Scale model of the German Navy's armoured ship,
launched in 1934.
The armoured ships were designed and developed in
accordance with the restrictions of the Treaty of
Versailles, which denied Germany the right to build
large combat ships over 10,000 tonnes. These ships
were fitted with powerfularmaments for their size,
and this gained them the rather mocking nickname of
"pocket battleships" from the English.
Nevertheless, they were successful designs within
their limited scope. They were easily able to
exploit their heavy weaponry to defeat smaller enemy
ships, and yet escape from larger foes such as
battleships thanks to their high speed of 28.5 kn.
Their overall design also made the armoured ships
ideal for the task of destroying enemy merchant
shipping. >br> The Graf Spee was particularly
renowned for its humane treatment of prisoners: no
crew members of captured ships were killed while the
vessel was hunting for enemy freighters. Crews on
board the Graf Spee were also handled fairly and
During her hunt for enemy freight vessels in the
Atlantic -and also for a brief period in the Indian
Ocean - the Graf Spee repeatedly used skilful
tactics to escape from enemy warships.
The end came in the Battle of Rio de la Plata, in
combat with three English cruisers. During this
skirmish the Graf Spee was damaged, and steamed into
the neutral port of Montevideo for repairs. In view
of the English superiority, Captain Langsdorff
subsequently took thedecision to scupper the ship on
17 December 1939.
A superb, high-quality model featuring outstanding