The pursuit and sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941 constituted one of the largest fleet-versus-fleet operations in European waters during World War II. The British used forty-one surface ships, eight submarines, and fifty aircraft to hunt the Bismarck combat group. Detaching so many ships from convoy duty to take part in the pursuit represented a high but prudent risk by the Admiralty.
"Naval History: Operation RHINE EXERCISE, May 18–27, 1941,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 72
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol72/iss1/6