Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

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ric_roc
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby ric_roc » Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:29 pm

I am trying to reconstitute the River Plate engagement minute by minute based on the 2 following sources:Sources:
Sources:
Pope, 1956, “The Battle of the River Plate”
Grove, 2000, “The Price of Disobedience” The Battle of the River Plate reconsidered


If you have additional sources please let me know so I can complete/correct the timeline of the engagement of 13 December 1939.

Best Regards,
Eric


05:20 HMS Ajax <ENE 60° – 14 knots>

HMS Ajax at 34º 34′ South 48º 17′ West is leading HMS Achilles and HMS Exeter, the British Squadron 390 nautical miles east of Montevideo.

05:52 DKM Graf Spee <SE 155° – 15 knots>

2 mast detected on the horizon at 31000 m, Captain Langsdorff decide to engage. It was to his knowledge that British were having Cruisers sailing in the area but he was expecting a heavy cruiser and 2 destroyers.

06:04 HMS Ajax <ENE 60° – 14 knots>

Smoke sighted on the horizon at 323°, believed to be a commercial steamer.

06:15 HMS Exeter <ENE 324° – 14 knots>

Cruiser turning to port, Sailing toward sighting at 324°.

06:16 HMS Exeter <ENE 324° – 14 knots>

Smoke sighting identified as a German Pocket Battleship. Initially thought to be the DKM Admiral Scheer.

Note: The camouflage pattern on the DKM Graf Spee has been successful at confusing the observers from the HMS Exeter for a while.

06:17 DKM Graf Spee <SE 115° – 21 knots>

Opening fire on Exeter at 19700 m range.

06:20 HMS Exeter <ENE 324° – 14 knots>

Returning fire at 17150 m (18700 yards).

06:21HMS Exeter <ENE 324° – 25 knots>

Near miss from the third 11” Graf Spee salvo splintered the starboard torpedo launch killing several servants. (Ex / 01)

06:22 HMS Achilles <NNW 340° – 25 knots>

Opening fire, range 19,000 yd.

06:23 HMS Ajax <NNW 340° – 25 knots>

Opening fire

06:24 HMS Exeter <WNW 300° – 30 knots>

Direct double hit on B turret, out of service. Splinters are showering the bridge above killing and wounding most of the crewman. After running out of control for a moment, the lower steering took back control on a 275° course. Exeter receive 2 more hits and several near misses. (Ex / 07)

06:25 DKM Graf Spee <SE 115° – 21 knots>

Due to a threat of torpedo attack from the light cruisers, Captain Langsdorff order NNE course and change of target (to the leading light cruiser)

06:28 HMS Exeter <NW 300° – 30 knots>

Change of course back to 324°.

6:31 HMS Exeter <NW 324° – 30 knots>

Fire starboard torpedoes, this was a local action from the torpedo team, the distance was misjudged to be 9000 yards (in the reality it was about 13000 yards).

06:31 DKM Graf Spee <NNE 50° – 21 knots>

Change of target, reengaging the Exeter with main fire control, while B turret still chasing the light cruisers with local fire control.

6:34HMS Exeter <NW 324° – 30 knots>

3 more direct hits, one on A turret, putting her out of action after 40 to 50 shots. The fire control table is out of service. Meanwhile the Graf Spee was hit twice by 8” from Exeter plus a near miss splintering the port side. 2 more hits from Graf Spee disabled ship communications forcing the remaining Y to use local fire control.(Ex /12) (Gs / 02)

6:35HMS Exeter <S 200° – 30 knots>

The Exeter disengage under a smoke screen

6:36 DKM Graf Spee <N 340° – 24 knots>

The Graf Spee aft turret engage the Achilles

06:36 HMS Ajax <NNW 340° – 25 knots>

Commodore Hardwood order the light cruiser squadron to increase speed to 28 knots.

06:37 HMS Ajax <NNW 340° – 27 knots>

The Fairey Seafox is catapulted.

06:38 HMS Achilles <NNW 340° – 28 knots>

A near miss splintered the DCT killing and wounding 70% of the DCT crew. This will disorganize the HMS Achilles returning fire for several minutes and confuse also the HMS Ajax fire control officer. (Ac / 01)

6:46 HMS Ajax <NNW 340° – 28 knots>

Communication with the Fairey Seafox is established, initially the plane radio was on the reconnaissance channel, while the HMS Ajax was on the spotting channel. Unfortunately HMS Achilles off pace shooting were used by the spotting plane to feed back the HMS Ajax. This created an incredible 4000 yd error (over 16 kyd, 25%). Order to close distance 60° to port.

6:52 HMS Ajax <NNW 280° – 28 knots>

Signal to speed up to 31 knots.

6:56 HMS Ajax <NNW 280° – 31 knots>

In order to get all guns on target the 2 light cruisers veer starboard by 35°.

7:04 DKM Graf Spee <NNW 280° – 24 knots>

The Graf Spee reengage the Exeter

7:30 HMS Exeter <NW 324° – 30 knots>

Power supply are flooded, Y turret cannot be operated. HMS Exeter turn away behind a smoke screen.

Sources:

Pope, 1956, “The Battle of the River Plate”

Grove, 2000, “The Price of Disobedience” The Battle of the River Plate reconsidered

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:45 pm

You might find this thread useful:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=6702
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby ric_roc » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:46 am

Thanks,
The german map of the engagement is in Eric Grove's book but very difficult to read. The copy on the thread will help me a lot to validate the german side. It seems that a more accurate account would be a mix of the German account for the Graf Spee and the British account for the Royal Navy. As I am developing a simulator I will try to get the 4 traces together for a plausible record based on both sides account.
Best Regards,
Eric

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby Paul L » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:26 am

I've read that the 'Oil purification' unit was not hit since it was below the main armor deck; while the desalinization plant was only damaged and could be repaired. As it was the AGS had 16 days of cruising in the main bunkers so AGS could escape if it could only shake its shadow-ers . The only way that could be done is if Langsdorf has the balls to run down his pursuers using the crippled Exeter as the bait.

Essentially the Dithmarschen tanker was dedicated to the AGS and was only a few days away so- if Langsdorf could break free- he could meet up with the AOE and repair refuel and make for some sheltered bay to clean the hull and effect what repairs they could on the free board damage.

After that it would be to head for the Indian Ocean/Antarctic Ocean to hide for month or two....pretty easy task since that's something like 5-10 million square miles of ocean. Meanwhile Raeder would arrange a diversionary raid to help AGS return to Germany.
"Eine mal is kein mal"

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby alecsandros » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:17 pm

Paul L wrote:I've read that the 'Oil purification' unit was not hit since it was below the main armor deck; while the desalinization plant was only damaged and could be repaired. As it was the AGS had 16 days of cruising in the main bunkers so AGS could escape if it could only shake its shadow-ers . The only way that could be done is if Langsdorf has the balls to run down his pursuers using the crippled Exeter as the bait.

Essentially the Dithmarschen tanker was dedicated to the AGS and was only a few days away so- if Langsdorf could break free- he could meet up with the AOE and repair refuel and make for some sheltered bay to clean the hull and effect what repairs they could on the free board damage.

After that it would be to head for the Indian Ocean/Antarctic Ocean to hide for month or two....pretty easy task since that's something like 5-10 million square miles of ocean. Meanwhile Raeder would arrange a diversionary raid to help AGS return to Germany.

... Tanker Tahoma was in Montevideo...

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby RF » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:05 am

alecsandros wrote:... Tanker Tahoma was in Montevideo...


Tacoma was an ordinary merchant ship, not a naval auxiliary like Altmark, and didn't have a large supply of fuel.
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby RF » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:08 am

Paul L wrote:
Essentially the Dithmarschen tanker was dedicated to the AGS and was only a few days away so- if Langsdorf could break free- he could meet up with the AOE and repair refuel and make for some sheltered bay to clean the hull and effect what repairs they could on the free board damage.

After that it would be to head for the Indian Ocean/Antarctic Ocean to hide for month or two....pretty easy task since that's something like 5-10 million square miles of ocean. Meanwhile Raeder would arrange a diversionary raid to help AGS return to Germany.


Dithmarschen never operated in the Atlantic in the entire WW2, It was certainly in no position to help AGS.
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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby Paul L » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:37 pm

"Eine mal is kein mal"

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby RF » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:01 am

Of all the KM special supply ships Uckermark had the most eventful history and a bizarre ending, blowing up from maritime accident in Japan.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby ric_roc » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:14 pm

I am trying a different scenario than the Battle of River Plate, it is based on the Chapter 10 of "French Cruisers 1922 - 1956" from John Jordan and Jean Moulin.
17:00 pm the 27 October 1939
27°W 6°N French Cruisers Algérie and Dupleix sailing on 160° sight the pocket battleship on 240° at 24km, what are their chances to successfully intercept the DKM Graf Spee? I will run it on several configuration over the week-end with the DKM Graf Spee run by IA, and post results next week.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby RF » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:05 pm

This will be a significantly different scenario on two counts - one that there are two cruisers in opposition to AGS and not three; two that the AGS is unlikely to take them as possible convoy escorts and rush in to attack.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby Steve Crandell » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:58 pm

Those are both CA's, right? Both more powerful than Exeter.

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby alecsandros » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:44 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:Those are both CA's, right? Both more powerful than Exeter.

True, the Graf Spee could be seriously hurt.
Still, the first chance stays with the German raider, as long as it keeps (or tries to keep) a distance. If they would try a close-up attack, things could get very very bad for AGS very rapidly...

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby ric_roc » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:49 am

Result of 1st simulation:


16:55 MN Algerie and MN Dupleix are sailing in “ligne de bataille” on 150 at 16 knots

17:00 The French "ligne de bataille” and DKM Graf Spee are making visual contact (distance ~28km), DKM Graf Spee is cruising on 90 at 14knots. The French line of battle accelerate toward 29 knots on 160. DKM Graf Spee push the diesel toward 23 knots on a southerly course of 120.

17:04 The French squadron open fire with the main 203mm, the different color of smoke in usage in the French Navy allowed rapid straddle at 22km range

17:05 DKM Graph Spee 280mm batterie open fire, the unit in target is the leading CA MN Algerie

17:09 2 Shells from MN Dupleix land on target, one near miss causes splinter damage but the second shell hit the turret Anton (fore turret)

17:10 The turret Anton is out of action, the repair crew is removing the metallic splinters jamming the rotation control

17:11 Third Shell, still from MN Dupleix hit the DKM Graf Spee, knocking off the Ar 196 and the catapult.

17:12 Near miss from MN Dupleix, splinters creating damage on the side of DKM Graf Spee

17:13 First shell hit from DKM Graf Spee, landing on the MN Algerie starboard deck, chaloupe and crane destroyed. Deck torn-out with a large hole.

17:14 DKM Graf Spee started a smoke screen and turned to 180

17:20 DKM Graf Spee now at 280, keep on turning away, Bruno turret is firing now on MN Dupleix

17:20 MN Algerie and MN Dupleix now at 210 reopen fire on DKM Graf Spee

17:25 Hit on the MN Dupleix deck, secondary starboard guns are out of action

17:29 Hit in the superstructure of DKM Graf Spee, front turret Anton back in action.

17:30 Large damage to MN Dupleix Deck following direct 280mm hit

17:31 3 280mm hit on MN Dupleix, large hole on the side

17:32 2 280mm hit on MN Dupleix, large damage to catapults and rear superstructure.
DKM Graf Spee hit by shell from MN Algerie

17:33 DKM Graf Spee now steer to 250, she fire 4 torpedoes toward MN Algerie

17:34 The distance between the german boat and the french CA is now 11km, one shell cause a large explosion on MN Dupleix, the boat is crippled, the speed drop to 14 knots. Meanwhile 4 203mm shells from MN Algeria hit the DKM punching holes on the side and the deck.

17:35 4 203mm shells hit DKM Graf Spee, most of them piercing the broadside of the first half of the boat.

17:36 MN Dupleix breakout starboard behind a smoke screen, 3 more 203mm from MN Algerie hit the DKM Graf Spee, the german pocket battleship speed has dropped has bow is now critically lower.

17:37 MN Algerie break off a smoke screen to cover the retreat on MN Dupleix, the French squadron has achieved the strategic goal of crippling the DKM Graf Spee without loss. MN Dupleix will limp toward Dakar as MN Algerie is shadowing DKM Graf Spee waiting for the reinforcement of the X Fleet.

Final Score:
DKM Gref Spee bow has several section flooded, speed dropped to maximum 14 knots. It will be an easy target to HMS Hermes string-bags. Allied strategic victory. The statistic are:
DKM Graf Spee: 154 280mm shells fired, 10 hits
MN Algerie: 236 203mm shells fired, 17 hits
MN Dupleix : 220 203mm shells fired 10 hits
Note : near misses causing splintering damage are counted as hit

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Re: Graf Spee trying to escape back to Germany...

Postby ric_roc » Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:54 am



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