Tag Archive | armored cruiser

Warship Wednesday, July 31, 2019: “80 Sen,” or a young Yamamoto’s Italian Stallion

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, July 31, 2019: 80 Sen

NHHC Collection Photo # NH 83034

Here we see a crooked image from the files of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, likely a quick snapshot taken from the deck of a rented junk, showing the coastal defense ship (formerly classified as an armored cruiser, or junjokan) Nisshin of the Imperial Japanese Navy as she sat at a Hong Kong mooring buoy, in October 1920. Note the Emperor’s chrysanthemum marking on the bow, and inquisitive members of her crew on the side– likely wondering just who was in the approaching small boat with the camera. You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but this ship had once gone toe-to-toe with a much larger opponent and come out on top, although with the scars to show it.

If you like that photo, how about another two taken the same day, with her crew’s laundry drying and a picturesque junk added for Hong Kong flavor:

NH 83032

NH 83033

Anywho, you didn’t come here for Hong Kong laundry stories.

Built around the turn of the Century by Gio. Ansaldo & C shipbuilders, Genoa, Italy, as an updated version of the Giuseppe Garibaldi armored cruiser class, Nisshin (or Nissin, a name that roughly translates to “Japan”) was designed by Italian naval architect Edoardo Masdea as a vessel only smaller than a 1st-rate (pre-dreadnought) battleship of the era, yet larger and stronger than most cruisers that could oppose it.

The Garibaldi class was innovative (for 1894,) with a 344-foot long/7,200-ton hull capable of making 20-knots and sustaining a range of more than 7,000 nm at 12 when stuffed with enough coal. Although made in Italy, she was almost all-British from her Armstrong batteries to her Bellville boilers, Whitehead torpedoes, and Harvey armor.

Armored with a belt that ran up-to 5.9-inches thick, Garibaldi could take hits from faster cruisers and gunboats while being able to dish out punishment from a pair of Elswick (Armstrong) 10-inch guns that no ship smaller than her could absorb. Capable of outrunning larger ships, she also had a quartet of casemate-mounted torpedo tubes and extensive rapid-fire secondary batteries to make life hard on the enemy’s small ships and merchantmen.

These cruisers were designed for power projection on a budget and the Argentine Navy, facing a quiet arms race between Brazil and Chile on each side, needed modern ships. They, therefore, scooped up not only the Garibaldi (commissioned in 1895) but also the follow-on sister-ships General Belgrano and General San Martín (built by Orlando of Livorno in 1896) and Genoa-made Pueyrredón (1898) to make a quartet of powerful cruisers. These ships, coupled with a pair of battleships ordered later in the U.S., helped make the Argentine navy for about two decades the eighth most powerful in the world (after the big five European powers, Japan, and the United States), and the largest in Latin America.

The design was well-liked, with Spain moving to buy two (but only taking delivery of one in the end, the ill-fated Cristóbal Colón, which was sunk at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War) and Italy electing to purchase five further examples of the type.

Why all the talk about Argentina and Italy?

Well, because Nisshin and her sistership Kasuga were originally ordered by the Italians in 1900 as Mitra (Yard #130) and Roca (#129), respectively, but then sold while still on the ways to Argentina to further flesh out the fleet of that South American country’s naval forces, who dutifully renamed them Mariano Moreno and Rivadavia.

At some 8,500-tons (full), these final Garibaldis were 364-feet long overall and were roughly the same speed and carried the same armor plan (with Terni plate) as their predecessors.

However, they differed in armament, with Mitra/Rivadavia/Kasuga carrying a single 10-inch EOC gun forward and twin 8″/45s aft, while Roca/Moreno/Nisshin carried the twin 8-inchers both forward and aft.

Stern 8"/45 (20.3 cm) turret on armored cruiser Nisshin on 24 October 1908. Ship's officers with USN officers from USS Missouri (B-11) during "Great White Fleet" around the world cruise. Note the landing guns on the upper platform. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 82511.

Stern 8″/45 (20.3 cm) turret on armored cruiser Nisshin on 24 October 1908. Ship’s officers with USN officers from USS Missouri (B-11) during “Great White Fleet” around the world cruise. Note the landing guns on the upper platform. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 82511.

[Of note, the same 8-inch EOC guns were also used on other British-built Japanese armored cruisers (Adzuma, Asama, Iwate, Izumo, Tokiwa, and Yakumo) so they weren’t too out of place when Japan took delivery of these ships in 1904 instead of Argentina.]

Both Mitra/Rivadavia/Kasuga and Roca/Moreno/Nisshin were launched, fitted out and ran builders’ trials in Italy under the Argentine flag.

Armada Argentina crucero acorazado ARA Moreno, at 1903 launch. Note Italian and Argentine flags. Colorized photo by Atsushi Yamashita/Monochrome Specter http://blog.livedoor.jp/irootoko_jr/

Nisshin Running trials under the Argentine flag, probably in late 1903, just before her purchase by the Japanese NH 58664

Running trials under the Argentine flag, probably in late 1903, just before her purchase by the Japanese. Photo credited to her builder Ansaldo. NH 58665

With the Japanese and Imperial Russia circling each other tensely in late 1903, and Argentina not really wanting to take final delivery of these new cruisers, Buenos Aries shopped them to the Tsar’s kopeck-pinching Admiralty only to be rebuffed over sticker shock, leaving the Tokyo to pick them up for £760,000 each– considered a high price at the time but a bargain that the Russians would likely later regret. The Argentines would later reuse the briefly-issued Moreno and Rivadavia names for their matching pair of Massachusetts-built battleships in 1911

Nisshin photographed at Genoa, Italy in January 1904. This ship was built in Italy by Ansaldo of Genoa and competed on January 17, 1904. Courtesy of Mr. Tom Stribling, 1987. NH 101923

With a scratch British/Italian contract delivery crew, Kasuga and Nisshin (their names are taken from Meiji-period steam warships of the 1860s) set sail immediately for the Far East and were already outbound of Singapore by the time the balloon finally went up between the Russians and Japanese in February 1904. The sisters were soon in the gun line off Russian-held Port Arthur, lending their fine British-made batteries to reducing that fortress, and took part in both the ineffective Battle of the Yellow Sea in August 1904 (where Nisshin was lightly damaged) and the much more epic Battle of Tsushima in May 1905.

Carrying the flag of VADM Baron Misu Sotarō, Nisshin fired something on the order of 180 heavy shells during Tsushima, exchanging heavy damage with the 15,000-ton Russian battleship Oslyabya and others– taking several 12-inch hits to show for it. The Japanese cruiser had three of her four 8-inch guns sliced off and a number of her crew, to include a young Ensign Isoroku Yamamoto, wounded. The future commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II had the index and middle fingers on his left hand shorn off by a splinter, earning him the wardrobe nickname “80 sen” as a manicure cost 10 sen per digit at the time.

The forward gun turret and superstructure of the Japanese armored cruiser Nisshin following the Battle of Tsushima, showing 8-inch guns severed by Russian 12-inch shells

From a different angle

Another view

Aft turret of Armored Cruiser Nisshin damaged in the Battle of Tsushima

Starboard 12-pound gun of Armored Cruiser Nisshin damaged in the Battle of Tsushima

Oslyabya, in turn, was ultimately lost in the course of the battle, taking the Russian Squadron’s second-in-command, Capt. Vladimir Ber, and half of her crew with her to the bottom of the Korea Strait.

Japanese cruiser Nisshin, listed as June 24, 1905, at Kure, which is just a month after Tsushima and may be an incorrect date as she looks almost brand new. Colorized photo by Atsushi Yamashita/Monochrome Specter http://blog.livedoor.jp/irootoko_jr/

For both Kasuga and Nisshin, Tsushima was their brightest moment under the Rising Sun.

Greatly modified later with Japanese-made Kampon boilers replacing their Italian ones, along with a host of other improvements, Kasuga went on to serve as a destroyer squadron flagship in World War I looking out for German surface raiders and escorting Allied shipping between Australia and Singapore. She later took Imperial troops to Vladivostok in 1918 as part of the Allied Intervention into the Russian Civil War.

Nisshin during WWI. Colorized photo by Atsushi Yamashita/Monochrome Specter http://blog.livedoor.jp/irootoko_jr/

As for Nisshin, she also spent her time as a destroyer squadron leader on the lookout for the Kaiser’s wolves and was later dispatched to the Mediterranean as part of the Japanese 2nd Special Squadron (Suma-class cruiser Akashi, the cruiser Izumo, 8 Kaba-class destroyers and 4 Momo-class destroyers). Deployed in late 1917, the squadron was tasked with riding shotgun over Allied troopships steaming between Malta and Salonica and from Alexandria to Taranto and Marseille.

Photographed at Port Said, Egypt, on October 27, 1917. The early French mixed battery pre-dreadnought Jauréguiberry (1893-1934) can be seen at left background. Courtesy of Mr. Tom Stribling, 1987. NH 101922

In all, the force escorted nearly 800 ships and engaged German and Austrian subs something like 40 times (although without sinking any).
After the Armistice, selected crews from the Squadron marched in the 1919 victory parades in Paris and London.

To close out Japan’s involvement in the Great War, Nisshin returned home with seven captured German U-boats, (U-46, U-55, U-125, UC-90, UC-99, UB-125, and UB-143) after stops in Malta and other friendly ports along the way from England to Yokosuka, arriving there in June 1919. The former German boats went on to an uninteresting life of their own under the Kyokujitsu-ki, used for testing, salvage exercises and floating jetties. While most of these submarines were low-mileage vessels of little notoriety, U-46 (Hillebrand) and U-55 (Blue Max winner Willy Werner) were very successful during the war, accounting for 116 Allied vessels of some 273,000 tons between them.

IJN Nissin at Malta with captured German UC-90 U-boat, via IWM

Nisshin, photographed March 1919, with the ex-German submarines O-4 (ex-UC-90) and O-5 (ex-UC-99) alongside. NH 58666

Nisshin, photographed in March 1919, with the ex-German submarines O-4 (ex-UC-90) and O-5 (ex-UC-99) alongside. NH 58667

Japanese Cruiser Nisshin U-boats escorting surrendered German submarines allocated to Japan, March 1919, Malta, by Frank Henry Algernon Mason, via the IWM

Disarmed and largely relegated to training tasks, Nisshin and Kasuga were put on the sidelines after the Great War, replaced by much better ships in the Japanese battle line.

Hulked, Nisshin was eventually disposed of as part of a sinkex in the Inland Sea in 1936, then raised by Shentian Maritime Industry Co., Ltd, patched up and sunk a second time in 1942 during WWII by the new super battleship Yamato, whose 18.1″/45cal Type 94 guns likely made quick work of her.

Her immediate sister, Kasuga, used as a floating barracks at Yokosuka, was sunk by U.S. carrier aircraft in July 1945 then later raised and scrapped after the war. Incidentally, the two Japanese Garibaldis outlasted their Italian sisters, all of which were disposed of by the 1930s. Their everlasting Argentine classmates, however, lingered on until as late as 1954 with the last of their kind, ARA Pueyrredon, ironically being towed to Japan for scrapping that year.

Of note, the British 8″/45s EOCs removed from Nisshin, Kasuga and the other Japanese 1900s armored cruisers in the 1920s and 30s were recycled and used as coastal artillery, including four at Tokyo Bay, four at Tarawa (Betio) and another four at Wake Island once it was captured in 1941.

Japanese Special Naval Landing Force troops mount a British-made, Vickers eight-inch naval cannon into its turret on Betio before the battle. This film was developed from a Japanese camera found in the ruins while the battle was still on. Via http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-Tarawa/index.html

Destruction of one of the four Japanese eight-inch EOC guns on Betio caused by naval gunfire and airstrikes, 1943. Department of Defense photo (USMC) 63618

Nisshin’s name was reused for use on a well-armed seaplane/midget submarine carrier that saw extensive action in WWII during the Guadalcanal campaign, where she was lost.  It has not been reused further.

Specs:

Jane 1914 entry, listing the class as first-class cruisers

Displacement: 7,700 t (7,578 long tons) std, 8,500 full
Length: 366 ft 7 in (o/a), 357 wl
Beam: 61 ft 5 in
Draft: 24 ft 1 in, 25.5 max
Machinery: (1904)
13,500 ihp, 2 vertical triple-expansion steam engines, 8 Ansaldo marine boilers, 2 shafts
Speed: 20 knots at 14,000 shp, although in practice were limited to 18 at full load.
Range: 5,500 nmi at 10 knots on 1316 tons of coal, typically just 650 carried
Complement: 600 as built, 568 in Japanese service.
Armor: (Terni)
Belt: 2.8–5.9 in
Deck: 0.79–1.57 in
Barbette: 3.9–5.9 in
Conning tower: 5.9 in
Armament:
(1904)
2 twin 8″/45 EOC (classified as Type 41 guns by the Japanese)
14 single QF 6″/45 Armstrong “Z” guns
10 single QF 3″/40 12-pdr Armstrong “N” guns
6 single QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns
2 Maxim machine guns
2 landing howitzers
4 × 457 mm (18 in) torpedo tubes in casemates
(1930)
4 single QF 6″/45 Armstrong “Z” guns
4 single QF 3″/40 12-pdr Armstrong “N” guns
1 single 76/40 AAA

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Warship Wednesday July 27, 2016: The RNs factory for curiosities in gun-mountings

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.
– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday July 27, 2016: The RNs factory for curiosities in gun-mountings

Protected cruiser HMS Terrible.

Via IWM

Here we see the Powerful-type first-class protected cruiser HMS Terrible during her brief career, decked in a tropical white scheme that she used around 1900. Although beautiful in her own respect as a late 19th Century brawler, it was the use of her guns ashore that brought her lasting fame.

Built to rule the waves as independent units capable of raiding enemy merchant ships in time of war– while safeguarding HMs own from the enemy’s similar raiders– the Powerfuls were a two-ship class of very large cruisers with lots of coal bunkerage that enabled them to sail 7,000 nm at 14 knots. Should they stumble on an enemy surface raider, their twin 9.2″/40 (23.4 cm) Mark VIII cocoa-powder breechloaders could fire a 382-pound CPC shell out to 12,846 yards, which was pretty good for the era. A large number of QF 6-inch and QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun (3-inch) guns made up secondary and tertiary armament (though at some point a few 6-inchers were traded for 4.7-inchers, but more on this later).

Class leader HMS Powerful was laid down in 1894 at Vickers Limited, Barrow-in-Furness while her sister and the subject of our tale, HMS Terrible, was laid down at the same time at J.& G. Thomson, Clydebank (Glasgow). As such, she was the seventh such RN vessel with that name dating back to 1694.

HMS Powerful Steaming up the English Channel, 1900, Charles Dixon RI

HMS Powerful Steaming up the English Channel, 1900, by maritime painter Charles Dixon RI. Note the black hull, buff stacks/masts, and white superstructure. Both ships of this class carried this scheme through about 1900.

Completed 8 June 1897 at a cost of £740,584, Terrible beat her design top speed of 22 knots on her trials by hitting 22.4 kn over a four-hour period and made  Portsmouth to Gibraltar with an average speed of 18, which was fast for a pre-Dreadnought era cruiser, especially one of some 15,000-tons.

They were stately ships.

The Captain's cabin was ornate

The Captain’s cabin was ornate

HMS Terrible portrait via Royal Grenwich Museum

HMS Terrible portrait via Royal Grenwich Museum

PhotoWW1-05csTerrible1-PS

Note how Terrible differed from the first image in this post as she looked in 1897 in these two images.

HMS_Terrible_QE2_73
Her first use in war came when the Boers kicked it off against the British in South Africa.

In November 1899, HMS Terrible disembarked six naval guns (two 4.7″, 4 12 pounders) at Durban and, accompanied by 280 members of the Naval Brigade, saw them off by train to Ladysmith, just before the Boers closed the ring and began the storied Siege of Ladysmith. The naval guns were to play an important role in disabling the fire from the Boer Long Toms long enough till a relieving column rescued the town some months later.

Her sister HMS Powerful likewise dismounted a contingent and more guns at Simonstown, and under Commander AP Ethelston above became part of a Naval Brigade, with four guns, and several hundred men. They were sent by train to join the army of Lord Methuen, which was following the western Cape Colony railway hoping to rout the Boers blocking its advance to relieve the town of Kimberley, and engaging the Boers at Graspan on 25 November, which left half the force dead or wounded.

HMS TERRIBLE He who sups with me require a devil of a long spoon

HMS TERRIBLE He who sups with me require a devil of a long spoon

Blue_Jackets_HMS_Terrible

Note the straw hats common to RN sailors, coupled with Army style field uniforms

QF_4.7_inch_gun_Colenso Difficulties of trekking with 4'7 Guns

4.7 Naval Gun on Carriage Improvised by Capt. Percy Scott of H.M.S. Terrible. Photo by E. Kennard

4.7 Naval Gun on Carriage Improvised by Capt. Percy Scott of H.M.S. Terrible. Photo by E. Kennard

Trials at Simonstown of 4-7 and 12-pounders on Captain Scott's Improvised Mountings

From “South Africa and the Transvaal War” 1899:

“You may be interested to hear a little about the Navy, who have come to the front as usual and met an emergency. From the first it would seem that what was wanted were long-range guns which could shell the enemy at a distance outside the range of their Mauser rifles, and the captain of the Terrible, therefore, proposed a field-mounting for the Naval long 12-pounder of 12 cwt., which has a much longer range than any artillery gun out here. A pair of waggon wheels were picked up, a balk of timber used as a trail, and in twenty-four hours a 12-pounder was ready for land service. Captain Scott then designed a mounting for a 4.7-inch Naval gun by simply bolting a ship’s mounting down on to four pieces of pile. Experts declared that the 12-pounder would smash up the trail, and that the 4.7-inch would turn a somersault; the designer insisted, however, on a trial. When it took place, nothing of the kind happened, except that at extreme elevation the 12-pounder shell went 9000 yards and the 4.7-inch (lyddite) projectile 12,000 yards. Captain Scott was, therefore, encouraged to go ahead, and four 12-pounders were fitted and sent round to Durban in the Powerful, and also two 4.7-inch guns. People say here that these guns saved the situation at Ladysmith. A Naval friend writing to me from the camp says: ‘The Boers complain that we are not “playing the game”; they only expected to fight rooineks, not sailors who use guns that range seven miles, and they want us to go back to our ships. One of our lyddite shells went over a hill into their camp, killed fourteen men and wounded thirty. Guns of this description are not, according to the Boer idea, at all proper, and[Pg 142] they do not like our way of staggering humanity. Had these guns been landed earlier, how much might have been saved? It is a peculiar sight to see the 4.7-inch fired. Many thought it would turn over, but Captain Percy Scott appears to have well calculated the stresses; there is with a full charge of cordite a slight rise of the fore end, which practically relieves all the fastenings. Hastily put together, and crude as it looks, it really embraces all the points of a scientific mounting, and it wants a great expert to pronounce an opinion on it. The gun is mounted so high that to the uninitiated it looks as if it must turn over on firing, but it does not, and the higher angle of elevation the less strain there is on it. The arrival of our guns practically put the Royal Artillery guns out of use, for they can come into action 2000 yards behind those supplied to the soldiers and then make better practice. Their arrival has, every one admits, quite changed the situation.’

***

“Captain Scott has also rigged up a searchlight on a railway truck with a flasher attachment, the idea being to use it for communication with Kimberley and Ladysmith if these places are surrounded. It has been tested at a distance of forty miles, and proved a great success. I am told, too, that he is now engaged in designing a travelling carriage for a 6-inch gun, and has, indeed, converted the Terrible into a factory for curiosities in gun-mountings.

“Each mounting, by the way, has an inscription upon it, presumably concocted by the ship’s painter. One, a parody upon the Scotch proverb, runs, ‘Those who sup with me will require a devil of a long spoon’; another, ‘For what we are going to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful—Oom Paul’; and a third, ‘Lay me true and load me tight, the Boers will soon be out of sight.’ I saw one of these guns fired with an elevation of 24 degrees and a range of 12,000 yards, and fully expected to see the whole thing capsize, but it hardly moved. After the firing of several rounds I carefully examined the mounting, and noticed that, crude as it might appear, a wonderful amount of practical knowledge was apparent in its construction; the strain was beautifully distributed, every bolt and each balk bearing its proportionate share. It is in every way creditable to the navy that when emergency arises such a thing could be devised and made by the ship’s engineering staff in twenty-four hours.”

Besides her 4.7’s in use, Terrible‘s Marines and Tars manned a series of armored trains that they helped craft.

A British armored train designed and manned by Terrible's crew during the Second Boer War, covered with 6 inch anchor rope, provided by the Royal Navy, to provide it protection. The improvised additional armor was the source of its name, “Hairy Mary.” (Photo from the McGregor Museum)

A British armored train designed and manned by Terrible’s crew during the Second Boer War, covered with 6 inch anchor rope, provided by the Royal Navy, to provide it protection. The improvised additional armor was the source of its name, “Hairy Mary.” (Photo from the McGregor Museum)

Hairy Mary

Royal Navy bluejackets of HMS Terrible pose by an armored train at Durban during the Boer War. Mounted on the flatbed carriage is an improvised signal lamp consisting of a searchlight and shutter mechanism, powered by a dynamo attached to the train. The officer to the right of the image is possibly Capt. Percy Scott RN. The tower of Durban Post Office can be seen in the background. IWM Q 115145

Royal Navy bluejackets of HMS Terrible pose by an armored train at Durban during the Boer War. Mounted on the flatbed carriage is an improvised signal lamp consisting of a searchlight and shutter mechanism, powered by a dynamo attached to the train. The officer to the right of the image is possibly Capt. Percy Scott RN. The tower of Durban Post Office can be seen in the background. IWM Q 115145

Armoured Train manned by Terrible's Marines galleryThey also found time to do a spot of fishing:

Shark caught by Terrible Angler at DurbanThe next year, Terrible sailed for China station where she repeated her efforts ashore though in a smaller scale, during the Boxer Rebellion. On that trip, she carried 300 Tommies of 2 Btln. Royal Welsh Fusiliers and 40 Royal Engineers.

Arriving in Tientsin 21 June 1900, Terrible landed four of her 12 pounders and, with the help of muscle from Col. Bower’s Wei-hai-Wei (1st Chinese) Regiment, engaged in the relief of that city the next month.

1902 Crewmen of HMS Terrible at Hong Kong.

1902 Crewmen of HMS Terrible at Hong Kong. Note the teak decking and that flatcaps have replaced straw hats. The RN was changing…

Returning to the UK, she and her sister were soon obsolete (their 9.2-inch guns were unique) and, after a brief refit, were placed in ordinary in 1904 after less than a decade’s service.

During WWI, she was reactivated and used as a high speed troop transport (sans most of her armament and with reduced crews) in the Med and Northern Africa, bringing as many as 2,000 soldiers at a time to far off ports to support operations in Salonika, Egypt and Palestine.

Great War service had her in a more sedate haze gray

Great War service had her in a more sedate haze gray with only her small casemate guns still mounted.

In 1920, she was disarmed, renamed the ignoble TS Fisgard III (taken from the old central-battery ironclad ex-HMS Hercules), and used as an accommodations and training ship for another decade. She was sold in July 1932 for scrap.

Likewise, Powerful was renamed TS Impregnable in November 1919, and was sold on 31 August 1929 for breaking up.

The teak decking from both of these vessels was extensively salvaged and crafted into everything from ashtrays to inkwells, chairs and desks and are out there, typically with commemorative brass plates in great numbers.

hms terrible teak wood repurpose

Even her bell was sold off.

Her most enduring legacy, and that of her sister Powerful, is the long-running Royal Navy Field Gun competition which has in turn evolved into the Royal Military Tournament race, which celebrates the epic Ladysmith (and later Tientsin) gun train that saw the scratch Naval Brigade manhandle six field guns each weighing nearly half a metric tonne over rough terrain to save their Army brethren.

Although a Majestic-class carrier, HMS Terrible (R93), was to carry on the old cruiser’s memory, that vessel was instead sold to Australia who commissioned her as HMAS Sydney (R17/A214/P214/L134) in 1948. Thus, the Royal Navy has not had a “Terrible” on their active list since 1920 when our old girl took the “Fisgard” moniker.

Speaking of which, TS Fisgard itself remains as the National Sea Cadet Engineering Training Centre aboard RNAS Prestwick.

More information about Terrible, especially her use at Ladysmith, can be found at Anglo-Boer War.com, Roll of Honour and the Royal Museums Greenwich.

Specs:

Ship model HMS Terrible by Oldham Hugh, via IWM

Ship model HMS Terrible by Oldham Hugh, via IWM

Displacement: 14,200 tons deep load
Length:     500 ft. (150 m)
Beam:     71 ft. (22 m)
Draught:     27 ft. (8.2 m)
Propulsion:
Two shafts
4-cylinder VTE steam engines
48 Bellville-type water-tube boilers
25,000 hp
Speed:     22 knots (41 km/h)
Range:     7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Endurance:     3000 tons coal
Complement: 894 (designed). By 1915, ~300.
Armament:     (Largely disarmed 1915)
2 × BL 9.2-inch (233.7 mm) Mk VIII guns
12 × QF 6 in (15.2 cm) guns
16 × 12 pdr 3 in guns
12 × 3 pdr guns
4 torpedo tubes (deactivated 1904)
Armour:
2–6 inches (51–152 mm) deck
6 inches (150 mm) barbettes
6 inches (150 mm) gun shields

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

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Warship Wednesday April 1, 2015: Lucky Georgios, the last man standing

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger.

Warship Wednesday, April 1, 2015: Lucky Georgios, the last man standing

RHS Azeroff 1913. Click to big up

Click to big up

Here we see the Italian-made Pisa-class armored cruiser Georgios Averof of the Royal Hellenic Navy as she appeared in 1913, shortly after almost single-handedly routing the entire Ottoman fleet the year before.

In the early 20th Century, Southeastern Europe, popularly known as the Balkans, was a powder keg of a number of upstart countries living in the shadow of the “sick man of Europe”– the Ottoman Empire. With more than a century of low-key warfare between the Greeks, Romanians, Serbs, Bulgars, Croats and so on to try to break free from the Sultan and his court, by about 1900 the lines had been drawn between the Turks and the Greco-Slavic nations. Combined, the Balkan countries could cough up nearly a million men under arms– more the enough to take on the Turks. However, they could not match the Turkish Navy in either the ancient Adriatic, Aegean, Ionian, Med, and Black Seas.

That’s where Greece, who had a small army but an excellent naval tradition, stood alone against the Turks.

Between 1879 and 1914, the Royal Hellenic Navy was transformed into a modern force, picking up battleships and destroyers from Italy, France, the UK, and the U.S.

However, their French-built pre-dreadnoughts: Hydra, Spetsai, and Psara, were exceptionally small at just 5,300-tons and were lightly armed (3x 10-inch guns) and slow (16 knots). After winning the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, the Greeks went shopping for a new mega-ship with a 2.5 million gold franc donation from Greek philanthropist George M. Averoff.

George M. Averoff, the man. He left the Greek government a fortune in his will and they went warship shopping

George M. Averoff, the man. He left the Greek government a fortune in his will and they went warship shopping

Across the Adriatic, they inspected the Italian (by no less of a naval engineer than Giuseppe Orlando) Pisa-class “second-class battleship” and fell in love. These 10,000-ton ships, technically armored cruisers, could break 23-knots through the power of 22 Belleville boilers and carried a quartet of 10″/45 cal guns backed up by eight 7.5-inchers in four twin turrets on the centerline and more than a dozen smaller anti-torpedo boat pieces. Sheathed in up to 7-inches of steel plate, they could fight off ships their own size and outrun most that were larger.

The Italian cruiser Pisa or the Regina Marina, the sister of the Greek Averoff. (Click to big up)

The Italian cruiser Pisa or the Regina Marina, the sister of the Greek Averoff. (Click to big up)

Although they only needed a crew of about 700, they also could accommodate a battalion of naval infantry if needed for amphibious landings which is key in the far-flung and disputed islands that the Greeks cruised in. Not perfect when compared to British and German ships of the day, certainly, these cruisers were still better than anything the Turks had at the time. Better yet, the Italian Navy had the third Pisa that they had ordered but were going to cancel– talk about timing.

Swapping out the 10″/45 cal guns for a set of much more modern British-made 9.2″/47 (23.4 cm) Mark X breechloaders, (which had been the standard at the time of the Royal Navy’s armored cruisers), the Greek “battleship” Georgios Averof was laid down at Orlando, Livorno in 1910. With tensions between the Balkan countries and the Turks ramping up (the Italians themselves went to war with the Ottomans in 1911 over Libya), construction progressed rapidly and just 15 months later the Averof was commissioned on May 16, 1911, and was made fleet flagship.

Postcard of her

Postcard of her as completed. Note the very Italian scheme

When war came the very next year, the Averof led the older French battleships to first blockade and then engage the Turkish fleet off the Dardanelles. There, on 16 December 1912, the four Greek capital ships met four elderly Ottoman battleships and the largest battleship fight to take place not involving “Great Powers” occurred.

Elli naval battle, painting by Vasiileios Chatzis. Charging ahead to reach cut off the Ottoman line

Elli naval battle, painting by Vasiileios Chatzis. Charging ahead to cut off the Ottoman line

Borrowing a page from Admiral Togo’s 1905 Battle of the Tsushima Straits, the Averof raced ahead all alone at over 20-knots and crossed the Turkish T, taking on each of the enemy ships single file.

While the casualties were minimal, the Turks ran after Averof‘s big British 9-inchers hammered the flagship Barbaros Hayreddin (the old German SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm) enough to where they figured that it was either shook and jive or sink. This sharp scrap is remembered in Greece as the Battle of Elli.

Just a month later, the two fleets again met with similar outcome off Lemnos Island.

Averof entering the port of Lemnos after a patrol, guns point towards the camera. April 10, 1913.

Between the two battles, the lucky Averof was hit a total of four times by Turkish shells and suffered just three casualties. It was her guns that by large part helped win the First Balkan War.

Averof 1916 during WWI

Averof 1916 during WWI

Averof color

Averof color

Although Greece eventually joined the Allies in World War I, she saw little service. However, across the Adriatic, her sistership, the Italian cruiser Amalfi, was torpedoed by the Austria-Hungarian submarine U-26 and sank in 1915.

Painting of the Greek Battleship Averof in Bosporus, Hagia Sophia in the background, in 1919

Painting of the Greek Battleship Averof in Bosporus, Hagia Sophia in the background, in 1919

After the war, she became the first Greek warship to enter Constantinople as part of the Allied victory mission to that town and– soon enough — was back in the fight against the Turks in 1919 during the Greco-Turkish War where she was used to help evacuate a defeated Greek Army.

In addition, she helped safeguard the withdrawal of the White Russian exiles after the Russian Civil War, reportedly exchanging a few rounds with the Reds.

In the 1920s, as one of the last armored cruisers around (most had been mothballed, replaced by more modern designs), she was upgraded in France where she lost her obsolete torpedo tubes and half of her low-angle 3-inch guns in exchange for a decent battery of high-angle AAA weapons. At about the same time her final sistership, the Italian cruiser Pisa, was relegated to a training status in 1921 and was eventually scrapped by the Depression.

After that, Averof was the sole remaining member of her class afloat.

Averof after her refit

Averof after her refit

By WWII, she had been downgraded to the third most powerful Greek ship, after President Wilson had sold the Greeks the battleships USS Mississippi and Idaho (who served as the Kilkis and Lemnos respectively). Those American ships, though unwanted by the U.S. Navy, at 13,000-tons and with a quartet of 12″/45 and sixteen 7 and 8-inch guns, were a good deal better armed.

Averoff with RHSKilkis (ex-USS Mississippi) and RHS Lemnos (ex-USS Idaho) pre-WWII

Averoff outside with RHS Kilkis (ex-USS Mississippi) and RHS Lemnos (ex-USS Idaho) taken pre-WWII. Note the size difference and the very 1914-ish lattice masts of the former U.S. battle wagons.

Nevertheless, when the next world war came to Greece, both the Kilkis and Limnos were sunk by Hitler’s Luftwaffe while at anchor yet the 30-year old Averof was able to beat feet across the Med with three destroyers and five submarines to the join up with the British Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.

Georgios Averof at anchor at Port Said, Egypt, 23rd February 1943 via IWM

Georgios Averof at anchor at Port Said, Egypt, 23rd February 1943 via IWM. Note, no camo

Averof1-1.jpg~original

Averoff in WWII under British orders, 1944 note typical RN camo scheme

She spent the rest of the war, which if you are keeping count was at least her fifth, in Royal Navy service escorting convoys in the Indian Ocean and hiding from both Japanese and German submarines. In 1944, she carried the Greek government in exile home from London.

Armored cruiser GEORGIOS AVEROF at Piraeus Oct.1944, returning the Free Greek government after three and half year in the exile due to the occupation of the state by the Axis forces

As in the first World War, she came out of the Second unscathed and without losing a single man.

Averoff in WWII under British orders, note typical RN camo scheme

Averoff in WWII under British orders, note typical RN camo scheme

After 41 years at sea, she was the last pre-WWI era armored cruiser in active service in any fleet when she was finally decommissioned August 1, 1952. Held in mothballs for three decades, in 1984 she was overhauled, disarmed, and emplaced as a historical museum ship at Palaio Faliro where she is a popular tourist attraction.

Averof today

Averof today

Averof is her latest dry dock

Averof is her latest dry dock. Note the rearward facing 7.5-inch turret to the port side. Averof has four of these mounting a total of 8 guns, which is a significant battery all its own.

Now, still officially on the Greek Navy’s list and with an active duty (if greatly reduced) crew assigned, she will celebrate her 114th birthday under the flag of the Hellenic Navy in May.

Averof is the last armored cruiser in existence above the water. The only two comparable pre-WWI steel blue water ships to her still around, Dewey’s protected cruiser USS Olympia at Philadelphia, and Togo’s pre-dreadnought battleship Mikasa preserved at Yokosuka.

Specs

800px-Averof1Displacement: Full load 10,200 tons
Standard 9,956 tons
Length: 140.13 m (459.7 ft.)
Beam: 21 m (69 ft.)
Draft: 7.18 m (23.6 ft.)
Propulsion: Boilers: 22 Belleville water tube type, Engines: 2 four cylinder reciprocating steam engines, Shafts: 2 (twin screw ship), Power: 19,000 shp (14.2 MW)
Speed: 23.5 knots (43.5 km/h; 27.0 mph) maximum
20 knots operational
Range: 2,480 nautical miles (4,590 km) at 17.5 knots (32 km/h)
Complement: 670
Maximum capacity: 1200
Armor: Belt: 200 mm (7.9 in) midships, 80 mm (3.15 in) at ends
Deck: up to 40 mm (1.6 in)
Turrets: 200 mm (7.9 in) at 234mm turrets, 175 mm (6.9 in) at 190mm turrets
Barbettes: up to 180 mm (7.1 in)
Conning tower: up to 180 mm (7.1 in)
Armament: Original configuration:

4 × 234mm (9.2in) guns (2 × 2)
8 × 190mm (7.5in) guns (4 × 2)
16 × 76mm (3in) guns
4 × 47 mm (1.85in) guns
3 × 430mm (17in) torpedo tubes
After 1927 refit:
4 × 234mm (9.2in) guns (2 × 2)
8 × 190mm (7.5in) guns (4 × 2)
8 × 76mm (3in) guns
4 × 76 mm (3in) A/A guns
6 × 36mm (1.42in) A/A guns

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International, they are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/

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Warship Wednesday Sept 3: Four Italian sisters in Argentine service

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places.

– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday Sept 3: Four Italian sisters in Argentine service.

click to bigup

click to bigup

Here we see the Giuseppe Garibaldi-class armored cruiser Armada de la República Argentina (ARA) General Giuseppe Garibaldi of the Argentine Navy as she appeared around the turn of the century in her gleaming white and buff scheme. She was a ship representative of her time, and her class outlived most of their contemporaries.

Ordered from Gio. Ansaldo & C shipbuilders, Genoa, Italy, in 1894 the General Giuseppe Garibaldi was designed by Italian naval architect Edoardo Masdea to provide a ship, smaller than a 1st-rate battleship, yet larger and stronger than any cruiser that could oppose it.

One large 10-inch gun fore and another aft gave these ships some punch.

One large 10-inch gun fore and another aft gave these ships some punch.

The concept predated battle cruisers by a decade or two and had its apex at the Battle of Tsushima, where so-called ‘armored cruisers’ gave a poor showing of themselves. The final nail in the coffin of the armored cruiser design was the Battle of the Falklands in 1914 in which a German force of armored and light cruisers under Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee was annihilated by a group of larger and faster RN battle cruisers of Vice-Admiral Doveton Sturdee.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves…

The Garibaldi class was innovative for 1894, with a 344-foot long, 7200-ton hull capable of making 20-knots and sustaining a range of more than 7,000 nm at 12. Although made in Italy, she was almost all-British from her Armstrong batteries to her Bellville boilers to her Whitehead torpedoes and Harvey armor.

Armored with a belt that ran up-to 5.9-inches thick, she could take hits from faster cruisers and gunboats while being able to dish out punishment from a pair of Armstrong 10-inch guns that no ship smaller than her could absorb. Capable of outrunning larger ships, she also had a quartet of torpedo tubes and extensive rapid fire secondary batteries to make life hard on the enemy’s small ships and merchantmen.

ARA San Martin
She was designed for power projection on a budget and the Argentine Navy, facing a quiet arms race between Brazil and Chile on each side, needed modern ships.

They therefore scooped up not only the Garibaldi (commissioned in 1895) but also the follow-on sister-ships General Belgrano and General San Martín ( built by Orlando of Livorno in 1896) and Genoa-made Pueyrredón (1898) to make a quartet of powerful cruisers. These ships, coupled with the Rivadavia-class battleships ordered later in the U.S., helped make the Argentine navy for a period of about two decades the eighth most powerful in the world (after the big five European powers, Japan, and the United States), and the largest in Latin America.

Belgrao making steam with a bone in her mouth. These chunky cruisers could make 20-knots, which was fast for 1894 when they were designed

Belgrano making steam with a bone in her mouth. These chunky cruisers could make 20-knots, which was fast for 1894 when they were designed

The gunboat diplomacy of these ships soon paid off, with Belgrano being used as the signing platform for the 1899 peace treaty between Argentina and Chile to settle the Puna de Atacama dispute.

These ships proved so popular when built, in fact, that Spain quickly ordered a pair (one of which, Cristóbal Colón, was soon sunk in the Spanish-American War), Italy picked up three more (including confusingly enough, one also named Giuseppe Garibaldi-– he was an Italian hero after all!) and Japan acquired two of their own in the 1900s.

ARA Pueyrredon. Note deck awnings in use.

ARA Pueyrredon. Note deck awnings in use and extensive view of broadside secondary casemated guns

The four Argentine ships long outlived their foreign sisters.

Although the country had built a huge naval armada, they remained on the sidelines during a number of crisis in their time. The country remained more or less (some would contend less) neutral in both World Wars as well as in regional conflicts. They did, however, often sail the world and show the flag. Garibaldi for instance, was often seen in Caribbean ports while Belgrano made an extensive European tour in 1927, spending most of that year overseas.

Argentine Garibaldi class cruiser San Martin

Argentine Garibaldi class cruiser San Martin

One of the more popular assignments for theses ships over their lifetimes were yearly midshipmen cruises. Typically from August to December, they would alternate between circumnavigating the continent to trips to Europe and Africa.

El ARA Pueyrredónn

For example, in 1941, with the world at war, ARA Pueyrredon still had time to travel some 14,964 miles from Puerto Belgrano to New Orleans and back, stopping for lengthy port stays at such popular destinations as Havana, Rio, and Aruba.

San Martin warping into harbor

San Martin warping into harbor. Photo by City of Art

By 1920 Garibaldi— the Argentine one– was in poor condition and relegated to duty as a training ship while her three sisters were modernized, disarmed a good bit, and overhauled. By 20 March 1934, with the world in a global recession, Garibaldi was stricken, cannibalized so that her classmates could live longer lives, and sold for scrap at the end of 1936.

ara_belgrano_chococard

ARA San Martin was stricken 8 December 1935 but retained for twelve years as a dockside depot ship and scrapped in 1947.

El ARA San Martín, fue un crucero acorazado perteneciente a la Clase italiana Giuseppe Garibaldi, via Postales Navales

ARA Gen. Belgrano, who was used after 1933 as a submarine tender, was stricken May 8, 1947 and sold in 1953.

ARA Pueyrredon in Dublin in 1951. At this point this pre-SpanAm War vet was pushing her sixth decade at sea.

ARA Pueyrredon in Dublin in 1951. At this point this pre-SpanAm War vet was pushing her sixth decade at sea. Her white and buff scheme long since replaced by haze gray with black caps. Note, she still has her 10-inch Armstrong guns, although by the 1950s 254mm blackpowder bagged naval shells were very out of style to say the least. Photo by Historymar

Finally, ARA Pueyrredon, as far as I can tell, was the last ‘operational’ armored cruiser in naval service in the world. As late as 1951 the veteran was making cruises to Europe to show the blue and white banner of the Argentine navy while training naval officers. That summer she moved more than 20,000 miles underway on a round trip from Buenos Aires, Pernambuco, Liverpool, Dublin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Le Havre, Naples, Genoa, Villefranche, Barcelona, Casa-blanca, Dakar, Santos, back to Buenos Aires.

She was stricken on 2 August 1954 after nearly six decades in commission, spending half of that as a training ship assigned to the Naval Academy, and towed in 1954 to Japan to be scrapped.

ex-Pueyrredon being towed, 1954

ex-Pueyrredon being towed, 1954. Photo by Historymar

Thus she outlived by two years what is considered by many to be the last armored cruiser afloat, the Greek Navy’s Georgios Averof (c.1911) which was decommissioned in 1952.

Sadly, the only monument to these beautiful and hard-serving Argentine ships is the bow coat of arms from ARA Pueyrredon, preserved on the grounds of Argentine Naval Academy.

The Argentine Sun of May (Spanish: Sol de Mayo) national emblem on the bowcrest of ARA Pueyrredon

The Argentine Sun of May (Spanish: Sol de Mayo) national emblem on the bowcrest of ARA Pueyrredon

Specs:

Planta-GiuseppeGaribaldi

Displacement: 7,069 long tons (7,182 t)
Length:     344 ft 2 in (104.9 m)
Beam:     50 ft 8 in (15.4 m)
Draught:     23 ft 4 in (7.1 m)
Installed power:     13,000 ihp (9,700 kW)
Propulsion:     2 shafts, vertical triple-expansion steam engines
8 cylindrical Bellville boilers (replaced 1920s)
Speed:     20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) as designed. Later 15-knots after 1925.
Range: 7000 nm at 12 knots on 1,000 tons coal. Later 4200 nm at 9kts after 1925 refits.
Complement: 520 as designed (typical Argentine service, 25 officers, 300 crew or 28 officers; 60-95 cadets; 275 crew)

Armament:     (As commissioned, greatly reduced after 1925)
2×1 – Armstrong 10-inch (254 mm) guns
10×1 – 152mm Armstrong rapid fire (120mm in Garibaldi)
10×1 – 57mm 6-pounder Nordenfeldt guns
8×1 37mm Hotchkiss guns
2×1 8mm Maxim water cooled machine guns
4×1 – 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes with Whitehead fish (Five tubes in ARA Pueyrredon)
+ 2×1 – 3-inch (75 mm) guns landing guns (cañones de desembarcode)

Armour:  (All Harvey-type armor)
Belt: 3.1–5.9 in (79–150 mm)
Barbettes: 5.9 in (150 mm)
Gun turrets: 5.9 in (150 mm)
Conning tower: 5.9 in (150 mm)

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Warship Wednesday, June 5 The Graf

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week.

– Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday,  June 5

Kriegsmarine Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee im Spithead U.K. 1937

Kriegsmarine Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee im Spithead U.K.
Here we see the Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee as she looked at her finest at the Coronation Review for English King George VI at Spithead in May 1937. Just 17-months old in this picture, she would become one of the most hunted of all German ships in the beginning of World War Two just two years later– by the very fleet she steamed with on this day.

Laid down at Reichsmarinewerft, Wilhelmshaven on 1 October 1932, she was the first new German ‘battleship’ since the 1919 Treaty of Versailles to replace the 30-year old pre-dreadnought battleship SMS Braunschweig.  Officially weighing just 10,000-tons (the treaty limit) and classified simply as a ‘Armored ship’ (Panzerschiff), she was portrayed as simply a really big cruiser.

admiral_graf_spee_12

However her full load displacement was nearly 17,000-tons (the same as an early WWI battle cruiser) and she carried a half-dozen 280mm (11-inch) SK C/28 naval guns, whereas most cruisers had nothing larger than 8-inches. Western media called her and her other two Deutschland class sisters ‘pocket battleships’ as they could effectively sink any warship but.

The ship’s hull was constructed with transverse steel frames; over 90 percent of the hull used welding instead of the then standard riveting, which saved 15 percent of her total hull weight. This savings allowed the armament and armor to be increased. The hull contained twelve watertight compartments and were fitted with a double bottom that extended for 92 percent of the length of the keel. Four sets of 9-cylinder, double-acting, two-stroke diesel engines further saved weight over huge oil-fired turbines while also giving the ship an amazing 10,000-mile range. This made her the perfect long range surface raider.

When the clouds of war started to form in 1939, Admiral Raeder sent the Graf Spee out to the Atlantic so that she would not be caught in the Baltic and bottled up by the Royal Navy. For the first four months of the war she ranged the South Atlantic, sinking nine Allied merchant ships as a surface raider. She was encountered by the three British cruisers: HMS Exeter (10,000-tons, 6×8-inch guns), HMNZS Achilles and HMS Ajax (9700-tons, 8×6-inch guns). In the resulting running Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939, the Spee gave better than she got. All three British smaller British cruisers were badly mauled, suffering over 100 casualties.

However one of Exeter‘s 8 inch shells had penetrated two decks before exploding in Graf Spee’s funnel area—destroying her raw fuel processing system and leaving her with just 16 hours fuel, insufficient to allow her to return home. With her legs cut off, her desalination plant wrecked, her kitchen burnt and 70% of her 11-inch shells expended, Spee made for Uruguay where she hoped to either make repairs or be interned. However the Uruguayans ordered her to sea in 72 hours into the waiting arms of the British fleet. British Intelligence deceived the Germans into believing that a much larger force lay just offshore, ready to destroy the battered Graf Spee when she emerged.

Admiral-graf-spee

Rather than suffer outright defeat to a seemingly superior force, the ship’s captain, Hans Langsdorff ordered her evacuated and scuttled. After all, the ship herself was named after a German admiral who was killed at sea in defeat by a larger British force in the First World War. Landing most of his crew ashore, he sailed her to the edge of Montevideo harbor and blew her magazines.

More than 1000 of her crew were interned in Argentina during the war while  Hans Langsdorff himself shot himself while wearing his dress uniform.

040210_uruguay_bcol_10a.grid-6x2

She has been slowly salvaged by various countries and teams since 1939 but most of the ship is still in Montevideo. Her 660-pound, nine foot wide eagle figurehead was recovered from the stern of the ship in 2006 by a team of divers who loosened 145 bolts to free the ornament.

GrafSpeeEagle

Odds are, no one has seen the last of the Graf.

10Graf-Spee-dec1939
Specs
Displacement:     Design:
14,890 t (14,650 long tons; 16,410 short tons)
Full load:
16,020 long tons (16,280 t)

Length:     186 m (610 ft 3 in)
Beam:     21.65 m (71 ft 0 in)
Draft:     7.34 m (24 ft 1 in)
Propulsion:

Eight MAN diesel engines
Two propellers
52,050 shp (38,810 kW)

Speed:     29.5 knots (55 km/h)
Range:     8,900 nautical miles (16,500 km; 10,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement:     As built:

33 officers
586 enlisted

After 1935:

30 officers
921–1,040 enlisted

Sensors and
processing systems:     1940:

FMG 39 G(gO)

1941:

FMG 40 G(gO)
FuMO 26

Armament:     As built:

6 × 28 cm (11 in) in triple turrets
8 × 15 cm (5.9 in) in single turrets
8 × 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes

Armor:

main turrets: 140 mm (5.5 in)
belt: 80 mm (3.1 in)
deck: 45 mm (1.8 in)

Aircraft carried:     Two Arado Ar 196 seaplanes
Aviation facilities:     One catapult
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