Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

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alecsandros
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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:13 am

Exactly,
those were 8" hits from Exeter...

And as we know, the decision to withdraw to Montevideo came as a surprise to both the German officers on board, and to the crews of Ajax and Achilles...

""My own feelings were that the enemy could do anything he wanted to. He showed no sign of being damaged; his main armament was firing accurately; the Exeter evidently was out of it, and so he had only two small cruisers to prevent him attacking the very valuable River Plate trade."

Captain Parry - commander of the Achilles
"

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by Francis Marliere » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:29 am

Gentlemen,

as far as I know, Admiral Graf Spee was no longer capable of his best speed during the Battle of the River Plate. Due to his dirty hull and worn out engine, the ship could only steam at 24 or 25 knots.

Best regards,

Francis

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:41 pm

Francis Marliere wrote: as far as I know, Admiral Graf Spee was no longer capable of his best speed during the Battle of the River Plate. Due to his dirty hull and worn out engine, the ship could only steam at 24 or 25 knots.
If that's true, they are going to need all the luck they can get...
Cheers,

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by Francis Marliere » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:55 pm

Alecsandros,

I'm pretty sure that I have read that several times, but I can't unfortunately remember where. As you say, AGS would be hard pressed against the US ships, since they are individually far better than British ones (9 x 8" plus 30 x 6" guns against 6 x 8" and 16 x 6"). Yet I don't understand why German and US ships would fight in 1939 since the USA entered the war in 1939. IMHO (no offense here), a more interesting question would be to study how a French cruiser squadron would perform against AGS. Algérie and La Galissonnière class CL were fine ships but elder cruisers were poorly armored and didn't have very good fire-control. Note that thin armor may be an advantage against 11" shells that might not meet enough resistance to explose.

Best,

Francis

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by RF » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:13 pm

alecsandros wrote:Exactly,
those were 8" hits from Exeter...
Exeter scored only two hits. The Uruguayan technical commission reported that the damage to the water distillation plant was caused by 6 inch shells, as was also noted by Rasenack.
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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by RF » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:25 pm

alecsandros wrote:...

""My own feelings were that the enemy could do anything he wanted to. He showed no sign of being damaged; his main armament was firing accurately; the Exeter evidently was out of it, and so he had only two small cruisers to prevent him attacking the very valuable River Plate trade."

Captain Parry - commander of the Achilles
"
This should be seen in the context of battle tunnel vision on the part of Captain Parry.
AGS didn't land any 11 inch direct hits on Achilles, that ship was hit by several rounds of 4.1 inch AA shells and shrapnel from shell bursts on impact with water. At no stage was Achilles in anything like the danger that Exeter was in. Ajax was hit by one 11 inch shell which knocked out two gun turrets but beyond that Ajax only suffered shrapnel damage.

Also - which Captain Parry would not have been aware of at the time - the AGS on the approaches to Montevideo passed close by to the British merchant ship Ashworth, which was leaving Montevideo unaware that there was a battle going on. Langsdorf made no attempt to interfere with Ashworth because he did not want an incident inside the Plate area that would upset Argentina and Uruguay and prejudice the reception the AGS would have received.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by alecsandros » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:56 pm

RF wrote:
This should be seen in the context of battle tunnel vision on the part of Captain Parry.
Naturaly...
My point was that both sides were not expecting GS to withdraw. After all, Ajax and Achilles were allready leaving the battle area, and GS simply didn;t closed in for the kill... Exeter was doing 18kts best than... It woudl have been an easy kill...

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by RF » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:17 am

Ajax and Achilles were not ''leaving the battle area'' they were shadowing the AGS. Harwoods' intention was to shadow the AGS for the rest of the day and then under cover of darkness to close AGS for nightime torpedo attack. The arrival at Montevideo was not anticipated by Harwood, he was expecting a sharp turn to port by AGS in the Plate estuary to break back out into the open Atlantic.
The compendium of the battle by Millington-Drake refers.
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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by alecsandros » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:14 pm

?
They withdrawn, at over 25km distance, thus breaking the battle... They closed at 23km only to be straddled by 11" gunfire, and withdrawn again.

I'm not quarelling about semantics, especialy as English isn't my native language...

But the 2 cruisers disengaged from the battle, and retreated a considerable distance. Graf Spee had Exeter on a plate, and refused to take it...

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by RF » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:43 pm

Not really - the Germans did not have at that stage visual contact with Exeter, didn't know the position, course or speed of that ship and to find it would require a search.
Langsdorf also believed (wrongly) that other Allied warships were in the area ready to support Harwood. That belief was founded on the way Ajax and Achilles had closed the range during the main phase of the action.

The AGS could have sunk the Exeter early in the battle had Langsdorf not rushed in - but he did that because he feared the superior speed of the British cruisers and their perceived ability to shadow him.
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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by guesser » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:01 pm

GS wasn't nearly as impervious to 6-8 or even 5" shells as some here would like to believe, one Japanese Kongo class battlecruiser with far more armor and much heavier weapons along with an escort was dissabled by these same weapons, I see no reason for the GS to fare better than that ship.

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by paul.mercer » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:54 pm

guesser wrote:GS wasn't nearly as impervious to 6-8 or even 5" shells as some here would like to believe, one Japanese Kongo class battlecruiser with far more armor and much heavier weapons along with an escort was dissabled by these same weapons, I see no reason for the GS to fare better than that ship.
Gentlemen,
Without wishing to intrude on your expertise, but I thought that I read somewhere that there were large dents on Graf Spee where 6" shells had hit her armour and failed to penetrate. Do you think it might be a similar senario to the meeting of the Japanese navy who had lighter but faster firing guns against the Russians with heavier but slower firing weapons, which I belive destroyed many of their less armoured fighting instruments?

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by ede144 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:51 pm

guesser wrote:What if rather than Exeter, Achillies and Ajax the US had exchanged the use of UK bases for 2 Brooklands and a late model New Orleans or even Wichita?. A few calculations show that the weight of fire per minute was very equal between the Germans and English, but the 3 U.S. ships had the equal all four from both groups combined, not to mention more armor and a slight edge in speed; would the German ship have been able to fend off these ships long enough to make shelter or would she have been overwhelmed outright?
I wonder how would this work? The US ships had no immunity against the 11' of AGS. Secondly due to a splinter damage the range keeper of the 5.9' guns did not work correct. This was luck for the RN and one could not expect same happens all time.
Third The US Navy ships did not have torpedoes. So Langsdorf would not do man overs to prevent torpedo attacks. Fourth The US Navy of this time was not well known for good shooting.

In my opinion the result would be similar to the original battle. May be if Langsdorf had a better day I could have sunk several RN or US Navy ships.

Regards
ede

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by alecsandros » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:21 pm

ede144 wrote: I wonder how would this work? The US ships had no immunity against the 11' of AGS. Secondly due to a splinter damage the range keeper of the 5.9' guns did not work correct. This was luck for the RN and one could not expect same happens all time.
Third The US Navy ships did not have torpedoes. So Langsdorf would not do man overs to prevent torpedo attacks. Fourth The US Navy of this time was not well known for good shooting.
Hi Ede,
The previous posters mentioned that the US cruisers would have much more artillery available, and of superior quality...
In a normal, battle line engagement, the deluge of fire would take it's toll on Graf Spee... On the other hand, if Langsdofrf would decide to mantain the range as long as possible, and open fire from 20-22km, things may turn out very differently...

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Re: Best U.S. cruisers at the river Platte

Post by dunmunro » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:34 pm

guesser wrote:What if rather than Exeter, Achillies and Ajax the US had exchanged the use of UK bases for 2 Brooklands and a late model New Orleans or even Wichita?. A few calculations show that the weight of fire per minute was very equal between the Germans and English, but the 3 U.S. ships had the equal all four from both groups combined, not to mention more armor and a slight edge in speed; would the German ship have been able to fend off these ships long enough to make shelter or would she have been overwhelmed outright?
You are proposing an optimal US cruiser force, but the 3 historical RN cruisers were by no mean its' optimal force, which would have been 2 x Belfast class and maybe a 3 London class CA.

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