Geoffrey Brooks

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    It is reported that Captain Villamide sent eight signals regarding a problem with the batteries. Water had entered through the ventilation system when using the schnorchel in severe weather close to the surface. In his final message, the commander stated that the problem “caused a short circuit and started a fire in the battery balcony.”

    The Argentine Navy reported at a Press Conference Saturday (17 November) that the submarine “imploded” leaving wreckage scattered over an area 100 x 80 metres in extent at a depth of 900 metres. The implosion would have occurred “very close to the sea bed when the pressure exceeded the resistance of the hull material”.

    Defence Minister Aguad states that Argentina does not have the means to bring the wreckage to the surface. Contrary to the first report above, the wreckage was found 500 kilometres from Comodoro Rivadavia (but the actual bearing off the port is not stated).

    Geoffrey Brooks

    The lost Argentine submarine ARA San Juan has been found today, 17 November 2018, one year and two days after its last message, by the Ocean Infiniti’s ROV on the seabed at 2600 feet. The position is off the Valdez Peninsula at 43ºS.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    The Argentine site with the fullest continuing information about the ARA San Juan is INFOBAE, an online daily newspaper. The report I mentioned yesterday could be found by Googling: “busqueda-ara-san-juan-infobae”. I worked copying it out last night and I find this morning that it seems to have been pulled.

    The Ocean Infinity company which has been exploring the chart area “Juliana” mentioned below using the search and recovery ship “Seabed Constructor” has abandoned the search as from now and will resume in February. The Government does not intend to hire any other contractor.

    The report was an analysis of confidential documents which the Argentine Navy auditor and Ministry of Defence sent to the Federal Judge overseeing the case, Marta Yáñez. By virtue of the “Order of Operations set by the Commander, Submarine Force, No.04/17 dated 24 October 2017, Mar del Plata”, the San Juan was to obtain “precise recognition of” and “localize, identify and register by photography or film” military and logistical aircraft (RAF C130) and the ships mentioned by name “BP CFL Hunter”, “HMS Clyde”, the Fisheries Protection Vessel “Protegat” as well as any others which looked interesting. This was additional to investigating foreign-flag vessels fishing “beyond the 200-mile limit”. If such vessels fled upon detection into the 200-mile limit, the question arises whether the right of hot pursuit exists in which case the submarine would have entered. Therefore military sources consulted by Infobae do not discount the possibility that in the framework of such operations the submarine might have been detected “beyond the Argentine Economic Zone” by British naval patrols. Apparently this occurred on the previous outing, though it is not known if it was reported by Capt.Fernández, and may have been the reason on this occasion why the San Juan was watched closely by a British nuclear submarine.

    Part of the zone which had been allocated to ARA San Juan on this last voyage is marked on British charts as being prohibited for fishing to vessels not authorized by the Falklands Government and is patrolled by “British fast vessels”. The filming and photography was to take place in area “Juliana” at 46º 61’30” West to 59’30″West, and 47º50’S, 60º24’W to 62’20″W (due north of the Falklands) about half of which the United Kingdon considers as its own. It is exactly here that the “Seabed Constructor” has been concentrating until deferring the search until February.

    It was also reported that “almost four hours after the anomalous acoustic event consistent with an explosion” after ten that morning, at 1418 hrs on 15 November 2017 three messages were heard and recorded, “very weak, noisy and with much interference” at the Mar del Plata naval base by Chief Petty Officer Espinola, Supervisor of Communications, which by their characteristics were identified as emissions from ARA San Juan. The poor quality made it impossible to understand what was being said. The entry into the signals log at the principal naval base was not authorized until 20 November. If D/F bearings were made on these transmissions, this would be the reason why the search for the wreckage is now being concentrated in area “Juliana”.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    I have not been able to find the information requested. I imagine that Argentine vessels dragging the UK Exclusion Zone “on a fishing expedition” would not have been good policy. However, this very day another long secret naval report has been published and I shall have to spend a day going over it and then summarizing it. There is also a suggestion coming up soon from the same newspaper source that the “explosion” was not the last contact with the submarine.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    The UK Total Exclusion Zone imposed in April 1982 is 200 nautical miles in a circle from a point in the Falklands Islands. This is the military zone into which Argentine naval vessels are prohibited to enter.

    The “UK Falkland Islands Exclusive Fishery Zone” imposed in 1986/87 is 150 nautical miles in a circle (with a minor truncated area) from a point in the Falklands Islands. It is therefore totally enclosed within the UK Total Exclusion Zone.

    The maritime territorial limits claimed by Argentina lie 200 nautical miles from their coast and protrude into the UK military exclusion zone in some cases to the Falklands beaches.

    Any foreign-flag fishing vessel not licensed by Argentina may not fish in the maritime territorial limits set by Argentina and in a recent case, the Argentine Navy sank a Taiwanese fishing vessel for illegal fishing within the limits. But Argentine fishery protection is limited by the military exclusion zone. The problem is the overlap of the zones. Some part of this problem would be resolved if the Total Exclusion Zone were reduced to 150 nautical miles since then Argentine fishery protection vessels would be enabled to patrol to the perimeter of the UK Falklands Exclusive Fishery Zone.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    Googling “UK Claims New Exclusive Fishing Zone Around…” which appears to emanate from the CIA, scroll down to the first map which highlights the cause of all the bitterness and discord surrounding the imposition of the UK Exclusive Fishing Zone of 1986/7 and the UK Total Exclusion Zone of 1982.

    The upper map has a marginal note “new edge of disputed area according to State 11/86” which shows the overlap of disputed areas. As measured from the Isla de los Estados, where the Argentine tactical naval exercises of November 2017 were held, it is only 200 nautical miles to the coast of West Falkland. Therefore, the 150-nautical mile UK Exclusive Fishing Zone extends at places up to 150 nautical miles into Argentine territorial waters. Whether any control agreement has been worked out between the Argentine and British Governments is not known but is on the face of it very doubtful.

    In reply to the correspondent’s question above, and speaking purely as a British observer living in Argentina, it is clear to me that Argentine television and newspapers have far greater access into Admiralty affairs and “official secrets” than could ever be the case in the United Kingdom. Watching the televised developments from home in Buenos Aires immediately after the loss of the submarine, what was announced officially was that the submarine ARA San Juan had gone missing on a lone voyage from Ushuaia to Mar del Plata. However, the involvement of President Macri at the naval base and the manner of reprimand handed down on the second or third day suggested something far more complicated. In the evenings, the subject dominated television. The various lobbies, generally made up of former naval officers and submariners, discussed the possibility, even then early on, of a fisheries protection situation arising in the disputed zones.

    Until the wreckage is found, and the actual coordinates of the disaster known, we can really still only speculate on the true cause of the loss of the ARA San Juan.

    Geoffrey Brooks


    The naval Plan was scheduled to be of one month’s duration. It had been organized by Rear-Admiral Mazzeo, Admiral in charge of Recruitment and Training, an officer who appeared to most observers to be the natural successor to his superior, Admiral Srur. The mysterious disappearance of the submarine San Juan gave rise to murmurings from a cadre opposing the elevation of Rear-Admiral Mazzeo. This lobby of dissent was recognized high up in the Defence Ministry and crushed.

    In the midst of the institutional crisis caused by the loss of the submarine, Admiral Srur initiated a summary internal action against Mazzeo, accusing him of responsibility for the deaths of the forty-four crew members of the submarine. Mazzeo took the matter to law and the Defence Minister, taken aback by the accusation, demanded the resignation of Admiral Srur.

    An interesting question occurs to this writer which was not touched upon in the newspaper report. If, as we are now asked to believe, the loss of the submarine San Juan was occasioned by chlorine gas, why did Admiral Srur think at once that Rear Admiral Mazzeo’s Plan was responsible?

    According to the documentation, the submarine had set out for ports at the tip of Patagonia and there joined the remainder of the fleet. Her orders were: “Sail with effect from 27 October, carry out naval training activities integrated into anti-submarine, anti-surface ship and amphibious defensive exercises during operations to reconnoitre the maritime litoral, visiting the port of (USU) – Ushuaia – from 6 to 9 November and (DRY) – unknown – from 20 to 22 November and afterwards be involved in tactical skirmishing at Puerto Belgrano (Mar del Plata) as from 25 November.”

    The newspaper Clarin stated that according to naval and Ministry of Defence sources, at a point in her voyage the submarine San Juan had “navigated keeping a distance of five miles from the Falklands limit ‘set by the Crown’ although the much amended Government document shown to Congress stated that the submarine had entered the zone – “habría entrado en las 200 millas náuticas que de acuerdo al Reino Unido son los límites perimetrales de las Islas Malvinas”. Also unofficially, Government sources admitted that the submarine had a mission to keep an eye on Argentine waters watching out in particular for a repetition of already proven intrusions into Argentine waters to engage in illegal fishing by British flag vessels.

    As confirmed in the judicial files opened by Judge Martha Yañez into the disappearance of the submarine, on a previous patrol in the South Atlantic a difficulty had occurred involving foreign-flag vessels, some alleged to be British. As a result, the commander of the San Juan had been ordered to keep watch and attempt to obtain audiovisual proof of such illegal intrusions into the waters of Argentine jurisdiction.

    At page 4 of the “confidential” Navy document entitled “Final Stage of Specific Integrated training” great importance was attached to the involvement of the submarine: “During the development of the operation as a whole, the concept of consciousness of maritime dominion associated with permanent vigilance over, and control of, the maritime sectors of our jurisdiction is emphasized.

    So far no shred of wreckage of the submarine San Juan has been found nor even the locality where disaster struck identified.

    Geoffrey Brooks


    As regards the “valuable cargo” aboard the two colliers, I note from Pochhammer’s book at page 110 the following item which may be revelant:

    Former KKpt Pochhammer wrote that on 26 September 1914 when von Spee’s squadron arrived at the Marquesas Islands, he confiscated in the name of the Kaiser all valuables from the Governor’s office (the police station). The Treasury included 10,000 silver francs. Many had “a shield on one side and the inscription Republique Française: some bore the image of Napoleon as First Consul and others as Napoleon Emperor. There was also a stamp collection.

    The colliers Baden and Santa Isabel were both present in the Marquesas at this time and it may be that the treasure trove was locked in the safe of one of them and the key retained aboard one of the armoured cruisers. No doubt the French told the British of their loss, and the hopes or prior knowledge of the latter that the coins would still be aboard one of the colliers may explain the British haste to get the captured crews away, and believing that the colliers had been sunk. The deception appears to have been successful for Pochhammer himself thought they had been.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    PART THREE – The German Auxiliaries in the Falkland Islands, December 1914.

    Port Stanley lies approximately 550 sea miles north-east of Picton Island. To cover this distance and arrive off Port Stanley on the morning of 8 December, the German armada of eight ships sailed at midday on 6 December 1914. The hills of the Falklands were sighted at first light, 0200 hrs on 8 December, and at 0500 hrs the cruisers picked up speed leaving the three auxiliaries far astern. At about 1100 hrs, after the German cruisers had seen their danger and bore south-east to escape Admiral Sturdee’s battle-cruiser squadron, two smaller British warships were seen leaving Port William and heading for the three German auxiliaries about ten miles off Pt. Pleasant. (footnote 1)

    Baden and Sta Isabel changed course away from the coast to flee south-east, while Seydlitz turned about and ran south-west at full speed and escaped.

    After eleven days’ thoughtful reflection on what he ought to leave out about the German auxiliaries, Admiral Sturdee submitted his despatch. His report states:(footnote 2)

    “Information was received from (the light cruiser) HMS Bristol at 11.27 am that three enemy ships had appeared off Pt Pleasant, probably colliers or transports. Bristol was therefore directed to take (armed merchant cruiser) Macedonia under orders and destroy the transports.”

    At the foot of the despatch, in a section headed Action Against the Enemy’s Transports, Admiral Sturdee wrote:

    Macedonia reports that only two ships, steamships Baden and Sta Isabel, were present. Both ships were sunk after removal of crew.”

    In fact, Bristol pursued Baden, Macedomia pursued Sta Isabel, and since there was no third British cruiser available they had to let the Seydlitz go. It was quite improper of Sturdee to suggest that it had never been there.

    Pochhamer wrote (footnote 3):

    “The fast Seydlitz escaped. The officers of the armed merchant cruiser Macedonia told me they thought she must be a powerful auxiliary cruiser because of her speed.”

    Seydlitz put into San Antonio Oeste on 9 December where she was immediately interned by the Argentines as an auxiliary cruiser. From Pt Pleasant south-about to San Antonio Oeste is at least 800 nautical miles and so she must have been capable of 20 knots to have got there so quickly.

    The German freighters Mera and Elinore Woermann which had sailed from the River Plate on 4 December with entrenching materials both returned there on 11 December.

    Baden and Sta Isabel were detained by Bristol and Macedonia at 1445 hrs in the afternoon at 52º30’S 57ºW, about 60 sea miles from Port Stanley. Pochhammer stated that their crews had told him they were obliged to abandon ship “within ten minutes” and “the men in the boats felt the passage of the shells fired close over their heads: the British were over-hasty in sinking our auxiliaries and their valuable cargoes.”

    What “valuable cargoes” these two colliers might have had aboard is not mentioned, but it is interesting to note that Baden was not sunk until 1935 hrs, five hours after being stopped, and Sta Isabel was sunk at 2130 hrs almost seven hours after being stopped. What interested the British so much in these two mundane steamers, and why they sank them so close to Port Stanley two new, priceless colliers when they were in great need of colliers elsewhere, has never been revealed.


    (1) Pochhammer, op cit, p.182-187.
    (2) Published as a Supplement to the London Gazette, No.29087 3 March 1915
    (3) Pochhammer, op cit, p.227.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    PART TWO – The Preparations for the Attack on the Falklands Islands

    On 3 November 1914, the German cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Nürnberg entered the roadstead at Valparaiso to receive the adulation of the large Chilean-German colony following the victory at the Battle of Coronel two days previously. That afternoon Admiral von Spee was closeted in the German consulate with the Minister, von Erckert, and the Consul-General Dr Gumprecht, and to judge by his lugubrious demeanour subsequently it must have been then that von Spee had been given his secret orders.

    No archived document has ever come to light anywhere as to what these orders were. The Kaiser knew less than anyone, for in a Note he appended to the official report furnished by KKpt Hans Pochhammer, First Officer of Gneisenau and the senior surviving German officer:

    “It remains a mystery what made Spee attack the Falkland Islands. See Mahan’s Naval Strategy”.(footnote 1)

    Churchill at least knew that von Spee’s intention had been to invade and occupy the Falklands, but wrote that he could not understand what the Germans wanted it for. (footnote 2)

    The Argentines knew nothing about it whatsoever, for nowhere in the Historical Record of the Argentine Ministry for Foreign Affairs, nor in its declassified archives, is there ever a mention of the Battle of the Falklands, despite this being a zone to which the Argentines could not be indifferent. The only contemporary report to have evaded total censorship appeared in the 17 December 1914 edition of the daily newspaper La Prensa, whose correspondent at Punta Arenas, Chile, reported thaqt he had interviewed members of the crew of SMS Dresden, whose declarations coincided with those from other sources:

    “It would appear that the purpose of the German warships was to take possession (apoderarse) of the Malvinas Islands, destroying the radio-telegraphy station beforehand.” (footnote 3)

    According to KKpt Hans Pochhammer, while being entertained to dinner in the wardroom of HMS Invincible on 11 December 1914, Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee “made the extraordinary statement that we had had the intention to occupy the Falkands. How we were going to do that without occupation troops he kept to himself.” (footnote 4)

    It is therefore certain that the British at least knew that the German intention was not a “hit and run raid”, but an invasion and occupation.

    At five in the morning of 3 December 1914 the German squadron anchored at the eastern end of Chile’s Picton Island in the Beagle Channel. The German armada was made up of the following ships:
    – The armoured cruisers Scharnhorst (flagship) and Gneisenau
    – The small cruisers Nürnberg, Leipzig and Dresden
    – The 1913-built HAPAG collier Baden, 7676 tons
    – The 1914-built Hamburg-Amerika collier Santa Isabel, 5199 tons
    – The 1903-built Norddeutscher-Lloyd passenger ship Seydlitz, 7942 tons. This ship had left Sydney, Australia on 3 August 1914 and arrived at Bahia Blanca, the major Argentine naval base. From there she made the long voyage around the Horn to Valparaiso to ship Gemran volunteers and reservists who had sought to join the German cruisers there but were surplus to requirements.(footnote 5) She was 440 feet x 55 feet in dimension, one funnel two masts, reported speed 14 knots. She had accommodation for 2,500 persons, this being equivalent to the population of the Falklands at that time.
    – It has puzzled naval historians why Admiral von Spee allowed his crews four days to go hunting and exploring Picton Island, thus delaying his attack until 8 Deecmber. The reason is that he was forced to await the arrival north of the Falklands of two auxiliaries loaded with cement, rolls of barbed wire, trench-making machinery, provisions and a labour force. German naval intelligence despatched the Mera from Montevideo on 4 December 1914, and the Elinore Woermann from La Plata the same day, their expected arrival on the Patagonian side of the Falklands being late on 7 December.(footnote 6)

    The ten-ship armada to invade and occupy the Falkland Ilands was ready to converge on them on the late evening of 7 December 1914. The secret orders, as one might expect, had been drawn up by diplomats, which explains all the secrecy to this day.

    It was German policy of the time to close down British colonies in the same way as British Empire naval forces had done to German colonies in the Pacific. For his book Historia Completa de las Malvinas, the retired diplomat Jose Luiz Muñoz Aspiri had been granted restricted access to the Ministry archives. He mentioned two documents he copied there:

    (i) Former ambassador Candioti ratified the truth of the information regarding German policy. “It was communicated to me that in Germany, where I had consular duties at that time, they had drawn up a special map indicating the British colonial territories which were to be returned to their rightful owners, and it included the Malvinas.”

    And author Aspiri also quoted a letter dated 4 July 1953 from Consul Adolfo Blanc to the effect that:

    (ii) “According to statements received at that time, here and in England, von Spee had received instructions from the Chancellery and German Admiralty to proclaim Argentine sovereignty over the archipelago as soon as he anchored at Port Stanley.”

    In the Third and final Part, the role and fate of the five support ships.

    Footnotes to Part Two
    (1) Capt.von Rintelen: The Dark Invader – Wartime Reminiscences of a German Naval Intelligence Officer, Penguin Books, 1937.
    (2) Churchill, Winston, The World Crisis 1911-1918, London 1923-1931
    (3) Ernesto de la Guardia: La primera batalla de las Malvinas in Todo es Historia, edition 335, Buenos Aires, June 1995.
    (4) Pochhammer, KKpt Hans, El último viaje del Conde Spee, Argentine Navy Office translation, Buenos Aires, 1924 p.221
    (5) ibid, p.174 and 181
    (6) Hirst, Lloyd: Coronel and After, publ. Peter Davies, London 1934.

    in reply to: Scapa Flow – keeping the Grand Fleet fed and fuelled #12656
    Geoffrey Brooks

    I find the observations by Malcolm Lewis very interesting regarding the shortage of colliers in 1914. I have been puzzled for some time as to why the two new German colliers “Baden” and “Santa Isabel”, whose purpose it was to maintain von Spee’s squadron coaled up, were sunk undamaged after inspection within an hour’s sailing time east of Port Stanley on 8 December 1914.

    Geoffrey Brooks


    Only one month after the battle, the Peace of Paris signed on 10 February 1763 by France, Spain, Portugal and Great Britain ended the Seven Years’ War between France and Spain. It was agreed therein that certain teritories gained on land by battle would be returned to the original occupants, and this included Colonia del Sacramento.

    Hearing this news, the Spaniards at Colonia del Sacramento, who had brought the Lord Clive to the foreshore of the Baluarte Santa Rita from the 6 metres of waters in which she sank in order to ransack the ship and remove the armaments, decided to demolish the city walls. The masonry was then used to bury the Lord Clive , possibly as a war grave, and as I understand it the wreck now forms part of the substratum on which the present sea wall was extended and built up.

    The Spaniards had no intention of respecting Portuguese possession of Colonia del Sacramento, and it returned into Spanish hands in 1777 when the Portuguese were again forcibly evicted, this time for good.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    typo above, HMS Kingston was built in 1697.
    The following history is based on several of the works of Rear Admiral Laurio Destefani, ArgNavy (ret’d)


    The Argentine/Uruguay histories state that between 1763 and 1847, Great Britain made six unsuccessful attempts to set foot firmly in the territories of the Vice-Royalty of the River Plate. The incident involving the privateer Lord Clive is considered to be the First British Invasion of the River Plate.

    The small port of Colonia del Sacramento on the coast of modern Uruguay thirty miles from, and opposite, Buenos Aires, was founded in 1680. Because it was founded by the Portuguese in breach of the Treaty of Tordesillas, by which Portugal agreed to keep east of a line in the South Atlantic, it became the cause of numerous battles, upheavals and incomprehensible treaties argued out between the Portuguese and the Spanish Vice-Royalty.

    The British became involved as allies of the Portuguese through the Methuen Treay of 1707.

    In the Treaty of Madrid of 1750, the Portuguese had agreed to evacuate Colonia del Sacramento in exchange for large advances in Rio Grande del Sul and Paraguay. Using the minor War of the Jesuit Missions as an excuse to avoid their obligation, the Portuguese were then forcibly ejected from Colonia del Sacramento on 2 November 1762 by an armada commanded by Cevallos, Governor of Buenos Aires.

    Long before this eviction, the Portuguese ambassador to London obtained British support to convert the zone of Colonia del Sacramento into an Anglo-Portuguese commercial enclave using the British East India Company. An adventurer, John MacNamara, was appointed to command the expedition aboard the old 60-gun privateer Lord Clive ex-.HMS Kingston with the 40-gun ex-Royal Navy frigate Ambuscade in support. These two ships were in fact corsairs acting under Letters of Marque issued by the British Government authorizing them on its behalf if necessary to commit acts on the high seas which would otherwise be considered as piracy.

    At Lisbon these two privateers joined forces with Portuguese regular warships led by the frigate Gloria (38 guns) attended by six brigantines and carrying 600 troops. On 30 August 1762 the Anglo-Portuguese squadron under MacNamara’s command sailed for Maldonado to be informed on arrival on 1 December 1762 of the eviction of the Portuguese from Colonia del Sacramento the month before.

    On 4 December 1762 off Montevideo the expedition found the currents and shallows of the River Plate too daunting to launch an attack on Buenos Aires, and so on 2 January 1763 it was decided to attack Montevideo instead. When a coastal pilot informed MacNamara that his ships were of too deep a draught to enter the port, he decided to follow the coast northwards and launch a surprise attack on Colonia del Sacramento and so eject the troops of the Spanish Viceroy there.


    The force arrived at Colonia del Sacramento at 0600 hrs on 6 January 1763. It was already warm, being midsummer, and the sky was cloudless. Nothing stirred ashore as the ships reconnoitred. MacNamara detailed Ambuscade to attack Fort San Pedro, the Gloria Fort San Miguel while Lord Clive would engage Fort Santa Rita.

    An intense bombardment began at noon. The two ships which eventually escaped, Gloria and the British Ambuscade, both wore the Portuguese flag and this would have its repurcussions after the battle. The range was 400 metres. The attackers fired a total of 3000 cannonballs, crossbar sho and grapeshot. At Fort Santa Rita the Spanish defenders were well sheltered behind low parapets and suffered only four dead during the entire action. In particular it was recorded that Lord Clive was always firing too high.

    By the fourth hour of battle the Lord Clive was seriously damaged and had forty dead. She was on fire from stem to stern and drifting inshore. From 400 metres the range had diminished to 150 metres. The shore batteries now heated cannonballs until they glowed red hot and fired them by mortars. One hit the Lord Clive amidships and exploded the magazines. This sank the ship almost immediately.

    The dead of the Lord Clive numbered 272 including MacNamara and the captain McDouall. 76 survivors reached shore by swimming, two by dinghy. 62 of these men were captured by the Spanish.

    The officers amongst the survivors were singled out for summary trial. Lord Clive was a ship in British ownership and not a warship. She had attacked a Spanish colony with intent to invade and pillage. Britain was not at war with Spain. There was also a question about the flag the ship had worn. The Letters of Marque could not possibly cover these circumstances and so the officers were condemned to death and hanged in the plaza of Fort Santa Rita.

    The other ranks were taken to Buenos Aires and distibuted amongst the provinces. Here they were well treated and some married into the local population. There are documents showing that at least six named members of these survivors volunteered to fight in the Argentine revolution against Spain in later years.

    Several days after the battle the Spaniards removed cannons from the wreck and then buried it under tons of rock.

    As regards the wreck of the Lord Clive which Sr Ruben Collars claims to have discovered: the Spaniards had three warships on patrol to protect Colonia del Sacramento. Upon sighting the Anglo-Portuguese armada they fled without firing a shot or alerting the local garrison. Off Isla San Gabriel two miles out (the island at Sr. Collard’s left shoulder in the British newspaper photograph, and also near to where his finger is pointing on the map of the other) the flagship Victoria was scuttled with all her guns and powder, and then her crew made good their escape aboard the two escorts, It may well be the Victoria which Sr Collard has dicovered.

    END (unless further information of interest comes to light in future visits to Colonia del Sacramento).

    Geoffrey Brooks

    Swedish Vikings portaged to the Dnieper where they founded the principality of Kiev. They reached the Volga by similar means and finally the Caspian Sea at Itil by way of the Volga where they maintained the river trade route via modern Volgograd north to Bulgar until it was blocked by hostilities in the 970’s. This appears to be the farthest extent of their travels east. Nat Geographic magazine, March 1985, p.278-317.

    There appears to be some documentary evidence that the Normans, descendants of the Vikings, visited Brazil and Bolivia in the couple of centuries after 1100.

    An interesting cave painting alongside runic inscriptions was reported from northern Argentina in a 1975 magazine. The painting shows an elongated low hull form with a raised forecastle and two masts with sails one behind the other roughly straddling the centre section. I have never seen a Viking ship depicted with two sails and wonder if this is known of here.

    in reply to: The Golfo Nuevo Submarine Mysteries, 1958 and 1960 #11006
    Geoffrey Brooks


    The first five encounters are remarkable for what was not fully explained.

    On 14 February 1960, the newspaper La Razón published a leading article under the heading Destruction of Enemy Submarines in Golfo Nuevo Imminent. The previous evening Navy Secretary Admiral Gaston Clement had made a statement that the two submarines present were “fitted with very advanced equipment. For example, when submarines of this type suspect that they are being tracked by radar, they use a special ray to destroy the precision of the instrumentation.”

    What he did not add was that they tended to appear to the eye suddenly: one moment the sea would be empty, and the next at 100 yards distance there would be a large submarine fully surfaced.

    No photograph of the intruder submarines, either from 1958 or 1960, has ever been published, or is known of. From this one assumes that the “special ray”, whatever it was, caused all and any photograph to turn out blurred or fuzzy and unusable. Learning from the previous 1958 experience, in 1960 the Argentine Navy issued sketch pads to the crews of the corvettes Murature and King. These sketches constitute the pictorial record of the encounters. The submarine(s) never responded with hostility to any attack.

    First sighting.
    4 February 2145 hrs. Punta Ambrosetti. Murature, positioned 3000 metres offshore.
    Submarine suddenly seen submerging 1000 metres off the point, depth 20 metres, facing setting sun. Officers reported that the upper part of the sail and a projection at the poop were of a “coppery colour” similar to that seen on the same kind of submarine at 1803 hrs on 21 May 1958.

    Second sighting
    5 February 0101 hrs (3 hrs 16 minutes later). Punta Loma. King.
    Submarine seen surfacing between ship and shore facing east. Opened fire with 40 mm cannon, no hits observed.

    Third sighting
    7 February 0326 hrs. Punta Conscriptos. King.
    Submarine suddenly seen between ship and shore. Opened fire 40 mm cannon. Various hits on sail “like shells exploding” but no damage seen, some “rebounds” and “misses long and short”

    Fourth sighting
    7 February 2137 hrs. Punta Ambrosetti/Loma. Murature.
    Against full moon, excellent visibility, sea state 1. Corvette adrift 100 metres offshore saw periscope or radar aerial 100 metres distant, instrument turning, submerged submarine apparently on a “course to ram”. Murature left scene.

    Fifth sighting
    11 February 1960 0807 hrs. Punta Ambrosetti. Murature.
    Submarine suddenly appeared surfaced. Engaged with 40 mm cannon. No hits reported. Sketches show projection which might be periscope or radar aerial, affixed to it was a parabolic-like aerial.

    On 13 Febraury La Nación quoted military sources as satying that the intruder submarine had the profile of a Type XXI German U-boat. The Spanish journal Las Provincias published a cable from its correspondent William Horsey mentioning that the submarine had been seen on the surface several times, never photographed but identified positively as a Type XXI U-boat.

    The same day Argentina received modern depth charges, flares, sonar buoys, homing torpedoes and other advanced equipment and weaponry from the Unites States. The depth charges had a “terrific destructive effect down to 200 metres” which was deeper than any point in Golfo Nuevo. The P2V aircraft would each carry two homing torpedoes below the wings and be equipped with MAD search equipment (which looks for changes in vertical magnetic component of waters produced by presence of a metal submergible).

    On 14 February as reported by the newspaper La Prensa two days later, the Argentine Foreign Ministry sent a Note to all nations known to operate submarines asking that “if the submarine of unknown flag in waters of our national jurisdiction at Golfo Nuevo is a submarine of your State”, would the naval attaché be so kind as to “ask your Government to issue instructions to the submarine in question to identify itself to the naval authority of the zone”, since the Argentine Government now considered itself “legitimately authorized to take those steps necessary to uphold the law with respect to the territorial sovereignty of the Republic.” There were no replies except from the Soviet naval attaché Kourin, and Soviet Vice-President Mikoyan, both denyinmg that the submarine was Russian, and they made no diplomatic moves subsequently over the next few days to allow the boat to go free, Mikoyan adding that despite all the weaponry becoming available, all they would kill was a large quantity of fish.

    The scene was now set for the final two extraordinary sightings.

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