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.

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Historical Quotes

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, 'This was their finest hour.'
Winston Churchill