Battle of The River Plate

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Thomas McCall, Feb 27, 2004.

  1. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    My grandfather served in the Navy during the war, but now has sadly passed on. Before ill health set in I asked him a few years ago what did he do in the war. He didn't say much exept that he was in the Royal Navy and something about Montdivideio and The Graf Spee. Therefore I'm asking what British ships were in the chase for the Graf Spee, I know of H.M.S Achilles and Ajax but what others.
    Thanks in advance,
    From,
    Thomas McCall.
     
  2. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    Directly involved in the fighting there were HMNZS Achilles, HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter.

    But I'll get later the rest of the ships involved in the chase, including French ones. :)
     
  3. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    *edited*
     
  4. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    Thank you very much for your help. Do you or anyone else now where I can find the records of any Royal Navy Ship entering Montevideo between 1939 to 1945.
     
  5. David Seymour

    David Seymour Senior Member

    Thomas,
    For a really good introduction to the Battle of the River Plate read Dudley Pope, The Battle of the River Plate. Have you seen the 1959 (?) film of the same name? This features two of the ships involved: Achilles, and the Cumberland (which arrived as a reinforcement after the action).
    Regards,
    David
     
  6. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    I have seen the film and it's very good, definetly better than something like Pearl Harbour. I'll try to find that book, it'd definetly worth a look. Thanks.
     
  7. alfie

    alfie Junior Member

    I work in a hospital and one of the regular patients told me he was in Montivideo harbour when the Graff Spee was scuttled. He also said his ship was shelled previously by the Graff Spee. Is there a record of which vessels where shelled or sunk by the ship?
     
  8. alfie

    alfie Junior Member

    My old pal has identified his ship as the Almeda Star, he left before the next trip when it was torpedoed 35 miles off Rockall with the loss of all hands. [​IMG]
     
  9. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    The following ships were sunk by the Admiral Graf Spee since September 30th 1939 until she faced British Force G under commodere Harwood at Montevideo Bay.
    • RMS Clement
    • RMS Ashley
    • RMS Newton Beach
    • RMS Huntsman
    • RMS African Shell
    • RMS Doric Star
    • RMS Trevanion
    Totallasing 50.000 tons of shipping.
     
  10. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    The most dreaded Admiral Graf Spee, pocket battleship of the Deutschland Class.

    [​IMG]

    She was chased by three different British Forces:

    Force H, composed of:

    [​IMG]

    HMS Sussex, heavy cruiser of the London Class.

    [​IMG]

    HMS Shropshire, heavy cruiser of the London Class.

    Force K, composed of:

    [​IMG]

    HMS Renown, battlecruiser of the Renown Class.

    [​IMG]

    HMS Ark Royal, aircraft carrier of the Ark Royal Class.

    Force G —under commodore Harwood—, composed of:

    [​IMG]

    HMS Exeter, heavy cruiser of the York Class.

    [​IMG]

    HMS Cumberland, heavy cruiser of the Kent Class.

    [​IMG]

    HMNZS Achilles, light cruiser of the Leander Class.

    [​IMG]

    HMS Ajax, light cruiser of the Leander Class.
     
  11. plan_D

    plan_D Junior Member

    As far as I knew 'Force H' didn't actually come into contact with Graf Spree. When the battle of River Plate occured they were many miles away and would not be there within days.
    Harwood ordered an attack on the Graf Spree to stop it from escaping into the Atlantic. The Exeter was out-ranged by the Graf Spree and was badly damaged, it then got sent to the Falkland isles by Harwood and the other three continued the fight.
    The Graf Spree turned, and headed to Montevideo it moored up and many of the British in Montevideo were shocked that this thing had come in, apparently it had very little damage from the previous battles.
    At first McArthur (I think) wanted to get Graf Spree out and into the sea to be destroyed until Harwood told him that he would not be able to destroy it, so using International Laws of ships in neutral docks they said that Graf Spree had to stay in for at least 24 hours because a supply ship had just set out from there.

    Without going too deep into it, they deceived the Captain of Graf Spree into believeing Group H was out there, with Ark Royal, so the man had two choices, scuttle his ship or try and fight his way out which would of been a certain loss. He sent a message back to Berlin saying that the damage sustained made the ship un-battleworthy, took the Graf Spree out to deeper water with Skeleton crew and scuttled it. The Captain shot himself...what was his name? I can't remember.
     
  12. Thomas McCall

    Thomas McCall Senior Member

    Captain Lansdorff was the name of the Captain of the Graf Spee
     
  13. David Seymour

    David Seymour Senior Member

    An attempt is being made to raise GRAF SPEE with the intention of putting her on display at the National Marine Museum in Montevideo. If you put GRAF SPEE into Google you will find a couple of short articles there about the project.
    Regards,
    David
     

    Attached Files:

  14. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Here are a few useful links, including an article covering the movie and another on the attempts to raise the Graf Spee:

    http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m1373/n...1/article.jhtml
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_the_River_Plate
    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/10/...l?from=storyrhs
    http://www.members.tripod.com/~marcin_w/index-soam.html

    A related story concerns the bulk of the British seamen captured by the Graf Spee. In addition to the ships' officers held on the Graf Spee, many ordinary crew members were captured. Most of these were tranferred to the Graf Spee's supply ship, the Altmark. Conditions on the Altmark were pretty bad.

    When returning to Germany, the Altmark was pursued by the Royal Navy and took refuge in a Norwegian fjord, where they were rescued by Captain Phillip Vian's HMS Cossack, in breach of Norwegian neutrality.
     
  15. DavidP

    DavidP Junior Member

    I found this photo of the Graff Spee amongst my fathers wartime mementos, he carried it throughout the war, I haven't got the faintest idea why, as he was in the 78th Div in Italy as a machine gunner. But I thought it might be of some interest on this board - feel free to use it as any copyright the photographer had is expired by now.

    [​IMG]
     
    dbf and von Poop like this.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    When I was a child around 12 years old I read about the hunt for the Graf Spee as I did many Royal Navy exploits because my father was a officer in the navy during the 50's and it was expected I'd join the Royal Navy when I was old enough............Much to his disappointment when I joined the Royal Signals instead :D

    Anyway I'm digressing......I remember one of the cruisers engaging Graf Spee had sustained substanial damage that she withdrew to the Falklands Islands for repairs.

    A year or so later the Argentinians invaded the islands and I remember everyone was amazed how a 13 year old (Me) knew where the Falklands Islands were and knew so much about the Islands. :rolleyes:


    Ok I'll get my coat ;)
     
  18. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Commander of Ajax, Charles Woodhouse lived in the village where I grew up and gave us a talk in school about the Graf Spee. He told a fascinating tale of cat and mouse. As I recall, I was the only one who dared to ask questions afterwards.

    I'm old enough to remember the SS Great Britain being towed back from the Falklands so I knew where it was too !
     
  19. peterhastie

    peterhastie Senior Member

    I attended a memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral in 1983 for the men who died in the Graf Spee episode, some of whom are buried in the cemetery. Strangely enough the ship I was serving on was HMS Achilles. I remember seeing the rusting hull of the SS Great Britain as well and in contrast the burnt and buckled superstructure of the Sir Galahad.

    Hope this link helps.

    Falkland Islands Info Portal - History Articles
     
  20. Jan7

    Jan7 Senior Member

    http://www.creative-process.com/files/GraffSpee.jpg I found this photo of the Graff Spee amongst my fathers wartime mementos, he carried it throughout the war, I haven't got the faintest idea why, as he was in the 78th Div in Italy as a machine gunner. But I thought it might be of some interest on this board - feel free to use it as any copyright the photographer had is expired by now.


    It's very, very curious this photo

    Do you able to post the back of this photo? -any thing interesting contents....I think.

    Thanks, DavidP for share with us!




    Jan.
     

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