Finally done! Here's my attempt at it (542 words):
The Admiral Graf Spee was the third of three Panzerschiffe (“armored ship”) of the Deutschland class. She was laid down in October 1932 in the Wilhelmshaven War Navy Shipyard and was commissioned in January 1936. The Admiral Graf Spee was built in-line with the restrictions placed by the Treaty of Versailles, stated to displace 10,000 long tons. However, with a full load the Admiral Graf Spee displaced 16,020 long tons, well over the limit set by the Treaty. She had two triple gun turrets with 28cm guns for main armament, and could go at a top speed of 28 knots. The combination of speed and firepower led the British to classify her as a “pocket battleship”.
After being commissioned in early 1936, the Admiral Graf Spee joined the German Navy later that year as the flagship. She was then sent to Spain to take part in a series of patrols during the Spanish Civil War, her patrols conducted between August 1936 and February 1938. After her involvement in the Spanish Civil War, she participated in several cruises in the Atlantic and participated in naval exercises with other German Navy ships.
Once World War II broke out, the Admiral Graf Spee was ordered to begin commerce raids against British merchant ships in the Atlantic. She sunk her first merchant ship off the coast of Brazil on the 30th of September, sinking the British steamer Clement after evacuating all its crew. To counter this, the French and British sent hunt groups to target the Admiral Graf Spee on the 5th of October. She sunk 5 more ships before heading off to Madagascar to throw off the Allied ships. Off the coast of Africa, she sunk another ship before heading back to the Atlantic on the 17th of November. To confuse the Allied ships of the Admiral Graf Spee’s identity, a dummy gun turret was built on her bridge and dummy second funnel built behind the aircraft catapult. This served as camouflage from the enemy as it significantly altered the ship’s silhouette.
The Admiral Graf Spee encountered the British steamer Doric Star on the 2nd of December, which the Admiral Graf Spee sunk, but not before the Doric Star sent out a distress signal. This distress signal led the British to move three cruisers to the mouth of the River Plate, which the British anticipated would be the Admiral Graf Spee’s next target. After sinking a freighter on the 7th of December, she found shipping route information which led the Admiral Graf Spee to head to Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital situated on the northeastern bank of the River Plate estuary.
On the 13th of December, 1939, the Admiral Graf Spee encountered the British cruisers HMS Exeter, HMS Achilles, and HMS Ajax at the mouth of the River Plate. In the ensuing battle, the Admiral Graf Spee put in significant hits on the Ajax and the Exeter and was able to move into Montevideo. However, the Admiral Graf Spee took significant damage as well in that battle, taking 70 hits and losing 36 crew members. With the British threatening to destroy the Admiral Graf Spee if she broke out of Montevideo, the Germans decided to scuttle the Admiral Graf Spee on the 17th of December, 1939.