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  • The Falklands war 1982

    Didn't know where to fit this one. Any experts? Comments? War stories?
    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

  • #2
    I'm led to believe that this conflict began when a certain Dictator became drunk and made a snap decision to go to war (and I'm not talking about Mrs Thatcher here ).

    At least, that's what an Argentine citizen who wrote to my website told me. Galtieri was inebriated and ordered an invasion.

    The Falklands War is one of my favourites, but I figured it wouldn't get much talk on these forums. It probably wouldn't be one of my favourites if we hadn't won - and by all accounts the outcome was by no means certain. At one stage we were losing a ship a day. The loss of the Atlantic Conveyor (with all the Helicopters aboard) meant the troops had to walk from one end of East Falkland to the other.

    This conflict brings back so many memories, I was only eleven at the time, but I can remember when my Stepbrother came out from the house to tell me that one of our submarines had torpedoed and sunk the General Belgrano - by that time we (the public) had all been wound up into a bit of a frenzy over these islands that no-one had heard of two weeks before and we all felt that this act would prove to the "Argies" that this would show we meant business.

    The sinking is still controversial to this day, but from a military point of view, it was highly successful since the Argentine Navy went straight back to port and never showed its face for the rest of the conflict. The Argentines still used their carrier-based aircraft, but their carrier remained moored up!

    A few years ago I went to HMS Dolphin - the Submarine Museum in Gorport, Hampshire. They had the ACTUAL periscope from HMS Conqueror, the submarine that sank the Belgrano. You can use it, look through it - I was blown away when I went up to the exhibit, this was the very periscope that was used to sink the blighter.

    I'll stop rambling on now...

    Dr. S.
    Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

    www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

    www.tabletown.co.uk

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    • #3
      I was in the military back then and remember being placed on alert because of the invasion of the Malvinas!! I bought the book The Falklands War in pictures a couple of years after the conflict ended. Gave some good lessons especially how vulnerable modern warships were against aircraft. As far as the sinking of the Belgrano, it had to be done. If that cruiser would have gooten close enough to the fleet...
      http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

      Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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      • #4
        I agree with you re' the sinking, it was the only thing to do. It was personally ordered by the Prime Minister of the Day (Mrs. T).

        The submarine Captain had notified his superiors via whatever communication channels that were used at the time that he had the ship in his sights and he had been following it for a while. He asked for orders. The information was flashed down to the PM from the MOD, whereby she promptly ordered it to be sunk, and the rest is history.

        The only thing is, it has been suggested that when it was sunk, it was actually outside the 200 mile TEZ imposed by the British and was sailing AWAY from the Fleet and the Islands. But as someone once pointed out, it would only have taken the Captain to issue the order "starboard 180" and it could have been facing the other way very quickly. Either way, it was a threat because it was out there and it had to be neutralised.

        Once the enemy Navy was gone, it only remained to win the war in the air and take the Islands back with troops on the ground. Easier said than done though in the circumstances, since RN ships had virtually no protection against sea-skimming missiles.

        I think this was an important war for the Royal Navy in that they learnt some valuable lessons in how to defend against modern munitions.

        Two days ago I was at Duxford air museum where they have a Vulcan bomber of the same type that flew from the UK to the Falklands, non-stop on one of the longest (if not THE longest?) bombing missions ever carried out. After refuelling in mid-air some five times on the way to the South Atlantic, the Vulcans dropped some conventional bombs on Port Stanley airfield. From what I recall, the damage was negligible, but the psychological effect at home was quite beneficial for morale purposes. Remember that it took the fleet over a month to get into position after sailing from the UK and Gibraltar, so any damage we could inflict on the enemy whilst we were steaming south was important.

        Mrs Thatcher is my personal heroine, not least because she wasn’t afraid to take decisions in this war. If our socialist Labour Party had still been in power when the invasion took place, the Islands would have immediately been lost.

        Dr. S.
        Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

        www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

        www.tabletown.co.uk

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        • #5
          My Bn from the 82nd was opening the Sinai MFO when that went down. That was a large WTF when I picked up the BBC news about it (I transcribed BBC news for the daily Cdr's and Staff Meeting in the afternoon). We followed it as closely as we could through Stars and Strips, Jerusalem Post, the odd International Tribune. The English lads attached to MFO HQ quietly started departing in ones and twos as their units called them home. There was one hell of a brawl at the NCO/Enlisted Club between some of the Brits and Venunzalians. Took a platoon of Samoans (don't laught till you've seen 'em) to break it and the club was closed for months as a result.

          I spent a fair amount of time examining the battle. It was a basic light infantry operation. The Para's did a hell of a job walking that distance in that climate without NEAR the support they needed.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Doctor Sinister
            The loss of the Atlantic Conveyor (with all the Helicopters aboard) meant the troops had to walk from one end of East Falkland to the other.


            Dr. S.
            IIRC there were 1 or 2 Chinooks that survived.
            In fact I believe they set an unofficial record and transported 84(?) troops in one lift.
            Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doctor Sinister
              I agree with you re' the sinking, it was the only thing to do. It was personally ordered by the Prime Minister of the Day (Mrs. T).

              The submarine Captain had notified his superiors via whatever communication channels that were used at the time that he had the ship in his sights and he had been following it for a while. He asked for orders. The information was flashed down to the PM from the MOD, whereby she promptly ordered it to be sunk, and the rest is history.


              Not quite. It was actually Sandy Woodward, the Task Force Commander, who told his superiors in England that he intended to sink the Belgrano. He did so in full knowledge that the ship was outside the declared exclusion zone, and that this would trigger a reaction back in England--to wit, "either that Woodward has gone out of his mind, or he thinks this is really, really important". This was the only way Woodward could think to short-circuit the otherwise potentially lengthy bureaucracy that might get involved, which would, in turn, allow the Belgrano and her Exocets time to winkle around the south side of the islands and come to pose a serious threat to his carriers. He gambled that England would read him correctly--and they did. He was given clearance to authorize the attack, and sent on the order to H.M.S. Conqueror.

              Once the enemy Navy was gone, it only remained to win the war in the air and take the Islands back with troops on the ground. Easier said than done though in the circumstances, since RN ships had virtually no protection against sea-skimming missiles.


              Almost none. Technically, their Sea Wolf and other weapon systems could have provided some protection. But you're right--Exocets were the greatest threat to the Task Force. The Argentines only had five of the air-launched variety, which were used to sink H.M.S. Sheffield and the Atlantic Conveyor. All the rest were surface-launched from ships, which is what made Belgrano such a high value target.

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              • #8
                Wasn't the Belgrano an older US cruiser sold to Argentina? If so, was it vintage WW2?
                http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dannybou
                  Wasn't the Belgrano an older US cruiser sold to Argentina? If so, was it vintage WW2?
                  Yes. It was the U.S.S. Phoenix, which joined the Pacific Fleet in 1939. She had the distinction of coming through the attack on Pearl Harbor with a single bullet hole (or so it is said. She did get underway quite handily while ships were still in flames, though, and photos show her looking pretty much intact). She served with distinction through WWII, and was decommissioned in 1946. In 1951, she was purchased by Argentina and named the 17 de Octubre. Following the overthrow of the Peronist government in 1955, she was renamed the General Belgrano. At the time of her sinking, she'd been fitted with several Exocet launchers in addition to her artillery, and so possessed significant combat power--enough to give Sandy Woodward serious heartburn.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks dglad for the history on the Belgrano. :thumb:
                    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dglad
                      Yes. It was the U.S.S. Phoenix, which joined the Pacific Fleet in 1939. She had the distinction of coming through the attack on Pearl Harbor with a single bullet hole (or so it is said. She did get underway quite handily while ships were still in flames, though, and photos show her looking pretty much intact). She served with distinction through WWII, and was decommissioned in 1946. In 1951, she was purchased by Argentina and named the 17 de Octubre. Following the overthrow of the Peronist government in 1955, she was renamed the General Belgrano. At the time of her sinking, she'd been fitted with several Exocet launchers in addition to her artillery, and so possessed significant combat power--enough to give Sandy Woodward serious heartburn.
                      This is a bit of misinformation that appears periodically. Belgrano did not have Exocets. The only missiles she was equipped with were Seacats for Air defence. The Exocets were in the escorting Destroyers, Bouchard and Piedra Buena, which were unharmed in the attack.
                      www.tdg.nu

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                      • #12
                        This is what I found:

                        Not used during "Operation Rosario", the "General Belgrano" puts to sea from Ushuaia on Monday 26th April escorted by two Exocet-armed destroyers, and three days later is ordered to patrol south of the shallow Burdwood Bank. (9) On Friday, nuclear submarine "Conqueror" makes first contact at long range, and on Saturday closes in to shadow. Although just outside the TEZ, "GENERAL BELGRANO", as the southern arm of TF.79 is a potential threat to the carriers and her destruction is ordered. (10) Attacked and hit at 4.00 pm on Sunday 2nd May by two conventional Mark 8 torpedoes she is soon abandoned, and goes down with her helicopter [a10] and heavy casualties. A third torpedo hits "Hipolito Bouchard" without exploding but possibly causing some damage, and "Conqueror" is therefore presumably counter-attacked by "Piedra Bueno", which later returns with other Argentine ships to search for the cruiser's survivors. Shortly after the sinking, the main units of the Argentine Navy return to port or stay in coastal waters for the rest of the war.

                        According to this, it was the two escorting destroyers who were armed with exocet missiles. :quest:

                        Source: http://www.naval-history.net/F34opsweek5.htm

                        The bottom line: There was war between Britain and Argentina at that time.
                        http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                        Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Txemapamundi
                          This is a bit of misinformation that appears periodically. Belgrano did not have Exocets. The only missiles she was equipped with were Seacats for Air defence. The Exocets were in the escorting Destroyers, Bouchard and Piedra Buena, which were unharmed in the attack.
                          True enough. My fault for going from memory and not going back to my own references, which include One Hundred Days--an excellent book about the entire campaign.

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                          • #14
                            Re: The Falklands war 1982

                            Originally posted by dannybou
                            Didn't know where to fit this one. Any experts? Comments? War stories?
                            Falklands/Malvinas War, 2 Apr-20 Jun 82
                            It is not easy to categorize this one. The British laid initial claim to this island after the Argentines had sent a military mission (1828, first claim was in 1820), then abandoned it. The Brits moved in (1833) and colonized the islands(self- supporting by 1885), adding them to their colonial holdings. Until 1982, the Argenites did little more than verbally claim the islands (as Islas Malvinas), citing their brief military occupation in the early- mid 1800s. Apparently, the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War was sparked by the Argentine regime's desire to find something to distract the peoples' interest from Argentina economic and social troubles. While the Argentines had some early success, e.g. the sinking of the cruiserHMS Sheffield, the frigate HMS Ardent frigate HMS Antelope, thedamaging of the destroyer Coventry and, finally, the sinking of the supply ship Atlantic Conveyor, they proved wholly unable to exploit their gains. Upon the arrival of British ground reinforcements 21-28 April, the Argentines suffered setback after setback. Scores of untrained and poorly equipped Argentine recruits are killed and captured. Several UN sponsored peace plans are rejected by the British Government. In the end, the Argentine forces are woefully mismatched to the British infantry and also the elite Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines. The Argentine forces are battered into submission and forced to sign a surrender document restoring the status ante bellum Though Argentina retains its claim, they remain in poor condition to challenge the British possession of the islands - the Falklands garrison is rather larger than it was in 1982.
                            Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                            (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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                            • #15
                              Strategically, I think the Argentine's only real hope for winning was a fundamental lack of British will to press the issue, and simply let the Falklands go. Once the Brits committed to retaking the islands, the Argentines then had to hope the logistics of the operation would defeat Woodward (a very real possibility, especially with the South Atlantic winter coming on). Dragging out the war would have increased the chances of this; as it was, it ended up very close.

                              At the tactical level, the only real chance the Argentines had was to interdict or destroy one or both of the British carriers. Without air cover, the invasion force was dangerously exposed and risked the sort of casualties which could have broken the British will to carry the thing through to the end. Personally, I think that once the Belgrano was sunk and the Argentine carrier de Mayo was withdrawn, Woodward won the naval war, and air war and, as a result, the ground war, all in one fell swoop.

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