The Graf Spee's final Battle : Almost 70 years on

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,799
Yes, "pocket battleship" is the term. It was an ingenious design by German naval architects to essentially get around the tight limitations imposed on German ships in the Treaty of Versailles. That limited Germany to 10,000 tons and no more that 11" guns. The Deutschland class ships (the eponymous, the Admiral Scheer and Graf Spee) were far more heavily armoured than British cruisers and their nine 11" and eight 6" guns gave them a formidable armament. They were faster than British battleships of the time as well. Never seen before; never matched at the time and never seen after. Unique.
If your ignore the exisistance of the Hood, Repluse and Renown

All of which totally outmatched these pocket battleships,
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,448
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Sad part is if he had decided to join battle, the British were really not in any shape to stop it
Graf Spee used up 2/3 of its ammo but failed to sink the weaker HMS Exeter, so returning to battle vs the larger, heavier and undamaged HMS Cumberland and two light cruisers while the Germans had only 1/3 of it's 11" ammo was unlikely to end well
 
Nov 2011
1,120
The Bluff
If your ignore the exisistance of the Hood, Repluse and Renown

All of which totally outmatched these pocket battleships,
Yes, if you ignore the existence of British "Battlecruisers" which are of an entirely different class. The Renown class were twice the displacement of the Deutschland class ships and were, in effect, battleships of "the line" sporting 15" main armament. The Hood was near three times the displacement of these pocket battleships. As I say, nothing like them at the time; they were three of a singular kind.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,448
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Yes, if you ignore the existence of British "Battlecruisers" which are of an entirely different class. The Renown class were twice the displacement of the Deutschland class ships and were, in effect, battleships of "the line" sporting 15" main armament. The Hood was near three times the displacement of these pocket battleships. As I say, nothing like them at the time; they were three of a singular kind.
He's responding to your claim "They were faster than British battleships of the time as well", which clearly they weren't. King George V class could make 28 knots as well.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,799
Yes, if you ignore the existence of British "Battlecruisers" which are of an entirely different class. The Renown class were twice the displacement of the Deutschland class ships and were, in effect, battleships of "the line" sporting 15" main armament. The Hood was near three times the displacement of these pocket battleships. As I say, nothing like them at the time; they were three of a singular kind.
They were very heavy cruiser or very light battle cruisers. 16,000 comparing them to 10,000 ton cruisers is equably comparing ships of different classes.
 

pugsville

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Oct 2010
9,799
Really pretty similar to the original British Battle Cruisers the inflexible (1907), 16,000 v 17000 armament speed., armor.
 

MG1962a

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Mar 2019
2,211
Kansas
Graf Spee used up 2/3 of its ammo but failed to sink the weaker HMS Exeter, so returning to battle vs the larger, heavier and undamaged HMS Cumberland and two light cruisers while the Germans had only 1/3 of it's 11" ammo was unlikely to end well
But to be fair this was due to tactical decisions made by her captain rather than the inability of her weapons to get the job done. Reverting to independent turret control when your main directors are functioning is like poking yourself in the eye with a stick and then using that eye to aim a gun :(
 

johnincornwall

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Nov 2010
7,872
Cornwall
Graf Spee used up 2/3 of its ammo but failed to sink the weaker HMS Exeter, so returning to battle vs the larger, heavier and undamaged HMS Cumberland and two light cruisers while the Germans had only 1/3 of it's 11" ammo was unlikely to end well
Also Exeter drew fire because it was the heavier gunned ship. And ended up leaving the battle anyway - it's not just like a game of battleships.

On another day, like the Hood............................
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,448
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
But to be fair this was due to tactical decisions made by her captain rather than the inability of her weapons to get the job done. Reverting to independent turret control when your main directors are functioning is like poking yourself in the eye with a stick and then using that eye to aim a gun :(
That may be, but the reality of the situation was that the Spee almost certainly couldn't defeat or outrun Cumberland, and couldn't make it very far with the fuel process damage.
 
Apr 2018
757
India
He's responding to your claim "They were faster than British battleships of the time as well", which clearly they weren't. King George V class could make 28 knots as well.
Graf Spee, in terms of propulsion was vastly inferior to both Exeter and Cumberland. Graf Spee's propulsion system was rather unique for the time. 2 x 4 M.A.N. double acting diesels connected via Hydraulic couplings (not much is known about this thing, known as Vulkan couplings) to 2 shafts. Double acting pistons are maintenance hogs disliked by all engineers from all ages. Diesel specs had to be stringently followed. Even with everything in line she couldn't make more than 54000 shp. M.A.N. itself had not much confidence in the system. Plus Raeder was no visionary when it came to marine engineering. Hence this system was neither developed further nor ever used in larger ships like the Scharnhorsts or the Bismarcks.

On the other hand, both Exeter and Cumberland had 8 (2 x 4) Admiralty 3 Drum boilers, each four driving a geared Steam Turbine connected to each shaft. The design was proven, tried, tested and had almost all the difficulties and design faults rectified by the time they were installed in the Counties. They could make 80000 shp with the entire system in line.

Technically, Exeter or Cumberland should have been able to dance around Graf Spee if it were not for Graf Spee's gunnery.