When it was launched in 1918 the Hood, flagship of the Royal Navy, was the largest, fastest warship afloat and a symbol of British power, earning the nickname "The Mighty Hood." Her mere appearance on the horizon was enough to intimidate would-be aggressors. But for all the Hood's might, she had one fatal flaw: armor had been sacrificed for speed. In her first major engagement she confronted the almost legendary German warship Bismarck in a battle for supremacy of the Atlantic. A salvo from the enemy penetrated to the Hood's ammunition magazine, destroying and sinking the British ship in an awesome fireball, killing all but three of her crew of 1421 men and violently ending Britain's mastery of the seas. But it inspired Winston Churchill's vow to sink the Bismarck, and in time that vow was fulfilled. Ernle Bradford, naval man and acclaimed author, takes us through the birth and demise of one of the greatest ships of all time.
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Published January 11, 2013