Battle of Coronel

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Early in World War I, the Battle of Coronel, fought on 1 November 1914 off the coast of Chile, pitted the German East Asia Squadron, under Admiral Maximilian von Spee, against a weaker British unit under Admiral Christopher Cradock. The British intended to stop the commerce raiding of von Spee's unit. 1,654 British sailors were killed, versus only three German wounded. It was the worst British naval defeat in centuries.

Prior to the mainbattle, HMS Glasgow scouted the area and found the Germans on October 29th. HMS Canopus, too slow to keep up with the other ships, was not involved in the battle; one of Cradock's options had been to turn his other ships and form on Canopus, which did have potent guns.

The British, under lost both of their armored cruisers, HMS Good Hope with 9.2 inch guns and HMS Monmouth had 6 inch, who stood a rear guard to let their weaker vessels escape. Monmouth was especially ineffective, as many of her guns were in casemates rather than turrets, too low to engage targets. He chose not to turn for Canopus because the light was fading and he worried about losing the Germans in the dark. It also was not a given the Germans would pursue.

The German armored cruisers, SMS Scharnhorst and SMS Gneisenau, had 8.2 inch guns of long range. An early shot disabled the forward 9.2 inch gun of Good Hope, cancelling the main British advantage.

Ship Type
SMS Scharnhorst armored cruiser (flagship)
SMS Gneisenau armored cruiser
SMS Leipzig light cruiser
SMS Dresden light cruiser
SMS Nuremberg light cruiser
Ship Type
HMS Good Hope armored cruiser (flagship)
HMS Monmouth weak armored cruiser
HMS Glasgow light cruiser
HMS Otranto armed merchant cruiser
HMS Canopus pre-dreadnought battleship

Von Spee's squadron was subsequently destroyed at the Battle of the Falklands.