Chieftain Talks: The Hunt for Graf Spee. Battle of the River Plate | World of Warships

Chieftain Talks: The Hunt for Graf Spee. Battle of the River Plate | World of Warships

On the night of December 20, 1939,
Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff, Kapitän zur See and commander of
Panzerschiffe Admiral Graf Spee, retired to his room
in the Naval hotel in Buenos Aires and wrote his final letter: “I can now only prove by my death that
the fighting forces of the Third Reich are ready to die
for the honor of their flag. I alone bear the responsibility
for scuttling the Admiral Graf Spee. I am happy
to pay with my life for any possible repercussions
on the honor of the flag. I shall face my fate
with firm faith in the cause, in the future of the nation,
and in my Führer.” Hans Langsdorff had taken command
of Admiral Graf Spee in October 1938, and later was, of course, responsible
for her destruction by scuttling. But before we talk about Graf Spee’s
combat career and eventual destruction, it’s probably worth saying a few words
about the history of the ship herself. To do this, a quick trip
down history lane: 1919, the Treaty
of Versailles is signed— and it’s effectively
Germany’s surrender on paper. With it, came the virtual
elimination of the German Navy, and a whole series
of restrictions and limitations as to the design
of any future warships, particularly by displacement
and gun caliber. As a result, the German ship
designers in the 1920s and ‘30s were presented with
a rather daunting task: whilst remaining within
the limitations of the Treaty, how would they build
viable fighting ships. And to do this, they decided
to create a class of ships that were powerful enough to
outgun any cruiser that can catch it and fast enough
to outrun any battleship. They achieved
quite good success. The result was the
Panzerschiffe (the Armored Ship), the first of which
was the Deutschland of 1933. It had guns approaching
that of a battleship and it did have
the speed of a cruiser. The third and the most advanced
of these Deutschland-class ships was Admiral Graf Spee. Now, these ships didn’t fit into the conventional international
standards of classification, and eventually the British press
came up with the term “Pocket battleship” by which the ships would be
commonly known afterwards. Once she commissioned into the fleet,
January 6, 1936, she became the flagship and partook in a number
of fleet reviews by Adolf Hitler and was sent on a number of
goodwill missions to foreign nations. But long before the invasion of
Poland, the Kriegsmarine leadership had developed plans for commerce
raiding in the Atlantic Ocean, and in these plans, pocket battleships
were to play the leading role. In the plans, personally approved
by Hitler, Admiral Spee was to depart and meet up with the supply
ship Altmark in the Atlantic, and then, upon receipt
of the special signal, would engage in commerce warfare
against an unspecified enemy. But the common understanding
was that these ships would be British. On the 21st of August 1939, Graf Spee departed Wilhelmshaven,
bound for the South Atlantic. Bad weather helped
to go undetected, first along the coast of Norway,
and then off the south coast of Iceland. She did get
a bit of a lucky break, on September the 6th—
five days after the war started— British cruisers set up
picket positions along the route. But it was too late: by then the German
ship had already broken through and was sailing slowly
towards the equator. For most of the first
month of the war, Langsdorff had received
no orders from Berlin and maintained
radio watch in silence. She paced slowly
around the equator, and the sailors built a dummy second
turret out of canvas and plywood to help conceal itself
and confuse enemy targets. Although it did also had the effect
of perchance confusing the enemy and eventually
even their own side. On the 25th of September,
the ship finally received orders authorizing attacks
on Allied merchant shipping. Five days later,
Graf Spee’s Arado spotter aircraft located British
cargo ship Clement. It almost turned out
to be a bumpy start: the cargo ship started to evade them
whilst transmitting an “RRR” signal which meant
“under attack by a raider”, before the German cruiser
finally convinced her to stop. Admiral Spee took captain
and chief engineer prisoner but let the rest of her crew
abandon ship in the lifeboats. Clement put up a fight
going down, though: the flood valves were opened
and scuttling charges were placed, but the steamer just
wasn’t about to sink. It took 30 rounds of
15-centimeter and two torpedoes for the British vessel to finally
break up and start going down. During the following month, the pocket battleship
sank four more British ships, taking their crew members
and capturing cargo. A valuable prize was the
standard-issue British radio, which was then put
in Admiral Spee’s wheelhouse, as well as documents
to better interpret the radio communications
which were being transmitted. Now Langsdorff had the
ability to listen in on the British. All of these operations were happily
described as piracy by the British, although the Panzrschiff commander,
wanting to be a gentleman, tried to strictly
adhere to prize rules and to ensure that the
crews were safely evacuated, sending distress signals
to ensure their rescue, and they treated the senior
captured personnel with respect. The Allies learned of the enemy raids
in the Atlantic by early October. London was quick to react— three British hunter groups were
formed to track down Admiral Spee: four heavy cruisers, one battlecruiser,
and one aircraft carrier. The force put up
by the British was impressive, but first they had
to find the Nazi raider. The first such opportunity presented
itself when the steamer Newton Beach managed to transmit
an “under attack” radio signal. Had the signal reached
the powerful Freetown station— the focal point for the raider
hunters in the South Atlantic— the aircraft which would’ve been
dispatched to search for the raider, in good conditions
would have easily found her. Admiral Spee would have had
little chance against the forces of His Majesty’s battle cruiser Renown
and heavy cruiser Cumberland. On another occasion, the German
ship almost lost her supply vessel. Altmark was spotted accidentally
by aircraft from the carrier Ark Royal. Upon receiving an identification
request, Altmark boldly responded: “We are the
American transport Delmar.” The British didn’t doublecheck this,
and Altmark made a rather lucky escape. Having analyzed the situation and radio intercepts warning
about predatory Nazi ships, Langsdorff decided to stop
pestering the British for a little while. On October 14, Admiral Spee
rendezvoused with Altmark to refuel and transfer
her prisoners and prizes. Then they parted ways— Altmark went to more deserted
areas of the South Atlantic, and Spee sailed first west, and then
south-east into the Indian Ocean, south of Madagascar and
around the Cape of Good Hope. The purpose of that foray was to divert the Allied warships
away from the South Atlantic, and to confuse
the Allies about his intentions. Langsdorff chose the
waters south of Madagascar as his next area of operations. These waters also
offered something to plunder— the commercial lanes leading to the Suez
Canal or the Atlantic Ocean gateway. Plus, now the search zone
for the British spanned an entire ocean, whilst Admiral Spee could
quickly return to the Atlantic. However, pickings were slim
in this new hunting ground. In two weeks, the raider managed
to capture and sink just one ship. At the same time,
the weather began to deteriorate. The result of all this was
that on November 9, 1939, the ship’s Arado 196 broke
down and couldn’t be repaired, depriving Graf Spee
of her aerial reconnaissance, which would eventually
prove to be a fatal factor. Seeing that the ship was down
on luck in her new location, Commander Langsdorff
decided to return to the Atlantic. On November 20, Graf Spee went
back around the southern tip of Africa, and after six days rendezvoused
again with her trusted sidekick— the escort vessel Altmark. By this time, Admiral Spee had been
cruising around for almost three months and needed an engine overhaul,
as well as to have her hull scraped. She also needed to be refueled
and have her supplies replenished. After taking several days
for these necessities, on December 2, Admiral Graf Spee stopped
a large turbine steamer—Doric Star— carrying a valuable cargo
of grain, wool and frozen meat. Langsdorff gave the order
to immediately sink the vessel, salvaging only 19 silver bars. He acted quickly, as the British could
have been let in on the raider’s location by the merchant’s
distress signal. The next day, Graf Spee sent another
English steamer to the bottom, costing Britain two ships
in the same area within 24 hours. On the morning
of December 6, Admiral Spee once again
(and now, as we know, for the last time) replenished her supplies
and refueled from Altmark, before capturing another
British ship in the evening, which was then sunk after
they disembarked the crew. In one of the newspapers they captured,
the German commander and his officers found a photograph of the heavy
cruiser Cumberland, wearing camouflage. This photograph prompted
them to further modify their concealment
and their camouflage stunt— they decided that they were doing
to paint their ship the same way, build a dummy second funnel
behind the aircraft catapult and also modify the paint
on her mast to look like a tripod. This was all done to further alter her
silhouette to resemble the British ship. Following this, the captain
of the “pocket battleship” decided once again
to relocate to a different area. This time, Langsdorff decided
to head for the River Plate. Overlooking it
was Buenos Aires, with up to 60 British ships
coming out that way every month. This seemed like an irresistible
jackpot for the Germans. Meanwhile, the Admiralty was
getting seriously aggravated by the raiders and their
own failure to catch them. First, the British ships
tried to track the enemy by using distress signals
of the attacked ships. But Hitler’s raiders knew to immediately
leave the area of their attacks and they thus remained
invisible to the British. Commodore Henry Harwood, who was
in charge of the cruiser squadron— one of the British
groups in the Atlantic that covered
the South American waters— tried instead to anticipate
the next move of his opposition. He took to the seas off
Montevideo and Buenos Aires, which he had figured would
be Langsdorff’s next target. On December 9, heavy cruiser HMS Exeter,
which had just undergone maintenance, was hastily recalled from
its base in the Falkland Islands. Two days later, on the
morning of December 12, she rendezvoused with Ajax and Achilles,
two Leander-class light cruisers. In the evening, the ships
practiced closing in on an enemy and closing to enough distance
for their 6-inch guns to be effective— this was the MO
that Harwood has suggested for tackling pocket battleships. Then the Royal Navy squadron moved along
the Uruguayan coast to the River Plate. Admiral Graf Spee,
the pocket battleship and the bane of merchant
shipping in the South Atlantic, was going the in the
same direction almost flat out. The German ship was,
remember, traveling blind: her Arado floatplane
was beyond repair. Early in the morning
of December 13, 1939, lookouts spotted a pair of masts
off the German ship’s starboard bow. The raider quickly
identified the ship as Exeter. She was accompanied
by a pair of smaller warships, which were initially
mistaken for destroyers. The weather was perfect, with calm
seas and almost perfect visibility. Kapitän zur See Langsdorff decided
to bring the ship to battle readiness and to close the distance
at maximum speed. His Panzerschiffe had full
tanks and ammunition racks, and the presence of destroyers
usually meant a convoy. Spee’s raiding sortie
was coming to an end and the commander
hoped to go out with a bang. The commander
of the pocket battleship was not intimidated
by the British cruiser, and he figured he could easily evade any
torpedoes launched from destroyers— Langsdorff was known
to be a torpedo specialist. Furthermore, getting rid
of three fast pursuers required forcing them
into a decisive battle. With the German vessel
closing in on them at full speed, the British soon
spotted their opponent… Upon identifying
Admiral Graf Spee, Harwood divided his forces up
to split the enemy’s fire. Ajax and Achilles would attack
Graf Spee from one side, and the heavy cruiser
Exeter—from the other. It was a brave move
by the British Commander, and a rather risky one that
almost cost him his good fortune. In turn, by the time the Germans had
identified the Leander-class cruisers, it was too late to retreat—their
opponents had already gotten too close. Noticing the separation
of the enemy ships, Langsdorff decided to destroy
the primary enemy threat first. At 06:18, the German ship opened
fire with her main battery at Exeter. After a couple of minutes,
the British returned fire, and the battle was on. The battle of River Plate
on December 13, 1939, was the first
classic artillery duel between large surface ships
of the Second World War. The Germans were
the first to get on target, with the third volley of the
pocket battleship’s 11-inch guns striking Exeter. The fragmentation wiped out
the starboard torpedo crew and riddled the aircraft
sitting on the catapult, as well as the entire side
and the superstructures, from the waterline
to the top of the funnels. Spotlights were broken
and major fires started. The gun readiness
reporting system was disabled, meaning that the senior gunner
essentially had to fire on faith, not knowing for sure
whether or not all of his guns were ready to send
a complete volley. Then a 283-mm
high-explosive shell hit the elevated 8-inch
turret and detonated. The explosive concussion
rendered the turret useless and killed or badly wounded all of the
men on the bridge, except the captain. The communication tubes, pipes,
and cables leading from the director and range finders to the fire
center were also severed— the cruiser lost her navigational aids
and wouldn’t answer the helm. Thus, the ship had lost
a third of her artillery and her overall combat
power was seriously reduced. The floatplane could not help
with adjustments to firing, and orders to the steering
compartment and engines had to be relayed
via a chain of sailors. The next German
main battery salvo knocked out the remaining forward
turret and destroyed the radio room, killing five radio operators and
damaging the right forward 4-inch gun, killing the gun crew. The pocket battleship’s
main 283-mm battery was undeniably proving
its worth against cruisers. However, the British were
quick to return the favor— German officers from the Graf
Spee would later characterize the return fire from Exeter
as “rapid and accurate.” One 8-inch shell went through a tower-
like superstructure without exploding, and another carved up
the top of the 100-mm belt and a 40-mm longitudinal
bulkhead to then explode. It caused serious damage to the cables
with its shrapnel and started a fire that engulfed the storage compartment
of dry chemical extinguishing agent. Those sailors
who fought the fire received severe burns
and poisoning from the fumes. Still, had the projectile hit a meter
lower and exploded in the engine room, the consequences for Graf Spee
would have been quite severe. However,
with every passing minute the fire from Exeter was
becoming less and less effective. She was seriously damaged—one
meter down by the bow and listing, with her speed
having dropped to 17 knots. Although the turbines and boilers
remained intact, she was in a tight spot. In just 20 minutes of battle, the German raider had basically
rendered the heavy cruiser worthless. Exeter still managed
to unleash a torpedo salvo, but the Germans didn’t even
take notice while maneuvering. Meanwhile, Admiral Graf Spee was getting pretty roughed up
by fire from the light cruisers, with several semi-armor-piercing shells
hitting one of the ship’s superstructures and shrapnel hitting Langsdorff
in the shoulder and the hand. Until then, he was rather
imperturbably commanding the ship from its open bridge with his
iconic smoking pipe in his hands. The blast wave threw the commander
of the raider onto the floor and knocked him out, the senior officer
was thus forced to temporarily take over. The wounds weren’t serious,
but the concussion influenced the captain’s
formerly relentless confidence— at least that’s what the
senior officers would say later. Exeter stopped firing at 07:30. Water was flooding in and the
near-miss of another 283-mm shell had short-circuited the electrical
system for her remaining turret. With Exeter breaking off,
the combined fire of Ajax and Achilles drew Langsdorff’s attention,
as both ships closed in on the German. 15 minutes into the battle, they were
separated by a distance of about 12 km. Graf Spee sent three salvos Ajax’s way,
but the British started maneuvering, and each time
changed course towards the direction of the
splash of the enemy’s volley. This evasion method was
known as “hunting for salvos” and it produced good results—
the light cruiser didn’t get hit. Achilles, however,
was less fortunate— a 283-mm projectile
exploded just short of her side, with the shrapnel reaching
her bridge and control tower, killing four sailors and wounding
three more, including a gunnery officer. Meanwhile, Langsdorff hauled the
raider around from an easterly course and positioned behind Ajax and
Achilles, towards the north-west in an attempt to prevent torpedoes
from being launched at her. This was also to break
away from the light cruisers and their rapid-firing 6-inch guns,
which seemed effective at close quarters. Noticing that Spee was turning,
Harwood decided to follow her. Although the maneuver temporarily
rendered half of his artillery useless, the gap to the enemy
opened up to 16 km, meaning that both parties
were losing accuracy. The British light cruisers
finished their wide turn, and both started catching up
with Spee at a speed of 31 knots. Harewood ordered
a 30-degree turn to port in order to enable them to bring
all their remaining guns to bear, but Langsdorff employed the
same method of hunting for shells and also laid smoke,
thus avoiding being hit. Exeter showed up from
the south for the last time, drawing off the
Germans’ main battery fire. But there constant changes
of target and maneuvers undermined their accuracy—and none
of the German projectiles scored a hit. By that time, the 6-inch
shells from the light cruisers had started dealing
notable damage to Graf Spee. One of them broke through
the 150-mm starboard gun, wiping out the crew
and disabling the weapon. Several hits were also scored
on the tower-like superstructure, and one exploded under
the top fire control position, killing two sailors and mortally
wounding Lieutenant Grigat— the only German officer to become
a fatality in the Battle of River Plate. The next hit knocked out the feeding
mechanism of the 15-cm bow gun, taking it out of the battle
and disrupting communications with the director and rangefinder
post on the bow superstructure. This had a grave impact
on the German raider— the rangefinder crew didn’t
hear the order to change fire to a different light cruiser and
continued reporting distance to Ajax, thus compromising
all fire adjustment on Graf Spee. She was constantly maneuvering
and laying smoke screens, and the distance between the pursuers
and their foe was now down to just 7 km— the British cruisers were taking
a much more straightforward course. But by that time the confusion
with aiming the battery of the main guns of Graf
Spee had been dealt with, and the fire of the pocket
battleship became accurate again: Ajax was hit by a 283-mm shell
that put one turret out of action and jammed another, causing
some casualties in the process. Then a blast from another
salvo destroyed her mast and caused
even more casualties. After an exchange of accurate hits,
the British and German commanders almost simultaneously realized that
it was time to stop the battle for a bit. Henry Harwood aboard Ajax only
had three working guns remaining, and they were down to 20%
of their ammunition reserves. Achilles was more combat-ready,
but the commander knew that their enemy’s “showing stern” made
her nigh invulnerable to torpedoes. In view of the above situation, and also understanding that the German
ship was still keeping good pace and was apparently
firing accurately, he felt that the odds of
success were not in his favor. At the same time, Langsdorff was
receiving reports from his positions that their ammunition
was depleted by almost 70%, and that their speed had reduced
to about 22 knots due to flooding caused by all of the
shells and fragmentation. All of these factors didn’t inspire much
optimism in the German commander, so he also decided
to break off from the battle. Under the cover
of the British smoke screen, all participants began
to quickly disperse. The observing pilot
of a British aircraft recalled that it looked like
a choreographed move—as if on cue, the three ships turned around
started moving away from each other. The battle lasted a total
of 1 hour and 24 minutes. In terms of raw figures, the Battle of River Plate was
a victory for the pocket battleship. Two hits by 203-mm and
eighteen by 152-mm shells hadn’t caused any fatal damage, and
flooding reduced her speed of travel, but she was not
trimming or listing, and her power systems
seemed to be in perfect order. Yes, her light artillery
was badly damaged— only one of the 105-mm guns
was still battle-worthy— but Spee’s main battery
remained fully operational. Despite three
direct 6-inch hits, the thick armor held up and
the guns never stopped firing. Out of almost 1,200 men,
one officer and 35 sailors were killed, and 58 were wounded
or poisoned, most of them lightly. The British were much worse off. Exeter was rendered unseaworthy, despite having lost
only 5 officers and 56 sailors. A further 11 people were
killed on the light cruisers. By the end of the battle, the firepower that Harwood had
at his disposal was almost halved, barely 360 shells remained
aboard the more capable Achilles, and only 10 torpedoes
were left between the two ships. But Harwood wasn’t going to just
let the pocket battleship escape. 10 minutes after the end of the
major fighting, a pursuit ensued— Ajax keeping to the German’s port
and Achilles to their starboard. Graf Spee now seemed to be
escorted by the light cruisers, which kept themselves
at a moderate distance. So, what to do next? Langsdorff’s options
were not numerous— he could wait for nightfall and try to break away from his
pursuers under the cover of darkness, or he could head
to a neutral port, patch up, and after breaking out,
disappear into the open ocean. The commander of Graf Spee clearly
didn’t want a night battle though: with limited visibility, he would have
had to fight at a shorter range, and this could have
tipped the battle— the gunnery could have
been effective for both sides. Furthermore, trying to escape
in the dark without a fight greatly increased the likelihood
of catching a few torpedo salvoes, which would surely
send the ship under. To a neutral port then! But Rio de Janeiro
was too far away, and Buenos Aires, where the
German influence was quite strong and the government
would be more welcoming, was accessible only via
a narrow and shallow fairway, which came with the risk of running
aground, getting torpedoed, or just clogging the pump filters
and rendering the ship unseaworthy. Of course, we can only guess what was
going through Wilhelm Langsdorff’s mind when he was deciding
where to seek refuge— he didn’t comment on his order and he didn’t leave any
records about the choice. But we do know as a historic
fact that the German heavy cruiser, Admiral Graf Spee, headed for
the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo. This decision, as we now know, sealed
the fate of the ship and her commander. Shortly after
midnight that night, the German ship anchored in the
roadstead of the Uruguayan capital, and Harwood’s cruisers
took up positions guarding the two likely
exits from Montevideo. And so we enter the realm
of politics and diplomacy. Langsdorff initially asked the Uruguayan
government for two weeks to make repairs. Officially, this was necessary
to fix the hull and propulsion. Unofficially, it was also to allow
time to pull up several submarines into the River Plate estuary, which
would then help lift the blockade. However, the British,
perfectly aware of the situation, were much more adept
at diplomatic shenanigans. The British consul in Montevideo
had great influence in Uruguay, and the foreign minister of this
country was a good friend of his. In addition, eight British merchant
ships were in the harbor of Montevideo (and one of them was as close
as 300 meters to the battleship!), which was immediately used for
surveillance of the German vessel. 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 in Buenos Aires, implying that the aircraft carrier
Ark Royal and battlecruiser Renown were on their way. Furthermore, Harwood received
reinforcement just in time— the heavy cruiser Cumberland had
just arrived from the Falkland Islands, and this was rather fatally mistaken
by one of the German officers to be the battlecruiser Renown. Fear, some say, makes
the wolf bigger than he is— and the two ships bear basically
no resemblance to one another at all. But the news of the
arrival of the battlecruiser left the Germans without
any hope of escape. Believing the British reports, Langsdorff discussed his options with
Kriegsmarine commanders in Berlin. Basically the options were to either break out
and seek refuge in Buenos Aires, where the Argentine government
would probably intern the ship, or to simply scuttle the ship
in the Plate estuary. Surprisingly, a breakthrough
attempt or, perhaps, uneven battle was not considered an option. After a discussion between
fleet commander Admiral Raeder and Hitler himself,
it was decided to scuttle the ship. Langsdorff received these orders
on the evening of December 16. The next day, he ordered the destruction of all
important equipment aboard the ship. The fire control systems were destroyed
with hammers and hand grenades. The ship’s remaining ammunition
was dispersed throughout the ship, in preparation for scuttling. At about 18:00
on December 17, 1939, all flags flying,
heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee moved to the outer roadstead 4 miles
off the coast and prepared for scuttling. Charges were set, the crew
was taken off by an Argentine tug, and the ship
was then scuttled. Multiple explosions from the ammunitions
sent jets of flame high into the sky with large clouds of smoke
obscuring the sight and the ship that was
burning beneath for three days. Of the crew of the raider,
all 1,100 people or so— except those buried in Uruguay or
recovering in hospitals in Montevideo— arrived safely
to the capital of Argentina. The rather permissive attitude
of the Argentine authorities allowed many sailors and
officers to get back to Germany in different, perhaps
somewhat difficult ways, where they could take
part in further hostilities. A notable example was the chief gunnery
officer of the battleship, Paul Asher, who proved his worth
in the Battle of River Plate, and upon his return to Germany was
assigned to a similar post on Bismarck. Thus it was his shells
that sank the battlecruiser Hood, although only three days later Asher
was killed along with his new ship. Finally, a few words
on Captain Langsdorff. That night of December 20, 1939,
after he finished writing his letter, Kapitän zur See,
Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff, the commander of the
Panzerschiffe Admiral Graf Spee, shot himself
in full dress uniform, lying on the ship’s battle
ensign in his hotel room in the Naval hotel
of Buenos Aires, thereby preventing
any accusations of cowardice. The wreck of Admiral Graf Spee
rested in shallow water, with much of the ship’s
burnt superstructure remaining above
the water level. Salvage rights were purchased from
the German Government by the British through a couple
of shell companies, who had been surprised
by the accuracy of the gunnery and expected to find a radar
range finder, which they did. They also salvaged
weapons samples— 105-mm anti-aircraft guns
and machine guns. The remaining wreck was
gradually broken up in situ. And there perhaps
is the final irony— the famous German Vice-Admiral
Count Maximilian von Spee was killed leading his cruiser squadron
in the battle of the Falkland Islands, and his namesake ship was sunk as the result of cruisers
from those same Falkland Islands, sinking 11,500 km
from the Fatherland.

76 comments on “Chieftain Talks: The Hunt for Graf Spee. Battle of the River Plate | World of Warships

  1. ZONAVELHA Post author

    Graf Spee had Diesel engines but you dont see that on the game , and they had a very fast engine , 90% of the other engines we had boiler engines so very slow to reach the top speed , we need this diesel engine on Game war gaming .

  2. android kiquepa Post author

    I visited Martin garcia Island near buenos aires and visited the cementery, and finded many german sailors of graf spee

  3. KubusSc7 Post author

    6:08 I'm having a problem with calling the Graf Spee a "Nazi-raider" because the Kriegsmarine was the least nazi-infested military branch. They didn't like the nazis. They were no nazis. You can say about the SS what you want, but don't throw every german soldier and vehicle int the same pocket. You cna do better than that. Do it.

  4. Hardav Post author

    Excelente episodio, espero sigan con mas capítulos así, es muy entretenido, ademas se aprende bastante de historia. Psdta: Para cuando mas barcos panamericanos?. Saludos

  5. Steven Schofield Post author

    Even tho I’m a war thunder person I love your videos…. Graf Spree is a new ship in war thunder. Keep these great vids coming… thank you

  6. shaider1982 Post author

    This is probably the first naval battle in ww2 that I knew of as a kid, having read an old (1970') reader's digest condensation of a book about the battle.

  7. Balázs Viserálek Post author

    It would be great to do a follow up episode with the story of the Altmark. That is pretty interesting as well.

  8. Crimson's Beard Post author

    The Ark Royal was sent to Freetown to hunt down a German raider, the Admiral Graf Spee. The ship was part of Force K and sailed with a battlecruiser, the Renown, to the South Atlantic in October 1939. They encountered the German tanker Altmark which was there to supply the Graf Spee, but the tanker was heavily disguised as a US vessel, the Delmar. haha, the deception was real.

  9. drakegod84 Post author

    A lot of people give this ship a bad rating in-game, but I fell in love with it two years ago. It has a unique play and is always surprising, a true joy to play. Sadly, the armour and the fire rate of the ship are very poor. It could be a great ship if it was given a slight buff.

  10. TheFreaker86 Post author

    Wait a minute! Langsdorff was ordered to scuttle the ship? I thought he decided this on his own and killed himself to prevent court martialing him and and his officers by his suicide and taking the responsibility for the scuttling

  11. jason lawrence Post author

    Pay Drachenifel to be the WOWS version of the Chieftain? No offense to nick but knowing him for tanks and seeing him in wows videos is a little strange

  12. MrKiwi1960 Post author

    You FAIL to mention that the Achilles was manned by New Zealanders and contrary to your BIASED claim that the Brits fire was heavy and remarked on by the Germans, it was in fact the Kiwi ship that was mentioned by the Germans for her rate of fire, which was so great that the gunners had to hit the barrels with hammers to release the recoil springs. Sorry, but your BULLSHIT is too much to stomach… what did I think of today's episode????? CRAP! Tell the truth next time.

  13. MrKiwi1960 Post author

    BY THE WAY… you really ARE ignorant… "knocked him to the floor"… DUDE, seriously, THE DECK…. He was knocked onto the DECK, there is NO FLOOR on a ship… and tell me again how you want me to take you seriously??? You should re-hire the HISTORY GUY…. he is unbiased and he researched his facts… and he is good towatch with his bow tie… what does this prat have? Gray hair from all the close ups of his smug little face.

  14. MrKiwi1960 Post author

    If you find it hard to read the auto cue (or cards)… then WEAR YOUR GLASSES. The HISTORY GUY isn't that conceited.

  15. Aaron Mcleod Post author

    I live in a town called Ajax Named after the ship. there are streets also named exeter and Achilles. And each street sign has a warship beside the name. Also the main road here is harwood ! And there is a monument dedicated to this battle down the street.

  16. MrKiwi1960 Post author

    so many mistakes…. "we don't know why she headed for the closet port…." …. her fresh water making equipment was damaged… and her diesel was contaminated…. Maybe THAT had something to do with it?????? RESEARCH!!!!! You DID NONE!!!!

  17. Doug JB Post author

    Not to be a pedant, but I don’t think the TofV placed limits on gun power of German ships.

    It limited the German navy to six pre-dreadnought battleships, six light cruisers (6,000 long tons max), twelve destroyers (800 long tons), and twelve torpedo boats (200 long tons).

    Submarines were RIGHT OUT.

    The TofV limited displacement of new battleships to 10K tons but said nothing about gun size.

    It was assumed that any ship of 10K tons max, with guns larger than 8”, would be so compromised in speed and/or armor as to be militarily ineffective.

    Limits on displacement and gunpower, together, were set in the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921. This was the document that said “any ship over 10K tons standard and 8” guns was a battleship (which caused all five signatories to adopt a common definition of heavy cruiser as 8” guns on 10k tons”).

    But Germany didn’t sign the WNT. She wasn’t even invited to the negotiations.

    So she felt herself free to design a ship carrying bigger guns than any cruiser a potential foe could legally build, and be faster than any contemporary battleship.

  18. Nelson L Post author

    As a kid my Grandmother used to tell me stories of the Graf. She was on the beach watching it pull out of port. Many Uruguayans stood on the beach and watched.

  19. Sir Moke Post author

    Nazi ship? Didin't know that ships could join the NSDAP. Come on WG. You aren't impressing anyone with this narrative in 2020.

  20. willytheekid Post author

    HMNZS Achillies returned home in 1940 to a absolutely MASSIVE!! welcome home parade in New Zealand ❤…the whole nation was so proud of this little ship and her crews big fight.
    …would love to see her added in game.

    Kia Kaha all…lest we forget

  21. bajabret60 Post author

    Is Chieftain listening to a radio? Cause, that background music is pretty annoying in an otherwise interesting lecture

  22. Today's Grail Tomorrow's Beater Post author

    The only way a talking head video works is if the subject is gorgeous and preferably a woman.

  23. Yansuki Post author

    instead of wasting time for glorifying their nonexistent soviet navy, WEEGEE should make more vid like this.

  24. Mario Geling Post author

    Well done research and nicely presented if you could only turn the music download that would be very very good

  25. Frosted Cat Post author

    hmmm, hunting the salvo. never heard of this tactic. well done WG, can we have an episode on battle of midway ? it's the most iconic carriers battle during WWII after all

  26. Dragoș Pop Post author

    Some maps or schematics on the maneuvers would have been much better than a talking head. Easier to comprehend and understand if an image is shown.

  27. Joyous Post author

    I always had a soft spot for every Warship on the Great Seas.
    But seriously I just want to listen to this man for hours, to try to feel the hearts and minds atop beautiful Steel with nerve-bending guns.

  28. Printer Printer Post author

    u should not be a game company
    u should turn into a museum
    u will definity earn more money than the money from idiots who buy puerto rico

  29. Apostolos Krystallis Post author

    How did the Graff pass under South Africa unchallenged? Wasn’t South Africa in the war?

  30. Jack Frost Post author

    I've never understood rules of war. If your gonna kill the enemy, why would you care about their rules? Cant break rules if theres no one to enforce them

  31. Bushido67 Post author

    Really nice video, but I'm just curious about something. "But first they had to find the Nazi raider" it's funny how every time people talk about Germany during WW2 it's nazi, the nazi car, the nazi ship, the nazi tank, the nazi horse…. but nobody says the communist tank, the communist ship when talking about Russia. But they are both political parties no ? ( not that I agree with neither of them)

  32. Dave Finfrock Post author

    Warship 2019 has several articles dealing with the Graf Spee and the Battle of the River Plate. Most worthwhile reading. Also, if audio-visual aids are required, the movie "Pursuit of the Graf Spee" is worth seeking out and watching. It's reasonably accurate. Interestingly enough, both Ajax and Achilles reprise their roles in the movie, with HMS Cumberland filling in for the sunken Exeter (she also was there waiting for the Graf Spee to leave Montivideo). The Graf Spee herself was played by USS Salem, which is strangely appropriate if you think about it.


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