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Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee
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The Ship, (a brief history)
Nicknamed "pocket battleship" by the British, Graf Spee was one of three Deutschland Class "Battleships" built under Articles 181 & 190 of The Versailles Treaty which allowed for 6 battleships of 10,000 Tons. In reality, the ships weighed in at 15,000-16,000 tons. Armed with six 28 cm guns and a top speed of 28 knots, the Deuschland's were strong enough to overpower smaller ships and fast enough to outrun more heavily armed ships. ("faster than stronger,stronger than faster").

Commissioned in January 1936, Graf Spee spent three months conducting sea trials and preparing for service. During the late Summer of 1936 through May of 1937, following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Graf Spee participate in three non-intervention patrols off the Republican-held coast of Spain. After stopping in Great Britain to represent Germany in the Coronation Review at Spithead for King George VI on May 20th, Graf Spee returned to the Spanish Coast for a fourth patrol. After a trip back to Germany and a stop in Sweden, Graf Spee conducted his final Spanish Patrol in February 1938.
Graf Spee conducted another cruise into the Atlantic between 18 April and 17 May 1939, stopping in Lisbon before returning to Germany to refuel and reprovision. On 21 August 1939, Admiral Graf Spee departed Wilhelmshaven, bound for the South Atlantic and disappeared.

World War 2
When war broke out On Sept 1 with Hitler's invasion of Poland, Graf Spee was cruising south of the Azore Islands enroute to the South Atlantic shipping lanes. Hoping the British and French Governments would avoid war and not come to Poland’s aid, Graf Spee was ordered to avoid conflict.
Graf Spee finally received orders to begin attacks on shipping On September 26th and 4 days later her Scout plane located the cargo ship Clement of the coast of Brazil. The ship was stopped,and under the "rules of war" the crew was allowed to take to the life boats before being sunk. Before the ship was sunk, she sent out a signal “RRR,” meaning “I am under attack by a raider.”
Alerted to the her presence in the South Atlantic, British & French ships were organized into eight groups to hunt down the Graf Spee.

After sinking several merchant ships in the Atlantic, the Graf Spee was sighted on Dec. 13, 1939, off the Río de la Plata estuary by Commodore H. Harwood's British search group consisting of the cruisers Exeter, Ajax, and Achilles.
At 6:14 AM Harwood’s three ships attacked, but in a little more than an hour the Graf Spee had damaged the Exeter and driven off the other two cruisers. The Graf Spee then made off in the direction of Montevideo, Uruguay.

On the morning of 14 December 1939, the Admiral Graf Spee dropped anchor in the roadstead at Montevideo, Uruguay. The German ship received permission to stay for 72 hours to repair damage. After arriving in port, the wounded crewmen were taken to local hospitals and the dead were buried with full military honors. Captive Allied seamen still aboard the ship were released.
Unwilling to risk the lives of his remaining crew and under the belief that British reinforcements had arrived, Captain Langsdorff decided to scuttle the ship. On December 18th. with only Captain Langsdorff and 40 men aboard, Graf Spee moved into the outer roadstead to be scuttled. As a large crowd watched, the scuttling charges were set; the crew was taken off by and the ship was scuttled. Multiple explosions from the munitions sent jets of flame high into the air and created a large cloud of smoke that obscured the ship which burned in the shallow water for the next two days.

Laid down: October 1, 1932
Launched: June 30, 1934
Displacement: 16,000 tons
Length: 610 ft
Beam: 71 ft
Draft: 24 ft
Speed: 28.5 knots
Range: 16,300 nmi at 18.7 knots
Complement: Approx. 950
Armament: 6 x 28 cm C/28 guns
8 x 15 cm C/28 guns
8 × 53.3 cm torpedo tubes
28 × 2 cm FlaK guns
Aircraft 2 × Arado Ar 196 floatplanes


Graf Spee's Victims
Clement, September 30
Newton Beech, October 5
Ashlea, October 7
Huntsman, Captured October 10
      Sunk, October 17
Trevanion, October 22
Africa Shell, November 15
Doric Star, December 2
Tairoa, December 3
SS Streonshalh, December7

This is my Graf Spee. About the time is was just about done, I decided on the Neutrality recognition stripes in the Turrets just to get a little color on the shelf.
And before the E-mails come in, I realize Graf Spee had no radar during the neutrality patrol and the Float Plane is wrong.

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Last Updated September 1, 2017