The Dresden, German battle cruiser, was built in 1908. Displacing 3,650 tonnes and was equipped with 12 high-powered guns. His first mission was made in early 1914 when he was sent to the coast of Mexico to protect the interests of the German colony, in the event that threatened the Mexican Revolution.
During the voyage back to Europe, its captain, Commander Lüdecke, received the news of the outbreak of World War I, and the order to join the German squad, which was in the South Pacific under the command of Admiral Von Spee . On November 1, participated in the Battle of Coronel, which occurred off the Chilean coast and which involved the destruction of an important part of the English fleet in the Pacific.
After the Battle of Coronel, the German squad went to the Atlantic, clashing again with the British fleet near the Falkland Islands on 8 December 1914. This time, the British won a resounding victory, the destruction of the German fleet was almost total and numerous casualties, was killed that day Admiral Von Spee himself. The Dresden was saved, because ordered to stay away from the scene of combat.
The battleship then began leaking full of vicissitudes. Pursued by British ships, he spent three months hiding in the maze of channels of southern Chile. In need of supplies, went to Punta Arenas, where he received some input thanks to the efforts of the German colony resident. He managed to continue his flight, sailing the place just a couple of hours before the arrival of English ships to these shores. The ultimate fate of Dresden would Cumberland Bay on Isla Robinson Crusoe.
The British were informed of the location of Dresden and left three ships in their quest British. Faced with his imminent arrival, and facing the impossibility of victory in the fighting, the commander Lüdecke took the decision to prevent the capture of sinking the battleship Dresden.
On 15 March 1915 the crew of Dresden and its commander were from the coast of the island Robinson Crusoe how the ship was sinking. Soon after, the entire group was led by Chilean authorities to Quiriquina Island (Concepcion), where he remained captive until 1919.