Ship - air/missile engagements and other naval aspects of the 1990/1991 conflict in the Gulf

Yokel

LE



Assuming that the information in this video is correct, it does tell us some interesting details of an attempted Mirage F1/Exocet attack against coalition ships. It is unnecessary to point out that without the massive air effort and months of preparation, there would have been more anti ship attacks.

The missile attack attempted against the USS Missouri is well known, and so is the Sea Dart engagement by HMS Gloucester.

I was also vaguely aware of the USN CIWS virus chaff engagement.
 
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jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
The video of the Missouri engagement is rubbish: Missouri was westbound, and Gloucester was facing east (she was resetting within the cleared box) which was why the Seersucker was in Sea Dart's blind arcs. She turned to starboard to unmask Dart and protect Missouri, but the Seersucker missed north of the group (ironically, Gloucester chasing it around with her blind arcs) until, as it passed northwest, Gloucester overrode her H-Hold to get two Dart off at near-minimum range, both of them homing and hitting to destroy the threat.

Jarrett never detected the threat and her only contact was seeing it explode (which she at first assumed was Gloucester being hit and blowing up!)

Which of course did also involve the famous Ops Room audio recording, ending with...

+++++
Commanding Officer: Reacquire and re-engage. Stop the turn, officer of the watch, come hard left.
Officer Of the Watch: Port 35, coming hard left.
Missile Director: Any Doppler?... No Doppler aft, I say again. Track 7767 splashed with birds.
CO By whose birds?
MD: Ours, sir!
+++++
 

Yokel

LE
You might want to make a comment on YouTube then....

I thought that it described three incidents - the attempted Mirage/Exocet attack, the Seersucker attack, and Jarrett's Phalanx engaging the chaff bloom from Missouri. The attempted Falklands/tanker war style Exocet attack is not well known. The likes of Saddam Hussein tend to have real anti ship capabilities.
 

Yokel

LE
I have changed the thread title to include this video of Saddam's Navy getting taken out by RN Lynx (with Sea Skua). RAF Jaguar, RCAF CF-18 Hornets, and USN A-6E Intruders. I had heard aboard the Lynx that came under SAM threat, but had not heard about the incident when a USN F-14 Tomcat briefly locked them up.

 

Yokel

LE
On the topic of the naval aspects of the Gulf War, what exactly was the role of HMS Ark Royal (carrying the usual Sea Harriers and both ASW and AEW Sea Kings) and her group (two frigates and an RFA?) in the Eastern Mediterranean during the conflict?

Guarding against long range air attacks against shipping or forces in the Mediterranean? Maintaining situational awareness of shipping North of the Suez Canal?
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
On the topic of the naval aspects of the Gulf War, what exactly was the role of HMS Ark Royal (carrying the usual Sea Harriers and both ASW and AEW Sea Kings) and her group (two frigates and an RFA?) in the Eastern Mediterranean during the conflict?

Probably business as usual, and keeping an eye on the deteriorating situation in the former Yugoslavia.

Back in 1991 the US had rammed the theatre so full of carriers (seven, IIRC) that at least the USS Saratoga was having to operate in the Red Sea - there wasn't enough open water for her to squeeze into the Gulf with all the other assets.
 

Yokel

LE
Probably business as usual, and keeping an eye on the deteriorating situation in the former Yugoslavia.

Back in 1991 the US had rammed the theatre so full of carriers (seven, IIRC) that at least the USS Saratoga was having to operate in the Red Sea - there wasn't enough open water for her to squeeze into the Gulf with all the other assets.

I thought that the Americans had three in the Arabian Gulf and three in the Red Sea to attack targets in Western Iraq as there were few air bases in the West of Saudi Arabia, one of these carriers was later moved to the Arabian Gulf. I seem to remember Battle Force Yankee and Battle Force Zulu.

I am sure that there were proposals to deploy a CVS to the Gulf as a command platform. I wonder if that would have added to the amphibious diversion from the American amphibious forces off the Kuwaiti coast? I am sure that I also once read that one of our carriers or another no US one was involved in deterring Gaddafi from trying to interfere with the movement of forces through the Mediterranean, but this was earlier in the crisis.
 
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Yokel

LE
On a slight tangent, what if Saddam had not allowed the Coalition to build up its forces? Saddam had a sizeable air force and a small navy of anti ship missile armed Fast Attack Craft, and a large stock of mines. What if he had sought to attack the ships bringing equipment to Gulf ports?

What if he was willing to try to hit vessels in the Red Sea or even the Mediterranean?

The American carriers; and our ones (and the French ones) were primarily configured for sea control during the Cold War, as discussed at length on this thread, despite the belief that carriers were and are solely for attacking land targets. The F-14 Tomcat at the time was optimised for maritime air defence, the jets that hit land targets could hit maritime ones just as well, and the S-3 Vikings could do things over than ASW.

If I remember correctly the Tomcats were flying real missions over the Gulf from early in the crisis. Would I be right in assuming that that would have included guarding against something like a surprise attack by Exocet armed Mirage F1s against ships carrying armour and artillery?
 

Yokel

LE
Here is a question for the historians like @Archimedes and @jrwlynch - very soon after the invasion of Kuwait the United Nations put sanctions on Iraq, and Maritime Interdiction Operations started straight away. The MIOPS operations were supported by MPA such as RAF Nimrods or USN Orions, but did carrier borne assists such as the S-3 Viking or even the A-6E Intruder (with TRAM as well as radar) or F/A-18 Hornet (with radar and FLIR)?

I know that warning shots/shots across the bow were fired on a number of occasions - were cannon alarmed aircraft even used for this?

Did the Sea Control mission of the carrier in the NATO arena lend itself to this sort of crisis - where huge amounts of equipment did have to by moved by sea and the enemy did have an air force with anti ship capabilities, was transporting cargoes by sea until naval interdiction stopped this, had a navy that did pose a threat, at least to the vessels engaged in things like mine clearance, and had there was a coastline where an amphibious assault could be threatened, tying down significant numbers of enemy troops?
 

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