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Falklands War And Argentina Airforce  
User currently offlineBa97 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 377 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 15103 times:

I am reading Vangaurd to Trident, which is an excellent book on the post war Royal Navy. It walks through the great debates of the fleet air arm in a way a pedestrian like me can understand. In reading the sections on the Falklands, I get the impression the Argentine Airforce did an outstanding job in many ways and were victims of dud bombs and incorrect fuse settings. The number of times they appear to have had hits or access to British ships surprised me and the conclusion could have been much different if missles, bombs had worked.

I know the British aircraft did quite well and praise is worthy of them as with the ship creews. Am I reading this right that the RN could have lost many more ships had bombs gone off and the domino effect of thus exposing more ships?

Also is there some document/report, analyses of the conflict that assess the performance of both sides?


there is economy class, business class, first class...then Concorde..pure class
90 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWvsuperhornet From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 517 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 15103 times:

The argentine airforce was well trained but they fell under the same problem the Iraqi airforce did during the first gulf war, they were very poorly managed by their commanders and their president. Its my understanding they they still havent recovered from that war. The british are very well trained and commanded, thats why they won.

User currently offlineAjd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 15089 times:

There's no such thing as "doing a good job" when you're talking about bombing ships with enemy troops on it. I'm not saying this because I'm British, I'm saying out of respect.


I don't know about the whole war, but there was a very detailed and indepth book on the "Black Buck" raids. I can't remember the name, and it's pretty rare but it's worth buying if you find it. My dad had a copy and I loved reading it.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 15071 times:

When looking at dud bombs, consider how they had to be delivered.
At very low altitude, this was because the RN's Sea Dart missiles and Sea Harrier aircraft made anything else suicidal.

The Argentine AF used mostly British 1000lb bombs (which came with the ex RAF Canberra bombers in the late 60's) which were not optimized for low level anti shipping.
The rotor fuze needed to rotate a certain number of times to detonate and at very low level this often meant the bomb impacted before this cycle was completed.
Also, they had been training mainly for a potential war with Chile, against the land forces.

Another problem was that at these low levels, with recce being usually impossible again due to the RN missiles and fighters, they had hardly any time to choose and acquire targets.
In San Carlos Water, they failed to disrupt the British landings, this is why that location was chosen, they had to fly very low over West Falkland to avoid detection then when they arrived on target they usually attacked the first target they saw.
Which is why the assault ships and merchant vessels in this area, even the huge white painted liner, the Canberra were not damaged.

The first targets acquired were the escorting Frigates, this is how vessels like HMS Ardent were sunk, wave after wave went for the first target, warships like Ardent which took multiple hits and then Antelope and serious damage done to HMS Minerva .
But that was what these ships were there to do, screen and protect the big landing and supply ships.
A disadvantage for the British was that the surrounding hills meant they had very little radar warning of attackers, but that was the lesser of two evils and was proved a correct trade off.

The RN were more concerned with the A-4's operated by the Argentine Navy, since they has US 500lb retard bombs, where fins deployed after release slowing the bomb and allowing fuzing, also these were trained in anti shipping.
Some of this knowledge and equipment would be transferred across to the air force, but probably too late for them.

For the British the air defence problems were myriad, both the Sea Dart and Sea Harrier were optimized to defend against large Soviet bombers/maritime aircraft, in the North Atlantic.
So the Sea Harrier's original Blue Fox radar was for air search against these targets at medium level as well as surface search for enemy ships.
Sea Dart worked best at similar style targets, (though HMS Exeter would down two A-4's at very low level on 30 May).

The RN's weak point was in close in systems, a low priority against these Soviet targets, hence most RN ships had the aging Sea Cat SAM with in 1982, only a handful with the replacement Sea Wolf.
The latter had some teething problems but when effective, it was devastating.
Had more ships had this system in 1982 then fewer ships would have been hit.

Only after the war, did the RN get US 20mm Phalanx radar directed cannon, as well as modern 20mm and 30mm manually aimed guns.
RN ships did have old 20mm and 40mm guns in the war, but these had long been seen as for use against small vessels, not air defence, though they were pressed into action against Argentine aircraft with some limited success.

So both sides in many respects were fighting an unexpected war, more so the British who had for the previous 15 years, switched from a big carrier worldwide force to being still one of the largest navies, but equipped to fight a largely anti submarine war against the USSR.
This was a logical (and let's face it, affordable) role at the time.
In 1982, the RN capital ships were the nuclear submarines.
Which as we saw, did have the effect of forcing the Argentine Navy A-4's to operate from land, after their carrier ran for home after the Belgrano was sunk, which lost them the options of attacking well within range, not as from land, at the limits, as well as not being able to mount multi directional strikes.

The Argentine pilots were very brave, even the limited air defences they faced put up a hail of shells and missiles and took a toll, remember too that their aircraft had no radar warning systems, so if ship launched missiles like a Sea Dart or Sea Wolf locked on, they usually never knew what hit them.
As stated though, their intel was poor, tactics often bad too.
This did not stop them at times scoring significant successes but never any kind of knock out blow.

Towards the end, they even resorted to trying night attacks against the advancing British land forces near Stanley, bringing back the aging Canberra's which has failed so badly in daylight on 1st May.
But when this was attempted, a Canberra was picked off by a Sea Dart SAM.

Their aircraft on the Islands, their own counter insurgency Pucaras and Macchi jet trainers, suffered from airfield damage from air attacks, special forces raids and naval bombardment.
When they did get airborne they were too vunerable to Sea Harriers and missile attack.

One other significant mistake may have been them giving up attempting to shoot down Sea Harriers after they were badly mauled in the first (and only) air to air action on 1st May.
Though close in the Sea Harrier was better then either their specialized interceptor Mirage III's, the close Israeli built 'Dagger' relative of the French jet, the Sea Harriers were so limited in numbers that unlike the Argentines, they could not sustain losses.
As it was, they pretty much left the Harriers free to down and/or disrupt many attacking aircraft.
Which in the end meant that it was the Argentine air arms who ran short of aircraft and pilots.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 15046 times:



Quoting Ajd1992 (Reply 2):
I don't know about the whole war, but there was a very detailed and indepth book on the "Black Buck" raids. I can't remember the name, and it's pretty rare but it's worth buying if you find it. My dad had a copy and I loved reading it.

That would be the superb 'Vulcan 607'. (But it was also something of a bestseller!)

And 'Vanguard To Trident' is very good too!


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 932 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 15051 times:



Quoting GDB (Reply 3):

This man speaks the truth. Superb account as always GDB.

I personally think the most powerful weapon in the Argentine inventory in 1982 was the French made Exocet missile. This missile could be fired from mobile land units and air. The air launched weapon eliminated many of the defensive advantages in the Royal Navy task force. It could be launched from far enough away, that even if the incoming strike was detected, harriers may not have had enough time to be vectored onto target, at least not before the weapons were released. The weapon would then fly at high speed at wavetop height, well out of the Sea Dart's comfort zone, and as GDB said, the Sea Wolf had many bugs. It was the Exocet that crippled and ultimately sunk HMS sheffield.

The Argentine Exocet delivery was not due to be completed until well into 1983, and as such, only a few were avaliable to the Argentine forces when pressed into service. I do not have the numbers to hand but will try and find them.

The occuption was planned to take place a year later, but was brought forwards for political reasons. It is worth noting that the invasion was not really made for any nationalistic reunion purposes per se, so much as an attempt for a weakening regime in power to solidify control over the nation. They never expected the UK government to make a stand over what they percieved to be a trinket colony.

In my view, had the exocet been avaliable to the Argentine forces in anything like the numbers they had on order at the time of occupation, it would have been impossible for the UK forces to put enough boots on the ground to retake the islands, let alone support them. At least, not without borrowing a fixed wing aircraft carrier and a few dedicated air defence ships from the USA, and could you really have expected Uncle Sam to put thousands of their servicemen and billions of dollars of national defence taxes into the recapturing of a colonial appendage of what many would see as an outdated empire, not to mention former opressor. All for a couple of thousand people on an island they had never heard of? Hell, millions would have agreed with Argentina's claim to the islands!


User currently offlineBa97 From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 14950 times:

Thanks folks- good information. Vulcan 607 was an amazing read. I can see how this conflict would be a great example of "what if" in that success could have been turned to defeat. From Vanguard to Trident I understand several RN submarines were coming into the area in that if needed, the RN could have pulled out of range of aircraft and played a waiting game while their submarines took care of supplies and a wider hunt.

From the amount of air attacks on ships, I suspect much was learned not only on ship design but on the success/failure of defence systems from which many allies benefited. In the last 30 years, would I be correct that this was the biggest air assualt on ships?



there is economy class, business class, first class...then Concorde..pure class
User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 14948 times:



Quoting GST (Reply 5):
All for a couple of thousand people on an island they had never heard of? Hell, millions would have agreed with Argentina's claim to the islands!

I think a large part of it was Margaret Thatcher wanting to find enduring fame for herself, ...wanting a piece of Winston Churchill's pie!


User currently offlineANZUS340 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 61 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 14941 times:

But if the Argies had had access to greater number of Exocet missiles, enabling them to thwart a landing would that have stopped British ownership of the islands? Would the UK have had the ability to blockade Argentine ports? I am wondering if they Could they have threatened all shipping to and from the ports with SSNs and totally decimated the Argentine navy? I know such a move would not have been popular around the world, but surely it would have been effective.

I really do not know anything about the war. I was very small and living in New Zealand.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 14933 times:



Quoting GST (Reply 5):
At least, not without borrowing a fixed wing aircraft carrier and a few dedicated air defence ships from the USA, and could you really have expected Uncle Sam to put thousands of their servicemen and billions of dollars of national defence taxes into the recapturing of a colonial appendage of what many would see as an outdated empire, not to mention former opressor

Actually both Argentina and the US where defense treaty signatories, so the US would have had to violate that treaty if they where to go against the Argies.

Quoting GST (Reply 5):
I personally think the most powerful weapon in the Argentine inventory in 1982 was the French made Exocet missile.

It was the most infamous and the hit on the Atlantic Conveyor was probably the single most important strike since it denied 3 Commando desperately needed medium and heavy lift helicopters.

Quoting ANZUS340 (Reply 8):
I am wondering if they Could they have threatened all shipping to and from the ports with SSNs and totally decimated the Argentine navy? I know such a move would not have been popular around the world, but surely it would have been effective.

Oh they would have. In fact the reason the Argentinian navy stayed in port for most of the war was because of the sinking of the Admiral Belgrano.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3409 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 14865 times:



Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
Actually both Argentina and the US where defense treaty signatories, so the US would have had to violate that treaty if they where to go against the Argies.

Would it?

I would bet they lost the protection of it when they attacked a nation that the USA has a defense treaty with.

Quoting GST (Reply 5):
The occuption was planned to take place a year later, but was brought forwards for political reasons

Might not have gone any better even if they had waited. Perhaps the RN would have lost even less ships given that they would assume everything had the new missiles, and had proper countermesures. Tactics too could have been more conservative bleeding the Argentine Airforce in waters where the intercepts were far easier, then moving in with actual landings.


User currently offlineSpudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 301 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 14828 times:

I was under the impression that had the Argentinians gotten to the Atlantic Conveyor a week earlier it would have made a big difference to what support was available for the ground troops, not to mention that there were a couple of harriers on board too. May even have been pivotal.

Anyhow I've never read of anything but respect for the bravery of the Argentinian pilots from any RAF pilot who themselves have been ranked up there with 'the few' from the BoB for their containment of the air threat.
All the deaths and injuries on both sides in that war just adds insult to the futility of what was an act of political propaganda.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 14784 times:



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 10):
Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
Actually both Argentina and the US where defense treaty signatories, so the US would have had to violate that treaty if they where to go against the Argies.

Would it?

I would bet they lost the protection of it when they attacked a nation that the USA has a defense treaty with.

The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
Anyhow I've never read of anything but respect for the bravery of the Argentinian pilots from any RAF pilot who themselves have been ranked up there with 'the few' from the BoB for their containment of the air threat.

I don't think it has ever been argued. They where opeating their aircarft right at their limits, over very cold water.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineKukkudrill From Malta, joined Dec 2004, 1123 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 14748 times:



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

As I understand it, after some internal debates as to what stand the US should take (they even tried to mediate between the UK and Argentina at first), they decided to back the British. They made their facilities on Ascension Island available to the Brits, they supplied shiploads of aviation fuel to Ascension for the RAF to use (this is mentioned in Vulcan 607 if I'm not mistaken) and I recall reading from someplace else that they made AIM-9s available as well. Actually I read two versions of this - one that the US supplied the latest all-aspect versions to the UK, and the other that they enabled the British to draw on their own stocks of the missile that were declared to NATO by promising to make up NATO's shortfall themselves.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
I don't think it has ever been argued. They where opeating their aircarft right at their limits, over very cold water.

There is a book called "Air War South Atlantic" or something like that which was written by British authors but covers both sides evenly. It contains an account of bravery by an Argentinian pilot that raised the hairs on my forearms as I read it. He was flying one of two Learjets which the Argentinians sent over for reconnaissance purposes. Unfortunately they overflew a British ship which fired a Sea Dart and hit him. Very calmly he announced that he was hit - "Me tocaron", he said, literally "they've touched me" - as British a piece of understatement as you could possibly get - and until his plane hit the sea he continued to talk on the radio as if nothing was wrong. Wow.



Make the most of the available light ... a lesson of photography that applies to life
User currently offlineSpudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 301 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 14741 times:



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

Was there not rumours of the US providing AWAC support for the RN?


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 14731 times:



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.



Quoting Kukkudrill (Reply 13):
As I understand it, after some internal debates as to what stand the US should take (they even tried to mediate between the UK and Argentina at first), they decided to back the British. They made their facilities on Ascension Island available to the Brits, they supplied shiploads of aviation fuel to Ascension for the RAF to use (this is mentioned in Vulcan 607 if I'm not mistaken) and I recall reading from someplace else that they made AIM-9s available as well. Actually I read two versions of this - one that the US supplied the latest all-aspect versions to the UK, and the other that they enabled the British to draw on their own stocks of the missile that were declared to NATO by promising to make up NATO's shortfall themselves.

I was in the US Navy stationed on the island of Antigua during the war. We normally had two C-141 flights per week to support the NASA facilities, and incidently us. The flights came from CHS to Patrick AFB to Antigua to Ascension to Johannesburg and return.

During the build-up for the war, those flights to Ascension went to 12-15 flights per week. The two normal flights stayed on the same schedule, but the extra flights arrived and departed in the late evening hours. Some of us sailors were pressed into guard duty to keep anyone from the C-141 aircraft. The procedures even changed so that the fuel trucks had to stay a certain distance from the plane, and only the aircrew fueled the plane. The Antiguan only drove the trucks to a more distant perimeter, and either a sailor or a USAF airman drove the truck to the plane.

During the actual war, the frequency of flights went down to 4-5 special flights per week.

Quoting Spudh (Reply 14):
Was there not rumours of the US providing AWAC support for the RN?

One E-3 and four KC-135 aircraft flew through Antigua about the time the British forces were departing the UK. They returned through Antigua about a week later.

I was told by a KC-135 crewman that I had known for years since we were both stationed at Clark that the test mission was unsuccessful. The biggest reason was that even with the tankers fueling tankers the time on station for the E-3 was too limited to be effective.

Another big reason is that ramp space at Ascension was too small for the size of force necessary to provide decent coverage - an estimated seven E-3 aircraft and 20-25 KC-135.

One of the civilian Ascension ATC controllers rotated to Antigua for a couple months after the war (he eventually went to Grand Turk). He said ramp space at Ascension was a major problem throughout the war. It was never designed to be a busy logistic hub. Space got so critical at times that an aircraft being downed for maintenance sometimes required an inbound aircraft from the UK to RTB or divert to Gibralter.

A few years after the war, I learned from some friends that a couple E-2 Hawkeye aircraft were prepared for possible use by the Brits, but a suitable launch platform was never found.

One other item. Like most wars, the US NSA very much wanted to have some of their aircraft like the VQ-1 or VQ-2 EP-3B or USAF equilavent near the war. They want to see their own data, not what their 'allies' provide.

The NSA aircraft also serve as 'truth checkers' such as the VQ-2 EC-121 was doing when it recorded the attack on the USS Liberty. To verify that our allies are telling us the truth about the conduct of the war and the positions of the various forces.

The Falklands War was one of the few since the 50's where the NSA was unable to put US assets into the area. The location made the logistics impossible.


User currently offlineSpudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 301 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 14709 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 15):
The Falklands War was one of the few since the 50's where the NSA was unable to put US assets into the area. The location made the logistics impossible.

Thats what I love about this Forum, good solid info! Thanks guys  Smile


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 932 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 14683 times:



Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):

It should be noted that it was the RN Fleet Air Arm pilots who flew the air to air sorties in the Falklands campaign, flying Sea Harriers.

The RAF did have (I think 4) Harrier ground attack variants on board HMS Hermes, but they were offensive CAS and attack assets.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 14629 times:

While the AM-39 Exocet was a fearsome weapon, I also agree that the hit on Atlantic Conveyor was by far the most damaging strike of the war, it should be remembered that when they were detected in a more timely fashion, chaff clouds launched from ships were effective in decoying them.

HMS Sheffield just happened to be using it SATCOM at the time, which disrupted the ships radar detection gear at the crucial moment, so the missile was only detected with seconds to go visually, too late to deploy chaff.
The second missile may have flown into chaff fired by a nearby Frigate however.

As a merchant ship, Atlantic Conveyor was only armed with two old 40mm Bofors hastily bolted on, no chaff.
(However the Etendard pilot who fired it almost certainly fought he had one of the carriers in his sights).

HMS Glamorgan was hit at night close to shore while carrying out bombardments to support the troops, the Argentines had rather ingeniously adapted ship launched MM-38 Exocets to fire from the back of a truck.
Glamorgan had little or no time to fire chaff, but the Destroyer turned into the missile to present a smaller target, resulting in the helicopter hanger taking the hit, killing 14.
But not the midships, the control room areas, this probably saved the ship but also demonstrated how robust the old County Class Destroyers were, that they never really had weapon updates (except for, ironically, MM-38 Exocets), was a procurement failure.

If the Argentine had more of these weapons, it would have affected planning, perhaps the mooted SAS raid on the Etendard airfield might have become a reality, not just, as it seems, being reduced to a much smaller recce mission.
A Vulcan could not have reached the Argentine mainland, since the massive but fragile in-flight refueling operation used for Black Buck raids could not stretch that far.
But they did not tell the Argentines that, fear of such an attack may also have been a factor in them keeping the Mirage III interceptors out of the war after 1st May, as well as their poor showing against the Sea Harriers.

More Exocets may have further limited the Sea Harriers, as it was, the two carriers kept to the East to such an extent, some reckoned they should have been awarded the old 'Burma Star' medal! To limit opportunities to be in range of the AM-39's.
During the war, the UK dug out the old buddy-buddy refueling pods that had been used by RN Buccaneers and Sea Vixens, without these types in RN operation then, I suspect a lash up might have been done to adapt probably the deployed RAF Harrier GR.3's to carry them, to make up for keeping the carriers further East in this event.

This would have limited them in their close support role, it would have been tricky to do (though I note US A-4's used to do 'Buddy-Buddy' refueling. So you might have seen a few RAF two seater Harrier T.4's go down south to carry out this role, they would only have fitted on HMS Hermes lifts, but that was where the RAF Harrier GR.3's were based too.
Later on, a makeshift land base was made with metal planking, this might also have been done if possible sooner too.


User currently offlineSpudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 301 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 14621 times:



Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
not to mention that there were a couple of harriers on board too. May even have been pivotal.

What I was getting at was that if the Atlantic Conveyor was sunk earlier (i.e. before they got them off but I don't know the timing of this) they might have gotten these too which would have had a big effect on air superiority and CAS ability.
Big version: Width: 665 Height: 933 File size: 155kb
RAF and RN Harriers on board Atlantic Conveyor May 1982 (The Great Book of Modern Warplanes)


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3585 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 14592 times:



Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
I was under the impression that had the Argentinians gotten to the Atlantic Conveyor a week earlier it would have made a big difference to what support was available for the ground troops, not to mention that there were a couple of harriers on board too. May even have been pivotal.

I recall that Atlantic Conveyor was only in the area of operations for a very short time. The Harriers Sea Harriers were offloaded first, with the Chinooks destined to follow next. The problem however was that the rotor blades had to be refitted, and they only had a forklift to do this rather than a proper crane, thus they had only completed one, which was on flight test when the exocet hit.

Quoting GST (Reply 17):
It should be noted that it was the RN Fleet Air Arm pilots who flew the air to air sorties in the Falklands campaign, flying Sea Harriers.

Many of the Sea Harriers were flown by RAF pilots as the fleet air arm had only just gone back into fixed wing flying.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
HMS Sheffield just happened to be using it SATCOM at the time, which disrupted the ships radar detection gear at the crucial moment, so the missile was only detected with seconds to go visually, too late to deploy chaff.
The second missile may have flown into chaff fired by a nearby Frigate however.

It was stringly suggested that neither the fleet commander nor the captain of Sheffield appreciated the threat , thus Sheffield was not at full alert.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
HMS Glamorgan was hit at night close to shore while carrying out bombardments to support the troops, the Argentines had rather ingeniously adapted ship launched MM-38 Exocets to fire from the back of a truck.
Glamorgan had little or no time to fire chaff, but the Destroyer turned into the missile to present a smaller target, resulting in the helicopter hanger taking the hit, killing 14.
But not the midships, the control room areas, this probably saved the ship but also demonstrated how robust the old County Class Destroyers were, that they never really had weapon updates (except for, ironically, MM-38 Exocets), was a procurement failure.

Glamorgan was late returning from a shore bombardment, and cut a corner in order to get back to the fleet before dawn. This then took it into the range of the shore based exocet launcher.


User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 14572 times:

Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
Anyhow I've never read of anything but respect for the bravery of the Argentinian pilots from any RAF pilot who themselves have been ranked up there with 'the few' from the BoB for their containment of the air threat.

...

It's not the same. ...Many Battle of Britain pilots were only 20 years old and with very limited training and they faced down overwhelming odds whilst suffering horrific casualties up against German fighter pilots who were often battle hardened in Spain. Nor were their Hurricane's which comprised the majority of British squadrons anything like a fair match for the Me 109.

And lets not forget that making a kill with a Sidewinder requires a great deal less of the pilot than chasing down an enemy machine with .303 machine guns.

[Edited 2009-10-16 15:01:32 by ferrypilot]

[Edited 2009-10-16 15:08:18 by ferrypilot]

[Edited 2009-10-16 15:22:41 by ferrypilot]

User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 932 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 14555 times:



Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 20):

Many of the Sea Harriers were flown by RAF pilots as the fleet air arm had only just gone back into fixed wing flying.

I was unaware of this, but not surprised. I am acquainted with one of the RAF GR.3 pilots who flew in the Falklands campaign off Hermes, and a good portion of my knowledge on the subject is via him. He makes out that the CO of Hermes was extremely anti-RAF, did not appreciate having RAF personnel on board, downgraded their quarters on principle, and when the surviving Chinook landed on Hermes' deck after the Atlantic conveyor was hit, he ordered it removed pronto or be pushed overboard. I know Sea Harriers also operated off the Hermes, so I would have thought that I would ahve been told of the few RAF pilots in their midst, but I will have to ask about this next time I see him.

Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 21):

And lets not forget that making a kill with a Sidewinder requires a great deal less of the pilot than chasing down an enemy machine with .303 machine guns.

That is not necessarily true, if the other aircraft is faster, or potentially has greater standoff weaponry. Missiles will tend to give one side more of an advantage if they posess the faster and longer range missiles, but keeping your tailpipe off the enemy's crosshairs is as important as ever.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14545 times:

Sheffield may not have been at the highest alert state, but it was in 'a' state of alert.
However, the ESM gear (like almost everything else), being optimized against Soviet systems, early on had trouble telling apart the Sea Harriers Blue Fox and the similar in concept Agave set fitted to the Super Etendards.
And they were getting painted by the Blue Fox radars a lot, as you'd expect, false alarms were the order of that day.

Other Type 42's experienced the same, crews probably after having multiple false alerts throughout the day, no doubt started to take them less seriously through fatigue if nothing else.
Human nature.
This was the first real modern combat with the warships, aircraft and missiles of the age, the learning curve was always going to be steep.
Plus the lack of AEW put the Type 42's in a very exposed position, without a close in weapon system to defend themselves beyond, or rather underneath, the Sea Dart missiles operating envelope.

But 5 years later, a US Frigate with the 20mm Phanlax also fell victim to the AM-39 missile.
It only survived since it was in the Persian Gulf and close to a port, the Sheffield actually sank 6 days later, on 10th May during an attempt to tow it out of the area lost out to the heavy seas of the South Atlantic.


User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 14530 times:



Quoting GST (Reply 22):
That is not necessarily true, if the other aircraft is faster, or potentially has greater standoff weaponry. Missiles will tend to give one side more of an advantage if they posess the faster and longer range missiles, but keeping your tailpipe off the enemy's crosshairs is as important as ever.

It is true the use of guns to shoot another aircraft down requires a substantial degree of skill for maneuvering your aircraft accurately and with continued commitment in the face of your own death, whereas the Sidewinder is fire and forget and it barely needs pointing in the right direction to achieve a kill..


25 L-188 : I saw an interview with the Sheffield captain once, and I never really felt like I was getting the whole story when he presented that explaination. A
26 RFields5421 : The USS Stark only survived because of an amazing and heroic firefighting effort by the ships crew. Only after the crew won that battle did being clo
27 Post contains links GDB : I remember an article in Air International magazine in early 1981, on how the new Sea Harrier was settling into service, when discussing it's role one
28 ANZUS340 : The thing that bothers me about missiles such as Exocet and Harpoon is that they are not designed to be ship killers. Theoretically they are meant to
29 L-188 : Agreed, but that wasn't my quote. But you have to agree if that missile had ended up in the missle locker under the foward Standard launcher it would
30 ANZUS340 : L-188. Good points, thanks.
31 Bongodog1964 : If you read the book on the Falklands air war by Sharkey Ward who commanded the Sea Harrier squadron on Invincible, he was firmly of the opinion that
32 Ba97 : How much of air fired weapons are aimed at the shp compared to a vital area. Does a missile aim or get aimed for a selected area compared to density o
33 XT6Wagon : all missiles are going to try fly to the center of what they track, so a HARM missile will try to hit the center of the radar source, radar guided wi
34 GDB : 'Sharky' Ward's book was very revealing, at times controversial. He was an old FAA hand, having previously flown Sea Vixens then F-4's, off the old co
35 Ba97 : XT6Wagaon - you commented on something that was a learning moment- "that said, there are no armored ship in active use by any navy and center of mass
36 XT6Wagon : The early missile tests found that if you design a missile assuming armor and hit an unarmored ship in an area without highdensity objects like engin
37 GDB : Agreed, a lot of lessons were learned, (or re-learned). But, looking back it's notable that despite the seeming endless rounds of 'cuts', the UK amon
38 L-188 : The only round I can think of that can do it would be the Hellfire, which I think the swedes used in a ground based coastal defense role, but that it
39 Rwessel : I don't know about 1982, but currently the 4.5 inch Mark 8 uses dual purpose ammunition that can be fused (at the point of firing) against either sur
40 GDB : The twin 4.5 that equipped most RN ships from the late 40's to the early 70's, was intended as dual purpose, but it was felt the jet age made it not v
41 Ba97 : Would a ship borne gun value not be to "hit" the target but being able to put up shrapnel infront of the flight path would do a lot of damage to a jet
42 Rwessel : That's basically been the point of all heavy AA gunfire since before WWII. Explode close enough to the target to pepper it with shrapnel. In the very
43 Post contains links Rheinwaldner : What about this? This system is known longer than 10 years for our contraves skyguard FLAB (though not used in the swiss army): http://www.rheinmetal
44 Wvsuperhornet : They didnt need it the British where allowed full use of US airforce bases in the region.
45 RFields5421 : Which US bases in the region? Ascension is a British island, not US. Even though the US uses the airfield more than the British, it is a RAF base, no
46 L-188 : Got to ask the question Again, what bases? At that time yes, but I believe that has been beaten by B-2's running strikes out of Whiteman AFB Missouri
47 RFields5421 : Yes those were longer. There have even been B-52 missions from Barksdale to Iraq and Afghanistan, and B-1 from Dyess. But none of those were sustaine
48 L-188 : What you are describing basicly is the "Flak Box" that the Germans used to put up in front of the US bombers in WWII. When they started their bomb ru
49 LMP737 : Navies are an odd thing. On one hand they have a long institutional memory. On the other hand they sometimes have the memory of a ferret on crack. Bo
50 GDB : Agreed LMP737, perhaps the reason is that Navies only engage in serious modern combat against other navies and air forces now rarely and decades apart
51 Ba97 : Seems the RN and Argentina brought many a lot of lessons. I am reading HMS Warspite, a 1957 book on the famous ship. The author makes a great point of
52 L-188 : It makes sense to me on a fast patrol boat where you want to keep weight down for speed. But going to back to steel I was under the impression that l
53 Post contains links RFields5421 : The USS Bordelon - DD-881 - was a WWII Gearing class destroyer - commissioned in the summer of 1945. She was not an aluminum construction ship. She w
54 L-188 : Belknap was the ship I was thinking of. Thanks I had not seen photos of the actual aftermath before.
55 GDB : Me neither, shocking. And it was rebuilt!
56 RFields5421 : Back in 77-78 we had a SKC at NTTC Meridian who went aboard the Belknap as lead of one of the first damage control crews from another ship, I forget h
57 ThePointblank : I would add the HMCS Kootenay explosion in 1969 to the list where both the construction of the ship, and the fine work of the crew saved the ship. Tha
58 L-188 : Forrestal had the same problem during her fire on Yankee Station. The deck fire crew was killed during the first round of explosions. I believe the U
59 ThePointblank : The explosion and fire onboard Kootenay could have been much worst; the explosion and fire occurred in a compartment adjacent to the aft 3"/50 magazi
60 MD11Engineer : The British used the same tactics against the Germans in Malta. Jan
61 L-188 : Yep, bombsights of the era required a straight and level run, so you could predict the airplane was. Won't happen in a typical modern environment.
62 DALCA : There is book called "Hostile Skies" by David Morgan. He was a Sea Harrier pilot onoard HMS Hermes during the conflict. It is a very informative book.
63 L-188 : And thus we are shown once again why the press needs to be controled in a war zone.
64 GDB : I read Dave Morgan's book a few months ago, pretty good. He was a RAF GR.3 pilot on detachment to the navy when the war started.
65 DALCA : In certain areas yes indeed, in other times they can be helpfull in numerous ways.
66 Sprout5199 : That's true. But she wasn't "that close" to sinking. The Roberts was much closer to sinking than her. As it was, the fires made the missle mag glow.
67 N328KF : Incidentally, one of the tactics during firebombing in World War II was to drop one wave of bombs to set things alight, and then follow up with anoth
68 RFields5421 : I think I still have a couple sets of Certified Navy Twill khaki. Boy I was glad those went away.
69 Observer : I had the opportunity to visit Argentina a few years after the Falklands war (or, Malvinas, in Argentina) when meeting with the airlines there. One of
70 GDB : Observer, thanks for that! Vulcan 607 did well in relating the tension of fuel use-age far from home, with a very long, fragile chain of tankers, most
71 DALCA : Alot of the soldiers used by the Argentine Army were conscripts and it is well known that these usually don't have the fighting spirit of regular and
72 GDB : True, however I really meant their lack of rations (for an extended period), the effects of being often neglected or worse, brutalized, by their comm
73 L-188 : Somebody paid attention to the Japanese tactics in WWII. My high school history professor had stories about the chinese pulling that stunt on them in
74 LMP737 : Now if only the USN could remember the lesson of aluminum and ships on fire.
75 Sprout5199 : I think they did, I.E. the Burke class DDG's are all steel. Maybe I am a bit jaded because I served on a FFG, but for what they were designed to do,
76 LMP737 : The new LCS vessels use aluminum in their construction. The USS Independence has a an aluminum hull and superstructure with steel stiffeners in the h
77 Sprout5199 : Stupidity, that was the thought process. Wanting everything under the sun, forgetting what works and what doesn't. $600 mil for a ship that size? hel
78 LMP737 : Or they could have bought something off the shelf and build it under license in the USA. Israel evaluated the LCS and found it to be to lightly armed
79 L-188 : Yeah, forget the 5" The navy needs to revist that 8" they where working on in the 1970s' that htey had mounted ont eh Hull. At one point it was suppos
80 ThePointblank : Navy's working on the Advanced Gun System which is a 6" gun that has a whole new series of ammunition for it, including some very long range shells.
81 Rwessel : Ugh. The USN has been trying to field* something bigger than the 5/54 for what, 50 years now? At this point I'll believe it when I see it. *Aside fro
82 Post contains links Spacepope : The 155mm will probably be the last conventional shore bombardment cannon for the USN. Next step is the railgun, which is being tested at Dugway. http
83 Sprout5199 : Back to the subject, I have a question. Why did the RN put a sat radio on a ship the interfered with the radar? We never had a problem with our sat ra
84 ThePointblank : Well, it's due to premiere on the Zumwalt's when they get launched. The USN could in the end re-barrel and re-chamber their current 5" guns to the 15
85 GST : The battery similarity doesn't end there, at a moderate range the AGS can have something like 6 shells land simultaneously on target so maximizing th
86 ThePointblank : Well, something not possible until very recently with MSRI (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact) capabilities...
87 Spacepope : Yes, it is good to see that some of the technology from the cancelled Crusader system (Thanks Rumsfeld!) is making it into service.
88 GDB : It did not affect the radar ( Sheffield was in 'passive' mode at the time), it was the ESM system. Which was also optimized for Soviet radar detectio
89 ThePointblank : Well, it was something traditional artillery could do, but only if the target was known well in advance, and some advanced math was done ahead of tim
90 Sprout5199 : Ok, that makes sense. Dan in Jupiter
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