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Encyclopedia > ARA General Belgrano

ARA General Belgrano underway
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Class and type: Brooklyn-class
Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 1935
Launched: March 1938
Christened: USS Phoenix (CL-46)
Renamed: 17 de Octubre
Renamed: General Belgrano
Status: Sunk in 1982
General Characteristics
Displacement: 9,575 tons (empty) 12,242 (full load)
Length: 608.3 ft (185 m)
Beam: 61.8 ft (18.9 m)
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Complement: 1,138 officers and men
Armament: 15 x 6"/47 cal (152 mm), 8 x 5"/25 cal (127 mm) AA
Aircraft carried: 2 helicopters

The ARA General Belgrano was an Argentine Navy cruiser sunk in a controversial incident during the Falklands War with the loss of 323 lives. Losses from Belgrano totalled just over half of Argentine deaths in the Falklands conflict. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 565 pixelsFull resolution (1033 × 730 pixel, file size: 267 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) (All user names refer to en. ... Image File history File links Naval_Jack_of_Argentina. ... The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (or New York Ship for short) was founded in 1899 and opened its first shipyard in 1900. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... USS Phoenix (CL-46), a Brooklyn-class light cruiser, was the 3rd Phoenix of the United States Navy. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Manuel Belgrano (June 3, 1770 – June 20, 1820) was an Argentine lawyer, politician, and military leader, born in Buenos Aires. ... The Navy of the Argentine Republic (Armada de la República Argentina, ARA) is the navy of Argentina. ... USS Port Royal, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, launched in 1994. ... Combatants Argentina United Kingdom Commanders President Leopoldo Galtieri Vice-Admiral Juan Lombardo Brigadier-General Ernesto Crespo Brigade-General Mario Menéndez Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse Rear-Admiral John “Sandy” Woodward Major-General Jeremy Moore Casualties 649 killed 1,068 wounded 11,313 taken prisoner 75 fixed...


It is the only ship ever to have been sunk by a nuclear-powered submarine as a hostile act and only the second sunk by any type of submarine as a hostile act since the end of the Second World War. The name had earlier been used for a 7,069-ton armoured cruiser completed in 1899. Nuclear navy, or nuclear powered navy consists of ships powered by relatively small onboard nuclear reactors known as naval reactors. ... For other uses, see Submarine (disambiguation). ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

Contents

General history

The warship was built as USS Phoenix (CL-46), the sixth of the Brooklyn-class light cruisers, in New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation starting in 1935, and launched in March 1938. She survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and was decommissioned from the US Navy (USN) after World War II in July 1946. The former USS Phoenix was sold, with another of her class (USS Boise renamed ARA Nueve de Julio), to Argentina in October 1951, for $7.8 million. She was renamed 17 de Octubre after an important date for the political party of the then president Juan Perón. Perón was overthrown in 1955, and in 1956 the ship was renamed General Belgrano (C-4) after General Manuel Belgrano, who had fought for Argentine independence in 1816. USS Phoenix (CL-46), a Brooklyn-class light cruiser, was the 3rd Phoenix of the United States Navy. ... The Brooklyn class were seven cruisers of the United States Navy which served during World War II. They were all commissioned during 1937 and 1938 in the time between the start of the war in Asia and before the outbreak of war in Europe. ... A light cruiser is a warship that is not so large and powerful as a regular (or heavy) cruiser, but still larger than ships like destroyers. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (or New York Ship for short) was founded in 1899 and opened its first shipyard in 1900. ... This article is about the actual attack. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for naval operations. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Boise (CL-47) was a United States Navy Brooklyn-class light cruiser. ... Juan Domingo Perón (October 8, 1895 – July 1, 1974) was an Argentine general and politician, elected three times as President of Argentina and serving from 1946 to 1955 and from 1973 to 1974. ... Manuel Belgrano (June 3, 1770 – June 20, 1820) was an Argentine lawyer, politician, and military leader, born in Buenos Aires. ...

Falklands War

The torpedoing of the Belgrano (before it was known she had sunk) was celebrated on the front page of the British tabloid newspaper The Sun.

After the April 2 landings the Argentine military junta began to reinforce the islands in late April when it was realised that the British Task Force was heading south. As part of these movements, the Argentine Navy fleet was ordered to take positions around the islands. The General Belgrano had left Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego on April 26, 1982, with two destroyers, the ARA Piedra Buena (D-29) and the Bouchard (D-26) (both also ex-USN vessels), as Task Group 79.3. A copy of The Sun from the 1982 sinking of the ARA General Belgrano — one of the most famous headlines ever. ... A copy of The Sun from the 1982 sinking of the ARA General Belgrano — one of the most famous headlines ever. ... This article is about a British tabloid. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Governor Rex Hunt Major Mike Norman RM Major Ian Nott RM Major Phil Sommers FIDF Admiral Carlos Busser Lieutenant commander Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots Lieutenant commander Pedro Giachino† Strength 46 marines 11 RN sailors 25 FIDFs troops 600 troops (some 60 actually clashed with... Ushuaia (pronounced ) is the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego, and claims to be the worlds southernmost city (see discussion below). ... Tierra del Fuego Cerro Sombrero Village, Chile. ... is the 116th day of the year (117th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ... USS Collett (DD-730) was a World War II-era -class destroyer in the service of the U.S. Navy, named after John Austin Collett. ...


On the 29th they were patrolling the Burdwood Bank, south of the islands. On the 30th she was detected by the British nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine HMS Conqueror. The submarine approached over the following day. Although outside the British-declared Total Exclusion Zone of 370 km (200 nautical miles) radius from the islands, the British decided that the group was a threat. After consultation at Cabinet level, the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, agreed that Commander Chris Wreford-Brown should attack the Belgrano [1]. A Hunter Killer is a light weight military submarine class used for fighting sea vehicles. ... HMS Conqueror was a Churchill-class nuclear-powered submarine that served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1990. ... Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (née Roberts; born 13 October 1925) served as British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 until 1990, being the first and to date only woman to hold either post. ...


According to the Argentine government [2], Belgrano's position was 55 24 S, 61 32 W map


At 15:57 on May 2, Conqueror fired three conventional Mk 8 mod 4 torpedoes, each with an 800 lb (363 kg) Torpex warhead, two of which hit the General Belgrano. The Conqueror was also equipped with the newer Mark 24 Tigerfish homing torpedo, but there were doubts about its reliability. The Mk 8 dated back to the 1930s and was not a homing design. [3] The list of torpedoes includes all torpedoes operated in the past or present, listed alphabetically. ... The torpedo, historically called a locomotive torpedo, is a self-propelled explosive projectile weapon, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater toward a target, and designed to detonate on contact or in proximity to a target. ... Torpex is a secondary explosive 50% more powerful than TNT by weight. ... Tigerfish torpedo The Mk 24 Tigerfish torpedo is a heavy Acoustic homing torpedo used by the Royal Navy for several years. ...


One of the torpedoes struck between 10 and 15 metres back from the bow, outside the area protected by either the ship's side armour or the internal anti-torpedo bulge. The effect of this was to blow off the bow of the ship, but the internal bulkheads held and the forward powder magazine for the 40 mm gun did not detonate. There was no one in that part of the ship at the time of the explosion.


The second torpedo struck about three-quarters of the way along the ship, just outside the rear limit of the side armour plating. The torpedo punched through the side of the ship before exploding in the after machine room. The explosion tore upward through two messes and a relaxation area called "the Soda Fountain" and finally ripped a twenty metre long hole in the main deck. Later reports put the number of deaths in the area around the explosion at 275 men. There was no fire after the explosion, but the ship rapidly filled with smoke. The explosion also damaged the Belgrano's electrical power system, preventing her from putting out a radio distress call.


Though the forward bulkheads held, water was rushing in through the hole created by the torpedo and could not be pumped out because of the electrical power failure. The ship began to list to port and to sink towards the bow. Twenty minutes after the attack at 16:24 Captain Bonzo ordered the crew to abandon ship. Inflatable life rafts were deployed and the evacuation began without panic.


The two escort ships were unaware of what was happening to the Belgrano as they were out of touch with her in the gloom and had not seen the distress rockets or lamp signals. Adding to the confusion, the crew of the ARA Bouchard felt an impact that was possibly the third torpedo striking at the end of its run (an examination of the ship later showed an impact mark consistent with a torpedo). The two ships continued on their course westward and began dropping depth charges. By the time the ships realised that something had happened to the Belgrano, it was already dark and the weather had worsened, scattering the life rafts.


Argentine and Chilean ships rescued 770 men in all from May 3 to May 5. In total 323 [1] were killed in the attack, 321 members of the crew and two civilians who were on board at the time. [2].


Controversy over the sinking

The Belgrano sinking after being struck by torpedoes fired by HMS Conqueror
The Belgrano sinking after being struck by torpedoes fired by HMS Conqueror

There was some controversy surrounding the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano. The sinking also became a cause célèbre for anti-war campaigners (such as Labour MP Tam Dalyell). This work is copyrighted. ... This work is copyrighted. ... HMS Conqueror was a Churchill-class nuclear-powered submarine that served in the Royal Navy from 1971 to 1990. ... Look up cause célèbre in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (born 9 August 1932), more commonly known as Tam Dalyell (pronounced ), is a Scottish politician and was a Labour member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005. ...


Legal situation

The Belgrano was sunk outside the 200 mile total exclusion zone around the Falklands. 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,[3] (as did the Argentine government in 1994). The two parts of the laws of war (or Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)): Law concerning acceptable practices while engaged in war, like the Geneva Conventions, is called jus in bello; while law concerning allowable justifications for armed force is called jus ad bellum. ... A belligerent is an individual, group, country or other entity which acts in an aggressive or hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. ...


Argentine view

After the apparent repulsion of what they thought was a British landing attempt on May 1 (which included the failed air strike by the ARA 25 de Mayo), the Argentine Junta decided to wait for the decision of the Peruvian peace proposal before continuing hostilities. All Argentine Navy task groups were ordered to withdraw from the area until further notice [4], and the Argentine Air Force did not attempt any major air strikes during the following days. The Belgrano was approximately 35 miles out of the British-declared exclusion zone, heading toward the mainland when the attack occurred. The ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2) was an aircraft carrier in the Armada Republica Argentina from 1969 to 1997. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Dirty War. ... The Navy of the Argentine Republic (Armada de la República Argentina, ARA) is the navy of Argentina. ... The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina or FAA) is the national aviation branch of the armed forces of Argentina. ...


The Belgrano was detected 48 hours earlier, but when it was sunk it no longer represented a direct threat to the British Task Force. The Argentine point of view is that Thatcher's government (ill-positioned for coming elections) and the Royal Navy (in the midst of a serious budget cut period) took this war as the perfect chance to solve their problems, and with sinking Belgrano they successfully undermined any possible peaceful solution. [5] [6]


British view

Though the ship was heading away from the Falkland Islands, it had been moving towards the task force all the previous day, and had only turned around because an air attack on the task force was cancelled due to lack of wind to launch planes from the aircraft carrier operating to the north of the Falklands. Belgrano had in fact been ordered back towards the coast to wait for more favourable conditions for an attack. Her captain, Hector Bonzo, said "We were heading towards the mainland but not going to the mainland; we were going to a position to await further orders".[7]


The ship was outside the 200 mile (320 km) exclusion zone

Though the ship was outside of the 200 mile exclusion zone, both sides understood that this was no longer the limit of British action — on 23 April a message was passed via the Swiss Embassy in Buenos Aires to the Argentine government, it read: is the 113th day of the year (114th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

In announcing the establishment of a Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Falkland Islands, Her Majesty's Government made it clear that this measure was without prejudice to the right of the United Kingdom to take whatever additional measures may be needed in the exercise of its right of self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In this connection Her Majesty's Government now wishes to make clear that any approach on the part of Argentine warships, including submarines, naval auxiliaries or military aircraft, which could amount to a threat to interfere with the mission of British Forces in the South Atlantic will encounter the appropriate response. All Argentine aircraft, including civil aircraft engaged in surveillance of these British forces, will be regarded as hostile and are liable to be dealt with accordingly.[7]

Interviews conducted by Martin Middlebrook for his book, The Fight For The Malvinas, indicated that Argentine Naval officers understood the intent of the message was to indicate that any ships operating near the exclusion zone could be attacked. Argentine Rear-Admiral Allara who was in charge of the task force that the Belgrano was part of said, "After that message of 23 April, the entire South Atlantic was an operational theatre for both sides. We, as professionals, said it was just too bad that we lost the Belgrano".[7] This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Martin Middlebrook Martin Middlebrook is a British military historian and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. ...


Also the rules of engagement were changed specifically to permit the engagement of the Belgrano outside the exclusion zone before the sinking [8]


Key decision makers were unaware that the ship was sailing away from the Falklands when the order was given.

According to the British historian Sir Lawrence Freedman, in a new book written in 2005, neither Margaret Thatcher nor the Cabinet was aware of the Belgrano's change of course before the cruiser was attacked, as information from HMS Conqueror was not passed on to the MoD or Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward (commander of the RN task force).[9] In his book, One Hundred Days, Admiral Woodward makes it clear that he regarded the Belgrano as part of the southern part of a pincer movement aimed at the task force, and had to be sunk quickly. He wrote: This article is about the occupation of studying history. ... Sir Lawrence D. Freedman is Professor of War Studies at Kings College London, a post he has held since 1982. ... The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and the headquarters of the British Armed Forces. ... The term Rear Admiral originated from the days of Naval Sailing Squadrons, and can trace its origins to the British Royal Navy. ... Sir John Forster Sandy Woodward GBE KCB (born May 1, 1932) is a British Admiral who joined the Royal Navy in 1946 at age thirteen. ...

The speed and direction of an enemy ship can be irrelevant, because both can change quickly. What counts is his position, his capability and what I believe to be his intention. [10]

It is, in any case, highly unlikely that a situation report (sitrep) briefing to senior politicians would have included tactical information such as current headings or speeds of enemy units. As Woodward says, strategic decisions are taken on position and capability. The intention of the Belgrano unit in approaching from the south was, indeed, as the Argentine Navy said afterwards, to apply a pincer movement, so a defensive move was very appropriate.


Later political controversy

Some details of the action were later leaked to a British MP, Tam Dalyell, by the senior civil servant Clive Ponting, resulting in the unsuccessful prosecution of the latter under the Official Secrets Act. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (born 9 August 1932), more commonly known as Tam Dalyell (pronounced ), is a Scottish politician and was a Labour member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Clive Ponting is a British writer and academic. ... Official Secrets Act warning sign, Foulness. ...


In May 1983, Margaret Thatcher appeared on Nationwide, a live television show on BBC One, where Diana Gould questioned her about the sinking, claiming that the ship was already west of the Falklands and heading towards the Argentinian mainland to the west. Gould also claimed that the Peruvian peace proposal must have reached London in the 14 hours between its publication and the sinking of the Belgrano, and the escalation of the war could have thus been prevented. In the following emotional exchange, Thatcher answered that the vessel was a threat to British ships and lives and denied that the peace proposal had reached her.[11] After the show, Thatcher's husband Denis lashed out at the producer of the show in the entertainment suite, saying that his wife had been "stitched up by bloody BBC poofs and Trots."[12] Thatcher herself commented during the interview "I think it could only be in Britain that a prime minister was accused of sinking an enemy ship that was a danger to our navy, when my main motive was to protect the boys in our navy". Nationwide was a BBC current affairs television series broadcast on BBC One each weekday following the main evening news. ... For the BBC radio station, see BBC Radio 1. ... Nationwide was a BBC current affairs television series broadcast on BBC One each weekday following the main evening news. ... Major Sir Denis Thatcher, 1st Baronet, MBE, TD (10 May 1915 – 26 June 2003) was a businessman, and the husband of the former British Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher. ... Look up Poof in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ...


In 1994 the Argentine government conceded that the sinking of the Belgrano was "a legal act of war.[13]


Admiral Enrique Molina Pico, head of the Argentine Navy in the 1990s, wrote in a letter to La Nation, published in the 2 May 2005 edition that stated that the Belgrano was part of an operation that posed a real threat to the British task force, that it was holding off for tactical reasons and that being outside of the exclusion zone was unimportant as it was a warship on tactical mission.


"That Headline"

The Sun's headline "Gotcha" is probably the most notable (and notorious) headline in a British newspaper. Editor Kelvin Mackenzie is reported to have used an impromptu exclamation by the Sun's Features Editor, Wendy Henry as the inspiration for the headline. However, after early editions went to press further reports suggested a massive loss of life and Mackenzie toned down the headline in later editions to read ‘Did 1,200 Argies drown?’. Despite its notoriety few readers in the UK saw the headline at first hand as it was only used on copies of the first Northern editions; Southern editions and later editions in the North carried the toned down headline [14].


General characteristics

  • Displacement: 9,575 tons (empty) 12,242 (full load)
  • Length: 608.3 ft (185 m)
  • Beam: 61.8 ft (18.9 m)
  • Draft: 19.5 ft (5.9 m)
  • Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
  • Complement: 1,138 officers and men
  • Armament:
    • 15 x 6 in (152 mm) guns,
    • 8 x 5 in (127 mm) AA guns,
    • 40 mm and 20 mm anti-aircraft guns,
    • 2 British Sea Cat missile AA systems (added 1968)
    • 2 helicopters ( One Aérospatiale Alouette III was onboard when sunk )

Sea Cat Type surface-to-air Nationality United Kingdom Era Cold War Launch platform Ship Target aircraft History Builder Short Brothers Date of design Production period Service duration 1962 - Operators UK Variants Fire Control (see text) Number built Specifications Type close range anti-aircraft Diameter 0. ... It has been suggested that IAR 316 be merged into this article or section. ...

Notes

  1. ^ List
  2. ^ Martin Middlebrook,Fight for the "Malvinas", the 368 number is from an early report and often repeated in error.
  3. ^ http://www.ladlass.com/intel/archives/006479.html
  4. ^ Cpt Bonzo interview: una modificación de la situación general, hizo demorar la acción cuando estábamos en franco acercamiento Se nos ordenó permanecer en una estación de espera más al Oeste. (Spanish) Turn back and wait
  5. ^ la decisión de su hundimiento estuvo más ligada a una cuestión política que a una necesidad militar, por cuanto el Crucero Gral. Belgrano no representaba ningún tipo de peligro para las fuerzas de tareas británicas (Spanish)
  6. ^ Argentine Political Analyst (Spanish)
  7. ^ a b c Martin Middlebrook, The Fight for the "Malvinas", the Argentine Forces in the Falklands War
  8. ^ One Hundred Days, Admiral Sandy Woodward, ISBN 0007134673 - p.219. At 1330Z she (HMS Conqueror) accessed the satellite and received the signal from Northwood changing her Rules of Engagement. ... The change said quite clearly he may now attack the Belgrano, outside the TEZ
  9. ^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,170-1670775,00.html.
  10. ^ Sandy Woodward, One Hundred Days
  11. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/basics/4393313.stm
  12. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1518975.stm
  13. ^ http://www.ladlass.com/intel/archives/006479.html
  14. ^ http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/frontpage/gotcha.html

Bibliography

  • Dalyell, Tam, MP. (1983), Thatcher's Torpedo, Woolf, ISBN 0-900821-67-1
  • Freedman, Lawrence (2005), The Official History of the Falklands Campaign: Vol 2, Routledge, ISBN 0-7146-5206-7
  • Gavshon, Arthur & Desmond Rice (1984), The Sinking of the Belgrano, Secker & Warburg, ISBN 0-436-41332-9
  • Middlebrook, Martin (1989), written at New York, The fight for the "Malvinas" : the Argentine Forces in the Falklands War, Viking, ISBN 0-670-82106-3
  • Norton-Taylor, Richard (1985), The Ponting Affair, Woolf, ISBN 0-900821-73-6
  • Ponting, Clive (1985), The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair, Sphere Books, ISBN 0-7221-6944-2
  • Woodward, Sandy, Admiral (2003), One hundred days : the memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-713467-3

This article is about the state. ...

External links

  • Evans, Michael & Alan Hamilton (2005), "Thatcher in the dark on sinking of Belgrano", The Times Online (no. June 27, 2005), <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,170-1670775,00.html>. Retrieved on August 24, 2006

  Results from FactBites:
 
ARA General Belgrano (382 words)
The General Belgrano, named after General Manuel Belgrano[?], was a Argentinian naval (Armada Republica Argentina, ARA) warship sunk on May 2, 1982 during the Falklands War.
The General Belgrano had left Ushuaia[?] on April 26 with two destroyers, the Piedra Buena (D-29) and the Bouchard (D-26, both also ex-USN vessels), as Task Group 79.3.
The other two ARA destroyers dispersed fearing they too would be attacked as they were no match for a nuclear submarine, one to the north west and the other in a southerly direction..
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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