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Sunday, January 7, 2018
Something I meant to post in December because I find it fascinating
It is nothing of consequence, except historically. December 13 marked the anniversary of the 1939 battle between the German pocket battleship Graf Spee and British warships Exeter, Ajax and Achilles off of coast of Uruguay. The Graf Spee knocked the Ajax and Achilles out of the fight, but was damaged enough to force it to flee to the neutral port of Uruguay. Uruguay gave the ship 72 hours to leave the neutral port -- not enough time to conduct repairs -- and so the captain sailed the warship out into the River Plate and scuttled it. It was a big deal for both sides, though in different ways. It was a first early triumph for the British, and a blow to the German surface fleet, leading to increased reliance on U-boats. Ironically, the Graf Spee outgunned its three British opponents and likely could have won the fight had it not chosen to flee.
Here is the Graf Spee, sinking after its captain scuttled her: