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Encyclopedia > Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
Part of World War II

Scuttled Admiral Graf Spee
Date 13 December 1939
Location Off the River Plate estuary, South Atlantic.
Result Allied victory
Combatants
Germany United Kingdom
New Zealand
Commanders
Hans Langsdorff Henry Harwood
Strength
1 heavy cruiser 1 heavy cruiser
2 light cruisers
Casualties
1 heavy cruiser damaged
36 dead
60 wounded
1 heavy cruiser heavily damaged
2 light cruisers damaged
72 dead
28 wounded

The Battle of the River Plate (13 December 1939) was a naval battle in World War II. The German pocket battleship (heavy cruiser) Admiral Graf Spee had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September. It was found and engaged off the estuary of the River Plate off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay in South America by three smaller Royal Navy (RN) cruisers: HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles[1], which was part of the RN's New Zealand Division. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Source: [1]. Copyright situation unclear. ... is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This page is about the South American estuary. ... For other uses, see Atlantic (disambiguation) The Atlantic Ocean is Earths second-largest ocean, covering approximately one-fifth of its surface. ... Image File history File links War_Ensign_of_Germany_1938-1945. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_New_Zealand. ... Image File history File links War_Ensign_of_Germany_1938-1945. ... Kapitän zur See Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff (March 20, 1894 – December 19, 1939) was a German naval officer, most famous for his command of the Panzerschiff (pocket battleship) Admiral Graf Spee during the Battle of the River Plate. ... Image File history File links Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Admiral Sir Henry Harwood Sir Henry Harwood Harwood (19 January 1888 (London) - on 9 June 1950 (Goring-on-Thames)), British naval officer who won fame in the Battle of the River Plate. ... Combatants Royal Navy Royal Canadian Navy United States Navy (1941–5) Kriegsmarine Regia Marina (1940–3) Commanders Sir Percy Noble Sir Max K. Horton Percy W. Nelles Leonard W. Murray Ernest J. King Erich Raeder Karl Dönitz Casualties 30,248 merchant sailors 3,500 merchant vessels 175 warships 28... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... SC-7 was a World War II convoy of 35 merchant ships which sailed eastbound from Sydney, Nova Scotia for Liverpool, England and other British ports on October 4, 1940. ... HX-84 was a World War II convoy of 38 ships which sailed eastbound from Halifax, Nova Scotia for Liverpool, England on 28 October 1940. ... Convoy HX-106 consisted of some 41 ships, eastbound from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England. ... Operation Berlin was the commerce raid performed by German warships KM Scharnhorst and KM Gneisenau between January and March, 1941. ... Combatants Germany United Kingdom Commanders Günther Lütjens Lancelot Holland â€  John Leach Strength 1 battleship 1 heavy cruiser 1 battleship 1 battlecruiser Casualties 1 battleship damaged 1 battlecruiser sunk 1 battleship heavily damaged 1428 dead 9 wounded The Battle of the Denmark Strait was a World War II naval... Combatants Kriegsmarine Royal Navy Commanders Günther Lütjens† John Tovey Strength 1 battleship 2 aircraft carriers 3 battleships 4 cruisers 7 destroyers Casualties 1 battleship sunk 2,200 dead[1] 110 captured 1 destroyer sunk 1 battleship damaged 49 dead[2] The last battle of the German battleship Bismarck... Operation Cerberus (German: Zerberus after Cerberus the three-headed dog of Greek mythology who guards the gate to Hades) was the name given to the break-out during World War II of the Kriegsmarines ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Prinz Eugen and a number of smaller ships from Brest to their... The Battle of the St. ... The Laconia incident was a 1942 incident during World War II when RMS Laconia, carrying some 80 civilians and 268 British soldiers, and about 1800 Italian POWs with 160 Polish soldiers on guard, was struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat off the coast of West Africa and... PQ-17 was a World War II convoy carrying war materiel from Britain and the USA to the USSR. PQ-17 sailed in June-July 1942 and suffered the heaviest losses of any Russia-bound (PQ) convoy, with 25 vessels out of 36 lost to enemy action. ... Combatants United Kingdom Nazi Germany Commanders Rear-Admiral Robert L. Burnett Captain Robert St. ... Combatants Nazi Germany United Kingdom Commanders Erich Bey† Bruce Fraser Strength 1 battlecruiser 5 destroyers 1 battleship 1 heavy cruiser 3 light cruisers 9 destroyers Casualties 1 battlecruiser sunk 1 battleship lightly damaged 1 heavy cruiser lightly damaged 1 light cruiser lightly damaged 1 destroyer lightly damaged In the World... The second happy time was a phase in the Second Battle of the Atlantic during which Axis submarines attacked merchant shipping along the east coast of North America. ... // 1939 September September 3, 1939 German submarine sinks the SS Athenia. ... The Battle of the River Plate is a 1956 film by the British-based director-writer team of Powell & Pressburger. ... is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Pocket battleship is an English language term for a class of warships built by German Reichsmarine in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Germany during World War II. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff), she was later reclassified as a heavy cruiser, and was referred to as a pocket battleship by the British. ... Commerce raiding or guerre de course is a naval strategy of attacking an opponents commercial shipping rather than contending for control of the seas with its naval forces. ... For other meanings, see Estuary (disambiguation) Rio de la Plata estuary An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. ... This page is about the South American estuary. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... This article is about the navy of the United Kingdom. ... USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (really an uprated guided missile destroyer), launched in 1992. ... The fourth and best known of the Exeters, HMS Exeter (68), was a York class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy that served in World War II. She was laid down on 1 August 1928 at the Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon. ... HMS Ajax was a Leander-class light cruiser. ... HMS Achilles (from 1941 HMNZS Achilles) was a Leander class cruiser of 7,200 tons built in Birkenhead, England and launched on 1 September 1932. ... The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. ...


In the ensuing battle, Exeter was severely damaged and forced to retire, while all other ships received moderate damage. Ajax and Achilles then shadowed the Graf Spee which entered the neutral Uruguayan capital Montevideo. After a tense period, the captain of the Graf Spee, Hans Langsdorff, scuttled his ship rather than face the overwhelmingly superior British force that he believed had assembled. Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ... Kapitän zur See Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff (March 20, 1894 – December 19, 1939) was a German naval officer, most famous for his command of the Panzerschiff (pocket battleship) Admiral Graf Spee during the Battle of the River Plate. ... German battlecruiser Derfflinger scuttled at Scapa Flow. ...

Contents

Background

The Admiral Graf Spee had been at sea at the start of the Second World War in September 1939 and had sunk several merchantmen in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean without loss of life due to her captain's policy of taking all crews on board before sinking the victim. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... For other uses, see Atlantic (disambiguation) The Atlantic Ocean is Earths second-largest ocean, covering approximately one-fifth of its surface. ...


The Royal Navy assembled forces to search for the surface raider. Force G, the South American Cruiser Squadron, comprised the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (8,400 tonnes, six 8-inch (203 mm) guns) and two Leander class light cruisers (both 7,000 tons, eight 6-inch (152 mm) guns) — HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles. The force was commanded by Commodore Henry Harwood from Ajax, which was captained by Charles Woodhouse. Achilles was of the New Zealand Division (precursor to the Royal New Zealand Navy) and captained by Edward Parry. Exeter was captained by F. S. Bell. A County class heavy cruiser, HMS Cumberland (10,000 tons, eight 8-inch (203 mm) guns), was self-refitting in the Falkland Islands at the time but available at short notice. HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... The fourth and best known of the Exeters, HMS Exeter (68), was a York class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy that served in World War II. She was laid down on 1 August 1928 at the Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon. ... An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... The Leander class was a class of eight (including modified Australian Leanders) light cruisers built for the Royal Navy (RN), named after the character from Greek mythology. ... A light cruiser is a warship that is not so large and powerful as a regular (or heavy) cruiser, but still larger than ships like destroyers. ... Tonnage is a measure of the size or cargo capacity of a ship. ... HMS Ajax was a Leander-class light cruiser. ... HMS Achilles (from 1941 HMNZS Achilles) was a Leander class cruiser of 7,200 tons built in Birkenhead, England and launched on 1 September 1932. ... Admiral Sir Henry Harwood Sir Henry Harwood Harwood (19 January 1888 (London) - on 9 June 1950 (Goring-on-Thames)), British naval officer who won fame in the Battle of the River Plate. ... Admiral Sir Charles Henry Lawence Woodhouse KCB (1893 — 1978). ... The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. ... Admiral Sir William Edward Parry KCB (1893 - 1972) was an officer of [HMNZS Achilles (70)|HMS/HMNZS Achilles]]/HMINS Delhi and the second Commander-in-Chief of the (Imperial) Indian Navy. ... Captain Frederick Secker Bell CB (17 August 1897 - 23 November 1973) of the Royal Navy was the commander of HMS Exeter during the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939[1]. He was educated at Matfield Grange, Kent and the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth. ... The County class were the first and last heavy cruisers of the Royal Navy. ... HMS Cumberland, the fifteenth ship of that name was a County class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy that saw action during the Second World War. ...

The route of Admiral Graf Spee's cruise — from the British HMSO report
The route of Admiral Graf Spee's cruise — from the British HMSO report

Unable to divide his force, Harwood suspected that the raider would try to strike next at the merchant shipping off the River Plate estuary between Uruguay and Argentina. The three cruisers were convened off the estuary on 12 December and conducted manoeuvres. From HMSO report into the sinking of the Graf Spee, 1940 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... From HMSO report into the sinking of the Graf Spee, 1940 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... This page is about the South American estuary. ... is the 346th day of the year (347th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The battle

At about 06:14 local time (GMT -2) on 13 December the ships sighted each other and closed. Admiral Graf Spee, despite having correctly identified Exeter, initially suspected that the two light cruisers were smaller destroyers and that the British ships were protecting a merchant convoy, the destruction of which would be a major prize. is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The British executed their battle plan: Exeter turned to the north-west whilst Ajax and Achilles, operating together, turned to the north-east. Admiral Graf Spee opened fire with her six 11-inch (280 mm) guns at 06:18, eventually splitting her turrets between the two targets to the detriment of accurate gunnery, as the British had planned. Exeter opened fire at 06:20, Achilles at 06:21, Exeter's aft guns at 06:22 and Ajax at 06:23.

HMSO chart of the engagement
HMSO chart of the engagement

At 06:23 an 11-inch (280 mm) shell burst just short of Exeter, abreast the middle of the ship. Splinters from this shell killed the torpedo tubes' crews, damaged the ship's communications, and riddled the ship's funnels and searchlights. One minute later Exeter suffered a direct hit. This shell struck her B-turret, putting it and its two guns out of action. Shrapnel swept the bridge, killing or wounding all bridge personnel except the captain and two others. Captain Bell's communications were wrecked. Communications from the aft conning position were also destroyed, and the ship had to be steered via a chain of messengers for the rest of the battle. Download high resolution version (818x491, 59 KB)From HMSO official report into the graft Spee File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (818x491, 59 KB)From HMSO official report into the graft Spee File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to a bullet, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage includes large solid projectiles previously termed shot (AP, APCR, APCNR, APDS, APFSDS and Proof shot). ... The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the smaller of the two education labor unions in the United States, representing 1. ...


Meanwhile Ajax and Achilles had closed and started making in front of the Graf Spee, causing Admiral Graf Spee to split her main armament at 06:30, and otherwise using her 5.9-inch (150 mm) guns against them.


At 06:32 Exeter fired two torpedoes from her starboard tubes but both missed. At 06:37 Ajax launched her spotter aircraft from its catapult. At 06:38 Exeter turned so that she could fire her port torpedoes, and received two more direct hits from 11-inch shells. One hit A-turret and put it out of action, the other entered the hull and started fires. At this point Exeter was severely damaged, having only Y-turret in action, a seven degree list, was being flooded and being steered with the use of her small boat's compass. The torpedo, historically called a locomotive torpedo, is a self-propelled explosive projectile weapon, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater toward a target, and designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target. ... A view of the Starboard side of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Ross Starboard is the nautical term that refers to the right side of a vessel as perceived by a person on board the ship and facing the bow (front). ... Flying machine redirects here. ... u suk usuk u suk u suk u suk u suk u suk u suk u suk u suk usuk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk suk{| class=wikitable |- ! header 1 ! header 2 ! header 3 |- | row 1, cell 1 | row 1... Port is the nautical term (used on boats and ships) that refers to the left side of a ship, as perceived by a person facing towards the bow (the front of the vessel). ... This article is about the navigational instrument. ...


At 06:40 an 11-inch shell burst just short of Achilles, in line with the bridge, damaging her and causing a few casualties, However, gunnery continued from the secondary control position. At about this time Admiral Graf Spee turned to the west under the cover of a smokescreen. The light cruisers were now doing about 31 knots, having worked up to speed from 14 knots initially. A U.S. Army Humvee laying a smoke screen A smoke-screen is a release of smoke in order to mask the movement or location of military units such as infantry, tanks or ships. ... A knot is a unit of speed abbreviated kt or kn. ...


At 06:56, Ajax and Achilles turned to starboard to bring all their guns to bear, causing at 07:10 Admiral Graf Spee to turn away and lay a smokescreen. At 07:10 the two light cruisers turned to reduce the range from 8 miles (13 km), even though this meant only their forward guns could fire. “Miles” redirects here. ... “km” redirects here. ...


At 07:16 Admiral Graf Spee turned to port and headed straight for the heavily damaged Exeter, but fire from Ajax and Achilles forced the Graf Spee at 07:20 to turn and fire her 11-inch guns at them, who turned to starboard to bring all their guns to bear.


Ajax turned to starboard at 07:24 and fired her torpedoes at a range of 4.5 miles (7 km), causing Admiral Graf Spee to turn away under a smokescreen.


At 07:25 Ajax was hit by an 11-inch shell that put X-turret out of action and jammed Y-turret, causing some casualties.


At 07:30 Exeter's remaining turret was put out of action by loss of electrical power caused by flooding. Severely damaged, unable to fire and keep up with the action, Exeter broke off at about 07:40 and steamed slowly towards the Falklands.


By 07:40, Ajax and Achilles were running low on ammunition and the British decided to change tactics, moving to the east under a smokescreen. Harwood decided to shadow Admiral Graf Spee and try to attack at night when he could attack with torpedoes and better utilise his advantage of speed and manoeuvrability while minimising his deficiencies in armour. Ajax was again hit by an 11-inch shell that destroyed her mast and caused some casualties. Admiral Graf Spee continued on a westward course. For other uses, see Surveillance (disambiguation). ...


The pursuit

The battle now turned into a pursuit. The British and New Zealand cruisers split up keeping about 15 miles (24 km) from Admiral Graf Spee, Ajax keeping to the German's port and Achilles to the starboard.


At 09:15 Ajax recovered her aircraft. At 09:46 Harwood signalled to Cumberland for reinforcements and the Admiralty also ordered ships within 3,000 miles (5,000 km) to proceed to the River Plate.


At 10:05 Achilles had overestimated the Graf Spee's speed and came into range of German guns. Admiral Graf Spee turned and fired two three-gun salvoes with her foreguns. Achilles turned away under a smokescreen.


The shadowing continued for the rest of the day until 19:15, when Admiral Graf Spee turned and opened fire on Ajax, who turned away under a smokescreen.


It was now clear that Admiral Graf Spee was entering the River Plate. As the estuary had sandbanks, Harwood ordered Achilles to shadow Admiral Graf Spee while Ajax would cover any attempt to double back through a different channel. A sandbank is a patch of sand in water, which creates a shallow area which may pose a hazard to boats. ...


The sun set at 20:48 with the Admiral Graf Spee silhouetted against the sun. Achilles had again closed the range and Admiral Graf Spee opened fire, Achilles turning away. During the battle a total of 108 men had been killed on the two sides, including 36 on Admiral Graf Spee. For other uses, see Silhouette (disambiguation). ...


The Graf Spee entered Montevideo in neutral Uruguay and dropped anchor at about 00:10 on the 14 December. This was a political error, as Uruguay, while neutral, had benefited from significant British influence during its development and favoured the Allies. The British Hospital, for example (where the wounded from the battle were taken) was the leading hospital in Montevideo. If the Graf Spee had left port again, the damaged Ajax and the Achilles would have been the only Commonwealth warships it would have encountered in the area. Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ... Neutrality: Neutrality in international law is the status of a nation that refrains from participation in a war between other states and maintains an impartial attitude toward the belligerents. ... For other uses, see Anchor (disambiguation). ... is the 348th day of the year (349th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ... The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2006 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Don McKinnon (since 1 April 2000) Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total...


The trap of Montevideo

Map of the River Plate showing possible exit channels
Map of the River Plate showing possible exit channels

In Montevideo, the 13th Hague Convention came into play. Under Article 2, "...belligerent war-ships are not permitted to remain in the ports, roadsteads, or territorial waters of the said Power for more than twenty-four hours...", modified by Article 14 "A belligerent war-ship may not prolong its stay in a neutral port beyond the permissible time except on account of damage..." British diplomats duly pressed for the speedy departure of the Graf Spee. Also relevant was Article 16, of which part reads, "A belligerent war-ship may not leave a neutral port or roadstead until twenty-four hours after the departure of a merchant ship flying the flag of its adversary." From HMSO official report into the graft Spee File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... From HMSO official report into the graft Spee File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... This page is about the South American estuary. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ... The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at The Hague, Netherlands in 1899 and 1907, respectively, and were, along with the Geneva Conventions, among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of secular international...


The Germans released 61 captive British merchant seamen who had been on board.[2] Langsdorff then asked the Uruguayan government for two weeks to make repairs. Initially, the British diplomats in Uruguay, principally Eugen Millington-Drake, tried to have Admiral Graf Spee forced to leave port immediately. After consultation with London, which was aware that there were no significant British naval forces in the area, they continued to openly demand that the Graf Spee leave. At the same time, they secretly arranged for British and French merchant ships to sail from Montevideo at intervals of 24 hours, whether they had originally intended to or not, thus invoking Article 16. This kept the Graf Spee in port and allowed more time for British forces to reach the area. British diplomat Sir Eugen John Henry Vanderstegen Millington-Drake, KCMG, was born 26 February 1889, the son of Henry Millington-Drake. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ...


At the same time, efforts were made by the British to feed false intelligence to the Germans that an overwhelming British force was being assembled, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and the battlecruiser HMS Renown, when in fact only the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland was nearby. Cumberland, one of the earlier County class, was only a little more powerful than Exeter, with two more 8-inch (203 mm) guns; she was no match alone for Admiral Graf Spee, whose 11-inch guns had longer range and fired much heavier shells. Cumberland arrived at 22:00 on 14 December after steaming at full speed for 36 hours from the Falkland Islands. Overwhelming British forces (HMS Renown, Ark Royal, Shropshire, Dorsetshire and Neptune) were en route, but would not assemble until December 19. For the time being, the total force comprised the undamaged Cumberland and damaged Ajax and Achilles. Military intelligence (abbreviated MI, int [Commonwealth], or intel [U.S.]), is a military discipline that focuses on information gathering, analysis, and dissemination about enemy units, terrain, and the weather in an area of operations. ... Four aircraft carriers, (bottom-to-top) Principe de Asturias, amphibious assault carrier USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and light V/STOL carrier HMS Invincible, showing size differences of late 20th century carriers An aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea... HMS Ark Royal (91), was the third ship of the Royal Navy to carry the name and the second to be an aircraft carrier. ... [[Image:HMS Hood and HMS Barham. ... HMS Renown was the lead ship of the three 26,500-ton Renown class battlecruisers of the Royal Navy; the other two were HMS Repulse and the cancelled HMS Resistance. ... HMS Cumberland, the fifteenth ship of that name was a County class heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy that saw action during the Second World War. ... The County class were the first and last heavy cruisers of the Royal Navy. ... is the 348th day of the year (349th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... HMS Shropshire (73) later HMAS Shropshire was a Royal Navy heavy cruiser of the London sub-class of County class cruisers. ... HMS Dorsetshire (pennant number 40) was a heavy cruiser of the Royal Navy, named after the English county (now called Dorset). ... The HMS Neptune was a Leander class light cruiser which served with the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom during World War II. The Neptune was the fourth ship of its class and was the ninth Royal Navy vessel to carry the name Neptune. ...


The Germans, however, were entirely deceived, and expected to face a far superior force on leaving the River Plate. The Graf Spee had also used two-thirds of her 11" ammunition and only had enough left for approximately a further 20 minutes of firing, which was hardly enough to fight her way out of Montevideo, let alone get back to Germany. Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ...


Intense negotiations were undertaken. While the ship was prevented from leaving the harbour, Captain Langsdorff consulted with his command in Germany. He received orders that permitted various options, but not internment in Uruguay. Ultimately he chose to scuttle his ship in the River Plate estuary (December 17) to avoid unnecessary loss of life for no military advantage, a decision that is said to have infuriated Hitler. The crew of Admiral Graf Spee was taken to Buenos Aires, where Captain Langsdorff subsequently committed suicide on 19 December. He was buried there with full military honours and several British officers attended. But, lots of the crew members were reported to have moved to Montevideo with the help of local people of German origin. The German dead were buried in the "Cementerio del Norte" in Montevideo. Negotiation is the process whereby interested parties resolve disputes, agree upon courses of action, bargain for individual or collective advantage, and/or attempt to craft outcomes which serve their mutual interests. ... This article is about the usage and history of the terms concentration camp, internment camp and internment. ... This page is about the South American estuary. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Hitler redirects here. ... For other uses, see Buenos Aires (disambiguation). ... is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ...


Aftermath

The German propaganda machine had reported that Admiral Graf Spee had sunk a heavy cruiser and heavily damaged two light cruisers while only being lightly damaged herself. (This had a degree of truth in it - Exeter had been seriously damaged and was practically a hulk, while Admiral Graf Spee's damage was superficial rather than structural). Admiral Graf Spee's scuttling however was a severe embarrassment and difficult to explain. The Battle of the River Plate was a contributory factor to Adolf Hitler's low opinion of the German surface fleet. The battle was a major propaganda victory for the British during the Phony War, and the reputation of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill was enhanced. Soviet Propaganda Poster during World War II. The text reads Red Army Fighter, SAVE US! Chinese propaganda poster from the time of the Cultural Revolution. ... British Ministry of Home Security Poster of a type that was common during the Phony War The Phony War, or in Winston Churchills words the Twilight War, was a phase in early World War II marked by few military operations in Continental Europe, in the months following the German... The First Lord of the Admiralty was a British government position in charge of the Admiralty. ... Churchill redirects here. ...


Exeter limped to the Falkland Islands for emergency repairs and later to Devonport for a 13-month refit. Devonport Dockyard in 1909, courtesy WW1 Archive Devonport Dockyard and the Hamoaze from the Rame Peninsula, Cornwall Her Majestys Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport (HMS Drake), is one of three operating bases for the Royal Navy (the others being HMNB Clyde and HMNB Portsmouth). ...


Prisoners taken from merchant ships by Admiral Graf Spee who had been transferred to her supply ship Altmark were freed by a boarding party from the British destroyer HMS Cossack, in the Altmark Incident (February 16, 1940) — whilst in Jøssingfjord, at the time neutral Norwegian waters. Prisoners who had not been transferred to Altmark had remained aboard Graf Spee during the battle, and were released on arrival in Montevideo. HMS Cossack (L-03/F-03/G-03) was a Tribal-class destroyer which became famous for the boarding of the German supply ship Altmark in Norwegian waters, and the associated rescue of sailors originally captured by the Admiral Graf Spee. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... is the 47th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jøssingfjord is a fjord located within the municipality of Sokndal. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ...


On 22 December 1939 over 1,000 sailors from the Admiral Graf Spee were taken to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and interned there; at least 92 were transferred during 1940 to a camp in Rosario, some were transferred to Club Hotel de la Ventana in Buenos Aires Province and another group to Villa General Belgrano, a small town founded by German immigrants in 1932. Some of these sailors later settled there. [1] There are many stories, but little reliable information, about their later wartime activities, including escapees illegally returning to the German armed forces, espionage, and clandestine German submarine landings in Argentina. After the war many German sailors settled permanently in various parts of Uruguay, some returning after being repatriated to Germany. Rows of simple crosses in the Cementerio del Norte, in the north of the city of Montevideo mark the burial places of the German dead. Three sailors killed aboard the Achilles are buried in the British Cemetery, in Montevideo, while those who died on the Exeter were buried at sea. . is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Rosario is the largest city of the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. ... Club Hotel de la Ventana was a large, luxurious hotel resort opened in 1911 near Villa Ventana, 17 km from the small town of Sierra de La Ventana, in the southeast of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. ... The Buenos Aires province (IPA: , Spanish: Provincia de Buenos Aires) is the wealthiest and most populated province of Argentina. ... Aerial view of Villa General Belgrano Villa General Belgrano, a small mountain village of 6,260 inhabitants is named after the creator of the Argentine flag and located in a lush green valley of Calamuchita in the Mountains in the Province of Córdoba in central Argentina. ... Non-native population in Argentina, 1869–1991 There is a theory that the original inhabitants of Argentina were descendants of Asian peoples that crossed the Bering Land Bridge into North America and then, over thousands of years, reached the southern end of South America. ... Spy and Secret agent redirect here. ... Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ...


Plans to raise the wreck are discussed in the article on Admiral Graf Spee . Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Germany during World War II. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff), she was later reclassified as a heavy cruiser, and was referred to as a pocket battleship by the British. ...


Salvage

Immediately after her scuttling the wreck of the Admiral Graf Spee rested in shallow water with much of the ship's superstructure remaining above water level, but over the years the wreck subsided into the muddy bottom and today only the tip of the mast remains above the surface. Image File history File links Merge-arrow. ... Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Germany during World War II. Originally classified as an armored ship (Panzerschiff), she was later reclassified as a heavy cruiser, and was referred to as a pocket battleship by the British. ...


The first salvage from the ship was most likely carried out by Royal Navy intelligence teams which recovered the highly advanced Seetakt radar not destroyed in the scuttling. In February 1940 the wreck was boarded by US Navy sailors from the light cruiser USS Helena. USS Helena (CL-50) was a -class light cruiser of the United States Navy, damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and subsequently active in the Pacific War until she was sunk at the battle of Kula Gulf in 1943. ...


In 1997, one of Admiral Graf Spee's 15 cm secondary gun mounts was raised and restored; it can now be seen outside Montevideo's National Maritime Museum. Department Montevideo Department Altitude 43 m Coordinates 34º 53S 56º 10W Founded 1726 Founder Bruno Mauricio de Zabala Population 1,325,968 (2004) (1st) Demonym Montevideano Phone Code +02 Postal Code 10000 Montevideo (IPA: ) is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. ...


In February 2004 a salvage team began work raising the wreck of the Admiral Graf Spee. The operation is in part being funded by the government of Uruguay, in part by the private sector, as the wreck is now a hazard to navigation. The first major section, the 27-ton heavy gunnery control station, was raised on 25 February 2004. It is expected to take several years to raise the entire wreck. Film director James Cameron is filming the salvage operation. After it has been raised, it is planned that the ship will be restored and put on display at the National Marine Museum in Montevideo. is the 56th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Many German veterans do not approve of this restoration attempt, as they consider the wreck to be a war grave and an underwater historical monument that should be respected. One of them, Hans Eupel, former specialist torpedo mechanic, 87 years old in 2005, added "this is madness, too expensive, and senseless. It is also dangerous, as one of the three explosive charges we placed did not explode."


On 10 February 2006, the eagle figurehead of the Admiral Graf Spee was recovered. To protect the feelings of those sensitive to Nazi Germany, the swastika on the figurehead was covered as it was pulled from the water. is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Legacy

In 1956 the film The Battle of the River Plate (U.S. title: Pursuit of the Graf Spee) was made of the battle and Admiral Graf Spee’s end. HMS Achilles, which had been recommissioned in 1948 as HMIS Delhi, flagship of the Royal Indian Navy, played herself in the movie. Year 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about motion pictures. ... The Battle of the River Plate is a 1956 film by the British-based director-writer team of Powell & Pressburger. ... Two ships of the Indian Navy have been named Delhi: The Leander class cruiser INS Delhi, in service in the Indian Navy between 1948 and 1978. ...


The battle is re-enacted with large-scale model boats throughout the summer season in the UK seaside resort of Scarborough. This article is on the English seaside resort. ...


After the battle, the Town of Ajax, Ontario in Canada, was named after HMS Ajax . Many of its streets are named after Admiral Harwood's crewmen on Ajax, Exeter and Achilles. For other uses, see Ajax. ...


References

http://www.villaventana.com/exclubhotel/index.htm

  1. ^ She was HMS Achilles at the time of the battle. She became HMNZS Achilles on the formation of the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1941
  2. ^ * (December 1939) We Were Prisoners On the 'Graf Spee'. The War Illustrated. 

The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. ... The cover of Volume 2, number 2, depicting French Chasseurs Alpins in action The War Illustrated was a British war magazine published in London by William Berry (later Viscount Camrose and owner of The Daily Telegraph). ...

External links

  • Grafspee.com
  • History learning site articles with much detail on The Battle of the River Plate and Admiral Graf Spee in Montevideo
  • Jilani, Capt(Retd) AA (December 1999) "The Battle of the River Plate" in Defence Journal
  • Official HMSO report
  • Royal New Zealand Navy (official history)
  • Achilles at the River Plate (official history)
  • (Spanish) "The crew of the Graf Spee" — Largely anecdotal information on activities of the interned crew after the battle.
  • (Spanish) Laurence, Ricardo E. (2000). Tripulantes del Graf Spee en tres atrapantes historias. ISBN 987-43-1754-X. 
  • 13th Hague Convention (Convention Concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of the River Plate WW2 Naval Battle (726 words)
The Battle of the River Plate WW2 Naval Battle
The Battle of the River Plate (December 13, 1939) was the first major naval battle of World War II, which resulted in the eventual sinking of the German pocket battleship - heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee by scuttling, ending her successful three-month campaign against British merchant shipping.
Exeter had been severely damaged in the battle, and British propaganda efforts were made to convince Captain Hans Langsdorff of the Graf Spee that an overwhelming British force was being assembled, when in fact only the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland was available and was being sent from the Falkland Islands.
TRAFALGAR, BATTLE OF, (746 words)
The battle began shortly before noon; when it ended, in the late afternoon, some 20 French and Spanish ships had been destroyed or captured, while not a single British vessel was lost.
THC Classroom: Frontier: The Decisive Battles: Battle of Fallen Timbers.
The Battle of the River Plate was a ferocious sea battle off the coast of South America between the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee and the British.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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