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  #101  
Old 13-04-2014, 14:58
blw blw is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

A while back in this thread the issue was raised of the Graf Spee's ammunition supply. I can appreciate that lack of ammunition renders the armament useless, but it would seem that he would have enough to fight his way through the early cruiser blockade (meaning Ajax, Achilles and Cumberland, plus whatever fight Exeter might or might not have had left). Certainly he would have been in a dangerous position on the trip back to Germany, with little in the magazines. But compared to at least some of the alternatives, this seems like it would be a better bet. To scuttle the ship obviously retains no possibility of getting back to Germany to fight again, and equally, internment seems roughly equivalent with no hope of the KM coming to "jailbreak" her later. And really, even fully provisioned and hypothetically fresh out of dry dock, she had little chance if it came down to a fight with Force H, or even "merely" with HMS Renown. Clearly in the latter case it was better to save the lives of the crew, but in all of the other cases, it seems - granted with 75 years of hindsight - that Langsdorf had few options, and most of the best ones were some variant of fighting his way out of Montevideo, low ammunition or not.

Unless of course the fuel system was really inoperable in some material way...
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  #102  
Old 13-04-2014, 15:15
Crash Crash is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

A lot of the Harwood`s family at the NMA for the Dedication
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  #103  
Old 13-04-2014, 15:18
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Ammunition was not the main problem Brian- Langsdorff learned that the high-pressure steam system, used to clean the fuel and lubricating oil and generate the fresh water supplies, had been severely damaged when Exeter had landed an 8" shell in the unprotected mid-ships funnel area. As the ship only had one day's pre-cleaned fuel remaining in a holding tank, the Engineer advised Captain Langsdorff that the system could not be repaired, with materials held onboard - thus, the fateful decision was made to proceed to Montevideo.

The Germans had requested a 14-day stay in order to make Graf Spee seaworthy again but were only able to obtain 72 hours, as the neutral Uruguayan government did not want to become embroiled in a diplomatic row. The Germans had also tried to infer that the British ships had fired shells loaded with mustard gas, as some of the injuries to her crew were consistent with such burns (but this propaganda was soon discounted).

While all the political activity was underway, Langsdorff learned that Ajax and Achilles had been reinforced at the mouth of the River Plate by the arrival of HMS Cumberland - a heavy cruiser with 8 x 8" guns (replacing Exeter, that had proceeded to the Falklands for much-needed repairs).

With time running out and Langsdorff knowing that Graf Spee had to soon leave Montevideo,virtually unrepaired; he spent many hours wrestling with the problem of which course of action to take. With the restricted sea room in the estuary and his natural reluctance to throw away the lives of his crew in a senseless gesture, Langsdorff decided that scuttling his ship was the only real option open to him. The high command in Germany had decreed that the ship must not be interned and either had to fight its way out or to be scuttled.

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  #104  
Old 13-04-2014, 17:05
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anona anona is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Langsdorff´s main mistake was his decision to set course for the River Plate. His orders said that he should avoid fights with warships and areas that were packed with ships. Both points were very reasonable for a raider thousands of miles from home. But at the end of his way he obviously wanted a more spectacular success as up to then his record was not very impressive - apart from the fact that he made his sinkings without the loss of one single soul.

Another point: There was a crack in the rangefinder of his 6" battery that was found in Montevideo. So this seems to be an explanation for it´s poor performance.
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  #105  
Old 13-04-2014, 17:42
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Quote anona
"Langsdorff´s main mistake was his decision to set course for the River Plate".

"As the ship only had one day's pre-cleaned fuel remaining in a holding tank, the Engineer advised Captain Langsdorff that the system could not be repaired, with materials held onboard - thus, the fateful decision was made to proceed to Montevideo".
Given that the above was fact-what other choice did Langsdorff have anona????

PS Thank for the snippet re the 6" rangefinder


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  #106  
Old 13-04-2014, 20:14
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Quote:
Originally Posted by jainso31 View Post
Quote anona
"Langsdorff´s main mistake was his decision to set course for the River Plate".

"As the ship only had one day's pre-cleaned fuel remaining in a holding tank, the Engineer advised Captain Langsdorff that the system could not be repaired, with materials held onboard - thus, the fateful decision was made to proceed to Montevideo".
Given that the above was fact-what other choice did Langsdorff have anona????

PS Thank for the snippet re the 6" rangefinder


jainso31

Sorry - you got me wrong - maybe my English is too bad.
After Langsdorff sank the Tairoa on the 3rd of Dec. he made up his mind to proceed to the area off the River Plate instead of returning home. That was his main mistake - in my opinion.
One conclusion you can draw from the experiences of German WW1 raiders is: stay away from land and from busy areas.
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  #107  
Old 14-04-2014, 08:56
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

"After Langsdorff sank the Tairoa on the 3rd of Dec. he made up his mind to proceed to the area off the River Plate instead of returning home. That was his main mistake - in my opinion.
One conclusion you can draw from the experiences of German WW1 raiders is: stay away from land and from busy areas"

Thank you for your amended explanation anona,which I can now see what you were driving at ie.The Battle of River Plate should never have happened.

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  #108  
Old 14-04-2014, 20:43
Crash Crash is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Three more pics from the 12th, NMA
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 12th April 2014 Saturday 120.jpg (898.8 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg 12th April 2014 Saturday 121.jpg (882.2 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg 12th April 2014 Saturday 129.jpg (850.7 KB, 64 views)
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  #109  
Old 15-04-2014, 05:42
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Thomas25 Thomas25 is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash View Post
Three more pics from the 12th, NMA
Particularly like the third pic. Shows off the memorial in all its glory flanked by the vets who unveiled it (plus a few other dignitaries. NZ's High Commisioner to the U.K obviously choose the exact wrong moment to blink )
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  #110  
Old 21-04-2014, 19:14
Crash Crash is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

From the Day
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File Type: jpg THe Battle Of The River Plate.jpg (298.9 KB, 23 views)
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  #111  
Old 30-12-2014, 07:18
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Hi all,
on 13 December 2014 the RNZN held a march down Queen St., Auckland, New Zealand recreating the welcome home march up Queen St. of the Achilles crew on 23 Feb. 1940. The four surviving Achilles River Plate veterans led the march in period cars followed by 582 serving naval personnel (the same number as marched up Queen St. all those years ago).

I'm attaching some pics I took plus a couple of links to the RNZN website where you can download two memorial publications of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate (in PDF format). http://www.navy.mil.nz/downloads/pdf...oday/nt185.pdf and http://www.navy.mil.nz/downloads/pdf...ve-booklet.pdf
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  #112  
Old 30-12-2014, 09:42
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Thomas25 Thomas25 is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Just one more link re: Achilles Parade 13 Dec 2014. https://www.facebook.com/31734203800...998009/?type=1

This is a link to the RNZN facebook page where their photographers took shots of the parade from higher vantage points. A great sight. Enjoy!
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  #113  
Old 30-12-2014, 15:48
NighthawkNZ NighthawkNZ is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forum...ad.php?t=17330

I started one for the RNZN and it got moved here
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  #114  
Old 30-12-2014, 17:30
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Thomas25 Thomas25 is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

Many thanks, NighthawkNZ.
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  #115  
Old 30-12-2014, 19:41
RNfanDan RNfanDan is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

In the unlikely event no-one noticed in post #108 above, the relevant ordnance sizes being fired by the four combatants are represented in one of the stone works. It really brings perspective to the relevant enormity of Graf Spee's 11-inch shells, especially to those of Ajax and Achilles' 6-inch guns.

IMHO, this is exceptionally well thought-out!

--Dan
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  #116  
Old 12-10-2017, 15:10
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Alterain Alterain is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

My cousin once removed Wilfred John Bond was on HMS Ajax at the time as a Marine rating. He is recorded as wounded in the right leg during the battle.

Family oral history has it that he was on AA guns at the start of the battle which were not in use. As there is paperwork to show training on a particular gun I think the AA weapon was one of the 4" twin mounts. At some point in the battle Wilfred was ordered to replace a shellshocked Marine in one of the turrets with the shellshocked marine taking over his post (There is reasonable evidence pointing to X as the Marine turret on HMS Ajax).

Wilfred took his position serving the turret. at about the end of the first hour a hit below X turret killed and wounded several in or servicing X which is where I think Wilfred received his wound.

Just as HMS Ajax was turning away to disengage a shot hit the main mast of HMS Ajax showering exposed crew with spinters and bring part of the mast down. The shellshocked marine who had taken Wilfred's place on the AA weapon was killed.
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In memory of Wilfred Bond 1911-1985 RM Gunner and RM Commando Battle of the River Plate, landings at Dieppe, Sicily, Porto San Venere, Termoli.
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  #117  
Old 12-10-2017, 21:07
Kevin Denlay Kevin Denlay is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

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The shellshocked marine who had taken Wilfred's place on the AA weapon was killed.
Kudos to your cousin (and the Marine). One of the men why we live the life we do today (or should I say yesterday), as unfortunately many are trying to change that legacy 'today'!

A classic incidence of being (for the Marine unfortunately) at the wrong place at the right time, if you get my drift.
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  #118  
Old 15-10-2017, 23:16
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Alterain Alterain is offline
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Default Re: Battle of the River Plate

A really great resource for all those interested in HMS Ajax, HMS Exeter and to some extent HMS Achillies and the Battle of the River Plate can be found from Falkland Islands News Weekly & Church Bulletin. (about the only print publication they had).

http://www.fig.gov.fk/archives/index...hurch-bulletin

It is a number of PDf documents which covers a period between Jul 1938 and December 1943 and has visits by the ships in Nov/Dec 1938 and in 1939. There is a great deal of information about the return of HMS Exeter to the Falklands on the 16th December and the efforts of the islanders to support the many wounded.
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In memory of Wilfred Bond 1911-1985 RM Gunner and RM Commando Battle of the River Plate, landings at Dieppe, Sicily, Porto San Venere, Termoli.
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