• This is a stand-to for an incoming competition, one of our most expensive yet.
    Later this week we're going to be offering the opportunity to Win £270 Rab Neutrino Pro military down jacket
    Visit the thread at that link above and Watch it to be notified as soon as the competition goes live

CVF and Carrier Strike thread

AfghanAndy

On ROPS
On ROPs
The majority of Op DENY FLIGHT Electronic Attack (EA) support was provided by USMC EA-6Bs and USAF EF-111s based at Aviano in Northern Italy (where they operated from a dispersal right next to our E-3D ‘Mole Hole’ ops bunker near the old main gate). These USAF and USMC jets were augmented by EC-130Hs during periods of major activity such as DELIBERATE FORCE and ALLIED FORCE (OAF).

When O’Grady was downed on 2 Jun 94, additional assets were tasked to support efforts to confirm his status and location. My log book shows I flew several night sorties during the subsequent week and I recall we were tasked with attempting to contact ‘BASHER 52’ on Guard and other freqs at specified times. We had his Isolated Personnel Report (ISOPREP) which would have allowed us to verify his identity had he made contact. Sadly, other than a few garbled responses, nothing positive was heard by anyone although we knew he was alive and probably evading.

Meanwhile, USAF CSAR assets (MH-53Js and HC-130s iirc) were forward deployed and appropriate SEAD and RESCORT assets were brought up to a higher state of readiness. These were a combination of USAF EF-111s, F-16CGs, A-10s and USMC FA-18Ds based at Aviano. Other support would’ve been diverted from normal ODF activity.

When contact was finally gained (ironically by one of O’Grady’s Sqn mates) on the night of 8 Jun 94, it took a little while longer to refine his location. The CSAR package was briefed and about to launch while ODF assets were cleared out of the immediate vicinity and held over the Adriatic to provide coverage during ingress over Croatia and B-H. That also provided a clear field of fire for the RESCAP in case Serb jets launched from Udbina, Banja Luka or rump Serbia.

Then AWACS detected a bunch of unidentified assets over the Adriatic inbound to the AOR. Although they were obviously friendly, it took sometime for the NATO E-3A crew to establish comms, authenticate and identify them as a USMC TRAP formation. The fact the USMC guys had launched using a US only commplan and non-standard SATCOM channels added to the confusion. The CAOC were similarly confused initially as they thought the E-3A guys were mis-reporting the USAF CSAR package!

Meanwhile, EA and RESCORT assets were poorly placed to support the USMC Helos and didn’t even know which CSAR package was primary! Therefore, they had to play catch up without being briefed on the TRAP routing, call signs, freqs and other mission critical data! Eventually, other assets were diverted to support the USMC package. However, it was all poorly coordinated, gained little in time and added greatly to the risk for the TRAP team and O’Grady himself.

CSAR Special Instructions (SPINS) and procedures were changed radically afterwards! However, ‘Black ATO’ issues during OAF also caused significant issues during the F-117 CSAR 5 years later.

As has been said elsewhere, helicopters are just part of the assets and factors which enable a JPR operation.

Regards,
MM
In short, the yanks did something and didn't bother telling anybody.
 
In short, the yanks did something and didn't bother telling anybody.
Nearly. Some Yanks did something and didn’t bother telling anybody, including lots of other Yanks!

Regards,
MM
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
I agree that there was negligible sub-surface threat in those conflicts. Equally, I've always felt the Argentine submarine threat was overstated somewhat in the Falklands given the state of their submarines and the effectiveness of RN ASW (while acknowledging the fact that one well or luckily placed submarine could have inflicted a knock-out blow).
One of the negligible threat SSKs got shots off at at least two of our tubs. Alacrity and Invincible?
 
One of the negligible threat SSKs got shots off at at least two of our tubs. Alacrity and Invincible?
Do you have a source for that - other than Argentine claims? The Junta did like claiming things like Hermes being sunk. That idiot Tam Dayell wrote some nonsense claiming that if "the torpedo that hit Invincible had exploded" then nuclear weapons would have been used - wibble wibble wibble.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
PhD Thesis from many moons ago. Written by a chap who was editor for Janes last time I checked.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Do you have a source for that - other than Argentine claims? The Junta did like claiming things like Hermes being sunk. That idiot Tam Dayell wrote some nonsense claiming that if "the torpedo that hit Invincible had exploded" then nuclear weapons would have been used - wibble wibble wibble.
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a279554.pdf

"The San Luis departed for patrol during the second week of April and conducted one continuous patrol during the war. She was to patrol north of the Falkland Islands and attack British ships as her rules of engagement permitted. She claims a total of three attacks, two of which used the German-made SST-4 anti-surface ship torpedo and the other used an American made Mark 37 antisubmarine torpedo. The first approach, on 1 May, was on medium sized warships with helicopters as identified by sonar only. These warships were the H.M.S. Brilliant and the H.M.S. Yarmouth. The attack was unsuccessful and the San Luis was counterattacked for 20 hours with depth charges and at least one torpedo.
The second approach, on 8 May, was against a submarine. Twelve minutes after firing the Mark 37 torpedo an explosion was heard from the bearing of the target The British report no losses of submarines and thus the torpedo may have impacted against the bottom.
The final approach, on 10 May, also done without the periscope, was on a pair of destroyers: the H.M.S. Arrow and H.M.S. Alacrty. One torpedo was fired at the ships. This attack was unsuccessful, but a small explosion was heard on the correct bearing 6 minutes after firing the torpedo. Later, when the Arrow was retrieving her towed countermeasure 'it was damaged - conclusive proof that British electronic countermeasures had outwitted the SST-4's homing device.' [ED - claimed not confirmed] An attack on the second ship was not conducted since the distance had opened too quickly and the ship was now out of range.

Ruben 0. Moro, The History of the South Atlantic Conflict The War for the Malvinas (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1989)
Robert L. Scheina, 'Where Were Those Argentine Subs?' U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. March 1984
Robert L. Scheina, "The Malvinas Campaign,' U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. May 1993
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
They fired a torpedo at a British sub, missed and survived? Improbable, even if the RN were still keeping it secret.
They claimed they fired at a submarine. Anyone in the market for freshly-exploded whale meat?

(Same as the claim - not seen it confirmed - that Arrow's 182 decoy was damaged, meant it must have been sneakily hit by a torpedo with nobody at all noticing the explosion, waterspout et cetera just aft of the frigate involved...)

It seems clear they got some torpedoes away, and three seems to be the consensus, but the ranges and the actual targets are... not entirely certain.
 
One of the negligible threat SSKs got shots off at at least two of our tubs. Alacrity and Invincible?
If you read my post again, you’ll note that my ‘negligible threat’ comment was regarding that in Korea, Vietnam and Suez. Apologies for any ambiguity.

In terms of the Falklands, I said that in my opinion it was overstated somewhat. I stand by that comment given our superiority in ASW and I’m wary of accepting the second hand Argentine claims given I don’t believe they’ve ever been verified by the RN even after so long.

In fairness though, we’ve never admitted Argentina sank HMS Invincible either! :)

Regards,
MM
 
Last edited:
If you read my post again, my ‘negligible threat’ comment was regarding that in Korea, Vietnam and Suez. Apologies for any ambiguity.

In terms of the Falklands, I said that in my opinion it was overstated somewhat. I stand by that comment given our superiority in ASW and I’m wary of accepting the second hand Argentine claims given I don’t believe they’ve ever been verified by the RN even after so long.

In fairness though, we’ve never admitted Argentina sank HMS Invincible either! :)

Regards,
MM
I suspect the Anti Submarine Sea Kings aboard Hermes and Invincible, and some RFAs, plus frigates/destroyers with good ASW capabilities (Type 22 had 2016 sonar) gave the Argentines pause for thought. I am sure there is an account of one of the T22s being detached from the main body of the task group (along with other frigates) for submarine hunting, working with carrier based Sea Kings they refueled using HIFR.

Not that it stops the anti carrier lobby claiming all ships in a carrier based task group are solely and permanently tied to the carrier.
 
I suspect the Anti Submarine Sea Kings aboard Hermes and Invincible, and some RFAs, plus frigates/destroyers with good ASW capabilities (Type 22 had 2016 sonar) gave the Argentines pause for thought. I am sure there is an account of one of the T22s being detached from the main body of the task group (along with other frigates) for submarine hunting, working with carrier based Sea Kings they refueled using HIFR.

Not that it stops the anti carrier lobby claiming all ships in a carrier based task group are solely and permanently tied to the carrier.
I think the Argentines were rightfully paranoid about our submarines and ASW capabilities, particularly after the Belgrano was sunk. The excellent ‘The Silent Deep’ highlights that we could’ve sunk several other surface vessels had our RoE not precluded engagement in their territorial waters.

Regards,
MM
 
Someone in the last thirty six yeas made a study of San Louis claims against task force movements and concluded she must have been fitted with warp drive and cloaking devices. Joking apart I think the south Atlantic acoustics would favor the sub so we were pretty lucky.
 
I suspect the Anti Submarine Sea Kings aboard Hermes and Invincible, and some RFAs, plus frigates/destroyers with good ASW capabilities (Type 22 had 2016 sonar) gave the Argentines pause for thought. I am sure there is an account of one of the T22s being detached from the main body of the task group (along with other frigates) for submarine hunting, working with carrier based Sea Kings they refueled using HIFR.

Not that it stops the anti carrier lobby claiming all ships in a carrier based task group are solely and permanently tied to the carrier.
Remind us HOW MANY ships sailed with the task force that some could be detached and how many are available now? (Like, manned and able to sail).

Now, how many of those ships would you detach?
 
Remind us HOW MANY ships sailed with the task force that some could be detached and how many are available now? (Like, manned and able to sail).

Now, how many of those ships would you detach?

How many ships in the TF had a credible ASW capability, let alone a state of the art TAS?
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
How many ships in the TF had a credible ASW capability, let alone a state of the art TAS?
The first 2031 fits to Leander-class frigates (Phoebe or Cleopatra?) were ongoing - none available for CORPORATE as far as I know - but Sonar 184 wasn't to be ignored and Sonar 2016 was pretty good.

Trying to get passive detections on a Type 209 making its attack wasn't going to fly very well - it was going to be primarily active ASW to detect or deter. 1980s towed arrays were designed for long-range detection of noisy Russian HEN/CVY boats running at speed, not for picking up a German diesel boat running on batteries and doing its Elmer Fudd "be vewwy, vewwy quwiet..."
 
The first 2031 fits to Leander-class frigates (Phoebe or Cleopatra?) were ongoing - none available for CORPORATE as far as I know - but Sonar 184 wasn't to be ignored and Sonar 2016 was pretty good.

Trying to get passive detections on a Type 209 making its attack wasn't going to fly very well - it was going to be primarily active ASW to detect or deter. 1980s towed arrays were designed for long-range detection of noisy Russian HEN/CVY boats running at speed, not for picking up a German diesel boat running on batteries and doing its Elmer Fudd "be vewwy, vewwy quwiet..."
Reading the links, it seems San Luis was barely operational and resorting to firing torpedos at passing 'contacts' more in hope than expectation. I'm not convinced her patrol was half as derring do as the Argentines painted it before she headed home and gave up playing. Even Onyx which was at the top of her game was having to creep around and still managed to 'find' land and came home with a live one up the spout.
And wasn't Wreford-Browns big worry losing Belgrano in the aweful acoustics?
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
If you read my post again, you’ll note that my ‘negligible threat’ comment was regarding that in Korea, Vietnam and Suez. Apologies for any ambiguity.
The 'ambiguity' was caused by the word equally. You equated them. Which isn't ambiguous, it's explicit.

Reading the links, it seems San Luis was barely operational and resorting to firing torpedos at passing 'contacts' more in hope than expectation.
Can't be arsed digging the original source out, and don't remember any mention of an attack on a sub, though the attack on Alacrity ( was definitely a Type 21) wasn't a random contact. This was the same mission mentioned in Woodward's account where he asked the skipper to 'sail around a bit' as they were a bit short of mine detection.

In the account the sub was waiting there and prosecuted an attack undetected after the frigate left the sound. Nor was the torpedo detected though it did not explode. The target was too fast to prosecute a second time.

Similar story for the second. Though I remember fewer details. Had an interview with the SSKs maintenance bod who took responsibility for being an over zealous maintenance mong. Had stripped the torpedos down so often as to damage their arming mechanism... Or something similar.

Woodward makes mention of the number of torpedoes expended against unknown contacts, which he surmises were probably whales. Doesn't speak for the effectiveness or discrimination of our ASW in challenging conditions and against relatively modern non nukes.

Regardless of whether the claims and accounts are true, the conditions were extremely favourable to SSKs. Personally I find the assertion that the threat was over stated to be amusing. Luckily we had an Admiral rather than a radar tech in command. :)
 
Woodward makes mention of the number of torpedoes expended against unknown contacts, which he surmises were probably whales. Doesn't speak for the effectiveness or discrimination of our ASW in challenging conditions and against relatively modern non nukes.
Given the risk a submarine poses, better to have been too free with attacks on possible contacts than to find your FF taking a detonation under the keel.
 
The 'ambiguity' was caused by the word equally. You equated them. Which isn't ambiguous, it's explicit.



Can't be arsed digging the original source out, and don't remember any mention of an attack on a sub, though the attack on Alacrity ( was definitely a Type 21) wasn't a random contact. This was the same mission mentioned in Woodward's account where he asked the skipper to 'sail around a bit' as they were a bit short of mine detection.

In the account the sub was waiting there and prosecuted an attack undetected after the frigate left the sound. Nor was the torpedo detected though it did not explode. The target was too fast to prosecute a second time.

Similar story for the second. Though I remember fewer details. Had an interview with the SSKs maintenance bod who took responsibility for being an over zealous maintenance mong. Had stripped the torpedos down so often as to damage their arming mechanism... Or something similar.

Woodward makes mention of the number of torpedoes expended against unknown contacts, which he surmises were probably whales. Doesn't speak for the effectiveness or discrimination of our ASW in challenging conditions and against relatively modern non nukes.

Regardless of whether the claims and accounts are true, the conditions were extremely favourable to SSKs. Personally I find the assertion that the threat was over stated to be amusing. Luckily we had an Admiral rather than a radar tech in command. :)

I’m not buying this ‘extremely favourable’ to the SSks line.
The SSNs found the acoustics extremely difficult, and they were rather more capable sonar systems than the 209’s, so everyone found them equally challenging.
San Luis was basically doing all that SSKs can really do, play at mobile minefield, they don’t have the performance to chase down fast moving targets. Sitting on the bottom of the sound and popping off a shot at a passing sonar contact might get you a lucky hit, but your no more effective than a moored mine field and any smart skimmer will be aware of the obvious choke points and take the appropriate action, like cutting along at 35kts as the 21’s did.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Reading the links, it seems San Luis was barely operational and resorting to firing torpedos at passing 'contacts' more in hope than expectation. I'm not convinced her patrol was half as derring do as the Argentines painted it before she headed home and gave up playing.
Given that she was the only Argentine naval unit to actually come out and try to fight, rather than hurrying back to port and sticking to 'interrogating' the prettier dissidents at ESMA for the duration, it's not surprising that the San Luis' patrol report gets inflated into "How One Plucky Submarine Held Off The Entire Royal Navy" (and doubtless her Ops Room was as crowded as the balcony at Princes Gate had been, a year or two before...)

But, given that we don't seem to have had a single firm detection of either her or her torpedoes at any point (although we did expend a fair bit of ordnance on any POSSUB) and her own accounts are of engaging on sonar alone, there's a definite possibility that she had the problem besetting USN submarine COs in 1942: having trained in the mantra that "if you are detected you are automatically considered destroyed" they were engaging from maximum range, refusing to use their periscopes, and generally failing to achieve much of anything (which was one reason their crippling problems with the Mk 14 torpedo took a while to be noticed).


Re. @Flight's point about effectiveness of ASW - it's classical operational research. Sinking enemy submarines is a bonus, not the point; the job is to keep them from interfering with what we want to do, which was achieved. And it wasn't good conditions for anyone underwater; helpful for a SSK to hide in, but not for it to find and engage targets (which was the job they were meant to do: as Admiral Grace Hopper used to say, if you want your ship to be safe, keep it in port...)
 

Latest Threads

Top