Geoffrey Brooks

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  • in reply to: The Golfo Nuevo Submarine Mysteries, 1958 and 1960 #11001
    Geoffrey Brooks


    At 0910 hrs on 30 January 1960 in Golfo Nuevo, the corvettes Murature and King were engaged in routine cadet training exercises under the supervision of the destroyer Cervantes when a submerged submarine was detected. Having received no reply to their challenge, a chase ensued in which the submarine showed its superior speed and manouevrability submerged. The pursuiit was abandoned once the submarine left Argentine territorial waters.

    That same evening near Puerto Madryn inside Golfo Nuevo a fresh contact was made. Because this submarine seemed noisier and slower than the first (10 knots as opposed to 17) it was thought to be a second intruder.

    Over the 36 hours from the first contact until 2150 hrs on 31 January, only forty sonar bleeps or hydrophone contacts were recorded. “The basic element required to plot the course of the submarine automatically was always absent” (Cosentino, p.59). Naval aircraft dropped a number of random depth charges and bombs along the coastal shallows.

    The “hunt” and “hue and cry” for these submarines involved huge numbers of warships and aircraft patrolling and searching night and day over the next three weeks, and after 15 February using advanced US Navy anti-submarine weaponry. The mysterious fact emerges, however, that the corvettes Murature and King were the only naval vessels to make contact and attack an intruder submarine, and always close inshore within sight of the meseta.

    They are sister ships (I have seem them both at the Buenos Aires naval arsenal this year 2015) still in service for training purposes. They were designed and built in 1944 as minesweepers but later converted for anti-submarine work. Details in 1960:

    Builder: Rio Santiago Naval Shipyard, BsAs province, Argentina.
    Dimensions: 76.8 x 8.84 x 4.17 metres
    Armament: 3 x 105 mm, 2 x 40 mm guns
    Anti-submarine armament: 4 x depth charge mortars, 2 ramps on poop for 2 charges each, SQSA sonar, and hydrophone installation.
    Machinery: 2 x Werkspoor diesels, 2-shaft, top speed 15 knots.
    Crew: 130

    On 2 February 1960 the national daily La Nación reported “The Navy has sent a number of units in search of a submerged object detected last Saturday in waters of Argentina jurisdiction” and the following day Navy Secretary Clement confirmed, as before in 1958, “there are two boats present in Golfo Nuevo, we know this because this type of boat usually operates in pairs.”

    in reply to: The Golfo Nuevo Submarine Mysteries, 1958 and 1960 #10912
    Geoffrey Brooks


    During a Press conference at Government House on 23 May 1958, Argentine Frondizi made the following surprise announcement:

    “On Wednesday 21 May 1958 a squadron of our destroyers carrying out a routine exrecise north-west of Cracker Point just inside Golfo Nuevo detected by their hydrophones a submerged submarine. It is assumed that this submarine is capable of high speed underwater. As is the practice in these cases, being in waters of our national jurisdiction, the destroyers carried out four depth charge patterns. After the attacks, patches of oil were found floating at the surface, which often happens when a submarine suffers damage. Later our Navy carried out successive searches until the evening of 22 May, but these had no result. It is therefore assumed that the submarine though damaged has eluded its pursuers, or has been sunk.”

    The exercise was being performed by three cruisers, four destroyers, a workshop ship, an oceanographic survey ship, and a tug supported by three Catalina aircraft, five bombers, a DC-4 and twelve Corsairs.

    According to the official report on the website, the submarine was detected by sonar aboard the destroyer Buenos Aires at 1035 hrs, and the first depth charges were dropped at 1051 hrs. At 1803 hrs the same destroyer saw a persicope, copper in colour, and “possibly a snorkel” at 220 metres. A radar contact was reported at 1822 hrs at 2400 metres. At 1015 hrs the following morning the destroyers Misiones and Santa Cruz, and five aircraft attacked a contact withour result.

    Late the following week, Navy Secretary Rear=Admiral Clement stated that the Navy was continuing its search operationm in Golfo Nuevo in accordance with a plan drawn up for such emergencies, and with the same intensity as in the opening days of the hunt.

    Military sources quoted by the Press stated that the submarine had a speed submerged of between eight and twelve knots, and despite the numerous reports identifying it as one of a type used by Germnany in the Second World War, “the impression amongst naval chiefs is that these submarines are very much more modern.” The use of the plural “these submarines” when supposedly only one was present in Golfo Nuevo arouses suspicion that the Argentine Navy knew more about “these submarines” than it pretended. Furthermore, no photograph of any of “these submarines” has ever been published from either the 1958 nor the 1960 intrusions. From this one infers that the last thing the Argentine Navy wished to do was identify the type of submarine, and possibly its operator.

    By 10 June 1958, nearly three weeks after the operation commenced, the special correspondents sent to Puerto Madryn had reported that the intruder submarine was thought to have escaped through the blockade at the entrance to Golfo Nuevo on 7 June. The only factor of which the Argentine Navy was sure was that “the intruder submarine had a much higher speed at the end than during the previous seventeen days of its imprisonment inside the Gulf.”

    in reply to: The Danish Viking Presence in South America, 1000-c.1250 #10898
    Geoffrey Brooks


    North of Highway 5 stands Itaguambypé (‘fortress’), a ridge 2 kms long and 100 metres high. At some time in the distant past the mountain was hollowed out and given a vertical defensive wall of tailored rock and stone. The engineers were undoubtedly the race of pre-Incas from the Altiplano. The design suggests a stockade with the fourth side being the river Aquidaban in a deep valley at the rear. A runic inscription has been found chiselled inside the mountain, however, and so the fortress was probably used later by the Vikings. A path runs along the crest, separated midway by an opening for access into the mountain. At the southern extremity of the path is the ruin of an observation platform giving a pnaoramic view of the coutryside.

    At Tacuati not far from the location of old Weibingo, Professor Mahieu excavated the stone foundations and walls of a Nordic temple 28 x 10 metres in dimension discovered below a farmer’s field. Nordic type pottery was found including the neck of a funeral urn.

    A major find of 150 grottoes and rock shelters was made by the Paraguayan Ministry of Public Works in the Amambay jungle in 1973. At Cerro Guazú, the world’s largest collection of runic insciptions, numbered in thousands, was found, seventy-one of which had been translated by the time the excavations were concluded. There is also a fine engraved sketch of the god Odin riding the horse Sleipnir.

    The South American futhorc is twenty-six characters including Anglo-Saxon, latinized and archaic usages, indicating the length of the Viking presence in the region. Some of the archaic runes were never used in Scandinavia and are local to Northern Germany. Runologist Professor Munk deduced from the Viking runes of the region that the settlers were not pure Danes, but came predominantly from Schleswig-Holstein and the Danelaw in England.

    Identifying Danish and German words in the native Quiché-Maya and Quichua languages led the runologists to conclude that an intermediate dialect distinct from classic Norse evolved over the centuries under the influence of the native languages which the Danes were forced to learn for their relationships with the local Indians, who were apparently forbidden to speak the Viking language. This tradition was followed later by the Incas with regard to their own language.


    There is enough material here to justify in every history book covering the period in question the inclusion of at least the sentence: “It is very possible that Vikings of Danish origin were present in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay before Columbus, and that they arrived by sea from Europe.”

    While despite its uncertainties ‘Vinland’ has academic recognition, no mention can ever be made, even to deny it, of Vikings in South America, for which substantial proof exists.

    The outcome of my personal enquiries is that the late Professor de Mahieu, an outcaste from the scientific fraternity for having been “a member of the Waffen-SS”, turned into an uncontrollable loose cannon and broadcast what should have been kept for ever secret and hidden, namely any mention of the necropolis.


    in reply to: The Danish Viking Presence in South America, 1000-c.1250 #10845
    Geoffrey Brooks


    Ulrich Schmidel was a lancer with the 1552 Mendoza expedition which explored from the River Plate via Ourinhos to the Andes. He was literate. His chronicle of the expedition was published in Europe(1), and so he probably had a clandestine role as an observer.

    In his book, he related the finding of the Northern peaviru path at Ourinhos, and the existence of various villages along its route whose names were neither Spanish nor Portuguese, nor had they any meaning in the local native languages, but were recognizably Nordic.

    After crossing the River Paraná into Mato Grosso, after 100 kms the expedition came to a village and river bearing the name Ivinheim. Both exist today under the revised Brazilian orthography as Ivinhema, and can be found 100 kms east of modern Dourados. The nomenclature situation appears to be as follows:

    According to historian Natalicio Gonzalez(2), in 1593 an institution was set up “on the banks of San Salvador, Jaguarey or Ybynheima” (three names for the same river). San Salvador was what the Portuguese of the time called the river, therefore the double toponomy of “Yguarey/Jaguarey or Ivinheima” in the 1865 atlas of Martin Mopussy(3)) indicates that before the Spanish Conquest, the river had the native name Yguarey (Ygua=inhabitants, re=old, past, of antiquity, and y=river: therefore, ‘River of the inhabitants of antiquity’) and Ivinheima.

    Professor Jacques de Mahieu, a Frenchman, thought that Ivinheim probably meeant ‘The region where the palm tree mbocaya grows for making longbows’ (German heim, Norse heimr, ‘region of’ is correct, but to find any word of the time in any European language which had ivin as ‘yew’, which the palm tree mbocaya assuredly is not, he resorted to Cornish and Low Breton, both being a long, long way from Schleswig.

    Can we solve what Ivinheim actually did mean? In 1593 the locality was known to the Portuguese as Ybynheima or Yvynheima, the ‘b’ and ‘v’ being interchangeable. As has been demonstrated earlier, it was the practice of the Danish Vikings to name a place half with a local word, and the other half in German or Norse. The native word Yvyn means ‘lands, fields, campo’ the latter word in Portuguese meaning a vast area of grassland. The de Moussy atlas indicates that huge tracts of that area of Mato Grosso were suitable for raising cattle, sheep and horses; on the southern side of the river the map is endorsed, ‘natural open plains good for herds.’

    Therefore Ivinheim was probably originally Yvynheim which translates to ‘Region of the great grasslands’ or similar.

    From Yvynheim it was 500 kms to Weibingo. Crossing the Amambay hills 100 kms short of the destination one came to Cerro Corá 25 kms west of the modern border town of Pedro Juan Caballero. In this area many existing Viking discoveries were made by Professor de Mahieu but it is nowadays mainly a military prohibited area. These discoveries will be described in the Final Part which follows.


    (1) Schmidel, Ulrich: Wahrhafftige Historien einer wunderbaren Schiffart, Hulsius, 1602.
    (2) Gonzalez, J.Natalicio, Proceso y formación de la cultura paraguaya, Asunción 1948.
    (3) De Moussy, Martin, Dr.V: Atlas de la Confédératikon Argentine, Paris 1973.

    in reply to: The Danish Viking Presence in South America, 1000-c.1250 #10838
    Geoffrey Brooks


    The initial interest of the Danish Vikings in South America was not Paraguay but Bolivia. Strangely for Europeans so far from home in the 11th century, they seemed to know exactly where they were heading and how to get there cross country.

    Potosí was known for its gold and silver mines, whereas the choice of Tiahuanacu as the Viking capital was less understandable. A dead megalithic city at 12,500 feet altitude at latitude 18º22’S, it is situated in a region where neither corn nor maize will ripen and “capable of sustaining only a scanty population of hardy mountaineers and labourers. Its unsolved mystery is in the existence of the ruins of a great city at the southern side of Lake Titicaca built using enormous stones by masons as highly skilled as those who built the Egyptian pyramids(f/n 1).”

    The first post-Conquest expedition to South America from the South Atlantic to the Andes was that of Alejo García in 1521. In the Guayrá, the land lying between the Brazilian coast and Paraguay, García found a trail in perfect state of maintenance. This was one of the “soft trails” laid by the Vikings and known locally as peaviru. A peaviru was laid with grasses and gramineous plants which prevented hawthorns and other undesirable bushes growing within its borders.

    García’s itinerary was confirmed by ther explorer Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1542. One of the villages through which they both passed was Tocanguzir:

    (Norse: toga, genitive plural of tog, ‘expedition’, and husir, Norse nominative plural of Norse hus, ‘house’, therefore ‘houses of the expedition’.

    A Jesuit map of 1609 places the Storting (Norse. Storting, Grand Assembly) near the present city of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.

    The Danish Vikings came ashore at Santos, and trudged 500 kms west to Ourinho. The earlier Danish arrivals created the Southern Path discovered later by García and de Vaca mentioned above. Heading south-west, the Southern Path crossed the River Paraná at modern Salto del Guayra and continued south west to the important river junction at Asuncion. (A section of the peaviru has survived in the uplands of Caaguazú east of Asunción).

    At Asunción the Vikings were now faced with a boat voyage of 350 kms north along the River Paraguay to Weibingo (23º25’S) at the mouth of the River Ypané.

    The name ‘Weibingo’ appears on all the earliest Spanish maps but cannot have been thought up by the native Indians or the Spanish. It is latinized (Spanish difficulty in pronouncing ‘v’ changed by custom to ‘b’, and ‘o’ places stress on word correctly), and is derived:

    Norse: vej, ‘path’ and Norse: vink, ‘sign’ or German Winkel, ‘angle’, therefore ‘signpost to the path’ or ‘bend in the route’. It was at Weibingo that the Viking voyagers disembarked from the boats for the long march into Bolivia.

    Along the path to Bolivia was a village called Orthuesi derived from:

    German: Ort ‘district’, Quichua, huesi, ‘houses’ from Norse hus, therefore ‘district houses’, i.e. rest houses on the strategic pre-Inca path to the Altiplano upland plateau. The Vikings installed a guard at Orthuesi consisting of loyal Arahuak Indians. Their descendants can be identified by physical characteristics to this day. Their purpose was to intercept Guaraní intruders from the south and hostile Tupís from the north.

    It was a combined march and voyage of well over 1900 kms from the sea at Santos to the intermediate post at Weibingo (a little south of modern Concepción on the River Paraguay). Fairly soon after their arrival the Danish Vikings decided to seek a shorter route. This led to the creation of the Northern Path from Ourinho of only 1500 kms extent.

    Footnote: Immanuel Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval, Dell, New York, 1955 at p.84

    Geoffrey Brooks

    The question is whether any of the Roskilde replica ships was actually fitted with the kind of woollen sail from which the performance data was obtained. The journalist stated that the Roskilde replicas would not be so equipped for an obstacle impossible to overcome in the short period before the book was published, and therefore the claims are unlikely to have been checked in practice, on a boat at sea. Passing to the other subject, the claimed presence of Danish Vikings in South America, I am preparing this in several parts as a separate thread.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    I am answering the above query in twoparts, herewith Part One of Two, being the main points from an article by Nancy Bazilchuk: “Recreating Sails Used on Viking Ships”.

    “Missing even from well-presevered Viking ships are the sails: such old cloth rarely survives in the environments that preserve wood. After delving into old documents, Jon Godal and Eric Andersen from the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde/Denmark decided that old sails might be preserved elsewhere. They found a Viking law dating fropm about 1000 AD stating: “The man upon whom responsibility falls shall store the sail in the church. If the church burns, this man is responsible for the sail…” As a result of their search, a fragment of woollen sail was found between the walls and roof of the church at Trondenes.

    Amy Lightfoot, head of the Tommervik Textile Trust at Hitra/Norway, had been studying coastal people’s use of a tough lanolin-rich wool to weave vadmal, a thick woollen cloth used to make durable clothing. When in 1991 the coastal museum at Hitra decided to build a replica of a boat used locally in the 1300s, it was also decided it should have a woollen sail based on the Trondenes fragment, and Amy Lightfoot was chosen for the task. Because there was no knowledge of the technique, she consulted the people who still made vadmal.

    Even the simplest sail is a highly complex tensile structure. The fabric must be heavy enough to withstand strong winds, but not so heavy that it slows the ship. The balance is found in the strength of the different threads, the tightness of their twist, and watertightness. The Trondenes fragment allowed the intricacies to be examined in Viking-age cloth. Analysis of the sail showed that its strength came from the long, coarse outer hairs of a primitive breed of Northern European short-tailed sheep called ‘villsau’. This breed can still be found in Finland and Iceland. They need no shelter in winter as their wool is saturated with water-repellent lanolin. The quality of their wool owes much to their diet of new grass in summer and heather in winter.

    Historical and radiocarbon data from as early as 1400 BC show that Norwegian coastal farmers burnt the heather every year in spring. This kept down the heather and also prevented the invasion of young pine trees that would eventually turn the famers’ grazing land to forest. The villsau thrived on the summer grass and in fact helped to encourage its growth. The flocks gained enough weight to overwinter on heather.

    Lightfoot was able to provide a limited amopunt of villsau wool for the coastal museum’s boat “Sara Kjerstine” from 25 sheep she kept herself. The remainder came from a modern relative called the ‘spelsau’. Both types of wool had to be worked by hand to preserve the lanolin and to separate tje long, strong outer hairs from the weaker, inner wool.

    The 85-square metre sail required 2 tonnes of wool, a year’s production from 2,000 sheep. Lightfoot and three helpers spent six months pulling wool from the villsau. Spinning the wool into 165,000 metres of yarn and weaving the sail took another two years.

    In 1997 Lightfoot joined forces with the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde which required a woollen sail for the replica of a cargo ship. This time the wool was sheared. The Danish king Knut II is believed by historians to have had over 1700 ships in 1085. “If you think about the Vikings’ western expansion, you have to think maybe the sheep had something to do with it. But without women ashore making sails, the Vikings could never have sailed anywhere.”

    Lightfoot’s sails have provided unexpected insight into the handling of Viking ships. Woollen sails power Viking ships about ten per cent faster upwind than modern sails, and also allow the ships to be sailed far closer to the wind than anyone guessed previously.

    The Roskilde replicas have not been equipped with woollen sails because the museum does not have huge flocks of wild sheep or an army of women to provide the material.”

    End of quote. In Part Two, the evidence for the Danish Viking presence in South America.

    in reply to: Gallipoli 1915 – did the RN desert the Army? #10517
    Geoffrey Brooks

    The alleged “lack of anticipation by the Admiralty that the Germans would scuttle their ships at Scapa Flow after the Armistice” made in the opening post fairly misses the point.

    The initial terms of the Armistice on 11 November 1918 required that the German Fleet was to be “interned in neutral ports” and to remain there until the decision was taken as to their future. A week later the phrase was modified to include “Allied ports”. It was stipulated that when the Treaty of Versailles came into effect, only then and not before would the interned ships be considered as surrendered, although they could be inspected to ensure that that had no armaments aboard. Until the Treaty of Versailles came into effect, they remained the property of the German Reich.

    The fact that the German ships had survived intact, and there they were at Scapa Flow for all the world to see, showed what the Royal Navy had failed to do in four and a half years of war. The fact that the Grand Fleet had immobilized the German Fleet into ineffectiveness was not the same as sinking it: officers on both sides wanted a Final Battle, and just before the end, the Germans were prepared to issue a challenge known as Operational Plan No.19 inviting the Grand Fleet to meet them on the Hoofden. Mutiny on the German lower decks put paid to the plan, for apart from salving naval honour, what use would it have served?

    The Peace Conference, to which the Germans were not invited, began in Paris on 18 January 1919. By March 1919 it had been agreed by Britain, France and the United States that the Germans ships were to be confiscated, but no agreement could be reached where they would go. On 7 May 1919 the peace terms were finally published, requiring the Germans by their signature to renounce all claims to their warships “presently interned”.

    On 16 June 1919 the Allies released the final text to the German Government, allowing the Germans until 21 June 1919 to sign, or the state of war would be resumed.

    On 20 June, the Scheidemann Government resigned. At the German request, the Allies extended the deadline to expire on 23 June 1919.

    Admiral Reuter pretended that he had no knowledge of the two-day extension, at the expiry of which ownership of the ships at Scapa Flow would pass to the Allies, and the Royal Navy would take lawful possession of them. Accordingly, to prevent the ships “falling into the hands of the enemy”, he pre-empted the British by ordering all sea cocks opened on the night of 21 June, a clause forbidding the scuttling of the ships not having been included in the terms of the Armistice.

    Vice-Admiral Fremantle had planned to storm the interned ships at midnight on 21 June. After being notified that the German Government had been granted two days’ grace, suddenly he received a mysterious order to take his squadron to sea for routine exercises. Even at the time, many observers guessed that the British had secret knowledge of the intention to scuttle and had closed their eyes to it in order to put an end to the endless wrangling with the French and Americans about which ships went to which Allies, these latter including the Italians and Belgians and so forth.

    It does appear that Britain was in favour of scrapping or sinking the ships rather than that they went to strengthen the fleets of other States, and particularly not France, for Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss, the First SeaLord, wrote:

    “I look upon the sinking of the German Fleet as a real blessing. It disposes once and for all of all the thorny questions of the distribution of these ships…”

    Geoffrey Brooks

    I am a UK pensioner, author of a couple of naval books, and translator of over 70 German language, and two Spanish language, military books for UK and foreign publishers. In England I lived at Barking in Essex. I am now domiciled in Argentina and over the last fifteen years have concentrated on local maritime history, little of which is known in the northern hemisphere.

    My interest in the Vikings stems from the claimed Viking presence in Paraguay and Bolivia. From the runology it appears certain that the voyages with disembarkations at Santos in Brazil were made by Danish/Schleswig Vikings and also persons who spoke Anglo-Saxon. Therefore it appears that the voyages originated in England, although from where along the English coast is not known. Voyages were made to and from the port of Santos, some certainly involving calls to Normandy, which makes me think that they went down the Channel and not by the north-about route to Iceland. The Viking period was from about 1000 to 1300 at the latest.

    Recently I came across an article about the material used for drakkar sails which enabled Viking boats to sail much closer to the wind than any previously known and with a speed at least 10% greater than believed. If any of this would assist your research please let me know.

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