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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:51 am
 


Title: WWII: Germany grapples with honoring Graf Spee captain
Category: History
Posted By: N_Fiddledog
Date: 2019-10-02 07:59:52
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:51 am
 


This is just more revisionist history. The Brits had a couple of light cruisers and one heavy cruiser in the Battle of the River Plate and before running for Montevideo the Graf Spee had already disabled the heavy cruiser Exeter which left 2 light cruisers Ajacs and Achilles one of which had 2 of it's four turrets disabled to stop him. Although the Brits got one more light cruiser the Cumberland as reinforcements.

So the reality was that a German Battleship scuttled itself because of 2 functional and one damaged light cruisers. 8O

I'm sorry but Langsdorff screwed up royally and by choosing to scuttle a fully functional battleship showed either cowardice or a level of stupidity that belies any reason for Germany to honour him.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:37 pm
 


I like the Graf Spee, but yeah, I don't remember this "heroic act". I remember the Cpt. sinking his ship because His Majesty's Navy was closing in. No wonder Hitler had no faith in his surface fleet.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:22 pm
 


Keep in mind that both Graf Spee then the Bismarck were sent out by themselves to attack convoys on Hitler's direct orders. Prior to Bismarck being sunk there was no indication that the German command took seriously the reality that they were very badly outnumbered by the Royal Navy. No matter how much damage a single German ship could do to a single British ship, or even to several of them at once, eventually they would be swamped and destroyed by superior numbers. The labour and money investment in the surface Kriegsmarine was a total waste of resources for zero gain - Bismarck itself cost over $1 billion US in current funds, and then they doubled-down on the mistake with the Tirpitz which spent the entire war hiding in Norwegian coves (not) threatening the British convoys going to Murmansk. The high-water mark for the surface fleet wasn't even in battle, despite all the propaganda that was built up around Graf Spee and Bismarck sinking the Hood. It was when the capital ships were assigned to the Baltic to be used to evacuate as many civilians as possible from East Prussia when the region was cut off by the Soviet advance westwards.

As for Langsdorff? Well, at a minimum he deserves credit for being humane in not sacrificing his entire crew (and unknown numbers of British crew as well) that would have been pointlessly lost to the masses of British capital ships that would have surely descended on Graf Spee as soon as it got to the equator. Shows a much better character than usual from German commanders, and was somewhat typical of the Kriegsmarine in general as it was the least Nazi-fied of all the German forces and thus far less likely to put up with the wasteful orders issued by Hitler.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:17 pm
 


I see no problem with honouring the man. He did an honourable thing in scuttling and sparing his crew, even though he had been thoroughly hoodwinked by the British.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:03 pm
 


Thanos Thanos:
Keep in mind that both Graf Spee then the Bismarck were sent out by themselves to attack convoys on Hitler's direct orders. Prior to Bismarck being sunk there was no indication that the German command took seriously the reality that they were very badly outnumbered by the Royal Navy. No matter how much damage a single German ship could do to a single British ship, or even to several of them at once, eventually they would be swamped and destroyed by superior numbers. The labour and money investment in the surface Kriegsmarine was a total waste of resources for zero gain - Bismarck itself cost over $1 billion US in current funds, and then they doubled-down on the mistake with the Tirpitz which spent the entire war hiding in Norwegian coves (not) threatening the British convoys going to Murmansk. The high-water mark for the surface fleet wasn't even in battle, despite all the propaganda that was built up around Graf Spee and Bismarck sinking the Hood. It was when the capital ships were assigned to the Baltic to be used to evacuate as many civilians as possible from East Prussia when the region was cut off by the Soviet advance westwards.

As for Langsdorff? Well, at a minimum he deserves credit for being humane in not sacrificing his entire crew (and unknown numbers of British crew as well) that would have been pointlessly lost to the masses of British capital ships that would have surely descended on Graf Spee as soon as it got to the equator. Shows a much better character than usual from German commanders, and was somewhat typical of the Kriegsmarine in general as it was the least Nazi-fied of all the German forces and thus far less likely to put up with the wasteful orders issued by Hitler.


No problem honouring him as a humanitarian but to honour him as a German war hero is a stretch. As for the Capital Ships yes they would have descended on her if they could have found her, but what people fail to remember is that the ocean is huge and the German surface raiders weren't sent out solely to sink allied ships. They were sent out to draw resources away from Great Britain in order to prepare for any potential invasion.

By scuttling his own ship Langsdorf allowed the British to maintain the Home Fleet intact which put Hitlers plans for any future invasion in jeopardy. So if anyone should honour him it should have been the British Admiralty because if they'd have had to go hunting him it would have taken alot of resources that might have been needed to defend their country.

So here's to the German sailor who may have single handily helped thwart the invasion of Great Britain by his less than heroic actions. [B-o]

BTW, every sailor, Commanding Officers included who go to sea in a warship are ready and willing to fight their ship and suffer the consequences of those actions. So, I have grave reservations that he scuttled the ship just to save the crew.

My guess is that he scuttled his command so he could stick it to Hitler whom, from what I understand wasn't on top of his favourite person list. I'm also guessing that after seeing how the Nazi's operated he took his own life knowing that his family would likely bear the brunt of Hitlers wrath for his actions.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:05 am
 


The Bismarck has the Prinz Eugen and a couple of DD's as escort.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:24 am
 


Lets not forget the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau.

I love the Tirpitz. It was one of the first model's I bought and built as a kid. Her very existence was a threat to the RN. They knew it and that's why they tried so hard to sink her.

The entire surface fleet was a mistake in Hitler's mind after the Battle of the Barents Sea.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:25 am
 


Llama,

I have a 1/350 scale Bismarck model because it was one of the most beautiful capital ships ever built. The sister ship, Tirpitz, is likewise a graceful and elegant ship.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:40 am
 


And the Tirpitz had Torpedoes.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:27 am
 


BartSimpson BartSimpson:
Llama,

I have a 1/350 scale Bismarck model because it was one of the most beautiful capital ships ever built. The sister ship, Tirpitz, is likewise a graceful and elegant ship.


llama66 llama66:
And the Tirpitz had Torpedoes.


And you can play almost all of these ships in World of Warships (my new favourite mobile game) - although Tirpitz is a premium ship that costs money (Bismarck and Gneisenau are not).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:38 am
 


Freakinoldguy Freakinoldguy:
This is just more revisionist history. The Brits had a couple of light cruisers and one heavy cruiser in the Battle of the River Plate and before running for Montevideo the Graf Spee had already disabled the heavy cruiser Exeter which left 2 light cruisers Ajacs and Achilles one of which had 2 of it's four turrets disabled to stop him. Although the Brits got one more light cruiser the Cumberland as reinforcements.

So the reality was that a German Battleship scuttled itself because of 2 functional and one damaged light cruisers. 8O

I'm sorry but Langsdorff screwed up royally and by choosing to scuttle a fully functional battleship showed either cowardice or a level of stupidity that belies any reason for Germany to honour him.


The Brits may have called the Graf Spee a pocket battleship, but that was more propaganda than anything else.

IMHO, calling the Graf Spee a battleship is a stretch, it was only about 15,000 tons fully loaded, while battleships of the day were between 35,000 (those under the Washington Treaty) and 50,000 tons (later ships). According to Jane's in 1938:

$1:
In 1938 Jane's Fighting Ships stated the Deutschland-class "[a]re officially rated as 'Armoured Ships' (Panzerschiffe) and popularly referred to as 'Pocket Battleships'. Actually, they are equivalent to armoured cruisers of an exceptionally powerful type."


Graf Spee was at best a heavy cruiser in reality, so facing a number of other cruisers, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Langsdorff scuttled his ship after being told he couldn't stay in Montevideo for more than 72 hours.

I do agree with your hesitation to call him a hero.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:55 am
 


bootlegga bootlegga:
BartSimpson BartSimpson:
Llama,

I have a 1/350 scale Bismarck model because it was one of the most beautiful capital ships ever built. The sister ship, Tirpitz, is likewise a graceful and elegant ship.


llama66 llama66:
And the Tirpitz had Torpedoes.


And you can play almost all of these ships in World of Warships (my new favourite mobile game) - although Tirpitz is a premium ship that costs money (Bismarck and Gneisenau are not).

I play World of Warships, and I have the Spee, Scharnhorst and the Tirpitz, and many other premiums. I spend way too much on that game.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:23 pm
 


llama66 llama66:
bootlegga bootlegga:
BartSimpson BartSimpson:
Llama,

I have a 1/350 scale Bismarck model because it was one of the most beautiful capital ships ever built. The sister ship, Tirpitz, is likewise a graceful and elegant ship.


llama66 llama66:
And the Tirpitz had Torpedoes.


And you can play almost all of these ships in World of Warships (my new favourite mobile game) - although Tirpitz is a premium ship that costs money (Bismarck and Gneisenau are not).


I play World of Warships, and I have the Spee, Scharnhorst and the Tirpitz, and many other premiums. I spend way too much on that game.


Are you playing it on desktop or your phone? I downloaded in the spring for my phone and it's all I've played on it since then.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:42 pm
 


llama66 llama66:
bootlegga bootlegga:
BartSimpson BartSimpson:
Llama,

I have a 1/350 scale Bismarck model because it was one of the most beautiful capital ships ever built. The sister ship, Tirpitz, is likewise a graceful and elegant ship.


llama66 llama66:
And the Tirpitz had Torpedoes.


And you can play almost all of these ships in World of Warships (my new favourite mobile game) - although Tirpitz is a premium ship that costs money (Bismarck and Gneisenau are not).

I play World of Warships, and I have the Spee, Scharnhorst and the Tirpitz, and many other premiums. I spend way too much on that game.


Same. Love the Scharnhorst. Loved the Tirpitz but it’s been powercrept into irrelevance.


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