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Falklands what-ifs


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#21 King Jester

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1518 PM

Consequently, a Summer invasion would of worked for the RN, less storms, less fatigue on our vessels.

Charles

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The seas may have been less strong, but only marginally so (remember its the South Atlantic, 50ª S latitude down there) in Summer. BUT, daylight hours would have been considerably longer (almost twice the daylenght) rendering it almost impossible for the RN to close in at night for naval gun fire and leaving undetected before dawn again.
Remember argie A-4s and Dagger´s at the time are daylight/nice weather only fighters. They would have benefitted much more from a Summer war than the RN, being able to operate almost 18 hours a day over the islands, while in a Fall/Winter war they had only 10 to 12 hours a day. Of course that opens up the question: how long could the argie AF keep that rythm of operations before deing of an attrition death?

Also "gulash kannone" issues for the ground troops would have been way less strong in Summer, allowing for better troop feeding and better troop alertness (only a handfull officers had working NVGs, while most of the outposts were basically blind at night).

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#22 Chris Werb

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1532 PM

Stuart, I think they were planning on prosecuting the majority of SOSUS contacts with land based air. The problem would be, if we gave up having convoy escorts, it would signal how good SOSUS really was (which of course they already DID know thanks to well places spies) thus allowing the Soviets to take the money they were spending on ultimately pointless submarines and spend it on more/better land forces. We could play these kinds of logic games all night (and I'm sure they did at the time). Can you imagine what a high-intensity war in Europe going on for six days would have been like?
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#23 Rod

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1537 PM

A big what if would have been what if Brazil had decided to support Argentina. In 1982, then President Figueredo, was the last military President (from the military junta). He could have decided that an Argentine loss would topple the military government in Buenos Aires and create more pressure in Brazil for democratic elections (which was demaned by the labor unions and the general population).

I know there was an instance of Brazilian Air Forcr (FAB) fighters (either Mirage IIIEBR or F-5Es) interecepting a RAF Vulcan that got too close to Brazilian air space.

Brazil's contribution could have been major naval support, F-5Es and Mirage IIIEBRs.
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#24 Grant Whitley

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1546 PM

They had the option of recalling recently discharged conscripts.

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They did issue a call up, and as I recall, the results were not very good.
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#25 lucklucky

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1701 PM

What about making the Falklands strips longer and basing Mirages there?
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#26 Chris Werb

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1703 PM

Had the British postponed the invasion until the summer there are a number of things we would have done differently. One of them would probably have been to find some way to buddy designate for the GR3s with LGBs that showed up in the last day or so of the historical conflict. It wouldn't take very many LGB hits to persuade the garrison their position was untenable.
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#27 Chris Werb

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1706 PM

I know there was an instance of Brazilian Air Forcr (FAB) fighters (either Mirage IIIEBR or F-5Es) interecepting a RAF Vulcan that got too close to Brazilian air space.


Are you sure they didn't just escort the Vulcan that had to divert to Brazil (broken refuelling probe?)? I can't believe we'd have deliberately flown within air intercept range of Brazil - that would have been pointless.
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#28 KingSargent

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 1709 PM

What about making the Falklands strips longer and basing Mirages there?

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Take more than just lengthening runways, you'd have to move the whole ground infrastructure and put it where the Brits could get at it. Basing the Mirages in Argentina meant a long flight, but they were safe when they were on the ground.
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#29 DougRichards

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 2203 PM

The only long term professionals in the Argentine Army were the NCOs.  There weren't whole units of professional soldiers.


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I was thinking of the Argentine Marine and special forces units that initially attacked the islands. I probably should not have been so specific in saying 'Army'.

I know that most, if not all, Marine units were withdrawn, as were the LVT-7s that were used in the initial assault.
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#30 philgollin

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 0349 AM

Stuart, I think they were planning on prosecuting the majority of SOSUS contacts with land based air.  The problem would be, if we gave up having convoy escorts, it would signal how good SOSUS really was (which of course they already DID know thanks to well places spies) thus allowing the Soviets to take the money they were spending on ultimately pointless submarines and spend it on more/better land forces.  We could play these kinds of logic games all night (and I'm sure they did at the time). Can you imagine what a high-intensity war in Europe going on for six days would have been like?

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Re. the above and the earlier comment re independent sailings.

From the 70s the declared NATA policy was of protecting the "convoy lanes", rather than having convoys. this was partly because convoys could attrack massed attacks and partly due to the speed of nuclear submarines compared with escorts. Some shipping (e.g. major US Army/Air Force re-supply efforts MIGHT be convoyed, but if so it would be with overwhelming force). The NorthLat forces would be working from the Arctic down to below Iceland to block and new Soviet subs from the convoy lanes and also have escorts and Maritime PAtrol Aircraft prosecuting any contacts within the convoy lanes.

Whether it would have worked is still a matter of conjecture as the more one finds out about the 60s and 70s, the more one has to wonder about the true effectiveness of the super-dooper hight-tech weaponery that was being fielded at that time.
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#31 Grant Whitley

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 0855 AM

I was thinking of the Argentine Marine and special forces units that initially attacked the islands.  I probably should not have been so specific in saying 'Army'.

I know that most, if not all, Marine units were withdrawn, as were the LVT-7s that were used in the initial assault.

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The Marines were conscripts as well, albeit conscripts who had volunteered for Marine units. I believe that they may have also had a longer term of service. However, the IM mostly certainly took part in the fighting- most notably 5 BIM on Tumbledown.

You're right about the special forces being all-professional, though. Everyone in the SF units was an NCO recruited away from other units.
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#32 Grant Whitley

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 0907 AM

Reading 100 days by Adml Sandy Woodward, the impression I got was that the Weather was the biggest threat to the British Forces; especially the RN. The RN was limited by Time. Our ships only had so long until they started to fall apart - literally. 
Had the Argentinians been able to hold out for a longer period of time, the RN would of been forced to rotate ships that we simply did not have (Sir John Nott, our blessed minister of defence at the time was about to nueter the RN <_< ). Once the Army had landed, the pressure was somewhat lifted from the RN.

Consequently, a Summer invasion would of worked for the RN, less storms, less fatigue on our vessels.

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Fair point, but this wasn't enough to make a difference historically- Argentina still lost. So it seems to me that having the thing happen in the summer, when Argentina would have a marked advantage on land vis a vis her historical position, would be better for her, as she was unable to hold out long enough to gain any advantage from the wear on British ships historically.
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#33 Grant Whitley

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 1023 AM

The seas may have been less strong, but only marginally so (remember its the South Atlantic, 50ª S latitude down there) in Summer.

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Yeah, I would imagine so. I took a boat ride out to an island in the Strait of Magellan, and several people puked on the way over. It was fairly rough considered that we were in a somewhat sheltered waterway.
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#34 cheese possessed

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 1109 AM

Yeah, I would imagine so.  I took a boat ride out to an island in the Strait of Magellan, and several people puked on the way over.  It was fairly rough considered that we were in a somewhat sheltered waterway.

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I went from Stanley to South Georgia in an empty LSL (Sir Bedeviere, I think). Even in good weather the roll was about +/-30o, and when we ran into a force 10, we were virtually on the beam ends. I don't normally get seasick, but on that trip I was turned inside out..... [two compounding factors were (1) the smell of deep-fried penguin eminating from the Chinese crews' quarters, and (2) the flock of appreciative albatrosses and gulls which snatched up anything chucked up over the rail... :blink: ..]
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#35 starkweatherr

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 1124 AM

The US Marines had a training program during the 1980s that involved sending a MEU, I think to do amphibious training with 'friendly' South American troops. I can't remember the name of the program, but it was supposed to be kind of a plum assignment. Does anyone know if we ever trained with the Argentines?
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#36 RETAC21

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 1438 PM

The US Marines had a training program during the 1980s that involved sending a MEU, I think to do amphibious training with 'friendly' South American troops. I can't remember the name of the program, but it was supposed to be kind of a plum assignment. Does anyone know if we ever trained with the Argentines?

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You mean "Unitas"? it is still going strong or was until recently, I don't know how it stands now that Venezuela, Argentina and Peru are rather hostile, but it was kind of a Passex in which the USN trained with the navies in the region (Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru for sure every year), and there have even been losses such as the LST that grounded in Chile and was sunk in a live fire exercise.

As for NATO strategy in the Atlantic, "defended line" was tried either in 1983 or 1985, but the results apparently weren't all that great as it was not used on subsequent exercises.
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#37 Rod

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 0004 AM

Are you sure they didn't just escort the Vulcan that had to divert to Brazil (broken refuelling probe?)?  I can't believe we'd have deliberately flown within air intercept range of Brazil - that would have been pointless.

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You are right, it was a broken refuelling probe.
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#38 John(txic)

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 0239 AM

Stuart,

The 3 "Invincibles" were designed as platforms for the deployment of anti-submarine warfare helicopters, with integral air defence (Sea Dart) and a C & C function.

Sea Harrier was only added to the mix very late on in the process.
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#39 Gorka L. Martinez-Mezo

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 0355 AM

You mean "Unitas"? it is still going strong or was until recently, I don't know how it stands now that Venezuela, Argentina and Peru are rather hostile, but it was kind of a Passex in which the USN trained with the navies in the region (Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru for sure every year), and there have even been losses such as the LST that grounded in Chile and was sunk in a live fire exercise.

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UNITAS are still on, the latest having been celebrated not long ago. lately the Spanish Navy has also been participating. Usual players are Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

So far I cannot see much problems between Argentina, Peru and the US besides the usual ones. maybe more problems after the Peru elections but not last year.
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#40 swerve

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 1021 AM

The interesting thing Nott says is that he would happily have 3 carriers today, just that in the 1980s he couldnt see the point. Of course today, we are dropping to 2 carriers just when the damn things are proving useful. <_<


Yeah, but I'd rather have 2 CVF than 3 Invincible. Offer me 3 Charles de Gaulle size carriers & I might start to reconsider the benefits of numbers vs size.
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