An Alternative History

A guest post from Jed

TD’s recent Atlantic Conveyor and Harrier FOB pieces have allowed a few of our regular commentor’s to indulge in some “what if” scenario development.  As a fan of the alternative history genre of fiction, and a fan of stunning work of some the illustrators on the Shipbucket site,  I thought I might indulge in a little light hearted alternative naval history………

The serious part – Naval AAA in the Falklands

It has been correctly noted that the RN was absolutely not equipped for a close in fight against fighter ground attack aircraft in an environment such as San Carlos water.  Sea Dart and Sea Wolf had replaced Sea Slug and Sea Cat missile systems respectively, but even during the 50 ship fleet days of the cold war, money was tight, and the modern anti-missile systems were not that widely spread; but we must not forget this was a time of transition. At one extreme was the Type 12 frigate of 1950’s design and at the other was the first of the T22’s – the “all missile” ASW frigate, without even a medium caliber gun.

So the RN had decided to go down the anti-missile, missile route for protection against Soviet submarine launched high-subsonic sea skimming missiles, and the big air launched high altitude, supersonic steep diving missiles liked the AS4. Thus the smaller caliber auto-cannon in the RN was a “policing” weapon; for use only in “Cod war” type scenarios, hence in 1982 RN’s ships were touting the single barrel Mk7A 20mm Oerlinkon that had been used on every type of ship since the start of WWII (but generally in much greater numbers !). Another WWII veteran fitted to some Falklands task force ships was the optically aimed, manually served 40mm Bofors.

Existing ‘advanced’ gun systems in 1982

  • Rarden 30mm cannon sea trials in 1980 ? (onboard HMS Yarmouth?) (90 rpm – too slow)
  • Phalanx – full rate production started in 1978, first US ship fully fitted in 1980
  • M167 Vulcan Air Defence System from the 1970’s (range only radar and lead computing optical site)
  • Oerlikon KAA 20mm (GAM-B01) belt fed lightweight single man mount (454Kg)
  • Breda 40mm mounts
  • Bofors L40/60 MK IX single – wght 1981Kg ?
  • BMARC guns – twin and single 30mm mounts

So if the Soviet missile threat had not been top of our minds, perhaps we might have had more guns that could have been of use in San Carlos water; but given that the RN was oriented to fighting WWIII in the North Atlantic, then even if we had our at least our Sea Cart armed ships fitted with Phalanx or the Italian 40mm which had also been thoroughly tested in anti-missile mode in the late 70’s – it probably would not have made any difference.

However, outside of San Carlos water, it may well have made a difference to HMS Sheffield, HMS Coventry and HMS Glamorgan.

Rapid re-fit on the way South ?

Ships leaving UK after the initial task force sailing – available for AAA mods

  • Antelope
  • Alacrity
  • Yarmouth

Ships which could possibly have been modded at Ascension Island if they stopped long enough and engineering logistics could be sorted out:

Antelope (escort to the LSL group)

Argonaut and Ardent (with the Major Amphibs group)

Bristol Group  arrived AOR 26th May (after the San Carlos landings and the sinking of the T21’s).

  • Bristol (T82)
  • Cardiff (T42)
  • Andromeda (Sea Wolf-Exocet Leander)
  • Minerva (Exocet Leander)
  • Penelope (Exocet Leander)
  • Avenger (T21)

Total possible available for AAA upgrade: 10 frigates, of which 6 in place before the San Carlos landings

5 x T21, 4 x Leander Class, 1 x T12, 1 x T42, 1 x T82

But what could have been made available and added to these ships ?  Well in the spirit of TD’s recent question about the U.S. fence sitting on the FI issue, in 1982 they did expedite our deliveries of the latest Sidewinder variant for our Sea Harriers and provided Shrike anti-radar missiles for some of the Vulcan “Black buck” PR exercises (sorry, ultra-long range bombing missions !).

My answer is that we could have asked the U.S. to lend us a regiment of M167 Vulcan air-defence guns:

M167 VADS
M167 VADS

12 of these towed 20mm gattling guns, a single one for each of the ships mentioned above – wheels removed, spot welded to the deck in place of a Sea Cat launcher !

Although only optically aimed, the radar is for proving range info only, the fast firing gun (the same one as used on the Phalanx mount) throwing high volumes of tracer into the face of Skyhawk pilots may well have had the desired effect………

Of course, even better would have been a BIG batch of Stinger MANPADS – yes we had some, in the hands of the SAS, but a large number as additional air defence on the frigates might also have been a game changer:

Stinger missile on-board a naval vessel
Stinger missile on-board a naval vessel

Given the performance of the various ship types in the Falklands campaign, what if we decided to upgrade the 4 batch II Country class destroyers, replace the T21 with the remaining T42’s modified as ‘Frigates’ and in turn replaced them with a big T83 air defence destroyer based on the hull of the Bristol ?

Well here is my late 1980’s alternative naval history……..

1. Post-Falklands HMS Bristol with Ikara replaced with Sea Wolf (and port and starboard (910 trackers).

Type82Bristol_enhanced

2. County Class mid-life Re-fit with Sea Wolf

GBDDGCountyB2MOD_v3

  • Twin 4.5 replaced with ‘new’ fast firing Mk8 single barrel 4.5 inch gun
  • After super-structure block (hanger) replaced with that already designed for the T22, including single Sea Wolf launcher
  • Sea Slug removed, flight deck extended aft over the quarter deck. Sea Slug magazine used as Sea Wolf magazine.
  • Port and Starboard mid-ships Sea Cat launchers replaced with Breda ‘Fast 40’ turret – slaved to existing Sea Cat director 

3. T43 Frigate – the T42 mod for ASW and Surface warfare as a T21 replacement

T43_frigate_conversion_v7_final

  • Goalkeeper replaces fore and aft 909 radars as main self defence / anti-missile weapon system
  • Port and starboard mid-ships BMARC twin 30mm
  • Exocet replaces Sea Dart launcher
  • 4.5 Magazine extended into Sea Dart magazine for greater number of rounds (based on FI experience on the “gun line”) 

4.  T84 Air Defence Destroyer

type84_v5

  • Hull based on that of HMS Bristol
  • Machinery the same as T22
  • Forward 909 on the centerline, aft 909 off-set to port
  • Aft 910 off-set to starboard, port and stbd forward 910’s
  • Single Sea Wolf launcher, plus forward Sea Dart launcher with greater magazine capacity than the T42
  • 4 x BMARC twin 30mm (2 each port and starboard).

Please note that these are my pathetic efforts in the GIMP to modify the original line drawings of the ShipBucket contributor MihoshiK – I have kept his name on each of the drawings though as an attribution of the original work.

56 Comments
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ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 25, 2012 6:08 pm

Jed,I can already see that I’ll like it – and I haven’t read it yet!
-out of the Lion/Tiger/Blake trio one had been scrapped, but work was started on the two (and then stopped, as it would have taken too long) to sail south
– those automated turrets were not bad, and the guns had a huge reach

Observer
Observer
April 25, 2012 6:23 pm

Nice idea on the vulcs. Pity they’re not ship stabilized. Same reason why you can’t fire an artillery piece from a ship. Too much uncorrected motion. But the Stingers now… it’s auto stabilized by the organic 2 legged mount. :)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 25, 2012 6:24 pm

Hi again,

I can see you’ve gone FBOT with “12 of these towed 20mm gattling guns, a single one for each of the ships mentioned above – wheels removed, spot welded to the deck in place of a Sea Cat launcher”
– in this case I love it

That goes for your County conversion as well
– whereas, on the next one after it, was Goalkeeper available at the time?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 25, 2012 6:35 pm

Why do you think that “Bofors L40/60 MK IX single” – with a wght of 1981Kg is heavy, a mere 2 tonnes?

Look at this attempt to turn the Leanders into a dedicated AD (not really AAD with guns only)asset:
“They were equipped with Stabilisers to improve their ability to provide a stable gun platform. In total defiance of all the lessons of WWII she carried very little light AA, being fitted with only the amazing STAAG system, a twin 40mm gun mount that weighed in at a boggling 15 tons.”
http://www.leander-project.homecall.co.uk/Type%2041.html

Anixtu
Anixtu
April 25, 2012 7:24 pm

Nice.

A few thoughts.

“wheels removed, spot welded to the deck” – good precedent for this is the fitting of the ex-C-RAM Phalanx units to Cardigan Bay and Lyme Bay.

An alternative, though perhaps not available in the timescale envisaged, would be the purpose designed naval mount for M61 (and I’m not talking about Phalanx). Think GAMBO with attitude! Here’s a nice picture in JMSDF service: http://media.photobucket.com/image/jmsdf%2020mm%20gatling/akivrx/JSDF%20Navios/jmsdf_07018.jpg There is a newer (1990ish) remotely operated version too: http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNJAP_20mm-76_Gatling.htm

Be wary of using Type 43 and Type 84 designations to refer to your ideas. Official concepts and designs already exist for these, especially T43.

solomon
solomon
April 25, 2012 7:47 pm

interesting.

i find it ‘funny’ that the one service that performed remarkably well despite draconian budget cuts that were already underway…the Royal Navy…is being asked what it could have done better during the Falklands campaign.

the Royal Marines, SBS, SAS and Parachute Regiment also performed well but it was the Royal Navy that bore the brunt of this conflict and they’re the ones that are being second guessed.

why not ask why the Royal Air Force weren’t more effective. Why not ask why the British Army wasn’t able to provide more mechanized forces in the assault.

ask any question but why the Royal Navy wasn’t more effective or device what if scenarios for the shortcomings that were in essence forced upon them.

Think Defence
Admin
April 25, 2012 7:57 pm
Reply to  solomon

Sol, Jed is an ex sailor

Learning from mistakes is what has made the UK armed forces such a success over the many hundreds of years gone by. Its not critical, its just asking how you could have done better.

This is just a wistful blog post by Jed but all three services had a very painful learning experience and so many other nations, including the US, learned the same lessons.

How do you come to the conclusion that the RN bore the brunt by the way?

jackstaff
jackstaff
April 25, 2012 8:16 pm

Thank you — great fun. This will surprise the hell out of you I’m sure :) but alternate history is a hobby for me too, and it’s good to see a fellow Shipbucket fan flying their flag (you’re braver than me showing off design edits in public.) I do think gunnery, on the older “pure” ASW escorts, would have made a substantial difference, given the existence of Sea Dart and the FAA’s (Fuerza Aerea Argentina, not Fleet Air Arm) doctrinal decision to keep at the low passes wherever possible. A really, really clever bod might then push your T22 goalkeepers forward so you channel the Argies between flak from the gun-mounted frigates into a Sea Wolf kill zone?

On a secondary note — and this is a little OTT, just delving into a bit of granular detail — I have often wondered about an alternate history where Caspar John cottons on to the fact that CVA-01 is walking into a fan blade much earlier in the project lifespan and instead tacks toward drawing a line at preserving two Commando carriers and “Phantomising” both Ark and Eagle with the intent of pushing their lifetime towards the 1980s in an effort to ride out the jet-bomber romance (arguing “this is no more or less than the French have, and they seem to think it’s still a valid part of the force spectrum”). That’s not about preventing the Falklands — I belong to the school of thought that believes that the Argentines were motivated by a combination of internal politics and perception that a combination of anticolonialist Labourites and Tory “wets” both thought the UK would be well rid of this little dependency, fleet carriers or no. Nor in this case does it have to do with playing “what if we do the Falklands with Ark and/or Eagle?” Instead I’m interested in what happens to Type 82 if building a fleet escort for your surviving carriers in the nuclear height of the Cold War suddenly becomes a chief surface warfare priority build (along with the Type 21/22 developments.) Instead of lots of little AAW frigates labeled “destroyers” because of role (T42’s first two batches) spread amongst the sub-hunters you want a squadron (maybe 6 instead of 4) of the big ships. And Type 82’s interesting because she starts life — heresy! — as an all rounder, with the Sea Dart/910 combo for air defence *and* Ikara, plus maybe now you at least get a telescoping hangar? T22 still gets built because Soviet subs are the raison d’etre for the RN in the Atlantic and you need numbers plus specialisation. But if you have the big beasts guarding your carriers, plus more range on said carriers’ fighters, does that actually accelerate your logic about mounting guns on the second-rate escorts? Sea Wolf goes on T22 for certain b/c it’s your marquee ASW asset and needs to fend against pop-ups. But for the rest, under the Audacious/Bristol umbrella at higher altitudes, do we get a second age of AA gunnery in the RN? And what does that do to program design and development? Piggyback Bofors? Piggyback Hazemeijer and maybe get a Hazemeijer/Marconi merger rather than rampaging Thales? What becomes of DSI 30mm development — more emphasis on range proving and arc for AA self defence?

And as a side note, what then happens to the Vincis: my personal fantasy is that they become a smarter Jeanne d’Arc, a real hybrid ASW helicopter cruiser/LPH from the get-go. It would make sense: both are valid attributes for the defence of GIUK Gap and a swing-role vessel would make the budgeteers happy round about the IMF crisis in ’76.

Jason Lynch
Jason Lynch
April 25, 2012 8:40 pm

I’m seriously unconvinced about 20mm-30mm weapons adding a great deal of counter-FBA defence, unless they’re fitted with a CIWS-grade fire control system. As long ago as 1944, the US Navy was being advised that 20mm Oerlikons were bad for morale: when they opened fire it meant the ship was about to be hit. (40mm was barely adequate by then, and they were moving to autoloading 3″ and 5″ guns firing VT-fuzed ammunition… and this was against 1940s-vintage propeller aircraft)

Maybe I’m a bit of a dinosaur, but rather than fiddle around with the close-range battery, then until you can add CIWS I’d put more effort into the MR gun and its AA capability, because it gives much more range: Ardent, at least, had enemy aircraft reposition to avoid her 4.5″, preferring to take their chances with Sea Cat.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
April 25, 2012 10:05 pm

@ Jed – a very interesting post.

As a contrast I thought I’d post a link to Anthony William’s thoughts on an alternate RN around the early 1980’s:

http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/Alternative%20RN.htm

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
April 25, 2012 10:07 pm

Would cheaper gratling type cannons and man fired missiles be a cheap but effective answer to modern threats such as small boat swarms?

Observer
Observer
April 25, 2012 11:15 pm

@GJ

They sure would, which is why the miniguns and 30mms on a lot of ships. Missiles, not so much, primarily because they’re more expensive, but there are still some for use against helos and careless aircraft. Examples for missiles would be the Sinbad/Mistral launchers on some LPDs.

solomon
solomon
April 26, 2012 2:44 am

Jed! thanks for the resume but the question remains. your service did yeomans work during this conflict…to be quite honest from an outside view the question is really why your fleet was deploye way that it was. i realize that after losing the sheffield the idea of picket ships way out by themselves was a no go but my understanding of how the battle later developed (and i could be off base) is that because the fleet was behind land features it gave the Argies the opportunity to pop up launch and leave with little reaction time for your missiles.

that seems like the bigger crime to me.

explain please.

Observer
Observer
April 26, 2012 4:41 am

“why not ask why the Royal Air Force weren’t more effective. Why not ask why the British Army wasn’t able to provide more mechanized forces in the assault.”

RAF-Shipping. Ultra long distance from Ascension Island. Vulcan bombers only made one pass before forced to turn back. This IS on public domain Solomon.

RA-Shipping. And terrain. You seen a map of the Falklands? A MBT’s going to be hard to fit into the steep terrain and vegetation there. A map is also on wiki that you can check out.

Take it you never liked homework when young…

solomon
solomon
April 26, 2012 5:43 am

you protest too much. the resume was indeed appreciated because i did NOT know your background.

it was praise not me being snarky (in British terms) or an ass (in American phrasing).

oh i like homework and the Falklands conflict is required reading. the issue is that we always looked at it on how we would have conducted the landing using our equipment sets and tactics.

you all are a bit prickly to say that you were the victors in this conflict.

have at it gents…..i’m tired of the assholes on this site. fuck you all.

Chris.B.
April 26, 2012 6:41 am

Haha.

Sorry Solomon, but you’re kind of widely reknowned for being a bit of a clueless prick, so it’s odd for you to be calling everyone else assholes.

martin
Editor
April 26, 2012 8:19 am

Really makes one wonder what might have happened if the government of the day at not been so hell bent of sending a fleet in just four days. I know they hoped the threat would be enough to get the argies to back down. However a little refit work and more AA weaponary could ahve reduced our casualties massivley.

wf
wf
April 26, 2012 8:38 am

The government of the day, like all of them, was fundamentally ignorant of defence. Mrs T supposedly asked “where’s the Ark Royal” during a discussion on March 31, and doubtless the PM will be asking “where’s the Harrier’s” in the future….

Observer
Observer
April 26, 2012 8:47 am

“oh i like homework and the Falklands conflict is required reading. the issue is that we always looked at it on how we would have conducted the landing using our equipment sets and tactics”

You obviously failed this module if you don’t remember why air support was problematic and you can’t even remember the basic underlying terrain. Hell, I don’t even have to study for this and I know it by casual reading.

Chris said it best, clueless prick calling others assholes when it was your own lack of due diligence that drove you into that corner.

Maybe she was hoping it wasn’t totally dismantled yet? :)

wf
wf
April 26, 2012 10:10 am

@Observer: it’s interesting to note that the Ark Royal does not yet seems to be sold, despite going on the market more than a year ago…

Simon
April 26, 2012 12:57 pm

wf,

Has she had her prop cut up yet?

martin
Editor
April 26, 2012 1:07 pm

@ WF – Maybe the navy is hoping for a new crisis to get her reactivated along with FA2. They must be crossing their fingers that Kirchner is going to try something in June. Anyone know if 3 Commando is in the stan at the moment?

Dunservin
Dunservin
April 26, 2012 1:26 pm

– HQ 3 Cdo Bde and 45 Cdo returned from Helmand in Oct/Nov and are just wrapping up on board BULWARK and ILLUSTRIOUS after the first of this year’s two JOINT WARRIORs off Scotland (http://www.navynews.co.uk/archive/news/item/4551). They will be deploying to the Med with ILLUSTRIOUS later in the year for COUGAR 12 and we know what happened last time. ;-)

Ace Rimmer
April 26, 2012 2:54 pm

TD, re: AAA at San Carlos, rather than spot welding Vulcans to the deck, why not just site them on the hills around? No problem with stability and they don’t sink if a ship is hit.

Playing at what if, why didn’t we have a quick scratch around the world’s arms bazaars and pick up a few cannons. Also, why didn’t the they take more Blowpipe units from BAOR?

Mike
Mike
April 26, 2012 3:43 pm

But wasn’t Blowpipe a little too poor in performance? The SAS used Stingers, from what I read (from both sides), blowpipe wasn’t that good.

Could have bought more stingers and trained the operators during the transit.

Could-Should…I think what was assembled in the rush and after cuts was pretty dame good, for all sevices; but our AAA then was poor, and is worse today I guess.

Ed
Ed
April 26, 2012 4:18 pm

A very well considered piece, and certainly thought provoking. I have often thought that the UK would have been better off with a few tweaks.

For starters, had the Sea Wolf been more like a direct replacement for the Sea Cat, this would have made things very interesting. If it had been designed as an almost ‘drop-in’ Sea Cat replacement, it would have allowed far wider adoption. It would, of course, have slightly less capability, but on the other hand, given the prevalence of the Sea Cat, export opportunities could have been significant.

For example, the Type 21s, 22s, 42s, amphibious ships and carriers could all have been fitted with this Sea Cat replacement, quite readily. It could also have been the replacement for the Tigercat, i.e. in place of the Rapier – take the experience with Rapier deployment in the Falklands, but substitute a more capable missile, with a proximity fuse…

Equally, the Bofors 40mm L/60 mounts could have been replaced with the GCM AO-3 30mm mounts. While these weren’t really a CIWS, they were certainly available in the right timeframe, and could have been brought into service comparatively easily. Add to this a liberal application of the 20mm guns – dare I suggest even the German Rh-202, high performance 20mm, which was already in naval service well before ’82 (whereas the GAM-BO1 was apparently ’85 according to Navweaps).

Obviously, in an ideal (or at least slightly less depressingly real) world, we could have had much better equipment, and more of it. For example, even if we cannot have a CTOL carrier with Phantoms and Buccaneers, then we could at least have had Invincible being Hermes sized. If Invincible had been Hermes sized, then that gives you a much larger air wing, with almost twice as many Harriers. Post Falklands, this would have been very useful as well, allowing space to carry a full size Sea Harrier squadron (perhaps 16-20 ish), plus the AEW Sea Kings, and a couple of SAR/ASW birds.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
April 26, 2012 4:37 pm

At the risk of causing offense, I think we’re being a bit hard on Solomon. The Scorpions and Scimitars did a excellent job providing firesupport for the infantry in the later stages of the war; what if they had been used in that role earlier? What if more CVR(T)’s and different variants had been sent south?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
April 26, 2012 4:46 pm

“If Invincible had been Hermes sized, then that gives you a much larger air wing, with almost twice as many Harriers. Post Falklands, this would have been very useful as well, allowing space to carry a full size Sea Harrier squadron (perhaps 16-20 ish), plus the AEW Sea Kings, and a couple of SAR/ASW birds.”

Wasn’t that the early concept for the CVF? Essentially an enlarged Invincible, with the same capabilities as HMS Hermes (Obviously more modern)?

Observer
Observer
April 26, 2012 11:39 pm

@GJ

If solomon were to pose the armour question as a “what if” I wouldn’t have been so hard on him. Unfortunately, it seems from his line of approach that he was less interested in “what if” and more interested in smut, faultfinding and scapegoating. Hence the greeting with 155mm.

Trying to play Grand Inquisitor is more effective if you dressed in black, wore a full helmet, used the Force and most importantly, have a super-capital ship class vessel as your personal ride.

Regarding deployment of AA guns to shore, very good idea. Real pity most of the Chinooks went down with the A.Conveyer. That had to really hurt. As for upgrading guns, I suspect that no one really knew how the existing kit then would perform and even if they had known, there was still a lot of time pressure to get going before the Argentinians fortify in force on the Islands.

About armour, on an interesting note, the initial invasion of the islands did use Argentinian marine personal carriers. They performed fairly poorly being limited to the main roads.

You really want to know what might have been a big game changer? If the Argentinians had shipped in heavy motar. That would really mess up any attempt to retake the islands.

Alan
Alan
April 27, 2012 12:38 am

Observer I was under the impression that the Argentinians did use 120mm mortars in the Falklands.
I may be wrong, and I no longer have the book I read this in. However I remember reading that heavy rounds (120-155mm) where less effective than usual as they overpenetrated the boggy ground in some parts of the islands.

Cheers, Alan.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 27, 2012 8:03 am

Hi Alan, I remember reading that too
– would not have been the case in engagements on higher ground, http://www.flickr.com/photos/hectorpatrick/4748853373/

Alan
Alan
April 27, 2012 10:19 am

ACC; no I appreciate that, I was thinking of Goose Green and that kind of terrain. The same book (I think it was “No Picnic”) also mention the effects of heavy rounds on rocky ground.

Jason Lynch
Jason Lynch
April 27, 2012 11:39 am

Alan, ACC,

Fuzing was a key issue – pretty much the entire UK warstock of proximity fuzes went South, exactly because contact fuzes tended to only detonate rounds once submerged in mud and peat.

Observer
Observer
April 27, 2012 11:45 am

… anyone starting to get the feeling the UK won through superior fuzing?

First the dud bombs against the ships, now dud motar rounds against the Marines.

Never knew heavy motars were deployed, they were never even mentioned most places I looked, which probably indicated how much effect they had.

Simon
April 27, 2012 12:27 pm

Although it pains me to suggest this. Maybe they lost, rather than we won?

If would have been a horribly drawn out engagement if some of those duds actually went off.

Martin
Editor
April 27, 2012 2:49 pm

Pretty sure we won. Allot is made of the what if s on the argies side without an appreciation of what British forces achieved. What if they bombed Canberra for example. Pretty difficult to do when you have five seconds to aim and there are several frigates infront of her shooting at you. Others have said the argies thought she was a hospital ship and they left her alone. Given the fact she was a very famous ship and it was widely reported I’n the news she was carrying marines this seems wrong to me. The argies lost due to crap tactics, bad kit and low quality forces. They enjoyed every advantage and still lost. It seems to me that the British had the worst of the luck

elizzar
elizzar
April 27, 2012 4:28 pm

i’m sure i remember reading that the Army were more concerned with West Germany + the Soviets etc. than sending assets to ship down south, hence the lack of armour, heavy artillery (we had 155mm self-propelled guns at this point i think?), and that the Navy had quickly ‘claimed’ the conflict as an exercise in self-preservation, what with the Nott cuts impending. [whenever i read about british conflicts there always seems this undercurrent of inter-service rivalry on procurement and operations which seems so self-defeating sometimes (i’m sure other militaries are the same ofc!].
also, as has been pointed out, the sheer logistics effort in terms of distance, the shipping available to carry not only say a squadron of tanks but all the fuel, spare parts, plus all the tech crews and so on, i think we were lucky to have the 8 (?) combat CVRs that actually went (and that was a last minute thing) – by all accounts they performed superbly. but then the ground plan had been helicopter assaults before AC was sunk, not a slow ground crawl across such tricky terrain.

Observer
Observer
April 27, 2012 6:07 pm

Martin, I do beg to differ on the “crap tactics” part. The tactics in question delivered bombs to RN ships many times. If their kit was any better, how many more ships would have been lost? Add all those “hit by bombs but didn’t explode” cases, it comes to quite a bit.

So I’d say OK tactics, let down by bad kit.

Observer
Observer
April 27, 2012 6:11 pm

Thirteen bombs hit British ships without detonating.[71] although Ardent and Antelope were both lost despite the failure of bombs to explode.

Add 5 more ships lost assuming 2 for 1. How dire would the RN’s situation be if it lost 5 more ships?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
April 27, 2012 6:36 pm

I think I read somewhere that the CVR(T)’s were not used early on because, despite their renowned low ground pressure, it was feared they wouldn’t cope with the boggy terrain. The terrain of later battlefields appears to have been different, hence the effectiveness of artillery and CVR(T)’s?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
April 27, 2012 6:40 pm

RE: Winning and Losing. I remember watching a recent documentary which concluded victory went to the side who made the least number of mistakes. I think they mentioned 7 areas where the Argies could have won it…

Will see if I can find my notes on it… yes, I take notes on documentaries sometimes… I’m sad.

Simon
April 27, 2012 6:58 pm

Gareth Jones,

Taking notes on documentaries – you didn’t need to publish the fact ;-)

Makes sense though (about the mistakes) but I guess this is the same throughout history. e.g. if Hitler hadn’t marched on Russia and thought he could defeat their winter, WW2 may have been different.

John Hartley
John Hartley
April 27, 2012 8:52 pm

Friday night sad man syndrome.
I am looking at a December 1975 copy of Aviation & Marine magazine. Page 14 has an illustration of the proposed export T21 with 4 Exocet, 4 Seawolf PSI,2 twin BMARC 30mm. We were trying to sell 8 to ARGENTINA! Now theres a what if.
Post 1982, I wanted to replace Sheffield & Coventry with Bristol size hulls but, with Mk 41 VL where the Ikara was, armed with Standard & Tomahawk. Then a 2 Sea King Harrier aft, where the Sea Dart was on Bristol.
Oh & didnt Argentina sell some of its air launched Exocet slots to Iraq for a profit. If the Argentines had had those extra Exocets.

John Hartley
John Hartley
April 27, 2012 8:53 pm

Sorry Freudian slip, should be hangar aft, not Harrier aft.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 27, 2012 9:22 pm

Hi Simon,

About note taking
“. e.g. if Hitler hadn’t marched on Russia and thought he could defeat their winter, WW2 may have been different”
– Churchill writing his History of WW2: note to self “Balkans, what did we achieve by going there? 5 weeks?” the 5 referring to your Marshall Winter

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 27, 2012 9:26 pm

Hi JH,

The funny bit about “didnt Argentina sell some of its air launched Exocet slots to Iraq for a profit. If the Argentines had had those extra Exocets.”is that the original deal and the on-sell was through a middleman who was an Israeli
– of course, in those days Saddam was staunchly pro-West (or at least the West saw him as the bulwark against rising Iran)

John Hartley
John Hartley
April 27, 2012 9:51 pm

ACC
Yes the World moves on. How many of those “arab spring, freedom fighters” Cameron loves, will end up taking pot shots at Britain?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
April 27, 2012 10:55 pm

JH, the CIA seems to have done a good job buying back those couple of hundred Stingers from Muhajideen in A-stan (as none have been used in the present conflict)
– the problem is that 3000 or so pieces of similar kit went missing just in Libya

x
x
April 27, 2012 11:05 pm

Stingers aren’t AK’s. They can’t be fixed and fettled over a forge by Hindu Kush gun maker. They degrade without attention and care by technicians. Batteries are particular vulnerable.

Observer
Observer
April 28, 2012 7:36 am

It isn’t that bad x, put them in dri-clad and they can last pretty long. As for batteries, true, but remember, batteries are just a source of power, as long as you can match wattage and amperage, it doesn’t really matter the source of power is from a US battery pack or a car battery. And remember, power transformers are simply solenoids of wire any competent electrical engineer can make.

I had a course mate in Uni from Afganistan once. Don’t assume the country is “darkest Africa” with people living in mud huts and hunting with spears. They have a tech base too, abet an unevenly distributed one.

Alex
Alex
April 28, 2012 2:26 pm

Others have said the argies thought she was a hospital ship and they left her alone. Given the fact she was a very famous ship and it was widely reported I’n the news she was carrying marines this seems wrong to me

Me as well – Argentina had been officially informed by the Red Cross about the UK hospital ship (Uganda). In fact, COMAW defined a Red Cross zone north of the islands and a heli corridor between there, San Carlos, and the carrier group, as a safe area for both sides’ hospital ships. The Argies were informed of this and in fact used the zone for their ship.

x
x
April 28, 2012 3:36 pm

Knapp of the earth flying in excess of 450kt whilst being shot at from all sides with a highly trained and heavily armed enemy CAP “somewhere” and you have to tell the difference between this,

http://albatross133.tripod.com/Images/SS_Uganda-2.jpg

and this,

http://www.shipphotos.co.uk/images/canberra.jpg

The Argentine pilots were professionals. Wasn’t worth the risk.

John Hartley
John Hartley
April 28, 2012 4:17 pm

When the CIA got the Egyptians to reverse engineer the SAM-7, I understand it was improved with a longer lasting battery.