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Battle of the River Plate by U-Joe Battle of the River Plate by U-Joe
German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee during The Battle of the River Plate. That smoke from the port side is from burning heavy cruiser Exeter.

Can’t say I did everything properly. I drew such battlescape first time, after all, so entire work progress was like chain of fails.

Some background information.

Maximilian von Spee was vice admiral of Imperial German Navy. In 1887–88 he commanded the Kamerun ports, in German West Africa. After that he commanded by group of recon ships, later he was in Navy HQ. He was given command of the German East Asia Squadron based in Tsingtao, China, in 1912. When World War I started, he ordered light cruiser Emden to harass enemies’ communication lines. Spee himself with the rest of the squadron headed to the shores of Chile, where he destroyed armoured cruisers HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth. After that he headed to Falkland Islands, where he expected to shell poorly protected Royal Navy base. But First Sea Lord John Fisher overdid Spee. He sent two modern battlecruisers HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible to Falklands. Their presence decided the outcome of the followed battle . On 8 December 1914Spee’s squadron was destroyed. Nobody survived on flagship ‘Scharnhorst’. Spee and two his sons died.

The last of three German Deutchland-class pocket battleships was commissioned in 1936 and was named after Maximilian von Spee. The main idea of this class was the sum of the weaponry powerful enough to destroy any weak enemy ship, and speed high enough to outrun almost any capital ship. Another virtue of these ships was impressive range provided by diesel engines.

Before World War II Spee participated in Spanish Civil War . She even represented Germany in the Coronation Review at Spithead for King George VI in 1937. Before outbreak of war Kriegsmarine unleashed pocket battleships into the ocean. Deutchland operated in the North Atlantic, while Admiral Graf Spee with supply ship Altmark operated in the South Atlantic. During her raid Spee destroyed 11 merchant ships. Allied mustered 8 tactical groups to hunt her. They included such powerful units like HMS Renown, HMS Arc Royal, HMS Hermes, French battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg. But they were not those who vanquished Spee. It was commodore Henry Harwood’s Force G which located and finished off Spee. Force G consisted of heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles.

On 13 December 1939 there was last battle of Spee. She turned Exeter into the burning mash which reached base on Falklands Islands only with Lord’s help. But Spee itself was damaged. Not critically, but painfully. Captain Langsdorf was wounded and contused, that’s why his iron will was broken and some of his decisions were not balanced. He decided not to break through directly into the North Atlantic, but to move into the neutral port Montevideo to fix some damage instead. Harwood stayed outside the port and patiently waited for reinforcements. He understood that he has little chances of success, because all units were far enough to reach Montevideo quickly. But Germans doomed themselves. One of the officers saw a British ship on the horizon and decided it is HMS Renown, which was far off in fact. They knew that Renown is able to finish off Spee easily. So Langsdorf after consultations with HQ destroyed Spee. He shot himself, the crew was interned. Later many crewmen returned to Germany using different ways.

Altmark supply vessel escaped. But on 17 February 1940 she was trapped by British squadron in one of the Norway fjords. At night boarding team from HMS Cossack attacked Altmark and set free ~300 prisoners from merchant ships destroyed by Spee. After that humiliated crew returned Altmark to Germany.
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:icontman300:
tman300 Featured By Owner Edited May 13, 2015
Nicely done piece. Shame this ship was scuttled. Funny enough my dad was serving on the Exeter when this took place. She had a rough time of it but managed to serve on until she was sunk in the Pacific.
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner May 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you.

This one isn't the best picture I drew in my life. However, maybe it is the most important one. It is like a link with the past. You saw it and remembered your father who was serving on the Exeter. One of the previous commenters remembered his farher who was serving on Ajax. Definitely this picture wasn't drawn in vain.
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:iconragdollralph:
RagdollRalph Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I'm guessing you are going to be playing World of Warships when it comes out? :D
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, at least I will install World of Warships to look at the ships in the Armory section. ^^'
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:iconragdollralph:
RagdollRalph Featured By Owner Edited Mar 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Good enough ;P
(really nice picture btw ;) )
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. (^_^)>
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:iconvgcoop:
vgcoop Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  New Deviant
my father was a gunner in that battle serving on the Ajax, I often think that had Langsdorf been a hard line nazi, he could well have come out fighting and my dad could easily have been killed, and I would not have existed either....
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks goodness, fate have chosen the path in which your father survived.

I am glad you told me this. Now I know that this picture wasn't useless.
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:iconmercenarygraphics:
MercenaryGraphics Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
First glance I thought it was the battle of Java Sea with De Ruyter!

Looks good!
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Edited Oct 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, their superstrucrures look similar.

Thank you. 
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:iconsergdeath:
Sergdeath Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
Пиу, пиу, пиу! Только один косяк у этой картины - слишком четкая граница воды. (справа) А в остальном очень круто, Пашк.
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ох, и сюда проник, негодяй. В интернетах тебя найти проще, чем ИРЛ. ><
Воду надо пофиксить в будущем, да.
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:iconnekosmash:
Nekosmash Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
There is a great series of books about the rescue attempt the Axis tried to make when the crew was taken prisoner in Argentina called Secret Honor.

They alternate between the perspectives of an OSS agent trying to thwart their plans and elements of the German high command planning the rescue as they each ply their spy trades in neutral South America.
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm, sounds interesting. Thank you for the information. And sorry for the late reply.
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:iconkellyn87:
Kellyn87 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I saw some documentaries on the Graf Spee and it is very sad what Poor Langsdorf went through. The Press called him a coward but even today his crew considered him a hero. He did not want his crew to die in a hopeless battle similar to what happened to Bismarck a few years latter. RIP Captain Langsdorf!
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It is easy to call somebody a coward while sitting in comfort with the newspaper and a cup of tea. But what would they do if they were in Langsdorf's position? He was wounded, his ship was damaged and he knew nothing about British forces in the region. I hesitate that somebody would have acted better than Langsdorf.
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:iconkellyn87:
Kellyn87 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think for one it was very noble of Langsdorf. I feel sorry for him.
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:iconcjmanson:
CJManson Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014
What's more is that Langsdorf shot himself under alignment of the old Imperial German Naval Ensign, and not the swastika... Or so I have heard.
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:iconkellyn87:
Kellyn87 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I heard the same thing to.
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:iconisograph60xyz:
IsoGraph60XYZ Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Looks good!Especially the smoke from Exeter just over the horizon. The Pocket Battleship flawed doctrine of '...if you can't out run-it,then out gun it...',but not so good when cruisers are engageing you from two to three different directions to split your fire power-wich was British commanders plan to try and negate some of 11" gun firepower /range advantage.
I'd read Exeter was engaged first-and took some heavy damage first-because they closed range to investigate the lookouts sight ing [no radar on those ships yet in 1939] that turned out to be the Graf Spee,and so both of GS main turrets engaged Exeter first befor the light cruisers Ajax and Achilles could close the Range and get in the fight-and split the GS attention-tho just in time they did so Exeter could break off its fight with a smoke screen.
Also-langsdorf initally thought he was engageing a force of ones light cruiser and two destroyers-despite his gunnery officers warning from the range finder turret on top that he had ID Exeter and two CLs.This allowed the two CLs[Light Cruisers] to manuver in to extreme range for their 6"[152mm] guns to score some hits on GF-Langsdorf had thought his secondary 5.9" guns could out range the 'Destroyers' while his main Battery out ranged the 'light cruiser' This error initally allowed Exeter to Manuver closer to GS and get it in range of is 8" guns .Both sides tried torpedo attacks but range was to great -but manuvering to avoid them gave enough time to allow Exeter to break off -and with some Heroic damage control efforts limp to base in Falklands.One of the last 'Big Gun' surface actions fought before use of Radar.
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, sir.
Yep, you did absolutely right description of that fight.
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:icontink29:
Tink29 Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013   General Artist
Nice one !
Thanks for the background ! :)
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. I'm glad that I wrote that badsheet of text not in vain. ^^
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:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She is taking the beating!
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Eeyup. :3
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:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
D

Can you draw WW1 ships/battles?
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, and no.
Technically - yes. Practically - no.

WWI is very interesting period. I read a book about admiral Beatty one or two weeks ago, and was wery glad that I did it. And I want to draw something about WWI. I just want to accumulate some 'critical mass' of WWII ships' drawings before I start to draw something about 'Imperialistic era' (~1860-1920). I hope my bleeding life will be long enough to finish at least part of these plans.
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:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:)

Well can I ask that than you first ww1 drawing would be about the Last Hungarian Battleship the SMS Szent István (King Stephen) and her sisters moving to their end?
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh, I should have guessed that you say something like that. :3
Of course I can, but it will not be soon, you know.
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:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well at least you remember it that is enough, an maybe it will raise your curiosity and you will draw it sooner :XD:
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, I remember. I read about Szent István not a long time ago.
"Patience, Willy, patience, and your bristle will become gold". :3
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(1 Reply)
:iconcount-one:
Count-one Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Ух!
Сразу видно, что над корабликом была проведена намного более серьезная работа) - выделяется по проработке деталей.
Отлично получилось: динамика и прочее.
Надо продолжать в том же духе!
:)
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
>>выделяется по проработке деталей
Не знаю, пишут ли об этом в умных книжках, но чутье мне подсказывает, что картинкам нужен "детализационный контраст". Если все участки картины прорабатывать одинаково тщательно, итоговый результат получается скучноватым. Ну, у меня, по крайней мере.

>>Надо продолжать в том же духе
Надо. Мне товарищи уже все мозги прополоскали, что "корабли в статике неинтересны, рисуй ЭКШОН". ^_^'
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:iconcount-one:
Count-one Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
>>Если все участки картины прорабатывать одинаково тщательно, итоговый результат получается скучноватым
Верно)
Поэтому детализированными всегда делаются передние планы и чем дальше, тем меньше мелочей.
Кста, очень полезно почитать литературу по фото. Там есть общие принципы создания кадра - и композиция, и насыщенность деталями, и цветность и прочее. Советую.

>>Мне товарищи уже все мозги прополоскали, что..
)) Правильно полощут) Но надо просто делать и то и то - тогда не будет однообразия и скуки.
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
>>литературу по фото
Не, ну я не совсем днище, и иногда читаю разрозненные статейки по этим вопросам. А вот с книгами беда. Если помнишь навскидку что-нибудь годное, вбрось название/автора, пожалуйста.
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:iconcount-one:
Count-one Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Например:
Голубева О.Л. - Основы композиции
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
О, спасибо.
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:iconxanda-man:
Xanda-man Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love the water splashes and smoke style! The water looks even better :3 Very nice job. Is that a bit of rain far off in the bottom right?
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad that you like it, sir.
Yes, you're right, I tried to depict far off rain.
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:iconroen911:
rOEN911 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
nice one joe :)
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot, Antonis. ^_^
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:iconuglygosling:
uglygosling Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013
I have read that after the war many Graf Spee crewmen emigrated to Argentina.
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:iconu-joe:
U-Joe Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep. Spee's crew were interned for the remainder of the war in Argentina. No wonder, that many of them didn't want to return into the ruined post-war Germany, and remained in Argentina.
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