ARA General Belgrano

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The ARA General Belgrano was an Argentine Navy cruiser sunk during the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas) by the Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror with the loss of 323 lives. Losses from the Belgrano totalled just over half of Argentine deaths in the Falklands War.

Formerly the USS Phoenix (CL-46), she saw action in the Pacific theater of World War II before being sold to Argentina in 1951. She is the only ship ever to have been sunk by a nuclear-powered submarine[1] and the second sunk in action by any type of submarine since WWII, the first being the Indian frigate INS Khukri by the Pakistani Hangor during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

The vessel was the second to have been named after the Argentine Founding Father Manuel Belgrano (1770–1820). The first vessel was a 7,069-ton armoured cruiser completed in 1899.

Contents

Early career

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 (USN) after WWII in July 1946. Phoenix earned nine battle stars for WWII service.

The former USS Phoenix was sold to Argentina in October 1951 with another of her class (Boise (CL-47), which was renamed ARA Nueve de Julio (C-5)), for US$7.8 million. (Nueve de Julio was scrapped in 1978). She was renamed 17 de Octubre after the People's Loyalty day, an important milestone for the political party of the then president Juan Perón. Ironically, she was one of the main units which joined the coup in which Perón was subsequently overthrown in 1955, and the ship was renamed General Belgrano (C-4) after General Manuel Belgrano, who had fought for Argentine independence from 1811 to 1819 and founded the Escuela de Náutica (School of Navigation) in 1799. The cruiser accidentally rammed her sister Nueve de Julio on exercises in 1956, which resulted in damage to both cruisers.[2] The Belgrano was outfitted with the Sea Cat anti-aircraft missile system between 1967 and 1968.[3]

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