Scharnhorst

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German armoured cruiser Scharnhorst launched 22nd March 1906 and sunk 8th December 1914. The Scharnhorst armoured cruiser with its 17cm single turrets proved inadequate for the battlefleet at the beginning of World War I but proved useful on overseas stations. From 1911 Scharnhorst was stationed at Tsingtao, the German colony in China. Admiral Graf Spee's flagship of the East Asian Squadron fought at the German victory at the battle of Coronel but was finally sunk along with her sister ship the Gneisenau at the battle of the Falklands on 8th December 1914.

Displacement: 11,600 tons.  Speed: 22.5 knots.  Complement: 764.  Armament: eight 8.2 inch guns, six 5.9 inch guns, 18 3.4 inch guns, four 18 inch torpedo tubes.

Sister ship Gneisenau.

the German armoured cruiser Scharnhorst, sunk in the Falkland Islands. Photo inset is of Admiral Graf von Spee, whose flagship was the Scharnhorst.

At the outbreak of World War I, Germany's East Asiatic squadron, consisting of two large armoured cruisers and three light cruisers under the command of Vice Admiral Graf Spee, travelled from their base at Tsingtao in northern China, across the western Pacific to the coast of Chile. On 1st November they were intercepted off the Chilean port of Coronel by a British squadron where, enjoying a large advantage in firepower, the encounter ended with a resounding victory for Admiral Graf Spee. The British Admiralty reacted swiftly, dispatching a powerful naval force to the South Atlantic to confront the German squadron, and on 9th December battle commenced some 120 miles south west of the Falkland Islands. Outnumbered, outgunned, and outpaced by the British force, the Battle of the Falklands was over by nightfall. Von Spee and the entire crew of his flagship Scharnhorst perished, and with Leipzig, Nurnberg and Gneisenau also sunk, the East Asiatic Squadron was routed. Only Dresden escaped and when she was scuttled in Chilean waters four months later, the East Asiatic Squadron ceased to exist.

The British squadron under Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock consisted of two armoured cruisers HMS Goodhope and HMS Monmouth, light cruiser HMS Glasgow and an armed merchant cruiser. Both HMS Goodhope and HMS Monmouth were sunk, Admiral Cradock went down with his ship HMS Goodhope.

Extract from Navy and Army illustrated December 26th 1914.

SMS Scharnhorst

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  ? Walker Archive. Order Code PGC015

SMS Scharnhorst