Von Spee then learned that Australian and New Zealand forces had captured German Samoa, and he sailed off in his flagship Scharnhorst—along with her sister ship Gneisenau—to engage what Allied forces they could find there. Failing to catch the Samoa Expeditionary Force at Apia and having seen no action at all since leaving Pagan Island, the men of Admiral von Spee's armored cruisers were eager to meet the enemy in battle.
Von Spee decided to raid Papeete in Tahiti on his way to rendezvous with the rest of his squadron at Easter Island. The French held over 5,000 t (5,500 short tons) of high-quality Cardiff coal at the port, and von Spee hoped to seize the coal piles to replenish his squadron's supply. Additionally, von Spee aimed at destroying what allied shipping he could find in the harbour, and thought the raid might help raise his men's morale. Von Spee intended to coal at Suwarrow Atoll before sailing to Papeete, but was prevented by foul weather. Instead, von Spee decided to take Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and attempt to resupply at Bora Bora while Nürnberg and Titania were dispatched to Nuku Hiva to guard the fleet's colliers. The German admiral intended to keep his vessels' identities secret by disguising them as French ships, flying French flags, and only allowing French- and English-speaking members of his crew contact with the Frenchmen present there. Von Spee managed to replenish his food stores using gold seized by Titania and Nürnberg during their raid of Fanning, and was able to discover the strength of the French military in the region as well as the exact size and positions of the coal piles at Papeete.
The French had no heavy defenses at Papeete but had been warned that von Spee's squadron might raid Tahiti and that a German squadron had been sighted off Samoa. Although Papeete was the capital of the French Settlements in Oceania, by 1914 it had become a colonial backwater, lacking a wireless station and having a garrison of only 25 colonial infantry and 20 gendarmes. In order to bolster the town's defenses, Lieutenant Maxime Destremau—commander of the old wooden gunboat Zélée and the ranking officer at Papeete—had his ship's 100 mm (3.9 in) stern gun and all of her 65 mm (2.6 in) and 37 mm (1.5 in) guns removed from his vessel and placed ashore to be used in place of Papeete's antiquated land batteries. Several Ford trucks were turned into impromptu armored cars by mounting them with Zélée's 37-mm guns and 160 sailors and marines drilled in preparation to repel any German attempt at landing. Zélée retained only her 100-mm bow gun and 10 men under the ship's second in command. In addition to the gunboat and harbor fortifications, the French also had at Papeete the unarmed German freighter Walküre, which had been captured by Zélée at the start of the war. Despite the French preparations, the two German cruisers were more than a match for the forces Destremau commanded at Papeete.

投稿日時 - 2019-05-18 14:47:33




>Von Spee then learned ~ the enemy in battle.
⇒その後フォン・シュペーはオーストラリア軍とニュージーランド軍がドイツ領サモアを攻略したことを知り、自軍の旗艦シャーンホルスト号で ―姉妹船グニセナウ号と共に― 航海に乗り出し、出会った連合国軍と交戦した。アピアでサモア遠征軍を捕捉しそこなって、パガン島を発って以来何の戦闘活動も経験することがなかったので、提督フォン・シュペーの装甲巡洋艦の兵士らは敵にまみえて戦いを挑むことに飢えていた。

>Von Spee decided ~ prevented by foul weather.

>Instead, von Spee decided ~ coal piles at Papeete.

>The French had ~ Papeete's antiquated land batteries.

>Several Ford trucks ~ Destremau commanded at Papeete.

投稿日時 - 2019-05-27 19:59:58



投稿日時 - 2019-05-28 19:01:03