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The Battle of the River Plate


The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War and the first one of the Battle of the Atlantic in South American waters. The German panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee had cruised into the South Atlantic a fortnight before the war began, and had been commerce raiding after receiving appropriate authorisation on 26 September 1939. One of the hunting groups sent by the British Admiralty to search for Graf Spee, comprising three Royal Navy cruisers, HMS Exeter, Ajax and Achilles (the last from the New Zealand Division), found and engaged their quarry off the estuary of the River Plate close to the coast of Uruguay in South America.

December 1939, HMS Achilles as seen from HMS Ajax during the Battle of the River Plate. Note the charred paint on the gun barrels.

In the ensuing battle, Exeter was severely damaged and forced to retire; Ajax and Achilles suffered moderate damage. The damage to Admiral Graf Spee, although not extensive, was critical; her fuel system was crippled. Ajax and Achilles shadowed the German ship until she entered the port of Montevideo, the capital city of neutral Uruguay, to effect urgent repairs. After Graf Spee's captain Hans Langsdorff was told that his stay could not be extended beyond 72 hours, he scuttled his damaged ship rather than face the overwhelmingly superior force that the British had led him to believe was awaiting his departure.

Admiral Graf Spee had been at sea at the start of the Second World War in September 1939, and had sunk several merchantmen in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean without loss of life, due to her captain's policy of taking all crews on board before sinking the victim.

The Royal Navy assembled nine forces to search for the surface raider. Force G, the South American Cruiser Squadron, comprised the County-class heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland of 10,570 long tons (10,740 t) with eight 8" (203mm) guns in four turrets, the York-class heavy cruiser HMS Exeter of 8,390 long tons (8,520 t) with six 8" (203mm) guns in three turrets, and two Leander-class light cruisers, HMS Ajax and Achilles, both of 7,270 long tons (7,390 t) with eight 6" (152mm) guns. Although technically a heavy cruiser because of the calibre of her guns, Exeter was a scaled-down version of the County class. The force was commanded by Commodore Henry Harwood from Ajax, which was captained by Charles Woodhouse. Achilles was of the New Zealand Division (precursor to the Royal New Zealand Navy) and captained by Edward Parry. Exeter was commanded by Captain Frederick Secker Bell. During the period before and at the immediate time of the battle, Cumberland (commanded by Captain Walter Herman Gordon Fallowfield) was refitting in the Falkland Islands but was available for sea at short notice. Force G was supported by the oilers RFA Olna, Olynthus, and Orangeleaf. Olynthus replenished HMS Ajax and Achilles on 22 November 1939, and HMS Exeter on 26 November, at San Borombon Bay. Olynthus was also directed to keep observation between Medanos and Cape San Antonio, off Argentina south of the River Plate estuary (see chart).

HMS Exeter

HMNZS Achilles

HMS Ajax

Further details at link above:


Hans Wilhelm Langsdorff (20 March 1894 – 20 December 1939) was a German naval officer, most famous for his command of the Panzerschiff (pocket battleship) Admiral Graf Spee during the Battle of the River Plate. He held the rank of Kapitän zur See (naval captain).

Captain Langsdorff is well photographed with his right hand tucked into his jacket near the heart. That is a symbol of freemasonry the sign of the second veil. The Nazi's had no regard for freemasons. He is showing his fellow brethren his true intentions. He was an honorable officer and gentleman. His use of the naval salute signified his resistance to Hitler while everyone else gave the Nazi salute. Did he commit suicide or did they force him? 

I feel he could have taken care of Ajax and Achilles. They were damaged and short of ammunition. Before the arrival of Cumberland he was in the strongest position. However, his ship was damaged enough that escape might not have been an option. The British SAS have the motto who dares wins. That is often the case. Unfortunately, he read the British propaganda about the superior forces off the coast and believed it. The ruse is one of the most effective weapons of war. It still is. We, as a society, believe them implicitly. 

Posted by Conspiracy Cafe on March 30, 2018 at 1:38 PM 88 Views