GDB
Topic Author
Posts: 12653
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Fri May 09, 2008 7:38 pm

Chinook ZA718 of the RAF, was one of a batch of 33 that entered RAF service from 1981.
When the Falklands War blew up, the Chinook was seen as a vital asset to support the land forces, since the carriers had sailed (and were full to bursting with Harriers and Sea Kings anyway), four Chinooks were loaded on to (along with additional Harriers, Wessex helicopters, a mountain of spares), the requisitioned merchant container ship Atlantic Conveyor .

The Harriers took off and deployed to the carriers once in range, while the helicopters were prepared.
One Chinook, now serviceable, was airborne when Atlantic Conveyor , was hit by AM-39 Exocet missiles on the 25th of May, almost certainly, this extra large blip on a Super Etendard's radar screen was mistaken for one of the carriers.
This Chinook, call sign Bravo November though with no spares or tools, was to go on and provide vital support for the rest of the war.
In one case, 81 troops were squeezed aboard, the very first tasking had been to insert SAS into enemy territory.

Still in service, ZA718 has seen action in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, was one of 5 Chinooks in the heli assault from RN carriers, on the Al Faw in Iraq in 2003.
As well as more recent service in Afghanistan.

BBC Radio have told the story of this remarkable chopper and those who operated it here, (hurry, it might not be on there for long);
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/itsmystory/pip/ryoy1/


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andras Sobester


From the Chinooks makers;
http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2005/february/i_ids3.html

And an illustrated piece here;
http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/oldstuff/2008/469za718/za718.htm

Edit - Adding Boeing link

[Edited 2008-05-09 12:40:02]
 
wrighbrothers
Posts: 1807
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:15 am

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Fri May 09, 2008 9:59 pm

Ahhh I know the helicopter well, I've been on it a few times and it's always me who points out 'ahh that's the Falklands helicopter !' like the true plane spotter I am
I must admit 81 troops on a chinook is pretty impressive, I think we've had about 44 or so one but nothing more than that !

Cheers to ZA718 and the happy feelings it brings as it comes down to take you back to barracks after a few weeks freezing your ass off in the field !
Wrighbrothers
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
User avatar
WarRI1
Posts: 8740
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:51 am

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Sat May 10, 2008 1:01 am



Quoting GDB (Thread starter):

I would hope an aircraft with a record like that would go to an military aircraft museum.
It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
 
GDB
Topic Author
Posts: 12653
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Sat May 10, 2008 8:22 am



Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 2):
I would hope an aircraft with a record like that would go to an military aircraft museum.

When eventually it does retire, I think it's very likely it will go to the RAF museum in Hendon, North London.
 
acw367
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Tue May 13, 2008 8:08 pm

Another reason to save this aircraft is that two different pilots, flying in two different conflicts have been awarded the DFC for actions in this aircraft.

http://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/de...mberchinookcrewreuniteatodiham.htm

Sqn Ldr Dick Langworthy in the Falklands (1982) and Sqn Ldr Steve Carr in Iraq (2003)
 
474218
Posts: 4510
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2005 12:27 pm

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Tue May 13, 2008 10:11 pm



Quoting GDB (Thread starter):
Atlantic Conveyor , was hit by AM-39 Exocet missiles on the 25th of May, almost certainly, this extra large blip on a Super Etendard's radar screen was mistaken for one of the carriers.

What make you think it was a mistake? During war civilian cargo ships (or aircraft) loaded with war supplies are bonafide targets!
 
GDB
Topic Author
Posts: 12653
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Tue May 13, 2008 10:39 pm

What make you think it was a mistake? During war civilian cargo ships (or aircraft) loaded with war supplies are bonafide targets!

The Argentines only had 5 AM-39's, one hit HMS Sheffield , the other missed-likely decoyed by chaff fired by HMS Yarmouth , two fired at Atlantic Conveyor , one last AM-39 was launched on 30th May, as part of a last attempt to hit a carrier along with four Skyhawks, it burnt out or was decoyed-two of the four Skyhawks were destroyed by Sea Dart SAMs from HMS Exeter .

The Etendard pilot had to 'pop up' from very low level, scan with the Agave radar, fire at any contact within range, preferably the largest if you had a choice.
Then get the hell out.
The attack on HMS Sheffield , was, like all the AM-39 attacks, intended to hit a carrier, the only sure way of getting the UK out of the war.

But you are right in that the Atlantic Conveyor was a serious loss. By a long way the most serious.
Had the ground forces not been able to march, with heavy gear, some 50 miles across wet and boggy ground, then fight against well dug in opponents, the loss of the ship would have been decisive.
The Chinooks, with the extra Wessex supplementing existing choppers, were intended to do this tasking. As well as carrying supplies, under-slung 105mm guns etc. The existing choppers did that so most of the troops had to walk!

However, the Argentine AF, however determined generally, failed to hit large transports at anchor during the landings, not even the huge requisitioned liner, the Canberra , still white painted, nor the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid , any of these could have caused mass casualties, in the 100's, amongst embarked troops.
Instead, they went for the escorts, just as intended.

There was an attempt to attack the long supply lines, the Argentines literally pushed bombs out of the rear of a C-130 at a tanker, without success.
The next time they tried it, a Sea Harrier shot the C-130 down.
 
User avatar
kc135topboom
Posts: 11007
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Tue May 13, 2008 11:11 pm

She has definetly earned her place in RAF history.  bigthumbsup 
 
GDB
Topic Author
Posts: 12653
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook

Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:41 am

Two years on, Bravo November is back from a hard Afghan tour, not ready for the RAF Museum yet!

Link including video;

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...NovemberReturnsFromAfghanistan.htm

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dutchy and 9 guests