British Naval Force, Four Vessels
Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock
German Naval Force, Four Vessels
Admiral von Spee
When the war broke out, the German Pacific squadron of seven vessels, commanded by Admiral von Spee, was at Kiau-chau, China. Among these vessels were the Emden and the Karlsruhe, both destined to achieve fame as raiders.
Early in August, 1914, the German squadron left Kiau-chau to prey upon English commerce in the South Pacific. A British squadron of five vessels, commanded by Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, was detailed to safeguard British shipping in the South Seas. On November 1, 1914, off the coast of Chile, near Coronel, the German fleet, sighting the British vessels, opened fire with great accuracy at a range of seven miles. The British flagship, Good Hope, exploded and sank, carrying Admiral Cradock to his death. The Monmouth, set on fire, made for the open sea. The four German ships then bore down upon the Glasgow, but she escaped. Early in the engagement the Otranto, an armed liner merely, had disappeared.
The fifth ship of Admiral Cradock's squadron, the Canopus, had been undergoing repairs at a port further south. She found the Glasgow the day after the battle and together they proceeded to the Falkland Islands. The German fleet, overtaking the Monmouth on the next day, fired seventy shells into her when she lay sinking, on fire, and helpless, unable to fire her guns. With Admiral Cradock, 1650 British officers and men perished in this battle.