Tag Archive | San Juan

The Admiralty must love their Brazilian allies right about now

The Royal Navy and Marinha do Brasil have extensive ties going back to the 19th Century.

It should be remembered that the battle of Jutland had a Brazilain battleship sailing for the British. HMS Agincourt, with her impressive battery of 14x 12-inch guns, had originally been ordered in 1911 as Rio de Janeiro from the British company Armstrong Whitworth. Of note, the Latin American country’s two previous battleships, Minas Geraes, and São Paulo, were also built at Armstrong.

However, Brazil recently apparently promised Argentina not one but two new (by Argie standards) submarines. According to Janes:

The Brazilian Navy has agreed to transfer two Tupi class submarines – Type 209/1400 – to Argentina, following a meeting between Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his Argentine counterpart, Mauricio Macro.

The deal includes a potential future transfer of an additional two boats.

Brazilian submarine, Tupi-class Type 209 S Tikuna (S34)

The Argentine Navy has fielded 11 submarines over the years, but only two of these, a Type 209 (ARA Salta S31) and a Type 1700 (ARA Santa Cruz S41) are still active, and those only marginally. There has been lots of crowing in sub circles that ARA San Juan (S42), tragically lost in an accident at sea last year, suffered from poor maintenance and probably shouldn’t have been at sea.

The Argentine-Brazil sub deal could end up with four boats transferred in all, with an overhaul in Brazil prior to transfer. A quartet certified pre-owned German 209s could provide the Brits a good bit of heartburn in a Falklands Redux situation.

No comment from the First Sea Lord or MoD…who must be super happy they sold the RN’s gently used helicopter carrier HMS Ocean–now NAeL Atlântico (AND 140) to Brazil late last year for the military equivalent of couch change.

The 44 brave submariners aboard San Juan have been located

Just over a year after the German-made Type TR-1700 SSK ARA San Juan (S-42) went missing with 44 souls aboard, she has been found.

The sad news from Ocean Infinity:

Ocean Infinity, the seabed exploration company, confirms that it has found ARA San Juan, the Argentine Navy submarine which was lost on 15 November 2017.

In the early hours of 17 November, after two months of seabed search, Ocean Infinity located what has now been confirmed as the wreckage of the ARA San Juan. The submarine was found in a ravine in 920m of water, approximately 600 km east of Comodoro Rivadavia in the Atlantic Ocean.

Oliver Plunkett, Ocean Infinity’s CEO, said:

“Our thoughts are with the many families affected by this terrible tragedy. We sincerely hope that locating the resting place of the ARA San Juan will be of some comfort to them at what must be a profoundly difficult time. Furthermore, we hope our work will lead to their questions being answered and lessons learned which help to prevent anything similar from happening again.

We have received a huge amount of help from many parties who we would like to thank. We are particularly grateful to the Argentinian Navy whose constant support and encouragement was invaluable. In addition, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, via the UK Ambassador in Buenos Aires, made a very significant contribution. Numerous others, including the US Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, have supported us with expert opinion and analysis. Finally, I would like to extend a special thank you to the whole Ocean Infinity team, especially those offshore as well as our project leaders Andy Sherrell and Nick Lambert, who have all worked tirelessly for this result.”

Ocean Infinity used five Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) to carry out the search, which was conducted by a team of approximately 60 crew members on board Seabed Constructor. In addition, three officers of the Argentine Navy and four family members of the crew of the ARA San Juan joined Seabed Constructor to observe the search operation

For the San Juan: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, as performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and chorus.

One of Parker’s cranks, 119 years later

Colt Model 1895, serial number 1040. It was one of four Gatling’s under the command of Lieutenant John Parker during the Battle of San Juan Hill, where it was fitted to a rolling carriage.

Via the National Firearms Museum:

In the late 1890s, the Gatling gun was still considered a relatively new innovation in firearms technology. By the time America entered into war with Spain in 1898, Gatling guns had only seen limited use during the American Civil War. Their practicality in battle was considered equivocal to the United States Army.

It was the suggestion of West Point graduate John H. Parker , a 1st lieutenant of the 13th US infantry, that troops preparing for the invasion of Cuba would benefit from a mobile Gatling gun unit. It was an experimental notion, yet Parker’s idea for a Gatling gun detachment caught the interest of a few commanding officers and his proposal was approved. Parker’s intentions were to create an artillery unit capable of providing infantry with heavy cover fire when engaging the enemy in the field.

The Gatling Guns by Charles Johnson Post.

On July 1, 1898, US troops in Cuba were advancing on the Spanish occupied port of Santiago. It was here that Parker’s famed artillery unit would finally be put to the test. Just after noon, United States Expeditionary Forces were ordered to assault a 4,000 yard ridgeline known as San Juan Heights. The hill was heavily fortified with hostile Spanish forces. As the troops charged the ascent, Parker’s Gatling gun detachment swept the summit with over 6,000 rounds of continuous .45-70 fire. The barrage adequately suppressed the enemy and allowed US troops to successfully take the hill.

In the days that followed, reports of the battle traveled back to the American home front. News of Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders’ “charge” would forever be immortalized in public memory. The Gatling guns of Parker’s artillery unit played a pivotal role in the skirmish and preserved here today is a Colt model 1895, serial number 1040. It was one of four Gatling’s under the command of Lieutenant John Parker during the Battle of San Juan Hill.

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