The Other Falklands War

While much has been written about the 1982 Argentine invasion of these South Atlantic islands, there is a lesser known, but no less important battle that took place 68 years earlier when the German navy arrived to contest Britain's sovereignty.

On the 1st November 1914, off the coast of central Chile, a Royal Navy squadron commanded by Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock was patrolling off the coast of Chile near the city of Coronel in search of a German naval squadron known to be in the area. The British squadron consisted of two armoured cruisers, HMS Good Hope, and HMS Monmouth, one light cruiser HMS Glasgow and a converted liner, the Otranto. He was due to be joined later by the old pre dreadnought battleship HMS Canopus who could only make some 12 knots and was still 300 miles south of Cradock's force when the two squadrons finally met. This British force, while formidable on paper, was composed mainly of obsolete and under gunned vessels; all crewed by inexperienced naval reservists and was tasked with searching for the German fleet's East Asia squadron, led by Vice Admiral Maximillian Von Spee, who were engaged in commerce raiding in the area.