ARA Alferez Sobral (A-9)
Alférez Sobral in Ushuaia, 2008
|Career (United States)|
|Name:||USS Salish (ATA-187)|
|Laid down:||29 August 1944|
|Launched:||29 September 1944|
|Commissioned:||7 December 1944|
|Renamed:||Salish, 16 July 1948|
|Decommissioned:||10 February 1972|
|Fate:||transferred to Argentine Navy, 10 February 1972|
|Struck:||1 February 1975|
|Acquired:||10 February 1972|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2014[update]|
|Displacement:||835 tons (848 t) (full)|
|Length:||143 ft (44 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft 10 in (10.31 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)|
1,500 shp (1,100 kW) single screw
|Speed:||13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)|
1 × single 3 inch/50 guns,
2 × twin 40 mm AA guns
as Alférez Sobral
1 × 40 mm /60 Bofors gun,
2 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The ship was named after Antarctic explorer Alférez José María Sobral (1880–1961). She was acquired 10 February 1972 departing with her sister-ship ARA Comodoro Somellera from Mayport, Florida on 6 March 1972 and arriving Puerto Belgrano on 18 April.
At the time the ship was approximately 60 nautical miles (110 km) north of the Falkland Islands searching for the crew of a downed Canberra (B-110) bomber that had been shot down two days earlier by an AIM-9 Sidewinder AAM (air-to-air missile) fired from a British BAe Sea Harrier FRS.Mk.1 (XZ451). The Sobral was initially spotted by a Westland Sea King helicopter. When the helicopter approached to investigate, it was shot at by the vessel's 20 mm fore cannon. The helicopter immediately retreated and called for assistance.
In response HMS Coventry and HMS Glasgow launched their Westland Lynx HAS.Mk.2/3 helicopters. Coventry's Lynx (XZ242) attacked first, firing two Sea Skua (air-to-surface) anti-ship missiles. One of the missiles narrowly missed the bridge, the second hit Sobral's fiberglass motorboat, injuring the crew of a 20 mm cannon and knocking out the radio aerials.
Twenty minutes later Glasgow's Lynx (XZ247) launched two more missiles. One or perhaps both of these missiles struck the bridge, causing extensive damage. In total the attack killed eight of the crew — including the ship's captain, Lieutenant Commander Sergio Gómez Roca — and injuring eight. The Sobral lost all her electrical power, radio, radar and compass.
The only navigational guide available to the crew was the direction of the waves at the time of the attack. She was found and helped by the Sikorsky S-61N LV-OCL (a civilian aircraft requisitioned by the Argentine Air Force as part of Escuadron Fenix and piloted by 1st Lt Lucero) which evacuated the injured. Sobral was then assisted by the civilian trawler María Alejandra and finally reached Puerto Deseado two days later on 5 May. The attack had occurred at the approximated position .
The ship survived the conflict and remains in naval service. The ship's badly damaged bridge is currently on display at the Naval Museum in the city of Tigre, Argentina.
The name of Argentina's final Espora class corvette was renamed ARA Gómez Roca (P-46) to honour her captain. Goméz Roca was the first commander of the Argentine Navy to be killed on the bridge of his ship since the war with Brazil in the 19th century. The aviso ARA Teniente Olivieri (A-2) bears the name of the Guardamarina (Midshipman) Olivieri who was also killed in the action.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
- The Fight for the Malvinas, Martin Middlebrook, ISBN 0-14-010767-3
- Smith, Gordon (1989). "Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982 — by Land, Sea and Air, Reading Notes and Abbreviations" (PDF, html). Battles of the Falkland's War. Ian Allan. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
- Smith, Gordon (1989). "Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982 — by Land, Sea and Air, Preliminary British Operations (Parts 20-30), Part 26. HMS Sheffield Sunk, Week Six, Falkland Area Operations 3rd–9th May 1982" (PDF, html). Battles of the Falkland's War. Ian Allan. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
- El Sikorsky S-61N que pasó por Argentina
- Muñoz, Jorge (2000) Misión Cumplida. Editorial Epopeya, p. 141 (Spanish)
- Rememoran el ataque al aviso “Sobral” La Gaceta Marinera, 5 May 2010. (Spanish)
- A-2 official site (Spanish)
- Un navío heroico con nuevo puerto en Mar del Plata (Spanish)
- Llegó a Ushuaia el crucero averiado y no podrá zarpar (Spanish)
- Histarmar Site pictorial
- naval-history.net: Details of the Falklands War incident
- nafts.org: Pictures of the damage done by the Sea Skua missiles
- (Spanish) fuerzasnavales.com: Technical Specs and picture of ARA Sobral
- (Spanish) ARA official website: Side view (profile) of ARA Alférez Sobral
- (Spanish) ARA official website: Technical Specifications of ARA Alférez Sobral