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Battle of the River Plate

Article about: I daresay that very problem weighed heavily with him, he didnt really have an effective advantage with so many of his weapons out of commission, low on ammo, fuel system suspect, his galleys

  1. #1

    Default Battle of the River Plate

    Should Langsdorff have made a break for it ?

    I would be interested to hear your opinions

    The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War and the only episode of the war to take place in South America. The German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939. One of the hunting groups sent by the British Admiralty to search for Graf Spee, comprising three Royal Navy (RN) cruisers, HMS Exeter, Ajax and Achilles (the last of the New Zealand Division), found and engaged their quarry off the estuary of the River Plate off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay in South America. HMS Cumberland was also part of the hunting group, but she was refitting in the Falkland IslandsIn the ensuing battle, Exeter was severely damaged and forced to retire, while all other ships sustained moderate damage. Graf Spee′s fuel system was crippled. The Ajax and Achilles shadowed the German ship until it entered the port of Montevideo, the capital city of neutral Uruguay, to effect urgent repairs. After the Graf Spee's captain Hans Langsdorff was told that his stay could not be extended beyond 72 hours, he scuttled his damaged ship rather than face the overwhelmingly superior force that the British had led him to believe was awaiting his departure.
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    Last edited by Woolgar; 07-06-2012 at 10:46 AM.
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  2. #2

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Considering the questionable British Royal Navy "encounter" with the Bismark after it bloodied their noses, Langsdorff likely made the right decision.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  3. #3

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Deep down I think a lot of us would really like to know what would of happened if Langsdorff would of fought it out. But I can imagine the outcome so I think he did the right thing and in doing so saved a lot of lives.

    Luke

  4. #4
    ?

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Quote by rogge16 View Post
    But I can imagine the outcome so I think he did the right thing and in doing so saved a lot of lives.

    My sentiments exactly.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    To me Langsdorff was an extremely honorable man, one of the finest examples of a commander considering the lives of his men and perhaps even the loss of life of the enemy, against the outcome of the pending action. I served in the military and still struggle , contemplating if I were in the same situation, with those whose convictions are so strong that they choose suicide with perceived honor and integrity.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Quote by rogge16 View Post
    Deep down I think a lot of us would really like to know what would of happened if Langsdorff would of fought it out. But I can imagine the outcome so I think he did the right thing and in doing so saved a lot of lives.

    Luke
    Much to the chagrin of Hitler !

    Thanks for your comments guys

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  7. #7

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    One pocket battleship against two damaged cruisers, hmmm...I wonder...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Quote by Glenn66 View Post
    One pocket battleship against two damaged cruisers, hmmm...I wonder...
    Problem was , Langsdorff was unreliably informed that half the British fleet was waiting for him ! It seems he couldnt take that gamble

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  9. #9

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Thats right, now if we assume that Langsdorff had been a fanatic and taken a punt could he have rescued the situation, bloodied the British nose and maintained German naval pride? Two Cruisers are not to be sniffed at.

    I assume his guns outranged the Cruiser's? Could he theoretically have kept at range and pummeled the Cruisers from afar?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

    Indeed he could have Glenn, her guns were considerably larger.

    'By 06:38, Graf Spee was doomed; she could not make the fuel system repairs (of this complexity) under fire. Two-thirds of her anti-aircraft guns were knocked out as well as one of her secondary turrets.'

    Graf Spee had also used two-thirds of her 11 in (280 mm) ammunition and had only enough left for approximately a further 20 minutes of firing, which was hardly sufficient to fight her way out of Montevideo, let alone get back to Germany.

    She got no assistance from the neutral Uruguay so it would have been a very tough call to make

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

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