TRU05774 1/700 Admiral Graf Spee 1939

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TRU05774  1/700 Admiral Graf Spee 1939
Product Code: TRU05774
Brand: Trumpeter
WAS: £26.99
OUR PRICE:£24.48
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After WW1 the German navy was restricted by various naval treaties, to warships of no more than 10000 tons and armed with guns no bigger than 11 inch. To get round the treaty the Germans came up with the Panzershchiffe (armoured ship) which were diesel powered, cruiser sized ships with 11 inch guns. The intention was to make a ship that could be used for commerce raiding, rather than fleet battles as the German Navy was unlikely to match the Royal Navy. The 3 Panzerschiffe were named Deutschland, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee, they displaced between 10800 and 12340 tons (Graf Spee being the heaviest), carried six 11 inch guns in 2 triple turrets, 8 single 5.9 inch guns and 3 twin 4.1 inch AA guns, 2 quadruple torpedo tubes were also fitted and each ship carried a spotter aircraft. The armour scheme provided a main belt of 3 inches and turret armour of 5.5 inches and would prove adequate against 6 inch gunfire but not 8 inch gunfire. Adm Graf Spee had slightly thicker armour than her earlier sister ships. The diesel engines gave a top speed of 28 knots and a range of over 16000 nautical miles. A big advantage of the diesel engines, was that the 3 Panzerschiffes did not need to wait for steam to build up, they could power up and move off very quickly. Graf Spee was also the first German ship to be fitted with a radar set.
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.