£14.23 (Hardback) £9.38 (Kindle)
Maritime historian, Dr Paul Brown recently published Abandon Ship described as “The real story of the sinkings in the Falklands War”. This is an engaging, if rather an uncomfortable book, based more on written and documentary evidence than personal experiences which informs much of the Falklands conflict literature.
This book is essentially about failure. The war in 1982 has inspired an enormous volume of literature but this is a rather unique and fairly dispassionate work focusses on a series of disasters. Published just one year short of the 40th anniversary of the conflict, unpicking events in an attempt to understand the truth and learn lessons is a valuable exercise but is sure to stir up controversy, especially when the majority of those that served in the conflict are still with us. The book skilfully pulls together Freedom Of Information requests (FOI), the Board of Enquiry (BOI) reports and previously published personal testimonies very well. For those already very familiar with the details of the conflict, there is not a huge amount that is really new. The RN BOI reports are freely available online and most of the stories of the ships that were lost have been covered in-depth in books published in the last decade or so. The photographs included in the book are mostly familiar but the detailed maps of each action are very useful.
The chapter on the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano gives a good overview of events and some more detail from the Argentine side. There is a slight error in the claim that Mk8 torpedos were selected to “penetrate the anti-torpedo bulges of the cruiser”. She had no such underwater protection and the three of the old Mk 8 were used selected simply because the new Tigerfish had proved unreliable in trials.
Like all the subsequent chapters of the book, the descriptions of what it is like to be on a ship after being hit can be distressing but the stories are mixed with uplifting stories of bravery and selflessness. The book further lays to rest the disingenuous accusations that the Belgrano posed no threat to the Task Force at the time but was ordered to be sunk so “Mrs Thatcher could have her war”. Her Captain, Héctor Bonzo, an honourable man, always accepted that his ship was fair game and was part of a plan to attack the British fleet. Further reading: Sink the Belgrano, by Mike Rossiter (2008), Secrets of the Conqueror by Stuart Preeble (2013) and Hunter Killers, by Iain Ballantyne (2014).
The crew of HMS Sheffield have faced strong criticisms over inaction and lack of preparedness by the BOI, Paul Brown and others. Things certainly did go wrong, performance was not as it might have been but there were big flaws in the Type 42 destroyers that were not the fault of their crews. As we wrote when the full BOI was published in 2017, Unless you were aboard HMS Sheffield between 14.00 and 14.04 on 4th May 1982, you can never know precisely what happened or what it felt like to be on the spot. Despite the supposedly reliable evidence of the board of enquiry, we should exercise caution when passing quick judgments on the actions of men on the frontline decades ago. The Shiny Shef was the first British ship to take a serious hit and lessons were rapidly learned. Further reading: One Hundred Days, Sandy Woodward (2012).
Like HMS Sheffield, HMS Ardent was poorly equipped for her task and but her loss demonstrated the crew’s courage under sustained attack. The most dubious claim repeated in Brown’s book is that Ardent could have been saved, despite a significant list and major fires, the crew did not make a thorough enough examination of the leaks in her hull. This smacks of a theoretical classroom exercise and fine margins at best, not a real-world scenario taking into account the state of traumatised crew and a heavily damaged and burning ship that had taken multiple bomb hits. The story is vividly described from a more personal perspective in Through Fire and Water by Mark Higgit (2007).
The chapter on HMS Antelope’s short war is perhaps where there is most really new material. It reveals that she was rather poorly prepared to be sent South with persistent unresolved weapons defects and a lacking adequate operational sea training time. After initially being employed on escort duties away from the main action, the ship was not especially well prepared or equipped for the rigours of San Carols (‘bomb alley’) and officers were heavily criticised by the Board of Inquiry for their actions after being hit by bombs that did not explode. However none were accused of negligence, the CO Captain Nick Tobin was awarded the DSC for exemplary leadership and courage, Commodore Clapp described the ship’s company as “a superbly motivated and gallant crew”. The Army bomb disposal effort was extremely brave but encountered problems that were poorly communicated and outside help should have been sought which might have avoided the bomb detonating and killing one of the EOD personnel.
The sinking of HMS Coventry is a more complex story than the previous losses. The ship had been well prepared and had already proved herself in action, shooting down aircraft as she was designed to do. She had taken up an exposed position and in company with HMS Broadsword were acting as a ‘missile trap’. The Sea Wolf of HMS Broadsword was intended to provide close-in defence while Coventry’s Sea Dart would take out aircraft at longer range. The trap was initially effective but in the heat of battle, manoeuvring mistakes put Coventry across Broadsword’s weapons arc, allowing the attacking aircraft to get in close and hit the ship with at least 3 bombs. Arguably the RN needed an air defence destroyer with both point defence and area air defence missiles on a single hull (ultimately achieved in the Type 45 design). Harrier jets that could have intercepted the attackers were also hauled off by Coventry due to over-confidence in missile systems. Coventry’s war is brilliantly described in a personal and more detailed way in Four Weeks in May by her captain, David Hart-Dyke (2007)
The loss of MV Atlantic Conveyor, a large merchant ship hastily converted for use as a stores and aircraft transporter, to Exocet missiles has proved controversial over the years. It is hard to agree with Brown’s conclusions as he makes too much of her lack of chaff and self-defence weapons and a communications failure that might have allowed her to turn her stern protected by a tough steel ramp to the direction of the incoming missiles. Furthermore many believe she was deliberately placed as a sacrificial screen for the aircraft carriers. The conversion of the ship in 10 days did not allow time for military communications, decoys and weapons to be fitted and a crew suitably trained and worked up. Such a delay would have prevented her from playing her most vital role – delivering Harrier reinforcements to the task force. Even if she had received chaff launchers it is doubtful they would have seduced missiles away from such a large target and the plan to align her stern precisely with an incoming missile seems optimistic.
The Task Force commander, Sandy Woodward admitted his mistake was to bring Atlantic Conveyor in from the safe area to the east too soon and in daylight, rather than any plan to use her as a shield. As it happened, although her loss was very serious from a logistic point of view, it was ultimately preferable she took the missiles rather than the carrier. Despite the ‘what ifs’, the bravery of her crew, and in particular her master Captain Ian North, shines through in the book. The recent work by Roland White, Harrier 809 (2020) gives more insight into the action and Think Defence has the best online resource covering the story.
The destruction of RFA Sir Galahad (and severe damage to RFA Sir Tristram) is a classic example of the fog of war when a whole series of small mistakes combined together lead to disaster. Paul Brown does a good job describing the inter-related events and decisions that led up to the attack. There is no single culprit to blame but it is an object lesson on the need for clarity of command structures, communications and discipline between multiple formations and services in action together. The aftermath of the attack on Sir Galahad was particularly harrowing but many heroic and selfless actions followed. The full context of why two virtually unarmed auxiliaries ended up in a forward position without air cover is explored more fully in Amphibious Assault Falklands by Mike Clapp and Ewen Southby-Tailyour (2012).
The book may give the impression of naval incompetence but of course, the losses were the price for ultimate victory. For most of the RN’s history, it has always been understood that it may lose ships in order to win wars, something that many other navies have not always been prepared do. Many mistakes were made which seem so avoidable with hindsight but as is the case in most wars, the victor made far fewer errors than the defeated. What is clear was the navy was poorly equipped for the conflict it never expected to fight. A navy focussed on blue-water anti-submarine warfare was suddenly thrust into an air-defence dominated conflict, much of it in confined inshore waters. The responsibility for losses and failures in many cases cannot just be carried by those doing the fighting. The officer on the frontline who makes a fatal mistake may just be the last link in a chain of failures that goes right to senior levels in the navy or government.
Paul Brown has made a valuable contribution to the history of the Falklands war and this book is well worth reading.
Main Image: Imperial War Museum
It must be true that just about every ship lost in war or in bad weather might have been saved had its officers and crew behaved differently. In many cases this is apparent only in hindsight.
A man who has never made mistakes is a man who has accomplished very little. Yes, we must find out what occurred and learn the lessons but we should be careful in distributing blame.
Blame is something left for the newsmedia headline writers . Any serious investigation will rigorously look at all CAUSES.
It serves no ones interests if certain individuals actions or lack of arent included as a cause. Coventry is a prime example where the CO actions were a primary cause.
I have read “Four Weeks in May” which is, of course, the Commanding Officer’s personal account of the loss of HMS Coventry. Captain Hart Dyke’s actions on the day he lost his ship are open the criticism and his career in the Royal Navy did not progress much thereafter so it seems that the powers that be may have agreed with you. But one should takin to account the “fog of war – what is clear afterwards may not have been clear to those at the time who had to make instant decisions.
A huge problem for all the Type 42s involved (other than HMS Exeter with its 1022 radar) was their obsolete 965 surveillance radar so the Seadart 909 radars had difficulty in acquiring targets over land clutter. This shortcoming was well understood back in the 1970s when I was spending three happy years at Aberporth firing Seadart development and acceptance missiles. I find this glaring, obvious and well known deficiency far less excusable.
Yes there should indeed be open and honest enquires into the causes of all disasters.
Another example of deficient equipment was the type 24 Torpedo which everyone knew was very unreliable but no-one got round to fixing..
The Argentines had weapon ‘system’ malfunctions too…
So the 965 had no MTI for example?
It had but it was not much good.
As I recall it the (hope i’m not dreaming!) 965 was fitted with a delay line canceller which provided a cheap and not very effective form of MTI.
The problem with that approach is that you are doing the MTI in the analogue domain with the very faint signals. Doing anything in the analogue domain after the receiver affects the input to the digital domain: as the delay line introduces phase shifts. You then have the ‘problem’ of how to capture the hybrid data, for either side of the digitiser, and get it to the 909’s so they can lock on.
Now, clearly, it is all done digitally.
And it was done properly with the fully digital T22 pulse Doppler sets: so the tech did exist.
And was the 909 able to reject the ground clutter?
No but it had a very narrow beam in both azimuth and elevation and, being frequency agile, was difficult to jam. Rejection of ground clutter was more important for a surveillance radar with its wider beam (in elevation).
The 909 and the 1022, as in HMS Exeter and later T42s, were a good combination but the 20 plus year old 965 was grossly inadequate and well known to be so in 1971, probably before.
Present day modern radars, with very much enhanced computing power, can play all sort of tricks and switch modes to adjust to clutter and avoid ECM but modern ECM is much more sophisticated too.
Thanks, btw was it still conical scan or already monopulse?
I’d agree that the shortcomings of many of the weapons systems were pretty well known and the not fixing them was the root cause of many of the issues.
All that said in the 1960’s through to 1980’s ships were built round the CMS, radar and weapons system as they were huge bulky and required a myriad of services. Nowadays, while things are far from plug-n-play, there is modularity.
I’m not sure how easy or realistic it would have been to have upgraded the radar sets on a lot of the ships and where it was done it was not done until much later when set sizes etc had shrunk
I never saw action in my RN career but, even so, it was very depressing to be responsible for unreliable equipment which one could not fix, For example he grossly unreliable gyro unit in the MRS3 director which no-one back at the MoD seemed to care about.
The deficiencies of the Type 42 air warning radar and the mark 24 torpedo reach back to well before 1982. The 965 radar was replaced by the far more advance 1022 in later type 42s including HMS Exeter which eventually took part in the Falklands campaign. The mark 24 torpedo was eventually replaced by the Spearfish.
We all make mistakes and the job of we who are engineers is largely a series of problem solving tasks. My point is that the MOD was tardy and complacent in solving well known operational shortcomings. I fear it still is. Why, for example, is it taking so long to sort out the Type 45 generator shortcomings?
I totally agree with you.
It is why I was (am) passionate about sub standard kit being withdrawn so that fig leaves are not left lying around.
Keeping garbage in use wastes resources that could be better used on things that do work.
PiP on T45 does seem slower than it should be even if it is greased lightening g compared to army projects!
The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins a good read too.
It’s a good book. When you at the bottom of a ship, several decks down with ladders and hatches between you and fresh air, and through a hull plate you feel the cold of the water just a few millimetres away it is quite sobering.
It’s interesting that even at the time, some in the Task Force thought Sheffield had not responded as well as she should have done. Woodward received the Captain, Sam Salt, on Hermes with the words: “I suspect someone’s been bloody careless” (One Hundred Days, p. 23). He added: “they had not detected the raid, they did not fire chaff, the first thing they seemed to know was sighting the missile about five seconds before impact. There was plainly no real sense of threat in her Ops Room at the vital moment… They did not even alert their Captain in his cabin” (p. 240). Chris Parry on Antrim went further: “I am beginning to think that the Arg missiles and bombs had a special homing head that acquired its target by detecting bullshit. By bullshit, I mean complacency, arrogance and a failure to take the enemy seriously, with a strong dose of carelessness” (Down South, p. 279). News of the circumstances of the sinking were greeted on Antrim with cries of “Bloody stupid bastards” (Yates, Bomb Alley, pp. 114-6). Does anyone know of a first-hand account of what happened written by someone on Sheffield at the time?
‘Does anyone know of a first-hand account of what happened written by someone on Sheffield at the time”
It would have the sub title ‘Omerta’
That’s kind of what I’ve been beginning to suspect…
There is a very frank account from Nick Batho, the on-watch AAWO about the attack I copied from Doug Laybourne’s Save our Souls website a fair while back:
Help Needed – Loss of HMS Sheffield | Page 2 | Navy Net – Royal Navy Community (navy-net.co.uk)
I agree that the benefit of hindsight was often used to criticise crews for their actions after the event.
There did seem valid criticisms of how Sheffield was operated in the lead uo to the action. Knowing that the satcom equipment interfered with radar systems, Glasgow only used the equipment at night when the air risk was reduced whereas Sheffield was operating it during the high risk period. This plus the failure of the Air Warfare Officer on one of the carriers to pass on Glasgow’s missile warning and the absence of Sheffield’s AAW Officer from the CIC seem valid criticisms.
I had read that part of the reason for Coventry’s maneuvering was Broadsword’s failure to engage a previous air attack (due to computer failure) meant Coventry assumed Broadsword could not engage when the next attack came in. Maybe that wasn’t correct as it isn’t mentioned.
What does come across is how hopeless much of the equipment was. Virtually brand new frigates equipped with an already obsolete SAM, AAW destroyers with no low level SAM capability and landing ships containing hundreds of men with only WW2 era guns for self defence.
The lessons were briefly learned with designs such as the excellent T22 Batch 3 and fitting Phalanx on the T42.
However, the lesson that ships don’t always get to fight the war you expect is long since forgotten; hence destroyers with no ASW capability and T31 frigates with no ASW capability plus a limited SAM fit out, helicopters with no data link and carrier based fighters with no proper stand off land attack or anti-ship missiles.
A lot of lessons learned in 82 have long since been forgotten. The Type 31 is a prime example – no Sonar/ASW capability, a very, very limited AAW easily overwhelmed, and no ASM capability either. What purpose will it serve in any kind of serious conflict? I ask that because it is supposed to replace five older but far more capable vessels??? Plus of course no point defence missile systems on our carriers on the basis that Type 45 will be there……but that cannot be guarateed as the current scenario with CSG21 has demonstrated with only one out of six operational….The sad fact is that saving money is more important than potentially saving lives…….
WW2 era guns would be good in enough quantity and training…
The land based Argentinian 35mm put a protection bubble around Falklands airfield after killing an Harrier. Instead RN had only the bad 4,5″ for AA because only believed in missiles.
The 35mm GDF destroyed 2 Harrier plus 1 heavily damaged and also 2 Argentinian aircraft, one that entered the non go zone by mistake.
Yes. The Type 12’s were originally going to get the Mk6 3in mounts. One does wonder what such a system would have done in Bomb Alley. Imagine T41 and T61’s with that mount being involved in that conflict. But you are right the RN unlike the Italians and French gave up on smaller medium gun too soon.
As for T42 compare with the Italian Audace class which went to sea with a 5in and FOUR 76mm guns. Italians were expecting to face a lot of aeroplanes close in. The RN thought it would be operating out deep ocean with the only occasional Soviet navy MPA to have a pop at.
Btw at time of Falklands Audace had 2x 5in and 4×76 , The Aspide launcher had not yet replaced one of 5in.
I think with 76mm and the double Breda Bofors with 600rpm the Argentinian dumb bomb threat would have finished fast. The lives of hundred of sailors and other combatants would be spared.
It was a close run thing.
“What is clear was the navy was poorly equipped for the conflict it never expected to fight. A navy focussed on blue-water anti-submarine warfare was suddenly thrust into an air-defence dominated conflict, much of it in confined inshore waters.”
That is not a valid argument, most of the ships were damaged and sunk by dumb bombs.
A late WW2 destroyer was more AA capable than a Type 21.
The problem was the unwarranted believe in “high tech” read: missiles that RN had. It also contributed for the lousy 4.5″ gun.
I fear ‘information warfare’ is the new missile.
Possible, and worse it is much more difficult to measure.
What our side doesn’t seem to realise is that the enemy can do all this ‘information warfare’ business too. They are just building platforms and weapons too in numbers which we are not.
That too. My point is that we can measure that Type 45 propulsion fail, that LCS is a waste, that Zummwalt do not work, that FRES gave nothing. How can we measure that “information warfare” fail before a disastrous war?
There will not be any outside pressure because there is no way to know anything except powerpoint buzz words.
The potential for corruption or just plain bad work is several fold much higher.
The Americans have found their strategies to be wanting.
To me it seems to aid micro-management more than assist communication. And that undermines the West’s main advantage, NCO corp and delegation or distributed decision making. To be honest it might aid the East who are still more used to working top down…….
I just know when it fails whomever is putting the most down range will win out.
Many of the US failures come from the Rumsfeld era and the insistence that every new weapon platform had to be a quantum leap over the one it was replacing.
This lead to things like LCS and Zumwalt which were technology for its own sake which due to the inherent risk of taking a technological leap often doesn’t work.
It’s the same attitude that believed that Iraq and Afghanistan could conquered by a couple of special forces guys and a laptop.
F-35 was not Rumsfeld era, and there is nothing special about LCS. There were 40kt light cruisers in WW2 for example. All of that stuff started earlier than when he arrived.
The quantum leap is something from current American revolutionary character. You see it in current space race.
Yes it was, 2001-2006.
The SDD or System Development and Demonstration was awarded to Lockheed in Oct 2001. The development program was the issue, which was build the plane while still in development, applied to LCS too.
the 40kt ‘light cruisers’ actually mid 30s were fast minelayers.
the 40kt ‘light cruisers’ actually mid 30s were fast minelayers.
Italian Capitani Romani class
Sort of that was over 15 years ago. Things have move on somewhat. And it wasn’t the platforms that failed it was how they were employed and used. And there aren’t enough Zumwalts or LCS to influence anything……
As for your last line yes that in a nutshell.
LCS went from <500t USN street fighter concept,then was added helicopters, then mission modules, then oceanic range and ended up as 40kt helicapable FPB with tonnage of an FFG7 costing more than 600M$ with 80% operating cost of a DDG…
Yes. All the conventional platforms your Burkes etc. performed as I said, it was how they were employed operationally that was (is) the problem.
LCS is a bonkers concept. To achieve what they wanted, high speed to one side which is an issue in itself, they needed something akin to the Sa’ar 6. But what the USN really needed was a proper cheap frigate capable of deploying globally. Oddly the RDN Iver Huitfeldt is probably the best fit. As for the LCS themselves the Independence’s showed up all the flaws of the trimaran The Freedoms are the best cutter design the UCSG will never get. Roomy, fast, low draught, etc. but not a front line warship at all.
LESSONS OF THE FALKLANDS Department of the Navy (Report). DTIC. February 1983. ADA133333.
-The outer air defense rarely consisted of more than four SEA HARRIERs, each with a short-range intercept radar, carrying only two airto-air missiles each. Due to the range of the patrol stations from their carrier bases, the SEA HARRIERs were capable of maintaining station for only about 20 minutes. Against the large number of attackers that penetrated this very thin air defense outer barrier, British surface-to-air missile systems like SEA DART and SEA WOLF, although often saturated, generally performed better than expected. But because their combatant ships lacked adequate “last ditch” close-in weapons, the British were unable to knock down the remaining bombers reaching the fleet.
-One of the clearest lessons of the Falklands is that smaller, cheaper, less-well armed combatants can be a very false economy because of their much higher degree of vulnerability, as demonstrated by the loss of the four Royal Navy combatants.
-The British were sorely pressed to defend against Argentine air attacks. Despite severe limitations of the attacking Argentine forces and the few Exocet missiles launched, British casualties were significant. This is both a tribute to the Argentine attackers and acknowledgement of the limitations of the British AAW and ASMD systems. The British force lacked defense in depth, which requires at least AEW aircraft, shipboard three-dimensional (3-D) air search radars, integrated shipboard combat direction, and all-weather fighter aircraft that can maintain sustained, long-range air patrols.
-The Falklands conflict is yet another reminder, following on every war since Korea, that rates of consumption of high technology weapons always exceed even generous estimates by planners.
One of the clearest lessons of the Falklands is that smaller, cheaper, less-well armed combatants can be a very false economy because of their much higher degree of vulnerability, as demonstrated by the loss of the four Royal Navy combatants.
requires at least AEW aircraft
The reason why the QE’s should have been CTOL…….
AEW doesnt help a destroyer in the open ocean
Oh. What does it help then? Or are you just picking random points out of thin air for no reason AGAIN. Where did I mention a destroyer? Why do you make these leaps?
LESSONS OF THE FALKLANDS Department of the Navy (Report). DTIC. February 1983. ADA133333.
-The British felt very keenly the lack of an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) capability in the South Atlantic. The Argentines, aware of this deficiency, made their air attacks at low level, below ship radar horizons, preventing the British from detecting or engaging them prior to their arrival in the target area. The Royal Navy has since developed and deployed a limited helicopter-borne AEW capability.
-Facing a similar air/antiship missile threat, the U.S. Navy would employ a number of systems in the “defense in depth” concept. Each U.S. carrier has four E-2 Hawkeye AEW aircraft, which can provide around the-clock and around-the-compass early warning of hostile air attacks and control defending fighters.
Yes. But all he is demonstrating yet again is that he can’t read a comment. I selected parts of your first comment and highlighted them in italics and then responded to them. He had taken time to look just ran them together to try to look a know it all once again. I have never known a site like this one where a clutch of individuals think they have the right to crayon over a stream of comments just for their own ego. I thought it was nice for once we were all having a nice exchange without stupidity as none of idiotic threesome had turned up. I was wrong.
Pray tell how a carrier AEW aircraft would have helped Sheffield in the open ocean.- while carriers were to the east of islands
Consider also the USS Stark hit by an exocet in the Gulf ( even though it has CIWS) The land based Awacs detected the F1 when it took off from its base.
Just repeating ‘carrier fixed wing AEW’ is like mentioning ‘cruiser’ in another context very shallow thinking.
If they could take off in the harsh south Atlantic conditions of course
Totally agree. The Merlin/Crowsnest solution is vastly inferior to the Hawkeye. We can only hope that in time a high altitude, long endurance UAV AEW platform which can fly from our carriers comes into being.
I doubt it.
What about satelite based radar?
Excellent post. How quickly the UK has forgotten those lessons
“Against the large number of attackers”
Large number? when?
While preferable you don’t need an AEW for Argentinian dumb bomb attack type with 2 or 4 planes.
Good AAW ship defence would have been enough.
AEW, undoubtedly, helps your response times.
That said Sea Wolf was well up to the job of dealing with that threat if it had been more widely deployed in the full fat version. RN had backed the right weapons system there.
A modern radar directed 30mm auto cannon would be quite capable of dealing with dumb bombs and those planes on those dumb bomb runs.
But before we get sidetracked: the auto cannon of the day (Mk6 etc) would not have had a lot to offer as they are nothing like the modern versions.
And before we get even more sidetracked: Phalanx and its ilk were not really a functional option at that point in time.
Thank you. But talk to AlexS not me.
Why not? did knowledge of shooting at aircraft vanished from 1945 to 1981 West and only existed in Warsaw Pact?
You had from Italy the Dardo 40mm with dual Bofors 600rpm of 40mm rounds, light enough to be deployed in each side of a light 2500t Lupo frigate, Oto 76mm, this gun was light being deployed even in 70t hydrofoils.
From France the 100mm
From Sweden the 57mm Mk1 and the Bofors
And since Bofors was widely licensed there was nothing that preventing an UK development for RN.
Even the Oerlikon 35 was deployed in Libyan
Italian build corvettes.
We’ve been over this a lot of times on here and on UKDJ.
You cannot compare trying to shoot down WWII speed/manoverability planes with even the jets of the ‘70’s.
A modern radar laid 20/30/40/57/76mm cannon is a very high precision lethal weapon. That is mainly down to radar and computer systems that simply didn’t exist in ‘82.
So? are only you that can issue your argument that AA cannon fire can’t destroy a significant number of jet aircraft like they did in many circumstances against jets including in Falklands is ridiculous.
The Skyguard system with a modern search radar + monopule radar director of Oerlikon gun from Argentinians show what can be accomplished but you just choose to ignore it.
Countries all over the world were issuing good AA guns to their ships , but only RN was right.
Maybe we can look at how this works and why it is different?
There is a world of different between firing a gun from land, which does not move, and from a ship which also has pitch and yaw.
So you have to calculate for pitch, yaw and whatever the aircraft is up to.
It take a lot of computational effort to correct for the motion of the ship even with gyroscopic stabilisation of the gun and radar head.
You essentially cube the computational power needed to ensure accurate hits. Computers were not that good and certainly not that compact in ’70’s – ’80’s vintage that you could have one for each gun – it would have been the size of a room and consumed huge amounts of power and cooling as well as people to tend it. It is easy to forget this when you have sufficient processing power on your phone these days.
What you talking about? By your reasoning naval AA could not have worked in WW2. Kamikazes not only bomb laden aircraft, later a Stix could not have been destroyed by naval AA guns…ridiculous.
There is a reason that RN had to get Type 912 diretor in fact Selenia RTN 10X from Italians for the 4.5″ gun. And by Falkland time they were already in RTN 20X.
And any director imply a computer.
However good the ships radar is it can’t see over the horizon or detect low flying aircraft using contoured land as they did in the Falklands
attack type with 2 or 4 planes — you only saw 2 or 4 planes on TV
LESSONS OF THE FALKLANDS Department of the Navy (Report). DTIC. February 1983. ADA133333.
-12 May 1982 In heavy fog, 12 Argentine A-4s attacked HMS BRILLIANT and GLASGOW near the Falklands. Two A-4s were shot down and a third crashed into the sea trying to evade surface-to-air missiles. HMS GLASGOW suffered damage from a bomb passing directly through the hull without exploding.
-21 May British troops landed at four separate points around San Carlos. Argentine aircraft counterattacked the invasion forces in several waves. One frigate, HMS ARDENT, was sunk. HMS ANTRIM and HMS ARGONAUT were hit by bombs which failed to explode. Two other ships were seriously damaged. Fifteen Argentine aircraft were reported destroyed in this attack.
-23 May MIRAGES and SKYHAWKS attacked the British Task Force; one frigate was damaged. British shot down six MIRAGES and one SKYHAWK
-24 May HMS ANTELOPE exploded and later sank during an attempt to disarm a bomb that had been lodged in the engine room since the 23 May battle. Three waves of Argentine aircraft attacked the British Task Force, and eight were reportedly shot down. Two LSTs were damaged in this attack.
-25 May Argentine aircraft continued to attack the British Task Force. Seven A-4’s were shot down. HMS COVENTRY was hit by several bombs and capsized. Two SUPER ETENDARDS launched EXOCET missiles against SS ATLANTIC CONVEYOR and set the ship on fire.
-27 May MIRAGES and SKYHAWKS launched another attack on the British Task Force. Two SKYHAWKS were reportedly shot down.
-29 May An Argentine MIRAGE and several SKYHAWKS attacked British positions at San Carlos, causing minimal damage.
-30 May Argentine SKYHAWKS and SUPER ETENDARDS attacked the main British task force; three SKYHAWKS were shot down with no damage to British ships reported.
-8 June Argentine SKYHAWKS and MIRAGES attacked two British LSL’s at Fit-zroy. Both SIR TRISTRAM and SIR GALAHAD were set on fire. Badly damaged, SIR GALAHAD had to be scuttled; HMS PLYMOUTH also suffered serious damage, while in Falkland Sound. Four Argentine aircraft were reportedly shot down.
The Argentine Air Force and Navy began air attacks against the British surface naval forces on 1 May. During the succeeding six weeks, the Argentines flew about 300 sorties against British surface ships and amphibious landings. These sorties were made mostly with 500- and 1,000- pound “iron bombs,” but also included rocket and strafing attacks and live EXOCET missiles launched by Super Etendard aircraft, and unguided rockets “fired by 1B.339 aircraft (the last based in the Falklands, as were some Pucara and T-34 aircraft). Canberra and Pucara aircraft were also flown by the Argentines in the attack role, but apparently without effect.
Argentine Mirage, Skyhawk, and super Etendard pilots flew strikes against the British Task Force and later the amphibious landings with determination and bravery. However, their efforts were severely limited by having to enter combat almost at their aircrafts extreme unrefueled range. This inhibited their maneuvering and the time available to engage in strikes or air-to-air combat. The Argentine Air Force had a limited in-flight refueling capability consisting of two KC-130 Hercules aircraft plus Skyhawk attack aircraft using the “buddy store” scheme, but only the Navy Super Etendards and Navy and Air Force Skyhawks could be refueled in flight.
You should list the time between those aircraft and to what target(s) to sustain an argument of saturation attacks.
you should get your brain to be examined sometime to see how much water is in it
You are correct, the US Department of Navy assessment was wrong, just 2 plane managed to sink 2 destroyers, 2 frigates, 1 civilian ship, damage 2 LST and 9 other war ships.
All those sea slug, sea dart, sea wolf, sea cat, sea harrier, blow pipe, rapier, 30mm, 20mm, 7.62mm and the whole kitchen sink still could not stop just 2 damn planes with dumb bombs, absolute pathetic performance.
Really, the Argentine airforce should have tried a bit harder with 4 planes that would have sunk the whole task force including the kitchen sink.
Learn how to read. saying that 12 aircraft attacked in a day do not make it a mass attack unless they attacked at same time and same targets.
Indeed that was a pathetic performance except for Sea Dart that had several meritorious success. It worked well for what was supposed to do.
We fancy modernity and are fast sending to the history trash can technology that still work well and are more reliable and even superior in some situations. It was the story of 60,70’s
F-4 with no gun and no maneuverability because everything would be missiles is another classic example.
First there were 2 planes, then 4 planes and now 12 planes, just curious to know if you passed O level arithmetic exam? or was just following orders?
Are 12 planes saturated enough? Any more changes?
Still not able to read?
“Learn how to read. saying that 12 aircraft attacked in a day do not make it a mass attack unless they attacked at same time and same targets.”
No, can’t read never passed O lever English, did you?
I am just the messenger. How can the Department of Navy contact you?
Friends, as a NZer by birth I thought the Poms as we called them (partly due to their snooty accents, superiority complex and lack of interest in defending us in WWII), did pretty well in the Falklands considering their loss of empire and money, resulting in the virtual abolition of a serious navy by that time. Fortunately it happened during the Thatcher and Reagan period, the latter agreeing to infinite supplies of some of the US made missiles involved. As others have pointed out, you cannot predict the next war, and as C Northcote Parkinson perhaps unkindly said, the military of any country usually practices for the last war but one.
Having read a lot about it, I certainly don’t blame the RN commanders on the spot, they were exemplary and in Tom Clancy’s words, the RN is the only navy the US should fear, largely due to their officer training that aims to produce people like Nelson. .
I thought the comment in the article about the RN being willing to risk and lose ships was a good insight, That was a huge factor in WWI when the German’s magnificent fleet was not willing to provoke a battle, and similarly in WWII in numerous happenings when the Germans wrongly expected the British to be conservative in their naval actions . It was big factor in how the Argentine Navy was called back into port, never to fight again.
The naysayers should consider how difficult it would be for Argentina (on the surface a country with a population comparable to UK to England), to “take back” Gibraltar, Bermuda, or some other Pommy posession formerly controlled by Spain in the northern hemisphere, former ownership by Spain being their main justification for attacking the Falkands.
As fort the discussion of the Type 31 being underarmed, let’s wait and see how it actually turns out, I think the goal was to get a basic ship rather cheap but be able to add to it cheaply as well. .
Just thinking out loud
There is an excellent video of Rear Admiral (ret’d) Chris Parry’s personal experiences during the Falklands conflict, in case you haven’t seen it:
A very interesting link – a veritable “must see” for anyone posting on here.
I here and respect all of the opinions given on the equipment and the performance of the ships. Reading all of the comments has made me relive those days as a young man 40 years ago. However no one should question the performance of the fallen and those that served. They performed admirably and in the best traditions of the senior service. In my years of service I never met another member of the RN who would not want to perform at his best and do his duty for his shipmates when “Action Stations” “Action Stations” Hands to Action Stations” was screamed over the tannoy. Mistakes are always made in war and those mistakes are usually costly they are however not made deliberately. Harry hindsight is a great guy but he only ever turns up after the party is over. The memory of the fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice plus those that served alongside them should never be tarnished. As the 40th Anniversary approaches my thoughts are with those shipmates and there families that never returned.
The thrust here is that the RN is making the same mistakes over again. Or HMG is making the same mistakes again. Nobody is questioning the personnel.
hear hear !!
This is confusing the sacrifice of many with normal through investigations which must happen. It does a disservice to those to call it Harry Hindsight, when you want to call in Sandra sweep- it- all- under- the- carpet – which has a long tradition in the navy too.
Last month I was reading about the disastrous Norwegian campaign in 1940, the political and military leadership involved in such occurrences as infantry battalions loaded onto cruisers and then disembarked quickly leaving gear behind and so on and then loaded onto destroyers. Apparently major records like the command war diaries dissapeared very quickly soon after.
LESSONS OF THE FALKLANDS Department of the Navy (Report). DTIC. February 1983. ADA133333.
-The Argentine Navy began the conflict with two of their four submarines operational: one relatively new German-built diesel-electric submarine, and one former U.S. GUPPY–type submarine of World War II construction. The guppy submarine SANTA FE, which was present when Argentine troops landed in the Falklands, was totally disabled by British forces off South Georgia on 25 April.
-The German-built SAN LUIS, completed in 1974, made one patrol of an estimated 36 days during the conflict. The SAN LUIS located and operated in the area of the main British Task Force for some days. She was, however, unable to make a successful attack because of materiel problems. The submarine’s main torpedo fire control panel was not operational and improper wiring of the backup panel caused all torpedoes to be fired on incorrect bearings. The British force prosecuted numerous suspected submarine contacts during that period, without success. The Argentine type 209 submarine SALTA did not participate in the conflict, because of problems with her diesel propulsion plant.
-The ability of a modern diesel-electric submarine to engage a naval task force that is essentially stationary while operating in a specific area is not surprising. These submarines are extremely quiet when operated at low speeds and for this reason substantial helicopter, subsurface and surface antisubmarine warfare defense is required whenever a naval task force is constrained to a limited area.
The Task Force was pinging away before they left the Channel. (Not quite)
And we’re progressing towards an escort force where only 40% of hulls have any decent ASW detection capability.
But, but T45 is an air warfare destroyer it doesn’t need ASW! >larf< 🙂 😉
Lets hope the Ultra sets that have been purchased for T23 can also be fitted to T31/T45 or a UAV system.
If you look at the price for the 8 sets it is a lot cheaper than I would have thought a ca £2M a pop so not crazy money across the other 8 escorts. The R&D money is spent. The integration into BAE CMS will have been paid for so T45 should be relatively cheap to do.
There does seem to be a general up arming going on and it is by no means crazy that this could also be a part of it.
Unit costs are silly. 2087 isn’t much either. The expense isn’t the sensors it is making the ship sufficiently quiet.
Oh, I totally agree.
But it is perfectly possible to do the old Sprint – Dawdle – Sprint – Dawdle routine to give listening windows when the machinery noise is at an manageable level.