Timing is everything they say and so it was that I noticed that available on BBC IPlayer was the 1956 British Film: The Battle of the River Plate. Needing some timely inspiration before painting the WW2 ships this coming weekend I decided that downloading and watching this would be a good idea - purely for research purposes of course....
I have seen the film but it was many years ago and so some of my memories have dimmed somewhat by the passage of time. I was very glad I did if only for the opportunity to see some actual WW2 era warships going through their paces. The full list looks something like this:
- Pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee played by heavy cruiser USS Salem
- The supply ship Altmark played by the fleet oiler RFA Olna.
- HMS Ajax, flagship, played by HMS Sheffield
- HMS Exeter played by HMS Jamaica
- HMNZS Achilles played by herself (at the time in service with the Indian Navy as INS Delhi)
- HMS Cumberland played by herself when she joins the British squadron after the battle, (and by HMS Jamaica in the final scenes off Montevideo).
- German freighter Tacoma, which took the crew off Graf Spee before scuttling, played by RFA Fort Duquesne.
- Gunboat Uruguay, boarding the Tacoma, was played by a British Ton-class minesweeper.
- HMS Birmingham was used for the firing of some of the guns, and to depict the explosions on the foredeck of Exeter, and as Graf Spee during the Replenishment scene with Altmark, as well as the scene on the deck of Graf Spee showing the flag-draped coffins of dead German sailors laid out for burial in Montevideo.
- Destroyers HMS Battleaxe and USS William R. Rush were used as camera ships.