|The Bismarck's original complement is said to have totalled 2.065 men comprised by 103 officers (including ensigns) and 1.962 non-commissioned officers and men.
On Operation "Rheinübung" the complement was somewhat higher. A fleet staff probably numbering 75, a prize crew of one officer and 80 men had been embarked. Bismarck also carried a large party from the Ministry of Propaganda, including journalists, cameramen, wireless commentators and necessary technicians, charged with obtaining a full record of Bismarck's exploits. None of this staff survived and attempts to dispatch films and material by aircraft and submarine failed.
On my Operation "Rheinübung" crew list I have 106 officers (including ensigns) and 2.123 non-commissioned officers and men. However there is a possibility that the list is not complete or without errors.
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The ship's company were split up in into twelve divisions. Each division consisted of 150-200 men, as follows:
|Division I||Seamens Division - provided crews for main and secondary armaments|
|Division II||Seamens Division - provided crews for main and secondary armaments|
|Division III||Seamens Division - provided crews for main and secondary armaments|
|Division IV||Seamens Division - provided crews for main and secondary armaments|
|Division V||Light Anti-Aircraft weapons||Anti-Aircraft divisions together numbered 360 men|
|Division VI||Heavy Anti-Aircraft weapons|
|Division VII||(Daymen's Division) - included canteen staffs, carpenters, cooks, tailors, shoemakers, 28 bandsmen etc.|
|Division VIII||Gunnery Artificers - included gunners' mates etc.|
|Division IX||Navigational Parties - included helmsmen, telegraphists and signal men|
|Division X||Technical Division - included engineers, technicians, and machinery personel|
|Division XI||Technical Division - included engineers, technicians, and machinery personel|
|Division XII||Technical Division - included engineers, technicians, and machinery personel|
|Each division was split into two or more watches which were again detailed into "Korporalschaften" of 10-12 men, each in charge of a Petty Officer.|
|A core of 65 officers and ratings stood by the Bismarck from April 1940, and a further 60 men, mostly gunnery ratings, were drafted to the ship in June 1940. During this period the ratings were accommodated in the "Ozeana", a requisitioned passenger steamer. In July 1940 all the technical divisions, including the Anti-Aircraft divisions, arrived in Hamburg and were accommodated in either the "Ozeana" or the "Adiga". Further crewmembers embarked the Bismarck in August where the ship was commissioned. Futher crewmembers arrived later in 1940 and 1941. The last crew members embarking the Bismarck was the Fleet Staff just prior to the start of Operation "Rheinübung".|
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|Two canteens were provided, one to serve the ship's company forward, situated on the battery deck in Section XV, and one aft in Section VIII, also on the battery deck.
A staff of six to eight men manned each of the canteens.
Beer, cigarettes, chocolate, biscuits, writing materials, etc., were sold. A substantial quantity of beer was consumed and was sold in ½ litre glasses at 30 Phennig.
Beer was stowed in 50 litre casks in special compartments in Sections XVII and VIII. Statements from survivors indicates that some 500-1.000 casks could be carried on the ship. The beer was specially oxygenated before consumption.
A portion of each canteen was reserved for petty officers' use.
Two galleys were provided for the ship's company, and one for the petty officers in the same sections as the canteens, and an officers' galley in the superstructure.
500 pig and 300 ox carcases were carried on board the Bismarck. It was calculated that sufficient provisions were on board to feed for one day a city of 250.000 inhabitants.
The ships refrigerating plant was located in Section XV on the upper platform deck and was operated electrically with CO gas. The refrigerating rooms were amidships in Section XVI on the lower platform deck under Turret "B". An "Aka" thermostatic control system was used for controlling the temperatures in the various compartments.
Here follows the menu as it was on the Bismarck for the last two days of her voyage:
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