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"Battle of the River Plate - 1982" Topic

20 Posts

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Bozkashi Jones24 May 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

Okay, this is a pure fantasy "what if?", but it is tantalising…

Imagine – 1939 and the German pocket battleship Graf Spee leaves Montevideo under cover of darkness. Instead of scuttling though, in our alternate realty Langsdorf dashes across the estuary and docks in Buenas Aires. The Argentinean government, sympathetic to Germany, repatriate Langsdorf and his crew. The ship is interned and, with no prospect of returning her to the Kriegsmarine, she is gifted, Geoban style, to Argentina.

Fast forward to 1982 and the Falklands War. The Admiralty receives intelligence that the modernised pocket battleship is to sail and threaten the task force. A surface action group (SAG) is despatched; HMS Exeter, a Type 42 destroyer, HMS Achilles, and HMS Ajax, two Leander class frigates.

Notwithstanding the complete lack of anti-ship capability afforded by a SAG, it's still an attractive " what if?"

So, if Graf Spee had been taken into the Argentinean Navy, what would she be like in 1982? Turret Bruno removed and a helicopter deck and hanger fitted? Addition of Exocet launchers like Belgrano?



jdpintex24 May 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

Why send a SAG? The subs could have easily bagged it, just like the Belgrano.

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member24 May 2017 10:10 a.m. PST

Same British sub, just different target. Or same target and Graf Spee would have headed back to port.

Bozkashi Jones24 May 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

Yep, agreed, but I did say this was a fantasy what if. I wouldn't want Conqueror spoiling the fun!

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2017 12:01 p.m. PST

This is an interesting idea, but I think it needs tweaking to make a good scenario (otherwise why not just hit GS with a torpedo from a submarine or an Exocet (the RN had them too) at 25 miles out?

After spending an 2 hours on that I'm left to think that I still need to work on this to make it balanced, believable, and fun. I'll get back to that later, but this idea does have potential.

dwight shrute24 May 2017 12:42 p.m. PST

Argentina would more than likely have scrapped her and used her to make the tins for corned beef …
shame she was a beautiful ship …

55th Division Inactive Member24 May 2017 4:53 p.m. PST

well the argentines did update the USS phoenix a world war 2, Brooklyn class cruiser to modern standards so they did have the ways and means to do it but then again as previously mentioned Conqueror put paid to that ship

Tgunner24 May 2017 6:29 p.m. PST

IIRC, the Phoenix was a light cruiser in name only. She massed 12,000 tons fully loaded vs. the Spee which was about 16,000 ton with 15 6" guns vs. 6 11" guns. Honestly I think the Phoenix was a more deadly ship! The Japanese called her class ¨Machine-gun cruisers¨ because of the weight and speed of their bombardments. In fact, I would bet that the Phoenix would have thrashed the Graf Spee in a fair fight!

Maybe there´s a scenario: Spee vs. Phoenix!

Lion in the Stars24 May 2017 7:57 p.m. PST

Phoenix was a light cruiser because she had 6" guns, heavy cruisers had 8" guns.

Displacement had nothing to do with it.

hocklermp524 May 2017 10:53 p.m. PST

Wasn't she listed as an Antiaircraft Cruiser?

Crabbman25 May 2017 3:00 a.m. PST

Really interesting idea for a scenario. I may have to give it a try with my Naval:Command rules.


Murvihill25 May 2017 8:40 a.m. PST

The Brooklyns weren't anti-aircraft cruisers. Their main battery of 6" guns were incapable of engaging planes. The Atlanta class were AA cruisers, with 16-5" dual purpose guns in twin turrets. The Atlantas were half the displacement of the Brooklyns.

Bozkashi Jones25 May 2017 1:29 p.m. PST

Right there with you Rory, but you might have to reclassify the Leanders as Exocet batch in order to even it up!

Otherwise I suspect the engagement will only have one outcome. I don't think a Type 42, a gun Leander and an Ikara Leander will have much of a chance.

You must let us know how you get on – with photos please mate…


hocklermp525 May 2017 6:12 p.m. PST

Murvihill……Thanks for clearing that up about anti-aircraft cruisers. Been ages since I read up on USN in WWII.

Khusrau Inactive Member27 May 2017 5:06 p.m. PST

Honestly? a 50 year old pre WW2 design equipped with the best a second world nation can offer? I suspect she would have required more than a couple of SSM to sink her, but the ECW alone would have made her a sitting duck vs the RN.

Lion in the Stars28 May 2017 2:45 a.m. PST

So, if Graf Spee had been taken into the Argentinean Navy, what would she be like in 1982? Turret Bruno removed and a helicopter deck and hanger fitted? Addition of Exocet launchers like Belgrano?

Lose the torpedo tubes for Exocet launchers. Replace the floatplane accommodations for a helo deck (and hangar, hopefully). She'd probably lose the 37mm and 20mm AA guns, too.

Considering that the rest of Argentina's navy was predominantly US, I'd expect the secondary and AA guns to be swapped out for US 6" secondaries and maybe NATO 105mm guns.

If I were in charge of the refit and Argentina had the money for it, I'd replace the 105mm AA guns with missiles (most likely Sea Darts, as carried by the Type 42 destroyers).

So 'my' ARA Graf Spee would be packing 6x 28cm guns, 8x 6" guns, and at least 1 Sea Dart launcher (might be too much to replace all 3x 105mm turrets with Sea Dart, so would likely do 1x Sea Dart aft and 2x Sea Wolf amidships). Adding a couple CIWS units would be possible, I'd put one on each side of the hull, just forward of the stack, above the flank AA missiles.

You know, this actually sounds like an interesting conversion project to do in 1/700!

Dobber28 May 2017 10:08 a.m. PST

"Tonight on BBC World News at 8 o'clock:
Upon receipt of the news that the Argentines are sortieing the ARA Graff Spee with the Light Cruisers General Belgrano, and Nueve de Julio, under the air cover of an apparently fully operational Veinticinco de Mayo, has caused the Royal Navy quite some consternation. The Admiralty has announced that, in light of these current events, HMS Vanguard's scheduled refit has been postponed and she is being put to sea. The Admiralty is, however, doubtful that HMS Duke of York can be readied in time to counter this threat. You may recall that Anson and Howe had been Cannibalised buying the 70's to keep King George V and Duke of York in service buying their early 70's refit. Until Vanguard can make it to the south Atlantic, its up to the Jack Tars of the HMS King George V, in her 1970's trim, and a handful of destroyers to keep the Argentine menace away from the carriers and troops currently liberating Port Stanley…"

…Shame that, that whole underwater torpedo platform idea couldn't be made to work. could have been of some use…

Bozkashi Jones03 Jun 2017 5:43 p.m. PST

Lion – I really like your update. Sounds like the basis of a convention game – it's certainly not as odd as Nazi zombies!

Dobber – if only!


Lion in the Stars04 Jun 2017 1:37 a.m. PST

Yeah, it'd be a cool conversion to do, the challenge is finding the parts without spending an arm and a leg.

Lion in the Stars06 Jun 2017 4:29 a.m. PST

Now, to follow on to Dobber's post…

KGV class 1970 refit:
10x BL 14" MkVII guns
16x QF 4.5"/45 MkV guns (same turrets as Daring-class, the 5.25" guns were too big to fire as fast as the RN wanted)
9x Seacat missile launchers (replacing the pompom mounts)

Vanguard 1970s refit:
8x BL 15" guns
16x QF 5.25" guns (Vanguard had fully-automatic turrets, though it's possible that the KGVs would have replaced their older turrets with the same 5.25" mounts as Vanguard)
10x Seacat missile launchers (replacing the sextuple Bofors mounts, with likely replacement by ~4x Seawolf launchers in the 1982 refit)

The large number of Seacat launchers is to deal with swarm attacks, as I don't believe any given Seacat launcher was capable of dealing with more than one target at a time.

No need to stick Exocet launchers on something that throws 14" or 15" shells downrange, though Exocet does have a better range than the guns. Building a guided, subcaliber shell for better range might work, if someone saw the need. The US had managed to get M712 Copperhead laser-guided shells to work by 1975, after all.

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