Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Jukra, Jan 8, 2019.
If it hadn't been scrapped about 10 years before Argentina bought Karel Doorman from the Dutch, yes.
I meant at the time of the scrapping.
I didn't know that, and I'm smacking myself for not thinking of that.
I would also add that the Karel Doorman had been significantly and expensively upgraded before going into service with the Argentine navy
One idea might be to instead of Karel Doorman / 21st De Mayo to go for a fleet of DDs / Frigates
Now we are looking at the late 60s?
So an obvious group to get involved with is the Knox class DDs which were ladi down in 65 - not sure if US production could allow for Argentine production during that period where Zumwalt was trying to expand the US Navy?
Perhaps they commission a sea control ship during the 70s if this program took off?
And for extra Irony as there is a lot of it about - they purchase AV8A Harriers!
Buccaneers, more and better tankers and more and better maritime patrol aircraft would seem a reasonable option to me.
If you want to go that route the Argentines discarded their dreadnoughts Moreno and Rivadavia around the same time that the British were discarding the 4 surviving KGVs so Argentina could theoretically have bought 2 of them.
However, in common with the transfers of pairs of Brooklyn class cruisers to Argentina, Brazil and Chile in 1951 such a transfer would have to be balanced by the transfer of the other 2 KGVs to Chile and the 2 American North Carolina's to Brazil.
The OTL evidence is that a surface fleet needs very a good ASW capacity if it is to remain on top of the water. A better force projection is a land based maritime air system with good recce and air refuelling. The air force can provide point defence and fighter escort to keep them happy and these are relevant to the Chilean threat too. However, the strategy was never to expect to actually meet British forces in major battle but to cope with Chilean and other local threats whilst sabre rattling in support of diplomatic actions over the Falklands.
For the Falklands the optimum strategy would actually have been to spend money to woo the islanders building communications and opportunities until a generation has experienced cheap education, entertainment and opportunities in Argentina. Cheap flights, cheap secondary, higher and further education, a Falklands television and radio service and cheap medical services. IOTL they blew that one away for two more generations. he Foreign Office would have been glad to get rid of the Falklands had the islanders allowed them to do so gracefully.
Hmm. Argentine Aviation. Background:
What this means for Argentine naval policy?
Argentina for sundry reasons since the mid 1930s has been excited about naval aviation. It gives her a cost effective means to defend her long very vulnerable seacoasts from her traditional rivals, Brazil and Chile and gives her bragging rights.
Now about the idea of operating an aircraft carrier? The United States strains to keep 11 attack carriers in service and another 13 amphibian carriers in addition. Argentina's ARA optimistically thought it could operate 1? As the PLAN has discovered recently (and the UK will), flattops are not an easy thing to do. Air groups, body guard ships, underweigh and underway logistics cost billions for 1 (one) first class establishment. Otherwise the flattop is a museum ship waiting for decommissioning. A fighting navy has to operate at sea in peacetime. Where is that at sea money, manpower, industrial base and material to come? Argentina does not have it.
So what does she buy instead of the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo?
As can be seen from the Falklands/Malvinas inset, Argentina's naval problem has not gone away, nor has that geographical situation with which she is saddled. At one point, she was embarked on a ballistic missile program to cover her southern flank with a pre-cursor of the current PLAN sea denial plan aimed at the United States in the western Pacific, only in the Argentine case, aimed at several other potential hostile naval powers. The US and Brazil used diplomatic efforts to end that effort. Besides it will not work anyway as I hope to Murphy the PRC never finds out, for it will be a mistake of gravest proportions for everyone involved sending and receiving.
For that 150 million pesos, though there are some 1968-1972 options:
1. There are anti-ship cruise missiles that can be launched from shore based aircraft. Sweden created the RB08 and Israel had the Gabriel 1 and 2 missiles in this time frame. This lacks the prestige of an aircraft carrier but these weapon systems can be better supported logistically are more survivable and have a certainty of use.
2. The Russian option. Now it seems counterintuitive politically and militarily, but Russian gear when used by "Western" militaries, works. The Indian Navy has had great success with Russian OSA fast attack craft armed with anti-ship anti-land target missiles in cross ocean operations hundreds of kilometers and far beyond the cruising radius the FACs could reach on their own from their bases during that era. There are western equivalents and Israeli (French) ones. Operation Trident and operations during the 1973 war show that these craft can operate in a severe air threat environment with some success.
3. I don't like Swedish military hardware more complex than their missiles and naval guns as a rule. (Prefer Norway because of the USN's traditional heavy post WW II involvement with Norway's own weapons makers...) but... missile boats based on the Spica are possible.
4. LRMP aircraft? Why reinvent the wheel? The P-3 was made for the job. And if it is expensive, then buy second hand Neptunes. Better than the Atlantique or the Nimrod.
I LOVE the power of a working submarine as a seapower option. It is not cheap, nor is it for the incompetent. But if the Argentine air forces and naval aviation prove anything, if the ARA invests and takes care, it can achieve amazing things with seemingly obsolete gear.
What to buy?
1. An ELF communications system to communicate with the subs at sea.
2. 6 submarines, preferably non-British or non-Swedish from someone who knows how to build them and teach the end-users the proper use of the same. The list of vendors is a very short one, politically and technically. The British of that time period know how to use well, but not how to build well. Their torpedoes are "questionable" in that era. The Russians are in the same boat. Sweden is not my choice (Collins disaster upcoming, ask the Australians about it.). That leaves France, Germany and the United States. The French have good subs with decent weapons which work well for the MN but NO EXPERIENCE as to what works in war and what does not and it shows. They are a vendor risk that for the Arabs at least has been a total failure down to the present. India has had little experience with their gear and is embarked on a huge gamble with them. Germany from the era builds good boats, but their tactical systems are GERMAN (not forgiving) and they continue their WW II learned bad design choices and engineering habits. Their torpedoes are suspect.
That leaves Uncle who has been out of the D/E business since the Barbels. But there is someone who is war qualified, knows submarines and how to use them and can build Barbels to order. Meet these guys. Best in the world submarine technology inherited with none of the Gringo problems that came with the Barbel source technology.
The torpedoes work too. If it has Raytheon stamped on it...
In case of conflict against Brazil, land based airpower with 1960's era technology can easily target Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, I can realistically see no need to go further.
I do agree with you. At same time, the Argentine military junta could keep their military forces as a glorified corruption / public works program which would at least create some positive results for Argentine society at large.
This is naturally the best option. They can be fitted to MPA too, to give additional range and additional strike power for Alpha strikes.
I would argue that the historic Argentine policy of buying larger surface combatants, like Drummond class corvettes is rather more sensible. Larger craft have longer range and endurance, can be used in OOTW, can use their armament in all weather conditions and have at least some chance to fight the aerial threat. Historically Argentina also purchased surplus USN destroyers and outfitted them with Exocets, although it's difficult to judge from old gear whether that was net positive or negative.
But a squadron of FAC's might be useful too, just for the lulz, to complicate enemy estimates of possible threats and they can be used for a host of other duties in littorals too, such as ASW and special forces support, minelaying etc.
Atlantique was French and they seemed to like buying stuff from there. Granted, as Argentina has really no hope and no need to fight nuclear submarines P-3 Orion, Nimrod or Atlantique might be an overkill and Neptune might do the job. Actually a 707 (or equivalent) or two fitted with ELINT equipment and surface search radar might be nice, could be used for OOTW too. Historically Argentina used 707 to scout out the British task force.
While some subs are nice against larger power in order to keep a large force tied up to ASW, I would argue that against Chile, the threat Argentina seemed to be really arming up against, surface craft might be ultimately a better option as they could enable things such as limited embargo, support of ground forces and amphibious operations etc.
An alpha strike is an all or nothing effort. If the alpha striker fails, the retribution will be swift and merciless. That is why some residual defense is a good op-art maxim for the mid tier power to follow.
When the Egyptians blew the Israeli destroyer Eilat out of the water with a Styx and the Indians turned Karachi into a scrap yard, the handwriting was on the wall for WW II surplus gear in any form. It can be argued that missile boats make good economic sense as attrition units. A mid tier navy is not going to be able to afford many 7,000-10,000 tonne 1972 era warships packed to the gunwales with countermeasures and SAMs. Nimble fast attack craft with well trained crews make a lot more sense. As noted the Indians operated hundreds of kilometers beyond the OSA boats' intended cruising radius in rough seas to wreck Karachi. Since the Russians intended these boats for Arctic and Baltic operations it kind of makes sense that when Argentina shops around that she looks for something like it.
Atlantique is a good plane with very good gear, but Neptune for less cost is better. Nimrod? . Good plane. Good gear but even back in 1970 there were some problems with build and maintenance. P-3 will get you to Antarctica and back.
You can still have your slightly smaller surface fleet. The OP was about something in place of the almost useless prestige show the flag ARA Vintecinco de Mayo. I was thinking of combat effective solutions that will not obsolesce or be ineffective in case of a worst case situation pops up. An embargo can be handled by corvettes or a fat 400 tonne missile boat. Something a submarine would have trouble sinking by the way, in 1972... or 1982.
I guess the acquisition cost for a WWII era USN DD was fairly minimal, even if effectiveness was low and operational costs high. I would guess that for WWII/Early Cold War surplus gear an US DE or, say, British Type 14, fitted with Exocets, might be ultimately more useful and more cost-effective option than a full DD.
Yes, definitely, from an utilitarian viewpoint this is the case.
IIUC the de Mayo was replacing an earlier light fleet carrier Independcia, and was Argentina's fleet flagship. Therefore one key requirement is that the capability they procure in 1968 has flagship capabilities, which pretty much means another cruiser as a minimum. Strangely enough I think the HMS Lion would be a good choice; the RN decided not to convert it to a helicopter-command cruiser by about 1968, it was a postwar build with much more modern armament than the Brooklyns and the package might include a squadron of Shackeltons and more Canberras. Further to this Argentina might buy the Tiger and/or Blake in the late 70s to replace the laid up Nueve de Julio, General Belgrano and Lion or some combination thereof.
The Argentinean Air Force had a 707 fitted with ELINT equipment in the 1970's/80's.
It's perfectly feasible that the Argentines would buy Lion to replace the training cruiser La Argentina sometime between 1968 and 1974. It's also feasible that Argentina would buy Tiger and Blake in the second half of the 1970s to replace the 2 Brooklyns.
IOTL Lion was commissioned in 1960 but was paid off in 1964 and remained in reserve until the early 1970s when she was put on the Disposal List. She was scrapped in 1975.
I had to resort to Wikipaedia for information on La Argentina. According to that she was paid off in 1972 and scrapped in 1974.
Both commando carriers became surplus to requirements in the 1974 Defence Review. However, it was decided to keep Bulwark and Hermes as ASW carriers due to delays in building the Invincible class, which were theoretically built to replace Tiger, Blake and Lion. IIRC the decision was made in 1976 after Bulwark had been paid off, but Hermes was still in commission. Bulwark re-commissioned in 1979 while Blake and Tiger were paid off 1978-79 presumably to provide the crews for Bulwark and Hermes.
If the decision to run the commando carriers on as ASW ships had been made as part of the 1974 Defence Review Bulwark wouldn't have been paid off and the paying off of Tiger and Blake is likely to have been brought forward 2 or 3 years. It's feasible that Argentina would have made an offer for them and if accepted they would be transferred 1976-77.
Argentina might pay for all 3 ships in corned beef instead of cash. I'm only half joking. Saudi Arabia paid for its Tornados in oil and I half-remember reading that another arms purchase was paid for in apples.
Our Mirage purchase was paid for partly in wheat, and while it wasn't part of the deal the year we bought the RB07 SAM our wheat exports to Sweden saw a large spike.
Not a chance. Not in the 1960s.
The various 2nd tier navies with carriers managed to get them for fire sale prices. The only people they had to outbid were the breaking yards.
The Dutch had to remove the Terrier system from their cruisers and return them to the U.S. before the sale could be completed. The transferred as straight 6" gun CL.
The Lion was not modernized like the Tiger and the Blake. There was some engineering reason for this RN decision that I do not recall. I suppose the Blake or the Tiger could have had their after armament (such as it was, Seacat?) suppressed and a helo-pad fitted. Question is how much service life was left in the plant and in the hulls?
I don't know about any engineering issues, I thought it was a mixture of massive cost and schedule blowouts, low military capability for the cost and effort as well as the re-focusing of British defence policy away from Out of Area operations to NATO roles that lead to abandonment of the Lion's helo rebuild.
As for life, there is a massive difference between what a 1st tier navy expects from hull life and what a 2nd/3rd tier expects. The RN won't pay to keep a 15 year old hull running for 10-15 more years if the weapons and sensors are not up to scratch; its better to build a new ship with all the new stuff for a bit more money that will get a full 30 years. This was a major problem in the 60s with the switch from guns to missiles. In contrast a 3rd tier navy struggles to find a big wad of cash to buy a brand new ship, but can find a constant trickle of cash to pay for (low cost) crew to keep the maintenance intensive ships running. The postwar built Lion might last for 20+ years in Argentine service.
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