Graf Spee

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Graf Spee

Graf Spee, German pocket battleship sunk in December 1939 off the coast of Uruguay. The Graf Spee had been sinking British merchant vessels almost from the outset of World War II. From 30 September to 7 December it sank nine merchant vessels. The Graf Spee was being hunted down by the British and French navies and on 13 December 1939, 250 miles east of Montevideo, the battleship was engaged in battle by the British cruisers Achilles, Ajax, and Exeter. At the end of the engagement, the damaged Graf Spee steered toward neutral Montevideo pursued by the British ships. The vessel was allowed to remain in Montevideo until 17 December. Captain Hans Langsdorff knew that his ship was not completely seaworthy, let alone battleworthy, and that the British were waiting to engage him again. So, on 17 December, he took the ship out of Montevideo and when it was a mile outside territorial waters, scuttled it.

See alsoWorld War II .


Dudley Pope, "Graf Spee": The Life and Death of a Raider (1957).

Geoffrey Martin Bennett, Battle of the River Plate (1972).

Rony Almeida, Historia del acorazado de bolsillo Almirante "Graf Spee" (1977).

Additional Bibliography

Grove, Eric. The Price of Disobedience: The Battle of the River Plate Reconsidered. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2001.

                                          Juan Manuel PÉrez