Join the Ship Stamp Society and get 6 issues of LogBook for just £12!


The Ship Stamp Society website has has a facelift. Click HERE to take a look at our new improved website where you can view past Editions of LogBook and subscribe to get full access to future editions for just £12 per year!

THE SHIP STAMP SOCIETY

Ship Stamp Society

Admiral Graf Spee

The full index of our ship stamp archive

Admiral Graf Spee

Postby john sefton » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:48 pm

SG1101.jpg
Click image to view full size
SG309.jpg
Click image to view full size
SG596.jpg
Click image to view full size
warships ms (Medium).jpg
Click image to view full size
SG253.jpg
SG253
Click image to view full size
tmp11C.jpg
Click image to view full size
2318.jpg
Click image to view full size
The Admiral Graf Spee was one of the most famous German naval warships of World War II, along with the Bismarck. Her size was limited to that of a cruiser by the Treaty of Versailles, but she was as heavily armed as a small battleship due to innovative weight-saving techniques employed in her construction.

She was sent to the Atlantic Ocean as a commerce raider in 1939, where she sank nine Allied merchant ships. Numerous British hunting groups were assigned to find her, with three British ships finally tracking her down in December 1939. The Battle of the River Plate ensued, during which the Graf Spee was damaged. She docked for repairs in the neutral port of Montevideo, but was forced by international law to leave within 72 hours. Faced with what he believed to be overwhelming odds, the captain scuttled his ship rather than risk the lives of his crew.
Britain formed eight hunting groups in the Atlantic and one in the Indian Ocean to look for Admiral Graf Spee, totalling three battleships, two battlecruisers, four aircraft carriers, and 16 cruisers (including several French ships). More groups were assembled later.

On 13 December 1939, she was located by the British Hunting Group G, consisting of the 8 inch (203 mm) gunned cruiser HMS Exeter and the 6 inch (152 mm) gunned light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles (of the New Zealand Division), and the Battle of the River Plate ensued. During the battle, the Graf Spee inflicted heavy damage upon the Exeter, forcing the latter to break off the engagement. Later in the exchange, one of Graf Spee's shells caused some casualties on the Achilles. In return, the Graf Spee was hit repeatedly by the 6-inch shells of the light cruisers, which could not penetrate her armour but nonetheless inflicted significant topside damage.

On the other hand, Exeter’s 8-inch hits ran through the armour easily. About 06:38 an 8-inch shell penetrated two decks and exploded in Graf Spee’s funnel area, causing crippling internal damage.

Exeter’s early 8-inch hit wrecked the boiler room, shutting down the fuel-separating system. Chief Engineer Commander Klepp advised the captain they could not repair the damage at sea. Klepp estimated the ship had about sixteen hours of running time, using pre-cleaned fuel from the day tanks. They could not replace the rapidly depleting fuel, so the ship was denied the possibility of outrunning her pursuers on the open sea.
Admiral Graf Spee entered the neutral port of Montevideo, Uruguay for repairs. The exterior damage was surveyed by a British observer on 14 December 1939, who reported that the port midship 6" gun was unserviceable, the starboard anti-aircraft guns appeared out of action, rangefinders were out of action, the aircraft was wrecked, there were shell holes in the control tower and two holes below the waterline. In total, there was evidence of 30-60 hits. The most critical damage was the destruction of the desalination unit. Fresh water was essential for the running of diesels. Captain Langsdorff and the Chief Engineer carefully kept this problem secret. Although the specific details were signalled to SKL in January 1940 this vital information lay buried from public knowledge for sixty years.
One of Langsdorff's first actions when he entered Montevideo was to release the 62 crew of the merchant ships he had sunk during her most recent voyage. Out of nine merchant ships sunk, none of the crews had been killed. All of those released spoke highly of their treatment and of Langsdorff, who spoke perfect English and lent them English books to pass the time. Captain Dove of the Africa Shell had already become friends with Langsdorff.

Under the Hague Convention of 1907, the Graf Spee was not entitled to remain in the port for more than 24 hours, without risking internment. In addition, and notwithstanding the rule already mentioned, under the same convention, the Graf Spee had to give British merchant ships 24 hours start if they left port, and the British Consul organised for the merchant ships in port to sail at 24 hour intervals, effectively locking the Spee in the port whilst at the same time spreading propaganda about the vast fleet of British warships converging on the area. On 14 December, British Minister Millington-Drake officially requested that the Uruguayan government intern the ship if she stayed in port longer than 24 hours, on grounds that she was still seaworthy. The Uruguayan government obliged, announcing that if the Graf Spee did not sail within 72 hours of its arrival, she would be interned.

On 15 December, the ship's 36 dead were buried with full military honours in the German cemetery in Montevideo. At the funeral ceremony, Captain Hans Langsdorff used the naval salute, while all others around him used the Nazi salute. Many officers of the sunk ships attended the burial of those killed in the battle.

A ruse by the British intelligence encouraged the captain to think that he was out-numbered, with aircraft carriers and battleships on their way and that his escape route was cut off. In fact, only the Cumberland arrived in time to reinforce the existing ships.

There were three possible channels that the Graf Spee could use in order to escape to the open sea, and the waiting British warships had to cover all of them. Captain Langsdorff had been in discussion with the Kriegsmarine over the various options available to him, which included fighting on, internment at Montevideo or scuttling the ship. Adolf Hitler responded personally, writing the following in his own handwriting:
“ Attempt by all means to extend time in neutral waters in order to guarantee freedom of action as long as possible. Fight your way through to Buenos Aires, using remaining ammunition. No internment at Uruguay. Attempt effective destruction of ship if scuttled.
At 6:15pm on 17 December 1939, the German warship left Montevideo harbour, with the British 6-inch (152 mm) gunned cruisers Ajax, Achilles, and the 8-inch (203 mm) gunned Cumberland waiting nearby in international waters. However, instead of trying to fight through the blockade, the German warship sailed just outside the harbour, and at 7:52, was scuttled in the estuary by her crew in order to avoid risking the crew in what Captain Langsdorff expected to be a losing battle.
Captain Langsdorff committed suicide three days later by shooting himself, possibly in order to prove he had not acted out of fear for his own life. The fact that he wrapped himself in the Imperial flag before shooting himself may have been a mute admission that he had not fought in the tradition and spirit of the proud commander whose name his ship bore. Many German commentators considered it to have been an error of judgement to have accepted combat against an arguably equal or superior force: he made a poor showing in the battle (his medium guns scored no hits on the enemy cruisers): his attack on the Doric Star which betrayed his location to Admiral Harwood's squadron had begun from such long range that his judgment was called into question, and most of the crew wanted to attempt the breakout to Buenos Aires where "a change of flag sale" had probably been negotiated with the Argentines.
In February 2004 a salvage team began work raising the wreck of the Admiral Graf Spee. The operation is in part being funded by the government of Uruguay, in part by the private sector, as the wreck is now a hazard to navigation. The first major section, a 27-ton gunnery range-finding telemeter, was raised on 25 February 2004. The anchor and rangefinder are currently displayed in the port area of Montevideo. It is expected to take several years to raise the entire wreck. Film director James Cameron is filming the salvage operation. After it has been raised, it is planned that the ship will be restored and put on display at the National Marine Museum in the Buceo neighborhood of Montevideo.
Due to a presidential decree, all salvage operations in Uruguayan waters, including Graf Spee's, stopped in 2009.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_poc ... _Graf_Spee

Marshall Is SG1101, Falkland Is SG309, 596. St Vincent SG1512, Sierra Leone SG2318.
john sefton
 
Posts: 1785
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: Admiral Graf Spee

Postby hindle » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:52 pm

John,

I always tought that the Graf Spee, Admiral Scheer and the Deutschland (until it had its name changed) were classified as "pocket-battleships", but you don't use the term.

The theory was that they could out-gun any ship that could catch it and out-run any ship that could sink it.

Am I right or just using the wrong the terminology?

Thoroughly enjoyed reading the article.

Regards,

Richard Hindle
hindle
 

Re: Admiral Graf Spee

Postby aukepalmhof » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:48 am

Moz101011ShipsSS010.jpg
Click image to view full size
Mozambique 2011
aukepalmhof
 
Posts: 6178
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:28 am

Re: Admiral Graf Spee

Postby Arturo » Sun May 04, 2014 1:25 pm

1.jpg
Click image to view full size
2.jpg
Click image to view full size
Admiral Graf Spee

Bequia, 1985, S.G.?, Scott; 188a.

Bequia, 1985, S.G.?, Scott; 188b.
Arturo
 
Posts: 723
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:11 pm


Return to Ship Stamps Collection

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: aukepalmhof, D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen, Google [Bot], raymor and 53 guests