Falklands War - The Untold Story

Morning All,
Forty years ago, from today's local 'comic'.
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Far better to do these things first. Woodward had a peacetime role as Flag Officer Flotilla Three - which I assume would have been a NATO war role. He had also taken part in an exercise putting his frigates and destroyers against an American carrier group.
Interesting, without going too far off subject, did he embarrass the Americans, or was the outcome always assured? I can imagine the Americans wouldn’t have been best pleased if the Royal Navy had defeated a carrier group and exposed their fleet weaknesses!
 

Yokel

LE
Interesting, without going too far off subject, did he embarrass the Americans, or was the outcome always assured? I can imagine the Americans wouldn’t have been best pleased if the Royal Navy had defeated a carrier group and exposed their fleet weaknesses!

My mistake - he was FOF1 - not FOF3! It was a force of frigates and destroyers, and busy with the Cold War and events in the Middle East. He talks about it in One Hundred Days, as it shows he was familiar with the strengths and weakness of RN and other weapon systems, and it showed the pros and cons of exclusion zones. They were operating in the Arabian Sea and did a few exercises with the USS Coral Sea battle group.

Glamorgan (acting as his flagship and armed with Exocet MM38 missiles) and three ASW frigates (Ikara Leanders perhaps - does anyone know?) and three RFAs were to attack the carrier group. There was a 200 mile exclusion zone around the US carrier, and he ordered hi ships to split up and go to different points on this circle. Aircraft from the carriers 'sank' all of his ships, except Glamorgan. As it was night they turned on every light and made themselves look like a cruise liner. Then when hailed by a US destroyers, someone pretended to be Indian answered and said that they were an Indian cruise liner. Then they called the Americans on radio to them them that they had fired four Exocets at the carrier.

Woodward notes that it was unrealistic, and that the Americans had more important things to do, but he did draw conclusions. The first was about focussing exclusively on one threat direction, and the second was that the odd ship will get through an exclusion zone. It is a political thing more than a sensible tactic.
 
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My mistake - he was FOF1 - not FOF3! It was a force of frigates and destroyers, and busy with the Cold War and events in the Middle East. He talks about it in One Hundred Days, as it shows he was familiar with the strengths and weakness of RN and other weapon systems, and it showed the pros and cons of exclusion zones. They were operating in the Arabian Sea and did a few exercises with the USS Coral Sea battle group.

Glamorgan (acting as his flagship and armed with Exocet MM38 missiles) and three ASW frigates (Ikara Leanders perhaps - does anyone know?) and three RFAs were to attack the carrier group. There was a 200 mile exclusion zone around the US carrier, and he ordered hi ships to split up and go to different points on this circle. Aircraft from the carriers 'sank' all of his ships, except Glamorgan. As it was night they turned on every light and made themselves look like a cruise liner. Then when hailed by a US destroyers, someone pretended to be Indian answered and said that they were an Indian cruise liner. Then they called the Americans on radio to them them that they had fired four Exocets at the carrier.

Woodward notes that it was unrealistic, and that the Americans had more important things to do, but he did draw conclusions. The first was about focussing exclusively on one threat direction, and the second was that the odd ship will get through an exclusion zone. It is a political thing more than a sensible tactic.
Don’t you just love British ingenuity, I love hearing about things like this, always reminds me of Antony Hopkins on the bridge at Arnhem telling the Germans he doesn’t have the facilities to take them all prisoner! Brilliant
 
Don’t you just love British ingenuity, I love hearing about things like this, always reminds me of Antony Hopkins on the bridge at Arnhem telling the Germans he doesn’t have the facilities to take them all prisoner! Brilliant
According to John Frost in his book A Drop Too Many about his exploits with the 2nd Parachute battalion that incident never happened, but was put in by Attenborough in the film A Bridge Too Far as artistic licence. He protested about it, but the scene stayed in.

Later he was speaking to Willie Bittrich the commander of II SS Panzer Korp and asked him what he thought about the film. Bittrich replied " Very good, but what was that b*llocks about 'not having the facilities to take us all prisoner."
 
According to John Frost in his book A Drop Too Many about his exploits with the 2nd Parachute battalion that incident never happened, but was put in by Attenborough in the film A Bridge Too Far as artistic licence. He protested about it, but the scene stayed in.

Later he was speaking to Willie Bittrich the commander of II SS Panzer Korp and asked him what he thought about the film. Bittrich replied " Very good, but what was that b*llocks about 'not having the facilities to take us all prisoner."
Yeah, I knew that, why I quoted the film and not Lt Col Frost. It is the Britishness of the quote that I like
 

Dwarf

LE
Book Reviewer
Yeah, I knew that, why I quoted the film and not Lt Col Frost. It is the Britishness of the quote that I like
Yep, but in the film it wasn't Frost who said it. It was his 2i/c.
 

Yokel

LE
I think that the point of that exercise is that the exclusion zone is not something to rely on, as that allows the enemy to take the initiative. The pretending to be an Indian cruise ship was part of confusing the Americans. The point is that relying on a certain zone as the point as which you take action, as contact can be lost.

When the task group was facing a pincer attack by the Argentine carrier coming from the North and the Exocet armed Belgrano group coming from the South, waiting until the Argentines were closing the carrier group would have been risky - the shadowing submarine was likely to lose contact whilst passing over Burwood Bank - a shallow area where SSNs would have trouble doing the shadowing thing - slowing down and coming up to periscope depth, and then going deep and speeding up. @jrwlynch went into detail about this.

As it was the submarine that had been trailing the Argentine carrier had lost contact with her.

Historically the Royal Navy has always tried to take the fight to the enemy instead of thinking too defensively - engage the enemy more closely. During the Cold War NATO started to think very defensively, retreating behind the GIUK Gap and waiting for the Soviets to attack. From the late 1970s NATO was moving towards a posture of forward deployment, and in wartime engagement of Soviet forces beyond the GIuK Gap. In some ways this would have been like fighting the Argentines at sea and in the air before the amphibious forces arrived.
 

philc

LE
Another book scathing about Brigadier Tony Wilson

 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I was at the RBL in Seend last night to watch a talk by Mark 'Splash' Ashton about his time in the Falklands.

For all the discussions about kit, consider this: when he landed on Fortuna Glacier, he wasn't wearing Arctic boots, just bog-standard DMS.

Incredible - and ridiculous - by modern standards.
He can think himself lucky he had DMS, the alternative would have been Boots, Ski, March…
 

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