Early morning unkind day, deep in the cold waters of the South Atlantic is moving ship Her Majesty "Conqueror". Already 30 hours British submarine continuously monitors the Argentine connection, led by the cruiser "Gral Belgrano". Here it is - 7 miles straight ahead, swinging in the foam on the ocean waves, confident in their invulnerability. Cruiser cover two destroyers - the Argentine fleet represents a mortal danger to the British surface ships. 15 six-inch guns of the old "Belgrano" can tear apart the fragile frigates and amphibious ships of the fleet of Her Majesty. A significant threat is and Argentine destroyers armed with missiles "Exocet».
In the semi-darkness of the control room of the submarine "Conqueror" tense silence reigns, officers waiting for orders from headquarters squadron ...
At the same time in the London mansion on 10 Downing Street takes the conversation along the following lines:
- Admiral Woodward crazy. He wants to sink the Argentine cruiser.
- This is the right decision.
- We have no right to attack. Argentine ships are still outside the 200-mile declared war zones.
- Sir, she has "a 200-mile zone of military operations", declared unilaterally by us, it is a violation of all international rules. Flush "Gral Belgrano", if necessary.
- Miss Thatcher, are you sure?
- Destroy the cruiser and do not ask stupid questions.
A month ago, none of the admiral of the Royal Navy dared to lead a risky trip to the Falkland. Margaret Thatcher had personally appointed Commander Rear Admiral Woodward - not the most experienced, but extremely "turretless" a naval officer. To successfully complete the task without hesitation demanded to include in the strategic missile submarine squadron "RESOLUTION" - in the case of the destruction of all British ships in the Argentine military bases from heaven come down nuclear fire. It's hard to say - whether it was a cruel joke or a real threat, but determination Woodward was well known in the admiral's quarters. "Iron Lady" Margaret knew who to trust is "hopeless" expedition.
And now, being on the aircraft carrier "Hermes", Admiral Woodward wondered why submariners have not received his order to destroy the Argentine cruiser. For some reason satellite communications center in Chelteme blocks transmission. However, the reason is obvious - briefs of Naval Staff are afraid to make a responsible decision. Damn them to hell! Argentine Navy takes mites British squadron - you need to until it is too late, to break at least one of the enemy's "claws." Staff rat! Anchor your throat! Octopus without oil in nadraenny fairlead!
Only at noon, with a delay of several hours on the nuclear submarine "Conqueror" I received a radio message from London: "Urgent. Attacked a group of "Belgrano».
The cruiser was 36 miles from the border declared "war zone" and obviously felt perfectly safe. Brave muchachos did not try to hide in shallow water, the Argentine destroyers aimlessly roamed the right abeam "Gral Belgrano", covering the cruiser from the banks Bredvud where, of course, no submarines could not be. They even did not bother to turn on sonar!
Looking through the periscope at all this strange company, kommender Reford Brown surprised shrugged and ordered to complete the course. The huge steel "pike" rushed through the water towards its goal. After completing the circulation right, the boat went smoothly at the point of attack of 1000 meters on the left side "Belgrano". The win was already in the hands of the British sailors, it remains only to choose the right weapon. Actually, the dilemma lies in two types of torpedoes: homing latest Mk.24 "Taygerfish" or good old Mk VIII of the Second World War. Taking into account all of the circumstances, and believing that "Taygerfish" not yet sufficiently reliable kommender Reford Brown chose pryamoiduschuyu torpedo the old type. At this time, "Gral Belgrano" serenely rocking on the waves, moving 13 hub swing to his death. The commander of the Argentine cruiser kaperang Hector Bonzo did everything possible to destroy your ship.
At 15:57 the nuclear submarine "Conqueror", while almost field conditions, produced trehtorpedny volley at the compound "Belgrano". After 55 seconds, two torpedoes Mk VIII sank into the left side of the Argentine cruiser. Explosions 363-pound warheads surrendered echoing in the compartments of the submarine, battle stations resounded with shouts of joy.
Kommender Redford Brown enthusiastically watched the attack periscope, he saw the first explosion tore off the entire nose of the cruiser. A few seconds later flashed a new outbreak in the area of the aft superstructure "Gral Belgrano" shot up a huge column of water. Everything that is happening at this moment on the surface was like a dream. Radford Brown blinked and again looked through the eyepiece of the periscope to make sure that he had just sunk a major battleship enemy. For the first time in the history of the nuclear submarine fleet!
Subsequently Redford Brown recalled: "Frankly, shooting exercises in Faslane was harder this attack. Royal Navy spent 13 years to prepare me for just such a situation. It would be sad if I did not cope with it ».
Destruction of the remaining two destroyers submariners considered superfluous and unnecessarily risky - after all the British sailors were preparing for war with the strong and skillful opponent, who, in this situation, should take active measures to detect and destroy located somewhere near the submarine. "Conqueror" sinking to a depth carefully crawled toward the open ocean acoustics at any moment expect to hear including sonars Argentine ships and a series of explosions of depth charges. To their surprise, nothing happened. Argentina finished muchachos turned cowards and idlers destroyers, casting adrift a sinking ship, flew at full speed in different directions.
By the way, aboard one of the destroyers - "Ippolito Bouchard" - to return to the base was found a decent dent, allegedly by a third, unexploded torpedoes fired "Conqueror". Who knows, maybe the Argentines really lucky. Although it is possible to call the luck? Eyewitnesses death "Gral Belgrano" recalled that the premises of the ship swept a real "fire storm", turning all living things in their path in torn barbecue - about 250 sailors died in the first few seconds of the attack. This fact clearly indicates that all hatches and doors inside the cruiser at the time of the tragedy were opened wide open, the Argentine Navy has once again demonstrated the amazing carelessness.
The explosion destroyed a second torpedo generators and de-energize the ship, unplug the pump and the radio, on the decks of the doomed cruiser rolled cold water ... 20 minutes after a torpedo attack the crew abandoned ship. In a few minutes' Gral Belgrano "lay down on the left side, and disappeared under the water, taking with him into the sea 323 human lives.
Sinking cruiser. You can clearly see the mutilated stump of the nose. The photo was taken with a life raft
Returning the next day in the square of the submarine "Conqueror" watched Argentine destroyers rescued the surviving sailors of the crew of the cruiser. Filled with noble sentiments, the British did not dare to hold a new torpedo attack - the effect of the sinking of the "Belgrano" already exceeded their expectations.
According to Argentine data, from aboard a cruiser in 1093 people were rescued 770.
The value of attack "Conqueror" was so great that the event received a rating of "boat that won the war." The loss of the cruiser and three hundred people made a terrible impression on the Argentine command: fear of further losses, the Argentine fleet returned to their bases, ensuring full British supremacy at sea. Ahead there were many violent clashes, but the blocked garrison the Falklands was doomed.
With regard to the ethical side of the sinking of the "Belgrano", there is a number of controversial moments. The cruiser was sunk outside the declared "war zone" radius of 200 miles around the Falklands. At the same time, there is no legal document that establishes the order of appearance of these "zones" - the British just unilaterally warned ships and aircraft of all countries of the world, that they should stay away from the Falkland Islands, otherwise, they can be attacked without prevention.
Are patrolling along the southern borders of the declared "war zone," the Argentine cruiser represented a clear threat to the British fleet, and of course, he came to this square is clearly not in order to enjoy the ocean sunsets.
To avoid unnecessary and meaningless conversations investigations, the British with their usual composure, returning to the base, and have "lost" the logbook of the nuclear submarine "Conqueror". As they say, the wiser!
It's worth noting that the instigator of the Falklands War still was Argentina, whose troops landed on the disputed territories in order to provoke "a small victorious war».
The crew of the cruiser "Gral Belgrano" made some serious mistakes, but it is not necessary to label the eternal shame of Argentine sailors - just 2 days, 4 May 1982, a similar situation was the British destroyer "Sheffield". British "sea wolves" showed an unforgivable stupidity, is disabled in the war zone, the search radar. What immediately paid.
Characters Marine drama:
HMS Conqueror (Conqueror)
British multipurpose nuclear submarine of the "Churchill".
Launched on August 28, 1969
Displacement above water / underwater - 4200/5000 tons,
The crew of 103 people,
The speed of 28 knots underwater (≈50 km / h),
Armament: 6 bow torpedo tubes, 16 torpedoes Mk VIII, Mk.24 «Taygerfish" or anti-ship missiles Sub-Harpoon
The first and only to date the nuclear submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. After the victorious return from the South Atlantic, the boat "Conqueror" took part in one more sinister operation codenamed "Waitress" - stealing Soviet sonar in the Barents Sea.
In August 1982, the Arctic waters plied peaceful Soviet antisubmarine patrol disguised as a trawler flying the flag of Poland. For the stern of the vessel dragged very long "sweep" with the secret attached to the end device. Suddenly, from the depths of the sea there was a steel "pike" with fixed on its body automatic cutters. "Chick!" - A tool bite and trawl boat prey completely dissolved in the ocean.
Since then, according to one of the British officers, the name of the boat, "Conqueror" is pronounced at the headquarters "with great respect and always whisper».
ARA General Belgrano
Former US cruiser "Phoenix", such as "Brooklyn».
Launched on March 13, 1938 Sold Argentina in 1951,
Total displacement of 12,000 tons, *
The crew of about 1,100 people., *
The speed of 32 knots,
The main armor belt of 140 mm steel,
- 15 x 152 mm guns of the main caliber;
- 8 x 127 mm universal instruments;
- 2 British anti-aircraft missile complex Sea Cat;
- 20 mm and 40 mm automatic gun for self-defense;
- Light helicopter "Alouette" made in France.
* All data is valid for 1982
Cruiser, cheated fate in the harbor of Pearl Harbor, but ignominiously died after 40 years in the South Atlantic. Frankly, at the beginning of the 1980s cruiser "Gral Belgrano" was a museum artifact. However, given the status of a "great sea power," the reality of Argentina and the Falklands War, he still retains enough fighting capacity. If the "Belgrano" was able to break through to the British squadron, he could shoot with impunity all the destroyers and frigates Her Majesty of his caliber guns - from the British sailors have been no serious anti-funds, except for three dozen subsonic attack aircraft "SiHarrier" conventional svobodnopadayuschie bombs. < br />
Destroyers "Piedra Buena" and "Ippolito Bouchard»
Former US destroyers type "Allen M. Sumner».
Launched in 1944, sold to Argentina in 1974,
Total displacement of 3,500 tons,
The speed of 34 knots,
Armament: 6 x 127 mm universal guns, small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery, anti-ship missiles "Exocet" (late 70's).
During the Second World Type 59 destroyers "Allen M. Sumner" modestly considered the best in the world. In general, the American destroyers of those years were significantly different from British, German, or Soviet ships of the same class - suffice it to say that they were larger than the leader "Tashkent"! Hefty crockery to ocean cruising range (6000 miles at 15 knots.), Six guns of the main caliber and a full complement of radar and sonar equipment