HMS EAGLE in the Falklands

an attack on ships of a nation you are at peace with
while they are in international waters (miles from your territory)
with no warning and without a declaration of war

murdering thousands because of something you think they might be doing

Nuremberg hung men for less ...

and that's without taking into account the first use of weapons of mass destruction
on a nation without them!
Can I have some of what your smoking because that is the only reason I can come up with for such a ridiculous comment!
 
an attack on ships of a nation you are at peace with
while they are in international waters (miles from your territory)
with no warning and without a declaration of war

murdering thousands because of something you think they might be doing

Nuremberg hung men for less ...

and that's without taking into account the first use of weapons of mass destruction
on a nation without them!
Cynical is it is, you're only going to get tried for a war crime if you lose in that day and age. You'll notice precisely zero prisoners from the Allied nations were on trial at Nuremberg.
 
an attack on ships of a nation you are at peace with
while they are in international waters (miles from your territory)
with no warning and without a declaration of war

murdering thousands because of something you think they might be doing

Nuremberg hung men for less ...

and that's without taking into account the first use of weapons of mass destruction
on a nation without them!
Artcile 51 of the United Nations Charter does grant members the right to self defense in the case of armed attack: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security." The right to self defense was implicated the moment that Argentine military forces conducted landings in the British territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island, seizing control of them after light resistance was overcome.

The United Kingdom immediately appealed to the United Nations Security Council, which on April 3, 1982 passed Resolution 502. which demanded the immediate evacuation of Argentine forces from British territory, and failing that, gave the UK the option to invoke Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and claim the right of self-defence. As the Argentines refused to evacuate, the United Kingdom invoked Article 51 as permitted by UNSC 502. No formal declaration of war was necessary to invoke it.

So I cannot see how you can reasonably claim that the Royal Navy, in conducting military operations to restore its control of its territories, did something illegal, let alone a "war crime."

As for the General Belgrano, even her captain has since admitted that the General Belgrano had actually been manoeuvering, not "sailing away" from the exclusion zone, and had orders to sink "any British ship he could find". And in Flasheart's timeline, there isn't even a question about the location or heading of the Argentine warships sunk.
 
an attack on ships of a nation you are at peace with
while they are in international waters (miles from your territory)
with no warning and without a declaration of war

murdering thousands because of something you think they might be doing

Nuremberg hung men for less ...

and that's without taking into account the first use of weapons of mass destruction
on a nation without them!
'Might be doing'?

Interesting use of Language

In the story the Officers and Men of Eagle 'Knew' without a shadow of a doubt what the Japanese were doing and what they were about to do and indeed fully what they had already done

They knew that the 'down timer' Japanese would attack without a declaration of war and that they were quite capable of causing mass casualties without the need to resorting to WMDs - particulalrly where the Chinese were involved - it just took longer.

Let's cut to the chase - during WW2 - on average at least 30 thousand people a day were dying. Every. Damned. Day.

For 6 years and a day

Mostly civilians.

And overwhelmingly civilians in Allied or Neutral nations that had been invaded and occupied by Axis nations.

It is a 'grotesque math' to be sure, to kill one group of people, in order for another to live who would otherwise die. But it makes my decision on the matter very clear and easy to reach - it would have been immoral for the Crew of Eagle not to have acted in the way that they did as it was something that would have brought that hateful war to an earlier conclusion and save countless lives and once that decision has been made, to have not acted as decisively as possible would be pure folly.
 
Act of war, not murder. Also, there is no might be doing. They were very well aware of exactly what those ships were doing. Even without hindsight, there is no other logical explanation for what those ships were doing at that time in that place. Not to mention the attacks spanning half the globe that began less than 48 hours later giving ample proof of their intentions.
They were obviously on a good will visit...…

At the end of the story, we do have Tony Blair apologizing for the RN destroying the fleet.…..

In a gesture of 'forgiveness' the then British Prime Minister in 2001 officially apologised to Japan for the 'unprovoked' attack onto the Japanese invasion fleet on the anniversary of the mission. This was not universally supported from all quarters.
 
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Red Beard was the standard weapon (Green Cheese having been abandoned). It's too early for Martel so they would otherwise have been dropping free-fall iron bombs.
Fir an example of use see the attempts to sink the Torrey canyon in 1967.

See at 3:30 and 4:30 in this film https://www.britishpathe.com/video/seven-stones-oil-tanker-disaster-aka-torrey-canyon



As a seven year old I remember the papers and TV commenting on how many attacks they had to make and also more shots of the bombing (I guess BBC had those) But reading Wikipedia that might just have been needed to set the oil on fire and not because they missed
 
?!?!?!?!?!
I'm sorry, now you really lost me. What weapons of mass destruction?!
commenting on the HMS Pinafore tale extensively linked ... not yours

apologies for derailing your thread

no apologies for my comments on the other premise

a preemptive attack in peacetime is not self-defence but a war crime
however sincere the belief of the aggressor that they are in danger
(or else we would have to classify Barbarossa as self-defence)
 
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commenting on the HMS Pinafore tale extensively linked ... not yours

apologies for derailing your thread

no apologies for my comments on the other premise

a preemptive attack in peacetime is not self-defence but a war crime
however sincere the belief of the aggressor that they are in danger
(or else we would have to classify Barbarossa as self-defence)
Mate , that's nuts. Preemptive attack's are not war crimes. Most modern "wars" have not had formal declarations of war before hostilities started. Indeed the Falklands is formally classed as a "Conflict" because nobody declared war before or during it.
 
The one that ran aground in 1947? bit late for this timeline, but a cool idea.

HMS Eagle would make a very interesting museum ship, but I'm not sure where she would end up moored or whom might pay for her.
As with Enterprise, there were efforts to preserve Warspite as a museum ship, though I'm unclear how much financial backing they had....she had taken quite a beating in the war, would have required some work to make her presentable as a museum ship.

But yeah, she was on her way to the breakers yard when she hit the rocks.
 
As with Enterprise, there were efforts to preserve Warspite as a museum ship, though I'm unclear how much financial backing they had....she had taken quite a beating in the war, would have required some work to make her presentable as a museum ship.

But yeah, she was on her way to the breakers yard when she hit the rocks.
The cost of the vast amount of repairs required to make Warspite a proper museum ship would have bought you a brand new Leander class cruiser. There was no way on Earth the UK could spend so much money on a museum ship of all things in the 1940s
 
The cost of the vast amount of repairs required to make Warspite a proper museum ship would have bought you a brand new Leander class cruiser. There was no way on Earth the UK could spend so much money on a museum ship of all things in the 1940s
I'm not necessarily disagreeing. She was in bad shape, and belts were very tight - for private efforts, too.

It's just a shame, because she was clearly the most travelled and beloved ship from the war, if you were going to pick one to preserve.

Now, in the 80s, there's a better chance that something could be done for Eagle....
 

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commenting on the HMS Pinafore tale extensively linked ... not yours

apologies for derailing your thread

no apologies for my comments on the other premise

a preemptive attack in peacetime is not self-defence but a war crime
however sincere the belief of the aggressor that they are in danger
(or else we would have to classify Barbarossa as self-defence)
How odd that the UN specifically disagrees.

Nice bit of comparing an ASB scenario, where those involved are present in their past and KNOW what is going to happen to the 3rd Reich. Bit of a stretch, don'tcha think?
 
How odd that the UN specifically disagrees.

Nice bit of comparing an ASB scenario, where those involved are present in their past and KNOW what is going to happen to the 3rd Reich. Bit of a stretch, don'tcha think?
Neo-cons have given "preemptive attack" a bad odor, but if you can't justify a preemptive attack on a Japanese invasion fleet on December 6, 1941 with perfect intel about its capabilities and mission, then you'll pretty much never be able to justify it at all.
 
Neo-cons have given "preemptive attack" a bad odor, but if you can't justify a preemptive attack on a Japanese invasion fleet on December 6, 1941 with perfect intel about its capabilities and mission, then you'll pretty much never be able to justify it at all.
The difference is that the US had a decent navy and a very decent array of coastal defences circa 1914
 
The Pentagon Wars Part 2
Take any serviceman of any rank in any armed force in any nation across the world and it is a certainty that they will have a few things to say about the standard of the food they receive. None of them good. Even in the Pentagon of all places while the food was notably better than what the grunts on the frontline were fobbed off with the senior officers eating it could still find a reason to complain. It wasn’t that the chefs were bad or the ingredients of poor quality. Far from it. It was more that the chefs had learnt through experience that if they were tasked with preparing lunch for senior officers and government officials who were attending an all day meeting there was no need to pour their heart and soul into it. Either the meeting would overrun meaning no one got any time for lunch or the diners would be so busy talking that they wouldn’t get more than a few mouthfuls anyway. The chefs often reasoned that if it was mostly going to end up congealing on the plate anyway before ultimately being thrown in the bin then what was the point of putting more than the minimum amount of effort into their food?

Indeed, on this occasion the chef’s assumptions were once again correct. Having absorbed so much information in the morning the assembled high ranking officers were to busy discussing its implications before the afternoon meeting to be too concerned about food. The afternoon meeting was intended to work out how the US Armed Forces should act upon the lessons that had been learned in the Falklands Conflict, particularly in terms of procurement and all the officers attending wanted to have some thoughts and ideas ready before it started.
The afternoon meeting was a much smaller affair than the one that had taken place in the morning with attendance limited to service chiefs and their aides and those senior officers with responsibility and decision making power relating to procurement and development. Once again, the Secretary of the Navy John Lehman was chairing.
Lehman had decided that he wanted the meeting ordered in terms of what could be brought into service soonest first and moving towards longer term procurement projects towards the end of the meeting.

The Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Watkins was the first to offer his observations. One of his biggest takeaways from the morning briefing and the conflict in general was the vulnerability of surface ships to guided missiles. A total of 7 warships (6 Argentine and 1 British) had been destroyed by Anti-Ship Missiles. Granted one of those was to a French made Exocet which was arguably one of the most sophisticated ASM’s available at that time but the six Argentine ships had been lost to manually guided Martel’s. A missile considered to be obsolete!
Previously it had been thought that an aircraft operating anywhere near a hostile surface unit equipped with SAM’s would be extremely vulnerable and indeed some naval theorists had even speculated that the advent of long ranged air search radars and sophisticated SAM systems aboard warships would probably make air attacks against warships too dangerous to be a realistic option. The Falklands conflict had certainly blown that theory out of the water. Now it was looking like in reality the surface unit was the one that was extremely vulnerable to the aircraft and not the other way around.
It had been noted that three of the ships destroyed by air attack had been Type 42 Destroyers which were considered to be amongst the most modern warships afloat at the time equipped with a state of the art SAM system the Sea Dart. Yet these ships had been almost effortlessly destroyed by aircraft.
Clearly some serious thought needed to go into a revaluation into all aspects of how US warships would defend themselves from guided missiles in general. The Soviets had long placed a high emphasis on guided missile technology and usage and the naval men in the room shuddered at the thought of just how easy it would be for a swarm of guided anti-ship missiles to overwhelm the defences of even a carrier battle group and inflict catastrophic damage. The fact that such a strike could be delivered by even a single SSGN didn’t help things.

One new capability that the Admirals in the room were adamant would make a significant difference was CIWS or Close In Weapon System. The navy had slowly been introducing a new system called Phalanx which was an automated 20mm Gatling gun equipped with its own radar and intended to provide a last ditch defence against incoming missiles. With the exception of the Sea Wolf point defence SAM neither side in the Falklands had operated a modern CWIS leaving a serious capability deficiency. The navy men in the room were adamant that had a system like Phalanx been in play then some of the ships sunk would still be afloat today. Indeed, the RN were convinced that HMS GLASGOW would likely have survived the Exocet attack that led to her loss had she been equipped with a Phalanx system and had already sent an RFI (Request for Information) to the systems manufacturer General Dynamics. It was clear that the Brits were convinced of the value of CWIS and Admiral Watkins repeatedly emphasised the systems relatively modest unit price and the quantum leap in self defence capability that it offered.
In the end General Vessey the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs had to stop the admiral saying that he was firmly convinced of the systems value. He then asked what the navy was proposing.
The navy demanded that funds be made available for an immediate Phalanx crash procurement program. All new ships would be designed have Phalanx included in the design and ships currently in service would have the system fitted as soon as was possible. Given that currently only 23 systems had been ordered for the navy and only one ship USS CORAL SEA was currently fully equipped with the system this would necessitate Phalanx procurement being increased by at least ten fold. Installing it on new build would be easy enough as pretty much all recent and upcoming vessels had been designed to carry the system from the outset and already had space allocated.
With regards to installing the system on older vessels this would require varying degrees of work depending on the size and age of the vessel in order to install the equipment necessary to operate and power the system and to make room to store the vast quantities of 20mm shells that would be required. It would also be important to make sure that the system was located somewhere that would give it the widest possible field of fire. Someone pointed out that with arcs of fire limited by the ships superstructure most ships would need at least two systems with larger ships such as the carriers needing at least four to be able to cover all directions. The navy was also insistent that they wouldn’t be content with just warships being fitted with CWIS. They wanted the system fitted to all of their currently mostly unarmed auxiliary and sea lift vessels. Some even went so far as for certain merchant ships likely to be of wartime value to have provision made for CWIS to be fitted during wartime.
With regards to the actual fitting of the system to the ships themselves most of the ships could have the necessary work done either alongside or as part of their normal refit cycle depending on the availability of the Phalanx systems. Some ships particularly older ones where more work may be required to support the system would have to have special overhaul and upgrade periods.
At that point Secretary Lehman stopped managed to stop the Admirals who he thought were getting slightly carried away and told them that he was more than sold on the idea and would give it his immediate go ahead on his own authority and regardless of its cost he would find the money from somewhere. He remarked that anyone who owned shares in General Dynamics right now would be doing very well over the next few months.

The next subject to be brought up was the lessons learned relating to shipborne firefighting and damage control. Firefighting is taken extremely seriously by navy’s worldwide. Following the fires aboard USS ORISKANY in 1966, USS FORRESTAL in 1967 and USS ENTERPRISE in 1969 which had between them cost the lives of over 200 men the US Navy had realised how inadequate it firefighting practises were and so had heavily invested resources into firefighting and damage control equipment and more importantly making sure that every single one of its personnel was an expert on the subject. It was now commonly said that members of the USN were now firefighters first and sailors second.
Naturally the navy men in the room were extremely interested in the RN’s experience in the Falklands with relation to damage control. Indeed, only days ago the subject had been discussed in depth during a telephone conversation between Admiral Watkins and his British counterpart the First Sea Lord Admiral Leach. During the course of the conversation Leach had shared some absolute gems of useful information relating to the RN’s experiences and findings.
One thing he emphasised was the unsuitability of polyester and other manmade fibres for use in uniforms at sea. When exposed to the extreme temperatures encountered by RN personnel within burning ships the synthetic fibres in the men’s clothing had melted causing horrific and disfiguring burns.
Watkins knew that RN uniforms being made out of such materials was a cost saving measure and had worried that his own force might at some point in future be forced by Congress to adopt such uniforms for the same reason. While the call was still ongoing he had handwritten a note to his aide to begin preparations to commission a report into the suitability of manmade fibres in navy working uniforms.
Other significant issues that the British had encountered included not having sufficient quantities of firefighting clothing and equipment on their ships to equip sufficient numbers of men. The equipment they did have not being completely suitable for use at sea or in the conditions encountered. Aluminium which was increasingly being used in the construction of warships owing to its lighter weight and lower costs had been found to be a serious handicap when ships began to sustain damage. Aluminium had a lower heat failure point and many RN personnel who had been involved in the firefighting efforts on the aluminium constructed Type 21 Frigates had noted how bulkheads and decks had begun to warp under heat stress and how this had made fire containment extremely difficult if not impossible. Worse when aluminium reached a high enough temperature it had been found to release toxic gasses.
This last point really caught the attention of the army and air force representatives in the meeting as many of their aircraft and vehicles were constructed out of aluminium. The army personnel were particularly concerned as from the sounds of it their new M2 Bradly APC when hit by enemy fire may actually turn out to be little more than a very expensive gas chamber for the unfortunate soldiers inside.

Admiral Leach had stated that the British Ministry of Defence was going to be conducting a very in depth study into firefighting and damage control at sea and that this was likely going to result in sweeping changes across the whole RN in terms of equipment, training, procedures and just as importantly culture. He pointed out that even civilian fire brigades and merchant ship operators were keen to take part and benefit from the results. He also dropped the line “cost no object”.
Watkins had gotten the strong impression the British were hinting that perhaps the US Navy would like to be a part of things.
Watkins had agreed to this and recommended to the meeting that the British be offered funding for their study in exchange for not only the resulting reports and recommendations but British expertise and assistance in a follow on study to work out what would need to be done to apply the study’s findings to the US Navy.
Watkins emphasised that the study itself would be the cheap bit. The expensive bit would be purchasing new damage control equipment and making the necessary changes to the ships themselves. Sensing that some in the room were not exactly happy with the likely costs or were not entirely convinced by the navy’s arguments and may try to restrict any funding for this Watkins sought to explain the navy’s reasoning. He stated that while the British no longer ruled the waves the RN was still one of the most professional organisations afloat. Indeed, though he was loathe to admit it in many areas they easily rivalled if not surpassed the US Navy. One of these areas was in ship board firefighting and damage control. If the British (who were now the most experienced people in this area) were worried and felt that serious changes were needed, then they were worth listening to. Watkins finished off his argument with the statement that not doing so would be an act of extreme negligence.
Again Lehman was convinced and agreed to the navy’s proposals and promised that whatever the costs the money would be found.

The meeting now moved on to those potential programs that would be larger and take longer to deliver. They started with naval aircraft.

Going back to their emphasis on fleet defence and defence against guided missiles the navy stated that the Falklands Conflict had once again demonstrated the importance of air superiority. Three big naval air battles had taken place during the conflict. On the 2nd of May British carrier borne strike aircraft had attacked and destroyed 6 Argentine warships including an aircraft carrier. The Argentine ships had not had any air cover and despite having two Sea Dart equipped ships had been unable to effectively defend themselves against subsonic aircraft and ASM’s that were considered to be near obsolete. By contrast when the Argentines had attacked the British on the 6th and 21st of May despite still sustaining losses the British had been able to effectively defend themselves and had inflicted crippling losses to the attackers by virtue of being able to use top quality fleet interceptor aircraft.
The main strategic focus of the US Armed Forces and the reason for its present build up was to counter the Soviets effectively. The Soviet Navy had in recent years entered the carrier game and was continuing to develop their naval aviation capability. They already had the KIEV class in service. Granted these were less aircraft carriers and more guided missile cruisers that could carry aircraft but they were clearly a stepping stone to something bigger. The Defence Intelligence Agency had already found evidence from satellite imagery that the Black Sea shipyard that had built the KIEV’s was gearing itself up to work on something bigger. Most analysts agreed that Soviet carrier battle groups would become a thing within the decade and therefore the US Navy would need to be prepared to counter this. As well as potential future Soviet aircraft carriers and ever larger surface ships such as the monstrously large nuclear powered KIROV class guided missile cruisers there was also the increasing threat from Soviet land based long ranged bombers such as the supersonic TU-22M which carried large and long ranged anti-ship missiles such as the KH-22.

To counter these threats, the navy had two recommendations. The Falklands had demonstrated the value of fast long ranged interceptors that were able to race out and destroy enemy aircraft before they got close enough to become a threat to a carrier group. Indeed, the best protection against ASM’s was to intercept and destroy the aircraft carrying them before they got within launching range. The navy’s current interceptor and air defence aircraft was the Grumman F-14A Tomcat.
Having been in service for 8 years now the navy had been working on a modest upgrade package to modernise the aircraft up to F14A+ standard. The navy now wanted to go further with updating the aircraft.
Rather than simply updating a number of existing F14A’s to A+ standard they wanted to go with what they termed the F14B. They wanted the existing TF30 engine replaced with something more powerful such as an improved version of the General Electric F110 to improve the aircrafts performance, the addition of a Radar Warning Receiver system and the replacement of some avionics with more up to date systems.
The stated intention was for all F14’s currently on order to be completed to F14B standard and for as many A models as possible to be upgraded. They accepted that due to cost it was unlikely that all of the existing F14A’s could be updated but they were happy to accept that as they also had something else in mind for the F14.
As well as the F14B which would simply be an upgrade of existing aircraft the navy now pushed for the development of a new variant of the F14 for now dubbed the “Super Tomcat”.
The intention was for the F14B to serve as an interim aircraft before the introduction of the “Super Tomcat”. These aircraft would be new builds as opposed to upgrades of existing aircraft and would be a much more extensive update of the F14 design intended to improve performance keep the F14 at the cutting edge of technology and capability going into the future. The navy said that they would ideally want this new aircraft in service by the year 1990.

Next up the navy stated that they would need a new strike aircraft to replace the A6 Intruder which they estimated at already nearly 20 years old couldn’t be reasonably expected to last past 1995.
The Falklands had thrown up a number of interesting points with regards to naval strike aircraft. While the most effective method for an aircraft to attack a ship at sea was now without a doubt to launch a guided missile at it there was still a need to be able to deliver bombs dropped from above a target. The British beachhead at San Carlos had been carefully chosen to prevent the effective use of guided missiles due to the protection provided by simple geography. The Argentine pilots therefore had been required to attack the British ships with bombs which had necessitated overflying them. This had in turn exposed them to interception by British aircraft and to the British missile and gun defences which had extracted a terrible toll upon the Argentines.
Clearly aircraft survivability was something that needed to be given priority with regards to the development of a new attack aircraft.
This was where the navy wanted to try something new (and probably expensive). Rather than trying to make a new aircraft that was faster and more manoeuvrable and better able to protect itself they wanted to go in a different direction, Stealth.
The USAF was currently working on bringing a revolutionary new aircraft into service. The F117 Nighthawk stealth attack aircraft promised to be a complete game changer that could simply fly right through any air defence network with the enemy being none the wiser.
The navy were very interested in the possibilities offered by such an aircraft being operated from aircraft carriers. To this end they proposed that the aircraft that ultimately replaced the A6 should be a stealth attack aircraft possibly a derivative of the F117 Nighthawk. Although it would take a very long time to develop such an aircraft the proposal to bring a new stealth attack aircraft into service by 1994 was enthusiastically received. The Marine Corps liked the idea of having some of their own and even the USAF who at the time believed that the future lay in stealth aircraft thought that such an aircraft could even serve as a good follow on to the F117.
It was agreed to recommend the development of what was for now dubbed the Advanced Tactical Aircraft to the President.

The next subject to be discussed would relate to surface ship design and need for situational awareness and ways to improve this. With regards to the latter it had been noted how the Argentines in the Falklands had had very little information regarding the disposition of their enemy and that often Argentine pilots had effectively been flying into the unknown. This was considered to be a decisive factor in the overall outcome.
It wasn’t enough to simply gather the required information relating to situational awareness but more about how it was handled as this would influence command decisions about how to act upon it. Luckily this was something that had already been addressed and acted upon even before the conflict in the Falklands had broken out.
AEGIS was a new integrated computer and naval weapons system that was due to come into service the next year aboard the first of the new TICONDEROGA class guided missile cruisers. The system tied together the ships sensor, computer and weapon systems and enabled quick and more effective responses to threats. It had been developed when it had been recognised that human operators would struggle to keep up in a modern high intensity naval battle involving multiple extremely fast moving threats such as supersonic missiles. The intention had been to reduce reaction and response times by introducing as much automation as possible and moving as much of the information processing requirement and demands off of the human operators and onto the much quicker thinking computers. A key advantage of AEGIS was its ability to quickly identify, prioritise and respond to threats with the human operator present more as an oversight and check than anything else. The Falklands conflict had in the opinion of the navy demonstrated the value of such a system.
Despite AGIES it had now been recognised that one of its limiting factors when responding to threats such as guided missiles would be the ships missile reload speed.
Currently SAM’s within the US Navy were launched off of launcher rails with the new TICONDEROGA class using a Mark 26 twin rail launcher system. The limiting factor with rails was once a missile was launched precious time would be lost reloading.
In the case of the British attack upon the Argentine DE MAYO carrier group the escorting Type 42 Destroyers had launched four Sea Dart SAM’s from their twin rails. Despite two of the Martel ASM’s having been downed the basic problem was the British had launched a total of 8 missiles at the two destroyers who had only been able to respond with a total of 4 Sea Darts. There simply had not been enough time to reload and get off a second shot before the British missiles had impacted their targets (again highlighting the need for effective CIWS). This inherent flaw with rail launched missiles meant that theoretically it would be very easy to destroy a surface force by saturating the defences with missiles as the defenders wouldn’t be able to launch enough missiles in defence quickly enough.
The team that had conducted the initial analysis and war gaming of the conflict and who had presented their findings this morning had recognised this limitation and recommended the adoption of a vertical launching system. Instead of missiles being stored in a magazine and individually moved to a launching rail on deck the theory was that a ships entire compliment of missiles would be arranged on deck in their own individual launch tubes. The advantage of this was their rate of fire would not be limited by launcher availability and so the ship would be much better able to defend itself against saturation attacks.
The navy officers in the room agreed with the analysis team’s recommendation that Vertical Launch Systems should be included in future warship construction. With regards to the TICONDEROGA class the hull was large enough to allow for a VLS but this would require extensive redesign which would take well over a year. The first 5 ships had already been ordered and 2 were already under construction with the first USS TICONDEROGA having already been launched and due to commission early next year. Clearly making such extensive changes to these ships was completely unfeasible. The navy therefore would have to accept these first five cruisers as they were. Therefore they decided to halt any more orders for the class for now and conduct the necessary redesign work before recommencing production of the ships which would from hull 6 onwards be equipped with VLS systems.

The subject now turned to destroyers. In 1980 the navy had initiated design studies for a new class of destroyer which would be a follow on to the Spruance Class. In light of the lessons learnt as a result of the Falklands conflict and taking advantage of the fact that no decisions had yet been made let alone awarding of contracts or steel cutting having taken place it would be wise to stop and start over again.
The specifications for the new destroyers would be rewritten in light of the conflict. The meeting went on to a very rough outline of what those specifications should be. The new destroyer was to be of all steel construction with aluminium having proved itself to be unsuitable and potentially dangerous. Vital spaces would be protected with double armour, the design was to be equipped with AEGIS and VLS. Where possible elements of stealth were to be included and the ships internal layout to be designed based upon the results of future studies into shipboard firefighting and damage control. Based on these requirements alone the men in the room could see that such a ship would easily be over 8000 tons in displacement which wouldn’t be far off the TICONDEROGA’s 9500 tons.

The next item came in the form of the Navy asking the Marine Corps if they had given any thought to the potential offered by their AV-8 Harriers in light of the Royal Navy’s experiences with using the Sea Harrier in combat. The head of the USMC’s aviation branch had replied that the USMC didn’t really think that the Harrier offered much in the way of air defence capability and that it would be much better suited to providing the marines with their own organic ground attack and close air support capability. Despite RN Sea Harriers having successfully intercepted and downed a small number of Argentine attack aircraft the Falklands Conflict hadn’t done much to change this view but they were interested in how the RN had made maximum use out of a comparatively limited aircraft. One of the naval officers pointed out how the use of a ski jump aboard HMS INVINCIBLE had allowed British Harriers to launch with greater weapon and fuel loads compared to their USMC counterparts who either had to take off vertically which used a ton of fuel or make straight run take offs off the bow of the LPH’s which again limited the weight of weapons that could be carried. The navy suggested that it might be worth looking at retrofitting ski jumps to the TARAWA class LPH and including them in the design for the planned follow on LPH class, the WASP class. The marines however immediately stamped on this idea before it could get off the ground so to speak. While Harriers provided an important capability to LPH’s in the USMC’s opinion they were of secondary importance to the LPH’s primary role of providing helicopters to air lift marines ashore. Installing ski jumps would mean the loss of at least one helicopter landing spot and thus an adverse effect on troop lift capability that they were not prepared to accept.

Instead the marines actually surprised the naval officers while being able to take pleasure in chastising them a bit. They pointed out that one thing that had seemingly been ignored during the course of the day was ASW.
One of the admirals though slightly embarrassed countered that they hadn’t considered it to be as relevant as other things. There had only been three incidents of submarine action during the conflict. The first had been an elderly WWII era submarine being caught on the surface near South Georgia and promptly sunk by British helicopters. The navy had reasoned that such an outcome was inevitable as any submarine that was caught on the surface by the enemy was in serious trouble anyway and that the elderly Balao Class submarine had no business operating in the same vicinity as the finest submarine killing organisation in the world (The RN) meaning that that particular incident could be discounted.
The second was the sinking of the ARA GENERAL BELGRANO and ARA HIPOLITO BOUCHARD by the British SSN HMS CONQUEROR. Again this had been discounted as unrepresentative of what a modern conflict would be like as the Argentine ships were again elderly WWII era vessels with next to no ASW capability pitted against a modern SSN.
The third incident which had taken place earlier the same day was the assumed sinking of the Argentine Type 209 SSK ARA SAN LUIS by British helicopters. Some pointed out that this was again unrepresentative as this incident involved a single SSK compared to the multitude of modern SSN’s and SSGN’s that the Soviets would likely employ in any conflict. The US Navy and USMC had been rather interested with how the RN had used large numbers of ASW helicopters operating from both HMS INVINCIBLE and the LPH HMS HERMES. They remembered how INVINCIBLE had originally been intended to be a large flat top ASW helicopter carrier and thought that the idea had merit. It wouldn’t be that difficult to embark large numbers of ASW helicopters onto an LPH like the TARAWA class and use them as ASW platforms. The Commandant of the Marine Corps General Barrows stated that he wouldn’t be against the idea of ASW Helicopters being routinely carried aboard amphibious ships as they could provide an extra layer of ASW protection. Something that kept him awake at night was the thought of a fully loaded LPH (2500 men in the case of USS TARAWA) being torpedoed. Furthermore, if it came down to it ASW helicopters could still be used as transports.


Next up came the final and most expensive issue that needed to be resolved. Munitions usage. Despite the Falklands being classed as a limited low intensity conflict the British had expended vast quantities of munitions of all types not to mention fuel and other supplies. In fact the British had admitted that towards the latter stages of the conflict their operations and decision making had begun to become seriously affected by munition supply concerns.
The Americans were seriously worried about the fact that munitions in this limited conflict expenditure had massively exceeded their expectations and what this would mean for a conventional operation’s in Europe.
The RAND corporation had been doing some number crunching regarding munitions and supply usage and resupply rates for a large scale conventional conflict against the Soviets. The results made for sobering reading. It seemed that pervious plans and assumptions had been way to optimistic and that NATO forces in Europe were ill prepared to sustain prolonged combat operations. Based on the RAND Corporation’s revised estimates taking into account expected munitions losses as a result of enemy action NATO forces would exhaust their supplies within a matter of days. NATO’s reinforcement and resupply plan codenamed Reforger if given enough lead in time before the outbreak of hostilities could theoretically buy a bit of extra time but in reality this would likely be cancelled out as any munitions brought over from the US would most likely simply be used up by the expected reinforcement units that were slated to be transported. Any losses to the resupply convoys would quite quickly make prolonged combat operations unsustainable and everyone in the room knew what that would likely mean. Once supplies became exhausted and commanders lost their ability to fight conventionally then they would most likely be forced to resort to tactical nuclear weapons. Once that genie was let out the consequences would be dire for mankind.

Now was when things would become really expensive. It was estimated that the quantities of munitions stockpiled not only in theatre but also in the strategic reserve within the continental United States would have to be more than doubled. This would involve building new storage deports and possibly even subsidising the construction of new munitions production facilities.
That wasn’t even the worst part. It wasn’t enough to simply have more ammunition but there would need to be an increase in the capability to move it from the supply deports to the frontline units that needed it. The RAND Corporation had not only taken into account the revised estimates for supply consumption but also anticipated losses of transport ships and aircraft due to enemy action and resulting disruption. The Military Sealift Command which was the branch of the navy that operated the various auxiliary and transport ships would see a vast increase in size with new classes of RoRo vessels and auxiliary oiler commissioned.
Not only that but it was also recognised that moving supplies and reinforcements by sea may well be to slow to keep up with demand meaning that an enlarged air lift capability would be required. Even then it was reckoned that even if operating at maximum capacity and tempo the Air Force’s transport aircraft would merely be able to reduce the rate at which supply and munitions stocks already in theatre would be depleted. The best they could hope for from a strategic point of view would be to buy time for the Reforger convoys to arrive.
The USAF officers in the room stated that the best way to meet this last requirement would likely have to be the restarting production of the gigantic Lockheed C-5 Galaxy strategic transport aircraft.

Getting the funding from Congress for the increased munitions stocks and extra transport ships and aircraft would be an emotional affair for all involved. It was hard enough getting funds for “sexy” items such as tanks, warships and combat aircraft but asking for yet even more vast sums of money for support capability would be even harder to get pass politicians who perhaps didn’t appreciate the vital importance of supply capability in the same way that military men did.


With the meeting drawing to a close Secretary Lehman who had been chairing the meeting outlined what would happen next. The recommendations that had been made would be presented to the Secretary of Defence Casper Weinberger and the Joint Chiefs of Staff along with other senior officers who had not been present at this meeting. If the recommendations met with the Secretary of Defence’s approval then they would be presented to the President. Ultimately they would have to go before congress and the various Senate appropriations and armed services committees before the required funding and go authorisations could be obtained. Some items could be proposals could be enacted immediately and paid for out of existing budgets without the need to get the politicians involved. Some would hopefully sail through Congress and the Senate (or at least move as smoothly as was possible when politics was a factor). Some of the more expensive items though vital would have to be fought for tooth and nail.


With the meeting now effectively over Secretary Lehman asked the standard question “any other business?”. It was at this point that the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Barrow said that he wanted to talk about Naval Gunfire Support. This drew an immediate groan and a few protests from all the naval officers assembled as they knew what the General really wanted to talk about. When Secretary Lehman agreed to the Generals request this resulted in a chorus of groans, protests and angry and sarcastic instructions to aides to cancel appointments and tell spouses that they wouldn’t be home for up to a few days.
The army and air force contingents pointed out that they were present more as observers and that the upcoming conversation had little to do with them as they unsuccessfully tried to excuse themselves. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Vessey, himself a US Army officer stopped ordered them to remain seated stating that if he had to sit and suffer through this one then they were damned well going to as well.

The reactivation of the four WWII vintage IOWA class battleships was a bit of a touchy subject within the navy.
it was something that had been forced upon them by Congress as part of the 600 ship navy policy. The official reasoning behind this was for the ships to act as a counter to the Soviets new 28000 ton nuclear powered KIROV class guided missile cruiser. Further influencing the decision to reactivate the IOWA’s was the marine corps insistence that it needed the NGS capabilities offered by the 16 inch guns when conducting an amphibious landing and that some within congress somewhat erroneously believed that reactivating older ships was cheaper than new builds.
While bringing back the battleships did have its advocates within the navy there were many more officers who were less than thrilled about the prospect. First there were the practicalities of reactivating, updating and operating 58000 ton battleships.

The ships were approaching 30 years old and had spent the overwhelming majority of their lives laid up in reserve. Indeed, the USS MISSOURI hadn’t been to sea since 1955. In the opinion of one naval officer in the room the damned thing belonged in a museum. In fact the USS ALABAMA which was only 2 years older than MISSOURI actually was in a museum!
The fact was that these ships had been designed more than 40 years ago to fight a war that had come and gone and required extensive modernisation to be brought back into service. Since these ships had been built big naval guns had been replaced by guided missiles, AA guns had been replaced by SAM’s and sea planes had been superseded by helicopters. Each ship would have to be receive engine overhauls to allow them to run on distillate fuel which was the navy’s standard fuel having moved on considerably from the second world war era. Obsolete electronics and anti aircraft gun armament would have to be ripped out and replaced with modern electronic warfare systems, CIWS and missiles. The cost of modernising each was about the same as building a brand new OLIVER HAZARD PERRY class frigate. Given that the IOWA’s were already 40 years old and would have a limited lifespan remaining many within the navy would have much preferred to have the new frigates instead.
Then having spent the estimated $1.7 Billion that it would take to reactivate the ships there would be the various issues around actually operating the damned things. Each ship would have a complement of about 1800 men. The manpower it would take to run all four would be almost enough to crew an entire carrier battle group. Worse despite the extensive upgrades that the ships would receive there would still be plenty of old and obsolete systems onboard which would throw up all sorts of maintenance and training headaches. With regards to the main armament of 16 inch guns they would have to start from scratch with training personnel to operate them as no one had fired the damned things in almost 15 years. The were all sorts of plans to integrate the elderly guns with modern targeting systems but in reality this would throw up a whole heap of issues with trying to make technology separated by 40 years work with each other and take them even further into unknown territory with regards to training personnel to use them. Navy officers cringed at the fact that they were probably going to be forced to drag elderly WWII and Korean War veterans out of retirement to act as instructors.

With regards to providing naval gunfire support to the marines the navy questioned the value of the capability offered by the battleships when compared to the costs of operating them. Sure, there weren’t many things in the world that could argue with a 16 inch shell but there was more one way to skin a cat. The navy pointed out that the British had used the smaller and more modern 4.5 inch guns on their frigates and destroyers quite successfully in the NGS role. Why couldn’t US destroyers and cruisers do the same? Also the USMC was soon to introduce the new Harrier AV-8B which like their predecessors would be routinely deployed aboard LPH’s. Surely one of those things armed with laser guided bombs could be just as effective against even hard targets as a 16 inch shell?

There were other problems relating specifically to the 16 inch guns. In the same way that aircraft are only rated for a certain number of flight hours naval guns are only rated for a certain number of shells. With the ships having seen extensive action in WWII, Korea and Vietnam plus the various training exercises in between the guns had already fired more than a few shells and were by now fairly worn down on the inside of the barrels. In fact some of them realistically had as few as 200 rounds left in their lifespans before it would become dangerous to fire them. Bearing in mind that a large number of shells would likely be expended in testing and training that figure would rapidly decline meaning that soon they could well reach the point where they would have paid vast sums of money for ships that could no longer use their primary armament.
Shells were another issue. Manufacture of 16 inch shells had stopped at the end of the second world war when it had been felt that there was no future for battleships. Since then whenever the ships had been called into action the navy had been forced to did in to a vast but finite stock of shells kept in storage seeing as there was no longer the capability to manufacture new ones. Just as bad was the fact that large shells manufactured 35 years ago could well prove to be below what was considered acceptable by the modern navy with regards to ammunition safety.

With regards to the ships primary mission of taking on the Soviet KIROV class the navy considered this to be utterly ridiculous. Sure they would be fitted with Harpoon SSM’s and the upcoming Tomahawk missiles but if the Falklands Conflict had done anything it had proven what many had been saying for years that in the modern world surface engagements were extremely unlikely as in reality the ships would most likely have been sunk by aircraft or submarines before they ever came into missile range. As for the guns the KIROV’s were known to carry SS-N-19 Shipwreck SSM’s with an estimated range of over 600km. There was not the faintest chance of the IOWA’s ever getting close enough to engage with guns.

The navy did accept some of the reasoning for reactivating the ships but their main concern was the cost of bring what was an obsolete type of ship back to life particularly now there would be so many other funding priorities and the need for all four ships.
The USS NEW JERSEY had seen service in the Vietnam War and had been put to bed in 1969. Therefore, she was already somewhat modernised compared to her sisters and would cost the least to reactivate. Indeed, the work to do so was already underway. USS IOWA was slated to be brought back to life next rentering service in 1984 with MISSOURI and WISCONSIN to follow at 2 yearly intervals.
The navy were happy to bring NEW JERSEY and at a push IOWA back into service but wanted to abandon plans to reintroduce the final two ships and instead use them for spare parts to support their active sisters.
The marines were outraged by this and pointed out that the decision had already been made by congress and the navy had no choice in the matter.

Sensing that as with so many other discussions on the subject this one was yet again going to devolve into a shouting match that would go on all night General Vessey silently prayed to god to somehow end is suffering and wondered if he would ever get to see his home again.
 
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