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CVF and Carrier Strike thread

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.
In spades. I remember reading the after-action reports and post-conflict analyses with the phrase "prosecute to identify" upfront and centre, right after the amount of ordnance (Mk44/46 and Mk11) expended, which was not insignificant.
 
It also birthed the role of how to integrate getting a submarine to work with a Task Group. Not just to sort out the problems of Command and Control (Woodward's sending the signal to sink the Belgrano), but how persuade a NATO submarine CO to operate anywhere near a bunch of ships who in a war situation will happily shoot at any old POSSUB.
 
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).

I suppose its possible that one or more of the 'RN' ships and submarines she fired at was her own sides merchant traffic and passing whales. Onyx was a busy little bunny in the same waters and doesn't seem to have had any contact with her, and doing sneakies, she'd have been all ears.
 
@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.
Which carrier based ASW Sea Kings played a part in. Have 820 NAS and 826 NAS ever got the credit they deserve? What about FF/DD/RFA based helicopters? Is there any record of ASW weapons expended, or time spent dipping?

I suppose in some ways it is similar to a carrier proving air defence for a task group. Using the Falklands example, everyone focuses on the twenty odd aircraft splashed by the Sea Harrier, and not the 450 odd Argentine sorties that were abandoned due to the Sea Harrier... Or that evading Sea Harrier encouraged the Argentines to fly low to avoided being splashed, with meant their bombs tended not to arm correctly.

Frustratingly, that is true across the services, such as UK/US control of the air dissuading Saddam's air force from getting off the ground in 2003, therefore people think there was no air threat - and never will be.

Getting back to ASW, is there any reason France does not put ASW helicopters aboard Charles De Gualle? The previous French carriers carried ASW aircraft.....
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Which carrier based ASW Sea Kings played a part in. Have 820 NAS and 826 NAS ever got the credit they deserve? What about FF/DD/RFA based helicopters? Is there any record of ASW weapons expended, or time spent dipping?
Certainly this made it into the "lessons learned" documents and other post-conflict analysis, at least some of which is still around. From memory it was well over forty homing torpedoes and "lots" of Limbo and Mk 11 expended, for instance.

I suppose in some ways it is similar to a carrier proving air defence for a task group. Using the Falklands example, everyone focuses on the twenty odd aircraft splashed by the Sea Harrier, and not the 450 odd Argentine sorties that were abandoned due to the Sea Harrier... Or that evading Sea Harrier encouraged the Argentines to fly low to avoided being splashed, with meant their bombs tended not to arm correctly.
The low approach was driven not just by Sea Harrier, but by Sea Dart (which Argentina knew well, operating two 42s of their own) - their approach profiles were flown to keep them under a 42's horizon for as long as possible, and too low for 992 and 909 to acquire them out of clutter: which meant that they were fuel-critical over the Islands (there's photos of A-4s having to tank outboard even though their payload's only a single 1000lb bomb...) and also very limited in their ability to find and choose targets on anything more sophisticated than "bomb the first ship you see".

And the high and rising rate of "sorties planned" failing to turn into "reached the Falklands" let alone "interacted with UK forces", had a number of causes: one of which was the energetic all-arms air defence. No, you won't shoot down a Skyhawk with a GPMG... but you may cause it to be found sitting in a huge puddle of Skydrol the next morning because there's a 7.62mm hole in a hydraulic line somewhere and it's not flying until it's fixed. Or more subtly, when that aircraft's been through Death Valley a few times and you've seen the fresh patches on the skin, does that flutter on the oil pressure gauge - in a twenty-year-old, single-engine aircraft, a hundred miles of hostile South Atlantic from any chance of rescue - become grounds to abort? (There's some analysis in the counter-FBA TACNOTE...)

Getting back to ASW, is there any reason France does not put ASW helicopters aboard Charles De Gualle? The previous French carriers carried ASW aircraft.....
Cost? Assumption that "someone else" will keep the nasty submarines away? Policy that "we don't fight anyone with that sort of naval capability"? No idea...
 
[QUOTE=" "someone else" will keep the nasty submarines away? Policy that "we don't fight anyone with that sort of naval capability"? No idea...[/QUOTE]

They French... you can stall the analysis at "we don't fight anyone" :)
 
[QUOTE=" "someone else" will keep the nasty submarines away? Policy that "we don't fight anyone with that sort of naval capability"? No idea...
They French... you can stall the analysis at "we don't fight anyone" :)[/QUOTE]


Bit harsh but more to do with ASW is very complex, very expensive and they’ve never really taken it seriously avd allowed the ability to fade away decades ago.
CdG is very ‘French’, looks the part, but can only dance one tune - occasionally.
Something tge piss stained old men on PTT etc miss. Buying a carrier, or two, is tge easy bit, it’s regenerating avd maintaining a full spectrum capability that’s the expensive bit.
 
Which carrier based ASW Sea Kings played a part in. Have 820 NAS and 826 NAS ever got the credit they deserve? What about FF/DD/RFA based helicopters? Is there any record of ASW weapons expended, or time spent dipping?
Certainly there was. If memory serves the various squadrons were credited with X flying hours and Y screen stations filled over Z days, in both the lessons learned and some of the post-conflict public domain docs. As per JRW, there were lots of torpedoes and lots of DC expended.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
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...)
No argument from me...

I'm merely railing against MM criticising Admiral Woodward, and indirectly his use of airpower, when he clearly doesn't understand the situation. He isn't alone, there were those who said he should have received the Africa star at the time.

Whether it was a case of the more we train the luckier we get, wishful thinking by the argies, faulty thingummies or coulda woulda shoulda is almost irrelevant. Lazy gaslighting of prior good experience leads to learning the wrong lessons and ignorance.
 
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:
I would have thought it easier for a sub, with its sonar operators sat in the relative calm, and its sensors not blanked by ambient noise, to listen for clattering ships than it would be for the ships, with their sonar operators having to contend with the effects of rough seas both on them and their sensors. The sub has the added advantage of being able to pop up for visual confirmation.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I would have thought it easier for a sub, with its sonar operators sat in the relative calm, and its sensors not blanked by ambient noise, to listen for clattering ships than it would be for the ships, with their sonar operators having to contend with the effects of rough seas both on them and their sensors. The sub has the added advantage of being able to pop up for visual confirmation.
True - except that a warship can comfortable cruise for days at 15-20 knots and sprint at more than that if it needs to, while the submarine (modernish SSK) can manage 15kt for an hour at most, or a few hours at 10kt, before the batteries are flat and it has to stick up a snorkel and run its diesels for hours to recharge (noisy, detectable)

Being able to detect "loud noisy frigates thataway, engines and props and active sonar banging away" without being counter-detected is one thing: being able to work out where they're going, get into position so they drive over you, and doing so without being picked up by roving assets like Sea King pingers (looking for exactly that manoeuvre) or their own sensors, so you can actually shoot at them, is a lot harder.

Diesel boats sometimes get called "self-propelled minefields" because they're very limited in their ability to hunt - they really need to lurk and hope someone worth shooting at, drives over the top of them... and the aim is to keep the areas where, if they were lurking, they could cause serious trouble, clear.

(And "pop up for a look" is a problem when your ESM mast says there are several radars sweeping the sea surface that could detect your periscope - "radar flood" is a useful deterrent technique to stop a submarine coming up for a visual, or for an SSK air)
 
(And "pop up for a look" is a problem when your ESM mast says there are several radars sweeping the sea surface that could detect your periscope - "radar flood" is a useful deterrent technique to stop a submarine coming up for a visual, or for an SSK air)
I wonder if that is why the carrier group ASW exercise in this old documentary mentions the E-2 Hawkeye as well as the S-3 Viking and SH-3 Sea King?


The exercise starts at 38 minutes 30 seconds.
 
...I'm merely railing against MM criticising Admiral Woodward, and indirectly his use of airpower, when he clearly doesn't understand the situation. He isn't alone, there were those who said he should have received the Africa star at the time...
Err, at no point have I criticised Woodward.

I pointed out that more than one person (FAA and RAF) has suggested that Woodward's understanding of Air Power left something to be desired; that was in response to a query to @Kromeriz from @Yokel . That's a factual statement, as is that in my personal experience submariners tend to lack some of the broader Warfare experience evident in other RN officers. I also acknowledged that those with no-submarine experience may also have lacked ASW awareness. ‘Swings and roundabouts’...as I said in that particular post.

Indeed, one of the very reasons I do feel the submarine threat is overstated is because Woodward kept many of his high value units so far East. The Argentines lacked sufficient ISR capacity to locate and identify, let alone prosecute those ships. Even had an SSK had the luck to be correctly placed, prosecuting British ships that far out would have required a protracted engagement relying on significantly greater skill and technical capabilities than were evident. As was shown, any Argentine SSK able to engage RN ships would then have been subject to a significant ASW counter attack, effectively fixing it; at the time, the RN were arguably the best in the business at ASW. I suggest that that’s a somewhat more demanding task than transporting cargo to South Georgia in a largely permissive environment.

Was there an SSK threat closer to the Islands? Absolutely and I’ve never said otherwise. Ultimately however, Argentina was only able to deploy 2 x SSKs for a relatively short period during the entire conflict. Of these, Santa Fe was famously disabled in South Georgia on 25 Apr 82 while San Luis returned to port on 17 May after a couple of what can only be described as inconclusive engagements.

The major contribution of Argentine SSKs was arguably to force Woodward to keep his carriers well to the East, thereby degrading the effectiveness of his aircraft, and to divert valuable FFG and rotary wing capacity.

I wonder if that is why the carrier group ASW exercise in this old documentary mentions the E-2 Hawkeye as well as the S-3 Viking and SH-3 Sea King?....
Any platform with an ESM system is capable of contributing to the ASW mission; we were once the first to detect a Russian SSGN missile test-firing North of Norway even though one was not expected. However, much depends on positioning and the parametrics being sought; a lot of submarine radars look an awful lot like commercial navigation ‘spam’.

Regards,
MM
 
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The major contribution of Argentine SSKs was arguably to force Woodward to keep his carriers well to the East, thereby degrading the effectiveness of his aircraft, and to divert valuable FFG and rotary wing capacity.

Regards,
MM
I am sure one of the Falklands books mentions a worry that the Argentine SSKs (209s?) would be able to operate in Falkland Sound, against the amphibious vessels/STUFT.

I thought the carriers were kept to the East because of the air threat - particularly Super Eterndard/Exocet AM39? As for diverting rotary wing capacity - surely that is what ASW aircraft were for?

As for the E-3 in the programme, I was referring to radar more than ESM. I remember TV coverage of the build up to the Gulf War, when the Nimrod was said to have radar that "could detect a floating biscuit tin at one hundred miles". As @jrwlynch pointed out, radar deters the enemy submarine from coming up.
 
Err, at no point have I criticised Woodward.
To be fair a lot of people did, I was hanging around HQ STANAVFORLANT during and after, and there were a lot of snide remarks about "Flag Officer Capetown" being made... particularly by some of the attached USN officers who had, let's say, a more agrressive mindset.

They never did explain what they'd have said if he'd got one of his carriers sunk through over enthusiasm...

"Old or Bold no Old *and* Bold" etc :)
 
To be fair a lot of people did, I was hanging around HQ STANAVFORLANT during and after, and there were a lot of snide remarks about "Flag Officer Capetown" being made... particularly by some of the attached USN officers who had, let's say, a more agrressive mindset.

They never did explain what they'd have said if he'd got one of his carriers sunk through over enthusiasm...

"Old or Bold no Old *and* Bold" etc :)
They had things like large carriers with dozens of fighters - and organic AEW. Woodward's task group did not - therefore opening the range helped reduce the threat. You fight as you are, with what you have, and adjust accordingly. I think it was Admiral Woodward who commented that victory goes the the side that adapts faster.

What would have happened if he had done what the Armchair Admirals demanded?
 
An interesting sort of day?
It was actually a fairly quiet trip from what I can recall!

I am sure one of the Falklands books mentions a worry that the Argentine SSKs (209s?) would be able to operate in Falkland Sound, against the amphibious vessels/STUFT...
They undoubtedly could have. That’s where ISR and screening with our SSNs, SSKs, FFGs and pingers comes in prior to and during the move. Once on San Carlos, I would imagine that it would be harder for a SSK to get in amongst them.

I thought the carriers were kept to the East because of the air threat - particularly Super Eterndard/Exocet AM39?...
It was but I’d imagine SSKs was a factor as well. I’m unsure of the depths involved but suspect it would’ve been harder for an SSK to sit on the bottom where the carriers were and less places for them to hide.

...As for diverting rotary wing capacity - surely that is what ASW aircraft were for?...
Yep. But if the SSK threat had been entirely absent, they could’ve been used to move troops forward to a greater extent.

...As for the E-3 in the programme, I was referring to radar more than ESM. I remember TV coverage of the build up to the Gulf War, when the Nimrod was said to have radar that "could detect a floating biscuit tin at one hundred miles". As @jrwlynch pointed out, radar deters the enemy submarine from coming up.
Both are valid under certain circumstances. A sniff of an APS-137 would certainly encourage a submarine to be cautious. Likewise, if a sub takes a quick look with its own radar, he’s exposing himself to counter detection.

Regards,
MM
 
Were the Pingers ever used to move troops en masse? That was a Jungly job - the ASW Sea Kings had ASW, surface search, HDS, VERTREP, and SAR to do, as well as decoying Exocet....

I know some ASW cabs were stripped of their ASW kit and operated as Pinglies.
 

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