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Oscar
30 Nov 08,, 23:01
How France helped us win Falklands war, by John Nott

By George Jones, Political Editor

Last Updated: 11:03PM GMT 12 Mar 2002

FRANCE was Britain's greatest ally during the Falklands war, providing secret information to enable MI6 agents to sabotage Exocet missiles which were desperately sought by Argentina, according to Sir John Nott, who was Defence Secretary during the conflict.

In his memoirs he reveals that while President Reagan was pressurising Lady Thatcher to accept a negotiated settlement France helped Britain to win the conflict.

Although Lady Thatcher clashed with President Mitterrand over the future direction of Europe, he immediately came to her aid after Argentine forces invaded the Falklands in April 1982.

"In so many ways Mitterrand and the French were our greatest allies," Sir John says. As soon as the conflict began, France made available to Britain Super-Etendard and Mirage aircraft - which it had supplied to Argentina - so Harrier pilots could train against them.

The French gave Britain information on the Exocet - which sank the Sheffield and Atlantic Conveyor - showing how to tamper with it.

"A remarkable worldwide operation then ensued to prevent further Exocets being bought by Argentina," Sir John says.

"I authorised our agents to pose as bona fide purchasers of equipment on the international market, ensuring that we outbid the Argentinians, and other agents identified Exocet missiles in markets and rendered them inoperable."

He contrasts the French attitude with America's attempts to find a face-saving deal for President Galtieri, the Argentine dictator."For all Margaret Thatcher's friendship with Ronald Reagan, he remained a West Coast American looking south to Latin America and west to the Pacific. Sometimes I wondered if he even knew or cared where Europe was."

Caspar Weinberger, the US defence secretary, supported Britain but the State Department was "dominated by Latinos".

"There was incredible pressure from the White House and the State Department to negotiate. It was hugely damaging," Sir John told The Telegraph. "They couldn't understand that to us any negotiated settlement would have seemed like a defeat."

Asked if he found it irritating that the Americans expected Britain's total support in the war against terrorism, Sir John said: "I am against the Americans smashing things up with bombing raids, then letting us be the auxiliary policemen to pick up the pieces."

Sir John says he held the Foreign Office "in deep contempt" for the caution it displayed when Lady Thatcher proposed sending the Task Force to the Falklands.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1387576/How-France-helped-us-win-Falklands-war,-by-John-Nott.html

T_igger_cs_30
30 Nov 08,, 23:07
And they could have made it a lot simpler Oscar just not sell them in the first place......just by putting a freeze on ....... the French are masters of intrigue, and very good at talking out the side of there mouths.

And what concessions did we give regarding the EU to the French for this so called help?

zraver
01 Dec 08,, 01:12
The guys an idiot. The Us gave Britain 15 million gallons of aviation fuel, 48 sidewinder missiles, KC-135 tankers, took over RAF duties in NATO, provided satellite intelligence, access to the US sat communications grid, told Argentina it was not going to side with it vs Britain, gave the Royal marines laser designators and a radar for their SAM system. Regan was knighted for the US efforts on Britain's behalf.

T_igger_cs_30
01 Dec 08,, 01:36
The guys an idiot. The Us gave Britain 15 million gallons of aviation fuel, 48 sidewinder missiles, KC-135 tankers, took over RAF duties in NATO, provided satellite intelligence, access to the US sat communications grid, told Argentina it was not going to side with it vs Britain, gave the Royal marines laser designators and a radar for their SAM system. Regan was knighted for the US efforts on Britain's behalf.

Z yes I know mate, I was awaiting his response before I brought that equation into it:biggrin:

Kernow
01 Dec 08,, 01:58
The guys an idiot. The Us gave Britain 15 million gallons of aviation fuel, 48 sidewinder missiles, KC-135 tankers, took over RAF duties in NATO, provided satellite intelligence, access to the US sat communications grid, told Argentina it was not going to side with it vs Britain, gave the Royal marines laser designators and a radar for their SAM system. Regan was knighted for the US efforts on Britain's behalf.

Thats what I thought too. :rolleyes:

Oscar
01 Dec 08,, 10:44
Sorry for the late response, bit sleepy and had a problem with my computer. :redface:


[QUOTE]And they could have made it a lot simpler Oscar just not sell them in the first place

No one knew the Argentinians would have attacked the Falklands at the time of the purchase, not even the increasingly impopular general Galtieri who launched this operation out of the blue, it was a desperate attempt to divert the attention of the populace hit hard by the economic crisis.


just by putting a freeze on

That's what they did.


the French are masters of intrigue, and very good at talking out the side of there mouths.

:)


And what concessions did we give regarding the EU to the French for this so called help?

Nothing. Thatcher had still her check signed at the Fontainebleau summit in 1984. And the EU unanimously condemned the Argentinians and applied commercial sanctions. :rolleyes:

And frankly, when you look at the origin of the ships that were in the Argentinian navy during this war, the French were hardly the only ones to supply the dictatorship with dangerous weapons. ;)

T_igger_cs_30
01 Dec 08,, 13:55
Its my understanding they still shipped during the war and also sent specialists (as someone eslse has pointed out) to help.

What about your claim:

"There was incredible pressure from the White House and the State Department to negotiate. It was hugely damaging," Sir John told The Telegraph. "They couldn't understand that to us any negotiated settlement would have seemed like a defeat."

there may have been detracters, as there always is, but the US supplied instant and valuable support from the get go.

Oscar
01 Dec 08,, 14:20
[QUOTE=T_igger_cs_30;584176]Its my understanding they still shipped during the war and also sent specialists (as someone eslse has pointed out) to help.


I would like to see your source to back your accusation.


What about your claim:


I didn't know I was the British defence secretary during the Falklands war. ;)


there may have been detracters, as there always is, but the US supplied instant and valuable support from the get go.

This thread was dedicated to France's help to GB ,not this particular person's ill feeling towards the Americans. I posted the whole article. OK my fault. That being said, he was in the governement at the time, so about the US pressure to force Thatcher to find an agreement with the Argentinians he may know of what he's talking about.

aktarian
01 Dec 08,, 14:41
Argentina used A-4s and IAI Neshers. I wonder where those came from..... ;)

Steezy
01 Dec 08,, 14:51
Falklands Islands is another example of how NATO is *******s. A NATO member gets invaded by a foreign country but the only thing all the other nations can provide is mutual/materiel support.

Yet when the USA gets attacked, and NATO actually goes and helps out in Afghanistan with real support. Everyone cries about France/Germany/Spain/NATO members "not doing enough" and then you had the whole massive anti-French sentiment for not helping out in Iraq. Ridiculous. The world is full of cocks, I hope NATO is disbanded once and for all.

T_igger_cs_30
01 Dec 08,, 15:09
An old conflict, sometimes the importance of GB's stance maybe overlooked.


In fact, Argentina misunderstood the United States’ position as much as it did Great Britain’s. According to Haig, Argentina had always believed the United States would be willing to trade acceptance of the invasion for Argentina’s help in pressuring the new socialist Nicaraguan government, the Sandinistas. While it is true that President Reagan had been developing closer relations with the junta to help assure that its powerful sway in Latin America would be used against the Sandinistas, the United States could never have supported an armed takeover by an undemocratic government against its most important ally.


When Haig first met Thatcher after the Argentine invasion, he told her that President Galtieri would not survive in office if the British Task Force made it all the way to the Falkland Islands. Thatcher responded by saying that she would not survive if the force were stopped


One of Haig’s most significant problems was the United States’ need to appear strong before the Soviet Union. The Soviets had been flexing their muscles in areas like Afghanistan and had made significant inroads in Latin America, especially in Nicaragua with the Sandinistas.


Appearing weak in the balance of power was especially troubling for the West because the Soviet Union had begun to make ties with Argentina.


Whether caused by Western ideological steadfastness or not, it seems that the Soviets were prevented from siding too strongly with the Argentines. On April 28, Lev Tolkunov, chairman of Moscow’s Novosti press agency, declared that the Soviet Union would not necessarily fight for Argentina. Indeed, although the Soviet Union consistently condemned the British for failing to give up their colony,


Nations outside of NATO had reason to condemn the invasion as well. If Argentina could establish the precedent of solving territorial disputes with force, then any country with disputed territory would be in danger of an attack.

http://www.historymatters.appstate.edu/documents/falklandislandswar.pdf

The primary source in your link: Sir John Nott

He became Minister for Defence in Jan 1981, who was described once in an interview by Sir Robin Day (Oct 82) as a "here today gone tommorrow politician" causing him to storm out of the interview.

Nott offered his resignation to PM Thatcher after the launch of the Task Force that was set to retake the Falkland Islands. It was refused at that point.

He had previously been severly criticized by the Royal Navy for his decision to cut back on Naval expenditure, prior to the Falklands conflict.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Nott

the US came through for GB no matter what was going on in diplomatic circles, thus maintaining the ties we still have to this day.

T_igger_cs_30
01 Dec 08,, 15:14
[QUOTE]

I would like to see your source to back your accusation.
Maybe in 2012 you will be able to source it yourself :biggrin:



I didn't know I was the British defence secretary during the Falklands war. ;)
Obviously a Nott supporter, so if you had been no change there:biggrin:



This thread was dedicated to France's help to GB ,not this particular person's ill feeling towards the Americans. I posted the whole article. OK my fault. That being said, he was in the governement at the time, so about the US pressure to force Thatcher to find an agreement with the Argentinians he may know of what he's talking about.
And maybe NOTT:biggrin:
:biggrin:

Steezy
01 Dec 08,, 15:14
I can't beleive people even talk about the USA supporting Argentina...

Woodsy the Lar
01 Dec 08,, 15:38
The Argentinians had no previous experience with antiship missiles, and the Exocet was a complicated and cranky weapon. The Argentinians experienced a lot of trouble fitting the Exocet launch system and rails to the Super Etendards. In November 1981, Dassault Aviation, owned by the French government and builder of the Super Etendard, sent a team of nine of its own technicians (and some additional French Aerospatiale specialists) to work with the Argentine navy to supervise the introduction of the Etendards and Exocets. Although France complied with the NATO/ Common Market weapons embargo, the French technical team remained in Argentina and apparently continued to work on the aircraft and Exocets, successfully repairing the malfunctioning launch systems. Without the technical help and collusion from the government of France—Britain’s NATO “ally”—it is improbable that Argentina would have been able to employ its most devastating weapon.18

This is an account from an investigating Journalist,you know What,He´s Argentinian.

He also goes on to say that the U.S. provided the British task Force with Information about Planes taking off from overhead Satallites.

Dreadnought
01 Dec 08,, 17:52
The guys an idiot. The Us gave Britain 15 million gallons of aviation fuel, 48 sidewinder missiles, KC-135 tankers, took over RAF duties in NATO, provided satellite intelligence, access to the US sat communications grid, told Argentina it was not going to side with it vs Britain, gave the Royal marines laser designators and a radar for their SAM system. Regan was knighted for the US efforts on Britain's behalf.

And...More then likely gave the Brits the Belgrano's (ex-USS Phoenix) signature on the IDFF system for tracking her amid the other ships in the area.;)

Oscar
01 Dec 08,, 18:24
This is an account from an investigating Journalist,you know What,He´s Argentinian.

Does he go by the name of Diego Zampini? :redface:


The War Began

But on April 2nd 1982, when the 2nd Squadron was waiting the arrival of the French technical team to put the Exocets in an operational status, Argentina performed the military re-conquest of the Falklands Islands - called Malvinas in Spanish language - usurped by the British government in 1833. One of the first acts of the French government was to declare a weapons embargo against Argentina until the conflict ended.

Of course, it deprived the 2nd Squadron of the possibility of being assisted by French technicians but the Argentine personnel of the unit, far from giving up, faced on their own the challenge to set up the Exocets. Two weeks later, the interface between airplane and missile had been solved, and the tests on anti-ship strikes began. Fortunately for the Argentineans, the country had bought from Great Britain two Type 42 destroyers (the same class used by the Royal Navy), the ARA Hércules and ARA Santísima Trinidad. In consequence, the unit's pilots tested and improved the attack tactics against these kinds of ships.

http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Falklands/Exocet.html

Parihaka
01 Dec 08,, 19:20
James S Corum (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NXL/is_3_16/ai_94269861/pg_8)

Woodsy the Lar
01 Dec 08,, 19:27
Well thats a Mystery Who wrote the Damn Article then.:confused:

tankie
01 Dec 08,, 19:37
The primary source in your link: Sir John Nott

He became Minister for Defence in Jan 1981, who was described once in an interview by Sir Robin Day (Oct 82) as a "here today gone tommorrow politician" causing him to storm out of the interview.[/QUOTE]

Wayne i watched that interview , he stormed out after Robin Day asked him certain Qs to which snotty said they were not the Qs that were agreed upon before the interview began .:rolleyes:

TopHatter
02 Dec 08,, 06:11
and frankly, when you look at the origin of the ships that were in the Argentinian navy during this war, the French were hardly the only ones to supply the dictatorship with dangerous weapons. ;)

You know, that's an excellent question:

Warships and Combat Aircraft of Argentina as of April 1 1982 and their entry date into service.

Anybody want to take a stab at it?

T_igger_cs_30
02 Dec 08,, 07:51
Sorry for the late response, bit sleepy and had a problem with my computer. :redface:
I know a good French repair man, just watch how he attaches things :biggrin:

[QUOTE=T_igger_cs_30;583863]

No one knew the Argentinians would have attacked the Falklands at the time of the purchase, not even the increasingly impopular general Galtieri who launched this operation out of the blue, it was a desperate attempt to divert the attention of the populace hit hard by the economic crisis.
I should have been more specific,I was talking about the sales while the diplomacy phase was in progress, and the asistance given during.


And frankly, when you look at the origin of the ships that were in the Argentinian navy during this war, the French were hardly the only ones to supply the dictatorship with dangerous weapons. ;)

Thats not even close to a valid point Oscar, and you know it.

GraniteForge
02 Dec 08,, 07:52
You know, that's an excellent question:

Warships and Combat Aircraft of Argentina as of April 1 1982 and their entry date into service.

Anybody want to take a stab at it?

I will take a stab at the two major warships in the Argentine Armada, although I will have to look up dates in service.

The General Belgrano was a Brooklyn class light cruiser, ex USS Phoenix, placed in Argentine service in 1951.

The aircraft carrier Veinticinco de Mayo was built as a British Colossus class carrier, obtained from the second operator, the Netherlands, and placed in Argentine service in 1969.

I believe that Argentine destroyers were a mix of ex-US and British Royal Navy.

Oscar
02 Dec 08,, 10:57
You know, that's an excellent question:

Warships and Combat Aircraft of Argentina as of April 1 1982 and their entry date into service.

Anybody want to take a stab at it?

All from Wiki

US Skyhawks :


Argentina was not only the first foreign user of the Skyhawk but also one of the largest with nearly 130 A-4s delivered since 1965. The Argentine Air Force received 25 A-4Bs in 1966 and another 25 in 1970, all refurbished in the United States by Lockheed Service Co. prior to their delivery as A-4P, although they were still locally known as A-4B. They had three weapon pylons and served in the 5th Air Brigade (Spanish: V Brigada Aerea). In 1976, another order was made for 25 A-4Cs to replace the F-86 Sabres still in service in the 4th Air Brigade (Spanish: IV Brigada Aerea). They were received as is and refurbished to flight status by the air force technicians at Río Cuarto, Cordoba. They had five weapon pylons and could use AAM AIM-9B Sidewinders.

The Argentine Navy also bought the Skyhawk known as A-4Q in the form of 16 A-4B plus two for spare parts, modified with five weapon pylons and to carry AIM-9B Sidewinders. They were received in 1971 to replace F9F Panther and F9F Cougar in use from the aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo by the 3rd Fighter/Attack Squadron (Spanish: 3ra Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque).

The United States placed an embargo of spare parts in 1977 due to the Dirty War (which was lifted in the 1990s under Carlos Menem's presidency when Argentina became a Major non-NATO ally). In spite of this, A-4s still served well in the 1982 Falklands War where they achieved success against the Royal Navy.

British Type 42 destroyers :


The class was designed in the late 1960s to provide fleet area air-defence. In total fourteen vessels were constructed in three batches, five of which remain in service. In addition, two ships were also built to the same specifications as the Batch 1 vessels for the Armada Republica Argentina. The ships, along with the Type 23 frigates, today form the backbone of the Royal Navy surface fleet

German Type 209 submarine :


Type 209 is a diesel-electric attack submarine developed in the late 1960's by Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG of Germany.


The ARA San Luis (S-32) is a Type 209 diesel-powered submarine of the Argentine Navy. Built in Germany, San Luis has a displacement of 1,285 tonnes and was introduced to the ARA in 1978.


The San Luis was a major concern for the British as she presented a serious danger

Israeli IAI Neshers :


The first Nesher prototype flew in September 1969, with production deliveries to the IAF beginning in May 1971, ending in February 1974. These aircraft performed well during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, claiming over a hundred kills. An estimated 15 Neshers were lost in combat or otherwise.

Survivors of these aircraft were refurbished and exported to Argentina in two batches, 26 in 1978 and 13 in 1980, under the name "Dagger", comprising 35"Dagger A" single-seat fighters and 4 "Dagger B" two-seat trainers.

They form a new unit, 6th Air Group, and they were immediately listed with the help of the 8th Air Group (Mirage IIIEA) and the Peruvian Air Force, already a user of the Mirage 5, due the escalating crisis with Chile of that year.

During the 1982 Falklands War, they were deployed to the southern naval airbase of Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, and an airfield in Puerto San Julián and despite the distance to their targets and lack of aerial refueling capability, managed to make 153 sorties against both ground and naval targets on the 45 days of operations. In the last role they damaged HMS Antrim (D18), HMS Brilliant (F90), HMS Broadsword (F88), HMS Ardent (F184), HMS Arrow (F173) and HMS Plymouth (F126). Eleven Daggers were lost in combat (nine by AIM-9L Sidewinders fired from Sea Harriers and two by Surface to Air Missiles).

So, were the French alone in supplying Argentina with dangerous weapons?

aktarian
02 Dec 08,, 11:13
Falklands Islands is another example of how NATO is *******s. A NATO member gets invaded by a foreign country but the only thing all the other nations can provide is mutual/materiel support.

Yet when the USA gets attacked, and NATO actually goes and helps out in Afghanistan with real support. Everyone cries about France/Germany/Spain/NATO members "not doing enough" and then you had the whole massive anti-French sentiment for not helping out in Iraq. Ridiculous. The world is full of cocks, I hope NATO is disbanded once and for all.

From NATO charter (http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm)


Article 6 (1)

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

* on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
* on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

(1) The definition of the territories to which Article 5 applies was revised by Article 2 of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of Greece and Turkey signed on 22 October 1951.
(2) On January 16, 1963, the North Atlantic Council noted that insofar as the former Algerian Departments of France were concerned, the relevant clauses of this Treaty had become inapplicable as from July 3, 1962.

Hope this clears things up a bit ;)

T_igger_cs_30
02 Dec 08,, 16:42
All from Wiki
So, were the French alone in supplying Argentina with dangerous weapons?

You just do not get it do you , it is not about previous arms sales, that goes on all the time.


From NATO charter (http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm)



Hope this clears things up a bit ;)

Read and digest.


The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all
.

aktarian
02 Dec 08,, 18:15
For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

* on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
* on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.


sigh.......

Oscar
02 Dec 08,, 18:51
You just do not get it do you , it is not about previous arms sales, that goes on all the time.

I gave you a link from an Argentinian journalist that says the French technical team stopped assisting the Argentines when the conflict began. I will give it again:


One of the first acts of the French government was to declare a weapons embargo against Argentina until the conflict ended.

Of course, it deprived the 2nd Squadron of the possibility of being assisted by French technicians but the Argentine personnel of the unit, far from giving up, faced on their own the challenge to set up the Exocets

See?

James S Corum is all alone when he says that the French stabbed you in the back. And even you are more straightforward in your claim than him since he said :


the French technical team remained in Argentina and apparently continued to work on the aircraft and Exocets

Btw, I'm still waiting for your Argentinian source that backs your accusation.

Parihaka
02 Dec 08,, 18:59
If they did assist they did a piss poor job. IIRC most of the bloody things, including the one which struck the Sheffield, didn't actually detonate.

T_igger_cs_30
02 Dec 08,, 20:46
I gave you a link from an Argentinian journalist that says the French technical team stopped assisting the Argentines when the conflict began. I will give it again:
I read it.



See?

James S Corum is all alone when he says that the French stabbed you in the back. And even you are more straightforward in your claim than him since he said :
Not my quote, or reference.



Btw, I'm still waiting for your Argentinian source that backs your accusation.
My source is not Argentinian,I told you in 2012 you will be able to read the whole truth, you obviously have a selective reading habit.
.

T_igger_cs_30
02 Dec 08,, 20:47
If they did assist they did a piss poor job. IIRC most of the bloody things, including the one which struck the Sheffield, didn't actually detonate.

You are correct Pari, the excocet was not the cream of the crop of missiles, they did , thankfully do a poor job.

T_igger_cs_30
02 Dec 08,, 22:05
I have been rather busy of late and in my haste, and not thinking I used the NATO charter wrongly, it quite clearly states Northern not Southern so this charter does not apply in this case.
I apologise to you aktarian, I should have read it before using it.

gunnut
03 Dec 08,, 00:36
The Argentinians had no previous experience with antiship missiles, and the Exocet was a complicated and cranky weapon. The Argentinians experienced a lot of trouble fitting the Exocet launch system and rails to the Super Etendards. In November 1981, Dassault Aviation, owned by the French government and builder of the Super Etendard, sent a team of nine of its own technicians (and some additional French Aerospatiale specialists) to work with the Argentine navy to supervise the introduction of the Etendards and Exocets. Although France complied with the NATO/ Common Market weapons embargo, the French technical team remained in Argentina and apparently continued to work on the aircraft and Exocets, successfully repairing the malfunctioning launch systems. Without the technical help and collusion from the government of France—Britain’s NATO “ally”—it is improbable that Argentina would have been able to employ its most devastating weapon.18

This is an account from an investigating Journalist,you know What,He´s Argentinian.

He also goes on to say that the U.S. provided the British task Force with Information about Planes taking off from overhead Satallites.

Anyone find that mildly amusing? Apparently not even French weapons like other French weapons. :))

chakos
03 Dec 08,, 05:14
I have a Falklands question, if anybody can help thanks in advance.

The main reason i saw that the Argentinians lost the war is because a) They didnt have enough exocets to seriously damage the English at long range and more importantly b) They didnt have any of their longer ranged aircraft based on the Islands, forcing their aircraft to fight at the limits of their range against the fueled up Harriers.

My question is this... Why didnt the Argentineans put a couple of squadrons of A4s at least on the Islands? If they where able to be carrier launched then im sure they would easily be able to operate from the main airbase in the Falklands. Ideally following up any invasion force would be the engineers extending the runway to take the Super Etendards and the Daggers. Is there a reason that none of this happened, and is there a reason they didnt wait a couple of months in order to get better stocks of exocets?

GraniteForge
03 Dec 08,, 05:51
I have a Falklands question, if anybody can help thanks in advance.

The main reason i saw that the Argentinians lost the war is because a) They didnt have enough exocets to seriously damage the English at long range and more importantly b) They didnt have any of their longer ranged aircraft based on the Islands, forcing their aircraft to fight at the limits of their range against the fueled up Harriers.

My question is this... Why didnt the Argentineans put a couple of squadrons of A4s at least on the Islands? If they where able to be carrier launched then im sure they would easily be able to operate from the main airbase in the Falklands. Ideally following up any invasion force would be the engineers extending the runway to take the Super Etendards and the Daggers. Is there a reason that none of this happened, and is there a reason they didnt wait a couple of months in order to get better stocks of exocets?

The Argentine junta did not seriously contest possession of the islands. They had hoped to create fait accompli with the seizure. When the English did not accept the takeover, the Argentine government decided on a middle path: commit all of their naval assets and a significant part of the air force to contest English moves, but only use a fraction of their land forces (primarily ineffective conscripts) to occupy the islands.

chakos
03 Dec 08,, 06:15
The Argentine junta did not seriously contest possession of the islands. They had hoped to create fait accompli with the seizure. When the English did not accept the takeover, the Argentine government decided on a middle path: commit all of their naval assets and a significant part of the air force to contest English moves, but only use a fraction of their land forces (primarily ineffective conscripts) to occupy the islands.

The land forces on the island would have been enough if the air force played its role better. Say 3 squadrons on the islands including a full squadron of super etendards flying anti shipping missiles with enough exocets to cause serious damage (50+). They would be able to engage the English flotilla multiple times and a lot more effectivelly.

Imagine a squadron of A4s with free falls escorted by a full squadron of daggers or mirage IIIs. The English would have to put up pretty much their entire airwing to repulse the attack. Dont forget at the time the English didnt even have twin racks for the AIM-9L let alone any BVR missiles, Harriers where going up with 2 Sidewinders a peice. Now follow up this attack with a squadron of 12 Super Etendards firing Exocets just as the survivors from the feint attack retreat. The English fleet would have been massacred before it got close enough have any effect on the islands.

The Falklands seems to have been won in equal parts by Brit proffesionalism and Argentinean incompetence.

GraniteForge
03 Dec 08,, 06:40
The land forces on the island would have been enough if the air force played its role better. Say 3 squadrons on the islands including a full squadron of super etendards flying anti shipping missiles with enough exocets to cause serious damage (50+). They would be able to engage the English flotilla multiple times and a lot more effectivelly.

You're talking about at least 10X as many air-launched Exocets as Argentina actually had available. Sure, that would have allowed them to sink the entire English fleet as it actually deployed, but if the Argentines had actually presented that level of threat, the English would have known it, and perhaps done something else.

TopHatter
03 Dec 08,, 07:26
I saw a docu a few years back where they mentioned that Argentina exactly FIVE Exocets actually on hand before France slammed the door shut on them.

That really rocked me back...a large Royal Navy task force roaring down on them and they had a mere five state-of-the-art AShM's to wield against them. Never knew that until that doc

Some interesting tidbits from Wiki (maddeningly there are no links)

To contain the Exocet threat a major intelligence operation was initiated to prevent the Argentine Navy from acquiring more Exocets.

The operation included British intelligence agents claiming to be arms dealers able to supply large numbers of Exocets to Argentina, diverting Argentina from pursuing sources which could genuinely supply a few missiles.

France denied deliveries of recently-purchased AM39 [air-launched Exocets] to Peru to avoid the possibility of them being passed to Argentina.


Although France complied with the NATO/ Common Market weapons embargo, the French technical team remained in Argentina and apparently continued to work on the aircraft and Exocets, successfully repairing the malfunctioning launch systems.

This is an account from an investigating Journalist,you know What,He´s Argentinian.


An interesting link (http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Falklands/Exocet.html), where another Argentine source says, although it took them 2 weeks, they did it without French help.

Who knows if we'll ever know the truth...


Of course, [the French arms embargo] deprived the 2nd Squadron of the possibility of being assisted by French technicians but the Argentine personnel of the unit, far from giving up, faced on their own the challenge to set up the Exocets.

Two weeks later, the interface between airplane and missile had been solved, and the tests on anti-ship strikes began.

Fortunately for the Argentineans, the country had bought from Great Britain two Type 42 destroyers (the same class used by the Royal Navy), the ARA Hércules and ARA Santísima Trinidad.

In consequence, the unit's pilots tested and improved the attack tactics against these kinds of ships.

T_igger_cs_30
03 Dec 08,, 08:26
I have a Falklands question, if anybody can help thanks in advance.

The main reason i saw that the Argentinians lost the war is because a) They didnt have enough exocets to seriously damage the English at long range and more importantly b) They didnt have any of their longer ranged aircraft based on the Islands, forcing their aircraft to fight at the limits of their range against the fueled up Harriers.

My question is this... Why didnt the Argentineans put a couple of squadrons of A4s at least on the Islands? If they where able to be carrier launched then im sure they would easily be able to operate from the main airbase in the Falklands. Ideally following up any invasion force would be the engineers extending the runway to take the Super Etendards and the Daggers. Is there a reason that none of this happened, and is there a reason they didnt wait a couple of months in order to get better stocks of exocets?

Basicly Argentina relied on there navy IMO.
Remember Argentina had excocets on there surface ships also, in simple terms its always talked of as if the British task force was a single entity, when in fact it was two, the submarines operated as a second task force, (each sub allocted a seperate AoR) Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward wanted command as a whole but this went against standard cold war doctrine so what you had was, Admiral Woodward in command of the carriers and escorts and Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse (c-in-c fleet) back in London in command of the two task forces as a whole.
One point to mention was the two task forces had seperate RoE.

The sinking of the Belgrano by HMS Conqueror caused the Argentine navy to cut and run back behind the countries 12 mile limit.

Some political fall out followed after the sinking of the cruiser, but thats a whole different debate.

chakos
03 Dec 08,, 09:05
You're talking about at least 10X as many air-launched Exocets as Argentina actually had available. Sure, that would have allowed them to sink the entire English fleet as it actually deployed, but if the Argentines had actually presented that level of threat, the English would have known it, and perhaps done something else.

The point i am getting to is that if you had an intention of taking on a maritime power the one thing you would make sure you had LOTS of would be anti shipping missiles. In fact they went into action with only 5. The French only cut them off because they where invading an ally. They could have kept their intentions quiet, waited for the entire order to be fulfilled (not sure how many that was for but it was for a hell of a lot more than 5) and then take on the English.

It stood to reason that if your about to attack the territory of NATO member 'y' then NATO member 'x' would stop supplying you with advanced arms. Better you have what you need to win before the war begins than to hope supply continues once the shooting starts.

The Argentineans didnt need to start the war that week... im sure a two or three month wait would not have been too much of an issue.

Did they honestly think that by using their navy of second and third hand warships they where going to take on 2 task forces of the worlds oldest and pound-for-pound arguably most effective navy???

T_igger_cs_30
03 Dec 08,, 10:26
The Argentineans didnt need to start the war that week... im sure a two or three month wait would not have been too much of an issue.
Intel is a wonderful thing, hand forced decision to be made now or never type thing. Oh the Brits wont do anything over a rock:rolleyes:...........Biggest mistake IMO........taking 40 Royal marines prisoner bad bad mistake.....

Did they honestly think that by using their navy of second and third hand warships they where going to take on 2 task forces of the worlds oldest and pound-for-pound arguably most effective navy???
Again yes .....bad decision.
.

aktarian
03 Dec 08,, 10:36
I have been rather busy of late and in my haste, and not thinking I used the NATO charter wrongly, it quite clearly states Northern not Southern so this charter does not apply in this case.
I apologise to you aktarian, I should have read it before using it.

np, it happens ;)

What is often overlooked is that Argentina planned this invasion a few months later, during southern winter. But things got out of hand and events were rushed and it went the way it did. A few months later (in july, IIRC) would mean that some RN ships would be removed from active service and Argitina could have more Exocets.

gunnut
04 Dec 08,, 00:31
np, it happens ;)

What is often overlooked is that Argentina planned this invasion a few months later, during southern winter. But things got out of hand and events were rushed and it went the way it did. A few months later (in july, IIRC) would mean that some RN ships would be removed from active service and Argitina could have more Exocets.

I believe Hermes was about to retire when Falkland happened. Had the Argentinians waited just a few more months, they would have had more missiles and one fewer carrier to worry about.

There might have been a political pressure to start the war as well. They really couldn't wait. The economy was in the gutters and people were angry. The best way to distract them was a war.

TopHatter
04 Dec 08,, 01:29
I believe Hermes was about to retire when Falkland happened. Had the Argentinians waited just a few more months, they would have had more missiles and one fewer carrier to worry about.

Hermes to retire and Invincible to be sold. Plus Admiral Winter solidly on their side....

...if they'd waited just a little longer.

Gawd, could they have f'ed things up any worse? :confused:

T_igger_cs_30
04 Dec 08,, 01:48
Remember back on the first page of this thread..........I mentioned the primary source of the article in the first post, Sir John Nott the Minister of Defence who handed his resignation in after the task force deployed..............Old Maggie refused his resignation at that point, ................ made him stick around to see the task force succeed despite his efforts to slash the Navy..............of course detracted from her a little too :rolleyes:

TopHatter
04 Dec 08,, 06:05
I was actually referring to the Argentinians screwing things up (though yes, slashing through the RN budget wasn't too swift either)

gf0012-aust
05 Dec 08,, 20:23
If the argies had waited another 12 months it would have even been better for them as HMS Invincible was about to be sold to the RAN. As it was the AustGov advised that they were happy to suspend transfer negotiations in a time of need. Granted as soon as the manure hit the fan we would have probably politically manouvred a way to lend her back - bit it would have been a bit messy and broadened the scope of the whole conflict a bit too much.

I blame the argies for buggering up our future carrier requirements and ipso facto killing off our fixed wing combat fleet air arm :)

avon1944
08 Apr 09,, 18:54
If the argies had waited another 12 months it would have even been better for them as HMS Invincible was about to be sold to the RAN.
I agree that the Argentine lost the conflict because they could not wait another year or eighteen months for the invasion. Political pressure from a failing economy is what forced up the time table.
Another twelve to eighteen months would have provided the Argentinians to make a lot more Exocet missiles operational, maybe get the rocket motors for the ejection seats, the Royal Navy time to get rid of its carriers and disband the personnel that operated them, etc.
The problem was this effort was more impromptu than most people realize. He the invasion been planned more methodically, the Argentine military would have trained patrol aircraft to locate fleet elements, develop air to air refueling, obtained Matra R.530 and R.550 missiles, teach their fighter pilots to dogfight, have more transports to bring more equipment to the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, troops better trained and a host of other things which contributed to their defeat. In essence develop a military that could do the job of holding the islands and not depend upon a political solution or negotiations to keep the Islands.

gf0012-aust
08 Apr 09,, 22:26
Although the timing would have been a bit thrown out of whack, the AustGovs offer would have been to offer the Carrier up to the UK for "use". They did make it clear that if a strategic issue came up that it would be available.

again, the further down the track, the more complex it would become as RN personnel would have dispersed and it would probably be more likely that a RAN asset would have been seconded to the RN instead of stood back as a second layer assist to release primary RN assets for the job (as no relevant "pool" of primary assets would have technically existed by then anyway)

Kommunist
11 Apr 09,, 20:22
I saw a docu a few years back where they mentioned that Argentina exactly FIVE Exocets actually on hand before France slammed the door shut on them.

That really rocked me back...a large Royal Navy task force roaring down on them and they had a mere five state-of-the-art AShM's to wield against them. Never knew that until that doc


Basicly Argentina relied on there navy IMO.

Remember Argentina had excocets on there surface ships also, in simple terms its always talked of as if the British task force was a single entity, when in fact it was two, the submarines operated as a second task force

If they had 5 exocets, then they most likely used all of them (1-Glamorgan, 1-Sheffield and 2-Atlantic Conveyor, 1 unaccounted) and there could not have any ship based Exocets, contrary to what Tigger has said. :confused:

TopHatter
11 Apr 09,, 20:45
If they had 5 exocets, then they most likely used all of them (1-Glamorgan, 1-Sheffield and 2-Atlantic Conveyor, 1 unaccounted) and there could not have any ship based Exocets, contrary to what Tigger has said. :confused:

I should have clarifed: the documentary was referring to air-launched Exocets, they mentioned nothing about ship-launched.

I think that the distinction was being made between the radical difference in mobility of the 2 delivery systems: 20-28 knot warships, as opposed to the 600+ knot Super Étendards. The air-launched variants were obviously far more valuable.

As for the actual number of Exocets fired during the war, the answer is actually 6:

Taken from Wiki:


Between August and November 1981, five Super Étendards and five [air-launched] Exocets were shipped to Argentina.

All five of the [air-launched] missiles were used during the conflict,


One missile hitting HMS Sheffield, one missing during the same attack.
Two missiles hit the merchant aircraft transporter Atlantic Conveyor.
The fifth missile was launched in an attack intended to strike against the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible but the attacking aircraft failed to find their target.
The sixth Exocet, which damaged HMS Glamorgan, was a land-launched ship's missile [removed from the frigate ARA Guerrico] set up in an improvised truck-trailer platform by Argentine technicians

Tin Man
12 Apr 09,, 19:34
Luckily, most, if not all of the Sea Harriers and GR-3`s had disembarked from Atlantic Conveyor before the double Exocet strike. The loss of the Chinooks was really felt although didn`t change the outcome of the conflict.
The Carriers were the target in that Exocet attack, but there was enough Chaff in the air to fill an entire scrap yard! Interesting how one Exocet missed and was then able to "re-attack" to find another target which was the ACO.

I think Argentina had all the tools they required to take and hold the Islands for at least a lot longer than they did. They made mistakes, these lost them the war.
1. Failure to extend Stanley and harden the pans to operate all their aircraft types.
2. Using conscripts as the main defensive force, the best troops stayed put on the Chilean border.
3. Poor tactics by the garrison commander on the islands in deploying his numerically superior forces, although not in quality.

If Argentina had held on for a few more months, I believe the RN would have been forced to withdraw, our ships were "worn out" in engineering terms. These were Admiral Woodwards own words.

Where we could have shortened the war considerably concerns the destruction of the two radars Argentine forces operated on the islands. These radars co-ordinated their air campaign very well and at least tried to counter the Harrier CAPS. Oh for a fistful of ALARM or HARM missiles!
I saw a piece on another forum where one of the Argentine radar operators saw 5 or 6 Vulcans attacking his position or threatening it on their radar screens. In fact there was only ever one Vulcan over the islands at a time. Not bad for 1950`s ECM eh? LOL

Tin Man
12 Apr 09,, 19:42
Oh, here is a link to the Board of inquiry into the Atlantic Conveyor loss in HTML form .Sad that most of the dozen men who died, passed away in the freezing Atlantic waters after jumping overboard rather than in the initial attack. RIP.

The BOI tells the tale of a ship not suited for a war zone, duh, as it was a commercial ship, no surprises there! An interesting read though.

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:q8DKaxnF0hkJ:www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/EC14467A-DFAF-4030-BDFB-9E1AAF00205E/0/boi_atlanticconveyorpt1.pdf+atlantic+conveyor&cd=28&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

Officer of Engineers
12 Apr 09,, 20:57
Would the United States allowed the UK to lose the war?

TopHatter
12 Apr 09,, 21:17
Would the United States allowed the UK to lose the war?

A possibility: Argentina manages to hold off the UK until winter.

Assuming both the junta and public opinion in the UK survive until weather permits renewed combat operations, I would predict that US assistance goes (far?) beyond that which was historically offered.

Tin Man
12 Apr 09,, 21:27
Would the United States allowed the UK to lose the war?

Great question OoE.
If the RN was forced to withdraw, what would have been the US`s position?

Either the British government would have been under great pressure to return and try to retake the islands in a second attempt by our population. Or, public opinion would have turned against Thatcher and any further action would have been aborted. Losses of men and ships can do that as you well know.

Argentina could have fortified the islands further, expanded Stanley, mined harbours. There would also be no lack of Exocets. Ship launched versions could be converted to be fired from mobile batteries, they did it once. The only difficulty the Argentines would have faced was overstretch, with the perceived threat from Chile which kept their best troops and tip of their air force on the mainland.

Would the US have considered direct intervention and given Argentina an ultimatum to leave the islands? I think, with Reagan that could have been a possibility. If that happened, it would be conflict over, very quickly.

Tin Man
12 Apr 09,, 21:30
Read my mind Tophatter, the real battle would have occurred in the minds of the British people if RN had withdrawn. I definitely think the US would have intervened, but how popular would this have been in the US? Consider that I can see no way Argentina would even consider squaring up to the US.

TopHatter
12 Apr 09,, 22:16
Read my mind Tophatter, the real battle would have occurred in the minds of the British people if RN had withdrawn. I definitely think the US would have intervened, but how popular would this have been in the US?
It certainly not have been popular in the US, no question there.

But Reagan was never above doing the unpopular and, let's face it, downright criminal (Iran-Contra)...and he greatly valued the special relationship with Great Britain and especially with PM Thatcher.

I don't see this expanded help as necessarily involving US manpower, more along the lines of greatly expanded logistics and ordnance support, even more than originally supplied, which was apparently considerable.

This could possibly include entire warships or aircraft. As rumored, SecDef Weinberger offered to loan the UK a helicopter carrier. Not really likely or even plausible, but who knows really?

Having said all that, I've also read that Reagan was not (fully?) aware of how much SecDef Weinberger had authorized in the way of support for the UK.

Tin Man
12 Apr 09,, 22:41
I do know that a full size carrier WAS offered to the RN by President Reagan, but the navy rejected it for practical reasons. It would have taken a year or more to train a RN crew to sail her and use her. The idea was to fly RAF Phantoms and Bucc`s from her too. It would be good to know exactly which carrier was offered. If we did take a US carrier, it would almost certainly have been a must to have at least some USN support people aboard, even "down south".

I too have read of the logistics support, although there is some argument about where the Sidewinder stocks were taken from. Some say NATO stocks, others say direct from US stocks, which could be argued were the same thing! There were also, of course, plenty of US military on Ascension Island being a joint base....

TopHatter
13 Apr 09,, 00:47
I do know that a full size carrier WAS offered to the RN by President Reagan, but the navy rejected it for practical reasons.The names that I see getting thrown around on the Internet (which means it must be true!) are Eisenhower, Oriskany and Kearsarge, all of which I regard as extremely doubtful to flat-out impossible:

USS Eisenhower - The idea that the USN would part with a nuclear-powered carrier is rather hard to swallow. In addition, as you mentioned, the RN operating her would most definitely have called for USN nuke sailors, at the very least. So, not a chance there.

USS Oriskany - Sitting in mothballs for 6+ years by the time of the Falklands conflict, she's actually the most likely candidate...assuming the RN didn't mind paying for and waiting out a year or so for her to go through a bare-bones refit, to say nothing of manpower training. Another one of those "ain't gonna happen" scenarios.

USS Kearsage - I had to laugh when I read this one, mostly because Kearsage had been scrapped 8 years previously.

Also rumored and far more likely was an Iwo Jima-class helicopter carrier that could have handled RN/RAF Harriers, specifically USS Guam. Ironically, Guam had tested and subsequently operated with USMC Harriers in the Sea Control ship role from 1972-1974.

Rumors have floated around that Royal Navy officers inspected a pair of Iwo Jima-class carriers in Norfolk...probably just long enough to report that it wasn't a really good idea.

Oddly enough, the one name I've never seen is the one that enters the realm of the possible, and is also more capable than an LPH: USS Lexington. A conventionally-powered training carrier, not a frontline asset, with manpower requirements a little better than that of a full-blown supercarrier, probably able to handle any CTOL aircraft in the UK inventory.

Additionally, USN Phantoms were in adequate supply if the event that RAF Phantoms were unsuitable or unavailable...which is exactly what happened post-conflict:


Following the Falklands War in 1982, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government decided to station RAF Phantoms there in defense of the islands. However, the RAF's Phantoms were fully tasked in support of NATO and couldn't be spared, and so in 1983 Britain ordered 15 ex-US Navy F-4J Phantoms to augment RAF stocks, allowing a Phantom squadron to be sent to the Falklands. The "new" aircraft received the designation "F-4J(UK)". They were originally provided essentially "as-was", but they were gradually refitted with more and more British kit, including some gear scavenged from surplus Phantom FG.1s. Link (http://www.vectorsite.net/avf4_3.html#m1)


If we did take a US carrier, it would almost certainly have been a must to have at least some USN support people aboard, even "down south".That would have been problematic politically and nearly impossible to hide, given the numbers required.

I have to say, it's a great story and inspiring to think of the US helping out the UK in such a huge way, but I really don't believe that it was ever a practical possibility.


I too have read of the logistics support, although there is some argument about where the Sidewinder stocks were taken from. Some say NATO stocks, others say direct from US stocks, which could be argued were the same thing! There were also, of course, plenty of US military on Ascension Island being a joint base....

Those were the brand-new AIM-9L all-aspect Sidewinders...so probably directly from US stocks.

The logistics support was evidently pretty extensive:


The US cornucopia included 12.5 million gallons of aviation fuel, a water purification plant, 4,700 tons of airfield matting, and—’the single most decisive weapon of the campaign’—a new generation of air-to-air missiles. ‘More than 90 percent of all our aircraft losses’, wrote an Argentine air force officer, ‘were caused by Harriers firing the American-made AIM-9L Sidewinder’. Link (http://www.warbirdforum.com/falk1.htm)

Tin Man
13 Apr 09,, 16:01
Yes! USS Kearsage and Oriskany are the two names that I had previously seen, didnt realize Kearsage had been sent to carrier heaven well before the conflict.

ANY large ship would have been impractical regards training and using them proficiently. The only way I see it becoming a reality is if Argentina had held and the RN returned in 1983, even then it would be a great risk. A helicopter carrier or two "borrowed" from the USN would more than double the Harrier force down south. The RAF and Navy had around 100 Harriers in total but there must have been some unbreakable NATO commitments for the majority of the force as your link suggested.

Interestingly, a single Phantom and a Buccaneer were flown to Stanley after the conflict, rather, the Phantom was shipped and the Bucc` did it thru a ferry flight. Along with a few Harriers, that was all the air cover available!

The Bucc` and the New Tornado were considered for the Vulcan Black Buck missions, apparently the Tornado was a non starter and the Bucc`, even though it could get there with IFR, would require far more Victor tankers than the Vulcan needed. Also the Bucc`s oil consumption was a major issue over such a long mission, as well as the fact a whole flight would be needed to take Stanley out. Additionally, toss bombing wouldn`t give you the desired runway penetration that high alt Iron bombs could offer.

The US help we had is indeed inspiring and I thank the Lord for that! I don`t think, even today, we know the full extent. The US also provided arresting gear for Stanley, post conflict, which of course had a short runway.

An oddity, there were rumours amongst British Para`s that there were US mercenaries fighting against them, Scotland Yard sent detectives down to the Islands after the conflict to investigate the claims, no evidence was found at all. The confusion was with the American accented English some of the Argentine troops had, they must have lived or studied in the US. That would be help we wouldn`t want!

All in all, the US help was appreciated, and we did, as the thread title suggests, have aid from France, although Thatcher had to do some arm twisting with Mitterrand to get some of the help! I read a piece that suggested the MoD wanted to know how to disable the Exocets, the French knew how. I don`t know if there is any truth in that.

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 09,, 16:36
Cross post from another thread


The Sphinx and the curious case of the Iron Lady's H-bomb
François Mitterrand took many secrets with him when he died 10 years ago, but now his most startling claim is revealed. John Follain reports
It is May 7, 1982, shortly after 3.30pm. Ali Magoudi, a Parisian psychoanalyst, paces back and forth awaiting the secret arrival of his next patient — whose identity, if revealed, would set off an earthquake in French politics.

The figure who enters, 45 minutes late, is François Mitterrand, no less — the president of France. Magoudi discovers that his patient does not want to talk about his childhood or his dreams, but about Margaret Thatcher and the crisis over the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

“Excuse me,” Mitterrand begins, apologising for his late arrival. “I had a difference of opinion to settle with the Iron Lady. What an impossible woman, that Thatcher! “With her four nuclear submarines on mission in the southern Atlantic, she threatens to launch the atomic weapon against Argentina — unless I supply her with the secret codes that render deaf and blind the missiles we have sold to the Argentinians. Margaret has given me very precise instructions on the telephone.”

The scene is the most striking in Magoudi’s book, Rendez-vous: The psychoanalysis of François Mitterrand, which is to be published in France on Friday. An account of their meetings, which spanned 11 years from 1982 to 1993, it is by far the most revealing of a flurry of books preceding the 10th anniversary of Mitterrand’s death on January 8, 1996.

The psychoanalyst has assured his publisher that all the quotes attributed to Mitterrand are genuine, although he cannot vouch for the truth of what the president said.

Magoudi never fathoms Mitterrand out enough to draw up a psychological profile. But in notes taken after their meetings, he writes of his patient’s near-mystical enjoyment of power, his paranoid tendencies, his “massive anxiety” and the way morbid images frequently crop up in his speech.

The French are still fascinated by the socialist leader who ruled France for 14 years, and who so cultivated an aura of mystery he was nicknamed “le Sphinx”. Although he claimed to have brought morality into French politics, his legacy has been clouded by corruption scandals. Last month, seven of his former associates were convicted of invasion of privacy for their role in a phone-tapping operation that he orchestrated on spurious national security grounds.

Imagine a Tony Blair, a George W Bush or a Vladimir Putin confiding to a psychoanalyst long-buried childhood memories; glimpses of his private life involving an estranged wife, a mistress and an illegitimate daughter; fears of illness and death; and the occasional state secret or state lie.

Magoudi says his book was ordered by Mitterrand himself, who knew he would not live to see it published. It is a bizarre, intimate and haunting testament. Above all, it throws a new light on the help Mitterrand gave to Thatcher — who, he famously said, “had the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe”.

IT WAS in early May 1982, after a year in power, that Mitterrand contacted Magoudi to ask him to become his therapist. The psychoanalyst accepted with reluctance: he didn’t relish the prospect of the secret service searching his study in the Marais district or curious courtiers bugging his telephone.

The next day, on May 4, two French-manufactured Super Etendard planes of the Argentine airforce attacked HMS Sheffield, a destroyer in the British taskforce steaming to the Falkland islands.

A wave-skimming Exocet missile hit the Sheffield amidships, killing 20 crew and injuring 24. The destroyer was scuttled and British naval commanders swiftly concluded that this French-made weapon was so effective that the entire operation to throw the Argentine occupiers out of the islands was at risk.

Mitterrand had already pledged co-operation to Thatcher. Jacques Attali, his former aide, wrote that the president called her on the day after the invasion and told her: “I am with you.”

According to Attali, who acted as his interpreter, “she was stunned and did not expect it”. Mitterrand had come to her aid while her friend Ronald Reagan dithered.

Now Magoudi adds a nuclear twist to this apparently selfless entente. He writes that the death toll on the stricken Sheffield did not appear to impress Mitterrand unduly.

“In war, when there is one death, it is already a lot,” the president said as their therapy session got under way three days later. “But, after all, these soldiers were professionals. If they were serving on this destroyer, it’s because they were volunteers. When you do this kind of job, you don’t invoke the gods every time there is a small hitch.”

Mitterrand added: “I express myself freely in telling you this. I won’t say it in public, of course.”

In full flow, he told Magoudi that he had ordered the Exocet’s secrets to be handed over to the British at Thatcher’s insistence.

“She is furious,” he said. “She blames me personally for this new Trafalgar . . . I have been forced to yield. She has them now, the codes. If our customers find out that the French wreck the weapons they sell, it’s not going to reflect well on our exports.

“I ask you to keep that to yourself. I’ve been told that psychoanalysts don’t know how to keep mum in town! Is that true?” Magoudi did not reply. Instead he asked: “How do you react to such an intransigent woman?” Mitterrand replied: “What do you expect? You can’t win a struggle against the insular syndrome of an unbridled Englishwoman. To provoke a nuclear war for small islands inhabited by three sheep who are as hairy as they are frozen! Fortunately I yielded to her. Otherwise, I assure you, the metallic index finger of the lady would press the button.”

Magoudi wanted to know how his patient felt about being “symbolically emasculated”, as the psychoanalyst put it. “You mean that in the face of such aggressiveness you remain passive?” he asked.

“I will have the last word,” Mitterrand replied. “Her island, it’s me who will destroy it. Her island, I swear that soon it will no longer be one. I will take my revenge. I will tie England to Europe, despite its natural tendency for isolation. How? I will build a tunnel under the Channel. Yes. I will succeed where Napoleon III failed.”

Clearly delighted with his vision, Mitterrand had no doubt he would persuade Thatcher to accept the tunnel. “I will flatter her shopkeeper spirit. I will tell her that the welding to the Continent will not cost the crown one kopeck. She will not resist this resonant argument.”

What are we to make of this account? What we do know is that there were British nuclear weapons in the Falklands conflict zone. According to Sir Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies at King’s College London, the British taskforce carried nuclear depth charges. But he said there was no intention to use them.

A number of ships that had been on exercises off Gibraltar had been ordered to steam south with nuclear depth charges on board rather than use up precious time unloading them.

“The government was desperate to get them away from the taskforce but the delays this would have caused at a time when they were trying to make the biggest diplomatic impact meant they decided they had better take them,” Freedman said. “They put them in the safest places possible. There was no intention to use them, but they certainly went.”

There have been no credible reports of Polaris nuclear-armed submarines in the area. But, two years after the war, the Labour party demanded an official inquiry into a report that Britain had sent a Polaris to Ascension Island, the staging post for the taskforce, to be on stand-by for a nuclear attack on the Argentine city of Cordoba if the war went badly.

The retired admirals who had been in charge of the Royal Navy during the conflict denied the charge. Admiral Sir Terence Lewin, then chief of the defence staff, said a nuclear attack “never entered our remotest thoughts”. Admiral Henry Leach, chief of the naval staff at the time, said: “We did not contemplate a nuclear attack and did not make any even potentially preparatory moves for such action.”

Was Thatcher bluffing Mitterrand? Or was he exaggerating her ruthlessness? He certainly gave her the Exocet codes, despite the resistance of his ministers and military chiefs, who wanted to protect French secrets and would have been happy to see Britain humiliated.

Investigations in the 1990s revealed that France provided Britain with a large amount of technical assistance. The most valuable information was on the Exocet’s homing radar. Officials of Aerospatiale, the manufacturer, denied having direct dealings with the British; but Aerospatiale was run by Jacques Mitterrand, the president’s brother, a fact that may have facilitated a quiet arrangement.

Sir John Nott, defence minister during the Falklands war, revealed in his memoirs that the French also supplied aircraft similar to those sold to Argentina for British pilots to practise against.

“In so many ways,” wrote Nott, a diehard Eurosceptic like Thatcher, “Mitterrand and the French were our greatest allies.”

Thatcher wrote in her memoirs that the French president was “absolutely staunch” in his support. “I was to have many disputes with President Mitterrand in later years,” she wrote. “But I never forgot the debt we owed him for his personal support throughout the Falklands crisis.”

Mitterrand’s own assessment of her was confided to Attali. “Of course it is only power that matters,” he said late one night in 1982. “You can do nothing without it. That’s why I admire Thatcher.”

For all her exasperating behaviour over Europe, “a mutual trust united them”, Attali said on the release of a book of his conversations with Mitterrand in 1996. “There was a certain tension between them, but they had a relationship of seduction, the rapport of man-woman.”

And, according to Attali, Mitterrand’s “Caligula” remark had been misquoted. He had actually said she had “the eyes of Stalin and the voice of Marilyn Monroe”.

As for Mitterrand’s payback, the Channel tunnel, this agreement was sealed when Thatcher visited Paris in November 1984, two years after the Falklands war. Reports at the time spoke of a late-night session over whisky at the British ambassador’s residence in the rue de Faubourg St Honoré, where her doubts turned to an almost messianic belief in the project.

At 2am she drank a toast to Anglo-French co-operation. “We had to have another drink before we were allowed to go to bed,” the late Nick Ridley, who was transport secretary, recorded in his memoirs, “exhausted though we were.”

The tunnel was meant to open in 1993 at a cost of £5 billion. In fact it limped into operation with a limited service in 1994 at £12 billion, and in its first year of operation lost £900m. Mitterrand had his revenge — although the tunnel has proved as much as a financial black hole for France as for Britain. Eurotunnel, the Anglo-French operating company, owes more than £6 billion.

IN HIS book Magoudi provides other insights into the president’s secret and manipulative ways. He has kept secret the locations of some of their meetings but says their therapy sessions lasted for a total of 18 hours. They also met informally for lunch and sometimes travelled together, he says.

At their first meeting, Mitterrand’s pale complexion and mummy-like pursed lips struck the therapist as signs of illness. The president revealed he had prostate cancer — a secret that was to be kept from the French public for most of his years in power.

“My doctors are categorical,” he said. “The shooting pain I felt behind the thigh is not a sciatica, which is what Claude Gubler (his doctor) told the press . . . I have a minuscule cancer which only men suffer from.” It had spread to the bone and Mitterrand doubted the efficacy of his medical treatment.

He had consulted the astrologist Elizabeth Teissier, a former model and soft-porn actress, who had advised him to take no chances “given my current astral conjunction”. She had suggested he find a psychoanalyst to help him fight the cancer mentally. Mitterrand had picked Magoudi after asking intelligence agents to investigate him.

“I have waited for this presidency and the pleasure it gives me for too long to allow myself to be manoeuvred by death,” Mitterrand told Magoudi. “Do you realise? I have waited for more than 40 years before taking the place of Charles de Gaulle.”

A prominent politician since the 1950s, Mitterrand had used the French socialist party as a vehicle for personal political survival during the long Gaullist ascendancy of the 1960s and 1970s. On arriving at the presidential Elysée Palace, he had immediately chosen de Gaulle’s former office for himself.

“Today it’s me who speaks in the name of France,” he told Magoudi. “Every time I rejoice internally . . . You do not know the joy that the love coming from all the French gives you. You will never know the effects of that drug.”

Mitterrand had a plan: “to act, a little; to speak, a great deal; to build, enormously; to travel, definitely”.

He appealed to Magoudi to help him in the mental fight to live long enough to fulfil this goal. “From you I ask only one thing. Help me to gain time, the time to build the image that I wish to leave to history. I need more of it, of time. A great deal.”

After a few sessions, Mitterrand revealed to Magoudi the existence of his illegitimate daughter, Mazarine, born in 1974 when he was 58. He said that for years he had no longer lived with Danielle, his wife. This was at a time when all of France save for a few intimate friends of Mitterrand believed the president and the first lady shared a house on the Left Bank.

To hide Mazarine, his daughter by his mistress Anne Pingeot, a curator at the Musée d’Orsay, Mitterrand set up a vast and illicit eavesdropping apparatus that targeted politicians, lawyers, journalists and celebrities.

He did not speak publicly about Mazarine until shortly before his death, by which time she was a university student. Most French people saw her for the first time when she appeared at his funeral.

“I have had adventures,” Mitterrand told Magoudi. “I was a rather handsome young man with a desire to seduce made all the more intense by the fact that, deep down, I wasn’t self-confident.”

Comparing himself to Don Giovanni, he quipped that he had made fewer conquests than the “mille e tre” (1,003) attributed to the seducer in Mozart’s opera. “Of one thing I am certain: the arrival of my daughter, as I was getting close to the age of 60, threw me into the fountain of youth!” After Mazarine’s birth, the president confided, several friends had advised him to seek a discreet divorce. If he had refused to do so it was not to respect any familial or religious prohibition. Nor was it to bend to a conformism that would have stopped voters from supporting his presidential bid.

“If I preferred this state of confusion and secrecy, it’s that I cannot resolve myself to leaving those I have loved. I don’t break with somebody. I add up.”

Magoudi found himself entrusted with secrets and lies that, were they to become public, could have forced Mitterrand to abandon the presidency. A coughing fit, prompted by a casual mention of the number 15, led to an abrupt confession about one of the most controversial incidents in Mitterrand’s political life.

He confirmed that on the night of October 15, 1955, he had stage-managed an attempt on his own life — the machinegunning of his car south of the Luxembourg Gardens. Mitterrand always publicly denied any role in this attack, known as l’affaire de l’Observatoire, which had led to a scandal that cost him his parliamentary immunity and almost brought his political career to an end.

It had been a time of rare tension, he explained to Magoudi, with French settlers in Algeria waging a violent campaign against anyone, like himself, who advocated dialogue with that colony’s independence movement. He had no regrets: it was the only way of obtaining police protection.

Mitterrand returned again and again to his obsession with death. In one aside, while complaining that the Elysée Palace was too small, he said he had contemplated shifting the presidency to the sprawling Invalides complex by Napoleon’s tomb on the other side of the Seine.

“To get closer to the ashes of Napoleon would have amused me, but people would have called me a megalomaniac. I soon dropped the idea.”

One morning, Magoudi found a message on his answerphone from Mitterrand, who told him that in the night he had suffered from stomach pains so virulent he feared he would die. Yet the doctor had told him the symptoms were purely psychological.

“Ever since childhood, the idea of an imminent death seizes me sporadically,” the message ran. “In the lonely night I sometimes feel oppressed or seized by panic. Sometimes I am even terrified.”

On a flight back to Paris from Vietnam in early 1993, according to Magoudi, the president called him aside and said: “The time has come. My end is near. I have a commission for you: write the psychoanalysis of François Mitterrand . . . Use everything I have confided to you . . . Do it for the 10th anniversary of my death.”

Mitterrand’s presidency ended in 1995. He died the following year. Thatcher remembered him as “quieter, more urbane” than Jacques Chirac, his long-term rival and successor as president. Chirac “had a sure grasp of detail and a profound interest in economics” while Mitterrand “was a self- conscious intellectual, fascinated by foreign policy and bored by detail and possibly contemptuous of economics”.

“Oddly enough,” she wrote, “I liked them both.”

Rendez-vous: La psychanalyse de François Mitterrand, by Ali Magoudi, is published on Friday by Maren Sell Editeurs, Paris

gunnut
13 Apr 09,, 19:24
If the war had dragged on another year and the Brits were forced to mount a 2nd attempt, I would think the US would have provided some ships and planes to replenish and bolster the RN.

A spare training carrier or amphib carrier with F-4s and Harriers repainted in UK colors. There would be "civilian contractors" on board to help with RN sailors with the operation and to provide extra man power. Landing craft and landing ships on emergency loan. And of course plenty of fuel and ammo.

Officer of Engineers
13 Apr 09,, 19:34
It would appear that Mitterand thought Thatcher capable of anything. Though I strongly doubt the nuclear option, it would be clear that unrestricted naval operations would have commenced against the Argentine coast ... and I don't doubt the SAS and SBS units would be quite busy staying on the islands, being supplied and relieved by subs.

Tin Man
13 Apr 09,, 21:59
GUN, I don`t doubt further US help if we had to mount a second attempt.

OoE, I have read that piece before, but not in such an expanded form. Thanks for posting. I think Mitterrand did indeed take that with him to the grave, although I would baulk at calling the good Doctor a joker!
I can believe the call on the Exocet codes. Didn`t help the Atlantic Conveyor but it "might" have helped save the carriers, I really don`t know.

I have a hard time swallowing Lawrence Freedman`s comments on the carriage of nuclear depth bombs all the way down south. I actually believe they were removed at Ascension on the way south. The bombs were Helo dropped devices and I see no difficulties with the Helo`s removing them from the ships magazines en-route, to be dropped onto an escorting freighter. I can`t see that a huge number were deployed on all ships to begin with.
The main task force could have offloaded them in Portsmouth before departure.
The Gibraltar group is interesting though...

I agree, no way would we have nuked Cordoba or anywhere else, so no need for a Polaris boat to go south.
The bluff I can certainly believe. I expect that US state department would be horrified if they got wind, with a timely wink from Thatcher the order of the day.

On combat, I always wondered why our SSN`s didn`t go all out and take out everything Argentine that floated. An ultimatum along the lines of...."Return all Argentine naval units to port or they will be attacked on sight, from midnight tonight"... No exclusion zone. I guess the political climate didn`t exist for such action, although the Belgrano sinking did it all for us.

Other missions that seem to be forgotten, or are just quiet, were the very long range Nimrod patrols off the Argentine coast performed by the MR-1 and the R-1 ELINT bird. Probably for obvious reasons, but their help was said to be invaluable.

Officer of Engineers
14 Apr 09,, 00:57
Perhaps not a nuclear attack but I cannot see the Argentine mainland being off limits.

Tin Man
14 Apr 09,, 05:01
You are probably right, however any "major" attack on the mainland would have been be an escalation, that spectre was at the forefront in the commanders minds back then. They had to tread carefully internationally speaking, hence the exclusion zone and not a total all out naval war from the start.

If that scenario had played out, how so?
There are still rumours of aborted attacks on Argentine airfields by SAS/SBS teams to target SuEs and Exocet.There was no satisfactory egress plan, essentially they would have been suicide missions.

RAF Vulcans would have stood little chance against fighters specifically held back to counter them with zero top cover themselves.

The only legitimate targets in the political climate were Argentine airfields, without major concessions and support from Chile, i.e basing RAF attack aircraft there, with the possible threat of attack that would bring to Chile, I don`t see a way they could be put out of action. So, I guess, the mainland wouldn`t be off limits to small actions, but anything larger might not have been feasible, ie, war winning.

Officer of Engineers
14 Apr 09,, 05:37
Take a page from the Chinese. What was stopping Thatcher from replacing the nukes from the POLARIS with HE? If Mitterand wasn't lying, the fact that it was a POLARIS, even an HE one, would signify the escalation that Thatcher was willing to goto ... and there's nothing in the Argentine arsenal to stop it.

Kansas Bear
14 Apr 09,, 06:20
OOE, sir, were there any reports from the Argentinians or Brits that after the Sheffield the Exocet missiles were not striking their targets?

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 13:40
The codes for the missles. Once these were broadcast over ECM the threat dimished, however the hospital ship could not broadcast the codes and was struck among a few others.

astralis
14 Apr 09,, 14:55
col yu,


If Mitterand wasn't lying, the fact that it was a POLARIS, even an HE one, would signify the escalation that Thatcher was willing to goto ... and there's nothing in the Argentine arsenal to stop it.

holy crap, i think the soviets would go crazy if that happened.

Shiny Capstar
14 Apr 09,, 15:00
Perhaps not a nuclear attack but I cannot see the Argentine mainland being off limits.

I think there were SF reconnaissance units on the mainland and if I am right missions to strike targets on the mainland were drawn up. I am sure I read something about a mission being aborted due to a boat breaking down and the team having to land in Chile. I'll see if I can dig it up.

Shiny Capstar
14 Apr 09,, 15:02
You are probably right, however any "major" attack on the mainland would have been be an escalation, that spectre was at the forefront in the commanders minds back then. They had to tread carefully internationally speaking, hence the exclusion zone and not a total all out naval war from the start.

If that scenario had played out, how so?
There are still rumours of aborted attacks on Argentine airfields by SAS/SBS teams to target SuEs and Exocet.There was no satisfactory egress plan, essentially they would have been suicide missions.

RAF Vulcans would have stood little chance against fighters specifically held back to counter them with zero top cover themselves.

The only legitimate targets in the political climate were Argentine airfields, without major concessions and support from Chile, i.e basing RAF attack aircraft there, with the possible threat of attack that would bring to Chile, I don`t see a way they could be put out of action. So, I guess, the mainland wouldn`t be off limits to small actions, but anything larger might not have been feasible, ie, war winning.

What about targeting the leadership? There was a willingness in some sectors to send in teams to kill those in charge.

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 16:32
Scuse me for a sec there Gents. A link for OOE's post#61

http://www.margaretthatcher.org/commentary/displaydocument.asp?docid=110663

Officer of Engineers
14 Apr 09,, 17:05
The codes for the missles. Once these were broadcast over ECM the threat dimished, however the hospital ship could not broadcast the codes and was struck among a few others.I don't understand your question. We know there were misses.


holy crap, i think the soviets would go crazy if that happened.It would have been an HE attack, not a nuke, and Argentina was never under the Soviet nuclear umbrella.

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 17:07
Decision to sink the Belgrano
[extract from Margaret Thatcher The Downing Street Years (1993), pp214-16]

The next day, Sunday, which I spent at Chequers, was one of great - though often misunderstood - significance for the outcome of the Falklands War. As often on Sundays during the crisis, the members of the War Cabinet, Chiefs of Staff and officials came to Chequers for lunch and discussions. On this occasion there was a special matter on which I needed an urgent decision.

I called together Willie Whitelaw , John Nott , Cecil Parkinson , Michael Havers , Terry Lewin , Admiral Fieldhouse and Sir Antony Acland , the Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office. ( Francis Pym was in America). Admiral Fieldhouse told us that one of our submarines, HMS Conqueror, had been shadowing the Argentine cruiser, General Belgrano. The Belgrano was escorted by two destroyers. The cruiser itself had substantial fire power provided by 6 inch guns with a range of 13 miles and anti-aircraft missiles. We were advised that she might have been fitted with Exocet anti-ship missiles, and her two destroyer escorts were known to be carrying them. The whole group was sailing on the edge of the Exclusion Zone. We had received intelligence about the aggressive intentions of the Argentine fleet. There had been extensive air attacks on our ships the previous day and des>Admiral Woodward , in command of the Task Force, had every reason to believe that a full scale attack was developing. The Argentinian aircraft carrier, the 25 de Mayo, had been sighted some time earlier and we had agreed to change the rules of engagement to deal with the threat she posed. However, our submarine had lost contact with the carrier, which had slipped past it to the North. There was a strong possibility that Conqueror might also lose contact with the Belgrano group. Admiral Woodward had to come to a judgment about what to do with the Belgrano in the light of these circumstances. From all the information available, he concluded that the carrier and the Belgrano group were engaged in a classic pincer movement against the Task Force. It was clear to me what must be done to protect our forces, in the light of Admiral Woodward's concern and Admiral Fieldhouse's advice. We therefore decided that British forces should be able to attack any Argentine naval vessel on the same basis as agreed previously for the carrier.

Later we approved reinforcements for the Falklands which would be taken there in the QE2. It surprised me a little that the need for reinforcements had not been clear sooner. I asked whether it was really necessary or advisable to use this great ship and to put so many people in it, but as soon as I was told that it was necessary to get them there in time I gave my agreement. I was always concerned that we would not have sufficient men and equipment when the time came for the final battle and I was repeatedly struck by the fact that even such highly qualified professionals as advised us often under-estimated the requirements. We broke up still desperately worried that the aircraft carrier which could have done such damage to our vulnerable Task Force had not been found.

The necessary order conveying the change of rules of engagement was sent from Northwood to HMS Conqueror at 1.30 pm. In fact, it was not until after 5pm that Conqueror reported that she had received the order. The Belgrano was torpedoed and sunk just before 8 o'clock that evening. Our submarine headed away as quickly as possible. Wrongly believing that they would be the next targets, the Belgrano's escorts seem to have engaged in anti-submarine activities rather than rescuing its crew, some 321 of whom were lost - though initially the death toll was reported to be much higher. The ship's poor state of battle readiness greatly increased the casualties. Back in London we knew that the Belgrano had been hit, but it was some hours before we knew that she had sunk.

A large amount of malicious and misleading nonsense was circulated at the time and long afterwards about the reasons why we sank the Belgrano. These allegations have been demonstrated to be without foundation. The decision to sink the Belgrano was taken for strictly military not political reasons: the claim that we were trying to undermine a promising peace initiative from Peru will not bear scrutiny. Those of us who took the decision at Chequers did not at that time know anything about the Peruvian proposals, which in any case closely resembled the Haig plan rejected by the Argentinians only days before. There was a clear military threat which we could not responsibly ignore. Moreover, subsequent events more than justified what was done. As a result of the devastating loss of the Belgrano, the Argentinian Navy - above all the carrier - went back to port and stayed there. Thereafter it posed no serious threat to the success of the taskforce, though of course we were not to know that this would be so at the time. The sinking of the Belgrano turned out to be one of the most decisive military actions of the war.

However, the shocking loss of life caused us many problems because it provided a reason - or in some cases perhaps an excuse - for breaks in the ranks among the less committed of our allies: it also increased pressure on us at the UN. The Irish Government called for an immediate meeting of the Security Council, though after intense pressure from Tony Parsons and some from Javier Perez de Cuellar ] the UN Secretary General, they were eventually persuaded to suspend their request - not, however, before the Irish Defence Minister had described us as"the aggressor" . There was some wavering from the French and rather more from the West Germans, who pressed for a ceasefire and UN negotiations. Moreover, by the time of the sinking of the Belgrano, the diplomatic scene was already becoming more difficult and complicated.

I have already mentioned the peace plan which the President of Peru [ Fernando Belaunde Terry ] had put to Al Haig and which he in turn had put to Francis Pym in Washington on 1st and 2nd May, though we had no sight of it until later. With the sinking of the Belgrano, Mr Haig was once again bringing pressure to bear, urging on us diplomatic magnanimity and, expressing his belief that whatever the course of the military campaign there must be a negotiated outcome to avoid open-ended hostility and instability. To add to the confusion, the UN Secretary General was now seeking to launch a peace initiative of his own, much to the irritation of Mr Haig.

Officer of Engineers
14 Apr 09,, 17:10
Scuse me for a sec there Gents. A link for OOE's post#61

http://www.margaretthatcher.org/commentary/displaydocument.asp?docid=110663Holy crap! An official Thatcher site with no denial of what Mitterand had said or alledged to have said?

*** counting our lucky stars ***

Tin Man
14 Apr 09,, 17:13
OeE, was the HE SLBM idea around even then? The UK had the Polaris A3 TK, with just 3 warheads, pre-Chevaline-which carried 6 warheads including decoys. Chevaline became operational in `82. The CEP for Polaris was never great, a quarter mile at best. So, using HE to attack hardened targets or small ones was out in my opinion. As a terror weapon? Excellent. It could only be used to "pepper" a target though, hoping to get a lucky hit on a hangar.
If the idea was to bring the Junta to the table, I think they would hold out, they must have known we would never really nuke them. As mentioned, the Russians would go mental if we used them, would their itchy air defence system trigger something nasty?

KANSAS, after Sheffield was hit, HMS Glamorgan and the Atlantic Conveyor were hit, some Exocets missed, whether this was down to spoofing, codes or simply enormous CHAFF clouds I don`t know.

SHINY CAP`, I vaguely recall some Sea Kings found burnt out "scuttled" in Chile, perhaps a link to an aborted SAS/SBS mission? The issue as I understand the "rumours" were always the "out" plans, which fell short. Getting there and doing the mission was not the difficulty, it was getting the guys back out. Targeting the Junta, I bet there were those who advocated such plans, but it would be a tall order IMO.

Tin Man
14 Apr 09,, 17:15
Holy crap! An official Thatcher site with no denial of what Mitterand had said or alledged to have said?

*** counting our lucky stars ***

Disassociate and not get drawn in to the debate perhaps?

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 17:30
**Quoting this from Thatchers page.

A large amount of malicious and misleading nonsense was circulated at the time and long afterwards about the reasons why we sank the Belgrano. These allegations have been demonstrated to be without foundation. The decision to sink the Belgrano was taken for strictly military not political reasons: the claim that we were trying to undermine a promising peace initiative from Peru will not bear scrutiny. Those of us who took the decision at Chequers did not at that time know anything about the Peruvian proposals, which in any case closely resembled the Haig plan rejected by the Argentinians only days before. There was a clear military threat which we could not responsibly ignore. Moreover, subsequent events more than justified what was done. As a result of the devastating loss of the Belgrano, the Argentinian Navy - above all the carrier - went back to port and stayed there. Thereafter it posed no serious threat to the success of the taskforce, though of course we were not to know that this would be so at the time. The sinking of the Belgrano turned out to be one of the most decisive military actions of the war.


*If one looks at a picture of the Belgrano (ex Phoenix) you will note that the cruiser had its bow blown off by Conquerer. She is listing heavily to Port and the picture is taken from Port but yet her forward turrets are trained to Starboard. Only two reasons for that. Either she just UNREP'd (doubtfull due to all RN reports and the RN would never have allowed her to rearm or fuel while shadowing in a war setting) or she had those guns trained to Starboard for a reason (you dont cruise with guns trained in either direction (SOP) Slightly elevated is norm though for fast loading). It could not be the result of the torpedo hit since this has happened before to the USN during WWII without the turret jumping train and the guns position is a deliberate 90 degrees from centerline. Which begs the question what were those guns aimed at?;)

*There is a youtube video about the stalking of the Belgrano by Conquerer and in the comments one british commentor claims the RN allowed the Belgrano to fuel or UNREP. I dont know how true that could possibly be and cant understand why they would allow Belgrano to do this when she would have be a sitting duck for a torp strike and this fueling could have been done in port not in the middle of a conflict zone (foolish). That still though doesn't explain why her turrets are trained at 90 degrees. One would have to view her tabular movements that day to have a better picture. This all just does not add up to either side of the story IMO.

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 17:30
I don't understand your question. We know there were misses.

It would have been an HE attack, not a nuke, and Argentina was never under the Soviet nuclear umbrella.

Sorry sir, worded improperly.

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 17:35
Holy crap! An official Thatcher site with no denial of what Mitterand had said or alledged to have said?

*** counting our lucky stars ***

*You find this surprising Sir?

Officer of Engineers
14 Apr 09,, 20:13
OeE, was the HE SLBM idea around even then?Not SLBM but IRBM was. The Chinese stored their warheads away from their delivery vehicles. Any 2nd Artillery Force immediate deployable force was and is always HE.


As a terror weapon? ... If the idea was to bring the Junta to the table, I think they would hold out, they must have known we would never really nuke them.The very fact that a nuclear delivery vehicle was used would send shivers up anybody's back. I had the shivers once I realized that Thatcher has not denied the allegations.


As mentioned, the Russians would go mental if we used them, would their itchy air defence system trigger something nasty?Not likely. SCUDs, both nuclear and conventional, were part of their operational doctrines. I don't see how they would view this any different than their conventional SCUDs.


*You find this surprising Sir?Yes. Like Mitterand, said, over an island filled with 3 sheep?

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 20:25
Yes. Like Mitterand, said, over an island filled with 3 sheep?


Sir, Perhaps maybe a location of future resources? Or maybe perhaps a strategic port for future needs?

Officer of Engineers
14 Apr 09,, 20:41
I get the shivers anytime someone resorts over to the nuclear gun over a matter of pride and without thorough considerations. Hell, I get the shivers even with thorough considerations.

Dreadnought
14 Apr 09,, 21:05
Well Sir, Thankfully the majority of us arent privy to the information that you are.:redface:

Martin
29 Apr 09,, 00:36
You know... Today someone said to me "The Falklands happened 20 years ago, who cares now" - I promptly reminded them that we turned our back to germany 20 years after WW1 and look where that got us.

I believe we should have a permament task force based in the Falklands. Who knows when the Argies will be stupid enough to attempt an invasion again.

diodetriode
29 Apr 09,, 14:42
All from Wiki

US Skyhawks :



British Type 42 destroyers :



German Type 209 submarine :







Israeli IAI Neshers :



So, were the French alone in supplying Argentina with dangerous weapons?

FYI
I drove past Waterkloof AFB outside Pretoria almost daily during the Falklands War. I spotted an Israeli Air Force B707 and a C130 on more than one occasion. I also saw an El-AL 747 parked at the "wrong" side of what was then Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg. (The wrong side served Atlas aircraft corporation that had several joint ventures with Israeli Defence Industries.)
Aerolineas Agentina used to fly out of Cape Town once per week, but during the Falklands conflict ran some extra 'diplomatic' flights. A few weeks into the conflict a bomb went off at the Cape Town offices of Aerolineas Agrentina.
Big Bad PW Botha was very equivocal about supporting either Britain or Argentina until public opinion caused him to tip to the British side. Possibly because the Silverton tracking station can see everything that floats in the South Atlantic and always depended on the goodwill of GCHQ to operate effectively. Spy novel anyone?

gunnut
29 Apr 09,, 18:19
You know... Today someone said to me "The Falklands happened 20 years ago, who cares now" - I promptly reminded them that we turned our back to germany 20 years after WW1 and look where that got us.

I believe we should have a permament task force based in the Falklands. Who knows when the Argies will be stupid enough to attempt an invasion again.

Yeah but that costs a lot of money. Your government is pinching pennies now to keep the operations going in A-stan as is.

Develop the Falklands into a tourist destination to generate cash flow. Stimulate the economy. Then it will be worth the money to station more troops there.

Bigfella
03 May 09,, 08:56
I was tempted to start a 'military history myths' thread for this, but it fits here just fine.

Apparently Argentina sank the HMS Invincible during the Falklands war. Those clever Brits managed to cover it up all these years.:biggrin:

This particular myth/conspiracy theory makes 'troofers' & proponents of the various Obama myths look like models of logic & sanity. This is just so far beyond bizarre it deserves a wider audience. Nothing like a good laugh at the expense of the insane.

Check out the link.

HMS Invincible sunk in 1982, page 1 (http://www.belowtopsecret.com/forum/thread166587/pg1)

gf0012-aust
03 May 09,, 21:43
This is just so far beyond bizarre it deserves a wider audience. Nothing like a good laugh at the expense of the insane.

Check out the link.

HMS Invincible sunk in 1982, page 1 (http://www.belowtopsecret.com/forum/thread166587/pg1)

thanks very much for taking a couple of hours out of my life that I'll never get back again....

sheesh, I was thinking cognitive dislocation, but cognitive disconnection is more like it.

to paraphrase the saying "never argue with an idiot, they're better at it than you are".

Bigfella
03 May 09,, 22:43
thanks very much for taking a couple of hours out of my life that I'll never get back again....

sheesh, I was thinking cognitive dislocation, but cognitive disconnection is more like it.

to paraphrase the saying "never argue with an idiot, they're better at it than you are".

Sorry GF. Should have warned you about the length. It does go on a bit, but it is strangely compelling. Like the proverbial car accident - you don't want to keep watching, but you can't tear yourself away.

On the upside, you now have an 'absolute zero' point for conspiracy theories now. Where once stood the 'moon landings are fake' or 'holocaust didn't happen' crowd now proudly stand the 'we sunk the Invincible' mob. 'Tis a proud proud day.:))

gf0012-aust
03 May 09,, 23:14
Sorry GF. Should have warned you about the length. It does go on a bit, but it is strangely compelling. Like the proverbial car accident - you don't want to keep watching, but you can't tear yourself away.


I now know how kangaroos feel when caught in the beam of a super oscar.... you want to leave, but just can't.

or, it's a bit like "Dot" and the angler fish. ("Finding Nemo")

the mistake the non argies made was that they attempted to use logic. at that point they were on a hiding to nothing.

I love the futile trick of masquerading as 3 different posters when it was pretty clear it was the same dill suffering from "forum schizophrenia"...

Kernow
04 May 09,, 06:35
I think there were SF reconnaissance units on the mainland and if I am right missions to strike targets on the mainland were drawn up. I am sure I read something about a mission being aborted due to a boat breaking down and the team having to land in Chile. I'll see if I can dig it up.

I'll think you'll find it was Operation Mikado. :)

Bigfella
04 May 09,, 09:47
I now know how kangaroos feel when caught in the beam of a super oscar.... you want to leave, but just can't.

or, it's a bit like "Dot" and the angler fish. ("Finding Nemo")

Yep. The logic centres of the brain are screaming at you to look away, but something just won't let you.


the mistake the non argies made was that they attempted to use logic. at that point they were on a hiding to nothing.

Definately. What I love about your genuine conspiracy theorist is that absence of proof is simply taken as proof of the consipracy. No room for logic in that closed circle.


I love the futile trick of masquerading as 3 different posters when it was pretty clear it was the same dill suffering from "forum schizophrenia"...

Ya have to admire the guy's sticktooitiveness. I guess he figured that numbers = credibility. I think it added a suitably surreal edge to the whole experience.