Planet Tales

Sinking The Graf Spee

Season 1, Episode 5 of 5

One of the most potent symbols of Nazi sea power, the Graf Spee wreaked havoc with allied merchant shipping in the opening months of World War II. By December 1939 she had become Churchill's number one target. The battle that ensued between the two naval stalwarts, Commodore Henry Harwood and Captain Hans Langsdorff, finally saw the Graf Spee out-maneuvered by her British counterpart not only on the seas but also through military intelligence. A 'cloak and dagger' attack was waged as British Intelligence leaked information claiming a large fleet was steaming to the River Plate to lie in wait for the Graf Spee. The 'official' British account said that Langsdorff scuttled his ship rather than face certain defeat. But a re-examination of the official records and the captain's war diaries, points to Langsdorff knowing the British were trying to trick him. But if this is true, why did he scuttle his ship? This program is from the BBC series "Timewatch".

Previously Aired

5 p.m.
5 p.m.
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