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Graf Spree Emerges From Its River Plate Grave
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 2-27-2004 | Seamus Mirodan

Posted on 02/26/2004 6:57:59 PM PST by blam

Graf Spee emerges from its River Plate grave

By Seamus Mirodan in Buenos Aires
(Filed: 27/02/2004)

More than 64 years after the Graf Spee's captain scuttled his pocket battleship off Uruguay to stop it falling into British hands, divers have raised part of the vessel.

A part of the Graf Spee is raised

After weeks of failed attempts a 27-ton section of the command tower, including the first embryonic radar antenna installed on a warship, was brought to the surface of the River Plate estuary using a floating crane.

Germany's Graf Spee, equipped with 11-inch guns and a prototype diesel engine, was one of the most advanced vessels of its time. It was smaller and faster than a traditional battleship and caused serious unease in the Royal Navy.

It sank nine commercial vessels in the Atlantic in late 1939 before engaging with British and New Zealand warships in the battle of the River Plate that December, one of the first naval clashes of the Second World War.

Outnumbered and badly damaged, the Graf Spee managed to make port in Montevideo but neutral Uruguay gave in to British pressure and sent it back out. With the British ships Exeter and Ajax and New Zealand's Achilles waiting for him, Capt Hans Langsdorff knew he had no chance so he blew up his ship in 36ft of water.

Now the Graf Spee is being raised in sections over the next three years and will be rebuilt as a land museum.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: emerges; graf; grafspree; grave; plate; river; shipwreck; spree

1 posted on 02/26/2004 6:58:00 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
neutral Uruguay gave in to British pressure and sent it back out

Please, Mr Custer, I don't want to go...
2 posted on 02/26/2004 7:03:52 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: blam
Only 36 feet of water? Her superstructure must've been a navigational hazard. How big was she?
3 posted on 02/26/2004 7:05:52 PM PST by Viking2002 (I think; therefore, I Freep............)
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To: gcruse
Britain bluffed. They invoked some weird rule that would force the Graf Spee to sail (it was only supposed to stay a minimum number of hours in a neutral port). Meantime they pretended to have a large fleet wiating over the horizon. The captain and German embassy fell for it. The captain (Langsdorf?) scuttled to save his crew and then blew his brains out.
4 posted on 02/26/2004 7:07:52 PM PST by Dilbert56
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To: Viking2002
She was the size of a large cruiser...but she had big guns that could outrange cruiser guns. Its why she faught 3 cruisers to a draw.

5 posted on 02/26/2004 7:10:05 PM PST by dinok
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To: Dilbert56
I love psychological warfare. Rommel was another master of it.
6 posted on 02/26/2004 7:10:34 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: blam
And it was a great movie too!
7 posted on 02/26/2004 7:11:51 PM PST by solitas (sometimes I lay awake at night, looking up at the stars, wondering wherethehell did the ceiling go?)
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To: Viking2002
The Plate is so wide where she went down , they probably just marked her on the charts
8 posted on 02/26/2004 7:13:05 PM PST by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Viking2002
Go here: http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/h_class.htm and scroll down a bit - you'll see pictures of what she looked like after being scuttled.
9 posted on 02/26/2004 7:13:18 PM PST by Tennessee_Bob (LORD, WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?)
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To: Tennessee_Bob
Incredible. Thanks!
10 posted on 02/26/2004 7:16:18 PM PST by Viking2002 (I think; therefore, I Freep............)
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To: gcruse
Dang, I just remembered that I have/had a 1939 Life magazine with a picture of the Graf Spree on the cover. I gave it to my son. I'll email him this story.
11 posted on 02/26/2004 7:16:33 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
I used to have Life from 1942, the year of my birth. The Japanese were portrayed as buck-toothed, spectacle wearing monkeys in the magazine. Makes me think of the Quiznos critters, come to think of it.
12 posted on 02/26/2004 7:20:36 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: Viking2002
12,100 tons. Length 609', Width 70', Draft 21.5'.
13 posted on 02/26/2004 7:26:12 PM PST by hc87
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To: Caipirabob
Check it out!

This is like end-of-the-world-kewl stuff for little Uruguay.

HUIJA!! <|:)~
14 posted on 02/26/2004 7:26:40 PM PST by martin_fierro (Funky Homo Sapien)
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To: blam
I can't wait to visit that museum, wherever it is (hopefully close).
15 posted on 02/26/2004 7:27:59 PM PST by Petronski (John Kerry looks like . . . like . . . weakness.)
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To: gcruse
"The Japanese were portrayed as buck-toothed, spectacle wearing monkeys in the magazine. Makes me think of the Quiznos critters, come to think of it."

I remember see those...I was born in 1943.

16 posted on 02/26/2004 7:34:20 PM PST by blam
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To: Viking2002
Admiral Graf Spee

Size (Max): 16023 t
Length (Total): 186,0 m
Length (Waterline): 181,7 m
Beam: 21,65 m
Draft: 7,34 m
Crew: 1001-1150
17 posted on 02/26/2004 7:39:38 PM PST by SAMWolf (I even have boring dreams...I fall asleep in my sleep!)
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To: Tennessee_Bob

Graf Spree Entering Montevideo Harbor

18 posted on 02/26/2004 7:39:52 PM PST by blam
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To: Petronski
This is kind off the subject, but have you ever been to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry?

They have a Nazi sub you can walk through. The whole saga of it's capture and transport to where it's now sitting is documented and is really interesting.

19 posted on 02/26/2004 7:41:00 PM PST by Wumpus Hunter (<a href="http://moveon.org" target="blank">Communist front group</a>)
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To: gcruse
LOL....I remember that song!
20 posted on 02/26/2004 7:44:49 PM PST by eddie willers
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To: Vic3O3
Ping
21 posted on 02/26/2004 7:46:11 PM PST by dd5339 (Happiness is a full VM-II and a DEAD AND BURIED AWB!)
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To: Dilbert56
The "weird rule" was established international law -- beligerent warships entering a neutral port could stay for a maximum of 48 hours to conduct necessary repairs or for humaitarian reasons.

Britain's bluff was to convince the Germans that the Royal Navy had a task force bearing down on Montevideo to sink or capture the Graf Spee as she emerged from Montevideo harbor.

British intelligence agents in Uraguay (a hotbed of pro-Nazi sympathy) leaked the story of the fake task force knowing that German agents or sympathizers would pick it up and transmit this information back to Germany, and the Kreigsmarine (German Navy).

The bluff worked. The Graf Spee's Captain, under pressure from international law and the belief that a British surface force was coming to pound his ship, scuttled his vessel and then took his own life, after ensuring that his crew made it ashore.
22 posted on 02/26/2004 7:47:23 PM PST by Wombat101 (Sanitized for YOUR protection....)
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To: Wumpus Hunter
I had a bit of trouble climbing around in a B-17 a few years back...couldn't make it through the bomb-bay to the aft guns. I'm a little bashful about attempting to squeeze into a WWII sub.

But a genuine U-boat? I think I'd try.

23 posted on 02/26/2004 7:51:53 PM PST by Petronski (John Kerry looks like . . . like . . . weakness.)
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To: dinok
The term is "fought", not "faught" and she should have beaten the three Commonwealth Cruisers, but she wasn't as good at fighting those who could fight back as she could against helpless merchantment.

Game, Set and Match!

24 posted on 02/26/2004 7:52:17 PM PST by Redleg Duke (tStir the pot...don't let anything settle to the bottom where the lawyers can feed off of it!)
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To: eddie willers; gcruse
<== Mash This
25 posted on 02/26/2004 7:52:33 PM PST by SAMWolf (I even have boring dreams...I fall asleep in my sleep!)
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To: eddie willers
You're an old guy, too, eh? :)
26 posted on 02/26/2004 7:57:07 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: Redleg Duke
A. I admit to being a bad speller. Quit being anal.

B. You ASSUMED I was singing praize to the Graff Spee. I was stating fact from a military history perspective. Get a grip will yah?
27 posted on 02/26/2004 8:00:16 PM PST by dinok
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To: SAMWolf
Outstanding!! Thanks for that.
28 posted on 02/26/2004 8:02:37 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: Petronski
Here it is online: The U505. Be sure to check out the history tab.


The U-505 on Lake Michigan with the 1954 Chicago skyline in the background.

Looks like you'll need to wait until 2005 to see it, as they are remodeling.

29 posted on 02/26/2004 8:19:32 PM PST by Wumpus Hunter (<a href="http://moveon.org" target="blank">Communist front group</a>)
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To: gcruse
You're welcome. I remember that song too.
30 posted on 02/26/2004 8:48:29 PM PST by SAMWolf (I even have boring dreams...I fall asleep in my sleep!)
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To: blam
Never thought I'd see this bump.
31 posted on 02/26/2004 9:51:00 PM PST by witnesstothefall
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To: Wumpus Hunter
The U-505. Being from Chicago, I remember when they brought it to the Museum and installed it. They had to lay temporary rail tracks from the lake shore, across the Outer Drive, and to the side of the museum.

The producers of "Das Boot" used U-505 as the model for their mockups and sets.

32 posted on 02/26/2004 10:07:02 PM PST by Erasmus
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To: dinok
Got it out of your system now? Good!
33 posted on 02/27/2004 10:46:49 AM PST by Redleg Duke (tStir the pot...don't let anything settle to the bottom where the lawyers can feed off of it!)
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