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German East Asiatic Squadron

Postcard of the ships of the German South Seas Squadron, commanded by Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee: S.M.S. Nürnberg, Leipzig, Scharnhorst, Dresden, and Gneisenau.

Text:
Das Deutsche Südsee-Geschwader.
Graf v. Spee, Vice-Admiral.
S.M.S. Nürnberg
S.M.S. Leipzig
S.M.S. Scharnhorst
S.M.S. Dresden
S.M.S. Gneisenau
A 142

Postcard of the ships of the German South Seas Squadron, commanded by Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee: S.M.S. Nürnberg, Leipzig, Scharnhorst, Dresden, and Gneisenau.

Image text

Das Deutsche Südsee-Geschwader.

Graf v. Spee, Vice-Admiral.

S.M.S. Nürnberg

S.M.S. Leipzig

S.M.S. Scharnhorst

S.M.S. Dresden

S.M.S. Gneisenau

The German South Sea Squadron.

[S.M.S. - Seiner Majestäts Schiff - His Majesty's Ship]

A 142

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The German East Asiatic Squadron consisted of what became the German South Seas Squadron and the battleship Emden, which separated from the rest of the Squadron to raid Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean.

Commanded by Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee, the South Seas Squadron fled Tsingtao with the armored cruisers S.M.S. Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, and the light cruisers S.M.S. Nürnberg, Dresden, and Leipzig.

Learning of the seizure of the German protectorate of Samoa by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on August 29, 1914, von Spee arrived off the Samoan island of Apia on September 14. He decided he would better use his squadron elsewhere, and sailed east.

The five ships of the South Seas Squadron left Easter Island in October 18.

On November 1, 1914, the Squadron engaged the British South Atlantic Squadron under Rear-Admiral Christopher Cradock in the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile. The British squadron was composed of obsolete ships - HMS Good Hope, Monmouth, Glasgow, and Otranto. The British were hopelessly outmatched, von Spee's ship being faster, with more powerful guns of greater range.

As Cradock tried to close on the German ships, von Spee kept his distance at 18,000 yards until sunset at 6:50 PM, when he closed to 12,000 and began firing. The German ships sank two ships, Good Hope at 7:57 and Monmouth at 9:18. Although victorious, the German Squadron had used much of its ammunition, and could not replace it.

The Squadron rounded Cape Horn into the South Atlantic. On December 8, 1914, the Squadron lost the Battle of the Falklands to a more powerful British fleet, losing four of its five ships. Only Dresden escaped.

German East Asiatic Squadron is a fleet in German High Seas Fleet.

1914-12-08