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  • James Houser

Unknown Soldiers Podcast Episode 26, "South Atlantic Death Ride": Maps, Images & Sources

This is late (I know) but I've been catching up with a lot of stuff lately. Been in the middle of moving, an Army class, all kinds of things.

So the Von Spee/Cradock/Coronel & Falklands saga interested me as soon as I learned about it, mainly because the protagonists seemed to behave so oddly. Why did they do the things they did? Well, a few years ago it was still a mystery. But a little bit of research into German military culture and British naval tradition came up with a few answers. You may or may not agree with those answers, take them as you will.

Anyway, here are some portraits, some maps, and all my sources (as promised) for the episode. See you soon!

German principals, L to R: Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, father of the Imperial German Navy; Maximilian von Spee, commander of East Asia Squadron; Karl von Muller, captain of SMS Emden

British principals, L to R: Sir Winston Churchill c. 1914, First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral John Arbuthnot "Jackie" Fisher, First Sea Lord,

Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock,

Vice Admiral Sir Frederick Doveton Sturdee

Big, bigger, biggest: SMS Emden, a light cruiser; SMS Scharnhorst, armored cruiser; HMS Invincible, battlecruiser and bane of the Scharnhorst

Last Voyage of the East Asia Squadron, 1914. In German.


Massie, Robert K. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004.

McNally, Michael. Coronel and Falklands 1914; Duel in the South Atlantic. Oxford: Osprey, 2012.

Overlack, Peter. "The Force of Circumstance: Graf Spee's Options for the East Asian Cruiser Squadron in 1914." Journal of Military History 60, no. 4 (Oct. 1996): 657-682.

Spector, Ronald H. At War At Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century.

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