TRU05774 1/700 Admiral Graf Spee 1939
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Prior to the outbreak of war in Europe, Graf Spee was already in the North Atlantic, ready to intercept British and French merchant ships. Between September and December 1939 she cruised the Atlantic ocean and even into the Indian Ocean, intercepting and sinking 9 merchant ships. The British and French Navies deployed hunting groups to patrol areas of the Atlantic ocean in the hope of Intercepting the Graf Spee. On the 13th December, the Graf Spee spotted the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and the 2 light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles off the port of Montevideo, Uruguay. Believing at first, the Ajax and Achilles to be destroyers, Graf Spee gave battle, concentrating her main guns on Exeter. The British comander, Commodore Harwood ordered Exeter to attack by herself while Ajax and Achilles would attack together from a different angle, hoping to split the German fire. Exeter was soon crippled and the Ajax had her aft turrets disabled. However, the British ships had hit Graf Spee numerous times with both 8 and 6 inch gunfire, after which Graf Spee's captain decided to temporarily retreat to Montevideo harbour to assess the damage done.
While the Graf Spee docked in Montevideo the Exeter retreated to the Falklands but was replaced by another heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, which along with the Ajax and Achilles, stood off the port to watch and wait for further action. The British succeeded in making Graf Spee's captain think that vastly superior forces were approaching the area. Thinking he had no chance, he ordered most of his crew off the ship, before sailing with a skeleton crew to juts outside the harbour. It was there that demolition charges were set and after the remaining crew departed, Graf Spee blew up and sank in shallow water, giving the British their first major naval victory of the war. In the aftermath of what became known as the 'Battle of the River Plate', Deutschland was renamed Lutzow (to avoid losing a ship called Germany) and the Panzerschiffe were re-rated as Heavy Cruisers.
Trumpeter's Graf Spee kit depicts her in 1939, as she looked when she fought Exeter, Ajax and Achilles. This is a highly detailed plastic kit and can be made as a full hull or waterline model.