The Graf Spee:

Many WWII naval battles resulted in the loss of large warships far out at sea. Most of these ships sank in deep water and have not been seen since the day they were lost. More often than not, sailors went to the bottom with their ship.

The Admiral Graf Spee had a different and unusual conclusion to her battle days. She was designed by the German Navy prior to WWII to be a fast and powerful light battleship. During the war her role was that of a commerce raider in the South Atlantic. In this role she was very effective. Her Captain, Hans Langsdorff, was considered by both Allies and Axis forces to be an extremely competent naval commander of unquestionable honor.

In the opening months of WWII the Graf Spee and three Allied ships fought a naval and political battle off the coast of South America that was unlike any battle fought since. Over 100 men from both sides lost their lives during the terrible fight. In the end the Graf Spee was demoralized. Her captain and crew scuttled their once proud warship to prevent her from falling into enemy hands.

Captain Langsdorff committed suicide. The remaining crew stood out the rest of the war in captivity in South America. The drama of the ship, her captain and her crew are a riveting story as well as a textbook example of naval warfare and diplomatic maneuvering.

Today the Graf Spee Group intends to recover and preserve this great ship so that following generations can grasp and appreciate the struggle, the craft and the toll of WWII naval warfare.