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Old 10 April 2007, 08:59   #21
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But that's the whole point - it wasn't such a waste.

The best thing it did was scare the Argies - they were genuinely scared we would bomb the Argie mainland.

It also put the runway out of action for fast jets - which was a massive benefit.

The value of propoganda should never be underestimated!!!

errr.... I think they missed the runway, the Argies then built false craters to fool our recon flights, I do stand to be corrected though ( it was 25 years ago!)
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Old 10 April 2007, 09:11   #22
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Beg to differ codders, it was an absolute waste of time, effort and money for no discernable impact, either militarily or strategically.

11 Victor tankers worth of fuel () to drop 21 1000lb bombs, of which one hit the runway centre (fixable by Argentinian engineers in 24 hours) and the rest missed. In other words, a single sea harrier could have achieved the same in a one hour sortie.

The only reason the Vulcan was dispatched was to keep the RAF involved in what was essentially an amphibious operation where they were (with the exception of some Harriers) surplus to requirements.

As for propaganda....you only have to look at the media cock up in Iran this month to see the power of that, but in 82, the fact that a Vulcan could reach BA made not a jot of difference. BA knew they were in range of something a whole lot more potent than a 1000lb bomb - the polaris subs that were sat off their coast.
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Old 10 April 2007, 09:15   #23
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They did NOT miss the runway - they put 1 bomb in the middle of it which is what they promised to do.

Remember they had to bomb from high altitude because of radar guided guns. They didn't have GPS or laser guided bombs. In fact they had to resort to WWII bombing techniques. At the time all training was for a war against the Russians. The Vulcan was designed to go in low under Russian radar and lob a nuclear bomb.

"Modern" warfare is very different now - high altitude bombing against 3rd world countries that don't have any aircover - they may as well go back to Lancasters!!!

READ the book!!!
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Old 10 April 2007, 09:20   #24
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Beg to differ codders, it was an absolute waste of time, effort and money for no discernable impact, either militarily or strategically.

11 Victor tankers worth of fuel () to drop 21 1000lb bombs, of which one hit the runway centre (fixable by Argentinian engineers in 24 hours) and the rest missed. In other words, a single sea harrier could have achieved the same in a one hour sortie.

The only reason the Vulcan was dispatched was to keep the RAF involved in what was essentially an amphibious operation where they were (with the exception of some Harriers) surplus to requirements.

As for propaganda....you only have to look at the media cock up in Iran this month to see the power of that, but in 82, the fact that a Vulcan could reach BA made not a jot of difference. BA knew they were in range of something a whole lot more potent than a 1000lb bomb - the polaris subs that were sat off their coast.


The Argies did NOT fix it in 24hrs

The Argies had radar guided Oerlikons that would have made a low level attack very risky on the runway.

I don't think even the Argies believed Britain would have launched a Nuke missile at them so the Polaris was not a valid threat against the mainland!!!

I also thought many of these things - so READ the book - it really does make things much clearer.
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Old 10 April 2007, 10:01   #25
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The OiC Argentinean forces at the airfield had the resources to fix it almost immediately if it had been a priority... I didnt say it was fixed in 24hrs, I said it was fixable within 24hrs. That's straight from the horses mouth from two pieces of primary research I used whilst writing my dissertation on Operation Corporate and studying the conflict in RN Strategic Studies..take it or leave it.

Any attack on a defended airfield is risky, whether it is from a bomber or SF on the ground, my point was that to send Vulcans was a misuse of resource and budget to do a worse job than Harriers, SF or Naval Gunfire Support could have acheived. It was carried out to appease the RAF, no more, no less. Again, this isnt simply my opinion, its recorded in official documents and correspondence between the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff at the time.

The nuclear threat was one of 12 options considered by the Govt at the time and a limited tactical strike was maintained as a viable option right up until the Argentinian surrender. BA were well aware of this threat, through a quiet word from the US and Chile and officially from the UK government. One of the Junta's senior military advisors at the time cited this as one of the key reasons why they decided against prolonging the conflict and subsequent conversations with Naval officers in Argentinia have confirmed this to be a widely held view.
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Old 10 April 2007, 13:03   #26
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There is no way Britain would have launched even a limited nuke strike during the period of the Cold War - anyone who thinks so is living in some sort of dream state!!!

I agree partially on your other points - as I said it was propoganda as much as anything else.
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Old 10 April 2007, 13:10   #27
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You'd be surprised codders...dig into the archives and you'll see that it was seriously considered. Not only that, it was an option that recieved tacit support from the US and was taken seriously enough by the Argentinians to give up the fight when there was perhaps still an option to up the ante.

This nuclear option was not just Polaris. The nuclear depth charges carried by the fleet up until a few years ago and deployable from the air were available to put an end to any outbound shipping movements from ports in Argentina. This was more viable than putting a few ICMBs on BA and I reckon they'd have gone down this route had BA thought about sending more reinforcements.
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Old 10 April 2007, 15:20   #28
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I disagree that it had no impact - the psychological impact of hell raining down out of the darkness should not be underestimated especially on a bunch of young Argentine conscripts. I know many people who were the best part of five miles away in Stanley when it happened and it was terrifying for them - if you were sitting in the middle of the airport you'd not have thought it was insignificant!

Most of the bombs missed the actual runway both from the Vulcan and subsequent Harrier strikes, and the airport was never out of action through the whole conflict - but for a "shock and awe - the Empire is coming to get ya so be SCARED" tactic it was pretty good I reckon.

You can still see the outlines of some of the 1000lb bomb craters on Google Earth by the way, if anybody is feeling bored. They always reckoned they were missing one, and a couple of years ago a bloke I know dug it up with an excavator when he was building down there - he hit something hard in the bottom of the hole, gave it a few good roots with the bucket and it wouldn't shift so got out for a look - was a bit surprised to find the nose cone of a 1000lb bomb peering up at him, it had gone in, along under the ground and come back up nearly to the surface! Caused a bit of a flap and the whole peninsula was cordoned off, but the EOD boys dealt with it in their usual professional manner.
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Old 10 April 2007, 15:40   #29
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That's not the point codders was making and that I was arguing against - of course 21 1000lb bombs raining on you are going to make you sit up and think - my point is that the fact that a Vulcan could fly all the way from the UK to do it had no impact on either the tactical war on the ground or the strategic/political picture.

In terms of having an impact for the conscripts at the airport, aside from the initial explosions, the inspection during the aftermath caused the Argentines great amusment and arguably boosted their morale - worth reading The Fight for the Malvinas,The Argentine Forces in the Falklands War and Malvinas Desde Londres where this is mentioned.
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Old 10 April 2007, 15:59   #30
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That's not the point codders was making and that I was arguing against - of course 21 1000lb bombs raining on you are going to make you sit up and think - my point is that the fact that a Vulcan could fly all the way from the UK to do it had no impact on either the tactical war on the ground or the strategic/political picture.

In terms of having an impact for the conscripts at the airport, aside from the initial explosions, the inspection during the aftermath caused the Argentines great amusment and arguably boosted their morale - worth reading The Fight for the Malvinas,The Argentine Forces in the Falklands War and Malvinas Desde Londres where this is mentioned.

What about the fact the damaged runway denied them the ability to fly off fast jets???
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