Extremely cool color footage of the HMS Hood, the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. She was the only one of the Admiral-class battlecruisers, which were ordered in 1916, that was completed. Her design was revised and updated with the lessons learned after the Battle of Jutland.
When she was completed, she was the largest and most powerful warship in the world, the pinnacle of her era which ended less than 20 years later when the battleships and battlecruisers were replaced as queen of the oceans by the aircraft carrier.
By the time the second world war broke out, advances in naval gunnery had reduced Hood’s usefulness. Her scheduled upgrade and rebuilding for 1941 had to be canceled; she was needed on the high-seas immediately.
HMS Hood spent the first months of the year hunting for German commerce raiders early in the war and later participating as flag ship in the sinking of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir.
When she was tasked, together with the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to intercept and sink the German battleship Bismarck, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, disaster struck.
Having located the enemy ships in the Denmark Straight, one of the last ship versus ship engagements of the second world war was fought out. Unfortunately for the British, they were not the ones who won this battle.
On May 24th, 1941, HMS Hood was hit by several shells fired from the Bismarck. A gigantic jet of flame burst out near the mainmast which was quickly followed by a magazine explosion which totally destroyed the aft part of the ship and broke her back.
HMS Hood sank in less than 3 minutes with a catastrophic loss of life; of the 1418 men aboard, only three survived.
This color footage is from happier days when she sailed the seas with perceived impunity June 1939.