Damage to Graf Spee

Damage to <em>Graf Spee</em>

A close-up view of the port side of the 'pocket battleship' Admiral Graf Spee in Montevideo following the Battle of the River Plate, showing its burnt-out Arado Ar 196 seaplane and splinter-holed side plating. The Graf Spee was hit by at least 19 British 6- and 8-inch shells during the battle, killing 36 crewmen and wounding 60, but most of the damage to the ship was superficial. The greatest blow - not known to the Allies at the time - was the destruction of its desalination and oil purification plants, which were vital to the ongoing operation of its diesel engines. Without this system, which would have taken more than the allowed 72 hours to repair, the Graf Spee had no hope of fighting its way back to Germany.

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