Discussion in 'History' started by lsadirty, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. Was watching an old episode of UFO on SKY this afternoon, which featured some obviously ex Pusser documentary film of a GMD firing SEA SLUG and shooting down a UFO. I know it's TV, but was it any good ? It seemed to occupy an awful lot of space compared with 1st generation Elmer and Ivan SAMs, so can anyone clue me in ? Remember seeing GIRDLE NESS after conversion a trials ship and thinking Jeez, what a big mother this might be....
  2. Well they fired a few at the control tower on Stanley airfield… scared the crap out of the spics.

    Pretty worthless as an anti aircraft weapon, but by God it was an impressive sight as it flew off the arse end!
  3. Was not that worthless at all, for its day it was very good, 50''/60's/70's

    We even managed to track concorde with the 901 radar that was used, something some radars cannot do today.

    But you are right we still had it in the 80's and it was past its sell by date, as for the amount of room it took up, basically it was a ship built around a magazine.

    Ammoying thing s about it were the pump space under 3P greenies mess was V noisy and painting the launcher with silvereen without spilling any on the quarterdeck was nigh impossible, you had to wear safety harness to do the painting LOL
  4. Didn't take too much to ruin a shoot though!

    Aberporth, our "once a year day," sleep in the T.S. for an early start, more tests than you could shake a big stick at.

    On range, D.W.E.O. asks for and gets permission to observe from the director deck.

    Of it goes, everything goes well for about ten seconds then...... it flies of into the distance in a straight line!

    Shoot aborted, we're all running around like idiots, trying to find out what went wrong, pigs and small pigs proving that they know how to shout, then a sheepish voice comes over the broadcast.......

    ", T.S. Director, errmm.....I think that may have been my fault!"

    D.W.E.O. had moved around the director deck, for a better view and had "caught" an "emergency off" push!

    My D.O. then demonstrated the correct way to make a pussers right angled torch fly at speed through the T.S.!

    Names, ship, deliberately omitted to save embarassment!
  5. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Go to RRPedia & select 'HMS London(GMD)' for some reminiscences about Seaslug in its early days. In its Girdleness trials it was getting 98% kills on Canberra drones which aircraft was the sort of target it was designed for. Sadly it took far too long to get it into service and by the time it arrived the US had tandem-boost missiles which were a lot less complicated to stow and handle. But we had bet our shirt on wrap-around boosts (same for Crabs' Bloodhound and Pongoes' Thunderbird) and worked up from that to the handling gear and then designed the ship round that.

    The GMDs had no real capability against a low-level threat, in particular because the 901 would in extreme examples oscillate between the target and its reflection from the sea surface. The whole caboodle relied on the target flying nice and high so that one could detect it in time anyway.
  6. The only good thing about the once a year day was the runs ashore in Haverfordwest. The Sea Slug system in the sixties appeared to deposit more missiles overboard than any long distance. Made a mess of the paintwork as well. However a jolly jack tar was presented with a coconut by Prince Phillip for knocking down a PTA with Sea Cat and took pride of place in a certain GMD trophy cabinet.
  7. Devonshire Shot down the UFO,The Aliens were interned in the Wrennery in Vicky Barracks,only being allowed out on dance nights
  8. Sea Slug was out of date before it even got to sea. Any fans out there think it could shoot down a Buccaneer?. PS was the Canberra chucking out chaff, jamming and taking other evading actions when Girdle Ness was getting over 90% success. Were the missiles subjected to normal magazine wear and tear and standard ships company maintenance and servicing or was a single missile wrapped in cotton wool, prepped by boffins before any launch. Let me guess it was the boffins?

    As the Admirals had spent all their money on it and we had built some pretty ships for Captains and Admirals to to sail the "Seven Seas" we were stuck with it. The Counties were nice ships but not fit for use and a waste of money.

  9. Incorrect Nutty,

    The missile had to have the fins fitted in the magazine adjacent to the MTER, saw many a CPOEA hanging off a hammer making it go together. And as for the magazine handling system, all noise crash bang and of course leak oil.
  10. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Of course it would'nt shoot down an Bucc, neither would Seadart when they were designed - for the very simple reason that they were not designed to do such a thing. They were designed to shoot down v large slow bombers, recce aircraft and ASMs the size of a single decker bus, none of which would be performing Bucc like manouevres, in the gaps - which was our stamping ground in those days and where we would have operated outside the range of any FBA.

    Inshore ops would have been confined mainly to the Norweigan littoral and for that we had Seacat!!
  11. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    No, it couldn't shoot down a Buc but the Russians didn't have a Buc. The prime role of the GMD was to manoeuvre up threat ahead of the carrier in the North Norwegian Sea and hack down Badgers/Blinders etc (or their stand-off missiles - 901 could acwuire quite a small target) so that the carrier could get its Bucs off and nuke Ivan. It would also contribute a dipping Wessex. Our whole fleet was built around this little northern jolly, as also all our ASTT exercises etc, until Polaris came into service.

    GMDs did a good job in other roles but were never tested until 1982 and by then they had been around 20 years (15 for the Mk 2). The Flag role was allegedly intruded into the design by Mountbatten drawing a pencil across the plan of the superstructure and writing 'Flag' on it. He knew, of course, that quite soon there would be no cruisers tro do this - it was he who had sent the cruiser designers off to design a nuclear submarine after discovering what hopelessly unaffordable behemoths they were sketching (at that stage Seaslug was going to be just part of the armament of a cruiser twice the size of a GMD).

    I'm not aware of any plans/games/exercises ever taking place to 'try and retake the Falklands' until the Navy actually had to go and do it, after Henry Leach bet the entire future of the RN on it to Maggie. Glam being zapped by that truck-borne Exocet may have been due to a wrong call on her priorities? Story I have read somewhere. I always wondered why we didn't use Seaslug to take out that goofing Argie Herc which I gather spooked around looking for the Task Force. RoE perhaps.
  12. You skimmers do like to play with words when the question is hard. What was the hit rate of sea slugs fired at targets trying to avoid being hit, like flying low, not a set up drone for the 1 missile a year shoot.

    As for Buccs. OK the Russian equivalent fast attack low level bomber do you really think if we were facing a USSR DGM or similar fitted with a comparable missile we would send V Bombers in at high level.

  13. i remember Glamorgan firing a sea slug in 82 ,although it was a primary Surface to air missile on this occassion it was being used as a surface to surface missile not sure what the result was though just glad i was not at the recieving end
  14. I remember as a school child being taken around a County Class, bloody impressive size.
  15. Perhaps Seaslug/Seadart did the job during the Falklands war, making the Argie planes come in on the deck for fear of high altitude missiles. After all, more of the bombs' fuzes would have armed correctly if they'd been dropped from a higher altitude.
  16. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Seawolf was entirely intended as a point defence weapon, not designed to give any sort of cover at all to anything but the ship carrying it. The main point about its system was the integration of detection, threat evaluation and engagement so as to get the weapon direction time cycle down to a realistic level, it being clearly recognised that this was too long to allow effective engagement of fast approaching targets by MR guns. It was however quite tricky to cram the necessary programming into the minicomputers of the 1960s.

    The User requirement was in any case strained through a sock with the ASWE boffins in between the RN and the contractors (Marconi). Somehow a competent reaction to a target splitting seems (to me) to have been left out, but this may be because of the analytical method used. A crossing target does not paint on a Doppler radar anyway, whose huge advantage is that it also doesn't paint clutter. In the Coventry case as I understand it what might have been a successful engagement had to be aborted when Coventry wooded her goalkeeper.

    In the 60s there was a concern about a high level attack using IR homing (the 'down the funnel' shot). This and the then current state of enemy assets meant that both Seaslug and Seadart were prioritised on high flying targets.

    With regard to one of Nutty's points, practice firings have so many safety constraints that it was pretty well impossible to have totally realistic targets, certainly in Cardigan Bay where even there I believe someone once managed to hit a Welsh mountain. The jet-launched drones at Subic did however have a reasonable jump-up to a realistic speed.

    Seacat could pretty well only be exercised against Shelduck drones which are pretty slow but once the aimer could see the target a good aimer should have been pretty certain of a hit. He did get to practice on a gismo called Theta, aiming a spot of light at another spot of light, but costs got in the way of letting the aimers fire lots of missiles.

    Seaslug btw I seem to remember was £250,000 a bang in the late 60s so they were a bit rationed, too.

    The bottom line is that when Seaslug did eventually go to war its design, and the user requirements behind that design, were pushing thirty years old; and the war it went to, close in support of a landing, was totally different from the one it was designed for. AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE LIKE THAT. The Lee Enfield rifle that saw us through two world wars was designed to meet shortcomings of long-range fire against Brother Boer on the open veldt. By 1960 the RN was getting ready to make a good fist of re-fighting the war against Japan, in terms of AA and AIO capability (hence the Weapon class radar picket conversion, etc etc). In the end we have to do the best we can with what we've got and hope the RN's skill and resourcefulness will make up the difference.

    The King of Spain is said once asked to have asked Franco to cut him in on his decision making. The response was to the effect that it would be a waste of time since any big decision would be quite different from the ones before. So also with wars. The wars we have at the moment are not like Falklands and the next ones won't be like these ones.
  17. Memories.

    G.M.D.s were originally conceived as conventional gun platforms, early in their development, some civil servant pointed out that we had this nearly developed weapon system and nowhere to put it! (Mid 50s?)
    They were redesigned to fit around the missile system, side lanes, traverser, main mag etc. They added a pair of turrets up front for the traditionalists! ( As told to us before we joined the ship!)

    As already stated elsewhere, the system was brilliant at acquiring, tracking, engaging towed targets, P.T.A.s etc.(and our own balloons.)

    Great if the track and speed was constant! Any kind of high speed (subsonic)turns etc. by the target was a no-no!
    We carried out trials galore (and I do mean a lot) with, I think , Gnats. They were pre-Hawks and were selected as they were little and nippy!

    We couldn't acquire them if they dodged about! The aimer, T.S. crew, was put on a bearing and he had to lock on. He couldn't, therefore the ranger, and the rest of the T.S. crew, stood around him saying, " there...there it there..aah nuts!" as they screamed overhead!

    Its limitations were well known, as were Seacats!

    The County class impressed the locals though, wherever we went. Aah, Newcastle, Meet the Navy.
  18. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Ringo, you're part-way there but not quite. As I pointed out earlier the Constructors were sketching super-cruisers which would carry Seaslug - when this activity was stopped dead, the next class of destroyer, 'super-Daring' had to pick up the slack. In effect the turrets were conceptually there already. However this meant a completely new ship as the rigidity required for the loading system and magazine rails meant that had to go in first and the ship wrapped round it.

    I stand to be corrected but I can't imagine Seaslug ever being fired at a towed target. Once launched, Seaslug would follow a manoeuvering target to some extent but a beam-rider is at a disadvantage in this compared to a passive homer like Sea Dart, because it has to pul more g.

    The Threat that Seaslug was built for wouldn't have jinked about as it would have been busy acquiring a target on its own account; target acquisition would take place 20-10 miles out if I remmeber correctly. The biggest catch was that the Soviets were expected to come on in regimental strength - they had a lot to lose in a nuke strike and losing a few aircraft was trivia by comparison - and so attrition by Seaslug would still have left an exposure to be picked up by fighters further out and ship's own systems closer in, which would have had to engage stand-off missiles, which they probably would not have achieved. therefore, Polaris made much more sense and we were left with a carrier/GMD fleet available for other duties (in fact before Polaris virtually the entire RN had been sidetracked into Confrontation).
  19. I was on the Seaslug Section for a while on the Antrim and we did a firing in the Med Deployment.

    It made a hell of a mess of the launcher etc but it was a great liitle number going up there in the height of summer and chipping and repainting it for a couple of weeks afterwards.

    Oh Happy days as seen below in the link
  20. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    We are not playing with words - we are trying to make it simple - Seaslug was not fired against a low flying evading target because that is not what it was designed to do. And why was that - well because there was no threat from such an aircraft in the the GIUK gaps. We had Buccs because we had carriers - the Russians had no such equivalent ac because they had no carrier.

    Its not a difficult concept.....

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