James Camerons - Expedition Bismarck --
Back on board of the Keldysh I was even more overwhelmed by these impressions of the past. When I saw the hull of the ship for the first time I felt a sense of satisfaction about the state of the ship. Despite of the fact that hundreds of shells and numerous torpedoes had hit the ship during the last two hours of the final battle we discovered only three penetrations of the main armor belt. All three of them were located above the waterline and were irrelevant for the sinking of the ship. However, my sense of satisfaction rapidly disappeared when we saw the devastated superstructure: An unbelievable number of bullet holes; all six of the 15 cm turrettes were destroyed; a huge part of the open bridge were simply blown away and the remaining hole stretched over three lower decks into the interior of the bridge structure; all of the eight 10,5 cm flak twin mountings were completely devastated and some of gun barrels were spread all over the ship. In view of this incredible devastation and being aware that the flak crew had no protection gear one can get a sense of the horrible scenes which must have taken place here.
It weighs even heavier on my heart that only 115 of the 1000 sailors who were able to escape this inferno were rescued. What may a man feel, who floats in the ocean after enduring this incredible shelling and barely escaping the sinking ship, when he realizes that all of the ships in the vicinity would just sail away?
James Cameron said to me: ‘The deep ocean is
the most peaceful place on earth’.I felt
that 4700 meters under the surface of the ocean I had seen the most horrible
place on earth.