Key WWII events - December 1939

The Battle of the River Plate
German Battleship Admiral Graf Spee Scuttled in River Plate

Image of German battleship Admiral Graf Spree December 1939

German battleship Admiral Graf Spree

Axis Dec-39 Allied
german flag Total Class Total british flag France flag canada flag australia flag new zealand flag poland flag
5 5 Battleships 18 13 5 0 0 0 0
0 0 Fleet Carriers 3 3 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 Light Carriers 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
2 2 Heavy Cruisers 21 12 7 0 2 0 0
5 5 Light Cruisers 55 38 11 0 4 2 0
34 34 Destroyers 236 163 58 7 5 0 3
50 50 Submarines 133 59 72 0 0 0 2
0 0 Escort Carriers 2 1 1 0 0 0 0
10 10 Escorts 83 43 38 0 2 0 0
4 4 Other 59 52 3 1 3 0 0

 

 

Class USA flag japan flag italy flag soviet flag argentina flag brazil flag chile flag columbia flag peru flag netherlands flag norway flag denmark flag sweden flag portugal flag spain flag yugo flag greece flag turkey flag Romania flag thailand flag
Battleships 15 9 2 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Fleet Carriers 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Light Carriers 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Heavy Cruisers 18 17 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Light Cruisers 17 19 14 3 1 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 0 5 1 1 0 0 0
Destroyers 164 103 92 47 16 7 8 2 2 8 10 6 16 5 16 9 19 4 7 10
Submarines 59 56 101 169 3 4 9 0 4 21 9 8 16 4 4 4 6 7 1 4
Escort Carriers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Escorts 0 19 36 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 0
Other 0 0 0 0 6 0 3 0 0 0 4 2 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 4

 

 

Allied and Axis Naval Losses

Contains the lost and damaged (and therefore out of action) warships by country.
These are changes that happen during the month and figures will be reflected in the following month's tables.

Allied Losses

british flag Lost Report
Duchess Destroyer Lost in collision with British warship Barham in the North Channel 9 miles off Mull of Kintyre 55.19N 06.06W 12/12/1939
Damaged Report
Nelson Battleship Damaged by mine laid by German submarine U-31 in entrance to Scapa Flow, massive explosion under ship causing serious structural damage & shock damage to main armament, 73 injured 04/12/1939. Arrived for temporary repair Loch Ewe 07/12/1939 - 01/1940
Barham Battleship Damaged by torpedo from German submarine U-30, 66 miles W of the Butt of Lewis, in the North Atlantic, extensive damage to ship's A & B turret shell rooms, 4 dead 28/12/1939
Exeter Cruiser Damaged by gunfire from German warship Graf Spee during Battle of the River Plate, in the South Atlantic, ship was hit by seven 11" shells & damaged by many near misses, all of her main armament knocked out & her speed was limited to 18 knots, 61 dead, 23 injured, 13/12/1939. Temporary repair Port Stanley before returning to UK 20/12/1940
Birmingham Cruiser Damaged in collision with British tanker Francol, whilst refuelling in the South China Sea. Damaging her bow & starboard propeller 17/12/1939
Ajax Cruiser Damaged by gunfire from German warship Graf Spree, during the Battle of River Plate, in the South Atlantic, X & Y turrets disabled, 7 dead, 5 injured 13/12/1939. Withdrawn for repair of battle damage 31/01/1940
Punjabi Destroyer Damaged in collision with British merchant ship SS Lairdcrest, S of Hoy Island, in the North Sea 02/12/1939
Kelly Destroyer Damaged by mine laid by German warships 13 miles NW of Tyne estuary in the North Sea 14/12/1939
Jersey Destroyer Damaged by a torpedo from German warship Erich Geise, near Haisborough Light, in the North Sea, torpedo caused fires, extensive damage & disabled her engines, taken in tow by British warship Juno, 10 dead, 13 injured 07/12/1939
new zealand flag Damaged Report
Achilles Cruiser Damage by gunfire from German warship Graf Spree during the Battle of River Plate, in the South Atlantic, ship hit in the bridge area, 4 dead 13/12/1939
 

 

Axis Losses

german flag Lost Report
Admiral Graf Spee Battleship Damaged by gunfire from British warships Exeter & Ajax and New Zealand warship Achilles during Battle of the River Plate. An 8" shell from Exeter knocked out one boiler room. Another 8" shell caused major internal damage & water contamination of diesel fuel tanks, 36 dead, 60 injured, 13/12/1939. Ship arrived in neutral Montevideo harbour, Uruguay 14/12/1939. Ship scuttled by explosives outside Montevideo harbour 17/12/1939
U-36 Submarine Torpedoed by British submarine Salmon, in the North Sea SW of Kristiansand, Norway, 40 dead, 0 survivors, 57.00N 05.20E 04/12/1939
F 09 Escort Torpedoed by British submarine Ursula, SW of Heligoland, in the North Sea 54.08N 07.55E 14/12/1939
Damaged Report
Leipzig Light Cruiser Damaged by torpedo from British submarine Salmon in the North Sea, 130 miles W of Jutland, ship hit in No: 2 engine room 56.47N 04.00E 13/12/1939. Laid up for weeks at Kiel & converted into a training ship at Danzig, lost No 2 engine room. Ship's speed limited to 24 knots after repair
Nurnberg Light Cruiser Damaged by torpedo from British submarine Salmon, in the North Sea, 130 miles W of Jutland 56.47N 04.00E 13/12/1939
 

 

Neutral Losses

No neutral losses this month

 

Commissioned - Details ships newly commissioned during the month.

Allied Commissioned

british flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Kipling Destroyer Yarrow & Co, Glasgow Jan 1939 6 x 4.7"; 4 x 1.6" pp; 10 x 21" TT 36 2384 218
Kimberley Destroyer John I. Thornycroft, Woolston, Southampton Jun 1939 6 x 4.7"; 4 x 1.6" pp; 10 x 21" TT 36 2384 218
Havant Destroyer John Samual White & Co, Cowes Jul 1939 3 x 4.7"; 8 x 21" TT 35 1930 145
Vimiera Destroyer Swan Hunter Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne Jun 1917 4 x 4"; 8 x 0.5"   34 905 125
Wild Swan Destroyer Swan Hunter Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne May 1918 4 x 4.7"; 8 x 0.5"   34 905 125
 

 

Axis Commissioned

germany flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
T 01 Destroyer Schichau Yard, Elbing Feb 1938 1 x 105 mm; 1 x 37 mm; 2 x 20 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 60 Mines 35.5 844 119
T 02 Destroyer Schichau Yard, Elbing Apr 1938 1 x 105 mm; 1 x 37 mm; 2 x 20 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 60 Mines 35.5 844 119
T 03 Destroyer Schichau Yard, Elbing Jun 1938 1 x 105 mm; 1 x 37 mm; 2 x 20 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 60 Mines 35.5 844 119
T 07 Destroyer Deschimag AG 'Weser', Bremen Jun 1938 1 x 105 mm; 1 x 37 mm; 2 x 20 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 60 Mines 35.5 844 119
U-50 Submarine Krupp Germaniawerft, Kiel Nov 1939 1 x 88 mm; 1 x 20 mm; 5 x 21" TT   17.9 741 44
U-62 Submarine Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel Nov 1939 2 x 20 mm; 3 x 21" TT 13 286 25
U-64 Submarine Deschimag AG 'Weser', Bremen Sep 1939 1 x 105 mm; 1 x 37 mm; 1 x 20 mm; 6 x 21" TT   18.2 1034 48
Orion AMC Blohm & Voss, Hamburg 6 x 5.9"; 1 x 75 mm; 4 x 37 mm; 4 x 20 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 2 Aircraft; 228 Mines 13.5 7021 376

 

Neutral Commissioned

USA flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Helena Light Cruiser Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Aug 1938 15 x 6"; 8 x 5"; 8 x 0.5"; 4 aircraft 5"-2" 32.5 9923 868
St Louis Light Cruiser New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, NY Apr 1938 15 x 6"; 8 x 5"; 8 x 0.5"; 4 aircraft 5"-2" 32.5 9923 868
Abel P Upshur Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Feb 1920 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Bancroft Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Quincy, MA Mar 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Branch Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Apr 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Crane Destroyer Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA Jul 1918 4 x 4"; 2 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1090 139
Crosby Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Quincy, MA Sep 1918 4 x 4"; 2 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1090 139
Edwards Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Squantum, MA Oct 1918 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Haraden Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Jul 1918 4 x 4"; 2 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1090 139
Herndon Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA May 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Hunt Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Feb 1920 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Kennison Destroyer Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA Jun 1918 4 x 4"; 2 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1090 139
Kilty Destroyer Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA Apr 1918 4 x 4"; 2 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1090 139
Laub Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Squantum, MA Aug 1918 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Mason Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Mar 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
McCalla Destroyer Bethlehem Steel Co, Quincy, MA Mar 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
McCook Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Quincy, MA Jan 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
McLanahan Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Squantum, MA Sep 1918 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Meade Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Squantum, MA May 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Satterlee Destroyer Newport News Shipbuilding Co, Newport, VA Dec 1918 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Shubrick Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Squantum, MA Dec 1918 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Swasey Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Squantum, MA May 1919 4 x 4"; 1 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1190 139
Thatcher Destroyer Bethlehem Steel, Quincy, MA Aug 1918 4 x 4"; 2 x 3"; 12 x 21" TT 35 1090 139
Seawolf Submarine Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH Aug 1939 1 x 3"; 2 x 0.5"; 2 x 0.3"; 8 x 21" TT   20 1450 59
japan flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Shiranui Destroyer Uraga Dock Co, Ltd, Tokyo Jun 1938 6 x 5"; 4 x 25 mm; 8 x 24" TT; 16 DC   35 2033 240
Kyosai Minelayer Ishikawajima, Tokyo Jun 1939 2 x 1.5"; 1 x 13.2 mm; 120 Mines   20 720 100
italy flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Alpino Bagnolini Submarine Franco Tosi, Taranto Oct 1939 1 x 100 mm; 4 x 13.2 mm; 6 x 21" TT   18 1148 18
               
soviet flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Minsk Destroyer Zhdanov Dockyard, Leningrad Jul 1938 5 x 6"; 2 x 3"; 2 x 45 mm; 8 x 21" TT; 80 mines 36 2150 250
K 01 Submarine Marti Yard, Nikolayev, Leningrad Apr 1938 2 x 100 mm; 1 x 45 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 20 Mines 21 1490 60
K 02 Submarine Marti Yard, Nikolayev, Leningrad Apr 1938 2 x 100 mm; 1 x 45 mm; 6 x 21" TT; 20 Mines 21 1490 60
M 94 Submarine Sudomekh Works, Leningrad Sep 1939 1 x 45 mm; 4 x 21" TT 13.5 210 20
M 96 Submarine Sudomekh Works, Leningrad Jul 1938 1 x 45 mm; 4 x 21" TT 13.5 210 20
netherlands flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
O 16 Submarine De Schelde Navy Yard, Vlissingen Jan 1936 1 x 88 mm; 2 x 40 mm; 8 x 21" TT   18 896 38
sweden flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Sjohunden Submarine Kockums Machanical Works Co, Malmo Nov 1938 1 x 40 mm; 6 x 21" TT 16.2 580 38
yugo flag Class Builder Launched Armament Armour Speed Tons Crew
Nada Corvette Harland & Wolff, Ltd, Belfast May 1940 1 x 4"; 40 DC 16.5 900 109
Ljubljana Destroyer Yarrow & Co, Ltd, Kraljevica Jun 1938 4 x 4.7"; 4 x 40 mm; 2 x HMG; 6 x 21" TT; 30 Mines 38 1210 145