Argentinean the fleet until very recently, one might say, lucky. The country remained neutral in both the First and Second World Wars, thereby avoiding a bloody tribute to the insatiable god of war. At the same time, interestingly, in 1940, the Argentinean naval forces (Navy) were considered the eighth in terms of combat power in the world, inferior to the fleets of the largest European powers, as well as the USA and Japan. And of course, they were the largest Navy in Latin America.
But then luck changed the Argentine admirals: first, during the Falklands War (1982), they lost one of their largest warships, the cruiser “General Belgrano”, which became the largest history national naval disaster, and three and a half decades later, already in peacetime, the fleet suffered a second terrible disaster.
We will not consider here all the vicissitudes of the tragedy with the San-Juan diesel-electric submarine (diesel-electric submarine), since the media covered it in some detail. Unless we note: a submarine not yet found is far from being the first sacrifice of the still misunderstood ocean. Suffice it to recall that next year it will be exactly half a century, which may well be called the “black year of the submarine” (see “The Mystery of the Disappeared Submarines”, “NVO” from 01.12.17). The fact is that in the 1968 year, for four reasons that were not fully understood, four submarines disappeared at once - the French Minerva, the Israeli Dakar, the Soviet K-129 (see "Who is responsible for the death of K-129", "HBO "From 24.11.17), as well as the American nuclear-powered icebreaker" Scorpion ".
But the area where the San Juan submarine allegedly disappeared, we will devote more attention. This happened at the point with the coordinates 46 degrees 44 minutes u.sh. and 60 degrees 8 minutes W., that is, north of Falkland, or as the Argentines call them, the Malvinas Islands. But to the south of this archipelago, at the coordinates of the 55 degrees 24 minutes minutes s. and 61 degrees 32 minutes W., 2 May 1982, the British nuclear submarine (NPS) "Concaurus" was sunk by the Argentine cruiser "General Belgrano". The result of the tragedy - 323 dead.
IRON LADY ORDERED: “TOP!”
It is believed that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided only a few minutes to decide whether to sink or not sink the Argentine ship. But then for the rest of her life she was forced to constantly defend her decision and prove that it was the only true one. Many thought that it was simply the principled position of a famous politician: well, the Iron Lady cannot admit that she was wrong! However, in The 2011, the book The Silent Listener: British Electronic Surveillance: Falklands 1982, a former employee of British intelligence, retired major David Thorpe, who, as it turns out, Thatcher had already commissioned to carefully check and recheck all the information on this episode of the Falklands War establishing the truth and whether the decision made by the Prime Minister was adequate. The author proves - yes, adequately!
On the basis of radio intercept data and other intelligence information, Thorpe reveals that the shipboard strike group led by the General Belgrano cruiser was at the time of the attack outside the British government from 12 on April 1982 of the 200 mile exclusion zone around “its islands” (the point of death defended from its border on 36 miles), within which the fleet of Her Majesty obliged to sink everyone, but had the order to follow a point located within this zone, with the aim of striking the ships of the British expeditionary ship togetherness. However, the book was subjected to devastating criticism from some naval experts for a number of inconsistencies with other well-known and reliable sources, so the question of where the cruiser went - inside the restricted area or away from it - remained, in the opinion of many open.
Moreover, the missing part of the logbook of the Konkaor nuclear submarine, covering about six months of its service, including the sinking of the Argentine cruiser, has not been made public. True, in 2012, Stewart Prebble’s book The Secrets of the Conqueror: The Untold Story of Britain’s Deadliest Submarine, in which he points out that the document disappeared, not because of any incidents in the submariners during the Falklands War, because of their participation after its completion in a joint top-secret reconnaissance-sabotage operation with the Americans against the Soviet Union, known under the designation “Barmaid” (can be translated as “barmaid”, “waitress” or “barmaid”) and intended to steal secret sonar equipment - new towed sonar antenna.
In any case, no matter how tragic it may sound, the actions of the Commander’s commander were “ordinary” for “ordinary war” (by the way, Argentine sailors themselves admit it). What’s unusual was that it was the first ever nuclear submarine’s torpedo attack in world history, and the fact that the Concaur submarine was returning under the flag, which can be called “pirate”: on its black cloth was a skull against a background of crossed torpedoes and three symbols - the pirate blade, the silhouette of the cruiser “General Belgrano” and the symbol of nuclear energy. True, it became even more unusual for me that once I read in one of the foreign forums that the Argentinean sailor who survived the death of Belgrano was looking for the purpose of "talking and remembering someone from the crew of the Conqueor submarine." I vividly imagined how our veteran, who had died to death on the Kursk Bulge, writes that he would like to "talk for life" with one of the tankers of the "Dead Head" division who ironed them in the hot summer of 1943! What different wars are different ...
However, the tragedy with General Belgrano was programmed from the very moment that the leaders of the Argentine military junta made a suicidal decision to carry out their small, victorious war.
“Until recently, we were constantly told that the Argentines were the salt of the earth. We have also been told for years that the Falklands belong to Argentina. In the end, those who spoke to us believed in their words themselves, ”writes Argentine historian Carlos Escud. - Now, no one doubted that if we take a power action, then we will be supported by all, including the United States. What naivety. But it was even more naive to believe that the UK would not respond to the challenge. That she will allow us to pick up the island. But it was already a glove thrown in the face of the entire NATO bloc. ”
Moreover, the main initiator of the invasion of Falkland was precisely the representative of the fleet - the commander of the Argentine Navy, Admiral Jorge Anaya, who planned the operation "Rosario". It was supposed to launch an invasion either on the day of the beginning of the liberation revolution - 25 in May, or on Independence Day - 9 in July, but the internal political situation (30 in March, for example, was a mass demonstration in Buenos Aires, cruelly dispersed by the army) forced the military to hurry.
On March 26, General Leopoldo Galtieri ordered the start of a force rally to seize the Falkland Islands, and on March 30, a large force of the Argentine naval forces (aircraft carrier, cruiser, two destroyers URO, frigate URO and one DEPL) accompanied the landing party including three landing ships and three transports with subunits of marines and ground forces. For the British military intelligence, everything became extremely clear - an armed seizure of the islands was being prepared, which was reported to the top. At the same time, the first nuclear submarine, the Spartan, was sent to the islands.
2 on April, Argentine troops occupied the islands, and on the same day London broke off relations with Buenos Aires, and from 5 April began deploying expeditionary forces in the South Atlantic to carry out Operation Archipelago. In total, from 5 April to 15 June, the UK sent 136 warships and ships, around 70 airplanes, more 80 helicopters to the combat area, as well as a military contingent of up to 9 thousand people. Thus, London sent to the South Atlantic almost half (!) Of the ships and ships in the Navy at that time. Moreover, to ensure the communication of the leadership staff with the flagship, which was played by the aircraft carrier Hermes, the British launched the Gepfiller communications satellite into geostationary orbit! But the main thing - the British sent there nuclear submarines, officially, by the way, by announcing it.
By and large, the latter was supposed to sober up the junta, because even today it is extremely difficult to find nuclear-powered patrols underwater (now they cannot even find a non-nuclear submarine!), And even then it was completely beyond the power of the Argentines. Therefore, none of their ship could not feel safe. “The only way to reliably find out about the presence of a submarine is to start losing your ships, but it’s a very expensive way,” says one of the Submarine book’s heroes: Tom Clancy and John Gresham (not to be confused with best-selling author John Grisham ). But no, whether the warning did not work, or the fact that this book came out 10 years later. In the end, the responsibility for the arrogance of the Argentinean command was to command the "General Belgrano".
He just did not get lucky
Moreover, the cruiser literally turned out to be at the wrong time and place. The fact is that two days before the other two British nuclear submarines, the Spartan and Splendid, "targeted the Argentinian aircraft carrier, but for several reasons did not attack it (in one case the commander missed the moment, in the other - was not received "Good" of the higher command). The destroyer who accompanied the “General Belgrano” was also lucky: it is believed that one of the three torpedoes of the Concaror got into it, but for some reason it did not explode (probably because the commander of the older type, the torpedoes, still in 1927, fired year, since only they were guaranteed to penetrate the armored cruiser hull). But after the death of the cruiser a sharp enlightenment happened in the hot heads - the Argentine surface fleet firmly sat down in the bases and did not leave anywhere else. But the British squadron was considerably thinned by Argentine pilots, avenging the sailors.
Rear Admiral Jorge Gualtier Allarra, who served as the commander of the Argentine Navy fleet in 1980 and was directly involved in planning the invasion of the Falklands, later recalled his conversation with the naval commander Admiral Jorge Anaya: “The admiral had no doubt that no serious military reaction on the part of the British would follow ... Although if the British discovered our preparation for the operation, they could derail it only by sending one multi-purpose nuclear submarine to that area. ”
The Argentine admiral, as they say, jinxed. The British submarine sent yet. And not one. The consequences of the arrival of the three nuclear-powered ships were sad - the sinking of the cruiser and the worst losses in the history of the Argentine Navy in ship and personnel. Moreover, it was the case with “General Belgrano” that became the red line beyond which there was simply no peaceful solution to the problem. For the shed blood it was necessary to take revenge at all costs. It was then that everything began to turn at a frantic pace, and the result is well known to us. After the current tragedy, the area of disputed islands has become some kind of damned place ...