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Grubbie

As far as I am aware,the causes sinking of HMS Glorious and the grounding of HMS Penelope are still secret. In at least one of those case’s, in absence of the report, one would have to conclude that the cause was disgraceful behaviour from the commanding officer.

Ron

If you want I can fill you in on the reasons for the sinking of the Glorious, I have information writting by some of the surviving officers.

Grubbie

I would certainly be interested. I read a book by a journalist whose father was one of the key figures and was killed.Its ridiculous that, despite being born 2 decades after war ended, I will probably never get to read the truth.
The truth is unlikely to be worse than the rumours.

Steve Jopling

I served on HMS Plymouth during the Falklands War, I wasn’t on board Sheffield so can’t comment on her state of readiness or moral. On Plymouth we prepared for war on the way South, we experienced action at South Georgia before the rest of the task force even arrived. We were a tight disciplined ship and moral was high, I have no doubt in my mind that, that was a factor in our survival, especially on the day we were damaged in action. The article certainly suggests the moral on Sheffield was low and the discipline lax.

Mark

It is easy to criticise with all the facts some 35 years later, the actions taken were based on the information at hand at that time in History so I think we should be looking at the lessons learnt from this and how we prevent this happening going forward.
The Type 42 was designed as a cheaper alternative to the cancelled type 82 and the older county class , it was a lot smaller with little room to update systems within the hull size and cramped in both operation and accommodation for the crew. However these ships served the RN very well over some 38 years.
my personal view is we are potentially looking at the same situation now with the type 31, smaller, cheaper and more hulls in the water (maybe?). There size limitations will mean it will be difficult to add equipment which given the Type 45’s and 26’s hull size will be easier if given the funds from the treasury.

Fedaykin

T42 was an odd beast, whilst in some respects cutting edge with its all Gas Turbine propulsion it was also in other areas obsolete. It had a radar system developed in the 1950’s combined with a missile system developed in the 1960’s crammed into a hull designed during the 1970’s that was the bare minimum to get the weapon system to sea.
It should be noted that whilst we were messing about with a woefully old Type965 radar as a stop gap until the Type1022 was available the Americans had already deployed the far more modern AN/SPS48 3D search radar.

Tom

Yes Radar 909 might have been developed in the late 1950’s but it was a very effective radar. The article is correct to say that it was more effective against high level targets but this is simply a matter of topography – no radar is capable of tracking low level targets over the horizon. It is incorrect to state that the missile was unreliable. It was a medium range anti aircraft missile operating in an environment close to land. Sea Wolf was a short range, point defence missile system that was ideal to operate in such an environment. An additional restriction was the range of the Sea Dart missile. 909 could track targets at a range 2 and half times the maximum range of the missile. Radar 909 can and did track low level targets and lessons learnt from the Falklands introduced several modifications to improve this capability.

Gardener

There is nothing to blame on the ship’s operations team.
Why?… because the Sheffield was cought by surprise by MV Daggers the 1st of may.
There was no missile in the attack.
There was no fire from de missile´s fuel remnant.

Daniel Shenise

Did you ever make a port visit (probably around a Christmas) to St. Petersburg Florida? I could have sworn I toured your ship as a kid. It was either the Falmouth or the Plymouth. I know I toured an Amazon too.

Degradable

1988 – 89. December..
HMS Plymouth was in St Petersburg for AMP and leave whilst deployed as West Indies Guardship (WIGS).
Great run ashore and many of us had family fly over from U.K.
Thanks for hospitality …..

Ron

HMS Sheffield and the Type 42 destroyer. Why is it that when reading the above article I have this feeling of a coverup. As we all know the T42 was a cut down T82, the type was cramped not just for the crew but for electronics such as radar and communications outfits. You could not operate the radar and comms at the same time. Weapon outfits were also limited including the Sea Dart magazine outfit 22 rounds. She had no space for a Sea Wolf launcher and it was not possible on the Batch 1 T42s to install the CIWS effectivly. The hull was light in its construction with aluminuim being used exstensivly, alu, fire and saltwater is a bad mix. Cable instalation was not protected or armoured, again to save weight and cost. The T42 and its faults is what happens when the bean counters tried to build a ship of war without taking into account the requirements of war. If only the bean counters would understand that it is not the size of the hull that is the main cost in a modern warship if the hull of the T82 was used but equipped as a T42 she could have had the Seawolf light installed and the CIWS and the Sheffield would have survived. As for the officers not being in the operations room at the time, even if they were what could they do they had no radar in operation and no weapons to fight the threat. THAT IS THE FAULT OF A SHORT SIGHTED GOVERNMENTAL BEAN COUNTER.

Tom

Couldn’t operate the radar and comms at the same time? Totally inaccurate. I believe you’re confused with the simultaneous operation of the EW and Satcomms systems which wasn’t possible – as mentioned in the article.

Gardener

The whole episode of the Sheffield is a coverup.
They (the RN) are trying to cover up what really happened… and what really happened is that the fire was caused by the impact of a plane bomb (not missile) with a generator.
And this attack was on May 1… not the 4th.

Tim Hirst

That’s a bold claim to make without quoting any supporting evidence.

Fedaykin

“The best option would have been the Phalanx CIWS that had been in development since 1973 and was proven in service with the US Navy by 1980. Phalanx is entirely automated and would almost certainly have saved the Sheffield.”
I would be sceptical about that, the performance of Phalanx especially the early blocks against Sea Skimmers has always been under question. It has notably failed to take out sea skimmers or more than one occasion or failed to track properly. This is one of the reasons why there has been a shift to PDMS or larger calibre gun systems using smart munitions.
Phalanx is better than nothing, has slightly greater reach than Goalkeeper and is useful against other types of targets.

Rudeboy

You’re right about Phalanx. It actually only went into service on a very small number of US ships in 1981, so the idea it could have been present is a little disingenuous. It also had a reputation in its early days for being very, very unreliable. The Phalanx of today is a very different beast, and it has to be said is still regarded, correctly, as being of marginal use. No Navy on earth was actually in a decent position in 1982 regarding hard kill of ASM’s. The USN had only just started to introduce Phalanx, Aegis had barely arrived. In fact the RN with Sea Wolf was arguably better equipped, with a better system than anyone else in 1982 for point defence. It’s also instructive that the RN bought Phalanx originally only for those vessels that couldn’t fit Goalkeeper (incidentally I’m not sure I believe the effective range figures for Phalanx vs Goalkeeper. 30×173 has similar muzzle velocity and greater mass so should be effective much further than 20×102, I think a lot of the comparisons compare maximum range to effective range)

The Ginge

The one legacy of the Sheffield should be that “Designed for but not fitted” should never be allowed. In 1982 anything that could float was sent south, including Trawlers to act as Mine Sweepers and Townsend Thoresen Ro/Ro tubs because capacity had been allowed to be eroded even when we had 50 odd escort ships.
The T42’s where a classic example of what the T31’s will be. Everybody knows that the bigger T82 was the ship that was needed as the requirement was the same to escort and provide Air Defence for valuable assets. just because that changed form an Aircraft Carrier to a Container Ship carrying all your Helicopters made no difference, the threat and consequences of success were the same.
Thus the T26’s are designed as High End ASW operators to provide escort to Ships in the N Atlantic or to Task forces, 8 is not enough to do that and the 5 GP versions could have been equipped quickly with Tails and could operate using other equipment without to high degree of competency. Even 40 T31’s can not perform the same duty. We are even talking of making them out of Aluminium and having no Anti Air capability. It is amazing that the RN lets politicians forget items learnt the hard way only 35yrs ago, with people still living with the scars (both physical and mental) from the same mentality that has taken hold in the MOD over the last 7yrs. it is telling yet again it is a Conservative Government overseeing this dereliction of duty.

Tom

T82 not type 42? I doubt that you’ve ever served on either because they had the same anti-aircraft missile system! It wasn’t the type of ship that caused the losses and it seems that you just want to have a political dig. The problems that caused the loss of the ships in the Falklands were investigated afterwards. Chief amongst these were the graduation to the thinking that missiles were the be all and end all. The Falklands proved that the old fashioned “curtain of lead” was still a deterrent. Added to this was the difficulty of operating a fleet inside very confined waters (excluding the loss of Sheffield). However, the greatest lessons were learnt in damage control: Firefighting systems that could be isolated; cables not secured by plastic cable ties; insulating material for the same cabling replaced; better (non flammable uniform); hatches that could be transited by men in Fearnaught suits and BASSCA (later EDBA) and the best of all (although any serving member of the RN/Veteran may grimace) was the introduction of FOST to practice the implementation of the damage control practices (including the “Sheffield Scenario during the Thursday war).
I agree that the RN has (and always will) suffer the peacetime issue of cuts. Look at History, from Nelson through to the Falklands, governments cut the numbers of ships/personnel during peacetime only to realise their folly when war broke out again. Hopefully it may never happen again (and it wouldn’t under Corbyn because he will happily sign away the Falklands and Gibraltar against the wishes of their citizens) but I’ve heard it said quite often that the only thing that will rescue the forces from the never ending cuts is another Falklands style conflict.

John

What would happen today if the RN were to lose 2 Destroyers in combat? That would take us down to 4.
Would there be a Destroyer build programme, or would we not bother replacing them?
Is there any strategic plan to rebuild lost assets in a future conflict?

Challenger

There’s barely a strategic plan to build warships in the first place, so forget about plans or contingencies to account for losing any!
It’s long been my view that you need to factor some flexibility into fleets to account for the unexpected and any armed service needs to be prepared to suffer losses when on active operations.
I’d say the Army and RAF are still a bit better at this but the RN is stretched as thin as clingfilm. Only 15 years ago HMS Nottingham almost went to the bottom and that wasn’t even the result of enemy action!
What would happen if a T45 or T26 suffered catastrophic damage today? If we need an absolute minimum of 8 T26 for example then surely it’s rational to build 9 or 10. Instead financial desperation leaves the MOD basically saying to the RN you’re not allowed to have an accident!

Geoffrey Hicking

Absolutely. The “Manning & Ship numbers crisis” (frankly, both of these should be put together) should be cause for an inquiry. Might it be time for a Royal Commission to investigate the matter?

Mark

It doesn’t even need to be combat, look at what has happened in the US navy with 2 Destroyers involved in serious collisions which will keep them out of service for months possibly years whilst they are repaired. if that situation happened in the RN it would be major issue.
in short we need more ships NOW!

Iqbal Ahmed

Mrs Thatcher and the Navy top brass covered up for the anti air warfare officer and his deputy, who left their post, at the crucial time of the attack.
For the sake of Mrs Thatcher and the Conservative Party re-election, these two men got off scot free for contributory negligence that left 20 fellow officers dead. One of these incompetents even got promoted to Captain.
Day by day, Britain’s descent into third world Banana Republichood is becoming more entrenched.

Ian Willis

This is surely justice denied?
This and the Sgt. Blackman incident go to the heart of whether military justice should be administered separately from the civilian sector. The military judiciary looks to be both incompetent and susceptible to party political interference.
The tone of the article is all wrong out of a misplaced sense of protecting the Navy. Imagine if you’re a child of one of the 22 dead on HMS Sheffield and how they’re feeling today? Shojuld the Guardian really have sugar coated issues?

Iqbal Ahmed

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1414411.stm
BBC article from 2001 where a surviving sailor from HMS Sheffield alleges a cover up and that his evidence was REMOVED from records and the Navy denies it. We know better now.
Ship steward Craig Bryden claimed that, almost a minute and a half after Mr Batho was called to the Operations Room, he appeared in the wardroom “aimlessly sauntering down a ladder”.
Mr Bryden also alleges that statements he made to a confidential Board of Inquiry about Mr Batho’s absence from his post were struck from the record.
He told the BBC: “I’ve suffered. All the guys on board have suffered.
“I feel that it’s time the public know.”
Some feel that Captain Sam Salt has been made to carry the can for the events which led to the loss of the ship.
Anyone reading this and thinking of joining the forces needs to think long and hard about how junior soldiers, sailors and airmen are treated.

Silent Majority

True, can’t you moderate him away? It’s not like his bile and hatred is subtle now is it? He’s probably writing all this trash from North Korea or some such other people’s paradise.

Silent Majority

True, but I would venture he is abusive.
The only purpose I can see of allowing him to continue is that his cretinous posts are often so egregious it makes the grown ups respond. So perhaps he is helping matters in a completely, absolutely, unintentional way.
Well done with the site by the way. Uniquely effective in my opinion.

Iqbal Ahmed

Navylookout, many thanks for the statement.
The Lt Cdr accepts he was not at his post but briefly in his quarters reading an intel report and checking cloud base and in the wardroom, where he may have been given a cup of tea.
He also states, ‘I would be the first to admit that I made a serious error of judgement and I should have stayed in the Ops Room throughout my watch. The only thing I would say is that there is no certainty that if I had, the outcome would have been different.’
The Navy Board stated both men ‘prima facie demonstrated negligence’. The government was trying to sell Type 42s for export and so it was decided by the brass ‘“to avoid, the more doubtful cases creating the wrong atmosphere in the press and souring the general euphoria”.
Under these circumstances, surely an investigation would have been warranted? If not to apportion blame then at least for lessons learned purposes? ‘Souring the euphoria’ will prove cold comfort to the families.

Tom

It is quite obvious that you have never served and don’t understand the term “defence watches”. A ship is at “Action Stations” – all crew closed up at their respective “action station” during actual conflict. This is obviously unsustainable for long periods of time and is relaxed to “defence watches” when the possibility of action has diminished. This requires only half the crew to be “up and about” whilst the other half sleep. This is by no means easy either, defence watches were either 6’s or 7 and 5’s (I preferred the latter). This meant 6 (or 7 hours) on watch, 6 (or 7 hours) off watch followed by 6 (or 5 hours on with the corresponding 6 or 5 hours off watch. This resulted in a minimum 12 hours on watch, with your 12 hours off watch consisting of eating, sleeping, bathing and relaxing. Of course, your off watch could be interrupted by action stations. Food and drink weren’t allowed in the Ops Room (which was also kept dark), therefore during defence watches, the opportunity was taken for personnel to be allowed to “stretch their legs”, go to the bathroom or have a cup of coffee/tea – obviously keeping sufficient personnel still manning the consoles. It is clear from the report that this is exactly what was going on at the time of the attack. If you’ve never been in such a situation, experienced the repeated “action stations” when unknown contacts are detected then I would say that you’re not in a position to judge anybody’s actions. I was not on the Sheffield but I had several friends that were (and some still are). I do not hold the AWO or Sam Salt responsible, these things happen in war. The benefits of hindsight and time are remarkable and I’m sure both parties would do things differently. Yes they made mistakes but they weren’t incompetent or negligent.

Silent Majority

Oh my, if Lord Haw Haw here and the BBC said it, it must be true.
Both utterly reliable sources obviously, both with a long track record of honesty, integrity and accuracy.
Oh, hang on a minute, that’s not right is it?

Silent Majority

I was waiting for you to come up with some toxic old tosh dressed up as heart bleeding concern.
You are a marxist and anti British as is clear from your littany of toxic posts on every single wrotten comment you have posted on here.
As for banana republich hood, that is what you lot want isn’t it? You want us all weak and dependent on the state. Well, this country is full of bums, but it is also full of hard working, self reliant people who care about the country and it’s standing in the world.
As if a chump like you would have a clue what happened on that valiant ship all those years ago, one way or the other. You want to blame someone, blame the Argentininans.

Grubbie

That’s well over the top. To err is human, but it’s hardly valiant to sit there and get sunk.

Silent Majority

What an amazing thing to say.
What about all the heroic efforts of the crew to save the ship and fight the fires for four hours after the strike, and I would hardly think acting as an ASW picket ship in a contestested war zone thousands of miles from home is a trip around the Solent now is it?

Frank

I’d just mention that it’s what you call a “third world banana republic” that sank them.
Sounds a bit like the British thinking about the Japanese prior to Singapore.

4thwatch

It seems that there needs to be far better oversight of UK Naval affairs generally; be it in warship construction and numbers, battle preparedness and assessment of capabilities right down to our Merchant Navy’s adequacy for an island state.
Ultimately all this should come from political leadership. There is the rub because it seems they don’t want to know. All the parties are to blame. Chiefly this is because there are so few ex service people or indeed really dedicated and knowledgeable in defence MP’s in Parliament. I have written off the House of Commons in this regard and believe this is probably a role for the Lords where a really powerful Maritime or tri-defence group should exist and have the right to call anyone to account for their actions or neglect. Neglect should also cover the Treasury’s lack of providing the necessary resources.
Heading this up should be a Minister of Marine and Air.

Lockhart

I don’t think ex-service people are under-represented in Parliament, by my reckoning there are over fifty MPs who are former or current members of the armed forces, including several who have seen active service and at least one who reached senior rank. In fact there are at least twice as many veterans as you would expect from a representative sample of the UK population. The Lords, unsurprisingly, has even more. Whatever problems the armed forces are facing, it isn’t because there are too few veterans in Parliament.

Grubbie

Far too many of them actually represent the military /industrial complex.

4thwatch

However many there are it seems they aren’t being listened to.

Harry

At the end of the day its war, are government must have expected some losses when they sent are men down there. While a investigations should have been carried out to learn why it happened and so as to prevent it. No soldier, sailor or airmen should ever be arrested for what they did in war else it was something particularly bad.

Iqbal Ahmed

Harry, why stop at military personnel?
No policeman, fireman or Doctor should ‘ever be arrested’ unless its ‘something particularly bad’.
After all, they all wear uniforms and have high pressure jobs’protecting society, that can be life threatening. Society owes them a great debt, like forces personnel.
I wonder why we bothered with War Crimes legislation. After all, ‘soldiers will be soldiers’.

Grubbie

I’m prepared to cut them some slack, it’s not like they wanted this to happen.Fending off guided missiles was a fairly new thing,that had only been tried a couple of times before. It’s a fairly similar type of thing asking a policeman to apprehend young drug dealers, it’s almost impossible to do a perfect job, particularly if you don’t know that they’ve swallowed packages.
In the euphoria of victory it was overlooked that the RN didn’t perform particularly well. Some of the equipment was hopeless, tigerfish and rapier mk 1 were totally ineffective and flammability and damage tolerance was disgraceful for one of the main naval forces in WW2 less than 40 years earlier.
I think that it might be dawning on some of you how unsustainable a carrier battle group is. Imagine a similar crisis today. I reckon that we would struggle to get 3 destroyers manned and away within a month,we know that at least 2 will be out of action for anything up to a year. If the enemy times it right (not difficult to time with an open society like the UK) it will take a couple of months to get a carrier away.

Tom

You actually had a decent statement started there but you had to ruin it by yet another dig at something out of context. Delete your post after the word “earlier” and I would actually agree with you!!

Geoffrey Hicking

Arthur Herman puts it well:
“The Sheffield was commanded by Sam Salt, a five-foot-four human dynamo, strong, intense, and voluble. his father had died in a submarine in World War II, his godfather was “Red” Ryder, who had led a daring commando raid on the U-boat base at St. Nazaire, which had won him the Victoria Cross. Salt’s ship was a Type 42-class destroyer, equipped with Sea Dart antimissile missiles; but they were useless until someone realized the Sheffield was under attack.
For a crucial thirty minutes no one did, Salt was in his cabin, unaware of Glasgow’s frantic warning; the operations room was hooked up to its satellite communication link, blotting out any trace of the Exocet’s own radar path on Sheffield’s radar screen. In fact, since there was no sign of planes or enemy activity no one believed they could be under attack until the officer on the bridge, Lieutenant Peter Walpole, noticed a smudge of smoke about six feet above the water a mile away, headed right for them.
Beside him was Brian Layshon, commander of Sheffield’s Lynx helicopter. He saw it too, and thought: “My God, its a missile!” Walpole had just five seconds to grab the ship’s microphone and shout: “MISSILE ATTACK! HIT THE DECK” before the Exocet struck starboard amidships at 680 miles an hour.”
That missile was fast: Whatever the veracity of the guardian’s article, the officers did not stand ‘mesmerised’.

Sam

At that range and speed….the crew were lucky to get that warning from Lt Walpol at all. Mesmerised? More like oh crap we are done for 🙁 there wasnt anything the crew could have done….the problem went back to the design and integration of the type 42s systems and their blatantly outdated type 965 radar that was equiped to ships in the 1960s….only HMS Exeter had the type 1022 radar that the whole class should have had. They Type 45 would have kicked ass in this situation….however in Anti ship and Anti Sub warfare the 45 is very vulnerable. IMHO the type 45 was built for the Falkland war 🙁 not a good way to build your ships

Geoffrey Hicking

One day I might get the time to look THIS up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus_(missile)
Hopefully if this thing actually gets off the drawing boards, the anti-ship missile problem will be dealt with. But how long till that happens, if ever? 🙁

Rick

Root cause of Falklands War points to Dennis Healey. Decided RAF could take over functions of
carrier borne aircraft. If Ark Royal and Eagle or their projected replacements (CVA01 program)
had been around, Argentina never would have invaded and we wouldn’t be discussing Sheffield.
Queen Elizabeth Class deters possible aggressors.

Sam

Not without any aircraft it doesnt….atm its a multi-billion £ party barge. It will only have 3 CIWs Block 1b defending itself

Tom

Yet again a very cheap shot at a ship that is not operational and not intended to be operational until 2020 – when it WILL have aircraft. Having served on Lusty and now been on the QE it is very impressive. The trials with the 2 F35’s went exceptionally well and the UK will have a significant capability for the next 50 years. On a negative note, I do agree with the fact that we have insufficient escorts. A minimum of 25 are required IMHO.

Ian

Most tragedies have a complex web of contributory factors including somewhere humans. This is no different. It is perfectly reasonable not to call into question the bravery or intent of its crew whilst at the same time recognising that the ship wasn’t operating at or near its most effective. For that those in charge bear a degree of responsibility. No more than the politicians who wouldn’t spend the money on the right kind of ships but responsibility none the less. I think we do no service to ourselves as a country by hiding these things although I suspect that the Govt was as much responsible as the RN for keeping it secret lest their own shortcomings be exposed as well.
Plus Ca Change!

A D mowbray

How about, STOP spending billions on foreign dictatorships and foreign aid, and use it for 3 more Type 45s, another 5 Type 26 frigates, how about keeping HMS Ocean, HMS Bulwark, HMS Albion. My god, politicians should be kept away from defence…

Rick

Precisely, why aren’t politicians badgered about this? Keep sending money overseas to subsidize others while Royal Navy grows steadily weaker.

Johnny B Wise

“why aren’t politicians badgered about this? ” ……………… not to mention that at the time the Argys had a secondhand British aircraft carrier. It is, however, speculative whether this launched the French-built plane, which fired the Exocet in to HMS Sheffield. Funny old game, the War Industry ??

Tom

The Super Etendards flew from mainland Argentina. What is extremely annoying is the French team that prepared the Exocets for their “mission” and also instructed the Argentinians how best to utilise them.

Adrian

I have just re-read Sandy Woodward’s book, and although he is guarded in his words, it is pretty clear that he regarded the officers of Sheffield as culpable in the sinking – from Captain Salt down.

Tom

Sam Salt, nor the AWO have disputed that things could/should have been handled better (culpable) but they shouldn’t be considered neglible or incompetent. RHIP but it also has it’s share of responsibility. Sam Salt recognised and bore this burden.

Gardener

There is nothing to blame to the crew and officers in the sinking.
The Sheffield was cought by surprise by MV Dagger planes… one of them place a bomb inside the ship that causes the fire.

Alex

HMS Sheffield was hit on 1st of May by Argentine Air Force MV bombs… not by an exocet the 4th of may.

Gardener

HMS Sheffield was hit on 1 may. Not on 4 may.
HMS Sheffield was hit by MV Dagger bombs. Not by an Exocet missile.

Gardener

Mrs Thatcher covered the day the Sheffield was hit… and the ship was hit on May the 1st. by bombs. Not an Exocet missile!
This is the reason for all the accusations, the board of enquiry, the blame on the ship’s operations team, etc.

Elaine Waterfield

My name is Elaine and Grandad died on HMS Acasta 1940 8th June
I live in Poole and found on the memorial Glorious Lieutenant Basil James Wise and Reginald Arthur Marsh Petty officer of the Ardent. I am wanting to have a proper memorial service with the GLARAC Association and want to find and family members who would like to come can anyone help me 0 7 5 8 7 8 5 3 9 8 5

Elaine Waterfield

also they now say that the Glorious Ardent and Acasta were sunk because of operation Paul c/o Ben Barker