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Sento de Benimaclet

Doubt about the battle of Coronel.

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@Sento de Benimaclet


Probably @Nick Thomadis or Darth himself might have a better view?


Battle of Coronel

Nov 3rd 1914, Pacific Ocean, Chile



Map showing GR East Asia Squadron


My Questions

Did Admiralty (UK) know the size and strength of the German East Asia Squadron [EAS]?

Yes, Tsingtao BASE when abandon by the German’s would have had British Intelligence monitoring. Engagements with Japan also would probably have shared information. So, why would the British attack a much stronger fleet even with the HMS Canopus? Likewise I guess the German’s would know the British Squadron was much weaker.

Did they the British know the German’s were spread out following this? Probably Yes from the above information.


Admiralty gave Cradock the order to "be prepared to meet them in company". This was after October 4th 1914 they’d intercepted German radio transmissions. Does this mean to engage or harass…? Friends Court-Martial might have influence here. HMS Canopus still in the Falkland’s unable to support.


Did the British know the German [EAS] were ordered to re-group at Easter island?


However, all the radio messages sent out came from just one ship SMS Leipzig, not Spee’s SMS Scharnost. Did von Spee intentionally do this? Thus, making it look like SMS Leipzig was alone?





If von Spee did use this radio message as a rouse it seems Genius or Gifted drawing out the British fleet into one spot. At the time I assume lines of communication uncertain, but nearby radio use should be monitored by all.

Your Questions:

Should Rear Admiral Craddock wait for HMS Canopus before starting the battle of Coronel?

No, even though SMS Leipzig is a large cruiser the British fleet with smaller ships could still easily overpower her. It would take too long for the HMS Canopus to arrive in support by which time SMS Leipzig could have found some support…

Would HMS Canopus have been decisive in the development of the battle?

No, she’s pre-Dreadnaught slow and old. The German Fleet would have still destroyed the British light fleet first to then gank’d the Canopus on masse.



Nice question, and just my guess all the same. What do you think?


Norfolk nChance


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The problem I see is that the Admiralty pressured Craddock hard to sink the German squadron. If ordered, why did Whitehall deny him the HMS Defense contest, the best gunship cruiser, sent to Montevideo with the armored cruisers HMS Carnarvon and HMS Cornwall and the light HMS Bristol plus the auxiliary cruisers HMS Macedonia and HMS Orama. In the event that the German squadron dubbed Cabo de Hornos inadvertently were not these ships enough to defeat Von Spee? Did this admiral, knowing himself inferior in firepower, underestimate the Germans or did he look for combat thinking that his "military spirit" was being questioned? Of what there is no doubt is that he was a brave sailor, who deserves all our respect. 

What is your opinion? Thank you for your answers, Mr. Norfolk.

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I would need to study more research... even so some take-a-ways...


Craddock, I believe fell for a very good rouse. Why did von Spee have the radio orders all sent out on the SMS Leipzig and not his own flag SMS Scharnost as expected?

Mahan in his works, points to Admiralty (UK) at the turn of the century as a failing command structure with old and out dated methods, Admiral’s pulling rank for resources over strategic logic. The vague instructions common place with Craddock’s friend in Court-Martial again could have forced him into an un-winnable battle...

Far left-field idea...

Admiralty wanted to weaken Spee’s fleet at the expense of Craddock’s. POST battle even though one sided Spee’s fleet had expended over half its ammunition. With the abandonment of Tsingtao, the German’s were stuck. Contacts with both Japanese Mid-Pacific and French the Western route was seeing the allies closing in. Spee’s only real choice was South East round the Cape Horn to an African BASE.

Admiralty had already stated it wanted to destroy the [EAS], so have Craddock weaken it. With the main stuff at the Falkland’s lying in wait for an exhausted German fleet. I don’t believe that Admiralty thought for a minute that the GB fleet would suffer so much.

The sacrifice made its mark. The German’s are out of the Pacific with Japan (allies) and French still there.

German Naval BASEs up to 1914  





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