The Battle of Coronel took place off the coast of Chile, near the city of Coronel, in November 1914 and resulted in the destruction of British Admiral Cradock’s squadron by German Admiral von Spee. Intelligence was received of a plan by Spee’s commerce-raiding squadron to intercept shipping in the trading routes off South America. Already patrolling these waters was the West Indies Squadron, commanded by Cradock and consisting of two armoured cruisers, Good Hope and Monmouth, the light cruiser Glasgow and the converted ex-liner, Otranto. Cradock was told that he had to fight Spee, despite the German fleet (the Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, Dresden, Leipzig) being lighter and more powerful. Spee was confronted by the British Royal Navy outside the port of Coronel on November 1914. Here Spee sunk the Good Hope and Monmouth, with a loss of more than 1,600 British lives and no German fatalities. This was Britain’s first naval defeat in World War I and its first since 1812.
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