Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18, 1939:German battleship "Admiral Graf Spee" Scuttled Near Montevideo:


Craft Goes Down
As Allies Wait
For Sea Battle

German Freighter Picks Up Men
After Explosions Sink
Vessel Off Port of Montevideo


BERLIN, Monday, Dec. 18 (UP)—Chancellor Adolf Hitler personally ordered the scuttling of the pocket battleship Graf Spee at Montevideo, it was announced officially early Monday.



By Harold K. Milks
MONTEVIDEO, Dec. 17 (AP)—Proud and powerful marauder of the high seas, the nazi pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was blown up and sunk Sunday night to save her from defeat and destruction at the point of British naval guns.

Presumably the captain, Hans Langsdorff, and all the scuttling crew reached the safety of other craft before the 10,000-ton floating war monster, her hull shattered and her wreckage aflame from the explosions of internal time mines, sank in 25 feet of water three miles from shore, within sight of the city.

Ship-shore messages late Sunday night indicated the captain was aboard a ship's launch somewhere in the mouth of the River Plate, proceeding to an undisclosed landing place. Langsdorff, last to leave his ship, sent a bitter wireless ashore from the bridge before he gave the order to abandon ship, protesting that Uruguay's refusal to let the Graf Spee remain in the harbor later than Sunday evening "leaves me no alternative than to sink my ship near the coast and save my crew."

The alternatives he refused were to resume the battle with British warships outside the harbor from which he fled last Wednesday night, his ship split by British shells, or to let his ship be interned for the rest of the war.

Some German sources said Fuehrer Adolf Hitler himself had given the order to send the Admiral Graf Spee to the bottom of the sea by nazi hands, rather than have her interned or humiliated in defeat by the British gantlet.

Here's Story
Of Spee's
Final Battle

Scuttled by her own crew, the Admiral Graf Spee, one-third of Germany's famous "pocket battleship" fleet, Sunday night lay at the bottom of the River Platte estuary in Uruguay—loser in the most thrilling sea engagement of the three and one half month old German-Franco-British war.

Safe at anchor in Montevido harbor rode the French liner Formose, intended victim of the Graf Spee on its last sea raid. Just beyond rode the British cruisers Ajax and Achilles, whose hot pursuit of the "pocket battleship" forced its master to seek haven at Montevideo after they and the cruiser Exeter surprised him pursuing the Formose.

Four days and eleven hours elapsed from the time the Graf Spee began battle with the three British cruisers until her crew sent her to the bottom rather than sail out to meet the British and French naval guns trained on her from the Atlantic.

The sea battle began in the Americas' neutrality belt on Wednesday at 6 a. m., when the Graf Spee engaged the cruiser Ajax, convoy to the liner Formose,

(Continued on Page Two)
(Column Six)

Germans Sink Graf Spee
As Allies Wait Battle

Hitler Orders Captain to Blow Up Pocket
Battleship Blockaded at Montevideo;
Nazi Freighter Picks Up Crew After Blast

(Continued From Page One)
neutral belt against further incursions by fighting craft, received a formal call from diplomatic representatives  of his sister American nations.

They expressed their full support of Uruguay's stand in limiting the German ship's stay in Monevideo.

Since the Graf Spee put in here, in full flight, at midnight Wedneslay, to escape the pursuing British cruisers which had blasted her armor and fighting equipment in a 14-hour battle, Great Britain had alerted strong diplomatic pressure to have the pocket battleship ejected or interned.

Germany's envoy, on the other hand, had insisted up to the last on extension of her stay. He lost.

At least three British cruisers and, presumably, the French battleship Dunkerque, remained well outside the harbor, invisible from port, during Sunday night's brief drama.

Five British planes dipped over the Graf Spee, as she maneuvered toward her grave, but made no hostile maneuvers.

The 10,000-ton pocket battleship ended her career after participating  in the first great sea battle of the war off Uruguayan shores four days ago, in which she lost 36 dead and inflicted a death toll of 72 men on her three British antagonists, the cruisers Exeter, Achilles and Ajax.

News of Wars

By Associated Press

Germans blow up trapped raider, Admiral Graf Spee, sink her three miles off shore; crew saved; Graf Spee captain charges Uruguay gave no alternative but to sink her.

Finnish general says 10,000 Russian troops surrounded by Finns on two central Finland fronts.

Three huge Russian tanks destroyed, Finns report; Russian attacks repulsed on Karelian isthmus.

Moscow —
Russians report advances in northern and central Finland; bad weather keeps Soviet aviators on ground.

British bombers again raid island bases of Norderny and Sylt, Germans say bombs fell into sea.

Three British cruisers in battle with Admiral Graf Spee lost 72 men, admiralty discloses; German aircraft driven from east coast; two British steamers sink In North sea.



No comments:

Post a Comment