Attack on Invincible Falklands.

Discussion in 'History' started by Dwarf, Jul 24, 2008.

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  1. Gentlemen,

    I have recently been engaged on the Argentine forum Zona Militar out of curiosity, - I speak spanish as I live in Catalonia now. There are some good lads but also quite a few unrepentant macho types, and one of the big debates was about the attacks on Invincible. One viewpoint is that Invincible wasn't hit, but the majority insist that the despicable Brits are lying, that it was either sunk and replaced by Illustrious or kept on the high seas for repairs.

    The way I read it the first attack hit the Atlantic Conveyor, the following day there was an attack by 2 Super Entendards with exocet and 4 Skyhawks. This is where the Argies claim that Invincible was hit, though as I understand the exocet hit the hulk of the A/Conveyor.

    If anyone who knows what happened could tell me his version and/or where to read I would be greatly appreciative. personally I belonged to the cam-cream wearing, rifle-carrying fraternity and so am not well up on naval matters. Plus living in Catalonia I am not easily able to access books and reports.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. I served on Illustrious in 83-85 who had more than a smattering of ex Invince crew. Being in 6E1 mess I lived with the gunners. The one story that I can recall being told by those guys were from the TI ops (Sea Dart Target Indicator team - basically gunners pretending to be RPs) team, whereby they watched the inbound raid getting closer. Eventually, the old man leaned over to the AAWO and said very calmly 'Get it away'. Off went Sea Dart much to the annoyed section base teams who heard the bang and though that they had taken a hit. Apart from only one working screw she returned unscathed as Illustrious was commissioned at sea on her way down south to releave the Invince. Illustrious's first commission book has a photo of said event.

    I feel as though I have just bit - but never mind
  3. The exocet hit Atlantic Convoyer to this day I'm convinced it was Hermes bound, the reason being my oppo on the flight deck with pointed out what he thought was a harrier coming back on fire. We went off watch at 2000 local, but when we came back up 0400 local we were still sailing round her watching the on going explosions.
    I think the Argies were suggesting it was on Invinc was because Andy was onboard & would have been a pr coup.
    This has been going on for 25 years (the above secret website) & is basically a load of bollocks.
  4. Flymo,
    Thanks you haven't bit, I am asking a genuine question so I can have a bit of ammo to counter the machos on the site.

    Chockhead, thanks a lot for that, yeah I know the site is bollocks in the main, but I have met some receptive lads, and even set up a meet in Spain with a couple.
    But some are desperate to prove that they did better than they really did.

    Anyway thanks for taking the time.
  5. Dwarf,

    The analysis I've seen (Air War South Atlantic, among others) suggests that the cited attack on Invincible was a mixed-force attack on 25 May: two Super Etendards with Exocet going after the carriers, with six Skyhawks following up with bombs.

    The SUEs, as they tended to do, popped up, lit off their radars, and launched their missiles at the first ships they saw. One of them fired at HMS Ambuscade, who seemed to successfully defeat the Exocet with soft-kill: it then gave a perfect fly-through demonstration, going on to hit MV Atlantic Conveyor. The other Exocet went off into the wild blue yonder (maybe decoyed off Ambuscade, maybe misaimed, maybe faulty: HMS Avenger claimed to have engaged it with 4.5" gunfire but the only certainty is that it didn't hit anyone.)

    The four Skyhawks - two dropped out en route - followed the smoke trail of the second missile, which took them towards HMS Avenger. Exeter engaged and destroyed one with Sea Dart, and another was taken out by 4.5" fire from Avenger. The two survivors pressed their attack on Avenger, dropping their bombs but missing. The pilots described in some detail how they had bombed and hit a "damaged aircraft carrier"; it seems that they mistook a Type 21 for a CVS. (Which is understandable in some ways, flying at max chat and zero feet, with salt caked over your windscreen and your wingmen being blown out of the sky around you isn't good for your ship-recognition skills). Invincible apparently loosed off six Sea Dart during the engagement, which best-guess seem to have been targeted on chaff from Hermes, but again I'd imagine everyone was getting a little tense at that point.

    Hope this helps - I can try to get you more info if necessary.
  6. I was on the flight deck of the Invincible when the Conveyor was hit. The reason she was hit was because she was the biggest "picture" on the Etendards radar! We had just reached the end of our box the Hermes was coming back down the line, the Conveyor was across the top of the box, and the Invincible was next up for the turn. So you had, the stern of the Hermes, the length of the Conveyor and the bow of the Invincible as targets. Biggest picture? Atlantic Conveyor.
    I can assure you and all of the Argentinians, the Invincible was never hit by anything bigger than Albatross shit!
  7. Again thanks for this, I now have to translate all of it!
    Most of that fits with the accounts of what the pilots said, however you have got me with soft-kill. Could you explain in short easy words for an ex-infantryman please? I would be interested in being able to access more griff as the little tinkers have got me interested. However I have some good stuff here already.

    The radar picture bit is a big help thanks. Were they argie albatrosses?

    Just to reassure, I can be found on under the same name, just check out some of my posts, some serious some less so, but it should be enough. My e-mail there is open so you can follow that up if you want to see I'm not looking for a bite.

    Thanks once again for helping.
  8. There is a book written by a bloke called Bicheno (maybe Hugh ?) which gives a slant perhaps different from the official British history. He has some good contacts with the Argentines and explains a lot of their thinking. It comes in 2 volumes, costing about 40 sovs a time in UK, so perhaps if you can get a mate to a library somewhere in UK, it would be cheaper to photocopy the relevant sections in Volume 2, dealing with the actual combat aspect of the war. But beware - in one of his maps, he has the RFA FORT GRANGE on ASW picket duty - even I know this is a bit of a mistake. Google the name in a UK library catalogue for the full details.
  9. I've had a few internet chats with Argies about this.

    They always mention a WWII Brit carrier that was lost and the UK govt did cover up its loss for a while, because I believe it was lost to an accidental explosion, rather than enemy action - I can't remember the name of the ship - I'm sure someone can name it? So in their eyes, this shows that it can be done.

    The other is they always show a picture of 'Invicible' returning home with phalanx fitted, which Invince didn't at the time, which means Illustrious must have taken her place and Ark Royal took Illustrious's name. A fourth carrier was secretly built in the USA, and 'sources' confrim this was so. Ask them to provide proof that the photo was provided by an official source as being of the Invince and no one does. It is simply a photo of Illustrious going south.

    There is also a photo of Invince looking rather well painted returning to Portsmouth compared to Hermes. Even if genuine, it fails to take into account the age difference of the two ships - or maybe the Invince crew had time for maintenance after the shooting had stopped.

    So according to them the RN and the UK covered up the deaths and injury of possibly hundreds of sailors on the Invince, and the survivors and the ship builders have kept silence for 25 years plus.

    As a side note, the Atlantic Conveyor didn't have chaff fitted - all the warships did. A secondary role for the big merchant ships was a last ditch attempt to draw of missiles from the carriers. She did that job and paid the ultimate price.

    They have made good use of CGI to 'prove' it happened:

    Edit to add: HMS Dasher was the WWII escort carrier that whose sinking was 'covered up'.
  10. Dwarf - Soft-kill measures are meant to jam, confuse, or seduce a missile so it doesn't hit the intended target. Such measures can include the deployment of floating and airborne radar/infra-red decoys and chaff (reflective strips of tin foil like 'Window Charlie' or metallised spicules which form a confusing/distracting 'bloom' on a radar screen). Hard-kill measures involve shooting a missile down or damaging it enough to make it ineffective.
  11. Severe Thread drift warning: mention of DASHER rang some bells that didn't align completely with Wiki's Government cover-up account. If anyone is interested, there's an account at . If accurate, it seems to be a better reason for the news blackout.

    The Argentinean belief that our Government could mislead the Public on such a grand scale is quite understandable, given their history of bent regimes. There again, perhaps I'm forgetting the Blare/Campbell double act on WMD pre TELIC.
  12. I wouldnt piss on any argy bastard if they were on fire.

    Bunch of lying sneaky oily feckin bastards. And I am trying to be polite!
  13. 'Hard kill' is when you make the incoming threat go boom and die, by shooting it down with missiles or guns.

    'Soft kill' is when you make a guided weapon miss you, without destroying it. This tends to come under three big headings.

    Confusion - You provide a lovely false target a long way away from you, which the weapon's operator fires at. The weapon never sees you and may never have been able to do so. Not much done these days for a variety of reasons, but we used to be able to fire 'chaff charlie' from guns to generate radar targets some miles away to do this. (Modern systems are better at saying 'no, that's chaff, ignore it'; also we tend to worry much more about close-in fights, rather than having most of the North Atlantic to play in)

    Distraction - The weapon is fired in your general direction, but you give it a false target before it detects you and in time to distract it. The weapon never locks onto you, preferring one of the decoys you've put out. Chaff delta works that way.

    Seduction - The most nervous part. The weapon's coming your way and it's locked onto you and if you don't think of something, it'll hit. Seduction decoys persuade its seeker to let go of you and chase something else instead, like a big floating radar reflector or a carefully-timed chaff cloud, that start out right next to you and then move away, hopefully taking the weapon's seeker with them. Timing, course and speed can be quite tricky to pull off and there's no chance to try again if it goes wrong.

    Soft kill can be extremely effective, and you can get some capability quite cheaply (some RFAs have at least some soft-kill, for example) However, it's limited in category - chaff won't affect a TV-guided missile, for instance. It doesn't destroy the threat, so you may get "fly through" where a missile goes for a decoy, flies through the chaff or whatever, thinks "Huh?" and goes back into search mode to find something else to kill. And it's tricky to combine with hard kill, because it's very hard to be sure which incoming threats have been (or will be) tricked into going for decoys and which are coming for ships. However, anything that reduces the chances of a ship I'm on being hit by big HE warheads, makes me happier...

    Hope this helps, happy to expand (within sensible limits, obviously) as necessary.
  14. A bit late in the day for my reply, but...

    I'll second your oppo's statement. I remember the tannoy onboard (Hermes) announcing that we had narrowly escaped an Ex... and then watching the AC burn through into the night. A big memory was that it seemed odd to see helos flying around looking for casualties with their (search?) lights on, when we had been darken ship state for weeks on end.
  15. Thanks for the explanations, I even understood some of the longer words as well.
    I understood the basic principles I just didn't know the term or some of the details. All ist Klah.

    Cornishgolfer, I completely understand, but there is a lad where I live who is an argie. He taught me to canoe and we were looking into the Devizes-Warminster till I broke a rib. Really critical of the war and hates the military junta, gets really worked up about the macho side to argie society.
    Mind his sister was one of the 'disappeared ones' so it is understandable.
    I reckon you would like him when he gets going about the ones who started the war, it would even turn a matelot's ears pink.

    Thanks to all who have taken the time.

  16. Never happen.
    I lost several friends because of their chest jumping attitude that is still there today. If they were alive, they would be fathers and grandfathers now and therefor generations of their future has been wiped out. The Argies and their ilk, have very short memories.
  17. Understood perfectly.
    Yes there is still a lot of it in Argieland, I can see it on their website.
    Short memories no, they still have 1833 fresh in their minds. Blind yes.

    Take care.
  18. IF I remember my history, Argie land NEVER owned the Falklands. All the battles over the flippin place was between Spain and us! So what the feck, they are doing claiming it as theirs is ???
  19. I play rugby with a lot of Argies out here in Spain and tarring them all with the same brush is a bit harsh. As a side note [Thread Diversion Warning] I was wandering around the Cartagena Naval Museum the other day I came upon an old display that claimed that the Armada was never defeated because technically they completed their goal by reaching Calais! Lacking the Spanish to complain about this I tried to get a little bit of revenge by walking around the museum whislting Rule Britania.
  20. tiddlyoggy

    tiddlyoggy War Hero Book Reviewer

    At risk of inviting incoming, I had a run ashore in Argentina 5 years ago. The locals were extremely friendly and eager to mix with us. Those that spoke good English were all quite damning of the war and the Junta in general. I'd gladly go there again.

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