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Scuttling of the Admiral Graf Spee


Jack the Collector
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Jack the Collector

I have had these photos since 1981.I bought these from a Navy vet who served on the USS Helena and saw service from Florida to South American waters at the time. The back of the first photo tells the history of them until the came to me.I was looking at his photo albums of his service and when I saw this group on 2 pages,I uttered something to the effect "Neat the Graff Spee and Captain Langsdorff.". Long story short he was amazed that I knew that and offered them to me.I refused because I did not think he should have that gape in his photo album.After much discussion I agreed to take them.Then we vigorously discussed whether I would pay for them or not......he finally accepted a six pack of Hamms for them.I have no doubt that these are period reproduced for the tourist market.At the time I was sure they were original,that is why research is important.

 

For those who may not be familiar withe the story ,here is a brief synopsis.In December 1939,seven Allied ‘hunting groups', totaling 23 major warships, were sent to look for her. After sinking three more ships, Langsdorff made for the busy shipping lanes off the River Plate in South America. Commodore Henry Harwood of Hunting Group G correctly guessed Langsdorff’s intentions, and on 13 December he closed in with the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles.Langsdorff concentrated his fire on the heavier Exeter, setting her alight, destroying most of her guns and forcing her to leave for the Falkland Islands. Shifting fire to Ajax, Langsdorff disabled two of her four turrets before breaking away for the port of Montevideo, in neutral Uruguay. Harwood kept watch outside while other Allied ships rushed to the area.According to international law, a warship could only remain in a neutral port for 24 hours, and British diplomats tried to have Graf Spee interned or forced to leave. Langsdorff extended his stay by 72 hours but finally had to leave on 17 December.Captain Langsdorff, convinced that strong forces were waiting, ssutteled the Graf Spee himself rather than risk another battle.

 

 

On 20 December, in Buenos Aires, Captain Langsdorff shot himself in full dress uniform while lying on the ship's battle ensign.IMG_20210911_0002.jpg.00585f37090e2446ff8b7b5f259ff9e0.jpgIMG_20210911_0002.jpg.00585f37090e2446ff8b7b5f259ff9e0.jpg

 

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Fortunes Of War

Great shots, reproductions or not!

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