November 06, 2015
Posted by: Ben at November 06, 2015 08:23 PM (kDUUX)
Posted by: David at November 06, 2015 09:25 PM (+TPAa)
Posted by: UtahMan at November 06, 2015 11:49 PM (Psydk)
@David, I am fascinated by the Falklands War, for a couple of reasons. To begin with it was my "first war", the one that I lived through occurring. Oh yes, Vietnam ended after I was born, but that doesn't really count as I was either five or seven, depending on which date you use as an ending (US withdrawal or fall of Saigon), and completely uninterested. Even today Vietnam holds no interest for me, oddly enough, other than how it affected the US military later. But the Falklands? I was 14 and a wargamer by then... and it was in the newspapers and on TV news. I couldn't help but be interested. Nowadays, it's the only modern naval war ever, but in many ways it could be confused for a Pacific War campaign too: switch the Argentinians with Japan, and the Brits with 1942-43 US, and suddenly a lot of it becomes comprehensible. But I don't know as much about it as I should.
@UtahMan, did Steven put you up to that? Heh. The Mitchells did great work in the Pacific, and the thought of a B-25J carrying 18 .50cal MGs strafing a freighter or destroyer is enough to make my blood run cold.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 07, 2015 10:27 AM (a12rG)
It's also a cautionary tale, in this day of China claiming twenty things under the sun in the South China Sea.
Posted by: Avatar at November 07, 2015 02:04 PM (v29Tn)
UtahMan, did Steven put you up to that?
Not guilty. (But interested. B-25 strafers were one of the most successful improvisations of the war. They were so successful that North American sent a group of engineers to Australia (not exactly a safe trip) to observe and investigate. And then North American started building B-25's which were equipped that way.)
One reason the Falklands War is interesting for naval history fans is that it is the only time since the end of WWII that a submarine sank a surface ship in anger.
And as far as I know it's the only time since the end of WWII that anyone other than the Americans has used carrier-based aircraft in combat.
And it featured a surface ship sunk by a torpedo. The only other such case I can think of was when NK torpedoed a SK patrol ship, though that isn't officially acknowledged.
There have been several warships since the end of WWII hit and sunk by missiles, but torpedoes (as good as they are) just haven't been used.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 07, 2015 05:41 PM (+rSRq)
The French have as well, flying missions off the Charles de Gaulle in Afghanistan. Planes from Australia's HMAS *Sydney* flew missions over Korea.
As it turns out, Argentina has used carrier planes in combat, too... planes off the 25 de Mayo supported the initial landings on the Falkland Islands. She didn't participate in the naval battles afterward, however.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 07, 2015 10:33 PM (a12rG)
>Pacific War campaign too
...right down to a WW2 light cruiser being sunk by a salvo of an unguided torpedo of WW2 design.
Rather a sad end for a ship that had fought so hard and well through the entire Pacific War...
(While refreshing my memory on this, I blundered across some more things I hadn't known: that in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, an Indian frigate was torpedoed and sunk by a Pakistani submarine, and that planes from INS Vikrant, India's only carrier, flew combat sorties, mostly in an anti-shipping role.)
Posted by: Ad absurdum per aspera at November 07, 2015 10:54 PM (470Py)
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 07, 2015 11:25 PM (a12rG)
Yes, the INS Vikrant proved to be very useful in the anti-shipping role. The Indians always did manage to operate, at least for a little while, the most interesting pieces of equipment - they actually leased a Charlie-I SSGN from the Soviets in the 1980s, though the poor safety factors of Soviet nuclear submarines left a bad impression with the Indian navy.
Non-US carriers have been involved in quite a few combat operations post-WW2. Royal Navy carriers were involved almost from the beginning of UN intervention during Korea. French carriers operated during the Indochina War, along with French F8F Bearcats. Both British and French carriers were involved in combat operations as part of Operation Musketeer, during the Suez Crisis.
In the category of 'not war/not peace,' British and Australian carriers were part of the Commonwealth military deployment for the Confrontation/Konfrontasi with Indonesia - which was the single largest deployment of British and Commonwealth naval forces since WW2. Given the tensions between the two nations (Which almost led to a shooting war at one point.), 25 de Mayo might have been used for the purpose the Argentinians had bought her for - against the Chileans.
And of course, HMAS Melbourne, who never saw action against the enemy yet still managed to sink two destroyers during her career...
Posted by: cxt217 at November 07, 2015 11:44 PM (Xdq+D)
the new Vikrant scheduled for service in 2018.
That is the current plan, but Indian military development and procurement projects tend to slip right...A lot. I would not be surprised if the in-service date finally occurred some time after 2020.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 07, 2015 11:50 PM (Xdq+D)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 07, 2015 11:52 PM (+rSRq)
Another thing that just occurred to me - Operation Musketeer was the last time that a non-US battleship fired in anger, when Jean Bart let loose a few rounds at Egyptian positions.
And of course, for the Falkland War, we have 1) the mysterious one-way flight of the Sea King from HMS Hermes to its' final resting place in Chile, almost certainly for the purpose of delivering some Sports And Social boys along the way; and 2) the reply that Argentinian Army Brigadier General Mario Menendez apparently had when told that he was going to command the defense of the Falklands - along the lines of 'what the hell are you talking about?' to his superior.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 08, 2015 01:13 AM (Xdq+D)
Posted by: Avatar at November 08, 2015 03:15 AM (v29Tn)
Posted by: The Old Man at November 08, 2015 07:29 AM (duGaw)
"well, the Argentine invasion plan was kicked off prematurely"
More like 'let's do this today, otherwise we will be in jail or dead tomorrow.' The decision to invade the Falklands was ultimately based on the need to do something to distract the Argentinian people from their opposition to the Junta more than anything else (Something which Christine Kirchner seems to have fallen for.) before it became strong enough to throw them out of power. The invasion was a surprise to most of the Argentinian forces - hence Menendez' reply.
Of course, I would be remiss to not mention the most famous aircraft from the Falkland War - Bravo November, which is still flying! And unlike the US Navy, who (Usually.) regard an officer who lost his ship as being morally and professionally suspect regardless of the cause, the Royal Navy ultimately promoted Alan West to First Sea Lord, despite losing HMS Ardent.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 08, 2015 09:58 AM (Xdq+D)
My understanding was that for strafing, in the field they would mount some guns in the wings, but the engineers didn't think that was a good idea, and added the nacelles. Although they did have to reinforce the skin near the barrels because of the muzzle blast beating it up.
There was a beautiful example at the Reno Air races this year, and I got a fantastic shot of it during a fly-by. B-25 on DeviantArt.
Posted by: Mauser at November 08, 2015 06:57 PM (5Ktpu)
If you can find a copy, look at the book "Fire in the Sky". It has an extensive discussion of what was done to the B-25 in Australia and why. The original hack version did mount the MG's on the main body. I don't think they were ever mounted on the wings.
Also, the original hack was done by maintenance crew in Australia, particularly a guy named Paul Gunn. Engineers only got involved after North Americann sent some to see what was going on.
I won't try to reproduce it here; it's many pages long and it's fascinating.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 08, 2015 07:17 PM (+rSRq)
The one bad thing about it is that it's a very odd format, larger than your average paperback history book, smaller than hardcover, but maybe three or four inches thick. If they had decreased the size of the print a tad, it probably would have made it less unwieldy.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 08, 2015 07:29 PM (a12rG)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 08, 2015 08:48 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: cxt217 at November 08, 2015 11:09 PM (Xdq+D)
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