At 8:45 a.m. on May 27, 1941 the Bismarck was sighted from the HMS Rodney and the HMS King George V. The KGV was a sister ship to the Prince of Wales with 10 14-inch guns, although it had been in service longer and had worked through some of its teething issues. The Rodney was an example of an older battleship design philosophy that emphasized firepower and protection over speed. If it hadn't been for the crippling rudder hit on the Bismarck the 23-knot Rodney would have been too slow to force an engagement on the Bismarck. With none 16-inch guns the Rodney was a mortal threat to the Bismarck.
At 8:47 a.m. the Rodney opened fire.
At 8:48 a.m. the KGV opened fire.
At 8:49 a.m. the Bismarck opened fire.
At 8:59 a.m. the Bismarck receives its first 16-inch hit from the Rodney, destroying the main fire control director and largely deciding the action at that point.