Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Figure 1: USS Helena (PG-9) photographed in Far Eastern waters sometime after 1899, while dressed with flags for a holiday. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Helena (PG-9) painted by the Chinese artist Qikit, 1905. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donation of Mrs. A.W. Lott. Navy Art Accession #: 76-301-A. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Helena (PG-9) in a mud dock on the Liao River, China, during the winter of 1903 and 1904. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Helena (PG-9) in Canton, China, circa 1925. U.S. Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after the capital of Montana, USS Helena (PG-9) was a 1,571-ton steel gunboat built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company, Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned on 8 July 1897. The ship was approximately 250 feet long and 40 feet wide, had a top speed of 13 knots, and had a crew of 175 officers and men. Helena was armed with four 4-inch guns, four 11-pounders, and one 3-inch rifle.
Helena was initially assigned to the North Atlantic Fleet and her primary function was to patrol the waters off the coast of the United States. During the Spanish-American War, Helena was sent to Cuba where she saw action on several occasions. On 2 and 3 July 1898, Helena exchanged gunfire with Spanish shore batteries at Fort Tunas. On 18 July, as part of the small US task force blockading the port of Manzanillo, she assisted in the sinking of eight enemy ships during the naval attack on that port. Helena was part of the overall naval blockade of Cuba as well.
After the Spanish-American War ended, Helena joined the US Asiatic Fleet. She steamed there via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal and arrived in the Philippines on 10 February 1899. The gunboat played a significant role during the Philippine Insurrection and assisted US Army troops in subduing the Filipino rebellion there. On 21 May 1899, Helena assisted in the landing of American troops at Jolo and in June she supported the Army in Manila Bay as US troops went on the offensive south of Manila into Cavite Province. On 13 June, Army troops on board Helena were brought ashore using the gunboat’s launches and they assaulted the strong enemy defenses along the Zapote River. On 7 November 1899, Helena provided gunfire support for 2,500 US Army troops landing at San Fabian in Lingayen Gulf.
Helena remained in the Far East for the balance of her naval career, doing what gunboats did best, which was protecting American lives and property in foreign countries. She served in China from October 1900 to December 1902 and then returned to the Philippines and stayed there until March 1903. After that she was sent back to China, but in December 1904 Helena returned to Cavite in the Philippines. While based there, she was decommissioned on 19 April 1905.
Helena was re-commissioned on 16 July 1906 and visited various ports within the Asiatic Station until June 1907. From then on, she was an active member of both the South China Patrol and the Yangtze River Patrol until 29 June 1929, when she was placed in “reduced” commission. Helena continued to serve with the South China Patrol until 27 May 1932, when she was officially decommissioned and struck from the Navy list. USS Helena was sold for scrap on 7 July 1934, after serving in the US Navy for 35 years.
Posted by Remo at 8:41 AM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Figure 1: A port view of the frigate USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) at Honolulu, Hawaii, 1986. Courtesy PH2 Lancaster. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) underway, date and place unknown. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: Aerial surveillance photograph showing two Cambodian Communist Khmer Rouge gunboats seizing the American containership SS Mayaguez on 12 May 1975. US Air Force Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: A large US Air Force H-53 helicopter carrying US Marines attempts to land on the narrow deck of the USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074), 15 May 1975. Courtesy of U.S. Air Force. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) coming alongside SS Mayaguez to retake the ship from Khmer Rouge pirates on 15 May 1975. Courtesy of U.S. Air Force. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: US Marines going over the side of the USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) during the retaking of SS Mayaguez on 15 May 1975. Courtesy of Bill McKinley. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: US Marine searching the decks of the Mayaguez during the retaking of the ship on 15 May 1975. Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: Tony Mullins, Dennis Smyres, and John Hamrin on the starboard side of USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) guarding against a possible communist gunboat attack after the SS Mayaguez is secured. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration, taken by YN3 Michael Chan. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) towing SS Mayaguez to safety after recapturing the container ship on 15 May 1975. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) tows SS Mayaguez to safety after recapturing the container ship on 15 May 1975. Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: An aerial view of the US Naval Ship Repair Facility at Subic Bay, the Philippines, in June 1982. Berthed at the shipyard are the Knox-class frigates USS Roark (FF-1053) and USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074). Moored alongside them is the guided missile frigate USS Brooke (FFG-1). Courtesy PH1 David MacLean. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: A starboard view of the frigate USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) underway, November 1991. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 13: An overhead view of the frigate USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) underway, November 1991. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 14: Another overhead view of the frigate USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) underway, November 1991. US Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 15: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) was used as a target ship on 10 July 2002 as part of the RIMPAC 2002 naval exercises. Courtesy Peter Skoutas. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 16: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) being hit as a target ship on 10 July 2002 as part of the RIMPAC 2002 naval exercises. Courtesy Peter Skoutas. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 17: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) showing numerous hits and much damage while being used as a target ship on 10 July 2002 as part of the RIMPAC 2002 naval exercises. Courtesy Peter Skoutas. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 18: USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) sinking after being used as a target ship on 10 July 2002 as part of the RIMPAC 2002 naval exercises. In the foreground is the frigate USS Crommelin (FFG-37). Courtesy Peter Skoutas. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after the Australian Prime Minister Harold E. Holt (who was a strong supporter of President Lyndon Johnson and greatly expanded Australia’s involvement in Vietnam), the 4,065-ton USS Harold E. Holt (FF-1074) was a Knox-class frigate and the first American warship named after a foreign head of state. She was built at Todd Shipyards at San Pedro, California, and was commissioned on 26 March 1971. Holt was approximately 438 feet long and 46 feet wide, had a top speed of 27 knots, and had a crew of 13 officers and 211 enlisted men. Holt was heavily armed with one 5-inch/54 caliber Mk. 42 gun, one ASROC Mk. 16 missile launcher, four Mk. 46 torpedoes from four single-tube launchers, one Mk. 25 BPDMS launcher for Sea Sparrow missiles, and a wide array of electronic and sonar equipment. The ship also carried one SH-2 Seasprite (LAMPS 1) helicopter.
After a rather long shakedown period, Holt was deployed to the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam in the spring of 1972. While there, she was used as an escort and provided gunfire support for US troops on shore. Holt came under fire from shore batteries on several occasions and sustained two mine hits, although she was not seriously damaged. She steamed back to Long Beach, California, in late November 1972 and later was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her service off the coast of Vietnam.
Saigon, along with the rest of South Vietnam, fell to the communist North Vietnamese on 30 April 1975 and Holt was in the area patrolling the waters off this troubled country. But on 12 May, less than two weeks after the fall of Saigon, communist Cambodian Khmer Rouge naval forces, using captured former US Navy “Swift Boats,” seized the American container ship SS Mayaguez that was steaming in international waters near Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge claimed that the ship had entered their territorial waters, although the Mayaguez clearly had not. US Navy patrol aircraft observed that the ship was moved to Koh Tang Island, located roughly 50 miles off the southern coast of Cambodia.
America’s response was quick and decisive. President Gerald Ford called the taking of the Mayaguez an act of piracy and ordered US Navy and Marine Corps units into the area to recapture the container ship and its 40-man crew. The aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea was sent steaming towards the Mayaguez along with several smaller ships, one of them being Harold E. Holt. The frigate was given the task of retaking the container ship by force and rescuing the crew. A group of 57 Marines was flown by helicopter out from Thailand and landed on board Holt’s narrow flight deck. Holt was ordered to steam directly adjacent to the Mayaguez and the Marines were to board the container ship and rescue the crew. Other Marine Corps and Air Force units, along with the destroyer USS Henry B. Wilson, were to simultaneously mount an assault on Koh Tang Island in case the Khmer Rouge was holding the crew of the Mayaguez there.
At 0600 on 15 May, as Holt approached the Mayaguez, USAF A-7 attack jets bombarded the Mayaguez with tear gas munitions. This was supposed to incapacitate both the Khmer Rouge pirates and the hostages on board the Mayaguez. As soon as Holt came alongside the container ship, the Marines, in an action normally seen in early Nineteenth Century naval warfare, jumped over Holt’s railing and onto the deck of the Mayaguez. The Marines, equipped with gas masks, began searching the container ship for the crew and their captors. However, after a thorough search of the container ship, nobody was found. The Navy later intercepted a small fishing boat that was floating nearby and it had the entire crew of the Mayaguez on it. The crew, all of them alive and unharmed, was sent to the Holt. The sailors and the Marines from Holt then rigged a tow line between the container ship and the frigate and the Mayaguez, along with its crew, were removed from the area and brought to safety. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t as good on nearby Koh Tang Island. The Marine assault on the island went badly and several transport helicopters were shot down. Approximately 21 US Marines and airmen were killed and 41 wounded in the battle on the island before the surviving members of the assault force could be evacuated by helicopter later in the day. Numerous members of the Khmer Rouge were killed by air strikes on the island and by the Marines, although the final number of communist casualties is not known.
After the famous “Mayaguez Incident,” Holt returned to her normal fleet duties and took part in numerous naval exercises and assignments all over the world. The ship was decommissioned on 2 July 1992, after 21 years of service. On 10 July 2002, USS Harold E. Holt was sunk as a target ship as part of the RIMPAC training exercises.
Fighting pirates is nothing new for the United States Navy. The US Navy has a long and proud tradition of rescuing American citizens from these sea-based terrorists and President Ford’s quick and decisive action certainly discouraged similar acts of piracy from taking place in that part of the world. After the rescue of the Mayaguez, communist pirates in Southeast Asia never seized another American merchant ship. However, as we have seen from recent events on board the SS Maersk Alabama, the scourge of piracy is still alive and well today in other parts of the world.
Posted by Remo at 9:36 AM
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Figure 1: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WHEC-380) underway, date and place unknown. This ship was formerly the USS Yakutat (AVP-32), a 1,766-ton Barnegat class small seaplane tender, which served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1948. Yakutat served as a US Coast Guard cutter from 1948 through 1970 when, after duty in Vietnam, she was transferred to the South Vietnamese Navy. With the fall of South Vietnam, she steamed to the Philippines where she was used for spare parts for the other South Vietnamese ships that escaped the Communist takeover and were later transferred to the Philippine Navy. Courtesy US Coast Guard. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Yakutat (AVP-32) off Seattle, Washington, on 30 March 1944, one day before she was commissioned. She has a main armament of three 5-inch guns. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WAVP-380) underway in 1960, place unknown. Courtesy US Coast Guard. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WAVP-380) off Boston in July 1961. Courtesy Richard Leonhardt. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WAVP-380) at Boston in August 1961. Courtesy Richard Leonhardt. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WAVP-380) underway, date and place unknown. Courtesy Len Laesser. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WHEC-380) alongside USS Ajax (AR-6) at Subic Bay, the Philippines, in August 1967. Yakutat is being prepared for service in South Vietnam. Courtesy Larry Backus. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WHEC-380) in the new gray finish used on cutters operating in Vietnam. US Navy Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: Ex US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WHEC-380) underway in South Vietnamese service as the Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-3), at Saigon, May 1972. Courtesy Richard Leonhardt. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after a bay on the southern coast of Alaska, USS Yakutat (AVP-32) was a 1,766-ton Barnegat class small seaplane tender. She was built by the Associated Ship Builders at Seattle, Washington, and was launched on 2 July 1942. The ship was sponsored by Mrs. Peter Barber, a mother who lost three sons on 7 December 1941 when the battleship Oklahoma (BB-37) was sunk. Yakutat was commissioned on 31 March 1944 and was approximately 310 feet long and 41 feet wide, had a top speed of 18.5 knots, and had a crew of 367 officers and men. Yakutat was armed with three 5-inch guns, eight 40-mm guns, and six 20-mm guns.
Yakutat left the West Coast for the central Pacific in June 1944 and by July was tending seaplanes at Saipan. She arrived in the Palau Islands one day after the landings took place at Pelelieu in September and acted as a seaplane tender there until November 1944. From December 1944 to March 1945, Yakutat steamed to Ulithi, Guam, Saipan, the Palaus and the Marianas, servicing seaplanes at each of these forward bases. By late March, Yakutat was sent to the Ryukyu Islands and established a seaplane base at Kerama Retto in support of the amphibious assault on Okinawa. She continued supporting seaplanes there and at Okinawa until the end of the war. After spending two months in Japan after the war ended, Yakutat was sent back to the West Coast in November 1945 and was decommissioned in July 1946.
On 31 August 1948, Yakutat was loaned to the US Coast Guard. After a major overhaul, the ship was re-commissioned at San Francisco on 23 November 1948 as the US Coast Guard cutter Yakutat (WAVP-380). After transiting the Panama Canal, Yakutat was based at Portland, Maine, in late January 1949 and was assigned to weather patrol duties in the north Atlantic. Later in 1949, Yakutat was moved to her new homeport at New Bedford, Massachusetts, and she stayed there for the next 11 years. Her primary missions were search and rescue, ocean station patrol, and providing meteorological and oceanographic services. Occasionally, the ship also was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she conducted training exercises with various naval units.
In February 1952, while based at New Bedford, Yakutat took part in an unusual rescue operation off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Two tankers, SS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton, each broke in two and began to sink on the same day. Yakutat was in tactical command of the rescue operation and rescued men from both ships while directing the movements of the other ships that were in the area assisting the Coast Guard. In December 1952, Yakutat also rescued the survivors of a plane crash off the entrance of St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda.
On 1 May 1966, Yakutat was reclassified a high endurance cutter and given the new hull number WHEC-380. She was part of the US Coast Guard’s contribution to Operation Market Time off the coast of Vietnam and served there in 1967 and 1970. By the end of 1970, the ship was officially decommissioned from the US Coast Guard and was returned to the US Navy. On 10 January 1971, Yakutat was transferred to the Navy of the Republic of South Vietnam and renamed Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-3). The ship participated in coastal patrol and counterinsurgency missions off the coast of South Vietnam until the Communist takeover in the spring of 1975. At that time, Tran Nhat Duat and her five sister ships from the former South Vietnamese Navy fled the area and sailed to the safety of the Philippines. Knowing a good deal when it saw one, the Philippine government decided to acquire all six of the warships in 1975 and on 5 April 1976 the ships were officially transferred to the Philippine government. Tran Nhat Duat and her sistership, Tran Quang Toan (HQ-6, formerly the ex-Cook Inlet, WHEC-384 and AVP-36), were eventually used as a source of spare parts for the other four ships of this class.
This was an ignoble end for a ship that participated in two wars and served for 31 years in the US Navy, the US Coast Guard, and the South Vietnamese Navy. Yakutat received four battle stars for her service in World War II, one award of the Navy Unit Commendation, one award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and four battle stars for her service in Vietnam while assigned to the US Coast Guard.
Posted by Remo at 8:24 AM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Figure 1: HMS Coventry (D118) prior to the Falkland Islands War. Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: HMS Coventry (D118) in Hong Kong Harbor in 1980. Courtesy Donald Couper's Public Gallery (web site: http://picasaweb.google.com/navydonald). Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: HMS Coventry (D118) leaves the Armilla Patrol in the Persian Gulf and is headed back to Great Britain, circa 1980. Courtesy Donald Couper 's Public Gallery (web site: http://picasaweb.google.com/navydonald). Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: A starboard bow view of the British destroyer HMS Coventry (D118) underway. In the background is USS Bagley (FF-1069). Courtesy US Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: HMS Coventry (D118), while steaming northwest of the Falkland Islands, fires a Sea Dart missile at oncoming Argentinean jets on 25 May 1982. Courtesy Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Argentinean A-4 Skyhawks attacking HMS Coventry (D118) on 25 May 1982. Courtesy Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: HMS Coventry (D118) exploding after being hit by three Argentinean bombs. Courtesy Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: HMS Coventry (D118) listing to port after being hit by bombs from Argentinean A-4 Skyhawks on 25 May 1982. Her Lynx helicopter (armed with Sea Skua missile on its port pylon) was still lashed to the flight deck on the stern of the ship. Courtesy Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: HMS Coventry (D118) listing and sinking as the crew abandons ship on 25 May 1982. Life rafts can be seen floating next to the ship. Courtesy Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: HMS Coventry (D118) beginning to capsize as Sea King helicopter rescue operations are underway. Courtesy Royal Navy. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: HMS Coventry (D118) capsized and about to sink on 25 May 1982. Courtesy Royal Navy; see web site http://www.teamportsmouth.com/Mem-OscarWhild.html. Click on photograph for larger image.
NOTE: An excellent web site for additional information regarding HMS Coventry can be found at: http://www.hmscoventry.co.uk/home.html
Named after a British city, HMS Coventry (D118) was a 4,350-ton Type 42 destroyer that was built by Cammell Laird and Company at Birkenhead, England, and was commissioned on 20 November 1978. The ship was approximately 410 feet long and 46 feet wide, had a top speed of 30 knots, and had a crew of roughly 300 officers and men. Coventry was armed with one 4.5-inch gun, two 20-mm guns, six antisubmarine warfare (ASW) torpedo tubes, and one twin-armed Sea Dart GWS30 surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher. The destroyer also was armed with one Westland Lynx helicopter, capable of launching either Sea Skua anti-ship missiles or Mk. 44 antisubmarine torpedoes.
Coventry initially was assigned to the Eighth Frigate Squadron and then was transferred to the Third Destroyer Squadron in 1980. Her first major overseas deployment was to the Far East, where she participated in naval exercises with the navies of France, Pakistan, Oman, and the United States. Coventry visited ports in East Africa, Oman, Karachi, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Coventry also made a special trip to Shanghai in September 1980, along with HMS Antrim and HMS Alacrity. They were the first Royal Navy warships to visit Communist China in 30 years.
During the Iran-Iraq war, Coventry patrolled the Persian Gulf as part of the Armilla Patrol. She remained in the Persian Gulf for six weeks before returning to England in December 1980. In 1981, Coventry participated in a large NATO naval exercise called “Ocean Safari” and also took part in several smaller naval exercises until March 1982, when she was sent to Gibraltar. While Coventry was in Gibraltar, on 2 April 1982 Argentina invaded and captured the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island deep in the south Atlantic. These islands belonged to Great Britain and, after Argentina refused to return them, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave the orders to re-take the islands militarily. A large Royal Navy task force was assembled to mount an amphibious assault on the Falklands and HMS Coventry was ordered to join that task force. The Royal Navy, though, only had two small carriers that were able to take part in the operation (HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible), so Coventry’s precious Sea Dart SAM missiles were to provide badly needed antiaircraft protection for the fleet.
On 25 May 1982, HMS Coventry and HMS Broadsword were on aircraft picket duty to the northwest in Falkland Sound just off the Falkland Islands. These two ships were to intercept any Argentinean aircraft that were attempting to attack the British amphibious warships at San Carlos Bay in the Falkland Islands. Unfortunately, the ships were not in the open ocean and were close to land, which interfered with the accuracy of their antiaircraft missiles. Suddenly, four Argentinean A-4 Skyhawk jets came screaming in low just a few feet above the water, headed straight for Coventry and Broadsword. Since the planes were flying so low with a nearby island behind them, the antiaircraft targeting radar on board Coventry and Broadsword could not “lock-on” to the targets because their radars could not distinguish between the jets and the land. Therefore, only the guns on board both ships began firing frantically at the oncoming planes. As the planes came closer, HMS Coventry fired a Sea Dart antiaircraft missile at the jets but it missed. The two aircraft flew so close together that they confused Broadsword’s Sea Wolf antiaircraft missile system, preventing it from firing because it was unable to select a single target. The first two Skyhawks, each armed with two 1,000 lb. bombs, went for Broadsword. Of the four bombs aimed at Broadsword, only one hit. The bomb bounced or “skipped” off the surface of the water and struck Broadsword approximately five feet above the waterline. The bomb passed through the ship’s side without exploding and exited through the flight deck, taking off the nose of the Lynx helicopter that was sitting there. The bomb’s forward momentum moved it away from the ship and it finally landed harmlessly in the water.
The other two Skyhawks went for Coventry. Broadsword’s Sea Wolf antiaircraft missile system could “see” the incoming Argentinean jets on its radar screen, but at that same moment Coventry began turning to avoid the attack. That turn, unfortunately, put Coventry in between Broadsword and the attacking planes, preventing Broadsword from firing its missiles. These two Skyhawks also were carrying four 1,000 lb. bombs, but this time three of them hit their target. The bombs smashed into Coventry and exploded deep inside the ship. Two of the bombs blew up near the forward engine room and the other destroyed the computer room, blowing huge holes in the port side of the ship and causing massive fires. The ship began listing to port and it was clear to the ship’s commanding officer, Captain David Hart-Dyke, that Coventry was going to sink. Nineteen men were killed during the attack and the ship was beginning to roll over. The crew was ordered to abandon ship and Captain Hart-Dyke was the last man to leave Coventry. He literally walked down the side of his ship and into the water to a waiting life raft. It is believed that his life raft was punctured by Coventry’s superstructure as it rolled over and capsized. Coventry sank in less than twenty minutes after being hit by the bombs. Helicopters from the other ships in the task force rescued Captain David Hart-Dyke and the surviving members of his crew.
Coventry was the sister ship of the other ill-fated Type 42 destroyer in the Falklands Task Force, HMS Sheffield, which sank on 10 May 1982. In all fairness, the Type 42 destroyers were designed as open-ocean escorts for carrier battle groups and were ill-suited for amphibious operations close to land. However, the plain fact is that the British simply did not have enough air support during the Falkland Islands War. The two small aircraft carriers they did have (HMS Hermes and HMS Ivincible) could not carry enough Harrier jets to intercept all of the enemy aircraft before they could come close enough to threaten the British task force. The British, therefore, had to rely on the SAM missile batteries on board their escorts as a last line of defense against the attacking jets. Given the large number of aerial assaults the Argentineans threw at them, it’s amazing the British didn’t lose even more ships than they did.
Posted by Remo at 8:16 AM