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I know that most, if not all, Marine units were withdrawn, as were the LVT-7s that were used in the initial assault.

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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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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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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.

 

Charles

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Stuart, let's turn the scenario around.

 

Let's say the Russians hadn't decided to invade at all but rather just dug in and went over to using their subs against Western commerce, worldwide? Let's also assume that SOSUS wasn't all it was cracked up to be. How long could we have held out?

 

I know the US was intending to use their carriers against Murmansk but, knowing how heavily it was defended and fortified, how few PGMs 1980s aircraft had, and how crap the weather is up there, I don't know how well they'd have got on.

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Stuart, let's turn the scenario around.

 

Let's say the Russians hadn't decided to invade at all but rather just dug in and went over to using their subs against Western commerce, worldwide?  Let's also assume that SOSUS wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  How long could we have held out?

 

I know the US was intending to use their carriers against Murmansk but, knowing how heavily it was defended and fortified, how few PGMs 1980s aircraft had, and how crap the weather is up there, I don't know how well they'd have got on.

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They couldn't have done much at all, since they were outnumbered underwater, and the most important asset in the Kola peninsula were their SSBNs, so some if not most of their better SSNs would have to be left behind to defend them.

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Why not 2 CVF and maybe one swing role 'baby' carrier? After all we are supposed to be getting a Stovl aircraft, why not keep one of the invincibles back? Hell why not just build one CVF and build a new generation of small carriers? The fact we are supposed to be splitting costs with the French might well make that viable.

My greatest fear is that we are getting 2 large carriers that 10 years down the line we may well find we might not be able to afford to run them, or be unable to procure an aircraft worthy of their size. In many situations (particularly in humanitarian disasters) the possiblity of having 2 small carriers available is going to outweigh 1 giant one.

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Unless you personally stump up the cash to keep 35 year old Invincibles in service or to design and build a small carrier capable of operating F-35, if we even buy F-35, and provide them with crews and squadrons, it isn't going to happen.

 

We do not procure aircraft carriers in order to best respond to humanitarian disasters. Amphibious ships are better at that sort of game anyway. What else is Sir Bedivere good for?

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I dont buy the merchantile only war, for a number of reasons. Firstly the sovs would not be able to be sure the west would not retaliate with nuclear weapons (and considering the nations most threatened by it were all nuclear powers, its a great possiblity).

 

That was even more true of their invading conventionally - indeed it was a cornerstone of our deterrent strategy.

 

Secondly I think that politically it would have been impossible for the Kremlin to have given the Soviet navy its head. It was passed over in preference to the Soviet army countless times when it came to resources, so the possiblity of a conflict occuring without the Soviets senior service (their army) getting involved would have been small.

 

They'd still have been involved - they just needn't have attacked.

 

Lastly, I think in comparison with Germany WW2, the number of operable bases for Soviet submarines was relatively small.

 

But they would start out with many times more submarines than the Germans had in 1939 and those submarines would have been a lot better at finding merchantmen and sinking them.

 

Even a small number of air strikes (or God forbid a nuclear one) would render such a campaign difficult  to sustain.

 

They wouldn't need to sustain the campaign for very long.

 

After all, how long would it take for the Soviets to sink a critical number of ships for allied trade? Judging by the pretty horrific safety record of the Soviet Navy even in peacetime, I think they would have started running out of boats long before they hit a tonnage level that could have proved critical.

 

We now cram an awful lot more trade into a far smaller number of hulls than we did in WW-2.  Even sinking a relatively small number of tankers would cause us huge problems. Even in the 1980s it was easy to tell where all those tankers were thanks to Lloyds of London Press.  They lost a few subs in accidents, but so did the west.  I doubt accidents  would have accounted for more than a couple of boats (max) in the few months or so it would take them to cut us off.  You also have to ask yourself that, if the Soviets announced unrestricted sub warfare and mining campaign, how many Panamanian registered tankers are even going to continue their journeys rather than just head for the nearest port.

 

Here is a chart giving oil consumption by country per day for 2003

 

http://www.theodora.com/wfb2003/rankings/o...sumption_1.html

 

Take France for example at 2000000 barrels a day.  A barrel is 0.1364 tonnes.  An oil tanker that can carry a quarter of a million tonnes therefore carries 1,832,834 barrels of oil.  Therefore (and simplifying unrealistically), sinking one tanker a day (or otherwise preventing it arriving by whatever means) cuts off France's oil supply.

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Unless you personally stump up the cash to keep 35 year old Invincibles in service or to design and build a small carrier capable of operating F-35, if we even buy F-35, and provide them with crews and squadrons, it isn't going to happen.

 

We do not procure aircraft carriers in order to best respond to humanitarian disasters.  Amphibious ships are better at that sort of game anyway.  What else is Sir Bedivere good for?

 

Lemme see . . . amphibious ships. Hmm. I do believe there's a design out there, currently under construction in Spain, which while primarily an amphibious ship, is designed to operate the F-35B. We don't have a current slot in the navy ORBAT for it, but there is a long-term requirement for replacements for Argus, & eventually Ocean. In fact, Argus was scheduled to be replaced by 2008, & the RN was very keen on another Ocean in her place, but MoD wouldn't pay for it & so it was decided to extend her life.

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Lemme see . . . amphibious ships. Hmm. I do believe there's a design out there, currently under construction in Spain, which while primarily an amphibious ship, is designed to operate the F-35B. We don't have a current slot in the navy ORBAT for it, but there is a long-term requirement for replacements for Argus,  & eventually Ocean. In fact, Argus was scheduled to be replaced by 2008, & the RN was very keen on another Ocean in her place, but MoD wouldn't pay for it & so it was decided to extend her life.

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Ha?

 

I'm not going anywhere.

 

shane

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Ha?

 

I'm not going anywhere.

 

shane

 

RFA Argus, you git! Aviation training ship.

 

As if you didn't know . . . :P

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As for the comment that we dont build carriers for humanitarian work, I would point out that how often has Britains carriers seen combat since ww2?

 

Apart from Korea, Suez, Malaya, Borneo, Falklands, Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Op Telic, etc? No instances that spring immediately to mind. What humanitarian operations have they been involved in?

 

And how often do we actually use our ships for humantiarian work and roles other than war? I wouldnt want to see the RN become a form of floating UN, but its burying our head in the sand if you dont come to terms with the fact that is a considerable amount of what they WILL be doing in peacetime.
Aircraft carriers are rarely employed on humanitarian missions. It's more usual to send whatever we have in the vicinity, often a frigate or destroyer and an RFA. It isn't really a valid role to design a front line warship around and you'd spit blood if I suggested reconfiguring Challenger 2 or Warrior as a humanitarian logistics vehicle.

 

As for 35 year old invincibles, I think the youngest of the fleet is rather younger than that (though I will accept it will be aging by the time the new carrier arrive).

 

Invincible will be 43 in 2016 or thereabouts when CVF is due to enter service (laid down 1973). Ark Royal, the youngest, will be 38 (laid down 1978).

 

I would counter that by point out that Fearless was retained until she was nearly 40 years old.
That's not a counter. That's an illustration of why ships should be replaced before they become ancient rustbuckets. Fearless and Intrepid (you don't mention that one had to be retired to keep the other going) were long overdue for replacement.

 

I also counter with the fact there is nothing to stop the MOD designing an improved Invincible class carrier (or one in that tonnage) and procuring 2 of those as a counterpart for the new carrier

 

Apart from the immense cost at the expense of other projects.

 

Some of you may gather from this thread Im anti RN and carriers in general. Im not, but I do have grave doubts about whether 2 bloody great carriers are what we need at a time when the Army appears to be suffering from a major lack of investment, and when the 3 through deck cruisers have proven entirely suitable for this country's needs. At a time when the RNs deep attack roles appear largely fulfilled by Tomahawk, we really ought to ask ourselves, why are we bothering?

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Two bloody great carriers are exactly what we need for expeditionary warfare now that we are no longer fighting the Cold War. That we have made-do with the Invincibles does not make them "entirely suitable". Think how much reduced our losses in the Falklands would have been with CVA-01 in place of Invincible!

 

Really I do think you'd be more in favour of CVF if they had tracks and armour. :P

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Really I do think you'd be more in favour of CVF if they had tracks and armour. :P

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Well, I'm sure the CVF HyperGavin would be perfect for the job, whatever it may be.

 

Would the Falklands invasion have even been attempted by Argentina if we'd been in a position to put Phantoms and Buccs anywhere in the vicinity? I believe it would have been a bloodbath.

 

David

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Stuart, I can't argue that the Soviets would have confined their operations to unrestricted submarine warfare. I do think we were terribly vulnerable to such warfare however. It would be one thing to defend some lanes in the Atlantic and quite another to protect tanker routes all the way from the Gulf. Any disruption at all to those routes or to the facilities at either end would have been catastrophic for Western Europe. You can of course use the 'but we would have gone nuclear' argument against any course of action the Soviets might have taken. I'm also having serious problems with the concept that the Soviets would have retained all their non SSBN submarines to defend SSBN bastion areas and bases. Many of them simply weren't suited to such a mission - indeed many were commissioned before there were any such bases or SSBNs to defend, which would indicate that maritime interdiction was certainly a mission they intended at one time. You could argue that such interdiction would draw away forces that would otherwise be used against SSBN bastion areas and bases and would thus serve a dual purpose rather than just the one. Of course, we know the Russians were deterred from embarking on WW-3 by the prospect of alienating Liberia, Fiji and Mauretania ;)

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