1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Spee, Count Maximilian von

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SPEE, COUNT MAXIMILIAN VON (1861-1914), German admiral, was born June 23 1861 at Copenhagen. He was first officer of the battleship “Brandenburg” when it was sent to East Asia in 1899 during the Chinese boxer disturbances. In 1908 he was chief of the staff of the North Sea command, and in 1913 he was appointed chief in command of the Cruiser Squadron. When the World War broke out he was on a voyage with this squadron from Tsing-tau to the South Sea Islands. He was hard pressed by British and Japanese naval forces, but was at an advantage when he was engaged on Nov. 1 1914 off Coronel on the Chilean coast by Adml. Cradock with a British squadron which was inferior to his own in numbers and speed, as well as in range and weight of fire. Adml. Cradock went down with his ship, the “Cape of Good Hope,” and the “Monmouth” was also sunk. On the following Dec. 8 Count Spee's squadron was drawn into action off the Falkland Is. by the powerful cruiser squadron of Adml. Sturdee which had been sent out to look for him. Count Spec's own ship, the “Scharnhorst,” was sunk, he himself and his two sons going down with all hands. The “Gneisenau” was also sunk, as were the “Leipzig” and the “Nürnberg.” The light cruiser “Dresden” escaped, but was afterwards sunk off Juan Fernandez in the Pacific.