Agreed, when at a country is at war, any of its military personnel and hardware are legitimate targets....unless they are surrendering or medical of course. Even the Captain of the Belgrano said stated that it was correct that his ship was a target. Its only lefty **** wits that say it wasn't.
Had things been slightly different, we could have been talking about the sinking of the "Fifth of May", rather than the Belgrano. Both were legitimate targets by the fact they were lurking in and around the exclusion zone, and were obviously planning a long stay as they had both fully resupplied and refuelled the previous night. They were also strategically positioned to blockade the islands almost indefinitely. I've heard the tales about their Army being poorly equipped raw recruits, but their Navy certainly wasn't. I'm sure someone will point out that the Belgrano was originally a U.S. naval ship of the line called the "Phoenix", and yes it was old, having served in the Pacific during WW2. But that does not change the fact, that it was one of the largest and best equipped vessels in those waters. Woodward's decision was largely made for him, by the Belgrano weaving in and out of the exclusion zone at will, rather than leaving it. A statement of intent had to be made and HMS Conqueror's sanctioned actions did just that, plus it also removed the threat of a pincer movement by the Agentinians...Strange isn't it, how they invade the Falkland Islands, and we are still perceived as the bad guys for defending them??
Belgrano now only remains in many people's minds as a trivia question: "when was the last ship present at the attack on Pearl Harbour sunk?" Apart from that - sad as it was to see so many lives lost, it was a war, they were Servicemen, and would have done exactly the same to us.
Nice timing by the author, though. How he got the Argies to ramp up the rhetoric to publicise his book I don't know, but fair play to him
Apparently Argentine naval professionals are loath to regard it as anything other than a legitimate act of war, so as not to diminish the memory of the 323 lost at sea. They were military personnel at war, not treacherously murdered victims.
Justification at last! Even if it wasn't in the exclusion zone, the Belgrano was there in the South Atlantic projecting Argentine sea power. If they didn't want it sank, they should have left it in port. As soon as it sailed out into open sea's, it was a military target and that's all the justification that was needed to sink it. The sailors who lost their lives on it were sacrificed by the Argentine junta. As I understand it, the Royal Navy even after the Belgano was sank and going down told the accompanying escort ships that they could pick up survivors without further interference from them but those ships ran and left their countrymen to perish. The large scale loss of Argentine life was terrible and unnecesary not because they were sunk but because those in the water were deserted by their own navy.
Justification at last! Even if it wasn't in the exclusion zone, the Belgrano was there in the South Atlantic projecting Argentine sea power. If they didn't want it sank, they should have left it in port.
The total exclusion zone has been confusing civilians since 1982. The exclusion zone was an MOD demarcation to denote an area which neutral ships should avoid in order to prevent their being mistakenly fired on or otherwise coming into harm's way.
Argentine Navy vessels were a legitimate target both inside and outside the exclusion zone. If the Royal Navy had had the ability to sink the rest of the Argentine navy in port, the Argentines would have had no grounds for complaint if they'd done so. If they didn't want their navy, army and airforce to suffer a comprehensive shoeing, they shouldn't have started a war.
"However, exclusion zones are historically declared for the benefit of neutral vessels; during war, under international law, the heading and location of a belligerent naval vessel has no bearing on its status. In addition, the captain of the Belgrano, Hector Bonzo, has testified that the attack was legitimate (as did the Argentine government in 1994)."
Realistically the belgrano with a conscript crew was a target nothing more.
I doubt the Argie navy trained with enough live ammo To make the main guns effective.
Still no reason not to sink it but taking a ww2 battle cruiser up against the task force was either stupid desperate or both