Tuesday, 14 October 2008
"SINK THE BELGRANO"
The warship was built as USS Phoenix (CL-46), the sixth of the Brooklyn-class cruisers, in New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation starting in 1935, and launched in March 1938. She survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and was decommissioned from the US Navy after World War II in July 1946. The former USS Phoenix was sold, with another of her class USS Boise (CL-47) renamed ARA Nueve de Julio (C-5)), to Argentina in October 1951, for $7.8 million.
She was renamed 17 de Octubre after an important date for the political party of the then president Juan Perón. Ironically, she was one of the main units which joined the coup against Peronism. Perón was subsequently overthrown in 1955, and in 1956 the ship was renamed General Belgrano (C-4) after General Manuel Belgrano, who had fought for Argentine independence from 1811 to 1819. Several years before becoming General, as a colonial officer, he founded the Escuela de Naútica (School of Navigation) in 1799. The cruiser was outfitted with Sea Cat missiles between 1967-1968.
It is the only ship ever to have been sunk by a nuclear-powered submarine and only the second sunk by any type of submarine since the end of World War II. The Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror used three Mk 8 mod 4 torpedoes, two of which found their deadly mark. She sank on May 2nd, 1982 with the loss of 323 men. 770 sailors who survived the sinking were rescued from the South Atlantic between May 3rd and 5th of that year.