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National Geographic - The Sinking of the Waeship Belgrano

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Postby tabledancer » Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:06 am

Did anybody catch the National Geographic show on Public TV last night Wed.3-30-05.Very good show,real factual .
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Postby Larry Kuntz » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:29 am

Yes, I watched the National Geographic on the sinking of the Belgrano. It was interesting that the torpedoes that sank her (MK8 I believe) were from the same period as the ship itself, ~1938. The reports of the loud bang, followed by a second and then I (second in command ?) looked forward towards the bow and it was gone…. The ship was no match for a submarine.
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Postby Gerwalk » Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm

< The ship was no match for a submarine.> Neither HMS Sheffield, HMS Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor and many others were match for Exocet missiles or iron bombs...

It was an interesting documentary. I watched a year ago. Paradoxically since they didn't find the Belgrano the film was more concentrated on history and personal experience from both sides which made it more interesting.

The Mk8 torps were suggested to Wedford-Brown by an experience master of arms. The Tigerfish torps were unreliable at that time and the rough seas in the South Atlantic could interfere with those sofisticated weapons.

The commander of the ARA Belgrano was Capt. Bonzo. He was almost the last to abandon the ship. The last one was actually a sargent that forced him to do so!! there is a photo of them on the deck seconds before jumping to the water.

The ship was abandoned in a very organized manner which saved many lives. 85% of the men were in full dress and 30% of them carried additional dry clothing and blankets which helped the 15% that had incomplet clothing for enduring the environment.

Most of the victims (84%, 272 men) died as a direct consequence of the torpedoes (mainly from the first one that struck at midship) Others died after jumping in the cold water and others frozen in the rafts or from wounds.

BTW: the Belgrano was heading home and was far away from the british fleet. The argentinian fleet was ordered to return to port "before" the attack after they failed to launch fighters from the aircraft carrier in the north due to poor wind conditions.

Interesting enough was the fact that HMS Splendid and HMS Spartan failed to find the carrier ARA 25 de Mayo and her scort while Trackers from the carrier had detected the main british fleet and it's fighters were ready to take off for almost 12 hours. The heavy loaded fighters couln't be launched because of the lack of wind. That also prevented a South Atlantic battle of Midway and saved many lives from both sides.
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