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.