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Falklands 40

Old 29th May 2022, 04:56
  #121 (permalink)  
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Not on the same subject but worth watching. From Cat Techie and the Buccaneer Vangelis ( Military Aviation ) thread go to his post #129 and watch 12 Sqd Buccaneers and as a bonus he gives a link to Langley South worth watching as things were down south pre Falklands war, sorry conflict
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Old 29th May 2022, 06:31
  #122 (permalink)  
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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May 28th 1982: The Argentine Air Force orders an attack against the British Hospital Ship SS Uganda.

Argentine pilot, Squadron Leader Mario Jorge Caffaratti, defies two direct orders to carry out the mission and finally tells his superiors:

"Why don't you go to hell?"
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Old 29th May 2022, 08:46
  #123 (permalink)  
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On 29th, it was fairly quiet in the air around the islands but the 15,000 ton tanker British Wye was attacked by an Argentine Herc about 800 mile east of Buenos Aires. A number of 1000lb bombs were dropped but only one hit the ship, bouncing off into the sea without exploding. Phew!

Invincible lost a SHAR during the afternoon when the ship manoeuvred hard after it had been unlashed. This caused it to slide over the side and the pilot ejected. That evening the captain was invited to dine in the Wardroom and was accosted by a very outspoken SHAR pilot who told him that “this is what happens if you treat the ship like a bloody speed-boat”. Said pilot was advised to go to bed!

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Old 29th May 2022, 12:24
  #124 (permalink)  
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Did the SHAR go on the Captains chit? Can understand the pilot being somewhat upset, particularly to an unwelcome at any time parachute ride.
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Old 29th May 2022, 15:58
  #125 (permalink)  
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It’s OK, he was a QFI. 😊
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Old 29th May 2022, 22:36
  #126 (permalink)  
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Fuel burn

Hello and a question from a lurker -

I was surprised at the relatively low fuel burn of the Harriers, and read of a few getting back on board with low fuel states.

What was the burn of the different Arg aircraft and given the distance were there any that ran out on the return ending in a fuel kill?

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Old 30th May 2022, 08:20
  #127 (permalink)  
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I would imagine that the A4 burnt about the same as the SHAR (I am sure that someone on here will know) but they had the advantage of a C-130 tanker either inbound or homeward bound - or both. The Daggers/Mirages didn’t have probes and their burn would increase 10-fold if they went into burner.

We normally aimed to RTB with 800lbs of gas, with up to 300 being unusable depending on attitude (aircraft not personal!). This gave around 10 minutes of “safe” endurance in case of problems. Diversion was not an option, except to the other carrier, until later in the conflict when the 650’ strip became available at Port San Carlos.

As far as I know, no Argentine aircraft ran out of fuel but I do know that at least one was towed back by the C-130, with fuel being pumped in the front at the same speed that it was pouring out of the holes! More of that later….

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Old 30th May 2022, 12:23
  #128 (permalink)  
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Why didn't they shoot down the 707 looking for the fleet early on when it detected it?
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Old 30th May 2022, 14:10
  #129 (permalink)  
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In a word - escalation. It was outside the TEZ and the decision was made to warn it off. Later it was attacked and I believe Cardiff came close to nabbing one
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Old 30th May 2022, 14:14
  #130 (permalink)  
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That's why Nimrod was fitted with the AIM-9L.
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Old 30th May 2022, 17:28
  #131 (permalink)  
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The 30th saw the loss of another GR3 to ground fire. The pilot was hit by small arms fire during an attack and developed a large fuel leak resulting in an ejection into the cold South Atlantic some 40 miles short of the ship. Luckily, he was spotted by a Lynx which vectored a Sea King onto him very quickly and he was picked up and returned to Hermes a bit battered and bloody but otherwise OK. The pilot who had been shot down at Goose Green was also returned to us; cue several beers!

The day also saw the final Exocet attack - although we didn’t know this at the time. Two Super Es and four Skyhawks attacked from the south aiming to take out one of the carriers. In fact no ships were hit and two Skyhawks and the missile were shot down.

That evening I received news that cheered me up no end; the GR3 pilot that I thought might have been on one of the helicopters that I destroyed a week earlier was seen boarding a Herc in Stanley. Massive relief!

Ashore that night, BN, the Chinook that had survived Atlantic Conveyor, bounced off the water in a snow storm. Amazingly, the only damage was the loss of the Co-pilot’s door!

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Old 30th May 2022, 18:50
  #132 (permalink)  
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About now, the Harrier strip was being laid at San Carlos by the Royal Engineers. Great folk - we were used to their strips in Germany on exercise, and their amazing efforts on our behalf.

It was decided by someone that what was needed was for two GR3 pilots to be at San Carlos, and the concept was for two GR3s to fly from the carriers which were well to the east of the islands, sit on the ground ready to respond to the need for a quick response to ground force task requests. The strip could provide fuel, but no weapons, so once weapons were expended, then the aircraft needed to return to the carrier to be bombed up again.

So two of us were sent ashore. We transferred to the LSL Sir BEDEVERE. The vessel had BCRs on board - what's a BCR I asked. Battle Casualty Replacement was the answer. In other words, they would fill whatever was left of the shoes of someone killed or badly wounded if they had the necessary skills. Great for morale being a BCR, I thought. But for us - I had a cabin with freshly laundered linen and a pillow. Sheer luxury. And we had an evening meal that was amazing, provided by a superb catering staff.

When we got ashore, we went to HMS FEARLESS which was being used as the Command Centre for the ground forces, and then went by helo to San Carlos. Health and Safety had either not been invented then, or it had been thrown overboard on the way down. The helo crew had clearly considered doors to be a hazard - they could jam or delay folk getting onto or off the helo - so they had removed them. Seats? Another potential hazard or delay, where weapons or backpacks could get caught - so they had been removed. Seatbelts? Clearly a trip hazard, so they had been removed. So the cabin of the helo was basically bare. So we sat on the floor, looking out of where the doors would have been, and made the short flight from FEARLESS to where the strip was being laid at very - I mean very - low level. The helo stopped momentarily to let us off. Well, I think it stopped, but when I turned to smile at the driver and give him a thumbs up, he had already gone!

We went to the Chinook BN crew and they told us how to find somewhere to stay for the night. We spent several nights there which included an air attack warning and a ground attack warning which required us to jump into a muddy slit trench while we waited to see what happened. Fortunately, nothing did.

After a few flip-flop flights to and from the carrier, it was decided that the tasking system either didn't exist or could not cope - plus the limited space for aircraft at the strip was better used by SHARs which could make use of it to extend their CAP time. So we were told to return to the carrier.

For the return trip, we went on a P&O ferry - I think it was the ELK. We left for a nighttime transit, and we were sitting at a table with the Captain having dinner. The steward apologised that he was short of menu cards, so would we mind sharing! The Captain then apologised and said he needed to leave the table because he had heard that there might be a land-based Exocet launcher on Pebble Island which we were due to pass close to. The SAS had done their business on the Pucaras there, but an Exocet launcher was something different. I then asked a question that I should not have asked - ignorance can be bliss - What have you got onboard? Oh, several tons of artillery shells - but we had a lot more when we came in. Clearly not the place to be in the event of an Exocet hit. It wasn't a problem - but these Merchant Marine folk did not get the recognition that they deserved in my opinion.

When we got back to HERMES, it seemed like a tranquil and safe haven - so we then got on with the rest of the business from there, having spent a few days on the islands we were trying to liberate.
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Old 31st May 2022, 13:58
  #133 (permalink)  
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The last day of May was nearly disastrous for 1(F). A SHAR from Invincible, returning from CAP, reported swept-wind aircraft at Stanley airport. The proverbial hit the fan and the captain of Hermes demanded an immediate attack, without waiting for confirmation. Two GR3s were sent to attack with 2” rockets and we sent two SHARs to support them with loft 1000lbers. I was returning from CAP, passing only a couple of miles south, when the attack started and had a grandstand view.

The airburst bombs were very spectacular and I watched, mesmerised, as the tracer started to cone onto the approaching GR3s. It seemed impossible that they could survive the weight of fire but they kept on through and departed flat out, to the east. No fighters were seen and CO 1(F) was understandably livid. By the end of the day, we had just one GR3 serviceable, the rest suffering from various degrees of battle damage, ranging from small holes to an engine change.

Changing an engine at sea in peacetime is a tricky operation; first the aircraft has to be secured onto trestles, the wing gear retracted and the wing removed. The engine can then be changed but has very small tolerances and requires a steady ship for a long period of time - not possible in wartime. The whole process is then reversed. Unfortunately, the spare GR3 engine had gone down with Atlantic Conveyor and it was some time before another could be sourced.

On this day, we also tried to use our newly-arrived LGB kits on our 1000lb free fall bombs. With no ground-based designators, we tried lashing with a GR3 whilst a SHAR lofted a bomb in. The weapon did not home properly and we discovered later that the designator was incompatible with the guidance on the bomb. Merde!

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Old 31st May 2022, 15:36
  #134 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Ddraig Goch View Post
As the above go and buy "Goose Green" by Nigel Ely, flagged by Dagenham #58 in this thread, only 99p for Kindle version:

I have read many books about the conflict and I would say this is the best depiction of what it was like for those involved in the actual battle
Three Days in June by James O'Connell is written in a similar style, documenting the 3 Para battle for Mount Longdon.. It also has contributions from the Argentinian veterans, which adds to the narrative.

Amazon Amazon
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Old 31st May 2022, 16:50
  #135 (permalink)  
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I flew 3 sorties 30/31 May as the GR3 attempting to designate with our LRMTS for LGBs - before we found out that it wasn't going to work!!

One was with a SHAR throwing the LGBs, and two were with GR3s dropping them in a more gentlemanly fashion.

Apart from the SHAR tossing them, I flew in at some 35,000' a distance behind the dropper. At the appropriate time, I went into a 30 deg dive from 35k or higher, and switched on the LRMTS. I had to stop designating and recover above 20,000' to keep out of the shark infested custard below. Unfortunately, our cunning plan didn't work for technical reasons, which we now know, but didn't at the time.

To reduce my downward speed in a 30 deg dive over the airfield, and to increase the time I was able to fire the LRMTS, I put the nozzles into the braking stop, and gently increased the engine rpm. Great idea, except for one occasion - in my enthusiasm to designate for as long as possible, I got very close to my minimum height for recovery, and increased the engine rpm to escape quickly. The aircraft started to vibrate and feel a bit squirly, and I thought "Oh dear, not a good time or place to have an engine failure". Then I remembered to put the nozzles aft, and all worked as it was supposed to. Sorry RR for thinking for a brief moment that your wonderful engine had gone wrong - it hadn't, and it was all my fault!
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Old 31st May 2022, 17:32
  #136 (permalink)  
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Reading ex-fast-jets' account of his flight from Fearless prompted me to remember the vital role of rotary wing participants in the events of 28 May; I think the citations in the Gazette for the pilots of XT629 and XP609 need no expansion.

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the Posthu-
mous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to the undermen-
tioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished service during
the operations in the South Atlantic:

Distinguished Flying Cross

Lieutenant Richard James NUNN, Royal Marines
On Friday 28th May 1982 the 2nd Battalion The Parachute
Regiment was engaged in fierce fighting to take enemy positions
in the area of Port Darwin. From dawn, Lieutenant Nunn, a Scout
helicopter pilot, had supported the Battalion flying vital ammuni-
tion forward to the front line and had evacuated casualties heedless
of enemy ground fire.

After flying continuously for three and a half hours, it was learnt
that the Commanding Officer and others in Battalion Tactical
Headquarters forward had been severely wounded. Lieutenant
Nunn was tasked to evacuated these casualties collecting the Batta-
lion Second in Command en route. However, five minutes after
take off, suddenly and without prior warning, two Pucara aircraft
appeared from the South and attacked the Scout with rockets and
cannon fire. By great flying skill Lieutenant Nunn evaded the first
attack but on the second his aircraft was hit and destroyed. Lieu-
tenant Nunn was killed instantly and his aircrewman Sergeant
Belcher was grieviously wounded.

Lieutenant Nunn displayed exceptional courage, flying skill and
complete devotion to duty in the face of the enemy. His achieve-
ments that day, supporting the Battalion, were exceptional and
were instrumental in the eventual victory.

The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of
the Distinguished Flying Cross to the undermentioned in recogni-
tion of gallantry and distinguished service during operations in
the South Atlantic:

Distinguished Flying Cross

Captain Jeffrey Peter NIBLETT, Royal Marines
During the attack on Darwin and Goose Green, Captain Niblett
led a section of two Scout helicopters, supplying ammunition and
evacuating casualties for two days, often in the thick of battle
and under enemy fire. During one mission both Scouts were
attacked by Argentine Pucara aircraft. The helicopters evaded the
first attack but one was subsequently shot down. However, with
quite exceptional flying skill and superb teamwork with his air-
crewman, Captain Niblett evaded three further cannon and rocket
attacks, safely completing the mission. He then resolutely con-
tinued support and casualty evacuation operations until well after

His courage, leadership and flying skills were also demonstrated
in an incident when he evacuated a seriously wounded Marine
from Mount Challenger, flying in dark and misty conditions over
most hazardous terrain. Captain Niblett proved himself an out-
standing Flight Commander and pilot. The superb support that
his flight as a whole gave to the landing force reflects his exemplary
and dedicated service.
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Old 1st Jun 2022, 10:11
  #137 (permalink)  
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1st June and we had now been at war for a month. Everyone was tired but we had reached a plateau and were coping OK. We were also able to get some sleep overnight, with just one aircraft at 20 minutes readiness unless we had intel of a raid. I was now sharing the captain’s cabin with XFJ and a couple of other Harrier pilots - the captain didn’t know!

Shortly before 1000, CO 801 QFE his #2 were vectored towards a fleeting contact north of the sound. It turned out to be a Herc and despite being very short of gas, he chased it west, launching one AIM9L out of range before scoring a hit with his second between # 3 and 4 engines. He then fired 240 x 30mm into the rear fuselage before it dropped into the sea. It was a bitter-sweet victory as we were all aware of the horrors that the last few minutes must have held for the guys in the cockpit.

In the afternoon, another ex-RAF(G) exchange pilot was shot down by the same Roland that had a go at me a few days earlier. He managed to eject and ended up off the coast in his dinghy with a dodgy PLB. It was 8 hours before he was picked up and was saved by the 6v light on his dinghy canopy and the perseverance of the Sea King crew.

During the afternoon two GR3 replacements arrived after an 8-hour flight from Ascension, supported by a Victor tanker. They were an extremely welcome addition to the GA team, despite the fact that the captain dismissed it as a “Crab publicity stunt”.

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Old 1st Jun 2022, 12:04
  #138 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Mogwi View Post
They were an extremely welcome addition to the GA team, despite the fact that the captain dismissed it as a “Crab publicity stunt”.

Sounds like he was a bit of a tool.
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Old 1st Jun 2022, 13:50
  #139 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by downsizer View Post
Sounds like he was a bit of a tool.
I have gained that impression from many bits I have read, here and elsewhere. How sad.
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Old 1st Jun 2022, 18:26
  #140 (permalink)  
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So, around about now...................

We had taken 6 GR3s down on ATLANTIC CONVEYOR. Three had been shot down, one had crashed at San Carlos - never understood why - so we had two left. Both had holes of various sizes and in various places.

We then got 4 replacements flown down from Ascension. Let's consider those flights. Some 9 hours using Victor Tankers to refuel them, with no realistic diversion options, all over the sea, for the four relatively young and inexperienced pilots to do their very first landing on a carrier, in what was, effectively, a war zone, and in very rough seas. Plus, before landing, they had to jettison their ferry tanks to enable them to do a vertical landing. So, no stress then!!

They were met by a SHAR who brought them into the boat. But well done them!!

Some - maybe all, I can't remember - of the 4 replacement aircraft had been modified a little bit. The starboard gun had been removed, and part of the then new Tornado EW pod had been modified and inserted in the pod. Great idea. This gave a very limited EW capability against some of the radars which were of concern. Clearly, in the very limited time available for the modification, there had been no comprehensive trials done in the UK to establish their effectiveness. So we got a photocopy single A-4 size piece of paper telling us what this EW thing could, or might, do. Remember, this was before the internet or mobile phones had been invented, so we were operating at the leading edge of the available technology. One concern was that it might beacon rather than jam Argentinian radars. The other was that it might worry our own shipboard radars that we were attacking, rather than coming home. So its use was carefully managed/restricted. The big issue for me, was that the last sentence of the single sheet of A-4 instructions ended with "Caution: The equipment might overheat and catch fire if used for longer than 2 minutes".

This made me unhappy, because when I was doing an attack, I was desperately looking for difficult to see targets, in a hostile environment, and flying at very low levels. I simply did not have the mental capacity to add the extra task of worrying about switching this kit on, and then timing how long it had been on at a fairly crucial - for me - moment. If I left it on too long, and it caught fire, then I would have done for the Argentinians what they were trying to do to me, and caught fire. So I was reluctant to use it. It was only later that I eventually found Page 2 to the instructions which finished the "Caution: The equipment might overheat and catch fire if used for longer than 2 minutes" with the end of the sentence which read "if used on the ground without cooling air." The one thing we were not short of in the South Atlantic then when flying at 450 knots+ was cooling air. So it wasn't a problem, but I didn't know it at the time.

But everyone was trying to help us, and there was some very good effort expended in very short time on our behalf.

But the replacement 4 GR3s were much needed, and their pilots were also very welcome to the fold.
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