In the fall of 1939, the German heavy cruiser (referred to as a pocket battleship) Graf Spee seems to have command of the Atlantic. In the first three months of World War II, she was responsible for sinking nine ships. The British sent three cruisers commanded by Commodore Henry Harwood to confront her. The battle took place on December 13, 1939 and the British came out on top. The Graf Spee headed for the neutral harbor of Montevideo, Uruguay. They were given only a short time to effect repairs and the British did their best to make them believe a British fleet of six or eight ships awaited them. Rather than chance the loss of his men, the German Captain ordered the Graf Spee scuttled.Written by
The Events around the Battle of the River Plate have always been somewhat special next to the sinking of the Bismarck for me, as Germany does not have such a rich history of sea battles as England does. Two things stand out : First the very positive display of the Captain of the Graf Spee, Langsdorff, treating his prisoners positively and trying to kill ships but not humans and even saving his crew from heroic death in Battle by sinking the ship by himself and refusing to go into battle. And his tragic end by suicide. Second, the laconic display of the British Officers and Men in Battle. This is where my title quote is coming from, as a message issued by the Captain of the shut-down and burning Exeter trying to escape to safety after the Battle and heavy hits. Otherwise it seems to be a rather careful display of events, although the scenes in Montevideo are sometimes play out like a prelude to a Carry On Farce. Greatest weakness is, that we totally loose sight of the German views and events on board Graf Spee once the battle has started. Totally 6 of 10
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