The Battle Of The River Plate by Gordon Landsborough

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  • Author:
    Gordon Landsborough
    The story of the engagement of the Graf Spee by the 3 cruisers is the story of the first major Royal Navy victory of the Second World War. The cruisers were heavily outgunned , Exeter with 6 -8" guns and her 2 consorts with 8-6" guns. The Deutschland class heavy cruiser, Admiral Graf Spee fielded 6-11" guns and 8-5.9" guns. The German captain also had the advantage of fire control radar and an armour belt up to 4" and turret armour up to 7" in depth.

    Graf Spee was fully manned and morale was high after sinking or capturing a number of allied merchantmen. She had been supplied from German merchant vessels and had also captured stores. Langsdorff, her captain, was an experienced officer of the Imperial Navy.

    Gordon Lansborough tells a detailed but immensely readable story following action on the British , German and neutral fronts. As a writer of fiction as well as non fiction he knew how to keep pages turning , but there is still a detailed naval history for the reader. The proceeds of the original edition were donated to the survivors fund.

    The book was written sixty years ago at a time when the battle was fresh in peoples minds and known to most contemporary readers. One or two details such as the British buying the wreck for scrap to examine the radar heads and fire control were not fully known then.(Ironically the reviewer spoke with MK Purvis ,one of the Admiralty team, about the exploits many years ago)

    Frontline books have produced a good quality book running to 195 pages with glossy photos and the RN report. Annoyingly there is no index or bibliography. Readers who enjoy it might also look at The Jutland Scandal by the same author.

    The book is priced at £19.99 but currently reduced by £4 on the Pen and Sword site and £11.99 from Kindle.

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  1. eodmatt
    I read the book when I was a school kid and it was a riveting read, so I think that most people will find it fascinating. One of the very interesting facets of the book deals with the skullduggery that went on with the British ambassador at times putting pressure on the Argy govt of the day to get the Graf Spee out of harbour and at time trying to delay the ships departure until the arrival of more of the RN assets. The embassy was also responsible for spreading lies about the number and type of ships that Capt. Langsdorf and the Graf Spee would be facing when they left Argy territorial waters.