September 1939, and the cry rings out around the gleeful ships of the Royal Navy. After twenty years in political exile, Winston Churchill has returned as First Sea Lord. If anyone can stop the ‘Phoney War’, it will be him. But the Royal Navy is out of date after years of neglect. German ships built since 1933 are more powerful, better gunned and easily outrun even the fastest of Britain’s large ships. The Navy needs a high profile success — and soon.

So Churchill chooses his target: the Graf Spee. She has been at sea for weeks now, raiding and sinking, always escaping at high speed. Now she is heading for South America, to demonstrate to the pro-German South Americans the power of the Nazi navy.

Against the odds, Churchill drives a shattered, battered Spee into harbour, surrounded by five British ships. What now? If her brave skipper dies a hero’s death with his ship, it will result in a terrific propaganda victory for the enemy …