Day by Day

Thursday, May 01, 2008

2 May 1982 ARA General Belgrano Sunk

Hugo Chavez of Venezuela should learn the lessons of the Argentine Junta...

But he won't...

Jimmy Carter(D) spent the duration of this conflict apologizing for the Argentines as well... what a surprise huh?

Even though Argentina started the war as a political diversion to hide the 'disappearance' of tens of thousands and in the face of British attempts to transfer the Falklands to Argentina without antagonizing the English voter.

The ARA General Belgrano was a WWII era American Cruiser, the U.S.S. Phoenix, that actually survived Pearl Harbor. It was 'glam' duty for Argentina's elite that resulted in:
Some 323 Argentine lives were lost out of a crew of 1,093 when the Belgrano was torpedoed by the British nuclear submarine, H.M.S. Conqueror on May 2, 1982.
The loss of life was a direct result of the Argentine naval destroyer escorts fleeing the scene. Rescue efforts were delayed 24 hours and a majority of the loss of life was due to exposure on the seas.

The fact is that the ship was a threat to the UK expeditionary naval forces that barely sufficient to liberate the Falklands from the Argentine invasion forces. It's sinking resulting in the Argentine navy staying close to their coastal bases for the duration of the war.

You won't be able to put this down... the first half is a very insightful review of the politics by Simon Jenkins, which is very interesting given this was so early in Reagan's ColdWar strategy, and the second half is a Max Hastings 'correspondent on the ground' view of the conflict itself.

Right Saddam?

Eyewitness account:
• HMS Conqueror was earlier in position to sink the Argentinian aircraft carrier Veinticinco de Mayo - a mission that could have shortened the war - but the British government refused permission to engage;

• The submarine tracked the Belgrano for a week, unsuccessfully seeking permission to fire on several occasions before they were finally given the go-ahead on May 2, 1982;

• The crew's initial euphoria at sinking the Belgrano turned to horror when it emerged Argentinian support ships had fled, leaving sailors to drown;

• The captain of HMS Conqueror, Commander Chris Wreford-Brown, led his crew in a service to pray for the enemy dead only hours after two of their torpedoes had ripped the Belgrano to pieces.

The punch-line for tin-horn third world tyrants... if you don't like losing... then don't start wars with the adults.

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