Graf Spee

aero-naut (aeronaut)
Add to cart
  • Description
  • More

Graf Spee - "Panzerschiff" (armoured ship)

Part No.: AN3600/03
Scale: 1:200
Length: 940mm
Beam: 108mm

The model was designed to a scale of 1:200, using shipyard documents.
The kit contains the finished plastic hull which substantially shortens the construction time. The drive is made with two electric motors. The hull dimensions do permit the installation of multi-channel remote control.

The kit contains:
Detailed manual with building process in German, English, French, Spanish and Italian, plastic hull, additional plan for completion of the hull, deck, rudder, wood and cardboard sections, propellers with shafts and tubes.
The kit is supplied complete with detailed fitting set which features portholes, anchors, anchor cables, headlights, flag-pole, hawse pipes, anchor capstans, life-boats, traffic boats, anti-aircraft artillery, triple turrets, double gun-carriage, torpedo tubes, rangefinder, Arado 196, masts (brass tubes, steel-wire), railings, cranes, etc..

Admiral Graf von Spee was a Deutschland-class "Panzerschiff" (armoured ship). She was laid down at the Reichsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in October 1932 and completed by January 1936.
The Treaty of Versailles, the peace treaty that brought an end to World War 1, limited Germany to building warships of no more than 10,000 tons in size and although the Graf Spee had a nominal 10,000 ton displacement, her fully loaded displacement was actually 16,280 tons – far exceeding the limitations set down in the Treaty of Versailles.
Classed as "Panzerschiff" (armoured ship) by Germany the British quickly gave them the more accurate name of ‘Pocket Battleships’. Despite being significantly smaller than true battleships like the Bismark, Graf Spee and her sister ships Deutschland and Admiral Scheer were built with six battleship class 11-inch guns in two 3 gun turrets, rather than the 8-inch guns of a cruiser class and had a top speed of 28 knots; this meant that they significantly out-gunned any ship in the Anglo-French navies fast enough to catch them at the same time out-paced any ships heavily armed enough to sink them.
The first all-diesel warships, their combination of speed, long range and heavy armament made them ideal raiders to hunt merchant vessels. Indeed, when war broke out in September 1939, Graf Spee, under command of Hans Langsdorff, was dispatched to the vast area of the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean – the ideal hunting ground for this long ranging ‘pocket battleship’. Between September and December 1939 Graf Spee would sink nine merchant ships with a combined gross register tonnage (GRT) of 50,089.
On December 13, 1939, the British heavy cruiser Exeter and the light cruisers Achilles and Ajax, all under the command of Commodore Henry Harwood sighted Graf Spee on the horizon.
The Battle of River Plate ensued; the Graf Spee with her longer range 11-inch guns held the advantage over the 8-inch and 6-inch guns of the British cruisers but, with no Axis ports in the South Atlantic Graf Spee knew there was no-where for them to seek refuge or repair.
Within the first thirty minutes of the fight, the British were losing. The Exeter had been badly damaged, the heavy cruiser losing two eight-inch gun turrets and with its bridge smashed. The Achilles and Ajax were also hit. But, the battleship had taken a hit from an eight-inch shell that damaged its fuel system so badly that it only had sixteen hours of endurance; making it back to Germany would be impossible…
Graf Spee was forced to put into port at Montevideo but, being a neutral port, the Hague Convention stipulated that a belligerent’s warships were only allowed to remain in a port belonging to a neutral nation for twenty-four hours. The Hague Convention also states that before a belligerent's warship could leave a neutral port, it had to wait at least twenty-four hours after an enemy merchant ship had left that port (thus giving the prospective victim time to get clear). In an attempt to keep Graf Spee in port until reinforcements for Harwood could arrive, the British and French arranged for their merchant ships to leave Montevideo at intervals; at the same time Harwood positioned Exeter, Achilles and Ajax outside the three mile limit of Uruguayan waters, making smoke, to give the impression of a much larger force, and started rumours in Montevideo that an aircraft carrier and battlecruiser had arrived.
Mistakenly believing that he now faced a superior force, Langsdorff saw no point in sacrificing his crew in a suicidal battle and instead, on 17 December 1939, ordered Graf Spee to be scuttled.