Graf Spee to be raised

#1
http://www.guardian.co.uk/germany/article/0,2763,1129332,00.html

Jan Rocha in Montevideo
Friday January 23, 2004
The Guardian

A salvage operation will be launched next week to raise from the estuary of the river Plate the wreck of the German battleship Graf Spee, which spread terror across the south Atlantic at the start of the second world war.
One of the most potent symbols of Nazi sea power, it hunted down and sank allied merchant vessels before being disabled by British warships in the first great naval battle of the war, then scuttled by its captain.

The salvage operation, a private venture with German funding and Uruguayan government backing, is expected to last more than three years. The ship is only eight metres below the surface, but it has broken into two and been engulfed by mud.

Once raised and restored, the Graf Spee is expected to become a major tourist attraction in Montevideo, where reminders of the battle which made it famous still abound: museums, memorials, street names, graves.


Maybe we can raise Ark Royal?
 
#2
Why raise a ship like the Graf Spee, it's not as if there are any questions as to why it went down or any real reasons as to why it should be raised. That said though it must be one of the few major battleships sunk that could be raised as all others would have memorial status as they contain the entombed remains of the crew.
They might as well try to raise the Titanic! :roll:
 
#3
Except the Titanic isn't in 25m of water!

I think one of the more outlandish dreams of people who have been following this project, is to see it raised, refurbished and sailed back to Germany.

Oh dear 8O
 
#4
I can't see much point in this exercise; the structure must have deteriorated to the point where only the larger objects (guns, armour, engines etc) would even be particularly recognisable - and how much 'restoration' could be done with the rest of it? Even some of the ships which have been laid up since WW2 (in the US) have decayed to the point where it's dangerous to enter parts of them. The cost would be prohibitive. Bet it doesn't happen.
 
#5
Although it is claimed the salvage project is private, perhaps there are those in Germany who would welcome a rekindling of interest/awareness of one of their more honourable and chivalrous officers from WWII, Hans Langsdorf.

As for the Argentinians welcoming the Graf Spee's company ashore with fruit, the Governement of the day interned the lot (don't know at what point Langsdorf killed himself) for the remainder of the war. (Later Argentina welcomed less savoury goosesteppers with open arms but that's another tale).

A discreet portrait of Captain Langsdorf hangs in the Union Jack Club, along with ones of other notable former enemy bon oueffs, Galland and Rommel.

Graf Spee was not (is not) a battleship. The press of the day coined the expression, pocket battleship. It was a cruiser with bigger (11 inch) guns than other cruisers. The Germans called it a panzerschiff. Its displacement was in the order of 10000 tons, against 40000 tons for a proper battlewagon with 15 inch guns. No contest.
 
#6
still though its an infamous ship like hood and bismark, and as was said its one of the few ships that isnt a tomb for the lost crew, i think it might be a good idea

Altough I cant actually see it happening
 
#7
i wonder if the financial backing for this is coming from germany?? maybe the eurocrats will donate a few K, better still why don't they approach our national lottery???? we know how good they are for helping our own veterans, maybe the germans will be looked after better, the lottery can easily justify a donation after all, it was us who sunk her!!!!
 
#8
There has been some talk in the corridors that after the sinking / scuttling, RM / SBS type divers dived on the wreck in an attempt to savage the radar / range finder. Don't know if they ever managed to recover anything (don't suppose we'll know just yet). It was said that the German Navy's radar or at least the range finding equipment was much more advanced than ours, hence the recovery action.

I'm not a hundred percent sure but I believe they dived within a week or so of the scuttling - God knows what it was like down there - the Plate's a sh1tty river with strong currents.

Would be an extraordinary sight though, if they did manage to salvage, re-float and right her. Don't know about the voyage across the pond, won't fancy that myself (if that's what they intend to do) - volunteers please? Tourist attraction, famous floating German restaurant?

I suppose because they recovered all the fatalities before the scuttling, they (the Uruguayan government
Authorities), have managed to waive the war graves thing? Still, it will make a good TV documentary and one to follow.

Ivor
 
#9
Ivor,
the Brit Govt. bought the wreck off the Uruguayan Govt., at the time of the scuttiling. Two tons of equpiment were salvaged for evaluation. Unsure what happened after evaluation. Probably ended up in a skip if past MOD experience is anything to go by. The ship is not classed as a war grave so anything goes as to salvage. Although there is the question of who owns it. It is a veritable minefield of ownership, German Govt? Urayguay waters. Brit Govt as original salvager in possession? Cannot remember if U.N. declared Nazi Govt., as illegal, so what does that actually entail regarding ownership. Overall raising it is all about money and tourist attraction. There is also a group in Germany who plan to recover the Prinze Eugen from Bikini Atoll. It was one of the ships used in the Atomic Bomb blast tests. I would also wonder what would be the historical representation of ships like these. A visit a few years ago to U 995 at Laboe was a little short of historical information regarding its history. A book is available but its a walk through the sub and nothing else.Not like the talk available when visiting HMS Alliance at Portsmouth. Perhaps things have changed.
 

daywalker

LE
Kit Reviewer
#10
Do you think that the RN might be able to buy it on the cheap if they raise it, lick of paint and we could be sorted!!!

And to be fair HMS Graf Spee II has a nice ring to it. ^~
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
There's a bunch of ships in Mers-el-Kébir that the French could raise too. Perhaps we could have another go?
 
#12
She was scuttled though wasn't she? So no war grave.

In a mere 25m of water she is probably a bit of a hazard, so raising isn't too bad an idea.
 
#13
The argies keep making noises about the Falklands. Let's hope they read this and raise the Belgrano so we can have a second pop.
 
#14
I think of Graf Spee often when walking past HMS Belfast on the Thames. They're of similar size with Graf Spee more heavily armed but with less advanced engines. Belfast has ground-breaking (and extremely dangerous) high pressure turbines powered with super-heated steam in a pressurised boiler room. If both doors are open they eject a damn great gout of flame straight across the engine room, frying everyone. That was the cost of being able to hit 32 knots. Graf Spee could only make 28.5.

I hope they raise her. Bits have already come up. Royal Navy intelligence nicked the Seetakt radar during WW2.

HowStuffWorks Videos "Massive Engines: HMS Belfast Steam Engine"
 
#16
Belfast has ground-breaking (and extremely dangerous) high pressure turbines powered with super-heated steam in a pressurised boiler room. If both doors are open they eject a damn great gout of flame straight across the engine room, frying everyone. That was the cost of being able to hit 32 knots.
I can't find any evidence that the boilers on HMS Belfast were any different from those in use on similar classes. Chris Barrie seems to me to be hyping it up a bit. See below from Full text of "Water-tube boilers; based on a short course of lectures delivered at University college, London" about forced draught which is what creates the blow back risk.

Thornycroft may be said to have definitely introduced the closed stokehold system into the British Navy, when he employed it on his torpedo boats, and, since 1882, when it was fitted to the Conqueror and Satellite it is practically the only form of forced draught that is employed in the British Navy.
 
#17
Surely raising the Graf Spee or any other WW2 ship is simply fantasy? Graf Spee was burnt out and partly demolished when she sank - there will be nothing salvable except for scrap metal and some artefacts. The chances of retrieving a float-able hull will be zero, and the chances of preserving thousands of tons of corroded steel before they crumble into dust will be equally slim. Ships that sank in deeper water reached terminal speeds of up to 35 mph (IIRC) before they hit bottom, so are not likely to be in any sort of structurally-intact state - even before 60+ years of deterioration set in...

If it is feasible, lets have Royal Oak back; she'd be an impressive sight..
 
#18
"There is also a group in Germany who plan to recover the Prinze Eugen from Bikini Atoll."

Best comment by far.
I always understood that PG was the Center Target for Bikini Atoll Bomb.
Assembling Vapor !

john
 
#19
"There is also a group in Germany who plan to recover the Prinze Eugen from Bikini Atoll."

Best comment by far.
I always understood that PG was the Center Target for Bikini Atoll Bomb.
Assembling Vapor !

john
Actually it's still largely an intact hull, albeit covered in coral now. Always wanted to dive that one but could never afford the flights out there. She rolled on to her starboard side and is 'props up' nowadays.
It would have been a great dive simply because she accompanied Bismarck. One to tick off on the list of 'worlds great wreck dives'. Zero chance of raising her as she would break into pieces if she moved at all. The steel must be wafer thin in places. The same must be true of Graf Spee. Might make a good film though, with the Americans as the heroes of course...

Bloody hell, this is an old thread. :roll:

Here's a sketch as she lies on the reef edge, her props stick out of the water:

fig3-18.jpg
 
#20
I believe that one of Prinz Eugen's props was salvaged and is incorporated in a memorial.
 

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