The Battle of the River Plate was an important propaganda coup for Great Britain and the Commonwealth. As such, there was inevitably some development of myth. The author has produced a very readable review of the action that reassesses the event. Highly recommended.
NAME: The Battle of the River Plate, a Grand Delusion FILE: R23834 AUTHOR: Richard Woodman PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 164 PRICE: £12.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII. World War 2, Second World War, World War Two, Naval architecture, international agreement, Royal Navy, arms control, cheating, standards, tonnage, regulation, commerce raiders, sea routes, David and Goliath, South Atlantic ISBN: 1-47384-573-4 IMAGE: B2384.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/jq6wpon LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: The Battle of the River Plate was an important propaganda coup for Great Britain and the Commonwealth. As such, there was inevitably some development of myth. The author has produced a very readable review of the action that reassesses the event. Highly recommended. The German 'pocket' battleship was one of the creative products of the Washington Treaty and the London Treaty. Technically, the ship was a heavy armoured cruiser, but it had two triple turrets mounting 11 inch guns and a heavy secondary armament. She exceeded the Treaty limitations and was an example of the level of Treaty cheating that went on between the two World Wars. The German Navy was considering the construction of a fleet of surface commerce raiders because the potential capabilities for U-boats were not appreciated. The general approach was to follow the WWI experiences and select merchant ships for conversion into commerce raiders by adding guns in disguised mounts and creating a false identity for each ship so that they would be able to close an unsuspecting merchant ship and win a quick victory. Graf Spee and Admiral Scheer were the alternative and much more costly approach of building capital ships that were optimised for operations far from a friendly base against British merchant shipping routes. To help long-range operations, supported only by isolated supply vessels, these 'pocket' battleships were given diesel engines rather than steam turbines, heavy armour and, by commerce raiding standards, huge guns. The concept was that they could outgun the likely enemy warships in their operational area and outrun any larger warships sent in to catch them. A grid chart system was developed to enable raider and supply ship to meet up regularly for resupply of munitions and fuel. In attacking merchant ships, fresh and refrigerated food would be a perk of seizure of merchant ships. After an initially successful cruise in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean, the Graf Spee was caught off the River Plate Estuary by three much smaller cruisers. Two were light cruisers, having similar guns to the destroyer leaders of the time, and one was a heavy cruiser that was stillheavily outgunned by the Graf Spee. The British and Commonwealth ships out-fought the Graf Spee which should have been able to comfortably sink them in turn before they got close enough to shoot back. In the event the heavy cruiser Exeter had to limp to the Falklands for emergency repairs, but after the German ship had committed to a run for the safety of a neutral port. What happened then was a very interesting story of bluff and diplomacy as intelligence service played a masterly part in keeping the Graf Spee in Montevideo while feeding false stories about a massively powerful British Fleet standing off the port ready to deal a killing blow if Graf Spee attempted to come out. In the end, the Graf Spee was scuttled and no further engagement took place. The author has provided new interpretation in an enthralling fresh study.