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The Empire And The Falklands / Malvinas


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#1 DougRichards

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 0516 AM

I was hoping to keep this low key, but as it has been almost 35 years since the operation, maybe I won't, and maybe the secret squirrels won't knock on my door.

 

Recently I had a brief chat with a young man, who when the situation in Fiji came up, mentioned that his family had been there during a previous time of trouble.

 

He told me that his father, in the Royal AUSTRALIAN Navy had been to the Falklands...  I asked if he had been on exchange duty with the Old Dart's Senior Service?

 

The answer was 'No'...................?

 

It seems that units of the RAN were positioned to be able to intervene if the Royal Navy was to take too many losses...

 

We all know that the RNZN sent a ship or too to help out with British NATO commitments, but to actually have Commonwealth forces ready to help out?

 

I can only imagine this to be a humanitarian mission.  That is, if the Royal Navy copped a hiding, then the Royal Australian Navy would have been in a position to assist, covering the withdrawal, rather than the RAN actually getting mixed up in the naval battle for the Falklands.  I imagine the RAN ships may have been the  River Class (Aust built Leanders) or possibly the more potent Perth Class (Charles F Adams).

 

The fallout from the Argentinians attacking ships engaged in rescue / recovery / support missions may have been rather interesting.


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#2 RETAC21

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 0738 AM

I am sure something could have been arranged with Chile too (on top of the cover help provided), and the Argentineans kept looking over their shoulder during the war.


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#3 Miner

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 0939 AM

Have a play with Great Circle Mapper

 

http://www.gcmap.com/

 

Not a Mercator map to see the distances

 

Think 120 from AKL (1.5K) vs ASI, fuel ex SCEL

 

Unlikely 

 

Edited to add

 

At the time the loss of the Vampire? destroyer from a casevac at Heard Island at that time of year was within memory of anyone LCDR and above. Drake passage NO. The destroyer didn't sink, desperate efforts, and a long tow got it to Oz for scrapping.

 

Magellan Straight vs air at least survivors would have a chance and at the time our briefings did include the bit about the Argentinian bomb fuzing (now open, not then). Presumably anyone high up in the RAN would have known bout the Argentinian bomb fuzing.


Edited by Miner, 27 December 2017 - 1020 AM.

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#4 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 1111 AM

I dont buy it. I mean, I would like to. Im sure all the RAN was rooting for us and all, but by the time it came for them to have intervened, we would have been on our way home. More likely is what the Kiwi Navy was doing, taking over from British responsibilities in the Persian Gulf whilst we were using the ships off the Falklands. If we had taken substantial losses, presumably that would have been difficult for us to take back, or them to have sustained. At which point, presumably the RAN would have taken over.

 

P3's might have been useful of course, but I think looking at a map South African Shackletons might have been more relevant. Presumably they had some Aussies on exchange with the Hereford Rifles and the Shaky Boats anyway.

 

 

Too bad the commonwealth doesn't do more role sharing like this. I think it would be a damn useful capability, particularly now.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 28 December 2017 - 1112 AM.

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#5 DougRichards

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 0410 AM

I never thought that the RAN would assist in pressing the reconquest.  My thoughts were along the lines that if the the RN lost too many ships then the RAN would assist in the withdrawal.

 

Then there is the wiki quote:

 

"President Ronald Reagan approved the Royal Navy's request to borrow the Sea Harrier-capable amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) if the British lost an aircraft carrier. The United States Navy developed a plan to help the British man the ship with American military contractors, likely retired sailors with knowledge of Iwo Jima's systems.[36] France provided dissimilar aircraft training so Harrier pilots could train against the French aircraft used by Argentina.[37]"

 

How true that all was is anyone's guess, but even if it approached slightly that of veritate, it would mean that there were more than a couple of countries assisting the UK against what could be assumed to be a south American Fascist state.


Edited by DougRichards, 29 December 2017 - 0410 AM.

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#6 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 0430 AM

I think the claim the aircraft carrier was offered was true, I think it misrepresents what it means. I dont really see a US Navy amphibious assault ship sailing down there whilst the task force was being shot at. So that would mean presumably coming back, and then going down again after reequipping. I dont see this as being politically possible in the least. Going south was a one trick pony we would never have the politcal capital to do again. We barely did to do it once.

 

What I think it probably means is, assuming we lost a carrier and the war was over, they would supply a ship to replace the loss of either Hermes or Invincible. I could believe that. They knew how tightly strapped the RN was for vessels, but we still had NATO commitments to meet.

 

And as for withdrawing, I dont think it was much of a problem. I mean, the Argentine aircraft had short legs, and their Submarine fleet was fairly ineffectual. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the RAN, but I dont think you were much better off for fighting major surface combatants like the Belgrano than we were. I mean, maybe if you had held onto HMAS Australia. :)


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#7 DougRichards

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 0443 AM

I think the claim the aircraft carrier was offered was true, I think it misrepresents what it means. I dont really see a US Navy amphibious assault ship sailing down there whilst the task force was being shot at. So that would mean presumably coming back, and then going down again after reequipping. I dont see this as being politically possible in the least. Going south was a one trick pony we would never have the politcal capital to do again. We barely did to do it once.

 

What I think it probably means is, assuming we lost a carrier and the war was over, they would supply a ship to replace the loss of either Hermes or Invincible. I could believe that. They knew how tightly strapped the RN was for vessels, but we still had NATO commitments to meet.

 

And as for withdrawing, I dont think it was much of a problem. I mean, the Argentine aircraft had short legs, and their Submarine fleet was fairly ineffectual. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the RAN, but I dont think you were much better off for fighting major surface combatants like the Belgrano than we were. I mean, maybe if you had held onto HMAS Australia. :)

 

Oberons may have been useful


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#8 DougRichards

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 0445 AM

I think the claim the aircraft carrier was offered was true, I think it misrepresents what it means. I dont really see a US Navy amphibious assault ship sailing down there whilst the task force was being shot at. So that would mean presumably coming back, and then going down again after reequipping. I dont see this as being politically possible in the least. Going south was a one trick pony we would never have the politcal capital to do again. We barely did to do it once.

 

What I think it probably means is, assuming we lost a carrier and the war was over, they would supply a ship to replace the loss of either Hermes or Invincible. I could believe that. They knew how tightly strapped the RN was for vessels, but we still had NATO commitments to meet.

 

And as for withdrawing, I dont think it was much of a problem. I mean, the Argentine aircraft had short legs, and their Submarine fleet was fairly ineffectual. I mean absolutely no disrespect to the RAN, but I dont think you were much better off for fighting major surface combatants like the Belgrano than we were. I mean, maybe if you had held onto HMAS Australia. :)

 

Which one?


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#9 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 0532 AM

The big one. :) https://en.wikipedia...Australia_(1911) Im still amazed at that. She was only 13 years old.
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#10 DougRichards

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 0116 AM

The big one. :) https://en.wikipedia...Australia_(1911) Im still amazed at that. She was only 13 years old.

 

Well one or other of the HMSs Lion or HMSs Tiger would have been useful, after all the cousins of the earlier pair had been there just about 70 years before.  It is a pity that the Canopus was not left in place with a basic crew for 70 years (not the same crew of course!).  Much as in 1914 a salvo or three from her guns may have had the Argies thinking twice.

 

Of course it is just coincidence that two HMS Invincibles were involved in a battle at the same place so far from home.

 

The later Lion or Tiger, recently scrapped, would have been useful in 1983.


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#11 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 0316 AM

IIRC, they were actually considering reactivating HMS TIger and Blake for the Falklands as a command ship, but thought better of it. Considering how much crew she took, its amazing they took the decision to refit them at all. They were great ships, but anything that required nearly 900 men to operate was starting to get into the realms of fantasy to operate by the 1980s.

 

In fact, I can recall seeing Tiger still afloat and still substantially intact, at least externally, as late as 1984. Pity we didnt keep one, at least as a museum ship.


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#12 DougRichards

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 0404 AM

IIRC, they were actually considering reactivating HMS TIger and Blake for the Falklands as a command ship, but thought better of it. Considering how much crew she took, its amazing they took the decision to refit them at all. They were great ships, but anything that required nearly 900 men to operate was starting to get into the realms of fantasy to operate by the 1980s.

 

In fact, I can recall seeing Tiger still afloat and still substantially intact, at least externally, as late as 1984. Pity we didnt keep one, at least as a museum ship.

 

I recall HMS Tiger being described as an expensive means of taking four helicopters to sea.


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#13 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 0427 AM

It was. I think we might have got more value out of reactivating HMS Belfast. :D

 

Bloody handsome ship though, even after the addition of the horrible helideck. Ill never forget that one.


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#14 Colin

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 1229 PM

 

IIRC, they were actually considering reactivating HMS TIger and Blake for the Falklands as a command ship, but thought better of it. Considering how much crew she took, its amazing they took the decision to refit them at all. They were great ships, but anything that required nearly 900 men to operate was starting to get into the realms of fantasy to operate by the 1980s.

 

In fact, I can recall seeing Tiger still afloat and still substantially intact, at least externally, as late as 1984. Pity we didnt keep one, at least as a museum ship.

 

I recall HMS Tiger being described as an expensive means of taking four helicopters to sea.

 

I suspect it's guns would be useful for shore bombardment and likely better at taking any hits as well.


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#15 FlyingCanOpener

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 1258 PM

I read about the development of Tiger in Hobbs' The British Carrier Strike Fleet, and it sounded like an absolute travesty in terms of replacing the carriers. How they could have passed this along as a replacement for a proper flattop is astounding.


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#16 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 1304 PM

Fiscal desperation does funny things to people. We currently have the MOD faced with replacing 2 LPD's with 2 65000 ton aircraft carriers. Go figure.

 

I actually saw that book advertised on Amazon, is it any good?


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#17 Dawes

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 1514 PM

Nowadays I think the RAF Typhoon detachment on the Falklands could make short work of the entire Argentine Air Force.


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#18 FlyingCanOpener

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 1539 PM

Fiscal desperation does funny things to people. We currently have the MOD faced with replacing 2 LPD's with 2 65000 ton aircraft carriers. Go figure.

 

I actually saw that book advertised on Amazon, is it any good?

 

Absolutely. You can tell that Hobbs wears his heart on his sleeve about carrier aviation, and it's on that borderline between readability and drowning in information dumps. I like how he goes into the nuts and bolts of aircraft design as well as the internal Royal Navy politics of decision-making for ships and carriers, as well as training and even the operations. His book on the British Pacific Fleet was quite good as well.


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#19 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 0304 AM

Sounds like one to put on my list then. Thanks.

 

I was reading an interesting news Item when HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched, where the BBC tracked down a member of the original design team for CV01, the cancelled carrier project from 1966. He said he was glad it was cancelled, because the chancellor was expecting so many financial compromises in its construction it would have ended up with real issues in service. Which just goes to show how strong the Chancellor is in British military procurement, even back then.


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#20 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 0123 AM

Sorry if this one has already been tackled on this thread, but what would have happened if the Junta had been able to hold itself together for another year and then launch the invasion? No Hermes but what else?
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