Battle of Coronel

November 1, 1914

On October 31, 1914, Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock's West Indies Squadron intercepted a radio transmission from the German light cruiser "Leipzig" off the coast of Chile near Coronel. Cradock ordered his spread out force of 4 ships to intercept the German light cruiser. Twenty-hours later on the assumption they would intercept the light cruiser, smoke from the German cruisers "Scharnhorst", "Gneisenau", and "Leipzig" was spotted. Cradock made the fateful decision to attack the German force with his force of two armoured cruisers, a light cruiser, and an armed merchant cruiser. The British force had a speed advantage and could have escaped to the south. The German force would also include two more light cruisers. The British warships were unfortunately silhouetted against the setting sun, and the Germans were slowly fading into the darkness.

In the ensuing battle the two British armoured cruisers "Good Hope" and "Monmouth" were sunk, with the light cruiser "Glasgow" and the armoured merchant cruiser "Otranto" escaping . The German force received no major damage.


Great Britain

West Indies Squadron , Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock


Germany

East Asiatic Squadron, Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee