Germans Launch Their Last Battlecruiser


The launching of the Graf Spee.

September 15 1917, Wilhelmshaven–The naval race between Britain and Germany continued during the war, though it became increasingly harder to justify the expense as the war continued and the resources were needed elsewhere.  In the case of the British, their experience at Jutland had shown that their approach to the battlecruiser had serious flaws, and in February they stopped production on all remaining battlecruisers, excepting the Hood.

The Germans continued work on two new battlecruisers, although at a much slower pace considering issues with steel production and the increasing demand in the Army and in the submarine arm of the Navy.  Nevertheless, on September 15, the battlecruiser Graf Spee was launched with much ceremony.  Named for the German admiral killed at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, she was christened by his widow (their daughter would christen the more famous Graf Spee in 1934).  She was never made ready for service, however, and by the Armistice was still at least 12 months away from completion.  

Today in 1916: First Use of Tanks in Battle

Today in 1915: Staff Car of Kemal [Atatürk] Bombed by Allied Plane
Today in 1914: Allied Attacks Slow Along the Aisne