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Title:Hunt the Kaiser's Cruisers! (2/2) - The Last Ship afloat | Documentary series about the German Navy

In the early days of the 20th century, the German Kaiser challenged the naval power of the British with a new and mighty battle fleet. Who would rule the world’s seas? It was a question that would be decided in the First World War. After the shock defeat of the British at Coronel, a battle which cost 1,700 seamen their lives, Winston Churchill demanded a merciless revenge. Off the Falkland Islands, the entire German overseas squadron with a crew of 2,200 men was sunk. Only two cruisers escaped the demise of their fleet, the Dresden and the Emden. Churchill set a bounty on them, making them the most hunted ships on the Seven Seas. In the icy fjords of Patagonia and the tropical heat of the South Seas, both crews battled for their very survival. After a dramatic hunt they were both finally sunk. Nonetheless, most of their crewmen escaped death and returned home safe and sound. How this came about and their long adventurous journey through the war-torn seas and continents is recounted by two very dramatic documentaries in the Hunt the Kaiser’s Cruisers! series, The Caravan of Sailors and The Last Ship Afloat. Newly discovered archive materials on the decisive sea battles, naval reports and private journals permit a precise reconstruction of the events. For the first time, interviews with descendants and military historians, footage from the original scenes of action and dramatic re-enactments allow us to do justice to both of these exciting stories. //// The DRESDEN is off South America when World War I breaks out in August 1914. She is fast, but weakly armoured. She joins the German overseas squadron Graf Spees in the Pacific. The DRESDEN's first officer is Wilhelm Canaris. His talents of deception and camouflage will prove vital to the crew's survival. On 1 November 1914, there is a clash with the Royal Navy off the Chilean coast. For the first time in more than 150 years, the Royal Navy is defeated. Winston Churchill sends out his heaviest battle cruisers to avenge the defeat. The decisive battle with Graf Spee's squadron takes place off the Falkland Islands: the DRESDEN is the only ship of the German navy to escape. The fast cruiser flees from its pursuers towards Cape Horn. When coal runs out, the DRESDEN manages to manoeuvre through the narrow channels of Patagonia to a remote hiding place. The largest search operation in the history of the Royal Navy begins. When the DRESDEN finally gives itself away through a radio message, a chase begins across the Pacific to Robinson Crusoe Island. The British mercilessly sink the immobilised cruiser. A film by Jürgen Stumpfhaus


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