Hood v Vittorio Veneto

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RF
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Postby RF » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:40 pm

Thorsten Wahl wrote:
The one test of this is the River Plate battle.....

My problems start with these words. It seems to me, that you say this battle disproves the german recommendations. Without any further explanation on your side.


Its clear to me that you have misunderstood what I mean't with the second sentence quoted above post the comma.

I didn't mean that it disproved anything. I was saying that it was the one test available in that this was the only extended action between a panzerschiffe and light cruisers in WW2, without making any conclusion about whether the German recommendations were correct or wrong.

On paper I think the German recommendation was entirely reasonable, however in this battle the Germans were not victorious. Ajax and Achilles survived the German assault with main, secondary and tertiary armaments after Exeter withdrew. In other words it does look as if the panzerschiffe were not able to easily destroy light cruisers under an extended period of heavy fire.

The German recommendation has therefore, in my view, to be seen in that context. Millington-Drake did extensively seek German views on the tactics of Kapitan Langsdorf, including from Kapitan Kay, the second in command of AGS and also Kapitan Krancke of the Scheer, who both felt that closing the range quickly at the start of the battle was a decisive mistake. Their view was that a long range action was preferred, or in Kay's view that with hindsight the battle should not have been fought at all.

Millington-Drake recorded his own view (and it should be borne in mind that he was a diplomat and writer and not a naval officer) that AGS, at least on paper, should have had the gunpower to sink all three Allied ships, one after the other.
You can read whatever you like into that view, possibly it could be seen that he would have endorsed the German recommendation had he known of it.

Personally my view is more agnostic rather than contrary as you understood it.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Postby paul.mercer » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:06 am

RF wrote:
Thorsten Wahl wrote:
I dont know the "Millington-Drakes compendium". So it would be useful for me to get more details.


Eugen Millington-Drake was the British ambassador to Uruguay at the time of this battle.

After WW2 he compiled a very large book utilising a number of sources including official RN and RNZN documentation, the personal testimonies of the Allied commanders, all of whom he knew personally. He also utilised from the German side the publication by F W Rasenack, a junior gunnery officer on AGS, entitled ''Panzerschiffe Admiral Graf Spee'' plus also personal accounts of German internees in Argentina after AGS was scuttled. The book was published around 1958 and was out of print by 1970. I read a copy held in a public library in the early 1970's, and have not seen a copy since.

The book was entitled ''The Battle of the River Plate: a compendium.''

Gentlemen,
Had a look on Amazon but could not find a copy, but there was the following by Milllington- Drake.
The drama of Graf Spee and the Battle of the Plate: A documentary anthology 1914-1941 Jan 1964

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:12 pm

I have perused the Millington Drake works a few years ago at a university library.

One of the factors was that the Germans thought the light cruisers were destroyers until well after the battle commenced. Another factor was the supply of ammunition types available to the Graf Spee.
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: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Postby RF » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:58 pm

According to the final interview between Captain Patrick Dove and Kapitan Langsdorf the latter was able to identify Ajax and Achilles by name before AGS anchored at Montevideo. This interview is detailed verbatim in the Millington-Drake book.

Langsdorf said that the Allied force was encountered and identified as a convoy screen of one light cruiser and two destroyers. However once all three Allied cruisers had opened fire the Germans correctly identified them.
Rasenack confirms that B-Dienst had already detailed the four cruisers under Harwoods command so their presence in the South Atlantic was known to Langsdorf.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Postby RF » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:05 pm

paul.mercer wrote:Had a look on Amazon but could not find a copy, but there was the following by Milllington- Drake.
The drama of Graf Spee and the Battle of the Plate: A documentary anthology 1914-1941 Jan 1964


I think this is the second print of the book.

There was a small section in it concerning the 1914 battles of Coronel and Falklands, which was relevant to the 1939 defence of the Falklands as the 25th anniversary of the Falklands battle fell a few days before the River Plate battle. HMS Cumberland was stationed at Stanley around 8 December 1939 in case AGS attacked there. Langsdorf never had any intention of doing so.
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Re: Hood v Vittorio Veneto

Postby dunmunro » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:06 am

paul.mercer wrote:
RF wrote:
Thorsten Wahl wrote:
I dont know the "Millington-Drakes compendium". So it would be useful for me to get more details.


Eugen Millington-Drake was the British ambassador to Uruguay at the time of this battle.

After WW2 he compiled a very large book utilising a number of sources including official RN and RNZN documentation, the personal testimonies of the Allied commanders, all of whom he knew personally. He also utilised from the German side the publication by F W Rasenack, a junior gunnery officer on AGS, entitled ''Panzerschiffe Admiral Graf Spee'' plus also personal accounts of German internees in Argentina after AGS was scuttled. The book was published around 1958 and was out of print by 1970. I read a copy held in a public library in the early 1970's, and have not seen a copy since.

The book was entitled ''The Battle of the River Plate: a compendium.''

Gentlemen,
Had a look on Amazon but could not find a copy, but there was the following by Milllington- Drake.
The drama of Graf Spee and the Battle of the Plate: A documentary anthology 1914-1941 Jan 1964


I'm pretty sure those books are one and the same. I have the latter book, above.


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