German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee

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The Admiral Graf Spee was one of the most famous German naval warships of World War II, along with the Bismarck. Her size was limited to that of a cruiser by the Treaty of Versailles, but she was much more heavily armed than a cruiser due to innovative weight-saving techniques employed in her construction.

She was sent to the Atlantic Ocean as a commerce raider in 1939, where she sank nine Allied merchant ships, with a total tonnage of 50,089.[4] Numerous British hunting groups were assigned to find her, with three British and New Zealand cruisers finally tracking her down in December 1939. The Battle of the River Plate ensued, during which the Graf Spee was damaged. She docked for repairs in the neutral port of Montevideo, but was forced by international law to leave within 72 hours. Faced with what he believed to be overwhelming odds, the captain scuttled his ship rather than risk the lives of his crew.

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Description

Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland-class cruiser. Launched in 1934, she was named after the World War I Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee who died, along with two of his sons, in the first Battle of the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914. She was the second vessel to be named after him, the first being the uncompleted World War I German battlecruiser SMS Graf Spee. The launching took place on 30 June 1934 with Admiral Erich Raeder delivering a pre-launch speech, and the christening performed by Gräfin Huberta von Spee, daughter of the late Vice Admiral von Spee.

Before Admiral Graf Spee was given her official name, she was referred to as Panzerschiff C and Ersatz Braunschweig, as she would be replacing the old battleship Braunschweig in the fleet inventory. She cost 82 million Reichsmark to build.

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