Actually, I wonder if even having Defence would have been enough - there being a 1000 yard inferiority between the range of her 9.2in and Sharnhorst's and Gneisenau's 8.2in; meaning that the German ships would be entering their 'effective' range while Defence (and Good Hope) were still at 'extreme'.
This seems to be an understanding based upon some questionable data that has been repeated many times. The subject of German weapons and gunnery has little written about it in English and the data presented by authors is to say the least contradictory and in some cases defies any single obvious explanation when trying to reconcile it with known facts.
We know that the Invincibles were able to engage Spee from outside a range the latter could offer any reply at all at times, sometimes straying inside the range of the 8.2" turrets but the battery guns seem to have been seldom able to shoot. We do have accounts from the German side to say there were attempts to bring ammo from the disengaged side to the engaged and also to the turrets as supplies ran low, and there is also mention that Spee may have allocated the turret magazines much of the ammo after Coronel where they had performed almost all the German shooting due to the sea state.
At the Falklands the Invincibles were still issued with the 2crh shells, not the 4crh shells they used at Jutland after their issue during 1915/16. These shells gave the 12/45 cal weapons a range of only 16,350 yards, only 150 yards more than the 9.2"/50 cal weapons of the Defence, and this is with new gun performance for the 12" (details on the 9.2" is possibly new but not stated, but British practice was often to state 'normal' figures which would be after a few rounds of firing. This would mean Spee actually outranged the Invincibles at the Falklands battle, even if allowing for wear on the German guns a similar allowance for the British would reduce their range too and even then the Germans start with a reasonable advantage. This does not fit with the known picture of the battle, where no German guns were able to reply. If we start with the presumption Spee's guns were badly worn, not only should accurate shooting at range be very difficult, but the Defence class would have few problems with being slightly outranged but faster.
If we look at a comparison of the Defence and Scharnhorst, the following details are key;
Broadside Weight. British 2520lbs German 1692lbs. Speed. British 23kts German 22.5kts. Armour. British 6"-3" German 6"-3.2"
Armour penetration will vary depending on the velocity, in turn altered greatly by the wear on the gun, but the weight of the German 8.2" shell was 238lbs, whilst the British 9.2" shell was 380lbs!
Has Craddock's letter to Admiral Meux (left with the Governor of the Falkland Islands) come to light since Bennett wrote his book in 1962/66, or did someone (somewhere) suppress it?
The matter has always been disputed, and to my knowledge nothing has ever been authenticated.
But not one that would allow an Admiral to 'force an action'; or to keep his ships together during a shadowing pursuit so they do not risk being 'defeated in detail'!
The policy of forcing an action successfully was not possible with the forces assigned, therefore simply preventing Spee from being able to safely refuel is enough until greater forces arrive.
"As any fule kno" (Nigel Molesworth), there is always a post-sunset afterglow during clear weather - and funnily enough - it's always to the west of one's own position! It's as much of a predictable advantage as 'taking the weather gauge' was in the days of Nelson!
And unless you propose Spee send all prospective enemies a polite letter asking them to remain at a set rendezvous as a set time, the enemy has just as much chance of arriving in a position where the visibility will favour them.
However, what happens if von Spee slips past Craddock?
Craddock needs to protect the coaling station at the Falklands, after that to shadow Spee and prevent him refueling. A Spee running low on coal is little threat, especially in the Atlantic where fewer sheltered areas to coal exist and his arrival in a neutral port will quickly see enemy ships moving to intercept. It isnt dynamic or aggressive, but raiders are best dealt with by preventing them achieving anything and not by worrying about sending endless numbers of ships to hunt them at the expense of more critical needs. Spee has used a lot of ammo, cannot replace it until he reaches Germany, and cannot afford an encounter with another force even like Craddock's as it will see the end of his ammo - a tougher force will obviously remove that worry by removing his ships. Once out of ammo Spee is effectively harmless and can be dealt with at leisure.
Spee with BC('s) has interior lines, so he can go in one of many directions, of which Hong Kong is one. Japan will retain her two BC’s in home waters in case he goes north. The Auzzies would clamour for another BC, and Hong Kong would require two.
Err... Then somebody wakes them up to reality hopefully.
You’re saying that the Germans wouldn’t view Spee diverting an invasion of Turkey as a triumph because in an alternative universe the Turks "won" the campaign by suffering more casualties than the Auzzies? That the British would say, ‘whew, thank the Lord Spee saved us from that defeat!”? And that historians wouldn’t observe that Churchill’s promising proposal to knock out Turkey was warded off by Spee?
An invasion following the same line Townshend was sent along, but remembering to build a railway as Kitchener had done some years earlier in his Nile Campaign, would have yielded far better results especially if given the many troops Galipolli was. Galipolli is only ok as long as you look on it with a very large scale map with no terrain details, no thought to providing the men with adequate maps or water after they land. Once you look at the actual area it is a complete nightmare that should never have been attempted in the form it was. As to the idea that ships turning up off Constantinople would see the Ottomans exit the war, it ignores that this was highly unlikely and that a few unanchored mines floating down the very narrow waterway would have ended the idea and most likely many of the ships attempting it.
I believe Spee left his reserve ammo to help out with the siege. I agree that this point is exceedingly frustrating to track down for certain, but I’ve seen no evidence that any of the ammo reserve was embarked.
That would be possible, but Tsingtao should have its own reserves that would be far greater than those Spee would ever need. There is also a possible problem with the gun sizes that might be an issue, I am unable to tell as sources differ. The naval 8.2" gun is actually 8.24" or 209.3mm which might be a match for the land pieces, whilst 210mm is 8.27". Not a huge difference, but with websites that should know better also citing them as 8.3" guns (210.82mm) it does make finding out if the guns are exactly alike a real problem - try looking at what is possible with British 4.5" and 4.7" guns for a real headache and the answer may be the same for the German weapons!
Craddock’s problem was that the Admiralty was run by the likes of Churchill and Fischer,
Thats very unfair, not only does it blame Fisher for others mistakes but it Germanizes his name, one of the reasons Battenburg had been forced out. Battenburg only resigned on 28th October after writing the resignation on 27th, but Fisher was not appointed until 30th October which allowed no time for him to become involved in the overseas deployments as the North Sea and construction was the first priority.
Battenburg was a very able seaman and would probably have done well enough if at sea, but he was a poor head of the navy as he was completely unable to deal with the likes of Churchill and Sturdee and seems to have been out of his depth. Sturdee, who liked to promote himself as a great student of naval history and tactics, should have known better that to commit the deployment errors he supervised. Churchill was dangerous, the Goeben incident and conflicting communications, the Antwerp expedition, the 'livebait' squadron on the Broad Fourteens, the deployments prior to Coronel and the signals to Craddock all show a man unable to stop interfering in areas he didnt understand, from gambling pointlessly, and from taking huge and pointless risks. He had done great service prior to the war, but his service to the navy once war began was of almost endless errors.
So Craddock took the measure of these men and went straight in.
With regards Churchill and Sturdee (and Beatty) this is undoubtably correct, I do not think it true of Battenburg who seemed to be very loyal to friends. Fisher was different, he was very loyal to his friends but still very much held over animosity to people who had sided with Beresford against him. I cannot recall where Craddock stood in that quarrel, but the service as a whole thought well of him.
That is to say, if Jellicoe had been at the Admiralty, Craddock could have trusted his superior to go to bat for him rather than cashier him in a kangaroo court.
Very few matched Jellicoe in this resepct, but it could also be a major failing too as he was often willing to overlook failure and hopeless staff work, defend those responsible for it and fail to impliment changes needed.