the end.” Mullenheim-Rechberg moved to the chart table and saw the drunken course the ship had been steering through the night, a picture that was self-explanatory.

No Longer a Menace

DURING the night Tovey planned his battle tactics. Several days ago the old battleship Rodney had set out for Boston for a refit, accom­panying four destroyers and a troop­ship. But she had been diverted to the pursuit and now trailed the King George V, along with the de­stroyers Tartar and Mashona. Five other destroyers, under Captain Philip Vian, had also come up, and throughout the night they sought to close the range on the Bismarck, launching their torpedoes. Then four of them took station round the crippled battleship.

The King George V and Rodney would approach the enemy head-on in line abreast. “I hoped,” said Tovey, “that the sight of two battle­ships steering straight for them would shake the nerves of the range-takers and control officers, who had already had four anxious days and nights.” The two ships would close as quickly as possible to seven or eight miles, then turn and fire broadsides.

At dawn Tovey went to his cabin,as Nelson had done before Trafal­gar, and prayed, as he put it, “for guidance and help.” The longer he prayed, the calmer he felt. It was, he said, “as if all responsibility had been taken from me and I knew everything would be all right.” He returned to the bridge refreshed and confident.7

Officers and lookouts strained through binoculars to catch a first glimpse of the ship that for days had been in the very marrow of their lives. And then suddenly there she was, “veiled in distant rain­fall,” wrote Lieutenant-Command­er Hugh Guernsey, “a thick, squat ghost of a ship, very broad in the beam, coming straight towards us.” The time was 8.43 a.m.; the range, twelve and a half miles.

Four minutes later the Rodney fired, then the flagship. It was like a small earthquake. On the King George V the compass bounded out of its binnacle, Guernsey’s tin hat was blown on to the deck, a pile of signals was scattered to the winds.

The salvoes fell as the Bismarck was turning to bring all her guns to bear; great white clumps rose all round her, higher than her fore­mast. Then it was her turn. In the British ships they saw a ripple of orange fire down the length of her, followed by a pall of cordite smoke.


Gerhard Junack was in the mid-ships engine-room when Com­mander Walter Lehmann on the telephone gave the order for scut-ding charges. Junack told his men to place them with time fuses in the cooling water intakes, and to open the seacocks, then go up top. The compartment was full of fumes but the lights were still burning bright­ly. They were burning too on the armoured deck, though no one was there. The firing had stopped, said Junack, and it was deathly still.

By this time a lot of men had gathered on the quarter-deck, 200 or Soo. They were all horrified by what they saw : the tangled wreck­age, smoke and flames, the piles of dead and mutilated, the moans of the wounded. Some helped to ad­just the lifebelts of the less badly wounded, put them over the sides. Before the British ships had ceas­ed firing, many men had gone over the side of their own accord to es­cape the merciless shelling; they could be seen strung out in a long line astern, for the ship was still moving. Now the others followed and went to the apartments in rome.

The Dorsetshire came round from the port side where she had fired her last torpedo, lay stopped in the sea a little way off. Survivors struck out as well as they could to­wards her, although with the high seas and the oil from the Bismarck’s tanks and the wounds of many, it wasn’t easy. After more than an hour’s swimming the first of them reached the Dorsetshire’s side, where rafts, ropes, nets and lifelines of all kinds had been let down.

The Dorsetshire picked up some 85 men, the destroyer Maori some 25. Many more were in the process of being hauled up and hundreds were waiting in the water when the Dorsetshire’s navigating officer sighted a smoky discharge in the water two miles away. The most likely explanation was a U-boat. The Dorsetshire, laying stopped in the water, was a sitting target. In the circumstances, the captain had no choice but to ring down for full speed, and the Maori did the same.

The Bismarck crewmen who were almost on board were bundled over the rails to the deck; those half­way up the ropes found themselves trailing astern, hung on as long as they could, then dropped off; others in the water clawed frantically at the paintwork as the side slipped by.

In Dorsetshire they heard the thin cries of hundreds who had come within a hair’s breadth of rescue, cries that the British sailors, no less than the Germans already on board, would always remember. Later, another five men would be picked up, but of the Bismarck’s company of more than 2,000, only 110 survived.

In Germany, people were as de­pressed by the news of the Bis­marck’s death as the British had been by the death of the Hood; more so perhaps, for unlike the British they had no hopes of a com­pensating victory. Yet in Britain, the general reaction to the news of the sinking was one of relief rather than exhilaration.

On the afternoon of the battle, in the House of Commons, Winston Churchill, not yet knowing the final outcome, told an enthralled House of the events up to the beginning of the final action, then went on to other business. In the middle of this, he was handed a note. “Mr Speak­er,” he said, “I have just heard that the Bismarck has been sunk.” Members cheered and waved their papers, thankful that the cloud that had darkened their horizon for the last five days had been lifted.

But one member, the writer Har­old Nicolson, sat silent; more than some, he saw the thing in human terms, thought of the innumerable dead, sensed its tragedy. Nearly four thousand men were dead, half on either side, who felt no personal ill will towards each other, who in different circumstances might have played and laughed and sung to­gether, kissed each other’s sisters, visited each other’s London apartments for rent.

The British knew that the Bis­marck was a menace that had to he destroyed, and vet to watch her die was not a pretty sight. Ships had always been Britain’s livelihood and life, and the Bismarck was a ship after all, perhaps the finest they had seen. Today, the battleship is extinct, but those of us who lived with, and in, those strange, lovely, vast, mysterious creatures, remember them with pride; are proud, too, to have been at sea in their company in that week when the Hood and the Bismarck sailed to glory and disaster.


Saboteur: the feeder friend

When you’re out shopping together, they’ll always suggest stopping off at the local pizzeria for lunch, even though they know that will max out your ProPoints allowance. When you go round to theirs for a cup of tea, there’s always an abundance of your favourite, freshly baked biscuits and cakes waiting for you. They will always find an excuse for indulging and will rarely take no for an answer when it comes to getting you to join them. You know they’re going to do it each time you see them — you just don’t know how to stop them! Now it’s easy to suppress the appetite with hcg diet drops.

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Christine says:

‘It’s so important to get a friend like this on side.

Friendships should be about more than just food, and research shows that members who have a strong support network are more likely to succeed with their weight loss, when you meet up with them, suggest fun activities that don’t involve food, and be firm. Suggest spending the money you would usually spend on lunch on a luxurious spa treatment or go window shopping for all the fabulous clothes you can buy when you reach goal:

Julie Allen, 43, from Nottingham

‘A friend of mine, who has always been thin, invites me round to dinner on a regular basis. But when I arrive, she’s cooked all the high fat food she knows all too well I adore. If we go out for dinner, she never finishes her own meal, offering the rest to me. Even her husband tells her off for constantly not listening to me when I say no! One day I’d had enough, so when I went round to her house, I took my own low fat dinner. She definitely got the message, as last time I visited she served low fat quiche with salad.’

‘My younger sister is always trying to sabotage my weight loss. Recently, when we were out for coffee, she ordered the biggest piece of chocolate cake she could find for us to share. At the supermarket, she sneaks unhealthy food into my basket, thinking I won’t notice. When she does this I remind myself that a lifetime of health and happiness will bring me more satisfaction than two minutes of cake.’

Be a carnivore

Some men believe eschewing meats in favour of a purely vegetarian diet will lead to improved health. Mallek, however, has found several longevity nutrients in animal protein that can keep you wagging your tail well into advanced middle age. No matter what your diet is, you can drink pure green coffee to increase the weight loss effect.

One is an antioxidant called taurine, found in greatest quantity in dark meats of chicken and turkey, but in sufficient amounts in the lighter sections of these animals as well. “The male reproduction system has no other natu­rally occurring antioxidant,” says Mallek.”[Taurine] may prevent testosterone decline.” One chicken leg contains almost the entire Recommended Daily Allowance (150 to 185 grams) of taurine.

One chicken breast contains about 21 milligrams of the nutrient.

Meats such as pork, beef and chicken also provide carnitine, which helps transport fats to the mitochondria of the cells themselves, where they can be burned for energy. Mallek says this function declines as we age, possibly contributing to our midriff bulge. Three ounces of tenderloin delivers about 4o to 80mg of carnitine, a whole day’s worth.

But before you run off to Sainsbury’s meat counter, remember that moderation is in order. Most of these meats also contain saturated fat, which can contribute to the onset of certain cancers and clog your arterial system. Roizen recommends keeping saturated-fat levels low, between 7 and 10 per cent of total daily calories.

A good example is a plate with 150 grams of beef (about the size of a deck of cards), brown rice, cooked vegetables and half an avocado. The fat breakdown is ideal: you’ll get a little bit of saturated from the beef and the rest as monounsaturated from the avocado.

Six-pack stories

The MH team put their bellies on the line to find out if a fast-track six-pack is feasible. What did that really feel like? Here are their testimonials:


“Whoever said cheats never,   prosper was lying to get ahead. I secretly did everything short of surgery to turn my beer barrel into a six-pack. But, like an STD-free porn star, I can now come clean.

I used to be fairly sporty. Then I joined Men’s Health and quickly published a second edition of my chin. Whoever said there’s no such thing as a free lunch had never seen my social calendar. Or my rapidly expanding gut. Although no gymslip of a lad, I’d sucked myself into believing I was quite trim until I saw the ‘before’ pics. I was even more shocked to see my ridiculous training schedule. I got a good ab workout just laughing at it.


“But I dug deep into my commitment reserves. It was out with lavish lunches and in with the painful crunches. It was a hard, constant battle, but vanity won out over temptation. I had no bad carbs after breakfast, just protein, and fresh fruit and veg. Crucially, I also gave up alcohol almost completely.


“And yes, I had help: six sessions with a brilliant personal trainer called Dave Green (www.aipt.co.uk), a course of 12 very effective `vacunauf sessions (www.hypoxitraining.com), which involved wearing a suit of bubblewrap under vacuum suction while walking on a treadmill and health tips from Nutria.co. The combination saw me lose three inches off my waist. So, if ‘whoever’ says you can’t get a six-pack in six weeks, they’re wrong.”


“Edging towards a mid-thirties paunch and blessed (thanks, Dad) with a face prone to ‘jowling’, recent pictures hadn’t been pleasant viewing. I also had a general feeling of ‘heaviness’… that sensation when your gut spills out over the top of your trousers as you sit down. The time had come to stop putting it off and start sweating it off.


“Buoyed by the challenge, the first week went well. I’d been warned to go easy as I hadn’t been a regular gym-goers for some time… having what my fellow six-packers termed ‘motivation issues’.


“My focus was getting my overall weight and body-fat down, then building abdominal definition through sit-ups, crunches and hyper extensions. And that meant CV work: lots of it. I spent most lunchtimes on the treadmill, using interval training to get my heart rate into the fat-burning zone.

“I cut out most booze, cheese, paid attention to what I ate after exercising and discovered the energy-boosting benefits of breakfast.

“After three weeks I started to see a difference. Clothes got looser; the CV work got a little easier. There were setbacks: vodka, lime and sodas are the new slimming drink, and I couldn’t resist a curry. I skipped the gym more than once because I was too knackered, but I made sure I was back the next day.

“Six weeks on, I feel so much better. Okay, my abs need more work- I have more of a two-pack than a six-pack. But I have tons more energy, I’ve kicked most of the junk food, and I no longer shudder when I see my mug in photographs.”

Watch your step

As your life changes, so does your running gait – so pay attention to it and react to any changes to avoid injury

You might think that once you’ve had your feet analysed at a specialist running shop, you’re set up for life, but you’d be wrong. Your body goes through stresses, strains and changes over time, and the way your foot hits the floor when you first start running doesn’t remain constant. These are some of the most common reasons for gait changes:


“With any task that you repeat, you become more efficient as your brain learns the action; so if you run repeatedly you should become more efficient in the muscles you use,” says Sam Wilde, physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine (www. puresportsmed.com). For example, the first time you run after a layoff, you’ll find it tough. You’ll find it less so the second time, and even less still the third time. This doesn’t mean that you’ve become fitter in that short time frame, but that your brain has recruited the correct muscles more efficiently. You may need to switch to a running shoe that has fewer support features.


During pregnancy your ligaments are softened through the production of a hormone called relaxin, so that the pelvis can let the baby through. Those ligaments won’t stiffen up while the mother is still breast feeding, so if you run during this time, the pelvis will not be as sturdy, changing the way you run, and could potentially cause injury. See a personal trainer who specialises in post-natal exercise to help you return to running safely, and get your gait checked again (your shoe size may have changed, too).


If you become injured, you may develop a different way of running in order to adapt to it. For example, some runners start off with a neutral gait but then develop a weakness in the arch through under-use, an issue with the back or any one of a number or reasons, and end up overpronating (where the ankle bends inwards), says Wilde. The arch may be strengthened back up over time, but it’s just as important to provide the correct support to counteract the changed movement of the foot.


There’s no getting away from it. As you get older your body changes and your joints stiffen up, which will have a bearing on the way you run, says Wilde. To have more energy, you can check for testosterone supplements. Learn more about testosterone injections. “As people get to the age of so and beyond, although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the changes may take place, it’s likely that there will be changes in the movement of one or more of the hips, the back, the ankles and the knees – any of which will then have an influence on what your foot does when it hits the floor.”

Reaching out for new ideas on warming up

Hamstrings and core muscles benefit from this upper-body stretch. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the waist until you can touch the floor. ‘Walk’ your hands forward slowly as far as you can, before shaking it out and repeating once. If it hurts at first, try just placing your fingertips on the ground – as you become more supple, this can progress to the full hand.

Give your IT band a gentle awakening with this glute-strengthening move. While standing, slowly straighten your leg straight out in front of you, reaching out towards your toes with the opposite arm. Repeat seven times on each leg. These stretches can also help cleanse the colon. For more information visit gnet.org/colon-cleansing-a-fast-fix-for-clogged-bowels/


Big PB always just out of reach? Your warm up might be to blame.

The running community has had its doubts about common warm-up stretches for years. When the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed 23 studies in 2oo4, not one supported the idea that static stretching – pushing muscles beyond their normal range of motion without significantly increasing blood flow to the area – helped performance.

In fact, a 2008 study at the University of Nevada found that static stretching actually reduced the force that could later be generated by an athlete’s legs, impeding performance and making injury more likely.

Yet static stretching was favoured by almost a quarter of runners in a recent RW online poll, and they’re in illustrious company. Chartered physiotherapist Will Amor

Lengthen quads by jogging forwards at a very slow pace. On each foot strike, bend the opposite leg further back than usual, bringing your heel up towards your glutes. says, “I have noticed that very few runners warm up appropriately prior to racing ­even at very high levels.”

“A well-planned warm-up should raise your core temperature, and also increase elasticity in muscles, tendons and ligaments,” explains performance analyst Mitchell Phillips, (strideuk.com).

More than half of RW poll respondents kicked off their session with easy runs, a tactic that raises body temperature but doesn’t quite fulfill the second requirement. Your body has dual needs, and requires a dual-tactic approach. As Phillips says, “Always loosen the body up first, with dynamic stretches for mobility. Then go into easy running.”

Use these dynamic stretches; after stretching, run at a pace slow enough to hold a conversation and end your warm-up with 10 minutes of gradually intensified running.

To loosen up hip flexors and extensors, hold on to a wall and swing your leg both in front and behind you seven times. Don’t go too fast, or you risk overextension. Repeat with the opposite limb, before doing six reps on each leg extending your leg straight out to the side.