Fighting along a knife edge in the Falklands

nodandawink

War Hero
I just stumbled across the attached article in the US Naval Institute proceedings. It draws contemporary lessons from the submarine campaign in the South Atlantic, including a ‘what-if’ around a potential pacific confrontation with the Chinese.
I was extremely surprised to read that the Royal Navy expended over 200 ASW torpedos in the search for the ARA San Luis - despite being acknowledged as world leaders at shallow water ASW.
Fighting Along a Knife Edge in the Falklands
 

Hippohunter

Old-Salt
I just stumbled across the attached article in the US Naval Institute proceedings. It draws contemporary lessons from the submarine campaign in the South Atlantic, including a ‘what-if’ around a potential pacific confrontation with the Chinese.
I was extremely surprised to read that the Royal Navy expended over 200 ASW torpedos in the search for the ARA San Luis - despite being acknowledged as world leaders at shallow water ASW.
Fighting Along a Knife Edge in the Falklands
200 torpedoes? I doubt we had that many.
 

nodandawink

War Hero
200 torpedoes? I doubt we had that many.
Quite! The point in the article being that facing a near-peer submarine opponent in similar circumstances is likely to lead to serious problems - and war stocks is one of them. I’ve no idea what the lead time is on something like ASW torpedoes, but I suspect it isn’t short.
 

2000AD

Old-Salt
The tigerfish torpedo that was in use up to the Falklands War and the intended device as a guided torpedo to use for antisubmarine warfare,was acknowledged after the war to be of very poor performance. Massive efforts were made after this to improve both it and it's successor the Spearfish to make them fit for purpose. It also needs to be acknowledged that firing of torpedoes, underwater at a moving target that cannot be seen directly by a Mark 1 eyeball, that is moving around in 3 planes as much as you might be in the firing vessel in waters that have properties an currents that change throughout your firing plan is an enormously difficult undertaking. By the early '90's the methods of carrying out such tasks were pretty much scientifically resolved, however prior to this not much store was given to solving the problems.

Cold War Command, the service biography of a chap by the name of Dan Conley relates much of this in vastly more detail than above
 

Hippohunter

Old-Salt
The tigerfish torpedo that was in use up to the Falklands War and the intended device as a guided torpedo to use for antisubmarine warfare,was acknowledged after the war to be of very poor performance. Massive efforts were made after this to improve both it and it's successor the Spearfish to make them fit for purpose. It also needs to be acknowledged that firing of torpedoes, underwater at a moving target that cannot be seen directly by a Mark 1 eyeball, that is moving around in 3 planes as much as you might be in the firing vessel in waters that have properties an currents that change throughout your firing plan is an enormously difficult undertaking. By the early '90's the methods of carrying out such tasks were pretty much scientifically resolved, however prior to this not much store was given to solving the problems.

Cold War Command, the service biography of a chap by the name of Dan Conley relates much of this in vastly more detail than above
The tigerfish torpedo that was in use up to the Falklands War and the intended device as a guided torpedo to use for antisubmarine warfare,was acknowledged after the war to be of very poor performance. Massive efforts were made after this to improve both it and it's successor the Spearfish to make them fit for purpose. It also needs to be acknowledged that firing of torpedoes, underwater at a moving target that cannot be seen directly by a Mark 1 eyeball, that is moving around in 3 planes as much as you might be in the firing vessel in waters that have properties an currents that change throughout your firing plan is an enormously difficult undertaking. By the early '90's the methods of carrying out such tasks were pretty much scientifically resolved, however prior to this not much store was given to solving the problems.

Cold War Command, the service biography of a chap by the name of Dan Conley relates much of this in vastly more detail than above
So basically it took until 82 from post WWII to realise the new torpedoes were junk and to do something about it.
 

2000AD

Old-Salt
Not quite
Tigerfish was in service from the start of the 70's after development during the 60's. Prior to this point and alongside the Tigerfish the Navy also had the conventional type of torpedo, the Mark 8 which were used to sink the Belgrano. So in reality it took from the late 60's to early 70's until the "we told you so!" moment during the Falklands for the heads of sheds at the MOD and civil service to take notice of the Submarine Services concerns around a weapon that the knew to be ineffective to actually give rise to enabling something to be done about it.
 
I just stumbled across the attached article in the US Naval Institute proceedings. It draws contemporary lessons from the submarine campaign in the South Atlantic, including a ‘what-if’ around a potential pacific confrontation with the Chinese.
I was extremely surprised to read that the Royal Navy expended over 200 ASW torpedos in the search for the ARA San Luis - despite being acknowledged as world leaders at shallow water ASW.
Fighting Along a Knife Edge in the Falklands
I don't believe 200 were expended. In an earlier article by John F Lehman Jr in 2012 in the same magazine, he quotes acquiring 200 and using 50:
With the collapse of the Haig shuttle effort and the administration’s public tilt in favor of the U.K., on 30 April the pace of our support only increased. Requests now came in for big-ticket items, including two Vulcan/Phalanx guns for HMS Illustriousand some 300 AIM 9L Sidewinder missiles. The latter were particularly important, because unlike their predecessors, they could be fired head-on at a target, an essential maneuver when defending against incoming Argentine planes. Other requests granted included 4,700 tons of airstrip matting, advanced communication systems, helicopter engines, and 20,000 sonobouys together with 200 Mk-46 torpedoes for use against Argentina’s one remaining operational submarine.

This lopsided ratio reflected just how important it was to protect the task force from submarine attack. Despite Britain’s launch of some 50 of the Mk-46 torpedoes, the Argentine sub evaded detection even though she was in among the Royal Navy fleet.12 Marine life may not have been so lucky. It was, one might say, not a good time to be a whale in the South Atlantic. But no matter, because certain activities conducted by British intelligence prevented the Argentine sub from firing a single shot.


Lehman's sources include:

- and his own book 'Command of the Seas'

John F Lehman Jr was Secretary for the US Navy 1981 - 1987
 

philc

LE
Seen some thing very similar posted here a few months back asserting the same about the performance of the mythical San Luis, which was questioned then. In this article the author has a link, this, it goes no where so still no actual details of this claim.

As for huge amounts of ordnance spent chasing it, I am not so sure, at least one Russian Sub was said to be in the area so caution would of been the order of the day.

Jorge R. Bóveda, “One against All: The Secret History of the ARA San Luis During the South Atlantic War,” Naval Center Newsletter, April 2007, www.irizar.org/816boveda.pdf
 

nodandawink

War Hero
Seen some thing very similar posted here a few months back asserting the same about the performance of the mythical San Luis, which was questioned then. In this article the author has a link, this, it goes no where so still no actual details of this claim.

As for huge amounts of ordnance spent chasing it, I am not so sure, at least one Russian Sub was said to be in the area so caution would of been the order of the day.

Jorge R. Bóveda, “One against All: The Secret History of the ARA San Luis During the South Atlantic War,” Naval Center Newsletter, April 2007, www.irizar.org/816boveda.pdf
Whilst I’m not surprised to hear that there were rumours of Soviet assets in theatre, if they were inside the exclusion zone surely the rules of engagement would encourage aggressive prosecution of a suspect contact?

I assume the whole of Op Corporate must have been rich pickings for WarPac intel - radar performance, weapons evaluation, even assessment of strategic capability. I understand they were on the whole reasonably impressed...
 
Whilst I’m not surprised to hear that there were rumours of Soviet assets in theatre, if they were inside the exclusion zone surely the rules of engagement would encourage aggressive prosecution of a suspect contact?
Placing 'neutral' assets in international waters where a war is being prosecuted is a good way to provide cost-effective support for one's favoured side. The other will be too concerned about starting another war to skimp on target identification, which gives an extra edge to the hunted.

"We regard our right of innocent passage as more important than whatever difficulties you may be experiencing and will regard any attacks on our shipping as an act of war."
 

nodandawink

War Hero
Not sure a submerged SSN in a declared war zone (where a cruiser has just been sunk) can consider itself neutral, but point taken nonetheless!

Is there any evidence of surface or air assets in the area at the time? I also wonder who the Sovs really wanted to win - the Argentine regime were hardly big socialist brethren.
 

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