Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday's Today in History

The Battle of the River Plate

The Battle of the River Plate (December 13, 1939) was the first major naval battle of World War II. The German pocketbattle ship (heavy cruiser) Admiral Graf Spee which had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September was found and engaged off the estusry of the River Plate in South America, by three smaller Royal Navy cruisers, HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles, the last of the New Zealand Division. In the ensuing battle, Exter was severely damaged and forced to retire, while the other ships recieved moderate damage. Ajax and Achilles then shadowed the Graf Psee which entered the neutral Uruguayan capital Montevideo. After a tense period, the captain of the Graf Spee, Hans Langsdorff scuttled the ship rather tham forcing the overwhelming superior British force that he believed had assembled.



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