From: Bergen, Norway
It is a matter of Honour, with capital H.
Losing is one thing, being owned is something completely different.
Facts as they stand now, is that the Royal Navy could pulverize the Bismarck, making it just a floating burning hull but not sink it.
They won, but they didnt own, so the Kriegsmarine has its Honour, and the RN didnt get it.
Much like HMS Tartar at the battle of Alvøen in 1808, they lost but saved the vessel and thus kept their honour.
Please do not quote "facts as they stand now" - NO ONE knows for certain whether she was sunk by torpedoes or was scuttled. We can all have our opinions but please do not say they are facts.
As for honour, I do not understand what you mean at all. So if a ship is lost - regardless of how well the crew fight or the odds involved - unless she is scuttled, the crew has no honour and/or the victor is not really a victor with honour if they do not actually deliver the final blow?
So there was no honour attached to Commodore Harwood for his action that led to the destruction of Graf Spee?.......
You are correct, no one knows if it was sunk by torpedoes, because no one has ever found a torpedo hole in its hull, this is a fact. We also know that 14 inch guns of King George V barely dented the hull, and only the 16 inch guns of Rodney could damage the armour plating. Another fact is that Bismarck was completely defenceless, and would likely have sunk if left alone.
Honour is complicated. Im not sure I understand the concept enough to put it in writing, but i suppose its a way of keeping score of rightfull and wrongfull actions. You score points for doing things the right way, even if you lose, and you lose points for doing things wrong, even if you win.
Thus Bismarck got full points if it was scuttled, even though it was lost, maybe more than they would have scored if they had actually managed to run away. The RN got points for winning, but have to concede that they didnt bag it, and the Kriegsmarine still has its honour.
What I have read indicates that Harwood did his job perfectly, not only in managing to persuade Langsdorff he could not win, but also in the excetution of the battle they did fight.
And ofcourse the Germans lost quite a bit of honour when it became clear that they had been tricked. This is possibly why Langsdorff shot himself. To save his last bit of Honour.
Gott weiss ich will kein Engel sein.