Admiral Graf Spee: Fight to the death (no scuttling)

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by gjs238, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    What if Hans Langsdorff had come out of the harbor with the intention of giving the best fight possible?
    What are the possibilities?
     
  2. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    I read ed they were all but out of ammo.
     
  3. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    Not out of ammo but less then a half!
    Refering to SA shells only!

    Something about 300 shells were left to shoot. AGS had shot something about 400 shell at River plates.
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Still sunk by the British. It seems - to me at least - that the UK was able to marshall Naval resources much better than Germany, hence Graf Spee would be facing more than just Exeter and Co.
     
  5. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #5 DonL, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
    @Njaco

    I think gjs238 is refering to the original scenario and this would be Cumberland arriving at 14 December (battle was at 13 December), Achilles and Ajax (both damaged).
    So if Langsdorff force the sea there will be this 3 units.
    I think, if it will be a fight till the last shell, then it is very speculative! I don't think that a County-class heavy cruiser can do much more then Exeter, because every 11" hit will do massive damage and AGS hat scored some 8" from Exceter without damage to her fighting ability.

    So AGS fighting ability after River Plate was full intact (FC, RPC, turrents), if she hit Cumberland first and will do a good shooting, it would be a very hard day for the british force. At the beginning of the fight AGS could outrange any gun from the british force and to my opinion this three cruisers can't sunk her! AGS would shoot all her SA shells, with as much damage as possible and then she would be scutted by her own crew.
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks for the memory! I was going off the ole grey matter and couldn't remember the other ships. Exeter was damaged and left before Montevideo, correct? I still think that they would have sunk her. To me its quanity over quality as it was on the EF and in the air in the ETO. The British could have pounded her with 3 ships.
     
  7. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #7 DonL, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
    Excter was the flagship of Harwood's force at 13 December and was highly damaged from AGS! At 13 December Exeter, Achilles and Ajax engaged AGS (Battle of River Plate). So they have done damage to her, but couldn't damage her fighting ability and Exeter was shot near to a wreck and limped to the next harbour. So I highly doubt that Cumberland could perform better and both light cruisers were damaged too!

    I don't think they could sunk her!
     
  8. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think if she hit the open water she could have made it, regardless it would have been better to go down fighting then to just sunk your own ship.
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #9 renrich, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    Graf Spee had damage that hampered her fuel supply and damage that in heavy seas would cause a problem if she reached the North Atlantic. Some of her 5.9s were out of action. The British CLs had damage and were low on ammo and fuel but Cumberland was fresh and was more heavily armed than Exeter with two more eight inchers. Harwood would use the same tactics by splitting his forces. The eight inch guns were very effective against the armor of the Graf Spee. The battle would be a close run thing. If the Graf Spee had survived and sank or disabled all the British cruisers she would stii face a long voyage with a number of groups hunting her. If a British cruiser under Harwood had survived and was able to shadow Graf Spee she was finished. Harwood might have decided to shadow Graf Spee until other help arrived but I doubt that given the tradition of the RN.

    Exeter was not the flagship, Ajax was.
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's the real problem. Unless / until the KM Graf Spee fuel system is fixed they aren't going anywhere.
     
  11. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    I'm envisioning an offensive rush out of the harbor, inflict as much damage as possible, w/o thought given to escape.
    I figure AGS could take out at least one RN ship. Maybe two. Who knows. At the end, ram a RN ship if necessary.
     
  12. woljags

    woljags Active Member

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    my Great Uncle Died in the river plate battle,i'm not sure which ship he was on my Uncle would know but the Graf Spee blowed the nose of the ship off
     
  13. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    If its the Ajax let me know
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    KM Graf Spee is likely to run out of fuel just as the battle begins. Now they must scuttle on the open ocean. Same end result but most of the crew die rather then being interned in Uruguay.
     
  15. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    That isn't quite correct!

    The fuel system of AGS wasn't damaged! The diesel cleaningsystem was out of order. But first she had cleaned Diesel for one day and second the machinery is functioning without the diesel cleaningsystem but is is dangerous for the machinery!

    The fighting ability (FC, rangefinder, RPC) and all guns (5,9" was repaired at 14 December) was intact without any damage!
     
  16. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

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    more people die
     
  17. psteel

    psteel Member

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    #17 psteel, Dec 31, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
    According to O`Hara AGS had something like 16 days of cruising at 24 knots after the battle as it was and the AOE Altmarck was only a couple of days sailing away. These ships had repair facilities that might have solved the long endurance diesel cruise engines. The holes in the bow were more of a problem , but with refill from Altmarck , AGS could spend several months in the Indian Ocean and maybe get some repairs out of `Italian East Africa`, before attempting a run back to Germany.

    As to any action Exeter was crippled with no main guns and out of action and spent a year in repair and refit. Ajax fared better but lost both of her rear turrets to a single 11" gun hit and was in repairs for 6 months. Really Cumberland would mostly fight with Achilles and Ajax trailing behind.

    As to ammo supply O’Hara reports that AGS had 306 *11" shells left and averaged 9 hits on 405 or 45:1 . Going on that rate the remaining 306 shells should result in nearly 7 more hits, which was the same number of hits that crippled the Exeter. In any renewed clash, these hits will be on Cumberland first and the other cruisers if any left. The German 5.9" guns got no hits on 600 shells, while the 4.1" got 2 hits on 200 shells fired , so they could add to any carnage and if nothing else keep the CLs busy.

    One question what about a night escape. AGS had Seeket radar, what did the British have in radars?

    cruisers - Royal Navy (United Kingdom)

    Looking at the above site none of the RN cruisers had radar.

    Looking at the British side the Exetergot 3 hits on 200 shells fired or about 67:1 ,while the CLs averaged 17 hits on 2065 shells or a hit rate of about 121:1.

    Using these rates the Cumberland with 8*8" guns should get a hit with every 8 salvos while the AGS gets about the same , 1 hit out of every 8 salvos. The CLs should average a hit for every 13 salvos and the German 4.1" flak should get a hit for every side 25 salvos. Mind you, each 4.1" flak could manage a round every 4 seconds if needed.
     
  18. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #18 DonL, Dec 31, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
    @ psteel

    very interesting summary.

    Some comments.
    The 1AO (first artillerie officer) of AGS had made some "small" criticism of Langsdorff in his report back in germany, for his often abrupt change of courses during the fight. He said Langsdorff had direct AGS more as a destroyer then a heavy cruiser and that is was very difficult for the artillerie crew to to get along with this. To his opinion that was one of the main reasons, why AGS couldn't score more hits. He also said that after the battle he and Langsdorff had a long talk about this issue, because the 1AO was realy unhappy with the results (hits on enemy)of the battle.

    So it could be in a second battle, that Langsdorff would take more consideration of his SA with perhaps a better score (%) for AGS.

    This is one very important issue! Langsdorff and his officers didn't believe they can escape by night, because it was summer at the south atlantic with realy light nights with a very long optical range.
     
  19. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #19 freebird, Dec 31, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
    The RN ships have a significant speed advantage over Graf Spee, (32 knts compared to 24 - 26 for AGS ) and they will likely be avoiding direct battle with the AGS, instead they will shadow her, awaiting Force K Force X.

    Correct.
    Just to give some more details, there were in fact 3 Allied naval groups hunting the Adm. Graf Spee, in addition to other cruisers in the South Atlantic.

    Force K (from Gibraltar): HMS Ark Royal, HMS Renown HMS Sussex
    Force X (from Dakar): HMS Hermes, HMS Shropshire and (French battlecruiser) Strasbourg
    Force I (from Capetown): HMS Eagle, HMS Cornwall, HMS Dorsetshire


    At the time of the scuttling, Force K is about 36 hours away, while Force X I are steaming from the Northeast and East.
    Given the long hours of daylight at that latitude (as mentioned above) it would be hard to imagine that the Graf Spee could evade the search aircraft operating from 3 British carriers.

    Langsdorff believed that the battlecruiser Renown was already waiting outside the harbour, and was probably a large part of why he decided to scuttle. The AGS would be at a severe disadvantage facing the 15" guns of the faster Renown, not to mention two other heavy several light cruisers
     
  20. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on how you define "fighting ability". In terms of weapons, AGS was intact but a ship with fuel problems that would potentially damage its propulsion unit is not fully combat-ready. Combat will place the greatest stresses on all mechanical components of a ship, thus increasing the risk of a failure even under normal operating conditions. With the fuel cleaning problem, it sounds to me like AGS would be sailing into battle with a propulsion unit that couldn't be trusted to work, and no commander wants to do that.
     
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